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France: Restructuring and Insolvency 2016

In 2016 France will introduce the Macron Law, set to have a significant effect on restructuring and insolvency practices in France. This innovative law will update current practice allowing, for the first-time, dedicated commercial courts the right to administer debt-for-equity swaps and will consolidate multiple insolvency proceedings. In this chapter, 21 leading lawyers have been illuminated by our research.

Bredin Prat leads the research with an impressive four listings. Raphaële Courtier is noted for her “impressive practice” in banking law and financial restructuring. Sources commend her “dynamic and problem-solving approach”. Olivier Puech is the co-head of the team that specialises in dealing with companies in financial difficulty. A specialist in judicial and litigious proceedings, Puech is a “highly sought-after” practitioner. His partner at the head of the financial difficulties team, Nicolas Laurent, is an “esteemed” lawyer in the field, who is noted for his “significant sector expertise”. Sources also praise Olivier Assant for his “well-considered approach” and “excellent advice” during financial reorganisations.

At Weil Gotshal & Manges, two lawyers are selected for inclusion. Jean-Dominique Daudier de Cassini is the co-head of the firm’s business finance and restructuring team. He is recognised as an “admired professional” and a specialist in corporate recovery. Also leading this team is the “eminent” Philippe Druon who has “vast experience” in restructuring matters, insolvency and solvency proceedings.

Anja Droege Gagnier of BMH Avocats is lauded by her peers for her work in the field. She is famed for her “exceptional foresight and advice” when advising purchasers during distressed M&A, as well as creditors and investors during French insolvency proceedings.

Lantourne & Associés is a Paris-based boutique specialising in corporate restructuring and litigation. Founding partner Maurice Lantourne has over 30 years of experience dealing with firms in financial difficulty and, as such, is “highly regarded” for his “wealth of knowledge and industry-specific expertise”.

At Gide Loyrette Nouel, Gabriel Sonier is singled out as an “outstanding practitioner”. In particular, he specialises in M&A and corporate restructuring, and is known for his significant understanding of European insolvency law.

Violet & Associés is a highly regarded boutique firm dedicated to the treatment of business law and companies in difficulty. Founding partner Isabelle Didier is praised for her ability to “integrate different professional cultures” to achieve the best results for her clients.

Boutique law firm Bremond & Associés specialises in insolvency and corporate recovery. Founding partner Guilhem Bremond is active in the European market offering excellent advice to creditors, investors and shareholders in major restructurings.

At Willkie Farr & Gallagher, Alexandra Bigot is singled out for her work in the field. A partner in the business reorganisation and restructuring department, she was a member of the team that handled the high profile restructuring of French fashion group Vivartes. In particular, she is known for possessing “formidable insight” in out-of-court restructurings involving troubled LBO cases.

At Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, Saam Golshani is singled out for his “impressive” practice. Co-leading the European restructuring group for the firm, he is widely regarded as “one of the country’s premier restructuring counsel”. In particular, he specialises in the technology sector.

Santoni et Associés is a boutique firm specialising in protective measures, contractual negotiation assistance, insolvency acquisition and LBO proceedings. Founding partner Marc Santoni is an “eminent” figure with over 20 years of experience of advising French businesses in difficulty, buyers interested in companies’ turnaround as well as safeguard-rehabilitation-liquidation proceedings. Clients praise his “perceptive approach in the deal-making process”.

SEH Legal specialises in corporate law and restructuring, advising companies across a broad range of sectors including the transport, health, retail, media and telecommunication, real estate, and new technologies industries. Sandra Esquiva-Hesse is known for her “strong negotiation skills” and her “exceptional handling of the different parties involved in debt restructurings”.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei’s Philippe Dubois is a “seasoned veteran” in the field.  Clients report that “he leaves no stone unturned in the negotiation of complex restructurings”.

Catherine Ottaway of Hoche Société d’Avocats is recommended by her peers for he “specialist knowledge” in commercial, business and insolvency law. She is also head of the firm’s commercial litigation department.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Philippe Hameau is a highly regarded practitioner who focuses his practice on financial institutions. He is lauded for his “rigorous and effective approach” to crisis management, restructuring and insolvency matters.

Ashurst’s Jean-Pierre Farges is a “top player” in the market who is held in high esteem for his impressive track record. Specialising in all elements of restructuring, Farges is noted for his “powerful negotiating style” and his “excellent management” of dialogues.

Linklaters’ head of restructuring and insolvency in Paris Aymar de Mauléon is commended for his “deep understanding of insolvency law”, and his “technical expertise” in operational and financial restructurings involving distressed companies.

At Clifford Chance, Reinhard Dammann specialises in insolvency law on the international stage. Clients praise his “thorough analysis and considered approach”.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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