Banking & Finance - France
Well-known figure Thierry Arachtingi is popular with major financial institutions. He has advised on the financing of some of France's biggest LBOs in recent years, including Oberthur and Webhelp.
James Butters recently moved from the firm's London office to strengthen the English law offering in Paris. He is already proving popular with French clients: "He is proactive and can get things done astonishingly quickly. He has a good knowledge of the market and is strong in negotiations."
Nikolaï Eatwell is a "world-class" project finance expert with a truly international practice. He is especially highlighted for his depth of experience in Africa, Turkey, Russia and the CEE region.
Eric Cartier-Millon receives exceptional feedback from interviewees for his work in areas including acquisition finance, project finance and syndicated loan facilities. He recently advised Crédit Agricole CIB as arranger in relation to the EUR1.5 billion restructuring of Elior's debt.
Kamel Ben Salah leads the team's real estate finance activity. In a recent highlight he advised Natixis, HSBC, Société Générale and RBS as mandated lead arrangers on a EUR1.2 billion facility granted to Mercialys.
International investment specialist Karl Hepp de Sevelinges heads the firm's New York office. He speaks French, German, English and Russian, and is qualified in France. He is regularly sought out for his considerable experience on cross-border transactions.
"Leading figure" Bertrand Andriani is described by sources as “really fantastic: one of the brightest people in the market.” He is perhaps best known for his project finance expertise, but runs a broad practice and receives equal praise for his knowledge of asset and leveraged finance, among other topics.
UK-qualified solicitor Kathryn Merryfield was recently made up to partner and receives excellent client reviews. One interviewee describes her as “very impressive to work with: she has an encyclopaedic knowledge of debt documentation.”
Now based in China, Nathalie Hobbs was formerly a key figure in the Paris office and continues to enjoy wide recognition in the French banking market. Her specialisms include acquisition finance, syndicated loans and debt restructuring.
Practice head Raphael Richard is commended for his “market knowledge, creativity and time management.” He is consistently praised by clients from major financial institutions, particularly for his leveraged finance work.
Aviation finance expert Louise Mor is dual-qualified in France and the UK and was previously based in London. She bolsters the Paris team's common law offering.
Denise Diallo is well positioned to advise on deals with French and US elements. She is qualified in both jurisdictions and practised in the firm's New York office before relocating to Paris.
Russia-based Thomas McDonald is a renowned aviation finance specialist. He was based in the firm's Paris office for a decade and has strong connections with the jurisdiction.
Roderic Cork heads the department and is widely considered a “very impressive lawyer.” He is dual-qualified in France and the UK, and gains plaudits for his depth of experience and broad expertise.
Christophe Jacquemin's recent activity includes advising on complex, high-value international acquisition financings. His versatile practice also encompasses financing deals with debt capital markets elements.
Adrian Mellor is cited as a lawyer who provides “quick, practical and commercial advice.” His experience in handling syndicated loan facilities is greatly appreciated by interviewees. He is a UK-qualified solicitor and is highlighted by interviewees for his strength on English law contracts.
The "pragmatic and up to speed" Carine Chassol specialises in asset finance.
Julien Roux was recently made up to partner and continues to impress. Real estate finance and associated restructuring work has been a recent focus of his practice.
Laurent Mabilat is popular with clients from the banking and private equity industries.
Diane Sénéchal is a versatile partner with expertise spanning acquisition finance, project finance and restructuring. Her recent activity includes complex amend to extend deals.
Emmanuel Fatôme is described by sources as “one of the best lawyers in the country for real estate financing.” He represents an impressive spread of French and international financial institutions.
The "excellent" Christophe Gaillard is an expert in both bank finance and capital markets. His recent activity includes advising syndicates of French banks on the financing of LBOs.
Jean-Renaud Cazali's practice centres around project and asset finance. He recently advised Caisse des Dépôts on the financing of PPPs and major asset development programmes.
Antoine Maffei is highlighted as a “real specialist” by interviewees. On the transactional side, his recent activity includes assisting high-profile clients with regard to infrastructure project financing. He is also regularly sought for his banking regulatory expertise. Mandates with US elements are another strength; Maffei studied and practised in New York, and spent six years working at The World Bank in Washington, DC.
Project and acquisition finance specialist Jacques Bertran de Balanda receives excellent client reviews. One interviewee states: “He is committed, allocates resources well and can be really crucial to the outcome of a deal.”
The "very commercial" Régis Oréal is considered a “reactive and reliable” finance lawyer. He recently advised BNP Paribas and Groupe BPCE on Tenesol's debt restructuring.
Newly made up partner Eric Fiszelson is regarded as an “experienced and 110% committed lawyer.” His skill as a negotiator is particularly appreciated: “He defuses situations and will always find a commercial solution.”
Xavier Farde chairs the Paris department and is described as “a specialist who is well known among the banks.” Clients see him as absolutely essential to a transaction, with one source stating: "We did a deal recently and insisted that he had to be on board.”
Etienne Gentil focuses on various facets of bank and capital markets financing. He recently advised Eutelsat on the refinancing of its debt by a credit facility and bond issue. He is qualified in France and the UK, and receives praise from sources for his ability to bridge the two cultures.
Clients with issues involving the UK benefit from the experience of structured finance expert Basil Zotiades. He studied and qualified in the UK before relocating to France.
Sources highlight George Paterson as “one of the best in France for asset finance.” He recently advised on an export credit financing made available to Air France.
Christine Ezcutari enters the rankings following impressive feedback from interviewees. She offers “strong expertise in shipping finance” and leads the firm's Paris activity in this area.
Martin Gdanski is commended for his depth of experience in areas including project finance and asset finance. He combines banking expertise with a wider knowledge of corporate and transactional legal issues.
Jean-Philippe Lambert is the Paris office's managing partner. He is strong in real estate finance, and clients benefit from his expertise in environment regulatory law.
Jean-Pierre Lee is a cross-border specialist. He advises on complex real estate and acquisition financing deals, and is vastly experienced in structuring corporate transactions.
Jean-Marc Zampa combines expertise in banking and capital markets. He is well known among commentators for his asset finance activity, particularly in the transportation sector.
Hervé Kensicher specialises in real estate finance. One client comments: “He can turn his mind to practically anything and always finds a workable solution.”
Respected figure Diane de Moüy runs a broad finance practice. She recently advised Wendel on the financing of its EUR170 million LBO of Mecatherm.
Of counsel Amaury de Feydeau is popular with clients: “He's the kind of person you want on your side of the table – an exceptionally intelligent and adaptable lawyer.”
Real estate finance specialist Pierre-Nicolas Ferrand heads the department. He is described as a “strong technician with a sense of imagination when it comes to complex structures.”
Arnaud Fromion recently joined the team from Linklaters. His focus is on the lender side, and he frequently advises on complex hybrid deals involving senior, mezzanine and bond finance.
As well as leading the Paris team, Michael Foundethakis heads the firm's European banking and finance operations. A recent example of his international work was advising the Rompetrol Group and its parent company on a syndicated financing, a deal involving various foreign jurisdictions such as Romania and Kazakhstan. He was previously based in the Munich office and maintains close links with the jurisdiction.
Kathrin Marchant is commended by sources for her capacity to handle complex files. One noted: “She impressed us with her expert knowledge and straightforward approach.” Marchant qualified in Germany and speaks fluent German, making her a go-to adviser for clients with issues involving both countries.
Marc Mariani is an expert in real estate funds and investment financing. He frequently advises investors from the Middle East on these topics, and has notable expertise regarding Islamic finance.
Emmanuel Ringeval recently joined the firm from Weil, Gotshal & Manges. He has a focus on leveraged finance and debt restructuring, and will build the banking team's offering on this side.
Commentators are full of praise for department head Frederic Gros: “He is very business-oriented and is equally comfortable handling plain vanilla transactions, complex hybrid deals and banking litigation.”
Counsel Isabelle Maury enters the rankings thanks to strong feedback from clients, particularly regarding her commercial understanding. Her broad practice covers PPP financing and debt restructuring.
Laurence Martinez-Bellet is the contact for the team, which is recognised for its activity in areas including asset finance, project finance and export finance.
Olivier Jauffret joined the firm in early 2013 from Linklaters. Sources describe him as "absolutely excellent." He has broad experience of bank finance and debt capital markets products. He recently advised BNP Paribas on the amend and extend of Numericable's EUR3.225 billion leveraged finance facility.
Raphaële Courtier leads the team and counts various esteemed French corporate groups among her clients. She is praised by interviewees for her in-depth expertise and “impressive speed of execution.”
Samuel Pariente is "experienced and available 24/7," say sources. He has studied and practised in the USA, and is admitted to the New York Bar.
Jennifer Hinge wins recognition from clients in investment funds, banks and corporate groups. She is commended for her combination of technical expertise and commercial know-how, with sources saying “she understands the economic logic behind discussions.”
The "creative and rigorous" Jonathan Nabarro is a lawyer with “a huge amount of experience and a strong reputation” in the banking field. Interviewees are particularly impressed by his deal-making negotiation style.
Alain Gautron leads the banking and finance team and is a leading figure in the shipping finance field.
Edward Campbell is dual-qualified in France and the USA, making him a standout choice for transatlantic deals. He specialises in asset finance, particularly in the transportation sector.
Banking & Finance - France (Foreign Desks)
Michel Quéré is held in high regard by clients and market commentators. His activity ranges from complex small-cap acquisition financings to big-ticket corporate facilities.
The firm offers a dedicated Africa desk, with six Paris-based partners regularly involved in deals with African elements. It advises on long-term project financings and short-term commodity and trade financings, as well as broader issues including equity investments and restructuring. Olivier Fille-Lambie and Bruno Cantier are contact partners on the finance side.
Valérie Lemaitre leads the banking team at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP. She is “precise and available, and fully understands the impact decisions can have for the client.”
Martin Lebeuf of Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier is highlighted by interviewees for his expertise regarding acquisition finance and corporate facilities.
The “proactive, creative and technically strong” Sylvie Perrin leads the finance team at De Gaulle Fleurance & Associés. She represents borrowers and lenders in France and on the international stage.
Philippe Max is a key figure for banking at Salans. He recently advised Faurecia on its EUR1.15 billion multicurrency refinancing.
Veronique Collin of DLA Piper UK LLP advises on topics including real estate finance and securitisation. Her clients include various internationally known banks.
The "reactive and efficient" Jean L'Homme recently joined ALTANA. He has broad banking experience but is particularly noted for his project finance work.
Since publication, Jean L'Homme has joined Fidal
Jean-Maurice Gaillard of Godet Gaillard Solle Maraux & Associés is considered a “very good technician” and “a lawyer with huge experience in real estate finance.”
Colin Millar heads the finance department at Simmons & Simmons. His prestigious client portfolio includes major senior and mezzanine lenders.
Foreign Experts (Based Abroad)
Felipe Dalgalarrando heads the banking and finance department at Chilean firm Dalgalarrando, Romero y Cía. He previously worked in France and has published articles on French legal issues. He is a fluent French speaker.
Rachel Kelly of Macfarlanes LLP is noted for her expertise in French finance matters. She spent several years working in the Paris office of a major law firm and is admitted to the Paris Bar.
Ondřej Peterka of Czech firm Peterka & Partners speaks fluent French and is admitted to the Paris Bar. He represents Czech and Slovak clients with interests in France.