UK: Lovells And Siméon & Associés To Merge
One Of The First Mergers Between An International Law Firm And A French Law Firm
Last Updated: 2 July 2001

Lovells, the international law firm, and Siméon & Associés, the highly regarded French law firm, today announced that the partners of both firms have voted to merge. The combined firm will be known worldwide as Lovells. It will be one of the first mergers between an international law firm and a French law firm.


Pierre, Lesley, John and Robert

Lovells' ambition is to be a leading worldwide business law firm, offering the highest quality domestic and cross border services in the key international markets.

In Europe, the firm's strategy over the last three years has been to build a leading practice in each of the major jurisdictions and, in particular, to continue to strengthen its corporate, banking/finance and capital markets practices.

The firm believes that it can best achieve its strategic objectives through a combination of:

  • full merger, rather than alliance, with other leading firms, and
  • organic growth in the partnership augmented by top level lateral hires.

The French market has been a priority for Lovells, as Andrew Walker, senior partner, said today:

"Our merger with Siméon & Associés takes us further towards achieving our global ambitions.

One of Lovells' most important strategic objectives in Europe has been to strengthen our Paris operation, so that its size, quality, and breadth and depth of expertise stays in line with our position in the UK and German markets and with our ambitions for expansion in those markets and elsewhere.

Our merger with Siméon further expands our corporate practice in Paris, reinforcing our ability to compete in the very top tier of the market for instructions from major domestic and international clients. There will be continued strategic expansion, notably in the corporate, banking/finance and capital markets practices: the partners of both firms share a vision of future growth in Paris as an integral part of the merged firm's strategy."

Commenting on the significance of the merger for Siméon & Associés and for the French legal market, Pierre de Montalembert of Siméon & Associés said:

"France has received much attention from international firms, but as yet there have been very few mergers involving French law firms. Rather, what we are accustomed to seeing are individual moves of French lawyers or small teams of French lawyers to English or US firms.

Siméon & Associés has a very international client base. If your clients have global ambitions, you must be able to respond with a service that has an equivalent reach. My partners and I have come to the view that the future for our firm lies in being part of a truly international law firm. We have considered our options very carefully. Our approach to client service and law firm management is very similar to Lovells', which has an excellent international name and network and all the advantages of a full-service practice. We believe it is the right strategy for our clients, our firm and our people to build a future together."

Explaining the benefits for Lovells in Paris, Robert Follie, managing partner of Lovells' Paris office, said:

"Lovells, which is already an established player in the French market, has grown rapidly in Paris through a combination of organic growth and lateral hire, with six new partners in the last three months alone. However, we cannot achieve all of our strategic goals in Paris in an acceptable timescale by these means on their own.

By merging with Siméon we will double the size of our corporate practice, while also reinforcing other key areas, such as EU & competition, employment, tax law and litigation: our new partners complement the team we have built up over recent years. Of the many arguments in favour of merger, the most compelling is undoubtedly our enhanced position as a leading corporate firm, better placed to service significant cross border and domestic M&A work, corporate finance and private equity transactions. Our merger will also significantly strengthen our litigation and arbitration capability."


The effective date for the merger is 1 November 2001. Lovells and Siméon & Associés will merge their respective operations in France and Belgium, with teams integrated by international practice area. The two firms are already working together on the implementation programme.


Full details on Lovells, Siméon & Associés and the size of the merged firm are given in notes for editors, below.


John Pheasant, international partner

Robert Follie, managing partner Paris

Nick Bromfield, managing partner Brussels

Fenella Gentleman, director of public relations

Siméon & Associés:

Pierre de Montalembert, Paris

Eric Morgan de Rivery (Brussels)

Notes For Editors

The Merged Firm

Following the merger, Lovells will have offices in 26 locations in Europe (including Paris and Brussels), Asia and North America.

In Paris the merged firm will have 25 partners, more than 80 other lawyers and an overall total of 220 people. It will be led by Robert Follie, as Lovells' Paris managing partner, who will also chair a Steering Group with Pierre de Montalembert (of Siméon & Associés) as deputy chairman. The Paris office will be Lovells' largest office after London.

In Brussels the merged firm will have 8 partners, 20 other lawyers and a total of 50 people. It will be led by Nick Bromfield, Lovells' Brussels managing partner.

The merged firm will have more than 300 partners, over 1,400 lawyers and a total of around 2,800 people, located in 26 cities in Europe, Asia and the USA. The firm will have more than 130 partners in Continental Europe – more than 40% of the partnership.


Key facts: Lovells was created on 1 January 2000, through the merger of Lovell White Durrant and Boesebeck Droste. The firm currently has 295 partners, over 1,350 lawyers and a total of around 2,725 people, located in 26 cities in Europe, Asia and the USA. It is the fourth largest law firm in Europe and the eight largest law firm in the world.

Clients and workload: Lovells' Paris office, opened in 1990, is well known for its transactional and dispute resolution work. High profile deals include acting for ALSTOM on its IPO and on its joint venture with ABB to create ABB ALSTOM POWER and, more recently, for South African Breweries plc on its joint venture with Castel group.

Recent developments: The announcement follows a series of developments, in the 18 months since the creation of Lovells, designed to reinforce Lovells' standing as a leading pan-European firm:

  • doubled the size of its French practice, including 10 new partners
  • announced and completed its merger with Dutch firm Ekelmans Den Hollander
  • established an Italian practice in Milan and Rome with 30 lawyers
  • dramatically expanded its Polish practice, which now has 30 lawyers
  • established a Hungarian practice, by opening an associated office in Budapest
  • grown the German practice by 30%, including 20 new partners
  • added elected 46 new partners, 25 of them in Continental Europe
  • expanded further with 25 lateral hires at partner level, 21 of them in Continental Europe

Siméon & Associés

Key facts: Siméon & Associés was established in 1974. The firm currently has 12 partners, 35 other lawyers and a total staff of over 85 in offices in Paris and Brussels. It is led by a Steering Group composed of Pierre de Montalembert, Jean-Pierre Langlais and Alexis Terray.

Practice: Siméon & Associés has a well-established practice in most areas of business law, including, in particular, corporate law and mergers & acquisitions, tax law, employment law, EU and competition law, and commercial law. Siméon & Associés is also well known for its litigation practice before all types of French and European Union courts.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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