Environment in France

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I. provides ‘high quality services’, ‘takes time to understand business constraints and really acts as a business partner to reach its clients' goals’. The team has a full range of industrial and mining environmental expertise and also stands out for its niche in high-level nuclear law knowledge. The practice is appointed by leading names in the oil, nuclear and other industrial fields to handle high-profile strategic projects, disputes and crisis management situations. It is providing continuous assistance to Andra with its Cigeo project, which involves building the only French underground nuclear waste site storage. The practice is also advising Euro Disney with the expansion of a leisure park. In addition, the team is frequently consulted to provide guidance on key matters. It notably advised UUFIP - the trade union representing the oil industry players in France -  on the French Environment Ministry’s decision to cancel energy savings certificates. Total, PSG football club, Vinci Airport and EDF are other clients. Practice head Jean-Nicolas Clément is among the most respected experts in the field.

Jones Day

Jones Day has expert capabilities to deal with sensitive health, safety and product regulation issues, including dealing with crisis management situations. The 14-lawyer team is entrusted by leading industrial, chemical, energy, mining and life sciences companies. It regularly handles environmental liabilities issues concerning industrial sites. The practice is also sought out by clients to assist with new climate change regulatory issues including the implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement. The team is also active advising on industrial assets in the course of transactions. Practice head Françoise Labrousse is highly respected in the market. Counsel Armelle Sandrin-Deforge is also noted.

King & Spalding LLP

King & Spalding LLP stands out for its ‘high level responsiveness, expertise and professionalism in dealing with classified site and polluted ground issues’. The firm is entrusted by several leading French industrial corporations, as well as international clients. The five-lawyer team is handling highly sensitive litigation concerning industrial pollution, site remediation and other regulatory issues. It is also assisting with mining permits and site closure projects, and advises on energy infrastructure projects. Exide, Recyclex, Saint-Gobain and Veolia are clients. The ‘determined, proficient and available’ Joëlle Herschtel has ‘high level technical skills’ and ‘stands her ground’.  

LPA-CGR avocats

LPA-CGR avocats has ‘extensive business understanding and industry knowledge, allowing it to provide appropriate advice’. The 18-lawyer team is also praised for its ‘good understanding of clients' expectations’. The firm acts for high-profile industrial companies, notably chemical, life sciences, mining, oil and gas and energy leaders. Several public sector entities also are clients. The firm is handling a whole range of issues and has extensive expertise advising on waste management, remediation, pollution and other industrial environmental issues. It provides assistance with dealing with key regulatory issues and is regularly sought out to advise on high-profile industrial M&A and remediation projects. In notable work, the team advised Solvay on the environmental aspects of its sales of its Polyamides business and Acetow, as well as assisting Air Liquide with the environmental aspects of the sale of Air Liquide Welding. The group has been kept busy recently handling environmental permit applications and related litigation. It has a strong practice in the energy and renewal energy field. Arkema, Ball and Bolloré are other clients. ‘Brilliant’ practice head Frédérique Chaillou ‘adapts solutions to each file’ and ‘has a good understanding of her clients' needs while continuously striving to improve quality service and customer satisfaction’. Senior counsel Vincent Sol is also highly experienced, while Fabrice Cassin, Hélène Gelas and counsel Anne Delorme are other key names.

Atmos Avocats

Environment and public law boutique Atmos Avocats is instructed by high-profile French and international corporations, specialising in various areas including the aerospace, cement, chemical, hydrocarbons, waste, energy and transport sectors. Air Liquide, Albioma, Brenntag and Smurfit Kappa are part of the high-profile client base, along with several local public sector entities. The 16-lawyer team handles a broad range of matters and regularly advises on key regulatory and projects issues. It recently handled high-profile work concerning the sale of industrial sites, the setting up of new classified installations, environmental liability and REACH regulation issues. It is also advising on a major infrastructure project. The practice is jointly headed by Marie-Pierre Maître, Alexandre Moustardier, François Braud and Julien Girard.

Baker McKenzie

Baker McKenzie has ‘local and international knowledge in environmental law’ and provides ‘high-quality work in record time’. The public and environmental law team assists several leading industrial French and international companies, including major players in the IT, oil and gas and energy sectors. The team recently advised on a new environmental permit authorisation scheme and is assisting with a key infrastructure project. The team is also handling sensitive litigation regarding industrial site environmental liabilities. It is assisting Landys + Gyr with remediation issues concerning a site located in Montluçon, and is acting for Shell in a dispute with Lyondellbasell regarding environmental damage liabilities at the Berre refinery plant. The team also advises on M&A and energy projects. In notable work, the group assisted EDF with the environmental aspects of the sale of its 65.91% interest in Dunkerque LNG, as well as Schmolz + Bickenbach with the acquisition of assets from Ascometal. Counsel Marie-Laetitia de La Ville-Baugé is the key name in the practice. Partners Emmanuel Guillaume and Arnaud Cabanes, who is ‘dedicated and always available’, are also involved.

Boivin & Associés

Leading industrial groups turn to Boivin & Associés for complex regulatory issues, crisis-management situations and high-stakes litigation. The firm represented Toulouse-based AZF plant in the high-profile AZF explosion case. Jean-Pierre Boivin is ‘highly technical, available and committed’. Manuel Pennaforte, Malik Memlouk, Frédéric Defradas and Steve Hercé are also noted.

DS Avocats

DS Avocats has a strong team of some ten dedicated lawyers who advise on environmental issues as well as hygiene, health and safety matters. The firm recently acted in criminal environmental disputes initiated by various associations against its clients for alleged violation of permits. The practice is managing several highly sensitive cases, notably in the energy and nuclear sectors. It is notably defending Compagnie d’Aménagement des Coteaux de Gascogne before courts regarding the Sivens redevelopment dam project that is being opposed by environmental associations. The firm also has strong expertise in classified sites issues and is regularly retained to advise on industrial M&A transactions. It assisted GRT Gaz with the transfer of the entire capital of Elengy to the client. Imerys, Vinci Energie and Eiffage Immobilier are clients. Practice heads Yvon Martinet, Patricia Savin and Frédéric Lévy are highly regarded. Gwladys Beauchet, Grégory Gutierrez and newly promoted partner Safi Hadri are also involved. Raphaël Romi, who is a highly respected professor in environment law, joined as of counsel.


FIDAL stands out for its sizeable resources and unique geographical coverage: the practice has a team of 24 dedicated lawyers who are spread across 12 regional areas and also has a doctrine department. The team has a comprehensive range of expertise spanning pollution, water, REACH, oil and gas, renewables and brownfield energy work. Several leading French industrial companies are clients including key names in the oil, power, chemistry, transport and retail sectors. Recent highlights include advising on crisis management issues, sale and remediation matters concerning classified installations and intervening in highly strategic corporate transactions. Practice head Christophe Puel is highly regarded. Bruno Wertenschlag, Astrid Rebillard, Antoine Carpentier and newly promoted partner Thibaut Geib are other key team members.


Fieldfisher's Marie-Léonie Vergnerie's team frequently works on cross-practice matters. The two-lawyer practice recently advised on new polluted property financing schemes and on newly entwined waste management and antitrust issues. The team, which notably has strong waste management expertise, was in high demand for strategic advice on the implementation of new circular economy schemes regulation. It is also consulted on environmental liability and advises clients on the sale of contaminated sites and on pollution issues, including dealing with crisis management and litigation. The practice is also sought out to assist in the context of M&A transactions. Leading industrial companies including Honeywell and Safran are among its clients. Associate Vanessa Kurukgy also provides strong support.

Foley Hoag

Foley Hoag acts for a large base of industrial clients and gained new additional clients in the chemical sector. The six-lawyer team regularly advises on site remediation and pollution and waste management issues. It was recently sought out to assist with site closures and sales, notably in the context of M&A transactions, including dealing with litigation. It assisted Engie with liability issues linked with contaminated sites, as well as Staub with CO2 emissions issues and the closing and remediation of a plant. The group also advises on environmental issues in the energy sector, notably in the context of the setting up of high-voltage electricity links. Novacap, BASF, Elis, Electrolux and Mines de Potasse d’Alsace are also clients. Practice head Carine Le Roy-Gleizes is highly regarded. Corentin Chevallier and Frédéric Scanvic are other names to note.

Frêche & Associés

Frêche & Associés is instructed by leading industrial companies, notably in the waste management, transport and energy companies. The firm is frequently appointed to handle environmental issues, including public inquiries and authorisation aspects concerning major transport and other infrastructure projects. It also has expertise in site remediation and pollution crisis management. Practice head Thomas Garancher is an expert in the nuclear sector. Hugues Vignon is also noted.

Huglo Lepage Avocats

Huglo Lepage AvocatsCorinne Lepage and Christian Huglo have worked on France’s largest environment crises since the beginning of their careers earning landmark successes. The team regularly assists local public sector entities and cities with handling major environmental crises and issues. It successfully defended the city of Paris before the Paris Administrative Tribunal, which ruled that the city administrative order stopping car traffic on the Paris right bank of the Seine was legal. The firm is also highly active in the energy sector and notably has strong expertise in efficient energy schemes. It also advises on sensitive matters concerning oppositions to the nuclear industry. Of counsels Valérie Saintaman and Benoît Denis are also noted.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP deals with environmental issues related to the development of the energy business. The firm is involved in several major offshore renewable energy projects, and in electrical interconnection projects, notably for Aquind and GridLink. It also advises several clients, in the context of projects and including litigation management, in the field of mineral exploration and hydrocarbons. The firm is assisting South Atlantic Petroleum in defending the Juan de Nova Maritime exploration permit in the French economic zone bordering Madagascar and Mozambique. Tullow Oil, Engie and Arcelor Mittal are clients. Mathias Dantin (of counsel) is recommended.