France 2019: Leading Firms

This year’s edition of WWL: France features over 300 firms, from boutique offerings through to full-service outfits. However over a fifth of total listings this year come from eight prominent firms, which we profile here.

International powerhouse Allen & Overy continues to impress in our research. Its Paris office is home to some of the country’s top commercial lawyers, offering comprehensive support across the gamut of legal issues. With at least one practitioner listed in nearly half of our 38 chapters this year, the breadth of expertise on offer at the firm is unparalleled.

The firm is particularly strong in the field of life sciences, with three individuals highlighted in our guide this year. Biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and healthcare are just some of the areas in which its lawyers excel.

Allen & Overy’s reputation for strength in international disputes is well represented in our guide, achieving give listings across our litigation and arbitration chapters. The firm also stands out for its impressive sector-related offerings, and sees individuals highlighted for their work in real estate, energy and projects.

A number of individuals from the firm stand out in our research this year. Laëtitia Bénard is a well-established practitioner who is applauded for her work in life sciences and patents, while Hervé Ekué and Dan Lauder stand out as leading names in the capital markets space. Denis Chemla illustrates the breadth of his expertise with recognition across our business crime defence, commercial litigation and product liability defence chapters. 

Full-service firm Bredin Prat is a dominant force in the French market. The firm enjoys a stellar reputation across the continent for its first-class legal services, and demonstrates the wide-ranging expertise on offer at the firm in this edition, achieving 28 listings across 11 practice areas.

Corporate finance is an area in which the firm truly excels. This is evidenced in our research this year, as its lawyers are credited for their exceptional work across the banking, corporate tax, capital markets and M&A arenas.

Competition is a further area in which the firm performs well, with five lawyers commended for their excellence when it comes to merger control, cartel investigations and abuse of dominance cases. Bredin Prat also provides superb expertise on contentious matters, with five individuals listed across our arbitration and litigation chapters.

The firm is home to a number of Thought Leaders who receive global recognition in our research. Olivier Billard, Hugues Calvet, Marie-Cécile Rameau and Robert Saint-Esteben are all recognised as Global Elite Thought Leaders for their impressive work in the field of competition law. Thought Leader Raëd Fathallah is held in high esteem for his world-class arbitration practice while Pierre-Henri Durand ranks prominently for corporate tax matters. Samuel Pariente and Raphaële Courtier are leading figures in the banking sector and Eric Dezeuze is endorsed for his work in business crime defence. 

Global powerhouse Clifford Chance performs very well in this year’s research into the French legal market, with a total of 23 lawyers listed across 15 practice areas. The firm’s Paris office was opened in 1962 and is now one of France’s leading outfits with a wide range of international and domestic clients including financial institutions, banks and corporates.

The firm has a strong energy practice, with three outstanding lawyers listed for their expertise in matters relating to oil, gas, nuclear energy and renewables. Several practitioners in the firm are endorsed for their first-class work on cases involving complex disputes. The firm’s strong offering is illustrated in our research with four listings across our corresponding arbitration and litigation chapters.

Competition is another strength area for the firm, in which two lawyers are singled out for their profound expertise in merger control, cartels and abuse of dominance cases.

Key individuals at the firm include Reinhard Dammann who comes top of our research in the restructuring and insolvency chapter, and is recognised as one of the most highly regarded individuals in the field. David Preat enjoys a stellar reputation in the government contracts market while Anthony Giustini excels in the project finance arena. Cédric Burford is a prominent figure among capital markets lawyers and François Bonteil is endorsed for his top-tier real estate practice. 

A pre-eminent player in the French market, CMS Francis Lefebvre Avocats demonstrates its prominent position with a notable 24 listings across nine practice areas. With its international presence in 41 countries, the firm is well positioned to advise on global and domestic matters.

The firm especially excels in the corporate tax arena, from which 13 practitioners are commended for their expertise in our corresponding chapter. Clients range from investors to financial institutions and high-net worth individuals, and the team are well equipped to advise on transfer pricing, VAT issues, tax elements of M&A transactions, tax planning and financing.

The firm also demonstrates its strong offering in private client work, with four nominations this year. The practice is endorsed for its work on a wide array of specialisms including real estate, family and corporate law.

The firm is home to brilliant lawyers including Bruno Gilbert, Michel Collet and Stéphane Gelin who are lauded for their leading expertise in transfer pricing and international taxation. Luc Jaillais is highly regarded for his experience in private client work while François Tenailleau is well versed in a range of public contracts and administrative litigation matters.

Leading independent law firm Gide Loyrette Nouel enjoys a prominent position in the French market as one the top outfits in the country. It performs well this year achieving the highest number of listings of all the firms in our research. The firm receives 46 listings across 23 practice areas, showcasing the sheer breadth of expertise on offer from its lawyers.

Intellectual property is an area in which the firm particularly excels this year, with seven listings across our patents and trademarks chapters. The team is well versed in advising on a number of related issues including disputes, IP rights, copyright and transactions.

The firm’s corporate finance offering is also demonstrated, as it achieves listings across our banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency, private funds, corporate tax, and M&A and governance chapters.

The great breadth of expertise on offer at the firm is illustrated in the range of sectors and industries that it covers, from mining and energy through to construction and real estate, the latter being an area of strength for the firm, with five lawyers recognised for their excellence this year.

Star individuals at the firm include Nadège Nguyen, a Global Elite Thought Leader in the field of M&A and corporate governance. Carole Malinvaud and Christian Camboulive are highly thought of in the arbitration sphere while Grégoire Triet draws high praise for his first-class patents practice. Frédéric Nouel is a leading figure in the French real estate market and Eric Cartier-Millon gains recognition for his strong expertise in the banking sector. 

Global full-service outfit Hogan Lovells has a massive international presence and a strong position in the French market. This is reflected in this edition where it sees its practitioners achieve 22 listings across 15 practice areas for their excellence in a range of matters.

The firm excels in the life sciences and intellectual property markets, seeing six practitioners recognised across our life sciences, patents and trademarks chapters. With impressive experience in contentious and non-contentious work, the team offers clients deep expertise in high-stakes disputes and complex advisory matters.

Contentious work is another area in which the firm distinguishes itself, with three lawyers credited for their work in administrative litigation and arbitration. Their expertise in cross-border and sophisticated disputes make them a go-to team in the market for big-ticket proceedings.

The firm has a number of highly talented individuals, including Global Elite Thought Leader Cécile Derycke who is a pre-eminent figure in the product liability defence and life sciences arena. Ludovic Babin and Bruno Cantier stand out for their work in litigation and public procurement matters while Laurent Gouiffès garners praise for his impressive energy and arbitration practice.

Renowned international giant Linklaters counts some of the world’s best commercial lawyers among its ranks. This year it demonstrates the strength of its commercial offering in France with a total of 19 listings across 14 practice areas.

Competition is an area in which the firm particularly excels achieving three listings in our corresponding chapter this year. These practitioners are well versed in a range of matters including merger control, as well as behavioural investigations by French regulators into abuse of dominance and anticompetitive behaviour.

The firm also distinguishes itself this year in arbitration proceedings, with another three listings for lawyers in this practice group. Its practitioners offer extensive knowledge and expertise in international commercial and investor-state arbitration proceedings, under all major arbitration institutions as well as on an ad-hoc basis. 

Standout individuals at the firm include Thought Leader Roland Ziadé and Pierre Duprey who are recognised as key figures in the French arbitration market. Bertrand Andriani receives recognition across our private funds, mining and capital markets chapters.  

Having established a presence in France in 1926, White & Case is a long-time player in the market. The firm has developed a first-rate offering in the market, illustrated in our research this year with an impressive 24 listings across 14 practice areas.

Contentious work is an area in which the firm stands out, seeing six practitioners highlighted in our administrative litigation and arbitration chapters. The team is well versed in handling proceedings on a domestic and international level, representing clients in high-profile matters across a variety of industries.

The firm is also notable for its work in construction and project finance, with eight lawyers receiving recognition for their expertise in infrastructure disputes, contracting and financing. The construction team offers clients their profound experience in high-value contentious proceedings while the project finance team advises a range of clients on sophisticated infrastructure financing matters.

Outstanding individuals at the firm include Charles Nairac, Christopher Seppälä and Andrew de Lotbinière McDougall, who are all recognised as pre-eminent figures in construction and arbitration matters. Philippe Herbelin and Paule Biensan are endorsed for their excellence in project finance matters while Michael Polkinghorne is recognised as one of the most prominent energy and arbitration lawyers in the country.

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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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