19 Oct 2022

Brown Rudnick shutters Paris office after nine years

Closure leaves London as Am Law 200 firm's only international location

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It has emerged that US law firm Brown Rudnick has closed its office in Paris. 

The Boston-based firm shuttered the office last month having launched in the French capital at the end of 2013 with the hire of partner Sébastien Bonnard from French firm Lacourte Raquin Tatar alongside a team of associates and trainees. 

The firm said at the time that the office would boost its arbitration strength and connect its English and French civil and common law offerings to its broader focus on US litigation. 

Bonnard was hired to co-lead the office alongside the firm’s then-international arbitration group head Nicholas Tse, who was based in London. Both had previously worked together at leading French law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel. 

Restructuring partners Didier Bruère-Dawson and David Malamed joined the office in 2015 from De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés and August & Debouzy respectively as the first lateral hires for the Paris office since its launch. 

The firm subsequently added a number of new faces in Paris, including restructuring partner duo Pierre-Alain Bouhénic and David Chijner, who joined in 2018 from DLA Piper alongside a team that included counsel Arnaud Moussatoff.

Moussatoff was later promoted to partner, as was international arbitration specialist Hervé Le Lay, who had joined for the office’s launch from Lacourte alongside Bonnard. 

GLP understands that all of Brown Rudnick’s Paris partners left the firm ahead of the office closure except for Chijner, who is now listed on the firm’s website as being based in London. 

Tse departed in 2020 for the international head of arbitration role at Lebanese law firm Alem & Associates but a number of the office’s partners left the firm last month including Bonnard, who rejoined New York firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed alongside two other lawyers. 

The Paris closure leaves Brown Rudnick's 23-partner London office as its sole international location. Back in 2002 the firm had launched an office in Dublin but shut up shop there six years ago following the departure of office head Bernard McAvoy to launch his own firm. 

A spokesperson for Brown Rudnick commented: “Our European clients will continue to be served from London, our European hub, which is thriving across our core areas, including crisis and global litigation, life sciences, technology and reputation management.”

Paris is generally regarded as an important location by large international law firms and Brown Rudnick’s decision to exit the city is unusual. 

The Am Law 200 firm has five offices across the US along with its Boston headquarters. Earlier this year the firm represented actor Johnny Depp in his defamation battle against ex-wife Amber Heard and shortly after promoted litigator Camille Vasquez to partner as a direct result of her role in winning the $15m jury verdict for Depp. 

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