DWF makes move into France with Paris merger

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DWF has launched in France via a merger with four-partner firm Heenan Paris.

The tie-up, which went live on 1 January, sees Heenan Paris managing partner Jean-Francois Mercadier (pictured) and fellow corporate finance partner Ali Boroumand join DWF alongside general corporate partners Pascale Gallien and Anne-Sylvie Vassenaix-Paxton.

Heenan Paris is a spinoff from collapsed Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie, which closed its doors in 2014. Heenan Blaikie first launched in Paris in 2011.

DWF managing partner and chief executive Andrew Leaitherland said: “France is a key market for us, both in terms of its size and importance within Europe and because our clients are instructing us on an increasing amount of work with a significant French legal component.”

Leaitherland added that the firm would also target the African market through the merger, including areas such as energy, regulation, insurance and financial services. “France plays a key role too as a gateway to Africa, which is of strategic importance to our clients in the Middle East and Germany.”

Heenan Paris also has an exclusive strategic alliance with South African law firm Thomson Wilks, which has six offices in the country, including Cape Town, as well as a base in Zimbabwe.

The move marks the latest expansion for DWF, after the firm entered Northern Ireland in November through a merger with 20-partner Belfast firm C & H Jefferson. Last January, DWF also merged with German commercial firm BridgehouseLaw, adding four equity partners to its offices in Cologne and Munich.

The 2014 collapse of Heenan Blaikie, one of Canada’s best-known law firms, saw a number of international firms pick up teams of lawyers, including Dentons and Baker & McKenzie.