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Another senior departure for Shearman’s Euro practice as Links rebuilds French securities team with high profile hire

The revolving door at Shearman & Sterling’s European practice was spinning once again today (11 July) with news that capital markets partner Bertrand Sénéchal has quit the US law firm to join the Paris arm of Linklaters.

Sénéchal’s practice covers a broad range of debt and equity securities work. The high profile partner has handled the French and US aspects of several large high-yield and Yankee bond transactions, and has advised major companies like Danone and Schneider Electric, as well as prominent underwriters.

‘Bertrand Sénéchal is one of the best French lawyers in capital markets. He is a natural fit with our five capital markets partners and is a superb addition to the team. We are very pleased about his arrival, which is an important step in our development plans for the practice,’ said Paul Lignières, managing partner of Linklaters in Paris.

The departure of Sénéchal, who has been a partner at Shearman’s Paris arm since 2005, comes amid a period of upheaval for the 840-lawyer firm’s European network. Notably Shearman earlier this year announced a major restructuring of its German practice, leading to the closure of offices in Dusseldorf and Munich. Latham & Watkins in May subsequently recruited three corporate partners in Germany – Harald Selzner, Rainer Wilke and Martin Neuhaus – while Allen & Overy in April recruited corporate partner Hans Diekmann.

Shearman’s French practice also in January saw the departure of arbitration partner Philippe Pinsolle to launch a Paris arm for US disputes leader Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

While Shearman asserts that the German restructuring is a positive move, the firm is generally regarded to have lost considerable ground since the early 2000s, when it was viewed by many as the top US adviser in Europe.

Linklaters, meanwhile, has been moving to restock its French securities practice after in February losing a major chunk of its Paris capital markets team to White & Case amid disagreements over strategy. The departing team comprised partners Cenzi Gargaro, Philippe Herbelin and Séverin Robillard along with a consultant and senior associate with all five joining White & Case as partners.

Sénéchal commented in a statement: ‘Linklaters provides an ideal platform to further develop my business activity. The truly globally-minded environment and the teamwork are decisive advantages to me and I am very pleased to join this French and international team.’