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Administrative and public law
Administrative and public law - ranked: tier 2


CMS has ‘outstanding knowledge of public law and excellent practical business sense’. The ‘very responsive and dedicated’ team ‘maintains solid relationships with national and local governments as well as administrative courts’. The firm's strong public law contracts and projects practice advises a number of key players, including leading engineering groups and private and public sector operators. The practice is handling several high-profile projects, including assisting SNCF Mobilités with the Paris-Nord railway station renovation project, and CDC with the financing of the construction of a luxury hotel within the Château de Versailles. The team also deals with major contentious issues and notably represented Axxès, as a co-contractor of Ecomouv’, in litigation against the French state following the termination of the Eco-tax project. Practice co-head François Tenailleau ‘is recognised as a top adviser in his field’ and deals with his clients' issues in ‘a practical and creative manner’. Other practice co-head Claire Vannini is a specialist in public economic law issues and advises on major state aid and regulatory disputes. She is notably assisting Corsica Linea with handling high-stakes state aid issues following its acquisition of some of SNCM's assets and its operations of France-Corsica maritime services. Christophe Barthélemy is a top name for complex energy work, while Jean-Luc Tixier provides urban law and property development expertise.

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Banking and finance: Bank regulatory
Banking and finance: Bank regulatory - ranked: tier 2


The CMS team specialises in the regulation of financial product distribution networks and the setting-up of investment firms, management companies and financial institutions. Cryptocurrency and blockchain-related instructions also form part of the group's portfolio of expertise. Practice head Jérôme Sutour is the key contact and recently advised Schroders Group on the setting-up of Schroder Aida, a new French management company, including obtaining authorisation from the French Financial Markets Authority. Other clients include Liquid Share, VTB Bank and German direct bank N26. Counsel Geoffrey Lesveque joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP.

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Banking and finance: transactional work
Banking and finance: transactional work - ranked: tier 4


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Capital markets: debt capital markets
Capital markets: debt capital markets - ranked: tier 2


The 'very professional team' at CMS is noted for its 'excellent legal skills', 'responsiveness' and 'business approach'. 'Instead of focusing on problems, the group always looks for pragmatic solutions' and 'is very good in negotiations'. EMTN programmes, euro private placements, covered bonds and liability management transactions account for a significant portion of the caseload, with bonds issued by public entities providing another significant source of mandates. Practice head Marc-Etienne Sébire advised Klépierre on a tender offer to purchase four bonds series for cash, two under French and two under Dutch law, as well as on the issue of €500m new bonds offering a 1.625% coupon due 2023 under its €7bn EMTN programme. Advice on French law-covered bonds from French Sociétés de Financement de l'Habitat form also part of the recent caseload. Other work came from Natixis, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank and Caisse des dépôts et consignations, the French public sector financial institution.

Leading individuals

Marc-Etienne Sébire - CMS

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Derivatives and structured finance
Derivatives and structured finance - ranked: tier 1


CMS fields a 'very proactive, approachable and client-oriented' team noted for its 'no-nonsense approach and the willingness to take the initiative'. Cross-border transactions account for a significant part of the caseload, but the team is also strong domestically. Recent highlights focused on securitisation and French debt funds, as well as on covered bonds and trade receivables. Grégory Benteux, head of the securitisation and structured finance practice, and Marc-Etienne Sébire, head of the capital markets group, 'are both commercial, fully involved and easy to work with'. Benteux advised Société Générale Securities Services on creating a new securitisation fund, acquiring receivables arising from the purchase and financing of vehicles and spare parts by designated German retail motor vehicle dealers. The team also assisted BNP Paribas and Banque Fédérative du Crédit Mutuel with covered bonds issued as part of euro medium-term note (EMTN) programmes. My Money Bank, HSBC and BPCE are also clients.

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EU, competition and distribution
EU, competition and distribution - ranked: tier 5


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Employment - ranked: tier 1


CMS ‘has solid experience, updates its clients frequently’ and is able ‘to handle the full spectrum of matters’. The sizeable 80-lawyer team, which is ‘very professional, has a good network and is well known in the market’, assists leading French and international corporations and various public sector entities. It regularly handles high-end work and recently managed high-stakes mass litigation pertaining to equal payment, contract re-qualification and remuneration issues. The team secured a major victory for La Poste in a dispute filed by more than 10,000 individuals requesting equal pay for equal work; the case was by the Court of Cassation. The group was also recently particularly active handling the implementation of restructuring and mass redundancy schemes, as well as advising on M&A deals. The practice assisted Prisma Media with the sale of French magazine VSD, Tupperware with the closure of a manufacturing site in Tours, and British Airways with the reorganisation of its commercial department at a European level. Key names in the 20-partner team include Laurent Marquet de Vasselot, Nicolas de Sevin, Ghislain Beaure d’Augères, who ‘has in-depth knowledge of the corporate world, is creative and can handle complex matters’, Pierre-Jean Sinibaldi, Alain Herrmann and Raphaël Bordier, who is ‘always available in case of emergency, inspires full confidence and has dealt with very challenging projects with success’. Pierre Bonneau, Nicolas Callies, Damien Decolasse, Caroline Froger-Michon, Marie-Pierre Schramm and Guillaume Bossy are also noted.

Leading individuals

Laurent Marquet de Vasselot - CMS

Nicolas de Sevin - CMS

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Environment - ranked: tier 3


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Mergers and acquisitions
Mergers and acquisitions - ranked: tier 5


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Project finance
Project finance - ranked: tier 3


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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 2


CMS has one of the market's largest practices following the arrival of a 12-lawyer team from Herbert Smith Freehills LLP led by the highly regarded Pierre Popesco, Benjamin Bill and Florence Chérel at the beginning of 2018. The group, which has extensive experience, now has significant investment capabilities and advised on several high-profile transactions in 2018. It notably assisted Amundi with the €330m sale of the Sirocco portfolio, as well as WestInvest with the acquisitions of the Metropolitan office building in Paris and Les Docks building in Marseille and with the sale of the Tour Cèdre tower located at La Défense. The firm also has strong commercial leasing expertise, acting both for asset managers and developers, as well as tenants, where Philippe Riglet and Aline Divo are key names. The practice notably assisted Inovalis and Pitch Promotion with the negotiation of a commercial lease agreement of Danone’s future new headquarters. The group is also able to draw on complementary tax expertise. UBS Real Estate, Axa Real Estate and Société Générale are other clients.

Next Generation Partners

Benjamin Bill - CMS

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Tax - ranked: tier 1


CMS houses one of the market's largest and most experienced tax teams with more than 200 lawyers involved. The firm handles all types of tax matters from mainstream to highly specialised tax issues and has a tax doctrine department supporting its practice. It advises leading French and international corporations, as well as insurers, banks and several public sector entities. The practice recently handled high-end litigation cases, where the highly regarded Stéphane Austry is the key name. The firm is also sought out to advise on tax restructuring, international tax issues and M&A transactions. Bruno Gibert and Edouard Milhac are key names for international tax issues. Elisabeth Ashworth, Pierre Carcelero, Patrick Danis, Christophe Frionnet, Stéphane Gelin, Frédéric Gerner, Anne Grousset, Lionel Lenczner, Anne-Sophie Rostaing, Jean-Christophe Sauzey and Philippe Tournès were recently involved in key matters.

Leading individuals

Edouard Milhac - CMS

Leading individuals: Litigation

Stéphane Austry - CMS

Leading individuals: Transactional/corporate tax

Bruno Gibert - CMS

Leading individuals: Transfer pricing and international tax

Bruno Gibert - CMS

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The regions
The regions - ranked: tier 1

CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre Lyon

CMS Bureau Francis Lefebvre Lyon is one of France's leading business law firms. Primarily based in Paris, the firm's Lyon office also has a considerable number of resources with close to 100 lawyers providing business, tax and public law expertise to SMEs and larger domestic and international corporations operating from the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the greater South East regions of France. François Coutard, Pierre Devis, Jean-Thomas Heintz and Laurent Romano jointly head the office. The firm also has a third office in Strasbourg housing six lawyers.

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France: Dispute resolution

Dispute resolution: commercial litigation
Dispute resolution: commercial litigation - ranked: tier 4


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France: Industry focus

Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences
Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences - ranked: tier 1


Clients value CMS' 'relationship-oriented approach' and the team's 'outstanding knowledge' of their business. The practice recently added to its existing capabilities in the regulatory, antitrust, tax and corporate areas with the arrival of IP expert Jean-Baptiste Thiénot, who joined from Bird & Bird. Arnaud Hugot led the advice to Ramsay Générale de Santé regarding its acquisition of 100% of Hôpital privé de l'Est Lyonnais from the NOALYS group, and Bernard Geneste represented French and European health industry unions in their appeal to the Conseil d'Etat for the revocation of certain regulatory requirements for the launch of medical devices in France. On the contentious front, Anne-Laure Villedieu advised on a number of product liability claims and Thiénot assisted a major global pharmaceutical company with regulatory and antitrust issues raised with the authorities by a competitor. Jean de la Hosseraye heads the product liability sub-team and the main names in Lyon are Laurent Stamm and Laurent Romano.

Leading individuals

Bernard Geneste - CMS

Next Generation Partners

Stéphanie de Giovanni - CMS

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Industry focus: IT, telecoms and the internet
Industry focus: IT, telecoms and the internet - ranked: tier 2


CMS 'has a specialised team dedicated to digital issues' and clients find 'invaluable' its 'experience in dealing with data protection regulatory issues'. Practice head Anne-Laure Villedieu 'gives timely, technical and commercial advice'; she recently assisted ADInstruments with the drafting and negotiating of a major agreement with the Université de Lorraine for the provision of an e-learning and e-laboratory platform. On the contentious front, the team is currently representing Sage in disputes with clients and an online host arising from the failure of the latter's services, and Telecom Services instructed Villedieu to handle litigation against foreign suppliers regarding the procurement of defective TV transcoders, televisions and digital tablets. Clients such as Mercer and Ford also appointed the firm to oversee the implementation of their GDPR compliance programmes.

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Industry focus: energy
Industry focus: energy - ranked: tier 2


CMS has strong regulatory expertise in the energy sector through Christophe Barthélemy, who is among the top experts in that area. The firm is advising on key matters in France spanning projects, disputes and newly introduced regulatory issues. It is notably assisting Ailes Marines with the Saint-Brieuc offshore wind project and is handling highly strategic litigation for Engie which is challenging the EU legality of France's regulated gas and electricity tariffs. The practice is also advising on hydropower, biomass and LNG projects, as well as on energy certificates matters. Public law expert François Tenailleau also advises on energy projects.

Leading individuals: Regulatory and public law

Christophe Barthélemy - CMS

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France: Intellectual property

Intellectual property: Trade marks and designs
Intellectual property: Trade marks and designs - ranked: tier 3


Anne-Laure Villedieu heads the trade marks offering at CMS with the support of counsel José Monteiro. The team specialises in the luxury, cosmetics and food sectors and recently advised Bolton Solitaire on the intellectual property aspects of the launch of a new product line. On the contentious front, Body Minute appointed Villedieu's group to handle a trade mark litigation against an international competitor, while recent advisory work includes the management of several high-profile international brands, the negotiation of licensing agreements and the restructuring of intangible assets. Litigation specialist and associate Sabine Rigaud is also a name to note.

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France: Private equity

Private equity: Fund formation
Private equity: Fund formation - ranked: tier 3


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Further information on CMS

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about CMS in other jurisdictions.

United Arab Emirates

Offices in Dubai


Offices in Tirana



Offices in Vienna


Offices in Brussels, Antwerp, and Brussels

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Offices in Sarajevo


Offices in Sofia and Sofia


Offices in Beijing, Beijing, and Shanghai


Offices in Zagreb

Czech Republic

Offices in Prague


Offices in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Berlin, Leipzig, Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Munich


Offices in Algiers


Offices in Madrid, Malaga, Seville, Madrid, and Barcelona


Offices in Paris, Strasbourg, and Lyon

Hong Kong

Offices in Hong Kong and Hong Kong


Offices in Budapest

Latin America: International firms


Offices in Rome and Milan


Offices in Mombasa and Nairobi


Offices in Beirut


Offices in London EC4N and London EC3A


Offices in Luxembourg

North Macedonia

Offices in Skopje


Offices in Casablanca


Offices in Podgorica


Offices in Utrecht and Amsterdam

North West

Offices in Manchester


Offices in Muscat


Offices in Warsaw and Poznan


Offices in Lisbon


Offices in Bucharest


Offices in Moscow


Offices in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Aberdeen

South East

Offices in Reading


Offices in Singapore, Singapore, and Singapore


Offices in Bratislava


Offices in Ljubljana

South West

Offices in Bristol


Offices in Zurich, Geneva, and Geneva


Offices in Istanbul and ElmadaÄŸ/ÅžiÅŸli


Offices in Kiev and Kiev

Yorkshire and the Humber

Offices in Sheffield S2 and Sheffield S2


Offices in Belgrade

Legal Developments by:

  • Access to justice: protective costs orders in planning challenges

    Third parties and competing developers have no rights of appeal to the Secretary of State against planning decisions. Disappointed applicants can appeal to the Secretary of State and can have the merits of the application reconsidered. The only remedy available to a disappointed third party is a challenge by way of judicial review in the High Court on a point of law. The sense of frustration and disempowerment this creates has not been helped by the increasing complexity of the planning process and the use of consultation to legitimise decisions that many perceive may already have been taken.
    - CMS Group

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