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Doyen’s Anglo-Saxon move shocks Paris lawyers

The restructuring of the Paris legal scene took an unexpected turn late last year, when one of the city’s leading French M&A partners finally gave up on his old firm and did what his colleagues had spent the last two years avoiding – he joined an Anglo-Saxon firm.


Gerard Mazet was the senior partner of once dominant Jeantet&Associés, and his decision to join the Paris office of Wall Street's mighty Sullivan&Cromwell shook his old firm to its foundations.

To the outside world, his move was seen as the most significant sign yet that a new order is emerging among Paris lawyers, one that does not have Jeantet and rival Gide Loyrette Nouel as its leading lights.

The very fact that S&C had made such a daring move also struck a chord, as Mazet was the firm's first lateral-hire partner in its illustrious 122-year history. He was soon joined at S&C by his respected colleague at Jeantet, head of tax Jean-Pierre Le Gall, and by capital markets expert Richard Villanova from the Paris office of Benelux giant Stibbe Simont Monaham Duhot.

With over 30 years of his life tied up with Jeantet, Mazet was reluctant to explain his decision while working out his notice, but on January 1 he started at his new firm, moved into his new office and relaxed.

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