France's Lazareff Le Bars has opened a Budapest office, which will serve as a hub to provide the firm with a full range of knowledge support services to its lawyers.
Lazareff Le Bars was established in Paris in 2009 by Serge Lazareff and Benoit Le Bars as a boutique specializing in international dispute resolution, arbitration, and complex litigation. Lazareff served as an interpreter and aide to General Eisenhower during the drafting of the Washington Treaty establishing NATO, subsequently became a renowned international arbitrator who was involved in more than 200 institutional or ad hoc arbitration proceedings, and ultimately became the second President of the ICC Institute of World Business Law. He died in 2012.
Benoit Le Bars is the current Managing Partner of the firm. He has experience in arbitration forums around the world, and he has earned particular recognition for his expertise with arbitration in Africa. He describes his firm as "notably active in investor-state arbitration, often involving major investments and infrastructure projects."
In a conversation with CEE Legal Matters, Le Bars explained that he is in the process of creating a full-time team in Budapest, and that the office is part of Lazareff Le Bars' program of expansion, which — in addition to Budapest — includes Brussels, and will soon include offices in Senegal and the United Arab Emirates. “Reorganizing in such fashion positions us to best handle the size, scale and complexities of a modern law firm. Having offices in these places ensures a close relationship with our clients, which is crucial in our work,” he says.
In particular, Budapest was identified as a suitable location for the establishment of a shared service hub to provide the firm with a full range of knowledge support services to lawyers, such as research and analytics, legal and financial document services, and legal and discovery services, all of which, Benoit reports, are designed to improve efficiency and delivery to clients. “Our clients exist in a challenging commercial environment and appreciate when their lawyers are as focused and cost efficient as they are,” he said. The office will also house certain back office functions such as marketing and finance. Le Bars explained that, in selecting Budapest for the firm's office in CEE, his firm focused on the diversity of talent available, including the quality of education and the availability of language skills that can be found in the Hungarian capital. He conceded the choice was also influenced by his affection for the city.