Banking & Finance - France
Thierry Arachtingi receives widespread market praise: "He specialises in acquisition finance and is one of the most able lawyers in this area. We worked with him because we needed someone technically excellent, which he is, whilst also being very commercially aware."
PFI/PPP market leader Daniel Zerbib focuses on infrastructure finance, leveraged and acquisition finance and debt restructuring. Clients highlight him as being "very reactive."
James Butters is a qualified UK barrister and solicitor. He specialises in cross-border debt financings and restructurings and other forms of structured and corporate debt.
Benjamin de Blegiers enters the rankings following strong feedback: "He is hard-working and able to handle the work and cope with the pressure." His work involves infrastructure, leveraged and acquisition finance, as well as debt restructuring.
Commentators confirm that Nikolaï Eatwell is heavily involved in Russian work. He is based in Paris and has a wide practice representing banks in project finance deals in Eastern Europe.
Clients say market leader Eric Cartier-Millon is "great – he knows how to get people to agree and find a mutually beneficial solution." He handles structured finance and project finance.
Real estate finance partner Kamel Ben Salah is praised by clients: "He's an excellent negotiator: he can identify what the most important points are and focus on them, and always manages to find compromises."
Germany and Ukraine foreign expert Karl Hepp de Sevelinges is admitted to practice in France and Germany. His finance practice focuses on CEE and he is responsible for the Paris office's German desk.
Practice head Xavier Farde receives outstanding client feedback: "Technically he's excellent. He's also trained in finance which means that he speaks our language and understands our problems." He is the vice chair of the firm's global finance department and the local department chair for Paris.
Interviewees say that UK foreign expert Etienne Gentil is "perfectly bilingual" and has a "very Anglo-Saxon approach." He is dual-qualified in the UK and France and regularly works with international clients. He advises on LBOs, high-yield, aircraft financing, rolling stock and other types of asset and project financings.
Basil Zotiades is qualified as a UK solicitor and French avocat. He assists with capital markets and structured finance work.
Clients value practice head Raphaël Richard: "He follows the commercial aspects of the negotiation closely. He has a strong understanding of market practices, and he always tries to be as creative as possible so that we find solutions for all parties involved. I know I'm in good hands if I work with him."
Commentators highlight Denise Diallo's pragmatism and experience in the field. She is qualified in New York and Paris, and is experienced in structured finance including acquisition, leveraged and corporate financings.
Louise Mor is UK-qualified and was based in London before moving to Paris. She focuses on asset finance work.
Moscow-based asset finance expert Thomas McDonald regularly works on French deals and speaks the language fluently.
Practice head Roderic Cork continues to impress commentators, one of whom said: "He's obviously got a formidable reputation and is a great lawyer. He's extremely experienced and I love working with him." Cork handles general financing including LBOs, public deals, restructurings and project finance. He is dual-qualified in France and the UK.
Christophe Jacquemin gains plaudits from clients: "I like working with him – he's very pragmatic and comes up with good solutions when we're stuck. He knows how to think outside the box when needed." He focuses on general corporate lending.
Adrian Mellor is an English solicitor based in Paris. He regularly works on the English law aspects of banking and finance deals. His practice encompasses general corporate lending, acquisition finance and trade finance, particularly export credit.
Sources say Carine Chassol is "very respected and clients appreciate her a lot." She has experience in general corporate syndicated work, shipping and asset finance and export credit work.
Recently made partner Julien Roux continues to work on some of the practice's key deals. He focuses on general corporate finance, restructuring and property financing.
Department head Laurent Mabilat stands out for his significant experience in the Paris market.
Diane Sénéchal maintains a strong reputation in this market and is best known for her work on LBOs and leverage finance.
Frankfurt-based finance partner Anne Grewlich is a French national and a qualified Avocat à la Cour.
Emmanuel Fatôme is described as "an excellent lawyer: he's available, reactive and understands clients' needs." His practice focuses on real estate finance.
Christophe Gaillard receives large amounts of positive client feedback: "He's available and is always in a good mood. He's a solution-finder and is good at easing tense situations." His work involves acquisition, syndicated and structured finance.
Jean-Renaud Cazali remains a key member of the team. He recently advised the lenders on the financing, conception, demolition, construction, maintenance and renewal of 12 schools in Seine Saint Denis, a deal worth EUR300 million.
Clients say Antoine Maffei is "plugged into the market." He has long-standing experience in banking and finance.
Department head Bertrand Andriani has recognised project finance expertise: "For financing and project financing we work with Andriani - he's the go-to guy in Paris." He also has extensive experience of handling leveraged and structured finance matters as well as syndicated loans.
Clients describe key partner Kathryn Merryfield as "excellent: extremely able, conscientious and available." She specialises in acquisition and syndicated finance. She is UK-qualified and previously practised in London.
Leading banking and finance partner Nathalie Hobbs recently relocated to the firm's Hong Kong office after years working in the Paris office. She speaks fluent French.
Jacques Bertran de Balanda heads the practice. He has long-standing expertise in acquisition and project finance as well as domestic and international public-private partnerships.
Clients praise key partner Régis Oréal: "He's very pragmatic and efficient: he goes straight to the point. He's very good technically and has a commercial approach. He's a highly motivated person and likes to do his best."
Up-and-coming partner Eric Fiszelson earns positive client reviews: "He was excellent – he really went the extra mile for us and is a very commercial lawyer."
Since publication, Jacques Bertran de Balanda has retired from this practice.
Head of the Paris office George Paterson receives positive comments from clients: "We work with him on new, complex and structured deals. He's available, very creative and pragmatic, and he knows all the main players so that if we're in a tough spot he can find a solution." Paterson is best known for his asset finance expertise.
Christine Ezcutari remains a key member of the banking and finance practice. A highlight of late was advising Crédit Agricole CIB as lead arranger on the financing of an investment programme of EUR150 million relating to the acquisition by Ermewa of new rolling stock for the rail and multimodal freight transport.
Jean-Marc Zampa is highly regarded for his shipping asset finance practice. He also advises on acquisition finance, bonds and export finance. He recently assisted Natixis and a pool of 18 banks with a new credit facility for Areva, worth EUR1.25 billion.
Market observers confirm that Hervé Kensicher maintains a solid reputation in the fields of real estate finance, restructuring and bankruptcy. He represented CBRE Global Investors in the restructuring of a EUR35 million senior secured loan facility for the acquisition of an office building in the southern suburb of Paris.
Diane de Moüy led Fondations Capital's acquisition through an LBO of Buffet Group from Argos Soditic, a deal worth EUR58 million.
Clients believe recently promoted partner Amaury de Feydeau has a bright future: "I only have good things to say about him – he's creative, stays calm under pressure and is a real solution-finder."
Arnaud Fromion climbs the ranking following impressive feedback: "He's particularly good when you need results, because he's good at structuring offers so they get through. He's creative, intelligent and fast." Fromion handles acquisition, corporate and telecom finance and is an expert in private equity financings.
Pierre-Nicolas Ferrand represented Société Générale in the financing of the sale of a wind farm portfolio to GE, MEAG and EDF Energies Nouvelles. He specialises in structured financing and also has extensive experience in restructuring and insolvency issues.
Key partner Emmanuel Ringeval recently joined the firm as partner from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, where he headed the Paris finance practice. He has wide-ranging experience in all areas of bank financing, with a particular focus on leveraged lending and debt restructuring.
Rhéa Christophilopoulos enters the rankings following strong market feedback: "We saw her on a deal this year and things went really well: she kept a cool head even when negotiations got heated. Her attitude meant that we were very willing to compromise and find a solution."
Interviewees value practice head Frederic Gros, saying: "He's available and is a good listener. He takes a step back before giving advice, thinking things through so you trust in him and what he says."
Isabelle Maury ascends the rankings following client recommendations: "She's available, reactive and knows how we work. She's diplomatic and flexible in negotiations." Her practice includes acquisition and structured finance, as well as restructuring matters.
Jean-Philippe Lambert specialises in real estate finance. He is the managing partner of Mayer Brown's Paris office and a member of the firm's worldwide management committee.
Key partner Jean-Pierre Lee advises banks and financial investors on structured finance transactions including leveraged and acquisition finance. He also handles real estate financing transactions.
Olivier Jauffret heads the firm's banking team. He has long-standing expertise in debt issues and LBOs, structured and real estate financings and corporate loans. The team has French, English and US law capabilities. It excels in leveraged finance, as well as restructuring and work with alternative debt providers.
Paris-based partner Michael Foundethakis has extensive experience of working in the firm's German office and handling German clients. He represents lenders and borrowers in an array of international finance mandates.
Frankfurt-based partner Kathrin Marchant has previously worked in the Paris, Munich and London offices and handles cross-border financing transactions.
Interviewees confirm that Marc Mariani regularly advises investors in the Middle East on designing and structuring real estate funds.
Practice head Raphaële Courtier is rated by clients, who say: "She fights for her clients. She knows the law inside out as well as all the documentation for diverse financing tools, which is a big help."
Paris-based finance partner Samuel Pariente is admitted to the New York Bar and previously worked in the USA. Clients note he is "a good listener, proactive and explains his suggestions clearly so we can make informed decisions."
Philippe Max handles domestic and international transactions, namely acquisition, project, structured and asset finance in the railway sector. Clients value him, saying: "When you call him out of the blue he can find the right document almost immediately, recall why we made a certain decision and give good advice."
Jean-Marc Allix enters the ranking following strong market recognition: "He is very detail-oriented, flexible and fast."
Key partner Michel Quéré receives warm client feedback: "He's very good in negotiations and is very available," while another source praises his pragmatic approach. He advised Aéroports de Paris on the EUR700 million financing of the acquisition of shares in TAV Yatırım Holding. The team has extensive expertise in acquisition, corporate and asset finance.
Jennifer Hinge remains a highly respected practitioner. She receives positive market feedback: "She's a very good lawyer who also understands the commercial way of thinking, which is very useful." She advises institutional lenders and borrowers on financing, refinancing, restructuring and equity transactions.
Jonathan Nabarro focuses on debt matters and advises clients on leveraged, project, asset and corporate finance. He also handles restructuring work.
Practice head Laurence Martinez-Bellet is the main point of contact for the practice. The group is noted for its expertise in asset finance for the shipping industry. It has an additional focus on project finance, trade and commodities finance as well as public-private partnerships.
Paul Lombard enters the rakings following strong recommendations from clients: "He's methodical, rigorous, hard-working and efficient, and delivers high-level, effective advice. A great lawyer."
Clients say that Valérie Lemaitre of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is "very responsible; her work is extremely meticulous and we're satisfied with her." She recently advised Nexans on the increase to EUR600 million of a multicurrency revolving facility.
Martin Lebeuf of Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier maintains a strong reputation in this field. Market sources say: "He's very confident, a real gentleman, very intelligent and is a nice and efficient person to work with."
Clients say that Sylvie Perrin of De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés is "very capable and willing to help." Her practice focuses on project and asset finance in the energy and transportation sectors.
Clients value Veronique Collin of DLA Piper UK LLP: "She respects the requirements of the client and fights hard for them." She heads the projects and finance practice at the firm.
Practice head Sophie Perus of Eversheds LLP receives strong recommendations: "She's a lawyer you want to have on your side. We had some quite heated negotiations and she was very good technically and came across as very persuasive and result-oriented."
Jean L'Homme of Fidal advises on both transactional and regulatory matters. Clients say: "He came recommended for some of our cases. I'm very happy with his work: he's available, he's very clear in his advice, he goes straight to the point and he's extremely efficient."
Sources confirm that Jean-Maurice Gaillard of Godet Gaillard Solle Maraux & Associés remains active in the field of real estate finance, frequently acting for German clients.
Colin Millar heads Simmons & Simmons LLP's banking and finance practice. He recently advised MTN Ghana on the conclusion of a syndicated term and revolving credit facilities agreement with a syndicate of local and international banks led by Stanbic Bank Ghana.
Alain Gautron of Stephenson Harwood gains praise for his shipping finance expertise: "Gautron has been in the banking and shipping finance spheres so long that he has expertise, experience and contacts that no one else has. As soon as we are considering a significant transaction we go to him as he is able to translate any particular situation into legally sound structures."
Asset finance partner Edward Campbell of Stephenson Harwood is admitted to practice in both the USA and France. He specialises in asset financing.
Foreign Experts (Based Abroad)
Based in Santiago, Felipe Dalgalarrando of Dalgalarrando, Romero y Cía has worked in Paris, is fluent in French and has published several articles in the language. He handles cross-border financings and secured transactions, and counts foreign banks and corporations, as well as international financial institutions, among his clients.
Rachel Kelly of Macfarlanes LLP spent five years working in the Paris office of a major international law firm. She is dual-qualified in France and the UK.
Managing partner Ondřej Peterka of Peterka & Partners vos worked in France for seven years and is qualified to practise in the country.