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A&O’s former global antitrust head Olivier Fréget leaves to set up competition boutique

Olivier Fréget, co-head of Allen & Overy’s (A&O’s) global antitrust group until the end of last year, has left the Magic Circle firm to launch boutique firm Cabinet Fréget – Tasso de Panafieu (CFTP).

Fréget, who at A&O counted Johnson & Johnson among his clients and regularly represented clients before the EU Commission and the French Competition Authority, leaves the Magic Circle firm after nine years, having joined in 2004 from Bird & Bird, where he was also head of competition.

He has set up CFTP with LexCase founder Charlotte Tasso-de Panafieu. The two-partner boutique has two associates and one paralegal.

The founding partners met while at Bird & Bird in the early 2000s, where Tasso-de Panafieu was a senior associate. She left in 2006 to become legal counsel at US chemicals company DuPont. Tasso-de Panafieu leaves LexCase, which she co-founded in 2009 and ran the now nine-partner firm’s competition department to reunite with Fréget. Her practice at LexCase specialised in the restructuring of pharmaceutical companies.

This latest development comes during a six-month period that has seen a spike in the number of Magic Circle partners breaking away to set up their own ventures, particularly in the arbitration sector, where Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s London head of arbitration Constantine Partasides has launched launch Three Crowns alongside former arbitration head Jan Paulsson and Paris arbitration head Georgios Petrochilos. In April, Freshfields disputes partner Christian Borris also left the Cologne office to set up a local arbitration boutique.

Competition boutique spin offs are still relatively rare, although the start of May saw a former head of A&O’s Madrid competition practice and more recently head of competition law at Roca Junyent in Madrid, Pedro Callol, leave with a team to set up boutique Callol Law. Callol worked together with Fréget at A&O.

Fréget told Legal Business: ‘Clients are asking for independant and fully dedicated highly specialised lawyers, free of conflicts of interest.

‘We are now able to “debundle” legal services. Clients are still ready to pay for high level and audacious services but not high prices for commoditised ones. Answering their needs requires to assemble a network of specialists for each case, bringing together the most adequate people. The one stop shop model is now being challenged.’

A&O said in an emailed statement: ‘Olivier Fréget has decided to leave Allen & Overy. We would like to thank him for the contribution he has made during his time at Allen & Overy and wish him all the best for the future.’