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Berwin Leighton Paisner scales back Paris office as French head leaves

Eight years after opening an office in one of Europe’s biggest legal services market, Berwin Leighton Paisner is set to cut back its Paris offering leaving only a liaison outpost with the exit of its French head, partner Antoine-Audoin Maggiar.

Maggiar arrived at BLP in 2006 to launch the firm’s Paris offering, but the office never became a priority instead it sought to pull in international work rather than French mandates and had a referral strategy in place to pass work to the firm’s larger offices. BLP’s Paris base will now be reduced to a liaison office, with London-based senior partner Harold Paisner, who is registered with the Paris Bar, continuing to work across the Channel.

Corporate finance partner Maggiar is a member of the Paris Bar and a registered foreign lawyer in the UK. Since arriving from Slaughter and May, where he became the Magic Circle firm’s first non-British equity partner, he has helped to spearhead growth of BLP’s international client base and was a member of the firm’s international strategy team. Maggiar is also head of the international committee at French legal body ACE (Association des Avocats Conseils d’Entreprise).

A BLP spokesperson said: ‘BLP has recently completed a review of the corporate finance practice in France. It has been decided the firm should focus on our corporate finance expertise on servicing clients from our offices in London, Moscow and Asia.

‘Antoine-Audoin Maggiar will remain with the firm on a consultancy basis to ensure a smooth handover. Harold Paisner will continue to be a partner in the French office once Antoine leaves.’

The closure leaves BLP with just four European operational offices outside of the UK, in Brussels, Frankfurt, Berlin and Moscow, where firms have been starved of work by international sanctions.

BLP has been hit by a number of senior exits this year, with real estate finance head Laurence Rogers departing for DLA Piper and finance partners Paul Simcock and Ben Larkin leaving for Jones Day.