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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In Europe, Middle East and Africa, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for seven consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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France > Insolvency > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Insolvency
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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The ‘excellent’ and ‘very responsiveDe Pardieu Brocas Maffeiprovides exceptional quality work’ and ‘has a strong track record and experience in complex matters’. The practice is usually retained by leading banks and investment funds to advise on the market’s largest cases, while also sometimes receiving instructions from companies or its shareholders. Highlights included advising the senior secured lenders’ ad hoc committee on CGG’s €2.7bn debt restructuring, BPCE on William Saurin’s conciliation proceedings, and the creditors on Bourbon’s debt restructuring. Philippe Dubois ranks among the market’s most sought-after advisers, while Joanna Gumpelson is also highly regarded for her ‘excellent ability to simplify complex matters and provide highly practical advice’. Matthieu Barthélemy is another name to note and Segolène Coiffet made partner.

Gibson Dunn made a statement by hiring Ashurst LLP's leading insolvency team at the end of 2017; new team members include new practice head Jean-Pierre Farges and Pierre-Emmanuel Fender, who are both ‘rain makers’, corporate expert Bertrand Delaunay and finance specialist Amanda Bevan-de Bernède. The newly combined ‘excellent, serious and efficient’ 15-lawyer practice brings together top insolvency, corporate and litigation expertise. The team is involved in most of the market's high-profile matters acting for distressed LBO or listed companies, shareholders, banks and senior lenders, and lately also receivers. Highlights included advising SoLocal on its debt and equity restructuring, and Vivarte on its second debt restructuring. Benoît Fleury and Jean-Philippe Robé are established partners within the firm.

Orrick Rambaud Martel is ‘first class in insolvency with the additional key strength of understanding capital markets dynamics’. The ‘very efficient’ practice stands out for its ‘great experience in situations involving listed companies’ and its ‘strategic thinking’, meaning it is ‘able to guide its clients through complex and evolving negotiations with efficiency and success’. The team recently advised on nearly all of the market’s most complex debt and equity restructuring matters, often acting for foreign investment funds while also attracting instructions from debtors and banks. It notably assisted DNCA as second largest shareholder with CGG’s debt restructuring, BlueMountain as second largest lender with Vivarte’s restructuring, and the senior lenders with Consolis’ financial restructuring. Practice head and ‘star lawyer’ Saam Golshani is a ‘strategic thinker who offers balanced advice while not shying away from forceful advocacy on behalf of clients’. Of Counsel Alexis Hojabr is also one of the key members of the ‘excellent staff’.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s ‘excellent’ 12-lawyer team is usually considered as the undisputed leader in the field and provides ‘fast responses and a very deep knowledge and experience of the different proceedings and stakeholders’. Each passing year, it plays a key part in most of the market’s most complex cases, acting for debtors, shareholders or investors. Recent highlights include advising Sequana on its safeguard proceedings, and the main lenders’ ad hoc committee on Solocal’s €1.6bn debt restructuring. Jean-Dominique Daudier de Cassini is the market’s ultimate authority and Philippe Druon is another leading figure. Fabienne Beuzit is another name to note.

Bredin Prat’s nine-lawyer team ‘quickly dives into a case and understands clients’ needs and objectives’, thereby providing ‘highly satisfactory services’. It also demonstrates ‘intimate knowledge of the key players in the field’ when advising debtors, shareholders and investors, including leading investment funds, on the market’s largest restructuring cases. The firm stands out for its particular ability to deal with listed companies and was recently involved in landmark cases in that respect, while also advising on key LBO related matters. Highlights included assisting Cinven with Camaieu’s second debt restructuring, Flo with its second corporate and financial restructuring, and Areva with its "mandat ad hoc" proceedings. The team is co-headed by Olivier Puech, whose ‘excellent knowledge of his field’ makes him one of the market’s most recognisable figures, and Nicolas Laurent, who shows ‘high level technique and great interpersonal skills’.

Bremond & Associés has one of the market’s largest dedicated teams with some 20 lawyers involved, who recently acted in many of the market’s landmark cases. The boutique regularly handles high-profile insolvency matters for CAC 40 groups, shareholders, investment funds and debtors, while also dealing with smaller cases. Guilhem Bremond, Delphine Caramalli, Virginie Verfaillie, Timothée Gagnepain, Christine Lebreton and counsel Hector Arroy are highly regarded professionals.

DLA Piper’s ten-strong team is able to handle the full spectrum of distressed and insolvency situations and was recently instructed by investors to advise on some of the market’s most challenging and largest debt restructuring matters. It notably assisted Regroupement PP Local as shareholders with Solocal’s €1.2bn debt restructuring, as well as Boussard & Gavaudan and the high yield bondholders'’ad hoc committee with CGG’s $3bn debt restructuring. The team includes several notable practitioners: practice head Pierre-Alain Bouhenic, David Chijner and Noam Ankri.

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier was recently involved in a high number of high-profile debt restructuring and insolvency cases, often representing shareholders or debtors. The firm notably assisted Financière Turenne Lafayette and its subsidiaries with their insolvency proceedings, the French State with Areva’s restructuring, Financière Flo with Flo’s debt restructuring and sale to Groupe Bertrand, and the OCEANEs’ bondholders with CGG’s debt-for-equity swap restructuring. François Kopf is in charge. Finance expert Martin Lebeuf is also regularly involved.

Santoni & Associés’ seven-lawyer boutique often represents bondholders, shareholders and debtors in landmark cases. It assisted some shareholders with Vivarte’s restructuring, the main bondholder creditor Cale Street in the Maranatha case, MIM in the eponymous case, as well as Rothschild and Lazard as bondholders in the William Saurin case. Marc Santoni is a well-known figure in the market and Bérangère Rivals and Lionel Lamoure are also highly recommended. The firm works in close collaboration with Allen & Overy LLP.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP regularly advises sponsors, hedge funds and investors on high-profile restructuring and insolvency cases. The practice has recently been involved in several of the market’s most significant cases including several matters pertaining to LBO or listed companies. It notably represented the high-yield bondholders’ steering committee with CGG’s landmark financial restructuring and also acted for Anchorage, Hayfin and the new money bondholders in the second Vivarte’s restructuring case. Alexandra Bigot and Lionel Spizzichino are top advisers.

Altanahas a high level of expertise’, is ‘available on short notice and delivers high-quality service’. The ‘very professional’ and ‘technical’ nine-lawyer team often advises debtors and shareholders, and can handle cross-border cases. The practice recently assisted Figaro Classifieds with the acquisition of Viadeo, and D’Aucy with the joint-takeover of the ready-made meal division of William Saurin. Michel Jockey has ‘extensive experience, is straight to the point and is able to create a respectful human relationship climate during negotiations’. The ‘very technical’ Pierre-Gilles Wogue is a ‘great listener’. Julien Balensi is also involved.

BDGS Associés is always very responsive and works hard’. The firm set up its practice in September 2016 after hiring Anne-Sophie Noury, who was formerly counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and ‘has an incredible ability to deliver under high pressure, tries to find creative solutions to solve complex insolvency situations and is also very well connected’. The promising practice has already been involved in a series of high-profile cases alongside shareholders, debtors or investors. It notably represented ad hoc shareholders committee members BPIfrance and AMS Energie with CGG's landmark safeguard, and Necotrans with its 11 French entities’ receivership proceedings.

Clifford Chance has particular experience in advising on cross-border insolvencies and one-of-a-kind matters. In recent highlights, the group represented the trustee with regards to CGG’s French and US insolvency. Practice head Reinhard Dammann is frequently consulted by the European Commission to advise on EU insolvency law harmonisation. Counsel Gilles Podeur is also involved.

FTPA advises debtors, investors, shareholders, non-banking creditors as well as French trusts and administrators on a broad range of matters, including insolvency proceedings, complex restructuring and cross-border insolvency work. The practice recently assisted Duc with its conciliation proceedings and takeover by Plukon. Serge-Antoine Tchekhoff, Bruno Robin who has rare fiducie expertise, Edouard Fabre and Sandra Esquiva-Hesse are all highly experienced.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has large resources and a greatly experienced team that regularly advises debtors, shareholders and investors on key matters. Highlights included assisting Viadeo with its reorganisation and takeover by Figaro Classifieds, as well as Partouche and Financière Partouche with its safeguard proceedings and recent agreement with OCM Luxembourg. Gabriel Sonier and Caroline Texier are highly recognised.

Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP is ‘one of the key players as banks’ adviser on the French restructuring market’. The practice is ‘good in negotiations and keen to find innovative solutions’ and was recently involved in several landmark cases. It represented a Natixis’ banking pool on Necotrans’ restructuring, and Bof NY Mellon as trustee in the CGG case. Cécile Dupoux heads the practice and counsel Romain de Ménonville, who joined from White & Case LLP, combines ‘perfect knowledge of the banking world, and of the insolvency and restructuring stakeholders’ with a ‘constant concern about defending his clients’ interests in the best possible way’.

Jeantet is recommended for handling ‘complex cases and building imaginative, protective and efficient solutions’; the ‘strongly responsive’ practice knows how to ‘adapt its technical and human resources’ to each case and ‘brings strong added value in negotiations to conciliate positions’. It acts for banksand investors and is regularly involved alongside insolvency receivership practitioners in complex matters including cross-border cases. The firm is assisting the judicial liquidators with Aristophil’s insolvency, and the court appointed creditors’ representative with Altis Semiconductor’s insolvency proceedings. Practice head Nicolas Partouche is ‘brilliant’.

Lantourne & Associéscombines a perfect knowledge of insolvency procedures with a great sense of strategy, reactivity and creativity’. The ten-lawyer boutique ‘is often retained for difficult and challenging matters’ thanks to its ‘quick understanding of complex issues, and original and creative thinking in designing solutions’. The firm regularly represents debtors or investors and recently handled several cases in the hotel sector. Highly recommended are the ‘brilliant’ Maurice Lantourne, Kristell Cattani, the ‘very talented and result-oriented’ Flavie Hannoun and Samuel Scherman.

Linklaters’ ‘very responsive’ team ‘reacts quickly to clients' requests’ and has ‘the necessary judgement to provide advice that serves the clients' best interest’; it represents shareholders and creditors and is able to draw on the expertise of partners from the firm’s banking and capital markets practice. Notable highlights included advising Alcentra on Vivarte's restructuring and CDC Créances on Cauval's insolvency proceedings. The firm also assisted CGG with its landmark cross-border financial restructuring and handles related insolvency litigation. Aymar de Mauléon de Bruyères heads the practice and associate Carole Nerguararian also deserves a mention for being ‘very dedicated, very reliable and resilient even in extreme circumstances and showing a sound judgement and a very significant expertise in the restructuring field’.

Six-lawyer boutique firm PLM Avocats has long established experience and is regularly involved in key matters alongside debtors. Patricia Le Marchand and Fabienne Goubault are recommended.

Newly combined Poulain Cren is a new partnership between ‘great professional’ Jean-Paul Poulain and Olivier Cren who is also highly experienced. The team stands out for its ability to deal with complex matters often involving parallel litigation proceedings. The firm assisted Arche with restructuring its subsidiaries.

Racine acts for distressed companies, the management and some investors. The 13-lawyer team regularly acts in key cases and notably represented the management in French magazine Marianne’s successful conciliation proceedings. The practice is also assisting CDR Créances with the high-profile Bernard Tapie case. Antoine Diesbecq and Laurent Jourdan head the practice and Emmanuel Laverrière is also involved.

Veil Jourde has ‘great technique combined with a perfect knowledge of the preventive and judiciary environments’. The team, which provides ‘highly tactical and technical answers’, regularly acts for debtors and sometimes for investors in key matters. It acted for Veolia as shareholder in the insolvency proceedings and sale of SNCM, as well as for Goss International Europe in an unique insolvency case. Practice head Nassim Ghalimi is a ‘remarkable adviser’ and a ‘fine jurist’ who ‘leads matters showing care, mastery and efficiency’. Georges Jourde is also regularly called upon to advise on few highly sensitive cases.

White & Case LLP is retained by banks, shareholders, investors and sometimes by debtors. The firm is particularly good at dealing with highly complex financial restructuring matters and recently represented the banks during Foraco’s indebtedness restructuring. Céline Domenget-Morin heads the practice.

Advocacy 4 has a strong ten-lawyer team that regularly advises debtors, while also handling instructions from banks and shareholders. The practice recently obtained positive outcome in many of the cases under its management and represented KBC Bank regarding TBI's conciliation proceedings, as well as Acieries Hachette and Driou in its debt restructuring and take over by Ferry Captain. Emmanuel Drai, Stéphane Dayan and Pierre Forget are trusted and reliable advisers. Employment law matters are also dealt with by Karine Cohen.

August Debouzy has ‘proven solid expertise’ and its lawyers show ‘high analytical abilities and are able to think outside the box’. The firm mainly represents SMEs and recently assisted Guy Dauphin Environnement in facing difficulties, and Saudi Oger during its safeguard proceedings. Laurent Cotret has ‘great knowledge, is always available and a great fighter’. Counsel Véronique Dobelle is also involved.

AyacheSalama has particularly strong expertise in advising banks and creditors on debt restructuring cases and also handles insolvency matters. The firm represented ICG in the Courtepaille case. Denis Salama, Olivier Tordjman, Alain Levy, Bernard Ayache and finance expert Gwenaelle de Kerviler are the main contacts.

BMH Avocatsalways looks for solutions even in the hardest situations’: the three-lawyer team ‘never gives up and always keeps on going when the road is long and difficult’. It regularly assists German and international clients including banks, while also acting for some companies, investment funds and receivers. The recent caseload includes representing the Autrichian judicial receiver in the Aristophil case and dealing with several property-related cases. Anja Droege Gagnier is in charge.

Barbier Legal is ‘a boutique firm that deserves recognition’ for its ‘excellent support’. Based in France and Switzerland, the two-lawyer practice advises many SMEs, as well as investors and recently represented Asi Maintenance during its insolvency proceedings. Jérôme Barbier is ‘a fighter, listens carefully and always anticipates difficulties’.

Bersay & Associés recruited Dimitri-André Sonier, who previously worked at Cabinet Sonier Lavrilleux, to set up its practice. The new team advises SMEs and investors and also represents judicial receivers in litigation. Yves Ardaillou is another name to note.

Brown Rudnick LLP often advises UK and Anglophone investment funds and some debtors on insolvency issues and also regularly handles related litigation. Didier Bruère-Dawson is in charge and counsel Charles Moulette is also involved.

Brunswick Société d’Avocats assists SMEs with a high number of cases including safeguard, receivership and related litigation proceedings. The practice notably advised MBE on its receivership proceedings and represented BESV as minority creditor in the Solocal case. Serge Pelletier is the key contact.

The ‘extremely responsiveCBR & Associésshows great quality of judgement on strategic matters and provides a tailor-made and committed approach’. The firm advises debtors, shareholders, as well as some investors and receivers and assisted Ophiliam Infrastructure with its take over offer for some of FSB's solar plant assets, and Suntec Industries France with its insolvency proceedings. Olivier Debeine provides ‘sharp and relevant advice, and understands clients' needs and requests’.

The ‘highly responsiveCahn Avocatslistens carefully to its clients’. The three-lawyer team mainly represents SMEs in amicable, insolvency and related litigation cases.

Michael Cahn is ‘available’ and ‘well informed’.

Cornet Vincent Ségurel provides ‘efficient and responsive work’ and often acts for debtors or investors in insolvency proceedings. Jean-François Puget and Alexandre Cornet are praised for their ‘good technique and friendly approach’.

DS Avocats handles prevention and insolvency cases. The firm regularly assists Chinese investors and notably advised Yonsheng on its acquisition of Desseilles. Martine Zervudacki-Farnier, Thomas Obajtek, Jean-Charles Gancia and Hu Xinyu are the key contacts.

Led by Nicolas Theys, Dentons's four-lawyer team advises investors, creditors and debtors. The firm represented Sinenove and subsidiary Sinequanone in Sinequanone's conciliation proceedings. Counsel Audrey Molina is also involved.

Fidal absorped BloWin Avocats to further strengthen its insolvency capabilities. The six-lawyers team shows ‘excellent availability’ and is highly experienced. It mainly advises debtors and assisted Karavel with its acquisition of FRAM. Bertrand Biette and Laïd Laurent are the key contacts.

Fieldfisher’s three-lawyer team has a wealth of experience and regularly advises investment funds and debtors on key matters as well as on smaller cases. It assisted Armand Thierry with the acquisition of Bata's assets. Casino is another client. Bruno Paccioni has ‘great negotiating skills’.

HPML regularly assists debtors and has particular expertise in advising on LBO restructuring matters. It advised jewellery designer Christian Bernard on its insolvency proceedings, and Vet’Affaires on its bankruptcy. The firm is also sometimes instructed by banks. Christophe Théron has strong expertise, while senior associate Xavier Neumager is another key member.

Latham & Watkins usually acts for investors and creditors, although the group was recently also retained by banks in a major case. Recent work includes representing Airwell Residential during Airwell's bankruptcy. The firm is also regularly involved in pan-European and cross-border cases. Hervé Diogo Amengual is in charge.

Marvell's Philippe Berteaux represents debtors and investors in matters involving SMEs. The practice advised Otec on its insolvency proceedings.

Norton Rose Fulbright advises creditors, investors and debtors and recently assisted Fra SCI with its insolvency proceedings. Philippe Hameau is ‘incredibly talented’.

Renault Thominette Vignaud & Reeve always ‘ensures efficient communication’ with clients. The team, which has ‘remarkable English fluency’, is also strong before courts. It represents debtors and investors and assisted Primavista with the insolvency proceedings of some of its affiliates and subsequent sales, as well as Sony with its offer for Naive. Jason Reeve is a strong adviser.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has strong experience in handling financial restructuring cases, while also dealing with insolvency matters. The four-lawyer team is regularly involved in large cases, advising creditors, investors and some debtors. It represented Altis Semiconductor in its bankruptcy and reorganisation proceedings. Pierre-Nicolas Ferrand, who heads the finance practice, is the key contact. Philippe Wolanski, formerly a counsel with the firm, joined Watson Farley & Williams LLP as a partner in 2018.

Simon Associés often acts for SMEs in prevention and insolvency cases. The firm represented TROC during the safeguard proceedings of its two subsidiaries. The eight-lawyer team includes Jean-Charles Simon, Stéphane Cavet, David Pitoun and Marie Robineau.

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Legal Developments in France for Insolvency

Legal Developments in France

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to
  • The new French regulation applying to national insurance contributions for managers and shareholders

    French insurance contributions on executive and shareholder remuneration (pay + dividends) have been substantially increased by the National Insurance Funding for 2013 Act, No. 2012-1404, of 17th December 2012. Until 31st December 2012, all dividends were subject to national insurance contributions on unearned income but henceforth, under Article L136-3 of the National Insurance Code, amended by Act No. 2012-1404, certain dividends   are considered as pay received by executives and shareholders and are therefore subject to the national insurance contributions on pay. The Act also abolished the ceiling on health insurance contributions payable by the self-employed and all this means that businesses must rethink the way that they have been structured until now.
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    The opportunities offered to foreign investors by the Chinese mergers and acquisitions market are increasing every year: in 2010, transactions involving foreign companies came to 60.1 billion euros, an increase of 21.2% compared with 2009. Seen from the West, where markets are declining, all sectors of the Chinese economy seem to be undergoing promising development and the statistics indicate that the Middle Empire will be a lasting springboard for growth.
  • Prime de Partage des Profits

    Le dispositif L’article 1er de la loi de financement rectificative de la Sécurité sociale pour 2011 oblige les sociétés commerciales de 50 salariés et plus, dont les dividendes par part sociale ou par action sont en augmentation par rapport à la moyenne des deux années précédentes, à verser une prime à l’ensemble de leurs salariés
  • BULGARIA MARKET OVERVIEW

    Types of investors The private equity (PE) funds that are active in Bulgaria are not raised or registered in the country. Some Bulgarian PE funds were raised recently, but there are no statistics as to the sources of their funding, their number, the funds that were accumulated, etc.
  • RECENT DEVELOPMENTS REGARDING COMMITMENTS

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  • 2012 supplementary budget

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    Au delà des mesures applicables à l’ensemble des contribuables (telles que la limitation du report des déficits ou la réforme du mode de calcul des plus values sur cessions de participations),le plan de réduction des déficits annoncé le 24 août dernier par le gouvernement comprend des mesures qui intéressent spécifiquement les acteurs du secteur financier.

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