Baker & McKenzie
Partner - Lawyer
From corporate law to alternative funds
Laurent Fessmann began his career in Strasbourg as an in-house corporate lawyer. However, an early taste of M&A and private equity transactions laid the foundation for his expertise today in the alternative funds sector.
A taste of M&A
In the course of his career, Laurent Fessmann has been through a wide range 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 his 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.
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 specializing in furniture design and manufacture, gaining experience in areas such as patent litigation and labor 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 was soon 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. However, 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 specializing 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. 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 he 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 is drawn to the Alps, but also big cities like Paris, New York and London (he has a weakness for Indian food). When he is not running, writing or playing ping-pong with his children, Fessmann’s passion is 20th century history – as befits a native of a city emblematic of Europe’s fracture, and healing, over the past 100 years.
Facts & Figures
Place of birth: Strasbourg
Languages: French, German and English
Hobbies: Running and studying 20th century history
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
Book: The Praise of Folly (Erasmus) or Le Monde Comme il Va (Voltaire)
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