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France: Mediation 2016

Mediation has not played a very active role in dispute resolution in France in recent years. However, in August 2015, the French government transposed the 2013 EU directive regulating mediation for consumer disputes through the French Decree no. 2015-1382 on consumer mediation. The legislation establishes minimum standards for mediators, and extends an obligation for businesses to advise customers on the availability of mediation. This shows a first attempt at regulating mediation in France, aiming to expand the use of mediation in sales and service consumer contracts. As demand for alternative dispute resolution increases, this could result in significant new opportunities for mediators. It is certainly an area to watch in France and our research highlights 10 outstanding individuals. 

From Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, Philippe Pinsolle leads the way in our research for this chapter. He is the managing partner of the Paris office, and has been described as an “amazingly gifted” practitioner, whose practice focuses on disputes involving the energy, power, oil and gas, construction and defence industries. He is recommended by peers for “his tenacity” and “ability to successfully negotiate complicated legal issues”.

Solo practitioner Paul-A Gélinas is a “thoroughly impressive” lawyer, known for his “versatile thinking” and “exemplary reputation in the market” in relation to complex domestic and international corporate and commercial disputes.

Laurent Jaeger at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe draws universal commendation for his “authoritative practice” comprising commercial and investment disputes, particularly relating to the energy sector. He “skilfully” represents industrials, private companies as well as states and governments in various jurisdictions across Europe, Africa and the United States. Peers recommend him for his “ability to get straight to the point”.

From Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, the “wonderful” Elie Kleiman is praised for providing “unique insight” into complex commercial disputes and for “keenly protecting the best interests of clients”. With over 25 years’ experience, his practice covers a diverse range of sectors including transport, life sciences, aeronautics, construction, telecommunications and media. 

Bart Legum at Dentons is known for his “savvy approach” to mediating disputes. His “impressive clientele” is drawn from a wide range of international companies and governments, who praise his “thorough understanding of their business needs”.

From Bouckaert Ormen Passemard Sportes – BOPS, Christian Bouckaert has an impressive four decades’ worth of experience, and has made an “outstanding contribution” to the legal market. He has a “long track record of excellence” in the fields of insurance and reinsurance, aviation, pharmaceuticals, energy, chemicals and construction, among others.

Fabienne van der Vleugel is the founder and managing partner of VDV Avocats, and has been noted for her “considerable depth of experience in commercial law”. Described as “a very safe pair of hands” for clients, she is highly praised for her “practical and commercial approach”.

At Resolvers Thierry Garby has “a superb client manner” which has allowed him to build up an “eminent practice”. He is also described as “an incredible technician”.

Independent mediator Claude Amar is a “highly skilled” mediator, with more than 30 years’ experience of international real estate and hospitality projects development, construction and operation. He acts for large corporations, small firms, and individuals, as well as religious and trade groups.

Clifford Chance’s Ronald Austin is “a sensational mediator” who “knows his stuff”. His vast experience in commercial matters ensures that he is a “go-to” practitioner. 

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