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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 > Banking and finance > Transactional work > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Banking and finance: Transactional work
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. Hall of Fame
  4. Leading individuals
  5. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Allen & Overy LLP has been highly active in syndicated lending mandates and covers a broad range of financing types, including asset and export finance, energy and infrastructure, and real estate, trade and commodity finance. The eight-partner practice handles financing matters under French and English law and is a key name for domestic and cross-border work. Key names include practice head and asset finance specialist Adrian Mellor; Carine Chassol, who specialises in asset finance and restructuring; real estate expert Julien Roux; the corporate finance-focused Roderic Cork; Jean-Christophe David, whose main area of expertise is acquisition finance; and Driss Bererhi, who provides additional project finance expertise following his arrival from Bird & Bird. Highlights on the borrower side included advising Lloyds on the green covenant revolving facility agreement used in the refinancing of Unibail-Rodamco’s revolving facility agreement; and assisting PAI Partners with the acquisition financing of Ethypharm from Astorg Partners. On the lender side, the group advised HSBC, Deutsche Bank and KfW Ipex-Bank on tied financings totalling approximately €4.2bn for the development of gas-fired plants in Egypt. Other work includes assisting Deutsche Pfandbriefbank with the acquisition refinancing and development financing of a significant Paris office building owned by Eurosic. Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Céréa Partenaire and BNP Paribas are also clients.

The ‘extremely efficient’ team at Clifford Chanceis able to bring parties to a fair, common sense agreement based on clear explanations of the current market practice’. The group’s ‘industry specialists’ are ‘creative and add real value’, and the full-service finance practice is ‘one of the best in town’. The group has a strong focus on general corporate lending, leveraged and acquisition finance and infrastructure finance, and project and export finance, but also handles real estate and debt restructuring and sovereign lending. ‘Very good leader’ Thierry Arachtingi is ‘always composed’; he jointly heads the practice with ‘technically excellent’ duo Benjamin de Blegiers (‘a must for transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors’) and Daniel Zerbib. The team advised the lenders to a bidding consortium on the contemplated €535m acquisition of a majority interest in Aéroports de Lyon concerning the privatisation of the airport; and acted for Rivage Investment, Société Générale and La Banque Postale Asset Management on the refinancing of the acquisition of Océa Group by Infravia Capital Partners. In the corporate mid-cap space, it assisted Société Générale and Banque Palatine with the refinancing of Daltys. Other clients include BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs, EDF and Bridgepoint.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.combines strong expertise and sector knowledge with strong execution skills’, has ‘a competent and business-oriented team’ and ‘always finds a solution’; the group is further noted for its office network outside France. Structured finance, project finance and acquisition finance are core areas of expertise, but the team also has experience in debt restructuring. The team advised HSBC France on structuring the refinancing of the public private partnership (PPP) related to the construction and maintenance of the French Ministry of Defence, involving project debt, Dailly debt and hedging agreements; and drew on its expertise in the real estate sector to act for BNP Paribas, Natixis and ING on the €550m refinancing of Parisian building complex Quadrans. In the acquisition finance space, it assisted Partners Group with the French aspects of the financing of the acquisition of the Cerba Group, and advised Europcar on its €1.5bn cross-border acquisition of Goldcar. Bank of Ireland, Natixis and Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank are other clients. The ‘efficient, discreet and proactiveKamel Ben Salah is ‘a very experienced lawyer in real estate financing’ and has ‘strong negotiation skills’. Ben Salah jointly leads the practice with Eric Cartier-Millon, Laetitia Lemercier and Rémi Tabbagh. Thomas Binet was promoted to the partnership in January 2018.

Latham & Watkins’ practice focuses on acquisition finance, asset finance, real estate and project finance. Practice head Michel Houdayer, Xavier Farde and Lionel Dechmann advised on an impressive range of matters, handling several large-cap deals in addition to having a strong core in the mid- and upper mid-markets. Recent highlights on the borrower side include assisting Partners Group with its senior and second lien €1.8bn financing of the acquisition of residential real estate company Foncia; and advising Shandong Ruyi Group on a revolving credit facility together with a senior bond offering pertaining to the acquisition of Groupe SMCP, which involved the firm’s offices in China, Hong Kong, London and the US. On the lender side, the team acted for Morgan Stanley on the term loans and revolving credit facility concerning Oberthur Technologies’ debt refinancing and acquisition of Safran’s identity and security company Morpho. Other work includes assisting BNP Paribas, HSBC France, ING, Natixis and Société Générale with the bridge financing for the acquisition of SAG Group by Spie. J.P. Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Nomura are also clients.

Linklaters is praised for providing ‘excellent work’ of ‘an immaculate quality’. The group has a core focus on structured and acquisition finance but also has strengths in project and asset finance, infrastructure and corporate finance. Practice head Bertrand Andriani, Kathryn Merryfield and Cyril Abtan are the key names, with counsel Rhéa Christophilopoulos, whose specialisms include event-driven financing, providing additional support. The department undertakes work for lenders and borrowers and assisted Bank of America Merrill Lynch as underwriter with the €4bn bridge facility intended to part-finance Safran’s proposed public offer to acquire Zodiac Aerospace. Other headline work includes advising on the financing of the acquisition of Keter Group by BC Partners, which involved a covenant-loose term loan B and a payment-in-kind (PIK) loan. In a cross-border matter involving the Paris and Luxembourg offices, the department acted for Goldman Sachs as sponsor on the acquisition of Finizy, which involved a mix of loan and bond financing. Other clients include Société Générale, J. P. Morgan and Apollo Management International.

White & Case LLPis able to put together large deal teams thanks to its size and depth of practice’ and is ‘one of the best for work at the upper end of the market’. The team of ‘hands-on practitioners’ has strength across the financing spectrum, with its corporate and acquisition financing experience of particular note. Practice head Raphaël Richard, who ‘has huge experience’, is ‘one of the best lawyers on the market’ and ‘thoughtful in his advice’. Other key names include corporate finance expert Denise Diallo; Samir Berlat, whose focus areas include structured finance; and Colin Chang, who is a specialist in bridge-to-high yield finance deals on top of his capital markets expertise. The team handles cross-border and domestic work, frequently handling matters at the cross-section between finance and capital markets; in one example, it is advising Suez on a €3.2bn bridge loan facility established to finance the acquisition of GE Water & Process Technologies, which also involves senior unsecured note issuances. Domestic highlights included assisting Socotec with a senior facilities agreement aimed at refinancing its indebtedness. Spie, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole are also clients.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei’s expertise includes syndicated and acquisition financing, real estate and asset financing, project and structured finance. The team has experience in an array of sectors, with asset finance capability in the maritime, aeronautics and military sectors among others and project finance specialisms including infrastructure and energy, as well as transport and telecoms. Christophe Gaillard heads the ten-partner team, with Corentin Coatalem, Olivier Hubert, Yannick Le Gall and real estate expert Emmanuel Fatȏme also key contacts. Recent work includes advising a consortium of seven banks on the financing of a €400m revolving credit facility for OVH, as well as assisting the same banks with the debt refinancing as part of OVH’s global expansion strategy, and assisting French agricultural group Terrena with its €630m inaugural syndicated loan. In the acquisition finance space, the practice assisted BNP Paribas with the financing of the senior debt concerning Altrad’s acquisition of Cape. The group also acted for the European Investment Bank on the €500m financing for the construction of 13,000 intermediary housing units. Eramet, Bastide and Aareal Bank are also clients.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s ‘very reliable team is able to grasp a client’s commercial drivers’ and provides ‘an outstanding level of service’. The ‘efficient’ group is able to ‘think strategically’, has ‘strength-in-depth’, ‘anticipates issues related to counterparties’ and ‘has a passion for listening to clients’. The practice provides a one-stop-shop across the full spectrum of financing, as well as handling restructuring, and contentious matters. ‘One of the best firms for mid-market’ deals, the department also excels in large-cap mandates; it also has a strong regional focus on Africa, and is able to offer expertise in English law through newly promoted partner Rachel Campbell. Other key practitioners include practice head Louis de Longeaux; Eric Fiszelson; Régis Oréal; and the ‘very determined’ Laure Bonin, who has ‘great negotiation skills’, is ‘technically on point’ and ‘stands out from the crowd due to her charisma and energy’. Recent work includes advice to BNP Paribas on the refinancing of the simplified public tender offer by Groupe Marc de Lacharrière for shares in Fimalac, followed by a squeeze-out; and assistance to Société Générale with financing the acquisition of Scaff’Holding shares by an ad hoc company set up by the management, which involved refinancing, uncommitted and revolving credit facilities. Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Citibank and La Banque Postale are also clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team is particularly strong in transport-related asset finance, but also handles general banking, acquisition finance and structured finance, and has significantly developed its equipment and trade finance practice. Christine Ezcutari heads the practice; aviation specialist and key practitioner George Paterson is an expert in export credits; Anne Lapierre, who co-manages the firm’s Casablanca office, is especially active in the energy sector; and solicitor Janet Butterworth focuses on structured trade and commodities finance. Highlights included advising Bpifrance Assurances Export on an enhanced guarantee programme for a refinancing of approximately €171m by SFIL and Caisse Française de Financement Local concerning the construction contract financing for electrical substations in Egypt between the Egyptian Electricity Transmission Company and General Electric France. The team also assisted a pool of seven banks including Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank with a €750m rail financing. Euler Hermes, Natixis and HSBC are also clients.

The ‘committed’ team at Orrick Rambaud Martel provides ‘very good service’ and specialises in infrastructure acquisition finance, as well as refinancing, restructuring and direct lending. Key names include practice head Hervé Touraine, Arnauld Achard, Emmanuel Ringeval, ‘very clever adviser’ Amaury de Feydau, who has ‘a solid knowledge of the law and industry sectors’ and ‘negotiates in the interest of the transaction’, and recently promoted partner Carine Mou Si Yan. The team assists large banks and corporates with mid- and large-cap transactions. Recent work includes advising Blue Mountain, as Vivarte’s second largest lender, on Vivarte’s second restructuring, equitising a total of €800m reinstated debt and securing €680m new bonds and capitalised interest through a double trust. The team also advised new client Airbus on the financing of satellites for the Indian Space Research Organisation and handled Rallye’s renewal of a €150m credit facility for Go Sport. Other clients include Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management, Veolia Environnement and Société Générale. Hervé Kensicher left for Mayer Brown and Jean-Jacques Essombè Moussio joined Bird & Bird.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has core strengths in acquisition finance, debt restructuring and leveraged finance, while its expertise in the structuring of build-up or add-on acquisitions is also of note. The group advises traditional finance players alongside alternative debt providers, such as private debt and opportunity funds. Key names include practice head Olivier Jauffret; James Clarke, who provides English law expertise; and Cassandre Porgès. The department advised JCDecaux on the €800m acquisition of a stake in Eurazeo, and assisted CVC and Elsan with the €730m leveraged finance acquisition of Medipole Group and the subsequent repricing of the incremental and existing debt. In an example of the team’s capability to handle add-on financing work, it advised Ceva on financing its acquisition of Hertape and Inova in Brazil, handled the financing of the subsequent acquisition of a Merial product portfolio from Boehringer Ingelheim and assisted with the refinancing of PIK debt; the three financings were structured as successive add-on incremental facilities under the existing senior facilities agreement. Oaktree Capital Management, Montagu Private Equity and Paprec are also clients.

Archers A.A.R.P.I. advises on asset, project, real estate and corporate finance matters for lenders, arrangers and borrowers, and has seen a recent surge in debt restructuring and litigation matters. Jean-Maurice Gaillard and Paul-Henri de Cabissole are the key practitioners. The team mainly handles mid- and upper mid-market matters such as advising Natixis on the real estate financing of a large office building in Paris, as well as assisting with the financing of the acquisition of 130 Paris office buildings by a Tikehau fund. Its borrower work includes advising Altafund on financing the construction of an office building in Neuilly-sur-Seine. Helaba and Aareal Bank are other clients.

At Ashurst LLP, ‘negotiations are led in a strong, but cooperative way’ and the team ‘goes the extra mile to satisfy the client’; its ‘competent and congenial lawyers’ provide ‘a one-stop-shop’ for clients. The ‘quick-thinking’ Hassan Javanshir, who has ‘excellent knowledge of the economic context of instructions’; Pierre Roux, who was a new arrival from Linklaters; and Hubert Blanc-Jouvan are the key names. Real estate and acquisition finance, for lenders and borrowers, are core strengths. Recent highlights include advice to EQT Partners on the acquisition and financing of a tower in La Défense through a share deal. Vivarte, Fayat, Barclays and BNP Paribas are other clients. Laurent Mabilat and Stéphanie Corbière joined Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Julien Bacus joined Dentons in 2018.

The ‘exceptional’ team at Baker McKenzie provides ‘short response times, has in-depth industry knowledge’ and ‘takes a very proactive and creative approach’ to matters. Michael Foundethakis leads the team, which focuses on cross-border deals in the areas of syndicated loans, project finance and acquisition finance. The group, which is ‘extremely strong in trade and export finance’, advised Commerzbank and a syndicate of lenders on a $872m dual-currency syndicated loan issued to Afreximbank. Other clients include BNP Paribas, Ardian and Lloyds.

Bredin Prat handles acquisition finance, including LBO finance, debt restructuring and real estate financing. Raphaële Courtier’s team includes Samuel Pariente, Karine Sultan and newly-promoted counsel Aurélien Jolly. Principally active for borrowers, but also undertaking work for lenders, the team recently acted for Areva on a partial asset transfer pertaining to Areva’s demerger and handled a €300m bridge finance loan for Areva NP, intended to provide liquidity until the sale of Areva’s reactor business to EDF. AXA, Bridgepoint and Groupe Flo are also clients.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s expertise spans the gamut of transactions, from syndicated loans to structured finance, acquisition finance and debt capital market matters, and is supported by its growing regulatory practice. Valérie Lemaitre, a key adviser alongside Fabrice Baumgartner and Barthélemy Faye, led advice to Frômageries Bel on the negotiation of a €400m and $100m term and revolving facilities agreement aimed at financing the acquisition of a majority stake in MOM Group from LBO France and to refinance MOM Group’s indebtedness. Other clients include Gecina, Tikehau Capital and the Republic of Senegal.

DLA Piper stands out for its ‘responsiveness, rigour and pragmatism’, providing ‘honest and direct communication’. The strength of this practice lies in acquisition and real estate finance, with experience spanning refinancings, recapitalisations and restructuring matters. Maud Manon directs the department and led in advising Ardian on the highly international financing of the acquisition of Diam Group. Real estate expert Erwan Lacheteau assisted Blackstone with the refinancing of an office building in La Défense, involving a mortgage financing and a capex facility. Bpifrance, Montagu Private Equity and Carlyle Europe are also clients.

Dentons’ ‘excellent service’ combined with its ‘proactive approach’ make the team ‘a real business partner’. The group is experienced in acquisition, real estate and asset finance, as well as in debt restructuring and renewable energy and commodities finance. Further expertise includes project and infrastructure finance. Led by trio Jean-Marc Allix, Philippe Max and Pascal Jouannic, who ‘is an expert in receivables financing, factoring and securitisation’ and ‘dedicated to his clients’, the department acts for banks and corporates, with recent examples including advice to TCR Capital on the LBO of Laboratoires Lescuyer. HSBC Factoring, BNP Paribas and Faurecia are other clients. Julien Bacus was a new arrival from Ashurst LLP in 2018.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP acts for borrowers, lenders and arrangers, and has recently strengthened its acquisition and debt restructuring practice with the addition of Stéphanie Corbière and Laurent Mabilat from Ashurst LLP. Highlights included advising J. P. Morgan Securities on the financing of the acquisition of Dutch real estate bank Propertize by Lone Star and assisting Eurotunnel with the partial refinancing of its indebtedness through the issuance of new debt of €1.1bn and £680m in the form of publicly listed and privately placed notes. Warburg Pincus, Solvay and Société Générale are also clients. Fabrice Grillo heads the team.

Goodwin provides ‘great service’ and is noted for the ‘depth of the team’ and its ‘always available partners’. ‘Knowledgeable’ practice head Arnaud Fromion is ‘a great negotiator’. The ‘alert’ and ‘proactive’ Frédéric Guilloux and counsel Adrien Paturaud are other names to note. Core strengths include handling domestic and cross-border acquisition and corporate finance. The team assisted Averys Group with the refinancing of its LBO debt, and advised the pool of senior lenders led by Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Natixis on a €130m term and revolving credit facility agreement with Axens intended to finance Axen’s takeover bid of Heurtey Petrochem. BNP Paribas, Capzanine and Alcentra are clients.

The ‘excellentHogan Lovells (Paris) LLP provides ‘a broad range of financing expertise’ and ‘a highly experienced team of lawyers capable of offering expert advice in both French and English law’. Key advisers Michel Quéré and English-qualified ‘impressive negotiatorAlexander Premont specialise in corporate, acquisition, real estate, asset and insurance finance, but also undertake work in debt restructuring. The group has a regional focus on Africa, where its knowledge of commodities and export finance is a strength. Recent highlights include advising IDI and Orca on the financing of the acquisition of an Italian target, involving a senior acquisition financing and a mezzanine unitranche financing. The firm was appointed to the panel of HSBC France and counts Swissport, Europcar and Colina Capital as clients. Julien Martinet was a new arrival from Jeantet.

Jones Daycombines speed, quality and pragmatism’ and excels in financial litigation, acquisition and real estate finance, as well as in asset and project finance. Key names include practice head Frédéric Gros, Diane Sénéchal, Sophie Chevallier and of counsel Isabelle Maury. The team advised Tikehau Capital Investors on the financing of its subscription to the share capital of Tikehau Capital involving a tailor-made financing for Natixis as the mandated lead arranger. Other work includes assisting International Cookware with a debt refinancing. Cellnovo, Ecore and Henderson Park are also clients.

Mayer Brown has an ‘excellent’ team that advises mainly on acquisition and real estate finance matters, and is able to assist with the adjacent regulatory questions. Practice head and real estate expert Jean-Philippe Lambert, François-Régis Gonon, newly promoted partner Alban Dorin and Patrick Teboul are supported by counsel Maud Bischoff. The group advised Elis on the approximately €1.2bn refinancing of existing facilities and acted for Groupe Accueil on the arrangement of senior and mezzanine debt. Royal Bank America, Prosol and Factofrance are also clients. Privat Vigand joined Dechert LLP in September 2018.

Watson Farley & Williams LLP advises on a large spectrum of operations including corporate finance, acquisition and structured finance, asset and project finance, syndicated loans and export credit loans. Laurence Martinez-Bellet leads the team; English-qualified Alexia Russell and aviation finance expert Charles Viggers are also noted. Recent work includes advising on a SERV-covered buyer credit financing, assisting with the financing of the acquisition of a power plant and handling a refinancing in the renewable energy sector. BNP Paribas, BRED Banque Populaire and Deutsche Bank are other clients.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP counts acquisition finance, debt restructuring, real estate and project finance among its strengths, and also has experience in syndicated and bilateral lending. Practice head Paul Lombard is the key name; he assisted Tikehau Investment Management with the financing of the acquisition of QCNS Cruise by Montefiore Investment and advised PAI Partners on the PIK financing, recapitalisation and refinancing of a high yield and revolving credit facility granted to Labeyrie Fine Foods and Labeyrie Group. Other clients include Astorg, Eurazeo and Ardian Private Debt.

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Legal Developments in France

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to

    The People's Republic of China has initiated an overhaul of its social security system, reformed the personal taxation regime and has extended the scope of these laws to foreigners residing in China.

    The Kingdom of Morocco is supporting the ambition of becoming the leading financial place for Africa. In this context, a wave of draft laws is to be passed and implemented within the following months, amongst which, the Law No. 53.08, setting up a new financial authority, and the Law No. 54.08, reforming public offering rules, are of paramount importance to Moroccan and foreign issuers, and financial institutions.

    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

    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.

  • Landmark decision by French Competition Authority in conditioned LPG case

    cartel case closed after discovery that leniency application was largely based on forgeries and rejection of collective dominant position objection.
  • 2012 supplementary budget

    The second supplementary budget published in the Official Gazette September 19, 2011 provides for two key measures that affect the deferral of tax losses and taxation of capital gains realized on the sale of equity securities .
  • Actualité législative fiscale

    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.
  • Réforme fiscale

    À la une Parmi les mesures annoncées par le Premier Ministre dans le cadre du plan de réduction des déficits, deux d’entre elles sont susceptibles d’affecter de nombreuses entreprises

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