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Laurent Fessmann (Baker McKenzie): From corporate law to alternative funds

 

Laurent Fessmann began his career in Strasbourg as an in-house corporate lawyer. But an early taste of M&A and private equity transactions laid the foundation for his expertise today in the alternative funds sector.

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A taste of M&A

In the course of his career, Laurent Fessmann has been through a wide range of different types of firm and working environments. Fessmann started out in 1996 as an in-house counsel with bakery equipment manufacturer Bongard in Strasbourg, where he was born and grew up. There he got a first taste of the private equity industry, working on a leveraged buyout deal with Jersey and Delaware funds and taking part in more than 10 M&A transactions. He also recalls a disastrous business trip in his early days with the firm when he and his boss were stranded in Besançon after Fessmann mistakenly filled up their car with regular petrol, instead of diesel. “I really thought it would be my last day there,” he says today.

 

Into practice

One of three children (he now has two of his own), Fessmann studied business law at Strasbourg’s Université Robert Schuman. After Strafor Facom, he moved to Seribo/Alsapan, an industrial group specialising in furniture design and manufacture, gaining experience in areas such as patent litigation and labour law. It was at the age of 34 that Fessmann decided to enter legal practice, joining Luxembourg business law firm Noble & Scheidecker. Initially focusing on corporate finance matters for large international companies, he soon was drawn to investment funds and by 2009 headed the funds team. That September, he and two colleagues left to launch their own firm, Findling Collin Fessmann, but within six months they were in discussions with Baker & McKenzie to set up the firm’s Luxembourg practice, where he is now a banking & finance partner specialising in asset management and fund formation

Passion for history

Today Fessmann and his team advise clients on setting up funds, other financial services matters and regulatory issues, with particular expertise in the alternative investment industry and he works with more than 50 other Baker & McKenzie partners as a member of the firm’s global funds steering committee.

He has no regrets about his career path, saying does not see himself as anywhere but the legal profession in a decade’s time, although it must continue to be fun – and he would find time for more legal writing. Outside the office, he’s drawn to the Alps, but also big cities like Paris, New York and London (he has a weakness for Indian food). When he’s not running, writing or playing ping-pong with his children, Fessmann’s passion is 20th century history – as a befits a native of a city emblematic of Europe’s fracture, and healing, over the pat 100 years.

 

FACTS&FIGURES

 

  • Birthday: 9th August 1970

  • Place of birth: Strasbourg

  • Children: 2

  • Nationality: French

  • Languages: French, German and English

  • Hobbies: Running and studying 20th century history

 

MY FAVOURITE

 

  • Cities: New-York City and London

  • Places: Alpes - massif des Ecrins or massif du Vercors, in a city Paris, Place de la Contrescarpe or Strasbourg-Krutenau, Place des Orphelins

  • Books: The Praise of Folly (Erasmus) or Le Monde Comme il Va (Voltaire)

  • Restaurant: Indian

  • Music: 90’s rock style with Red Hot Chilly Pepper and FFF or Deep Purple (Lord, Gillan, Paice, Blackmore and Glover)

  • Artwork: The double spiral staircase by Leonardo da Vinci

 

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