The origins of our international network
Ever since its establishment in 1920 by Pierre Gide, our firm has always had international aspirations. Pierre Gide himself was admitted to the London Bar and worked with a team of associates who, from the very outset, developed an international-oriented culture and practice of law.
Since then, our strategy has focused on developing abroad. Our first step in establishing a network was taken in 1967 when we were the first law firm based in continental Europe to open an office in Brussels.
Today, through analysing the needs of our clients, we have set up a network of 11 offices in countries that meet the following characteristics:
- Jurisdictions with civil legal systems (in Europe and elsewhere)
- Markets where Gide is able to contend with its international competitors from the outset
- Political and cultural environments which facilitate our (usually French) clients’ local investment objectives
- Selected financial centres where there is strong client demand for our services
Gide’s offices in Central Europe and North Africa meet the first three criteria, which are also applicable to our Asian offices. For instance, China needs to refer to simple legal rules which are accessible to all.
Gide’s other offices, especially in London and New York, undeniably the world’s largest two financial hubs, were opened in response to Gide’s need to provide its clients with comprehensive advice in the fields of capital markets and finance law.
Our international vision has proved fruitful. As well as being physically present throughout the world, we conduct 40% of our activities outside French borders. Additionally, out of Gide's biggest 100 clients, which include corporations and national and international institutions alike, approximately half are overseas organisations.
Our international growth
We have deliberately chosen to develop our network organically and not to merge with or acquire other firms. Our strategy is to provide seamless cross-border advice through our own network of offices or through our close relationships with top “best friend” firms in the world's leading legal markets.
Despite our strong international presence, our French heritage remains one of our core strengths. No fewer than 38 of all CAC 40-listed companies are Gide clients, and French multinationals represent a significant part of our global network's client base. Gide benefits from a first class standing in the French legal scene and this privileged position, which has always been one of our hallmarks, enables us to play a major role in winning business not only in Paris, but all around the world.
In continental Europe, Gide relies, through a network of independent law firms, on a close relationship (though not exclusive) with three other prestigious firms that share the same vision of client service, i.e. understanding client needs, quick responsiveness, and effective communication. These firms are Chiomenti in Italy, Cuatrecasas in Spain and Portugal, and Gleiss Lutz in Germany.
This strong network allows us to provide clients with a seamless, integrated service on complex cross-border transactions, international projects and litigation. Together, we number 2,000 lawyers in 27 offices throughout Europe and our extensive joint experience continues to grow as we work together on a regular basis. In November 2015, we have created a regulatory hub in Frankfurt, where the Central European Bank also has its headquarters, to manage matters related to regulations and European banking law, comprising expert lawyers from each firm, enabling knowledge and experience on these matters to be shared. Thanks to this European network, we are in a position to offer our clients the best advice and assistance in each country because each of us is a leading independent law firm in its own jurisdiction.
In any location where we do not have an office, we maintain close relationships with the best law firms in the region. Gide is the exclusive member firm in France for Lex Mundi - the world’s leading network of independent law firms with in-depth experience in 100+ countries worldwide. As part of the Lex Mundi global network, we can provide our clients with preferred access to more than 21,000 lawyers around the world – all from a single point of contact. Individually, each Lex Mundi member firm is a leader in its local market. Collectively, Lex Mundi firms provide global legal resources with unmatched depth and breadth. Working with other Lex Mundi firms, we are able to seamlessly handle our clients’ most challenging cross-border transactions and disputes.
Our commitment to partnership and independence
We remain true to our partnership ethos and to the values inherent to the law profession. These values make us move forward and help us reach decisions by consensus, making Gide a leading player in the highly competitive legal sector.
Two critical factors have contributed to this particular culture over the years. First, the fact that our lawyers are drawn from 35 different nationalities has allowed a rich palette of cultures and personalities to flourish at Gide. While our French heritage remains a core strength, we are undeniably an international firm in the way we conduct our business. The diversity of cultures that we embrace will ensure that we keep moving forward in the future.
The second critical factor is our independent status. We remain utterly convinced that our culture as an independent firm continues to be the best environment in which to train the best lawyers, develop partnerships with the best law firms and provide our clients with a world-class service. This approach sets us apart from our competitors and it is something that should rightfully make us proud both today and in the future.