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Herbert Smith Freehills

Herbert Smith Freehills’ Paris office is its largest on continental Europe and has a prominent position in high-profile cross-border financial, commercial and corporate transactions that are typical of the firm.  As a key gateway to Francophone Africa, the Paris office is also an engine room for advising clients on the implementation of energy and infrastructure projects in the region. With a reputation for being one of France’s top international business law firms, Herbert Smith Freehills continues to be a leader in the market with 18 listings across 11 different practice areas. 


The firm is home to a particularly outstanding energy department, which leads our research in our corresponding chapter. Leader of the energy and infrastructure group in Paris Bertrand Montembault has “vast experience” of working on projects in francophone Africa and France. Stéphane Brabant, co-chair of the firm’s Africa practice, leads the way in the research in this chapter, and is “without doubt a top player”. He has over 25 years’ experience working on projects in the emerging markets such as oil and gas, and power projects. Alongside them, Rebecca Major has worked on projects in at least 37 African countries, including advising EDF, Tullow Oil and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

Both Brabant and Montembault achieve a second listing in our mining chapter. Clients and peers praise their expertise and experience of some of the biggest mining projects in Francophone Africa.

Herbert Smith Freehills’ arbitration team is highly sought after. Emmanuelle Cabrol has extensive experience in international arbitration. Described by clients and peers as a “splendid practitioner”, she is very active on the international scene, especially in disputes involving states. The “excellent” Isabelle Michou acts for states and large corporations in the oil and gas, aerospace and large-scale infrastructure projects and hotel and leisure industries.

The firm enjoys a strong reputation in the real estate market. Pierre Popesco has been described as “the lawyer of choice” for French and foreign investors on the acquisitions and disposals of all types of property assets. Alongside him the “excellent” Pierre-Nicolas Sanzey is highly praised for his “broad skill set” and longstanding experience of the sector.

A further standout individual is Alexandra Neri, who is regarded as a leading IP and technology lawyer and her high profile clients have included Google. She is listed in our patents, TMT and trademarks chapters.

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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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87 Lancaster Road, London
W11 1QQ, UK