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Latham & Watkins Hires Paris Restructuring Partner From Willkie

Latham & Watkins has hired a restructuring partner away from Willkie Farr & Gallagher in Paris, the latest in a series of high-level moves by firms based in the French capital to bolster their teams in anticipation of increased work in the area.

Alexandra Bigot joins as a partner in the restructuring and special situations practice, Latham & Watkins said in a statement. Prior to practicing at Willkie as a partner for 16 years, she spent four years at Lazard Frères as an investment director, managing the firm’s portfolio of distressed companies.

“We are delighted to welcome a partner of Alexandra’s experience and market standing to the firm,” Olivia Rauch-Ravisé, managing partner of Latham & Watkins in Paris, said in a statement. “Alexandra has a terrific track record advising on complex domestic and cross-border restructuring transactions, and she will play a key role in the continued expansion of this strategically important growth practice in Paris.”

Bigot is the latest partner to join Latham’s restructuring and special situations practice this year, following the arrival of Jessica Walker in London and Suzzanne Uhland in New York, the firm  said in a statement.

Law firms in Paris have been on a restructuring hiring spree this year in anticipation of new business related to the COVID-19 crisis. In April alone, Paul Hastings hired an eight-lawyer team from the French boutique firm Bremond to create a restructuring department in Paris, and Baker McKenzie added a restructuring partner, also from Bremond.

EU court advisor sides with Airbnb against French restrictions

The European Court of Justice Advocate General submitted an opinion Tuesday siding with Airbnb in a case challenging strict French rules.

The Prosecutor’s Office in Paris France filed an indictment for infringement of Hoguet law (real estate law) concerning real estate agents against Airbnb Ireland. Airbnb Ireland denies acting as a real estate agent and the Court of Justice agreed. The opinion found that Airbnb services fall within the scope of “information society services.” The AG rejected that the Irish company would be covered by the nation’s Hoguet Law because there was not proper notification of the intention to apply French law to the Irish company.

In a press release accompanying the opinion the court said that the AG found that Airbnb is a “service consisting in connecting potential guests with hosts offering short-term accommodation, via a electronic portal, in a situation in which the provider of that service does not exercise control over the essential procedures for the provision of those services, constitutes an information society service.”

The opinion is not binding on the court, but is likely to be adopted.