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DWF has launched its first office in France through a merger with four-partner Paris firm Heenan Paris.
The boutique spun out of collapsed Canadian firm Heenan Blaikie in 2014 and is run by managing partner Jean-François Mercadier, who is among those joining DWF.
The firm has focused heavily on African work since its launch with the acquisition gifting DWF a line into South Africa thanks to Heenan’s exclusive alliance with Thomson Wilks.
It also has an energy and projects outpost in Washington DC, which it launched in January 2015, relocating partner Sanjoy Jay Bose to the US and hiring former Unify general counsel Stephen Juge for the launch. However the pair are not expected to join DWF following the merger.
DWF saw a series of mergers last year, most recently merging with 20-partner Belfast-based C&H Jefferson in November.
It followed DWF opening its first overseas office in March 2015 in Dubai.
The firm’s second office outside of the UK and Ireland launched in Brussels last year, headed up by head of EU and competition Jonathan Branton.
DWF announced it was entering the German legal market last December after acquiring German commercial boutique BridgehouseLaw. The German office focuses on energy, real estate, retail, food, hospitality, and technology sectors.
CEO Andrew Leaitherland said France was now a key market for DWF, adding: “As one of Germany’s largest and most significant trading partners, the merger also complements our growing European footprint.”
He continued: “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. Africa is an emerging growth region in its own right with many opportunities to develop business and revenues in sectors that play to our strengths such as energy, regulation, regulated activities, insurance and financial services.”
The four Heenan Paris partners joining DWF are Mercadier, Ali Boroumand, Pascale Gallien and Anne-Sylvie Vassenaix-Paxton.
Mercadier and a team who had previously worked together at legacy Norton Rose joined Heenan Blaikie in 2011 to set up the Canadian firm’s Paris office. When Heenan Blaikie collapsed in 2014 the Paris partners spun off the office and re-established it as an independent firm.
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