Over the past year the French government has been increasing its efforts towards achieving an ecological transition. The 2014 budget introduced a carbon element to taxation and there are plans to ban the use of non-agricultural pesticides from 2020. With France set to host the United Nations Climate Conference in 2015, environmental matters look set to remain at the top of the agenda. In this hub of activity, we list 18 “outstanding” practitioners who expect a busy year ahead.
Increasing demand for power, energy diversification plans and large gas finds in Africa continue to drive activity in this market. The French legal market in this area is first and foremost occupied by leading global firms, who can leverage their networks to advise institutional French and foreign companies on implementation and financings of energy projects in Francophone Africa; however a small number of independent French firms also have the requisite expertise to advise on the complex cross-border projects that typify this market. This year we identify 24 leaders in the field.
The 2015 Finance Act and the Rectificative Finance Act for 2014 were adopted by the French parliament on 18 December 2014 with several measures affecting corporate taxpayers. The significant changes to the French corporate tax landscape have led to an even busier legal marketplace and we list 45 of the most highly sought-after practitioners in the country, as well as five leading corporate tax expert witnesses.
Corporate Immigration law in France continues to be an area dominated by boutique firms. Practitioners reported another steady year of work, which saw the recent introduction of the “skills and talents” visa. Although there is talk of new immigration legislation relating to EU migration, no major developments are expected in 2015, and lawyers expect it to be business as usual. In this edition we highlight three of the country’s top immigration specialists.
2014 saw a slow but steady growth for M&A activity following a series of mega deals including the proposed merger of cement makers Holcim and Lafarge. Looking forward activity is expected to increase further as uncertainty in the Eurozone presents challenges but also opportunities for some. There are 21 lawyers singled out in this chapter.
The construction industry in France is in a state of disarray and activity fell further still at the end of 2014 as confidence remained low. While 2015 is expected to also be a difficult year, experts are predicting that 2016 will see the industry stabilise once more. We list 10 lawyers in this chapter.
The president of France’s Competition Authority, Bruno Lasserre, has recently announced that the enforcer will amend its settlement procedure in 2015 so that parties can directly negotiate the level of their fines. It is hoped that this will not only increase predictability for parties but also reduce appeals against settlement decisions. In this highly important sector, we single out 45 lawyers and 12 economists.
It has been another busy year for litigation practitioners in France, with those we spoke to reporting an increase in class actions disputes. Litigation between shareholders in takeovers and mergers has also been an active source of work, with lawyers predicting this to continue in the coming year. We highlight 27 “impressive” litigators in this chapter.
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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.