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Continental growth ‘high on the agenda’: BCLP bolsters Paris outpost with seven-partner splash

Starting the New Year with a bang, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (BCLP) has recruited a 21-strong team of lawyers in Paris, including seven partners.

The hires mark the largest addition to the firm since its transatlantic merger in 2018, with expansion on the continent high on the agenda for the firm’s leadership. Two partners have joined in the Paris offices’ real estate, taxation and financing teams respectively, while one partner was added in public law.

‘[Legacy] BLP (Berwin Leighton Paisner) didn’t have an office in Paris, but clients would still turn to us to do transactional work,’ BCLP co-chair Lisa Mayhew told Legal Business. ‘It was a hole in our capability and we would have to turn to other firms to do work in Paris, so it’s something we’ve been strategizing for a long time. Bryan Cave did have a good but small Paris office, so it’s also an opportunity to add to that capability.’

Real estate duo Henry Ranchon and Laurent Schittenhelm will be joined by taxation partners Christine Daric and Olivier Mesmin. Meanwhile, in financing the firm adds David Blondel and Olivier Borenstejn. Jean-Pierre Delvigne joins the firm’s public law practice, with all the partners joining from French independent firm Franklin.

The additions increase BCLP’s Paris headcount to 37, more than doubling the firm’s presence. Paris – which will remain led by managing partner Rémy Blain – will now be third only to London and Germany in Europe in terms of size, despite BCLP losing 10 lawyers to Addleshaw Goddard in Hamburg last year. In December, the firm also lost partners in London, with DLA Piper recruiting Bob Maynard and Caroline Pope to its litigation and regulatory practice in the City.

Meanwhile, Mayhew insists further growth on the continent is likely: ‘We definitely want to grow in Germany, we already have over 60 lawyers there so it is bigger than France. We want to grow in part in our corporate and finance practices, as we already have a huge real estate bench in Berlin. So that is definitely high on the growth agenda, but there has to be a strategic reason.’

However, no offices on the continent featured in the firm’s latest promotion round, with the legacy firms’ respective hubs receiving the lion’s share of new partners. Of the 17 partners promoted globally, five were minted in London, matching the St Louis figure, while the remaining 12 partners spanned Kansas, Atlanta, Washington, Denver and Los Angeles. All but one of the City promotions were made to the firm’s traditionally strong real estate practice.