Legal Business Blogs

European expansion – Osborne Clarke continues international drive with Paris launch

At the start of 2012 Osborne Clarke (OC) had little in the way of a direct international presence but the top 40 UK firm has continued its assault on Europe with a Paris launch, marking its fourth office opening in just over a year.

The office, which opened last Monday (15 July), is headed by Legal 500 recommended IT lawyer Béatrice Delmas-Linel, who joins the firm after four years as a partner at De Gaulle Flaurence, prior to which she was associate general counsel at Microsoft and before that managing partner at top-tier employment firm August & Debouzy.

Delmas-Linel will be joined in a week’s time by an as yet unnamed junior IT lawyer, with other partners joining the office from September onwards on a month-by-month basis, with the full team in situ by the end of the autumn.

OC managing partner Simon Beswick (pictured) told Legal Business: ‘In both Brussels and Paris we’re looking to have a core team of people who can initially service the needs of our digital business clients so we’ve been looking for a team of IT, IP, employment, commercial and M&A lawyers and also within that group of people for someone to be able to lead the office. What’s really pleasing is that we found Beatrice who’s both an IT lawyer but also a very natural leader.’

OC has been looking to open in Paris for the last 12 months and Beswick told Legal Business that having focussed on digital business clients such as Amazon and Google, the office will expand further to service clients in other sectors.

Delmas-Linel added: ‘Two main elements attracted me to Osborne Clarke France. First the clarity of the vision that they have – they are unashamedly sector focused and that works well for my digital business client base. Second, there is an energy, a sense of ambition and palpable momentum at Osborne Clarke right now that is unmatched at most other firms.’

Last year OC gave its European best friends the option to merge, which was taken up in Spain and Italy. As the firm set its sights on establishing a pan-European business it loosened its other European alliances and in June this year launched in Belgium with a two-partner team from former ally De Wolf & Partners.

Beswick said: ‘Just over one year ago we had around 450 lawyers in six offices. Collectively we now have over 600 lawyers in 15 offices across seven jurisdictions, and have double digit revenue growth, which is good progress by any account.’