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France > EU competition and distribution > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. EU competition and distribution
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Bredin Prat runs one of the market’s most comprehensive practices. The 20-lawyer team advises on merger control aspects of the largest M&A transactions and is representing General Electric regarding its acquisition of some of Alstom’s businesses. The firm is involved in many domestic cartel cases, such as assisting Reckitt Benckiser and Unilever in the cleaning and hygiene product cartel case. The team is also regularly retained to handle high-profile state aid matters. Orange, EDF, the French state and Uber are clients. The practice is headed by leading authority Robert Saint-Esteben. Other high-profile partners include Olivier Billard, Hugues Calvet, Marie-Cécile Rameau and Brussels-based Marc Pittie, who is ‘excellent for merger control’.

Linklaters LLP shows ‘excellent technical skills’, ensures ‘great client follow-up’ and has ‘built good contacts with the French Competition Authority’. The 25-lawyer team manages an impressive domestic and European antitrust caseload and recently obtained a number of landmark decisions. The firm is representing Beiersdorf in the high-profile healthcare and cleaning product case and is also assisting Sanofi in a case raising unprecedented legal issues regarding the articulation of IP, competition and arbitration law. The practice also deals with high-end merger control work. ‘Remarkable’ practice head Anne Wachsmann shows ‘exceptional leadership’ and is ‘considered a daunting adversary in litigation cases’. Pierre Zelenko is fully involved, showing ‘high creativity and absolute mastery of competition law’.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘fantastic team’ is ‘extremely dedicated and efficient, with cutting-edge expertise’. It is involved in high-profile national and EU antitrust cases, handles merger control matters and is recognised as an expert practice in state aid, where it successfully represented SFIL. Samsung Electronics and TNT Express are clients. The practice is led by Michel Struys and Florence Ninane, who ‘has unparalleled antitrust expertise paired with an ability to meet the highest expectations of multinational companies’.

BDGS Associés is handling highly complex EU antitrust cases and is representing the EU Commission before the EU General Court in proceedings initiated by German energy companies regarding a decision on state aid. The merger control practice is also impressive, wherein it recently assisted Safran with the creation of a joint venture with Airbus. The team also handles strategic work before the French Competition Authority. Engie and La Banque Postale are other clients. The six-lawyer team is headed by high-profile partner Antoine Gosset-Grainville, Mathilde Damon, Brussels-based Christina Renner, and Maria Trabucchi, who recently joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘undoubtedly one of the very few "Rolls-Royce" firms in the competition law market worldwide’. The Paris group is regularly retained to advise on the largest M&A transactions and also handles strategic antitrust and state aid work at French and EU levels. Recent highlights include acting for Airbus to obtain European Commission approval of its newly created joint venture with Safran. The practice is led by the highly respected Antoine Winckler, the ‘extraordinary’ François Brunet, François-Charles Laprévote and counsel Frédéric de Bure, who has ‘business-oriented expertise’.

Clifford Chance’s 12-lawyer practice produces ‘high-quality work’ and is involved in several high-profile antitrust cases in France. The team ‘has a strong level of expertise in telecoms matters’, where it acted for SFR in a landmark case making claims of abuse of a dominant position by Orange, which led to a €350m fine against Orange. The firm also assisted Airbus Safran Launchers with its acquisition of a majority stake in Arianespace. The practice is led by Emmanuel Durand, of counsel Michel Petite and Patrick Hubert, who is ‘highly experienced and yet always responsive, open-minded and willing to adapt to his clients’ needs’.

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier ranks among the market’s top players for merger control work at French and EU levels. It is assisting Vivendi with its acquisition of Dailymotion and is often retained to handle high-end antitrust, state aid and private enforcement cases – it is representing Sodiaal Union in the fresh dairy products case. Practice head Didier Théophile is highly regarded, as is Igor Simic.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei produces ‘high-quality, rigorous and tailor-made work’ and manages a prominent domestic antitrust caseload, including assisting Axereal in the second flour cartel case. The firm is also highly active on the merger control side. Philippe Guibert, who ‘ranks among the best of his generation’, heads the eight-lawyer team along with ‘great professionalLaure Givry. Distribution law expert Barbara Levyreally takes into account the commercial perspective in her legal advice’.

Dethomas Peltier Juvigny & Associés handles the most sophisticated merger control and antitrust cases at national and EU levels. The firm assisted Holcim France regarding its merger with Lafarge and obtained great results in the antitrust area, successfully representing Grands Moulins de Paris and Euromill Nord in the packaged flour case before the Court of Appeal. Top French corporations turn to the team, which is headed by market-leading figure Olivier de Juvigny and Thibault Reymond.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is assisting EDF with the acquisition of Areva NP. The practice is also handling high-profile antitrust and state aid cases before the European Court of Justice and successfully argued for charges to be dropped against its client Soufflet in the craft bakery sector. Airbus and Engie are also clients. Jérôme Philippe heads the practice. Maria Trabucchi joined BDGS Associés.

Jones Day has strong expertise in cases challenging EU rules before the EU Courts; it is representing Elf Aquitaine-Total in that respect. The six-lawyer team is also involved in antitrust and private enforcement cases at national level and handles merger control work. The firm is assisting Total SA with the sale of its Bostik affiliate. DHL-Deutsche Post is another client. Eric Morgan de Rivery heads the practice, which notably also includes Eric Barbier de La Serre.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. runs a comprehensive practice that is ‘able to innovate’ and ‘make complex issues simple’. The 22-lawyer team has strong expertise in the retail and banking areas, and assisted Casino as a third party in proceedings regarding Carrefour’s acquisition of DIA. The partners are Antoine Choffel, Joëlle Salzmann, Emmanuel Reille and Dimitri Dimitrov. Yann Utzschneider recently moved to White & Case LLP

Latham & Watkins has ‘unparalleled expertise in complex merger transactions requiring multiple filings and is also a go-to firm for litigation before French and EU competition authorities’. The nine-lawyer team is involved in high-profile cases at national level and is representing Vania and SCA Tissue in the hygiene and body care case. It advised Bridgepoint on the acquisition of eFront. The team is led by Frédéric Pradelles, who is ‘wise, both from a technical and strategic perspective’, and Hugues Vallette Viallard, who ‘has what it needs to get the work done’.

Vogel & Vogel gives ‘very strong, commercially aware and practical advice’. The 30-lawyer boutique has ‘unrivalled in-depth knowledge in distribution law’, and manages strategic antitrust and merger control work. Highlights included representing poultry producer Gastronome in an anticompetitive practice case and successfully acting for Digicel in an abuse of dominance case opposite Orange Caraïbe regarding the Caribbean market. The practice is led by Joseph Vogel, who is praised for his ‘great analysis and ability to come up with pragmatic solutions’, and Louis Vogel. Juliette Blouet and the ‘responsive’ Fernanda De Abreu are also recommended.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘recommended for complex or very sensitive antitrust cases’. The 15-lawyer team has a prominent merger control caseload, including representing Orange in a phase II EU notification. The practice is also active in the antitrust front, often handling cases at EU level, and is representing Transdev as SNCM’s majority shareholder in a landmark state aid case. Practice head and ‘rainmakerJacques-Philippe Gunther is ‘very good at handling difficult and politically sensitive matters’. David Tayar has ‘exceptional technical skills’ and recently promoted partner Faustine Viala is ‘available, committed and technically good’.

Ashurst LLP runs a comprehensive practice spanning merger control, antitrust and state aid at French and EU levels. The five-lawyer practice has ‘very good knowledge of the transport sector’ and ‘combines an exceptional expertise in competition law with an in-depth understanding of the energy field’. The firm is involved in a number of high-profile cases and successfully advised Total on the sale of Totalgaz to UGI and Antargaz. SNCF, Engie and Bolloré are other clients. Practice head Christophe Lemaire and recently promoted partner Michaël Cousin have ‘a positive attitude, which make them a precious ally to companies’.

Baker McKenzie SCP is involved in a high number of cartel and abuse of dominance cases before the French Competition Authority. The firm is notably representing France Farine in the flour sector case. Veolia and Avis are other clients. Alex Dowding and Léna Sersiron head the 13-lawyer team.

Fréget – Tasso de Panafieu Avocats handles strategic antitrust cases and also represents new entrants in the energy, telecoms and audiovisual sectors. It is currently involved in a high-profile case in the gas sector. Olivier Fréget and Charlotte Tasso-de Panafieu head the practice.

Grall & Associés gives ‘business-oriented advice’ and has ‘an ability to go in-depth into files’. The 15-lawyer team advises leading corporations, especially in the retail and pharmaceuticals sectors. It is handling high-profile antitrust cases and successfully represented poultry exporter Doux before the French Competition Authority. The firm is also a strong name in distribution law. The practice is led by Jean-Christophe Grall, the ‘professional and expert’ Charles-Henri Calla, and Thomas Lamy, who is praised for ‘his listening skills and excellent legal knowledge’.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP has ‘high ability to quickly understand the context and matters at stake’. Sergio Sorinas heads the three-lawyer team, which represents several leading French companies and is involved in several state aid cases and merger control work. It is also representing Grain Millers in a cartel case involving German and French millers.

Jeantet AARPI leads a solid antitrust practice at French level. The team successfully represented Nicot Meunerie and Moulins Joseph Nicot in the baking flour cartel case and is assisting Lactalis in the fresh dairy products case. Loraine Donnedieu de Vabres-Tranié heads the practice, in which Thomas Picot and Florent Prunet are also recommended.

Orrick Rambaud Martel handles merger control, antitrust and state aid cases. Highlights included successfully representing SC Johnson in the hygiene and cleaning product cartel case. Michel Roseau and Philippe Rincazaux head the practice.

Viguié Schmidt’s Iñaki Saint-Esteben was notably involved in a high-profile merger control case in the media sector and in a major antitrust case in the beauty products sector. It also obtained the condemnation of the French state before the European Court of Human Rights regarding the French Competition Authority’s seizure practice.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is involved in merger control work for private equity funds and corporations. Romain Ferla heads the five-lawyer team, which is also involved in high-profile French antitrust cases. It recently obtained a substantial reduction of a fine imposed on its client Axereal in the French and German flour producer cartel case.

White & Case LLP is praised for its ‘very good hands-on approach’. The ‘excellent and constructive’ nine-lawyer team is often involved in sensitive antitrust cases at French and European levels, as well as handling merger control mandates. It successfully represented Nespresso in an abuse of dominance case regarding the use of compatible Nespresso capsules in coffee machines. Jean-Paul Tran Thiet heads the practice, which also includes counsel Juliette Goyer. Yann Utzschneider joined from Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I..

Wilhelm & Associés is a preferred adviser to Canal+ for its strategic merger control and antitrust cases. The firm is notably representing the French media and broadcasting group before the French Competition Authority in an anticompetitive practice case regarding the broadcasting rights of the French National Rugby League. The eight-lawyer team is also involved in several anticompetitive and unfair competition cases in the communication and retail areas. Radio France is another client. Pascal Wilhelm heads the practice.

Altana is ‘a reliable partner that defends its clients’ interests as if they were its own’. The six-lawyer team advises leading French, US and Asian corporations on their strategic commercial and competition issues. Practice head Jean-Philippe Thibault is ‘adept at advising Japanese and international companies’.

Aramisalways provides very reliable and professional services’. The five-lawyer team advises on antitrust, merger control, compliance and distribution law issues. The practice assisted a leading French retailer with the establishment of a strategic partnership. Carrefour, Sodiaal and Natixis are other clients. The team is headed by Aurélien Condomines, who is praised as having ‘a pragmatic approach to complex matters’, and the ‘pragmatic and creative’ Mireille Dany, who joined from Proskauer Rose LLP.

Coutrelis & Associés is highly competent in competition and EU law. The firm is notably representing the French Competition Authority in the first flour case and regularly appears before EU Courts. Nicole Coutrelis and André Coutrelis are recommended.

DLA Piper’s ‘responsive, pragmatic and reliable’ 15-lawyer team provides ‘a good level of service’ in major French antitrust cases. Acting for Vinci, it recently obtained the condemnation of France by the European Court of Human Rights in connection with digital seizure practises in the context of dawn raids in France. Merger control is a growing area of work, following the hiring of the ‘efficient and professional’ Edouard Sarrazin as practice co-head from Squire Patton Boggs. Marie Hindré-Guéguan, Fabienne Panneau and Gregory Tulquois jointly head the practice. Counsel Sylvie Grando is also respected.

DS Avocats represents clients in top French antitrust cases and also handles distribution law work. Xavier Lacaze and Dimitri Delesalle head the practice, in which Sandra Dorizon and of counsel Jean-Louis Lesquins are also names to note.

De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés advises clients on antitrust, merger control, state aid and distribution law cases under French and EU law. Air France, Alstom, Bwin and Cegedim are clients. Frédéric Manin and Bruno Lebrun are recommended.

Dentons’ caseload includes two major French antitrust cases and the practice also advises on distribution law. Emmanuelle van den Broucke heads the group.

Fourgoux & Associés is recommended for its ‘high expertise in consumer, competition and distribution law’. The team is led by Leyla Djavadi and Jean-Louis Fourgoux, who ‘has great expertise and masters perfectly the procedural aspects’. Vincent Roux is a franchise law expert.

Franklin hired the ‘very sharp’ Julie Catala-Marty, who joined from Bird & Bird and who is acknowledged for her ‘fantastic sense of strategy’ and ‘knowledge of her clients’ business sector’. The practice handles merger control, antitrust and distribution law matters. The team is especially strong in telecoms mandates.

Fuchs Cohana Reboul & Associés is handling several abuse of dominance cases. Frédéric Fuchs heads the team, which also deals with merger control work. Sébastien Dominguez is another name to note.

King & Wood Mallesons provides ‘outstanding advice on competition and commercial matters’. The six-lawyer team is involved in domestic antitrust disputes. It favourably represented Laiterie de Saint-Malo in the yoghurt market case. Practice head Marc Lévy and Natasha Tardif ‘are capable of incorporating commercial needs into their legal advice and take the time to learn key aspects of their clients’ businesses’.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has ‘great expertise in competition law’. The practice is recommended for antitrust and regulatory work at domestic and EU levels. Leading financial institutions regularly turn to the firm for strategic advice. The team is representing Crédit Agricole and LCL-Le Crédit Lyonnais in the high-profile échange image chèque case. Distribution law is another area of expertise. The seven-lawyer team is led by Noëlle Lenoir and Marco Plankensteiner, who is praised for his ‘good economic understanding’.

Magenta has great knowledge of the telecoms sector and advises alternative players in antitrust and damage claims cases. Sylvain Justier is recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery AARPI is handling several cartel cases and is involved in a major damages case in the telecoms sector. Jacques Buhart heads the team, which also includes ‘very good expertLionel Lesur and Sabine Naugès, as well as Mélanie Bruneau, who joined from K&L Gates LLP.

Mayer Brown gives ‘instant, business-oriented advice and handles high-profile antitrust defence work’. The five-lawyer team is able to undertake ‘highly complex cases’ and ‘brings decisive assistance in cartel cases’. It achieved full success for Ono Packaging in an EC investigation in the retail food packaging cartel sector and has been handling two very large antitrust cases at EC and French levels. The practice also advises on merger control work. Practice head Nathalie Jalabert-Doury ‘never abdicates’ decisions and ‘defends every inch of ground’.

Pierre Kirch heads Paul Hastings LLP’s team, which advises French groups and multinationals on merger control and antitrust matters at French and EU levels. The practice recently assisted EdRip and BNP Paribas Développement regarding Reed Business Information’s MBO.

Racinereally cares about results for its clients’. The ten-lawyer team is involved in antitrust cases at national level and is representing Perle du Nord and the main producers of endives in an anti-competitive practice case. The firm also has good expertise in merger control, state aid and distribution law. The practice is led by Valérie Ledoux, who has ‘great negotiation and synthesis skills’, Frédérique Chaput and the ‘dedicated and expert’ Bastien Thomas, who joined from Linklaters LLP. Bruno Néouze is also recommended for state aid matters in the agribusiness sector.

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