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France > Banking and finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Leading individuals: regulatory and financial services

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Leading individuals: regulatory and financial services

  1. 1

Allen & Overy LLP’s 45-lawyer team has a broad range of high-level expertise, and acts for lenders and borrowers alike. The firm is recognised for its syndicated loan, property and project finance practice, and recently advised on a highly complex structured transaction regarding the refinancing of an LBO debt. It also notably advised CACIB on a €1.25bn credit facility for Lagardère. Adrian Mellor heads the practice, wherein other key figures include Christophe Jacquemin and Julien Roux, who are ‘both strongly dedicated to their clients, have an outstanding legal culture and are focused on providing efficient and constructive solutions’, and Carine Chassol. Brice Henry is an expert in the financial services sector.

Clifford Chance demonstrates ‘a very high level of expertise in complex subjects and gives result-oriented advice’. The ‘totally available’ 50-lawyer team fields one of the market’s most complete practices and has leading expertise in acquisition finance, corporate loans and project finance; regulatory work and structured finance are other areas of top expertise. The team acts for international and French banks, large corporations and investment funds. Recent highlights include advising the lenders on the financing of Apollo Management International’s buyout of Verallia. Key figures in the practice include the highly experienced Thierry Arachtingi and Daniel Zerbib. Benjamin de Blegiers is also recommended, while Jonathan Lewis and Frédérick Lacroix are key names for regulatory work.

The ‘very reliable’ practice at Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has ‘great expertise and is very good at managing tricky situations’. The ‘business-oriented’ team has a comprehensive range of expertise, including complementary regulatory, capital markets and litigation experience. The practice advises leading banks and corporations on the largest corporate and leveraged financing deals and, for example, assisted CACIB, Natixis and Société Générale with the financing of Fosun’s tender offer on Club Méditerranée. The real estate finance practice is also top notch. Key figures in the team include leading ‘referenceEric Cartier-Millon and counsel Thomas Binet for corporate and LBO financing work, as well as property finance specialists Kamel Ben Salah and Rémi Tabbagh.

Latham & Watkinsranks among the top firms in France for LBO, loan and high-yield finance work’. The 16-lawyer practice has ‘an acute vision of the latest market trends in France and Europe’. It is retained by leading financial institutions, private equity funds and corporations to advise on the negotiation of large credit facilities and acquisition finance deals. The firm stands out for its ability to provide high-yield expertise in addition to mastering unitranche and other bond issuance techniques. The practice assisted the lenders with the financing of the acquisition of Orange Switzerland by Xavier Niel. Practice head Lionel Dechmann has ‘great technique’ and shows ‘high commitment in defending his clients’ interests’, Xavier Farde is ‘highly experienced and knows how to negotiate great deals for his clients’, and recently promoted partner Michel Houdayer is ‘a great and calm adviser, who quickly understands matters’; counsel Etienne Gentil is also recommended.

White & Case LLP has ‘good technical skills in highly complex transactions, good responsiveness, excellent knowledge of the market and good negotiating skills’. The ‘extremely good and complete’ team is ‘well positioned to advise on complex leveraged finance deals in France’. The firm primarily acts for banking institutions and recently advised on the most high-profile LBO transactions and IPO-related credit facilities. It assisted a pool of lenders with the financing of Charterhouse’s acquisition of Comexposium. Practice head Raphaël Richard has ‘deep experience in various types of financing and excellent commercial skills’. Denise Diallo shows ‘technical skills in handling different types of complex financing and excellent knowledge of inter-creditor agreements’. Samir Berlat and high-yield specialist Colin Chang are also key elements in the practice.

Ashurst LLP is highly recognised for its strong presence among private equity houses. The firm has leading acquisition finance expertise. Highlights included advising Charterhouse on the financing of the acquisition of a majority stake in Comexposium. The practice also has leading property finance expertise. Practice head Laurent Mabilat is a key name in the market. Also recommended are Hassan Javanshir and Stéphanie Vannier Corbière. Michael Lancaster relocated to the firm’s Glasgow office, while Diane Sénéchal joined Jones Day.

Bredin Prat produces ‘high-quality work’. The ‘very professional and proactive’ 11-lawyer team regularly advises borrowers on M&A acquisition finance deals and is also increasingly advising on LBO financing. The firm also has good expertise in corporate lending. Highlights included advising Lagardère on a €1.25bn multi-currency syndicated credit facility. The practice is led by Karine Sultan, Samuel Pariente and the ‘very cooperative’ Raphaële Courtier, who is recommended for her ‘deal-making approach’ and ability to ‘find mutually acceptable solutions’.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is regularly retained by leading French corporations to negotiate large corporate loans and advise on M&A financings. The practice recently assisted Publicis with a €2bn multicurrency revolving credit facility. Lately, the firm has also been retained by lenders. Key figures in the team include Valérie Lemaitre and Fabrice Baumgartner, as well as Amélie Champsaur, who handles regulatory work.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei’s ‘highly efficient and available’ 30-lawyer team has ‘very good expertise’ and a strong practice acting for banks; it dominates the market for property finance work. It also advises on regulatory, corporate finance, project finance and acquisition finance transactions, and handles litigation. Recent highlights include assisting Axéréal with a €150m private placement issuance and a €775m syndicated loan. Olivier Hubert heads the regulatory team, while the ‘superbEmmanuel Fatôme is in charge of the property finance practice. Pierre Gebarowski, Guillaume Rossignol and Paul Talbourdet are key names for property finance work. Jean-Renaud Cazali, Corentin Coatalem, Christophe Gaillard and Yannick Le Gall handle other types of finance work.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s 18-lawyer practice advises borrowers and lenders on major debt financing and refinancing. Notably, it assisted Infra Foch and its shareholders with its refinancing through a €950m bond issuance and the reorganisation of a €300m banking credit. The practice also handles infrastructure, asset and acquisition finance work. Practice head Emmanuel Ringeval ‘truly understands his clients’ needs’. Also recommended are Hervé Touraine and Fabrice Grillo. Dougall Molson joined the London office, while former counsel Rhéa Christophilopoulos moved to Linklaters LLP.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice is highly recommended for advising lenders on the negotiation of large syndicated loans, an area in which it demonstrates ‘obvious and clear efficiency combined with strong advice throughout the full legal process’. The 23-lawyer practice has broad expertise, including regulatory experience and ‘excellent real estate finance knowledge’. Highlights included assisting Arkema with a €1.5bn syndicated loan to finance its acquisition of Bostik. Régis Oréal heads the practice. Also recommended are Louis de Longeaux and Eric Fiszelson, who brings ‘in-depth knowledge and extremely valuable advice combined with efficient execution’.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP’s practice combines ‘a geographical coverage to a depth of expertise and services which only a few law firms have’. The 15-lawyer team advises the largest French banks. Loans, acquisition and asset finance are the main areas of expertise. The practice recently assisted Morgan Stanley and the lenders with a €3.8bn bridge loan for Capgemini. Richard Jadot heads the practice. Also recommended are Sabine Bironneau-Loy and Michel Quéré, who ‘have a great understanding of the mid-cap market and know very well their clients’ expectations’, as well as Olivier Fille-Lambie. The hiring of French and UK law expert Alexander Premont from Linklaters LLP in London is ‘a massive boost to the firm’s finance practice in Paris

Linklaters LLP advises leading French banks and investment funds. The practice is particularly strong in acquisition and leveraged finance, and also advises on the negotiation of large credit facilities; other work includes property finance and LBO debt restructuring work. The practice represented certain US funds with regards to Vivarte’s €2.8bn LBO debt restructuring. Bertrand Andriani heads the practice, in which Cyril Abtan, Kathryn Merryfield and counsel Rhéa Christophilopoulos are also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP delivers ‘impressive quality work’. The ‘highly available’ team advises banks, alternative debt funds and borrowers, and is especially recommended for complex financings; property finance and refinancing issues are also areas of practice. The group has ‘an exceptionally refined knowledge of the mid-cap French LBO market’. Highlights included assisting NJJ with the financing of the acquisition of Orange Communications in Switzerland. The practice is jointly led by Pierre-Nicolas Ferrand, who has ‘transversal knowledge of different types of financings’, and Arnaud Fromion.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advises on the financing of the market’s largest private equity transactions and high-yield financings. The 11-lawyer team, which combines French and UK law expertise, often assists sponsors but is also developing its bank representations. The firm recently represented Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and Natixis on the high-yield-bond financing of PAI’s acquisition of DOMUSVi. Olivier Jauffret heads the practice. James Clarke is also highly involved.

Baker McKenzie SCP’s ‘absolutely excellent’ practice is ‘a breath of fresh air’. ‘Advice is always on point and aligned with the commercial realities of a project’. The team has an ‘extremely strong export finance’ practice and also ‘top legal expertise in the Commonwealth of Independent States area’. Recent highlights include assisting development banks with the granting of a corporate loan to Aga Khan Foundation for Economic Development. Practice head Michael Foundethakis is ‘the type of lawyer you want on your side of the table on a deal’.

DLA Piper is a solid name for acquisition and LBO financing transactions. The 16-lawyer practice assists senior lenders, mezzanine debt players and equity sponsors, and is very active in mid-cap unitranche financings. The firm recently advised ICG Senior Debt Partner on the financing of the acquisition of Exclusive Networks by Cobepa. The firm also advises on refinancing and property finance transactions. Practice head Maud Manon is recommended. The arrivals of Eric Villateau from Watson Farley & Williams LLP and Erwan Lacheteau from Dentons reinforced the team’s asset finance resources.

De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés delivers ‘very high quality advice’ on large syndicated loans that includes ability to ‘properly manage a banking pool’. The practice also advises on acquisition finance, project finance and restructuring transactions. Clients include leading French banks as well as some high-profile international banks. Key figures in the team include Sylvie Perrin and May Jarjour, who is acknowledged for her ‘recognised technical skills’ and ‘high availability’. Jonathan Souffir was promoted to partner in 2015.

Jeantet AARPI runs a leading practice in banking regulation and litigation. The team has a wealth of experience representing leading French and international clients in investigations by French, European and US banking authorities. Martine Samuelian and Guillaume Berruyer are highly recommended and were joined in 2015 by Julien Martinet from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, who also has strong banking litigation expertise.

Jones Day has ‘a high level of business knowledge delivered in a practical way’. The firm is developing a prominent litigation practice handling cases on behalf of financial institutions such as Dexia Crédit Local, Société de Financement Local and Depfa Bank in disputes with local public entities. The practice also advises on loans, as well as asset and acquisition finance. It recently assisted Thales with the negotiation of a €1.5bn revolving back-up facility. Frédéric Gros heads the practice, which hired Diane Sénéchal from Ashurst LLP, and recently appointed Sophie Chevallier as partner. Other key figures are of counsel Isabelle Maury, who is recommended for ‘her expertise and commercial responses to any questions raised’, as well as Alban Caillemer du Ferrage and counsel Philippe Goutay, who advises on regulatory work.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has a leading banking regulatory practice and advises on the latest developments, such as crowdfunding, fintech and online payment matters. Clients include high-profile asset managers, banks and other financial institutions, such as Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Société Générale and UBS. The experienced team includes practice co-heads Jean-Pierre Mattout and Hubert de Vauplane, as well as Dana Anagnostou and Gilles Kolifrath, the latter having joined from Axa France, and counsels Wadie Sanbar and former Crédit Agricole in-house lawyer Pierre Storrer.

Mayer Brown’s ‘expertise is cutting-edge and pragmatic in the LBO field’ and is primarily retained by investment funds. The practice has broad expertise, including strong know-how in aviation and property finance, as well as structured finance and securitisation. The firm recently advised Eurazeo and Elis on Elis’ €650m debt restructuring in the context of its IPO. The six-partner team is led by Jean-Philippe Lambert. Also recommended are: Jean-Pierre Lee; Matthieu de Varax, who has ‘a fantastic ability to understand the commercial considerations of a transaction’; Privat Vigand; François-Régis Gonon, who ‘provides good advice in financing and factoring transactions’; and the ‘very good and extremely available’ Patrick Teboul.

Norton Rose Fulbright provides ‘an excellent level of service in commodities, export finance and syndicated transactions’. The practice ranks among the market’s top players for advising lenders on asset finance pertaining to aviation, shipping and energy. The group recently assisted BNP Paribas with a €180m financing of the acquisition of Enel Green Power France. Marc Hamilton heads the 36-lawyer team, in which Christine Ezcutari, George Paterson, Janet Butterworth and Anne Lapierre are also key figures. Jean-Norbert Pontier joined from Bryan Cave LLP, adding strength to the asset and structured finance expertise.

Orrick Rambaud Martel runs a ‘very good and dedicated’ practice that ‘really brings value’. The team has been active recently advising on property finance and innovative financing structures regarding large public sector projects in France. Highlights included advising Crédit Foncier on the €140m financing of La Marseillaise tower development. Key figures in the practice include the ‘really impressive’ Diane de Moüy, Hervé Kensicher, Amaury de Feydeau and regulatory expert Jean-Jacques Essombè, who joined from Heenan Paris. Arnauld Achard is an expert in structured finance and debt capital markets. Jean-Marc Zampa is now at Holman Fenwick Willan France LLP.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘technically excellent and has a commercial approach’. Strengths lie in project finance and assisting sponsors with private equity acquisition finance. The team advised Platinum on the financing of the acquisition of WFS. The eight-lawyer practice is led by Amir Jahanguiri and Paul Lombard.

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