Dispute resolution: commercial litigation in France
Bredin Prat has a ‘thoughtful team of litigators’ who ‘think in a strategic way and suggest smart alternative moves’, are ‘extremely thorough', and 'know how to engage effectively with the judiciary and court procedures’. The firm is handling many of the market's most high-profile corporate, M&A and commercial cases. It has an impressive client base made up of leading companies and banks in addition to major US companies, including new technology players. The practice recently achieved significant outcomes in several cases: it successfully defended Foncia in one of France's first attempted class actions, which the court found inadmissible, and also assisted Orano with settling a high-stakes dispute with TVO relating to the construction of an EPR nuclear reactor plant in Finland. The firm is also defending Airbnb against proceedings initiated by the city of Paris, and Uber against claims initiated by 3,200 Parisian taxi drivers. It is also representing Technicolor in a dispute with Canal+. Jean-Daniel Bretzner is a ‘first-class litigator who thinks on his feet, always has his clients' best interests in mind’ and ‘drafts high-quality summons’. Florian Bouaziz and Guillaume Pellegrin are also key contacts. Ève Duminy was promoted to partner.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton deals with a variety of sensitive cases, including commercial, securities, criminal and corporate litigation. The practice, which is particularly strong in the corporate and financial sector, represents leading banks, investors and corporations. It is defending several of Disney's companies in a derivative action brought by Cima, as minority shareholder of Euro Disney, seeking €900m in damages. The firm is also dealing with major commercial litigation and antitrust compensation claims. It is notably defending Google in a compensation claim brought by Le Guide.com further to ongoing EU proceedings against the client for alleged abuse of dominance. Jean-Yves Garaud is one of the market's most recognised names. Counsel Delphine Michot is also highly active.
Clifford Chance's large 15-lawyer team handles a wide range of cases, including acting on sensitive healthcare-sector product liability cases for clients such as Pfizer and GSK, and representing leading French and international retailers and companies in high-stakes commercial and private enforcement litigation. The team is notably representing SFR and Numericable in several key matters, including a sensitive unfair commercial practice dispute initiated by Free, as well as representing Carrefour in numerous claims against its suppliers. The practice also handles corporate litigation and is representing international banks including RBS in banking and financial disputes. JP Morgan and Apax are also clients. The team is led by the highly experienced Jean-Pierre Grandjean and Thomas Baudesson, and the up-and-coming Diego de Lammerville and Thibaud d’Alès. Counsel Marguerite Aynès is also recommended.
Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier is instructed by the largest banks and companies in the French market, as well as leading international clients, to handle high-stakes commercial and financial disputes. The practice recently acted for Casino in mediation proceedings regarding the sale by Galeries Lafayette of its stake in Monoprix. The firm also has expertise in defending banks and corporations against mass claims. Jean-Michel Darrois, Emmanuel Brochier and Cyril Bonan are all highly regarded.
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is noted for its ‘high-quality and business-driven work' and 'has the necessary connections’. The tightly knit five-lawyer team handles highly strategic cases including high-end M&A and commercial litigation. The firm is also instructed by listed companies to advise on sensitive governance issues. LVMH is a client. The practice also successfully represented the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation in a dispute initiated by the heirs of Peggy Guggenheim over the restoration of the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice. Georges Terrier and Christophe Perchet regularly act for high-profile clients. Counsel Alexandre Vermynck is ‘a brilliant young lawyer who shows great understanding of the business matters at stake, and has great legal and analysis skills’.
Orrick Rambaud Martel's ‘very professional and highly involved team’ has ‘very good relationships with its clients’. The practice handles a broad range of complex disputes, including high-profile shareholder conflicts, insolvency-related cases, stock market and corporate disputes, Africa-related matters, white-collar crime, and high-profile art inheritance cases. The firm was recently in high demand from investment funds acting as creditors in major insolvency cases. It successfully secured the dismissal of claims against Arcole Industries relating to the insolvency of two of its former subsidiaries (Mory Ducros and Mory Global), as well as acting for DNCA Finance, as the second largest shareholder and holder of €350m in bonds of listed company CGG, in a challenge to CGG's safeguarding plan. The firm is also defending the Maeght Gallery and Isabelle Maeght, the gallery director, in a bitter inheritance dispute over the art collection. Finally, the team also obtained a victory before the Court of Appeal, which confirmed the dismissal of a €500m tax fraud claim against the firm's clients, Diane and Alec Wildenstein, by a lower court. ‘Very good ’ practice head Frédéric Lalance has ‘a very clear understanding of difficult cases’. Jean-Pierre Martel is one of France's most renowned lawyers. Also recommended is Marine Lallemand. Diane Lamarche is now with White & Case LLP.
Veil Jourde is recommended for strategic and complex cases. The firm is dealing with numerous banking, financial, M&A, securities and shareholder conflict cases. The team also handles arbitration, mediation and international matters. Large French and international corporations are clients, as well as major French banks. Jean Veil, Pierre-François Veil, Eric Deubel, Georges Jourde and Emmanuel Rosenfeld are highly regarded practitioners. Yankel Bensoussan and Marie Errera are also noted.
Corporate boutique Viguié Schmidt & Associés excels at handling complex shareholder conflicts and corporate disputes. The firm is retained by French and international companies, shareholders and executives. It is notably acting for former senior executive officers of Norbert Dentressangle (now XPO Logistics Europe) in a high-profile M&A and securities dispute with Elliott Management Corporation regarding XPO Logistics' $3.5bn takeover of Norbert Dentressangle. It also reached a favourable settlement for a former CEO of Vitalia in proceedings against Blackstone. The practice also deals with high-stakes commercial litigation. It is representing AXA Corporate Solutions, as Enedis' insurer, in more than 200 individual lawsuits brought by local solar energy electricity producers, as well as SIHPM, as the owner of the luxury Hôtel du Collectionneur, in a dispute with Hilton. The firm also handles arbitration and antitrust matters. The practice is led by experienced partners who both advise on M&A transactions and litigate: Yves Schmidt, Nicolas Viguié , Olivier Loizon and Martin Donato.
Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP represents a stellar client base made up of many leading French listed corporations, as well as large US groups and other international companies. The firm regularly deals with commercial litigation with high financial or reputational stakes. It also handles sensitive shareholder conflicts and high-profile insolvency and restructuring-related cases. Finally, the firm also takes on some arbitration and white-collar crime cases, such as international corruption matters. Didier Malka heads the team, which also includes high-profile corporate partner Claude Serra.
Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy LLP ‘excels at handling complex cases that involve other jurisdictions and foreign elements’, while the team's ‘strategic assessment of cases is outstanding’. Leading French and international banks, asset managers and companies are clients. The firm is particularly recommended for high-profile financial litigation. It successfully represented BNP Paribas before the Paris Court of First Instance in France's first class action in the financial sector. It also assisted Cale Street Partners with numerous simultaneous proceedings regarding the enforcement of a pledge over shares of Gerpro, one of Maranatha group's companies. The firm is also handling one-of-a kind litigation relating to American depository receipts. The team also acts on commercial, industrial and award enforcement cases. The practice is co-headed by Denis Chemla and Erwan Poisson, who ‘always gives prompt answers and feedback in a very detailed and comprehensive manner’.
Carbonnier Lamaze Rasle has the resources to deal with a wide variety of cases, including disputes involving parallel proceedings and sensitive shareholders' conflicts and commercial disputes. It is defending Leader Price and Franprix's founder, Baudinter, in a highly disputed case with Casino regarding put and call option on shares. The practice is also handling several mass litigations, notably in the energy and banking sectors. It has strong banking litigation expertise and regularly represents banks, as well as acting for Enrico Macias in a fraud case against Landsbanki. Finally, the firm is also handling cases in the luxury goods sector. Edouard de Lamaze heads the practice. Antoine Fourment, Jean-Hugues Carbonnier, Jérôme Grand d’Esnon, Michel Rasle, Fiorella Vecchioli de Fournas, Dorothée de Bernis and Fanny Desclozeaux are also recommended.
The ‘client-oriented and committed’ De Pardieu Brocas Maffei draws partners from its various practice areas to deal with a wide variety of cases in addition to having fully dedicated litigators. The firm is instructed by leading banks on sensitive and large-scale banking cases, such as defending Dexia Crédit Local and Cacib in the "toxic loan" cases initiated by local public entities in connection with structured loans and derivative products. It also has experience in insolvency and real estate-related disputes. Finally, the practice is recommended for commercial litigation, international cases and complex shareholders’ disputes and corporate litigation. The firm is representing SCI Iris La Défense in a three-party dispute regarding the building of a high-rise tower in La Défense, and acted for Porcher Industries in a dispute between shareholders as a result of its takeover by Warwick Capital Partners. Paul Talbourdet, Philippe Dubois and Barbara Levy head the practice. Dominique Lefort is a key name for banking litigation. Patrick Jaïs, Ségolène Coiffet and counsel Simon Le Wita are also recommended. Matthieu Barthélemy is now at De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés.
Dechert LLP is ‘extremely helpful’: the firm ‘combines clients' arguments and evidence into a cohesive briefing for the French courts’ and ‘engages well with American and multinational clients’. The ten-lawyer practice represents leading US chemical and healthcare companies, as well as international investment funds, and is also retained by major French companies. It has expertise in financial, commercial and cross-border cases, as well as exequatur proceedings and arbitration. Finally, the practice is also handling major issues in the industrial sector. It is notably defending Dow Chemical against a claim brought by a French individual for compensation for damage caused by a herbicide used during the Vietnam War. It is also representing French electricity network operator Enedis in separate disputes with Engie, Eni, a French consumer association and 5,000 plaintiffs opposing the installation of Linky electricity meters. Albéa, Allergan and Baxter Healthcare are clients. The ‘very versatile’ Laurent Martinet provides ‘great leadership’ and ‘gets straight to the point’. Jacques Sivignon ‘is an excellent litigator who is always on top of his brief’.
Peltier Juvigny Marpeau & Associés is highly recommended when it comes to financial, corporate, shareholder conflict and other complex cases. The firm is instructed by leading French and international private equity houses, and recently managed several high-profile insolvency-related matters. It is notably representing BTSG and Mandataires Judiciaires Associés as liquidators of the Agripole group in ten liability lawsuits against the companies’ auditors. The firm is also acting for Amundi, Primonial and Predica in a dispute relating to the enforcement of representations and warranties following a €1.2bn acquisition. Finally, the firm is also handling commercial litigation and antitrust follow-on cases. ICG, Apax Partners, Wendel and Newfund Capital are clients. Arthur Dethomas and Frédéric Peltier are highly regarded.
FTMS Avocats is particularly adept at dealing with complex litigation. The eight-lawyer team represents several leading industrial clients in commercial and industrial disputes, and is involved in high-stakes antitrust follow-on litigation. The practice also stands out for its expertise in the banking and finance sector thanks to Silvestre Tandeau de Marsac and Marc Henry, who recently joined from Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP. The firm is notably defending banks in highly sensitive financial product litigation; it is representing BPCE in about 300 lawsuits challenging the performance of its Doubl'O financial products. Finally, the firm has experience in Africa-related cases. Cédric Fischer is another key name in the practice, while Tristan Dupré de Puget is also recommended.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has ‘vast experience, and is direct, clear and always very responsive’. The 15-lawyer team is representing leading French and international banks and financial institutions in financial product, swaps and loan litigation, including handling several cases related to loans granted to public sector entities. The firm also acts for leading companies and retailers in major commercial litigation. Finally, the practice is handling antitrust follow-on litigation. Airbnb, Merrill Lynch International, Smith & Nephew and STMicroelectronics are clients. Practice heads Stéphane Bénouville and Dimitri Lecat are strongly recommended.
Gibson Dunn's eight lawyer-strong insolvency and litigation team handles many of the market's most high-profile insolvency-related cases. It also acts on commercial, corporate and product liability cases, and handles some commercial arbitration. French and international companies are clients. The practice is currently defending a high-profile international company against major claims raised by a French consumer association. Practice head Jean-Pierre Farges, Pierre-Emmanuel Fender and Eric Bouffard are all strong litigators.
Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. has a team of ‘very good professionals who are responsive and know how to adapt to their environment’. The firm is ‘savvy in financial services’ and is managing a significant caseload in that area, acting for banks and asset managers. It is notably representing BPCE, Dexia Crédit Local, SFIL and RBS in more than 100 cases dealing with structured loans offered to French local entities. The practice also handles commercial litigation and is involved in the enforcement of arbitration awards and cross-border disputes, including a major case in the African oil sector. The team is led by the experienced Bruno Quentin, who is ‘extremely adept at representing clients before the French courts and at dealing with important procedural issues’, Michel Pitron, Jean-Philippe Pons-Henry and Patrick Ouart.
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP
Herbert Smith Freehills LLP's ‘highly responsive and available’ team is appreciated for its ‘hands-on approach, good legal skills’ and international reach. It has expertise in banking and finance litigation and acts for many leading banks and asset managers. The practice is also involved in high-profile regulatory and commercial litigation, including defending Ostrum Asset Management in a class action. The team has a significant commercial litigation caseload, acting for major industrial French and international companies. It is notably involved in matters touching upon oil and gas, bankruptcy and property development issues. Finally, the Paris team also handles international work, including exequatur proceedings and Africa-related cases. The practice is co-headed by Clément Dupoirier, who is ‘very good and quick to understand the technical context’, and Antoine Juaristi, who comes strongly recommended for banking and finance litigation. Dominique Jardin, Géraldine Marteau and Martin Le Touzé (all of counsel) are also recommended.
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP
Hogan Lovells (Paris) LLP is renowned for its product liability expertise, particularly in the healthcare sector, where it is handling several of the market's most high-profile cases, with Cécile Deryke representing big names in the industry. Christine Gateau handles commercial litigation and is notably involved in media-related disputes; she also recently obtained a major victory for Jones Lang LaSalle in proceedings arising from the breach of an exclusive mandate for the sale of a €190m hotel in Paris. Finally, Julien Martinet is an expert in banking litigation who represents many leading banks. Newly promoted partner Christelle Coslin is also recommended. Former practice head Thomas Rouhette, who notably managed big aviation cases, left alongside colleague Sylvie Gallage-Alwis to open the Paris office of Signature Litigation AARPI.
Jones Day ‘is very knowledgeable about complex issues’. The ‘responsive’ practice does ‘an exceptional job of navigating complex situations to get to an optimal result’ and has ‘intimate knowledge of the industrial sector’. The team represents many leading US industrial and multinational companies, especially in the energy and oil and gas sectors, in commercial and corporate litigation. The practice is also representing several IT and technology companies in commercial disputes and manages some industrial litigation. It is acting for Micron Technology in claims for damages brought by Orange over defective telephones. Ozan Akyurek ‘is an exceptional attorney and a great partner to go through complex, long and challenging litigation’. The practice is also acting for Dexia Crédit Local, SFIL and Depfa in a high volume of "toxic loan" cases initiated by public sector entities. Frédéric Gros and of counsel Isabelle Maury are experts in banking litigation. Finally, the hiring of Elie Kleiman from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a very promising move: he is the ‘ultimate trusted adviser who you can call at any time on any subject matter, and whose unique personal charisma and powers of persuasion are always geared up exclusively to serve the interests of his clients’.
Lantourne & Associés
Lantourne & Associés is handling several challenging shareholder conflict, corporate and insolvency-related cases. The litigation and insolvency boutique represents several high-profile corporations, as well as private and family shareholders, hotels and property investors. Maurice Lantourne, Flavie Hannoun, Kristell Cattani and counsel Gauthier Doré are recommended.
Linklaters handles commercial and financial litigation on behalf of major French and international companies, as well as banks and financial institutions. The 14-lawyer team was recently involved in several major insolvency-related cases. The firm also represents companies and African states in disputes before African courts. Finally, the team handles stock market and international corruption cases. Practice head Arnaud de La Cotardière is a familiar figure in France. Jean-Charles Jaïs is one to follow.
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP
Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP set up its litigation and white-collar crime practice in late 2017 after hiring new practice head and ‘excellent lawyer and strategic thinker’ Kami Haeri, along with Valérie Munoz-Pons and Benoît Javaux (both counsel), from August Debouzy. The practice represents French and international companies and investors in complex commercial, corporate, financial and securities-linked disputes. The team is notably representing several Besharat family members in a complex shareholder dispute with Danone arising from their joint participation in Iranian company Damavand Mineral Water, and defending Rhodia in litigation initiated by Ceva Santé Animale relating to a solvent supply agreement. The team also has specific expertise in the defence and aeronautics, chemistry, transport, insurance and tobacco sectors.
The ‘very reliable’ Reinhart Marville Torre ‘is highly responsive when dealing with crisis situations’. The versatile 17-lawyer team handles a broad range of cases and was recently in high demand for assistance from asset management companies involved in shareholders' conflicts. The practice also acted in several high-stakes commercial and unfair competition disputes. Some major international investment funds and French and international companies are clients. The five-partner team includes Louis-Marie Absil, Antoine Dérot and the ‘skilled and available’ Jérôme Marsaudon.
Villey Girard Grolleaud has a strong track record in complex post-M&A, shareholder conflict and financial disputes. Its longstanding client base includes major French corporations, financial institutions, press and media groups, and some leading international groups. It is representing EPC France in several matters, including a dispute with a former joint venture partner and litigation initiated by activist shareholder Candel & Partners. The practice is also acting for LMDE in various major mutual insurance disputes with MGEN. Conforama, CDC, Française des Jeux, Charlie Hebdo and Framatome are clients. The practice is co-headed by litigator and M&A partner Daniel Villey and Louis-Marie Pillebout.
White & Case LLP has particular strength in banking litigation and is currently defending leading French banks in large-scale domestic financial products disputes. The team is notably acting for BNP Paribas Personal Finance in some 1,500 civil claims over a real estate loans portfolio granted in Swiss francs. Philippe Métais is adept at handling high-stakes mass litigation. The firm also handles commercial litigation and recently defended major retailers such as Intermarché in several cases pertaining to allegedly abusive commercial clauses imposed upon suppliers. It also acted in several unfair competition cases. Atol, Free Mobile and Nespresso are clients. Yann Utzschneider has extensive experience in antitrust, distribution and commercial disputes. Diane Lamarche was a new arrival from Orrick Rambaud Martel.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP's caseload features complex commercial, corporate, insolvency and transnational matters. The firm is instructed by many leading French corporations, as well as high-profile investors and international companies. It is representing Air France as the plaintiff in a case following the ransacking of its headquarters and the assault of two directors by union members in 2015, and successfully acted for Agence Française de Développement in a dispute. It is also representing Transdev, as a former shareholder of SNCM, in a much-disputed case concerning SNCM’s partnership with Stef. The team is also handling high-profile criminal and international corruption cases, as well as major ICC arbitration and enforcement and annulment of award proceedings. Dominique Mondoloni is highly regarded. Grégoire Bertrou is also recommended.
Winston & Strawn LLP is able to manage ‘major cross-border and complex commercial disputes very creatively and successfully’. The strong 18-lawyer practice shows ‘great team spirit, and its responsiveness and imaginative way of handling complex matters are unique’. The firm is recommended for its ability to deal with sensitive financial, securities, shareholder conflict and other corporate cases. It is notably representing German pension fund Union Asset Management Holding in its action against Vivendi pertaining to false and fraudulent information supplied to Vivendi's investors. The firm is also particularly strong in the healthcare sector, where it manages shareholder conflict, commercial and other highly innovative regulatory disputes. MNH, Ramsay Générale de Santé and SC Johnson are clients. ‘Outstanding’ practice head Gilles Bigot ‘is a true strategist who always thinks ahead, never forgets his clients’ interests and is extremely creative’. Also recommended are Anne-Carine Ropars-Furet, Mathilde Lefranc-Barthe and newly promoted partner Sara Susnjar.
Altana’s ‘commercial, practical and responsive’ team ‘understands its clients very well and does what it takes to win a case’. The firm has the resources and ability to handle a wide range of matters, such as commercial, financial, corporate and product liability disputes. It represents high-profile French and international groups, including Asian clients and prominent companies in the pharmaceutical, telecoms and insurance sectors. The firm also handles mediation proceedings and cross-border matters. Arkema, Bouygues and Onxeo are clients. Key names in the practice include Christophe Lapp; Guillaume Forbin, who is ‘very easy to work with and a great team leader’; Valérie Lafarge-Sarkozy; Julien Balensi; Armand Aviges; and the ‘experienced’ Jean-Philippe Thibault, who has ‘an excellent track record’.
Aramis is instructed by many leading French companies, including several blue-chip corporations in the energy sector. The firm handles corporate and commercial disputes including sensitive litigation and international arbitration cases. The practice also advises on some industrial cases. Cédric de Pouzilhac is highly recommended. Aurélien Condomines and Benjamin May are also key contacts.
Headed by Antony Martinez, Archers A.A.R.P.I.'s six-lawyer team is recommended for complex corporate and shareholder conflict cases. The practice represents investment funds, shareholders and companies. It is acting in cases concerning the possible annulment of a leveraged buyout transaction, a contentious joint venture and a securitised loan. The team also handles commercial litigation and is advising a major franchise on managing sensitive disputes. Acrelec, LFPI and Pechel Industries are clients.
Artemont represents several major companies, notably in the media and press industries, as well as some famous luxury brands, SMEs and investors. The practice handles commercial and corporate litigation. It is representing Chenavari in a dispute connected with the acquisition of Buy Way Personal Finance from Apax Partners, as well as acting for La Maison Bleue in a shareholder dispute. Eutelsat, Prisma Media, Saint Laurent and Boucheron are also clients. Arnaud de Barthès de Montfort and François Berthod lead the team.
August Debouzy's strong 23-lawyer team represents high-profile French companies, as well as some major investment funds and investors from various sectors. The firm is regularly involved in high-stakes contractual and commercial litigation. It also deals with corporate and shareholders’ disputes and cross-border cases. Veolia Propreté, Sequana, Chanel, Airbus Defence and Space, and Nike are clients. Practice co-heads Marie Danis and Benjamin van Gaver are recommended.
At BDGS Associés, clients ‘are sure to receive an excellent service, including sound advice, backed with great legal knowledge and an excellent understanding of the matters at stake’. The firm hired promising new practice head Kyum Lee, who was previously counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, in January 2018 to officially set up its practice. Lee impresses with his ‘fine legal mind and extensive and thorough knowledge’, in addition to ‘always being available for his clients, perfectly understanding their needs, and never giving up’. He can also rely on the support of some of the firm's founding partners, such as Antoine Gosset-Grainville, who has particular expertise in managing crisis situations. The compact team is handling highly sensitive cases, including a high number of corporate and shareholder conflict cases. It represented Canal + in a high-profile media dispute with TF1 regarding the latter's terms of broadcasting. The practice was also recently involved in several insolvency-related cases. Bpifrance and Ceva Santé Animale are also clients.
Boken is handling several sensitive cases as part of a highly diverse caseload that spans commercial, financial, corporate and product liability litigation. The ten-lawyer team represents leading French and international corporations and their shareholders, as well as investment funds. The practice is led by Antoine Beauquier, the ‘expert and responsive’ Félix de Belloy, who ‘really invests himself in cases’, and Franck Poindessault.
Bougartchev Moyne Associés regularly handles shareholders' conflicts and insolvency-related and financial cases. The 11-lawyer boutique, which has a core focus on white-collar crime, represents banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions, as well as companies and shareholders. Kiril Bougartchev and Emmanuel Moyne are seasoned litigators.
Brunswick La Morinerie
Brunswick La Morinerie has a ‘perfectly well-organised team which prepares cases thoroughly’. Headed by Philippe Brunswick, the five-lawyer team often deals with M&A and private equity-related disputes and manages a large caseload of shareholders' conflicts and managers' and corporate officers' liability matters, representing CEOs, high-ranking executives, board members and companies.
The ‘very client-oriented’ CBR & Associés is ‘business-focused and quick to respond’, and its work is ‘precise, clear and of a high quality’. The firm continues to distinguish itself through its impressive caseload: representing Kaefer Wanner, the firm negotiated France’s first judicial convention of public interest, with a monitoring obligation from the French anti-bribery agency, since such agreements were introduced by the French anti-corruption law Sapin II. The nine-lawyer team is particularly recommended for high-stakes commercial and consumer disputes, and has a strong presence in the telecoms, media and audiovisual sectors. Key client SFR regularly instructs the firm for its strategic matters. British American Tobacco is another longstanding client, and recently instructed the firm to defend its interests in the "Filtergate" case relating to the manipulation of filters by tobacco manufacturers, while Direct Energie instructed the firm to defend it against claims relating to allegedly abusive clauses in its terms and conditions initiated by consumer association UFC Que Choisir. TF1 Publicité, Adidas, Procter & Gamble, Eurovia and Lagardère Active are also clients. Pierre-Olivier Chartier is ‘fully and continuously dedicated to his clients and cases’, ‘explores all the possibilities and strategies available in a case before providing his advice, and manages to find all the possible legal arguments and facts that may come in useful, even when they were totally unexpected or overlooked’. Judith Vuillez is praised for her ‘very practical approach, excellent speed and very high quality of responses’, and her ability ‘to anticipate possible moves by opponents’. In addition, she has ‘great knowledge of the tobacco industry’.
Chemarin & Limbour
Chemarin & Limbour's ‘very professional and organised team’ shows ‘great ability to understand complex issues and great involvement’, and has ‘a sound grasp of business situations, even very complex ones’. The four-lawyer team, which ‘knows its customers' needs and businesses well’, is instructed by many high-profile French companies, as well as some foreign groups. It is highly recommended for complex commercial disputes. The firm is notably representing key client Orange in disputes with competitors, including cases dealing with its network interconnection services and the pricing of its wholesale offers. Yves Rocher, Auchan, Docapost, Vallourec and Louis Vuitton are also clients. The ‘really talented’ Alexandre Limbour shows ‘perfect knowledge of the commercial courts’ and ‘is quick to understand business issues and the facts in a complex case’. Counsel Valentine Foucher-Créteau is also noted.
CVML is particularly recommended for complex shareholders' conflicts and commercial partnership disputes. The firm regularly represents insurers and investment funds, while also handling commercial and industrial cases. It is defending insurance group Prévoir in a dispute initiated by BNP Paribas Cardif and its Irish subsidiary over the breach of a joint venture agreement in Vietnam. The firm also handles some securities litigation and is notably representing SFR in a major case before the Court Appeal of Paris challenging the French securities regulator over the non-conformity of Altice's takeover bid for SFR. Philippe Lauzeral and Thierry Cotty are both highly experienced litigators.
DS Avocats is instructed by many blue-chip French companies to represent them before the courts and, increasingly, during the pre-contentious phases. The practice has a significant industrial and commercial caseload, and also handles some international disputes and advises on compliance issues. The firm successfully represented Orange's Mobistore in a case following the termination of distribution agreements with Mim Com and Waris Telecom, and obtained the condemnation of Engie for unfair competition practices from the Commercial Court of Nanterre. It is also dealing with some major banking litigation matters. Safran Electronics & Défense and PSA are clients. Bertrand Potot, Marie Christine Mergny, Sandra Dorizon and Arnaud Constant are recommended, and Frédéric Bellanca is noted for banking litigation.
Fieldfisher's Philippe Netto and Bruno Paccioni have extensive experience representing leading investment funds in complex cases such as shareholders', directors' liability and post-acquisition disputes, often in an insolvency or financial restructuring context. Product liability expert Brigitte Daille-Duclos is involved in a major case. The firm handles a wide variety of cases, including commercial litigation and IP and IT-related disputes.
Franklin is highly active in the telecoms sector, where the firm is handling high-stakes financial cases opposing telecoms operators. The five-lawyer team also deals with commercial litigation and shareholders’ conflicts, and is representing a French company in mass disputes with consumers. French and international companies are clients. Yann Colin heads the team, which also includes of counsel Vincent Pecastaing.
FTPA acts for various high-profile French companies. The practice handles commercial litigation and has particular expertise in industrial cases involving long-term judicial discovery procedures. It is also instructed to deal with crisis situations and international matters. Serge-Antoine Tchekhoff, Edouard Fabre, Robert Corcos and Bruno Robin are all highly regarded.
Jeantet's dedicated litigation group is able to handle a broad range of disputes, encompassing corporate and governance litigation, and commercial and industrial cases. The antitrust team, which includes Loraine Donnedieu de Vabres-Tranié, Florent Prunet and Thomas Picot, also acts in commercial litigation, particularly in post-cartel damages cases before the French courts. The firm recently hired Xavier Pernot from Ginestié Magellan Paley-Vincent to further strengthen its litigation expertise, especially in industrial, corporate and commercial cases, while counsel Estelle Floyd is another key asset in the practice. Finally, corporate partners such as Yvon Dréano and Karl Hepp de Sevelinges also take on some litigation.
Litigation boutique Laude Esquier Champey is currently acting in commercial, financial, post-acquisition, shareholder conflict, bankruptcy-related, and award enforcement litigation. The 13-lawyer firm is retained by high-profile clients including major French and international corporations, family groups and investors. It successfully defended Altran Technologies in a dispute with a former executive, who claimed Altran precluded his new company, Degetel, from going public. The practice also handles sensitive cases, including inheritance disputes, in the art and luxury goods sectors; it is representing the Hottinguer family in a lawsuit against Christie's relating to the sale of a Rubens painting. Olivier Laude, Victor Champey, Richard Esquier and Nathalie Karpik are all seasoned litigators.
McDermott Will & Emery AARPI is handling product liability and commercial cases for major French and international companies. The practice also acts in litigation relating to shareholders' conflicts and the termination of managers, and high-stakes arbitration award enforcement proceedings. The team is representing Ventech, IDInvest Partners and Sigma Gestion in a dispute with Mount Silver and Groupe Sebbin regarding a call option on Sebbin's shares. Orange and ADP are also clients. Practice head Alexis Werl and newly promoted partner Aymeric Discours are recommended.
Paul Hastings LLP
Paul Hastings LLP follows a ‘smart approach’ and has a ‘good sense of the risks’ surrounding a case thanks to its ‘excellent knowledge of market practices’. The 11-lawyer team often deals with financial and corporate disputes on behalf of large French and international companies and financial institutions. The practice also deals with sensitive commercial litigation. It is managing several strategic cases for Sodexo, acting for Reed Midem in a complex shareholder dispute, and representing Faurecia following a French securities authority investigation. Philippe Bouchez El Ghozi heads the practice. The ‘very responsive and creative’ Nicolas Faguer is ‘an outstanding professional’ who is ‘business and solutions-oriented’. The well-known Dominique Borde has extensive experience.
Racine handles corporate, commercial and some arbitration cases. The firm acts for major companies and is notably involved in several individual and family shareholders’ disputes and international litigation. A number of partners are able to handle litigation within the firm, including the highly regarded Bruno Cavalié, who stands out for his ‘very strong business sense and skills’. Another key team member is Antoine Diesbecq, who notably represented the liquidator of Scop Seafrance in several disputes with Getlink (formerly Groupe Eurotunnel) and DFDS.
Reed Smith has strong expertise in sensitive industrial risk and product liability cases. The firm acts on asbestos-related matters for leading industrial clients, and is also representing major engineering and industrial operators in cases involving industrial plants, especially several matters pertaining to fire accidents. The firm also deals with regulatory, financial services and commercial litigation. Benoît Charot heads the team and Daniel Kadar is a key contact. Marie Albertini joined PDGB.
Six-lawyer litigation boutique Soffer Avocats provides an ‘unparalleled level of personal service and dedication’ and handles complex multi-jurisdictional cases, often involving Europe, the US and Singapore. It is regularly instructed by high-net-worth individuals and is acting in sensitive disputes in the art sector. The firm is able to deal with a broad range of cases, including commercial, competition and financial litigation as well as commercial arbitration. The ‘very bright, commercial and practical’ Ron Soffer ‘goes the extra mile for his clients, is familiar with both civil and common law systems, adept at managing large multi-jurisdictional cases, and never stops thinking about his cases, always working on creative solutions to complex problems’.