Firm Profile > Clifford Chance > Paris, France

Clifford Chance
75008 PARIS

Administrative and public law Tier 1

Clifford Chance has an impressive track record when it comes to advising on France's largest PPP and infrastructure projects, including handling complex post-performance and execution issues. Headed by one of the market's most respected figures, David Préat, the practice recently advised clients in the transport, renewables and energy sectors on landmark greenfield projects. It notably assisted Eiffage Concessions as a bidder for the Route Centre Europe Atlantique (RCEA) motorway project, and a Transdev-led consortium as a candidate to operate the future Charles de Gaulle Airport express rail link (CDG Express). The team is also advising EDF Énergies Nouvelles on a floating offshore wind test project. The firm also assisted banks with motorway and rail refinancing projects, and advised sponsors on several domestic high-speed broadband network projects. It is also assisting the Transport Ministry with complex issues raised by the government's abandonment of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project, as well as with the potential privatisation of Paris airports owner and operator ADP. Finally, the firm also advised on large-scale offshore brownfield projects. Counsel Gauthier Martin is the other key name in the practice.

Banking and finance: Bank regulatory Tier 1

Clifford Chance is especially active in high-profile restructuring matters, while also shouldering a busy workload in the fintech sector. Mandates related to issues stemming from the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (MiFID II) also provide a steady flow of instructions. In addition, practice head Frédérick Lacroix regularly advises on Brexit-related matters. Counsel Sébastien Praicheux is also noted. Clients include Caceis, World Bank and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Banking and finance: transactional work Tier 1

At Clifford Chance, acquisition and leveraged finance are a core part of the firm's caseload, with infrastructure financing and refinancing other especially busy areas. Financings involving capital markets and securitisation are also part of the team's portfolio of expertise. The practice regularly leverages the firm's international footprint for cross-border work, such as advising JP Morgan Securities on the financing of AXA's €12.4bn acquisition of Groupe XL, a deal which saw Thierry Arachtingi work in tandem with his counterparts in New York. Daniel Zerbib, who leads the practice with Arachtingi and project finance specialist Nikolaï Eatwell, also advised BNP Paribas as lender on the €90m refinancing of InfraVia's acquisition of Swiss data centre business Green Datacenter. Crédit Agricole, Goldman Sachs and EDF also feature on the client list. Benjamin de Blegiers left for Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in 2019.

Capital markets: debt capital markets Tier 1

Clifford Chance provides French, US and English law expertise, acting for French and international banks as well as for issuers, including corporates, financial institutions and public sector clients such as municipalities. Alex BafiCédric Burford and Jonathan Lewis are the names to note, with counsel Auriane Bijon and newly promoted counsel Olivier Plessis providing key support. Recent highlights include advising the banks, including BNP Paribas, Société Générale and UniCredit Bank, on Sanofi's €8bn bond issuance, assisting Unibail-Rodamco with its €2bn dual tranche hybrid bond issuance and advising the government of the Sultanate of Oman on the English and US law issues regarding its potential Rule 144A offering of debt securities and simultaneous sukuk offering. Natixis instructed the group to assist with Foncière de Région's cash tender offer on existing bonds and new issue of bonds. Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Morgan Stanley and Carrefour also count among the team's clients.

Compliance Tier 1

Clifford Chance is assisting many leading French and international corporations with the establishment of anti-corruption programmes, including high-profile names in the pharmaceutical, aviation and defence sectors. The 16-lawyer team is also advising several clients on audits by the new French anti-corruption agency, Agence française anticorruption (AFA), and on conducting internal investigations in connection with or independently from government-led investigations. It also offers antitrust compliance advice. Thomas Baudesson, newly promoted partner Charles-Henri Boeringer and Katrin Schallenberg are recommended.

Derivatives and structured finance Tier 1

Clifford Chance handles the full range of structured finance, including securitisation, repackaging, derivatives and alternative market financing products, and possesses French, English and US law expertise. Jonathan Lewis heads the practice jointly with newly promoted partner Julien Rocherieux; Lewis assisted the European Investment Fund with multiple matters, including the provision of guarantees to the ENABLE funding programme of the British Business Bank and the provision of guarantees to securitisations in Spain, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK in the context of the European Commission and EIB Group's SME Initiative. Other work came from Elior, XPO Logistics and Crédit Foncier. Olivier Plessis made counsel.

Dispute resolution: commercial litigation Tier 1

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.

Industry focus: energy Tier 1

Combining first-class public law, project, finance and M&A expertise, Clifford Chance has impressive capabilities that are difficult to match. In France, the firm is advising sponsors on the country's largest offshore wind projects, and also advised on major gas, heat and renewables infrastructure M&A transactions. It assisted Cube Infrastructures with the disposals of district heating supplier Idex and Taranis. The practice is equally strong in the oil and gas and power sectors at international level, often acting for lenders and also for sponsors. It is advising on large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, primarily in Africa but also in other jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. Highlights included assisting Sace with the financing of the Coral Floating LNG project in Mozambique, as well as Cacib with the financing of the Muara Tawar gas-fired power plant in Indonesia, and the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group also advises on highly strategic new pipeline projects. Key names include David Préat, Laurent Schoenstein, Benjamin De Blegiers, Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Delphine Siino Courtin, Richard Tomlinson and Daniel ZerbibBenjamin de Blégiers is now with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Private equity: Fund formation Tier 1

Clifford Chance focuses on French, Luxembourgish and pan-European funds, which the practice assists with the full spectrum of fund formation-related services as well as with secondary transactions, an especially active area for the group both on the buyer and the seller side. Practice head Xavier Comaills is the key name; his recent highlights include advising Archimed on the creation of a new small- and mid-cap buyout fund with a focus on European companies from the healthcare sector and assisting Mirova with the creation and fundraising of its second infrastructure fund. Advising on debt funds and seed and growth capital funds are other areas of expertise. Other clients include Cathay Capital, Bpifrance Investissement and Ardian. Counsel Tiana Rambatomanga joined Stephenson Harwood.

Private equity: LBO Tier 1

Active in the large- and mid-cap segments of the market, Clifford Chance acts for private equity houses, banks and specialised infrastructure funds. With considerable sector expertise and strong cross-border capabilities, the team, which is led by practice heads Fabrice Cohen and Marianne Pezant, has handled several recent high-profile instructions. Highlights included advising PAI Partners on the acquisition of Asmodee group from Eurazeo, valued at €1.2bn, and assisting Permira with the acquisition of Exclusive Networks from Cobepa, Edmond de Rothschild, Sogecap and the management. Laurent Schoenstein led the advice to Cube Infrastructure Managers on the disposal of Idex Group and Taranis. Gilles Lebreton is also noted. Benjamin de Blegiers is now with Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Clients also include Apax Partners, Cinven and BlackRock.

Project finance Tier 1

Clifford Chance's state-of-the-art public law, project finance and M&A infrastructure capabilities make the firm an infrastructure and energy project leader in France, in Africa and other parts of the world. The practice is currently advising on many of France's largest rail, motorway, broadband network and renewable projects. Highlights included assisting Eiffage Concessions with its tender bid for the RCEA motorway project tender, and EDF EN with the floating offshore wind test project. The firm is also involved in large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, mostly in Africa but also in other diverse jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. It is assisting the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group is also advising on strategic new pipeline projects and on major infrastructure projects in Turkey including assisting a group of lenders with the Bursa health campus project. The 27-lawyer team is made up of high-profile figures including Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib, Richard Tomlinson, Delphine Siino Courtin and public law expert David PréatBenjamin de Blegiers joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in April 2019.

Aviation Tier 2

Clifford Chance has a broad aviation practice, with a team whose 'members complement each other'. The practice has a strong corporate and commercial focus, with Dessislava Savova and Fabrice Cohen forming the heart of the group, as well as a strong litigation and arbitration component alongside regulatory expertise. In a recent corporate highlight, Cohen advised Airbus on its $750m disposal of Vector Aerospace to StandardAero Aviation Holdings, while Savova acted for Airbus on the implementation of a new industrial and commercial strategy for the insourcing of key aircraft components. Thibaud d’Alès represented the Cessna Citation European Service Center in litigation against owners and managers of airplanes arising from the non-payment of repairing works. Other key contacts include Jason FrySimon Greenberg and Thomas BaudessonCharles-Henri Boeringer was promoted to partner in May 2018.

Capital markets: equity capital markets Tier 2

Clifford Chance is particularly active in IPOs, but also demonstrates strength in rights offerings, convertible bonds, block trades and equity derivatives. Employee shares schemes and stock option schemes are another area of focus. US securities specialist Alex Bafi and Aline Cardin, an expert in French and international securities offerings, head the practice. Jointly with regulatory specialist Frédérick Lacroix the team advised Société Générale as shareholder and ALD as issuer on ALD's €1.2bn Rule 144A IPO on the Euronext Paris, assisting with both French and US law issues. On the block trade side, recent highlights include advising Altrafin on the sale of 8.4% of Altran's share capital by way of accelerated bookbuilding. Olivier Plessis made counsel and Julien Rocherieux was promoted to partner.

Dispute resolution: Stock market litigation Tier 2

Clifford Chance is representing leading international banks facing market abuse and insider trading investigations by the AMF. The firm is also defending a credit rating agency in very sensitive matters, including in the first investigation and enforcement proceedings conducted by the European Securities and Markets Authority. It is also acting for a CAC 40 company in another potential insider trading case. Thomas Baudesson is highly experienced and recommended. Diego de Lammerville and newly promoted partner Charles-Henri Boeringer are also key contacts.

EU, competition and distribution Tier 2

Clifford Chance's antitrust practice combines national and European expertise to cover the full gamut of competition matters through the experience of Katrin Schallenberg and David Tayar. The pair jointly head the practice, supported by of counsel Michel Petite. As well as overseeing Europcar's acquisition of Goldcar, the group recently handled Axel Springer's sale of 78.4% of the Aufeminin group to TF1. Schallenberg is currently representing Arkema in a claim against Honeywell on the grounds of European competition law, seeking a worldwide licence to use one of its products; Tayar is assisting Carrefour with its strategic alliance with Tesco covering the joint purchase of own-brand products and the negotiation of services with large international suppliers. Senior associate Emily Xueref-Poviac is also a key contact and is part of the team advising Oracle on a very recent FCA investigation.

Industry focus: Healthcare and life sciences Tier 2

Market access, pricing policies, competition, public procurements, intellectual property, compliance and corporate matters all fall within the expertise of Clifford Chance's cross-disciplinary offering. Reinforced by the arrival of antitrust expert David Tayar from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, the team recently advised on the breakup of a joint venture between two leading global pharmaceutical players for the distribution of over-the-counter products; Tayar is also representing Teva in an investigation by the European Commission regarding a patent settlement with Cephalon. Thomas Baudesson and senior associate Gaëlle Merlier teamed up to defend a major pharmaceutical company against a series of product liability claims, including criminal charges. On the corporate front, Laurent Schoenstein assisted Synlab Labco with its acquisition of Seldaix, while regulatory expert Olivier Gaillard continues to advise on new anti-gift and transparency regulations. Other key clients include Pfizer, GSK and Novo Nordisk.

Mergers and acquisitions Tier 2

The team of 'great professionals' at Clifford Chance 'combines deep experience, the ability to deliver fast under pressure, a pragmatic approach and the ability to find creative solutions'. Recent highlights include multiple cross-border cases, among them advising Engie on the $2.04bn sale of its liquefied natural gas business to Total, a matter led by the 'client-oriented and business-minded' Mathieu Rémy. Fabrice Cohen, who is 'very pragmatic, with a risk-oriented mindset', advised Europcar on its €1bn acquisition of Goldcar from Investindustrial. Domestically, Marianne Pezant assisted Carrefour with the creation of a common vehicle with Fnac Darty, creating a purchasing partnership for domestic appliances and consumer electronics in France.  Other noteworthy practitioners include Gilles Lebreton, Laurent Schoenstein and counsel Olivier Jouffroy, 'a very good professional who is able to manage pressure very well'. Julien Brun made counsel. Benjamin de Blegiers joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in 2019. Vacalians, Airbus, Axel Springer and Plastic Omnium all count among the team's clients.

Real estate Tier 2

Clifford Chance stands out for handling large investment transactions, including pan-European portfolio deals, in the office, retail and logistics sectors. The 12-lawyer team advises several prominent French and international investors and recently gained a number of blue-chip names as clients In recent work, the group advised on office building and office tower investments and property financing. Highlights included assisting Partners Group with the acquisition of the CB16 office tower in La Défense, as well as Ivanhoe Cambridge as borrower with the financing of the construction of the Duo office towers in Paris. The team also advised RFR Holding on the acquisition of a property located on la Croisette in Cannes, and assisted tenants with leasing negotiations pertaining to office spaces. AEW Ciloger, Blackstone Real Estate and Gecina are also clients. Practice head François Bonteil is an expert in the field and Alexandre Couturier is another key name. Counsel Anne-Sophie Plé is also noted.

Tax Tier 2

Clifford Chance’s ‘excellent’ eight-lawyer team stands out for its ‘high professionalism and availability’. The practice recently advised on high-profile infrastructure M&A transactions through its assistance to Engie with the $2bn sale of its upstream LNG business to Total. It also acted alongside PAI Partners on the €1.15bn LBO on Asmodée. The team also stands out for its ‘strong experience and knowledge of the real estate industry’ where it shows ‘great ability to execute a transaction and anticipate solutions’. It was recently involved in some of the market’s largest investment transactions and handled a number of matters for Primonial, which it notably assisted with its 50% equity investment in a German healthcare asset portfolio owned by Medical Properties Trust. The team is also a leading reference for pan-European real estate fund structuring and assisted Ardian France with the creation of its first real estate fund. Rexel, Axel Springer, Altarea Cogedim and AEW Ciloger are also clients. Co-heads Eric Davoudet  and Alexandre Lagarrigue, who ‘combines technical proficiency, imagination and very good judgement’, rank among the best in their fields and counsel Jitka Susankova is also noted.

Dispute resolution: International arbitration Tier 3

Clifford Chance's ‘hugely experienced’ 16-lawyer Paris-based team has first-hand knowledge of the ICC Court. The practice acts for French and international corporations facing shareholder, partnership, mining and construction disputes. It is handling a series of cases for a key client in the aviation sector, and is also acting in investment cases, including representing a state in its first treaty claim. Practice head Jason Fry is highly recommended, along with the ‘determined, brilliant and reasonableSimon Greenberg. Counsel Sandrine Colletier is also noted.

Dispute resolution: White-collar crime Tier 3

Clifford Chance is instructed by international banks and financial institutions to advise on sensitive money-laundering and tax fraud cases. The eight-lawyer team is also representing a major client facing high-profile anti-corruption investigations and defending a leading pharmaceutical company. Thomas Baudesson and newly promoted partner Charles-Henri Boeringer are recommended.

Employment Tier 3

Clifford Chance's ‘very experienced’ and ‘easily accessible’ seven-lawyer team provides ‘outstanding support’. Clients point out the practice's ‘ability to handle complex M&A projects in an ever-changing political environment’, while it also stands out for being ‘very good in dealing with high-stakes employment law disputes’. The team acts for a number of longstanding industrial clients including several companies in the automotive sector, which it notably advised on restructuring, downsizing projects and connected litigation. It recently assisted Allia (Geberit) with the closure of two plants in France and Hanon with the implementation of a collective termination agreement. Other clients include Fujifilm, Visteon, Schaeffler and Pfizer. Practice head François Farmine ‘is very thorough, responsive and has a very hands-on approach’.

Insolvency Tier 3

Clifford Chance stands out for its ability to handle complex cases including  cross-border disputes and fiducie aspects. The six-lawyer team regularly acts for insolvency administrators and also represents debtors and creditors. It recently acted for the trustee in CGG's safeguard proceedings and assisted Agripole's bondholders with the restructuring of Agripole and William Saurin. Practice head Reinhard Dammann has extensive experience and academic knowledge of his field. Counsel Gilles Podeur is another key name.

Media and entertainment: advertising

Yves Wehrli heads the Paris office of Clifford Chance and its sports team, which handles matters pertaining to sponsorship deals, TV tenders, construction and financing issues, corporate deals, and dispute resolution. In recent highlights, the practice advised the French Football League on the invitation to tender regarding the sale of its TV rights for Ligue 1 to Spanish broadcaster Mediapro; the transaction exceeded the symbolic billion euro threshold for the first time in France. In addition to advising on the organisation of the 2018 Gay Games, including providing key commercial contracts and strategic advice, the firm is assisting Racing Club de Lens with an investigation by a local financial court regarding the rent paid by the club to the city owning the stadium for its use. Laurent Schoenstein is also a key name to note and banking expert Benjamin De Blegiers assisted with the financing of a new stadium and the acquisition of new players.

The firm: Clifford Chance is one of the world’s pre-eminent law firms, with significant depth and range of resources across five continents. As a single, fully integrated, global partnership, it prides itself on its approachable, collegial and team-based way of working. The firm always strives to exceed the expectations of its clients, which include corporates from all the commercial and industrial sectors, governments, regulators, trade bodies and not-for-profit organisations. It provides them with the highest quality advice and legal insight, which combines the firm’s global standards with in-depth local expertise.

Types of work undertaken:

Capital markets: the capital markets practice concentrates on securities transactions and other products sold into the capital markets. The practice is founded on a full-service US and UK securities law capability, complemented by local securities law expertise in each of the key financial centres. It provides practical, integrated legal advice covering the full spectrum of global capital raising activities including public and private domestic and international offerings of traditional debt and equity securities as well as convertible and other derivative and structured securities.

Corporate: the corporate practice handles some of the world’s largest and most complex M&A transactions. It combines global transaction capability with a full service of English, US and civil law expertise in the key financial centres across Europe, the Americas and Asia Pacific. In addition to mainstream M&A, the firm also encompasses leading specialist practices in: commercial contracts, competition and antitrust, communications, energy, healthcare, financial institutions, funds, investment banking, insurance, media and technology, and private equity.

Finance: Clifford Chance’s finance practice is the leading international finance practice of any law firm. The practice provides highly commercial and practical advice across the full spectrum of financial products including syndicated lending and leveraged and acquisition finance, asset finance, derivative products, project finance, financial regulatory, insolvency, restructuring and structured finance.

Litigation, dispute resolution and risk management: the firm has experience in virtually all segments of the business and financial markets across multiple jurisdictions. The lawyers work with clients to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively – whether through arbitration, litigation or other techniques.

Real estate: Clifford Chance’s leading real estate practice offers UK, European, Asian and US real estate capability. The practice advises the real estate industry’s leading players on the entire property ‘life-cycle’ from the initial acquisition, development, leasing, joint venturing and financing through to the final exit, as well as tax structuring, PFI/PPP, corporate outsourcing, planning, environment and litigation.

Tax, pensions, employment and incentives: Clifford Chance has one of the world’s largest international tax groups within a single law firm. The firm is uniquely placed to provide leading edge advice to clients, and the practice is structured on an integrated global basis. Local tax groups within the practice work closely with areas such as securitisation, securities, M&A, corporate restructuring, private equity, real estate and funds.

The pan-European VAT group advises on all areas of VAT and has particular strength advising on novel and complex issues in the structured finance, financial services, corporate finance and real estate sectors.

The team of experienced employment, employee benefits, ERISA, immigration and pensions specialists work with clients from a wide range of sectors to address local and cross-border issues.

International offices:Abu Dhabi, Amsterdam, Bangkok, Barcelona, Beijing, Brussels, Bucharest, Casablanca, Dubai, Düsseldorf, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Jakarta*, London, Luxembourg, Madrid, Milan, Moscow, Munich, New York, Paris, Perth, Prague, Rome, São Paulo, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Tokyo, Warsaw, Washington, D.C., Riyadh**

*Linda Widyati & Partners in association with Clifford Chance

**Clifford Chance has a co-operation agreement with Abuhimed Alsheikh Alhagbani Law Firm in Riyadh

Photo Name Position Profile
 François Bonteil  photo François Bonteil
 Reinhard Dammann  photo Reinhard Dammann
 Anthony Giustini  photo Anthony Giustini
Number of partners : 550
Number of other fee-earners : 3,300

Advice To My Younger Self: Reflections of Successful Women Lawyers

Women lawyers open up about their careers and defining choices

Advice To My Younger Self: Reflections of Successful Women Lawyers is published by The Legal 500‘s GC Magazine in collaboration with Clifford Chance. Now in its second release, the book is a practical resource for anyone interested in charting a successful career path at a law firm or by moving in-house. It features interviews with 20 women partners, alumnae and in-house counsel, with additional contributions from members of Clifford Chance’s senior management and US-based recruiting team. Visit our website to learn more about practical tips for building your career.

RISING LAWYERS open up about their priorities and strategies for success

Their Voices: Insights from Today’s Rising Lawyers by The Legal 500‘s GC Magazine in collaboration with Clifford Chance. Geared primarily for students and junior lawyers, the book is a practical resource for those considering law school or just beginning a legal career. Twenty junior lawyers offer diverse perspectives on what inspires them about the law, and the strategies that are helping them stay in touch with their priorities and define the future of their careers. Their Voices also provides insights for senior lawyers as they mentor the next generation of leaders.