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France: Environment 2016

French environmental law is strictly observed, with authorities increasingly clamping down on both industrial and non-industrial entities. Legislation is also constantly evolving in the progressively eco-conscious society. In 2015, headline legislation, which requires rooftops on new commercial building to be at least partially covered in plants or solar panels, was approved. We have listed 17 leading lawyers in this section. 

David Desforges is a sole practitioner at the environmental law boutique Desforges Law, and he provides a wide range of companies and institutions with “holistic and far-reaching” advice on environmental compliance and enforcement. One source echoed wider sentiment by stating, “We regard David as the preeminent environmental French lawyer and our first port of call, as do many of our clients.”

Bersay & Associes is a medium-sized law firm with an established team specialising in public and environmental law. Of counsel Jacques Asscher handles all environmental issues in the industrial sector, with a particular emphasis on environmental due diligence. Sources report that he is “a very experienced practitioner, who gives thorough and well-thought out advice”.

Jones Day has established a strong environmental practice in its Paris office, with a focus on energy related projects and acquisitions. Françoise Labrousse is a dedicated environmental lawyer with extensive experience in soil and groundwater contamination, air contamination, waste management, chemical substances, asbestos, dangerous products, industrial risks, climate change, and energy-related projects. The firm has added to its environmental law expertise with the hire of Pierre Bechmann, who is particularly specialised in representing the chemical and nuclear sectors in investigations and safety compliance.

Longstanding and highly respected environmental law boutique Huglo Lepage & Associés ranks highly in our research. Corinne Lepage is a seasoned specialist in providing clients advice in environmental compliance, safety, strategy and sustainable development, as well as representation in environmental litigation before the French and European courts. Peers admire her “outstanding depth of knowledge and experience”. Marie Pierre Maitre is also highly recommended for her environmental practice in both contentious and non-contentious matters, particularly in the industrial sector.

Boivin & Associés is a 20-lawyer public and environmental law boutique. Jean-Pierre Boivin specialises in advising industrial clients in environmental audits and in the acquisition of industrial sites. According to respondents, “he is absolutely brilliant and very dedicated to his field”.

UGGC Avocats has a large environmental law team led by Jean-Nicolas Clément. He is a longstanding expert in the field, who is “very up-to-date on legislative changes” and “always provides practical well-informed advice”.

At Baker & McKenzie, Marie-Laetitia de La Ville-Bauge is “a growing name in environmental law”. She is very active in counselling industrial clients on project-based environmental issues. She is also involved in environmental damages and claims litigation. One peer responded, “I admire her greatly – she is smart, professional and responsive”.

Lefèvre Pelletier & associés boasts an integrated industrial environment and real estate sustainable development practice. Vincent Sol is a seasoned specialist in environmental law, who is widely known and respected in the field.

DS Avocats’ Patricia Savin is a specialist in environmental law and sustainable development, namely in relation to real estate, pollution, waste and renewable energy. She is often regarded as “one of the key authorities in these fields”.

Independent practitioner Laurence Lanoy is experienced in all contentious and non-contentious environmental law matters for clients. Peers agree that she is an undisputed expert, who is “consistently strong and reliable in her representation of clients”.

Laurent Deruy is Gide Loyrette Nouel’s leading practitioner in the environmental space. His focus lies in environmental due diligence, industrial remediation and related criminal litigation. His “in-depth knowledge of public law and corporate structures” ensures that he is seen as “an authority” in his field.         

King & Spalding’s Joëlle Herschtel advises clients on industrial projects, compliance, and environmental transactions and audits. She is seen as a longstanding expert in the field, whose “intelligent and personable approach” is appreciated by peers and clients alike.

At Frêche & Associés, Thomas Garancher is commended by peers as “a leading expert on the regulatory side”, and for his “personable and easy mannered approach”.

Granrut Avocats is a longstanding independent law firm, with a strong environmental practice focused on implementing EU and French environmental regulations and advising on all problems associated with industrial projects. Christophe Bourdel is highly recommended for his work in this regard.

Thieffry et Associés’ co-founder Patrick Thieffry is recommended for his in-depth knowledge of French and EU environmental legislation, and for his abilities in environmental litigation.

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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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