France: Vive l'independence
Nixon Peabody has become the latest US law firm to fall under the spell of La Ville Lumiere. This autumn it opened a Paris practice with 26 lawyers from UK firm Taylor Wessing, including 13 partners. They joined other recent newcomers Kirkpatrick & Lockhart Preston Gates Ellis, which has set up a labour and employment practice in the French capital, and Bryan Cave, which established a small Paris outfit this summer after opening Italian and German branches in 2007. The latest Americans in Paris are jumping into a market that local lawyers already describe as extremely competitive - and France's hardcore of solidly independent firms does not appear overly concerned about their arrivals, with most offering little more than a Gallic shrug. The haemorrhaging of partners to Anglo-Saxon rivals appears to have let up, with US and UK firms primarily raiding other international outfits for their partners these days.
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