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We want take advantage of opportunities

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21 September 2015

In January 2016, Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co (WLG) will join forces with Canadian firm Gowlings, creating an international law firm of 1,400 lawyers named Gowling WLG. Pierre-Emmanuel Chevalier and Valérie Blandeau, co-managing partners of WLG's Paris office review this union. The originally article was published on "La Lettre des Juristes d’Affaires".

In January 2016, Wragge Lawrence Graham (WLG) will unite with the Canadian firm Gowlings to create Gowling WLG. What will be the global impact of this combination?

Pierre-Emmanuel Chevalier: It will be a combination under the form of a Company Limited by Guarantee (CLG) enabling each firm to remain autonomous and yet to operate under a common brand name. It will be supervised by a board composed of members of each firm. The new entity will have over 1,400 lawyers, throughout 18 offices in Canada, England, Continental Europe, Asia and Middle-East, allowing the firm to enter the Top 100 firms in terms of numbers globally.

Valérie Blandeau: There is an increasingly strong demand from clients to have a global presence, which the combination of Gowlings and WLG can meet. Both firms have similar development goals in terms of practices and sectors: Life Sciences, Technology, Infrastructure, Real Estate, and Intellectual Property. The combined expertise of Gowlings and WLG in the UK will allow us to become a leader in the latter practice.

What will be the consequences of the combination for the Paris office in particular?

P.-E.C.: This combination will enable the Paris office to establish, among others, relationships with the Montreal office, for historical and linguistic reasons, but also with all Gowlings offices across Canada.

Moreover, Paris remains the hub for French-speaking Africa and the Paris office's Projects/Infrastructure team should benefit from synergies with Gowlings' teams which are particularly recognized in this field, particularly in the Calgary and Vancouver offices. We should also benefit from such synergies in IP.

What is the current situation of the Paris office?

V.B.: We are 14 partners and 30 lawyers. More specifically, we have five Corporate partners, three Litigation partners, one Tax partner, one Real Estate partner, one Finance partner, two Public Law/PPP partners and one Employment partner. We have achieved our goal of strengthening the Corporate department, especially with the recent arrival of Claire Le Gall-Robinson from Skadden Arps.

P.-E.C.: Our goal is to recruit two or three other partners in the next two years; and although our strategy does not consist of unbridled growth, we want take advantage of opportunities.

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