The Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD), which has created a more inclusive and robust regulatory framework for alternative investment funds within the EU, continues to be the key point of discussion with our respondents. The compliance demands the directive has placed on fund managers and legal counsel has been substantial, and this doesn’t look likely to abate as a review and re-write of the AIFMD is already scheduled for 2017. This year we recognise 11 leaders in the field of private funds law.
High-profile health scandals in France in recent years have seen a wave of lawsuits, the most infamous of which is probably the breast implant scandal involving the French company PIP. In its wake, there have been discussions and attempts to introduce class actions. The first breakthrough was achieved in February 2014, when consumer legislation allowing for class actions for consumer and competition law cases was introduced. This year, France is likely to see class action rules expanded to also cover health-related cases and lawyers will be monitoring the developments closely to ensure clients are well prepared. In this chapter, 15 individuals are selected for inclusion.
Preparations for the Unified Patent Court and the Unitary Patent are in the final stages, and there is much anticipation for what will be the biggest change to patent law in Europe for 40 years. As the seat of the central division Paris will have a key role to play in the new system; it will be supported by two specialist sections in London and Munich. As a result, it is anticipated that competition in the market will increase as more patent firms look to expand their offering in the city. In this section we feature 26 patent lawyers and 21 patent attorneys considered at the top of their game.
Following rising taxes for France’s top earners, a growing number of high net worth individuals are leaving the country each year. Figures published by French financial newspaper Les Echos show a 40 per cent increase in the number of people earning more than €100,000 leaving France in 2013 compared with 2012. Put into context, the overall French migration rate in 2013 increased by only 6 per cent. High net worth individuals are turning to seasoned professionals more than ever for assistance with their wealth management, and below we recognise nine talented lawyers who advise on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters.
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.
Respondents attest to a litigious corporate and commercial environment. Last year’s merger-mania means it is likely that post-M&A disputes will increase and occupy a greater portion of a top litigator’s time. In addition to this, France’s new consumer law, the Hamon Law, has introduced class actions into the domestic legal system. Sources also point to an increase in contract and white-collar crime litigation. We identify 25 leading litigators.
With consolidations in the insurance market continuing in 2015, practitioners on the M&A side have seen a busy year in the field, with further mergers and divestitures expected for the coming year. Cybercrime is the “hot topic” in the market at the moment, with lawyers waiting to see “how this trend will pan out”. In the meantime, they’re kept busy ensuring that clients are covered for all eventualities. In this chapter 18 practitioners are recommended.
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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.