Firm Profile > Signature Litigation AARPI > Paris, France
Signature Litigation AARPI Offices
49/51 avenue George V
Signature Litigation AARPI > The Legal 500 Rankings
Aviation Tier 1
Boutique litigation practice Signature Litigation AARPI has continued to grow since its opening in Paris in January 2019 with the arrival of international commercial arbitration specialist Flore Poloni from August Debouzy in September 2020. The firm's focus on dispute resolution and insurance matters makes it a popular choice for a range of clients in the aviation industry including airlines, constructors, and insurers who benefit from the department's ability to advise on cross-border matters. With a strong track record in product liability cases relating to high-profile accidents, the group counts several industry leaders including Boeing, Global Aerospace and Rolls Royce as clients. Founding partner Thomas Rouhette is highly regarded for his work on cross-border contentious matters.
Other key lawyers:
‘The team is very responsive – we would normally receive a response on the same day or early the day after. They keep us updated regularly, and are knowledgeable in their fields of expertise.‘
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty
The Boeing Company
Continental Motors Inc.
Compliance Tier 2
Signature Litigation AARPI’s Nicolas Brooke has extensive experience in advising on compliance issues and dealing with international investigations. He is assisting many leading corporations by providing training assistance and reviewing and updating their Sapin II anti-corruption compliance programmes. AFA compliance audits are another busy line of work. Finally, he is also assisting companies, financial institutions and high-ranking executives with the management of sensitive cases concerning bribery and corruption allegations as well as companies’ international operations. Associate Camille Gravis provides strong support.
Other key lawyers:
‘Nicolas Brooke is a superb advocate with deep experience in the French market. Level-headed, thoughtful and creative; he is truly first rate.’
Signature Litigation AARPI is the market’s go-to-firm for domestic and cross-border product liability cases. The firm handles a large and prominent caseload for leading industrial companies, including top cases in the aviation, automobile and electronics sectors, and recently a sensitive case concerning nuclear equipments. The team is also highly regarded for its know-how in defending companies against toxic tort claims and deals with a high amount of claims brought by employees regarding asbestos and other chemical substances In addition, the team also acts in a wide range of other disputes, including commercial litigation and financial product- related cases. Thomas Rouhette and Sylvie Gallage-Alwis co-head the practice. The arrival of the very promising Flore Poloni, who joined in Summer 2020 as partner from August Debouzy where she was a counsel, strengthened the team.
Thomas Rouhette; Sylvie Gallage-Alwis
Other key lawyers:
‘Excellent expertise combined with the ability to explain idiosyncratic concepts of French jurisdiction to foreigners.’
‘Great ability to establish a strategy and a very clear, structured and impactful line of defense or attack, based on a real mastery of legislation and procedures. The team is attentive, available, very friendly, and provides unfailing follow-up to cases.’
‘Senior associate Claire Massiera and Thomas Rouhette show great professionalism and real availability. They approach cases with real intelligence, both intellectual and legal, making it possible to establish a strong strategy, integrating the various objectives and issues of the company.’
Crédit Agricole Corporate & Investment Bank
Russian Insurance Deposit Agency (DIA)
The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company
Insurance Tier 2Since its creation in January 2019, Signature Litigation AARPI quickly established itself as one of France's finest dispute resolution practices and consistently attracts high-stakes, often headline-grabbing matters. The boutique specialises in complex litigation, both in France and internationally, with the majority of matters multijurisdictional in nature, with the firm's London presence a key asset for cross-border work. The practice unites an impressive bench of stellar litigators, chief among them practice heads Emmanuèle Lutfalla and Thomas Rouhette. In September 2020, the arrival of former August Debouzy counsel Flore Poloni as partner bolstered the group's international commercial arbitration capabilities.
‘Emmanuèle Lutfalla is very renowned in the insurance sector. We have got full confidence in her professional skills and the quality of her work.‘
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty China
Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty France
AXA Corporate Solutions
Global Aerospace – GE Aviation
Global Aerospace – The Boeing Company
HDI Canada Branch
Munich RE – AAIC
La Parisienne Assurances
Signature Litigation AARPI > Firm Profile
Signature Litigation is best known as a unique model commercial litigation and arbitration practice with a unique “all member” economic structure. The firm has no transactional practice, and therefore very few conflicts of interest, and none of the distractions which come with a multi-practice law firm with offices across many jurisdictions.
Signature Litigation was founded in 2012 by senior lawyers with many years’ experience in leading practices, specialising in high-value commercial litigation and arbitration. Headquartered in London, with offices in Paris and Gibraltar, the firm was founded to meet the increased demand for highly experienced litigation and arbitration advice and support in complex cases, where the dedication of a niche specialist firm yields results.
The firm: In 2019, Signature Litigation established its Paris office. The firm is distinct from anything else in the French market – it is the only cross-channel, conflict free, firm focused solely on high-end litigation, compliance/investigations and arbitration. No other firm in the market has this advantage, giving the firm a real edge in developing new work streams and supplying superior legal services.
The Paris based partners are all leading experts within their areas of expertise, most notably international commercial litigation, product liability & toxic tort litigation, insurance & reinsurance litigation, compliance & investigations, and international commercial arbitration.
The firm has continued its strong growth this year with several high-value cases and an expanding team of high-calibre individuals. The office’s work spans a range of sectors, including financial services, insurance, telecoms, aviation, automotive and consumer goods, and its client base comprises market leading multi-national corporates. In 2020, the firm appointed specialist commercial arbitration practitioner Flore Poloni to its partnership, to establish its arbitration practice in Paris. Flore’s appointment signals to the legal market a compelling arbitration proposition, which dovetails with the firm’s existing and established litigation and investigations offering and adds complementary experience to the already well settled London based international arbitration team.
Types of work undertaken: Signature Litigation specialises in commercial litigation and arbitration. It handles complex, multi-party disputes that challenge the commercial and reputational viability of its clients. The firm advises on many of the most high-profile cases, which set precedents and receive significant media attention.
Signature Litigation’s product liability & mass toxic tort practice is led from its Paris office and focuses on assisting major entities with every litigation and compliance issue that may arise with regulators, suppliers or consumers. The firm advises clients on all aspects of liability following their products from the day they are designed until they are placed on the market, handling disputes in France and in London.
Signature Litigation’s insurance & reinsurance practice focuses on complex international insurance disputes. Combining the expertise in its Paris and London offices, Signature Litigation has acted for some of the leading insurers and reinsurers on high value disputes, particularly in Europe, Latin America, the Mediterranean basin, Asia and West Africa.
Signature Litigation has deep experience in dealing with regulatory disputes in the banking & financial sectors and conducting corporate investigations for clients in a broad range of business sectors. The Firm also advises clients in connection with investigations initiated by the anti-corruption agency, the AFA.
Signature Litigation’s arbitration practice has experience representing clients in high value and complex international arbitrations in a variety of sectors including defence and IT, as well as bringing ancillary or enforcement proceedings before national courts. It is well known for setting up lean teams to deal with matters in an agile and efficient way.
Expertise in mediation is also shared among the partners.
|Nicolas Brookeemail@example.com||+33 (0)1 70 75 58 00|
|Sylvie Gallage-Alwisfirstname.lastname@example.org||+33 (0)1 70 75 58 00|
|Emmanuèle Lutfallaemail@example.com||+33 (0)1 70 75 58 00|
|Flore Polonifirstname.lastname@example.org||+33 (0)1 70 75 58 00|
|Thomas Rouhetteemail@example.com||+33 (0)1 70 75 58 00|
|Nicolas Brooke||Nicolas is a partner in the Paris office of Signature Litigation. He…||View Profile|
|Sylvie Gallage-Alwis||After 10 years practicing in a major international law firm, Sylvie became…||View Profile|
|Emmanuèle Lutfalla||After 26 years practicing in both major international law firms and top…||View Profile|
|Flore Poloni||Flore specialises in international commercial arbitration. She has 12 years’ experience representing…||View Profile|
|Thomas Rouhette||Thomas is a founding partner of the Paris office of Signature Litigation…||View Profile|
Staff FiguresPartners : 5 Number of other fee earners : 13
LanguagesFrench English Japanese Spanish German
MembershipsIBA (International Bar Association) ABA (American Bar Association) International Association of Defense Counsel Insuralex (Global Insurance Lawyers Group) International Association of Defense Counsel (iADC) Association Internationale de Droit des Assurances (AIDA) London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
Thomas Rouhette, PartnerThomas Rouhette, founding partner of Signature Litigation Paris, explains how the firm is adapting to clients’ changing needs
What do you see as the main points that differentiate Signature Litigation from your competitors?
After over 25 years in a large international law firm, I moved to a smaller, disputes-only boutique firm. What I see is that we do offer the same type of services, driven by a constant quest for quality and using the same resources, but in a virtually conflict-free and much more flexible environment. Our partners take a hands-on approach and can focus on clients and cases 100%, which is made possible thanks to our rejection of bureaucracy and the very limited involvement of partners in the management of the Firm.
Which practices do you see growing in the next 12 months? What are the drivers behind that?
In the disputes area, I anticipate that regulatory investigations and mass consumer/environmental claims will continue to be on the rise during the next 12 months. This is driven by long-term cultural shifts and by recent reforms aiming at facilitating “access to justice”. Plaintiffs’ Counsel, NGOs and consumer associations are increasingly making use of the mechanisms developed at EU and national levels and of the increasingly plaintiff-friendly approach taken by the Court system in several European jurisdictions, such as France. The regulators have taken the view that they should play a part in this trend, not least because they want to cover their backs after some resounding scandals. This leads to a very business-unfriendly litigation landscape, in France in particular.
What’s the main change you’ve made in the firm that will benefit clients?
The Paris office of Signature Litigation is still young (as we only opened in 2019). So, we did not have to make changes but adapted to a model, implemented first in our London office, which proves very well suited to our clients’ needs. First, the client is at the core of our practice and we need to adapt to clients, while more than often larger international firms see them at the core of the relationship and expect clients to adapt to them. We have also developed a profit-sharing scheme whereby 10% of the annual profit is distributed among the non-partner members of the Firm, irrespective of their role. This model is at the centre of a virtuous circle as it reinforces the feeling of ownership of the firm within all its members, strengthens commitment and induces our members into going the extra mile for the greater good.
Is technology changing the way you interact with your clients, and the services you can provide them?
Technology, especially in times of a pandemic, has changed the way law firms interact with clients, which have become increasingly “virtual”. Video conferences have replaced physical meetings, and also to a large extent conference calls. Previously existing trends have accelerated, and clients expect to receive responses which are now much shorter, much more pragmatic and delivered in an even more responsive way. The development of remote working adds the specific challenge of training the younger lawyers, ensuring quality control and spreading the values of the firm without actually meeting physically with one’s team.
Can you give us a practical example of how you have helped a client to add value to their business?
The primary role of outside Counsel is to make in-house Counsel look good and bring value to the client. This can take many forms. But it will always require a team-spirited approach and the delivery of legal advice to the client’s legal team, which is generally stretched, in a simple and business-oriented form which could be passed on to the client’s management as is for decision-making purposes. For instance, we coordinate the defense of a client exposed to multi-jurisdictional mass litigation. To this effect, we monitor the various claims made and the related exposure, develop “master-submissions” which contain the relevant technical and legal arguments and supervise the work of local counsel, through the use of IT platforms, all of which brings both value and savings for the client.
Are clients looking for stability and strategic direction from their law firms – where do you see the firm in three years’ time?
Clients look, rightly so, for loyalty and consistency from their law firms. They want to understand the cost structure of the law firm and to be sure that there will be no unnecessary work resulting in excessive billing. Therefore, clients expect honesty and transparency at all times. In litigation matters, clients are looking for lawyers they trust and can follow in the trenches through difficult times. They are indeed looking for strategic guidance, especially in the context of global disputes where the in-house legal team may not be very familiar with the local procedural specificities. On this basis, I see, and hope, that in three years’ time, the firm will have strengthened its position as one of the leaders on the Paris dispute resolution market. This will involve the appointment of additional partners while we make sure that our values and DNA are preserved.
France: Force Majeure
Published: June 2020
Authors: Sylvie Gallage-Alwis Thomas Rouhette
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Force Majeure laws and regulations that may occur in France.
Gibraltar: Force Majeure
Published: June 2020
Authors: Steven de Lara Colin Grech
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Force Majeure laws and regulations that may occur in Gibraltar.
France: Product Liability
Published: March 2021
Authors: Sylvie Gallage-Alwis
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Product Liability laws and regulations that may occur in France.
England & Wales: Force Majeure
Published: June 2020
Authors: Hermès Marangos Abdulali Jiwaji
This country-specific Q&A provides an overview to Force Majeure laws and regulations that may occur in England & Wales.