29 Jan 2018

Hausfield launches new French practice

Headed by the ex-general counsel of Michelin, the firm is targeting clients who have been the victims of anti-competitive behaviour.

Litigation law firm Hausfeld is launching of an office in Paris, its fifth in Europe, and tenth worldwide. The French initiative is led by partner Laurent Geelhand who joined the firm in 2014 and was previously general counsel at Michelin for 16 years. At Michelin, Laurent pioneered private enforcement efforts, turning the firm’s European legal department into a profit centre by systematically pursuing actions against suppliers and recovering close to EUR 100m from cartel infringements since 2003. Since he joined Hausfeld and opened the Brussels office the firm has a range of corporate clients in the automotive, waste collection, water treatment, retail, logistics and transport sectors, including BMW, Deutsche Bahn and PSA Group.

Private enforcement

Commenting on the opening Laurent said: 'More and more we see European corporate clients proactively pursuing private enforcement against cartels.  As a former in-house lawyer, I saw first-hand how this adds real value to corporates, with minimum risk.  Often regarded as a ‘cost’ to businesses, private enforcement allows in-house legal teams to redress and retrieve damages, at no or minimal cost to a business.' 

Litigation funding

He added that one of the reasons he joined Hausfeld, was the firm’s experience with litigation funding and alternative financial solutions for its clients.  'As one of the first firms to utilise third party funding for corporate entities, our experience and reputation in the market with funders and insurers, means that we can offer clients unique packages, he said.  He will be assisted in the new office by Of Counsel, Geneviève Labbe and supported by a number of French lawyers.

European practices

Managing partner of Hausfeld in London, Anthony Maton added: 'Since we opened the Brussels and German offices we’ve enjoyed great success in Europe. Our London office has always attracted international lawyers and we already have numerous French speaking fee-earners who work between Paris and London assisting Laurent.  We look forward to growing our French and continental presence and exploring our unlimited opportunities post Brexit; and following the EU Damages Directive implementation last year, which makes it easier for individuals and businesses that have suffered harm because of anticompetitive conduct, to secure damages.'