Firm Profile > CMS > Paris, France

CMS
2 RUE ANCELLE
92522 NEUILLY-SUR-SEINE
France

Derivatives and structured finance 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.

Employment 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.

Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences 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 & BirdArnaud 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.

Tax 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.

The regions Tier 1

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.

Administrative and public law 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.

Banking and finance: Bank regulatory 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.

Capital markets: debt capital markets 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.

Industry focus: energy 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.

Industry focus: IT, telecoms and the internet 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.

Real estate 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.

Environment Tier 3

CMS

Intellectual property: Trade marks and designs 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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Banking, finance and capital markets
Business law and taxation for Africa
Commercial
Competition and EU
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Corporate, M&A
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Employment and pensions
Energy
Environment
Funds
Hotels and leisure
Infrastructure and project finance
Insolvency and restructuring
Insurance
Intellectual property
Life sciences
Patrimonial
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Public law
Real estate and construction
Tax
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Number of lawyers : 520
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CMS is an international full-service law firm
acting for major global and domestic corporations. 4
500 lawyers work for CMS in over 74 offices.
Contact : Pierre-Sébastien Thill
Other offices : Algiers
Other offices : Casablanca
Other offices : Lyon
Other offices : Strasbourg