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Peter Alfandary, Head of the French Group at transatlantic firm Reed Smith, is due to be awarded the Legion of Honor by the French Government for services to Anglo-French commercial and legal relations. The ceremony will take place at the Ambassador’s residence in Kensington 16th October 2003.

The Legion of Honor, originally created by Napoleon I, is the highest civilian award that can be bestowed on an individual by the French State and is equivalent to an English knighthood.

Peter Alfandary, Head of the Reed Smith, French Group commented:

“This is a huge honor, especially to get as a foreigner. I was extremely touched, surprised and I must say very proud indeed when I received the letter from the French Ambassador telling me that I would receive the award. Throughout my career, and because of my French education, I have been fascinated by the cultural differences between the business and the legal environments in France and England. When assisting French clients in the UK, whether it has been the Embassy, other State bodies, quoted or private companies, I suppose I have always tried hard to bridge this gap. I know that this honor has been awarded in recognition of those efforts over the past 22 or so years.”

Tim Foster, Managing Partner Reed Smith UK commented:

“This award is richly deserved. From a Reed Smith perspective, it was Peter’s vision when he founded the French Group, over 20 years ago, to build a practice that concentrated on French work, the French market and French clients. There are now 15 lawyers who make up the Group in the UK and the US, acting on behalf of multinational and medium-sized French companies including those already established in the UK as well as those coming to the UK to set up subsidiaries here. We offer our clients more than the law, we are able to offer them cultural understanding. Peter’s view is that it is not enough to be bilingual, you must also be bicultural.”

Alfandary’s clients include the French Embassy, The French Institute, The Ministry of Tourism and a variety of French companies with presences in the UK.

The work done by the firm’s French Group recently in advising Eurostar on complex contractual negotiations for the £35 million refurbishment of their rolling stock was a classic example of its ability to provide the type of a cross cultural legal and management understanding and experience which clients increasingly require.

Alfandary is the Vice President and Board member of the French Chamber of Commerce in the UK. The French Chamber of Commerce represents some 600 major UK and French organizations. He is a member of the International Advisory Board of the Maison de la France. He has also lectured to the English and French business communities, appeared on French and English TV and radio, and written papers on the Anglo-French relationship. In 1991, Alfandary received the Order of Merit from the French Republic.

Reed Smith LLP is an international law firm with nearly 1000 lawyers located in 16 offices across the US and two offices in the UK. The firm represents Fortune 100 as well as mid-market and emerging companies. Clients include healthcare providers and insurers, technology companies and entrepreneurs, financial services firms, communications and telecommunications companies, manufacturers, universities, non-profit organisations, real estate developers, and municipalities throughout the United States and in 40 countries.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.