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CMS Cameron McKenna’s European plans are back on track after sealing an alliance with Paris-based tax practice Bureau Francis Lefebrve (BFL) this week.The French firm, which will formally join Camerons’ five-member CMS alliance on 1 March, gives the group a much-needed fillip after months of inaction.Following the resignation of the CMS group’s former chief executive Peter Lonnquist at the end of 1999, there had been little expansion and a slowdown in the group’s integration.BFL’s link-up coincides with the appointment of a new managing director of the CMS group, Pieter Van Dalen, a non-lawyer manager, who has pledged to merge the now six-member alliance and bring aboard new members.Dick Taylor, London-based chairman of CMS, said: “BFL has a fantastic practice and France is clearly one of the most important markets in Europe.” The 72-partner French firm is a specialist tax practice with a strong corporate and M&A department and will be one of the biggest firms in the CMS alliance. It also has a long list of offices that includes Berlin, Duesseldorf, Moscow, Casablanca, Bucharest and Buenos Aires.BFL’s move follows the breaking up of its alliance with Spanish firm Briones Alonso y Martin in December. Following the split Briones went on to merge with Baker & McKenzie’s growing Spanish practice.Taylor added that partner secondments were planned to help integrate BFL into the CMS group and that Camerons’ utilities practice was very keen to work with BFL’s Casablanca office to extend its coverage of North Africa.He added that with the BFL deal completed the CMS group would now focus on gaining a Spanish and Italian member.The group has already had inconclusive talks with Italian CLA member Tonucci last year, although it is understood these talks have not resumed. CMS is still also looking for a new Swedish ally after losing Tisell & Co to the international legal arm of Ernst & Young at the end of 1999.The CMS alliance also includes Germany’s Hasche Sigle Eschenlohr Peltzer Schaefer, Benelux firm Derks Star Busmann Hanotiau, Austrian firm Strommer Reich-Rohrwig Karasek Hainz and Swiss firm Erlach Lainguti Settler Wille.

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