EXPERTISE

We advise across the full range of business law needs, both transactional and contentious. In areas where we do not have expertise, such as tax, we work in close cooperation with specialist advisors and others such as notaries who, like us, also have an international focus.

Our legal expertise includes:

Corporate and mergers and acquisitions

Our corporate and mergers and acquisitions lawyers advise on medium-large sized transactions as well as on day-to-day corporate work. Our size coupled with our international experience means we provide both a personal, made-to-measure service for clients, but can also advise them across several languages coupled with a deep understanding of their cultural backgrounds.

  • Mergers, acquisitions and divestitures of listed and non-listed companies
  • Joint ventures
  • Corporate governance
  • Private equity/venture capital
  • Insolvency and restructuring

We have experience across a wide range of sectors, but particular specialisations include transactions and corporate work within the heavy industry, environmental, renewables, distribution, automotive, construction, luxury, fashion and consumer products sectors. We are particularly experienced in sectors where a high degree of scientific and technical skill and knowledge are required.

  • Advising a leading luxury hotel operator on the capital raising for and acquisition of a hotel in Saint Barthelemy, including the drafting of a management contract.
  • Advising numerous German developers and asset managers in the renewable energy sector on the acquisition, construction, financing, management and exploitation of wind farms and photovoltaic plants, including the drafting of all relevant contractual documentation.
  • Advising a company in the photography sector on the negotiating and drafting of contacts for the acquisition of a website for the creation of on-line photo albums.
  • Assisting a professional training and publishing company on its growth and development, particularly in relation to the acquisition of several companies and other assets in France.
  • Assisting an international publishing company in the restructuring of its activities in France, particularly in relation to certain asset disposals.

We also have a corporate formalities team which looks after the day-to-day company law interests of our clients in France, particularly subsidiaries of those based overseas. We have a large portfolio of clients whom we advise on all their day-to-day corporate needs as concerns their French operations.

This includes:

  • The creation, dissolution and liquidation of companies, including the transfer of assets ;
  • Mergers, partial asset contributions, conversions ;
  • The opening, closing and modification of secondary establishments ;
  • Approval of accounts ;
  • Capital-raising operations ;
  • The sale of units or shares ;
  • Changes in corporate governance (eg. changes in management, partnership agreements… ;
  • Commercial court and tax administration formalities and filings, including the drafting of legal notices ;
  • Maintaining and updating statutory registers ;
  • Other legal activities including around start-up issues, injunctions concerning payment of debts, and declarations of creditors.
Commercial

Our commercial law practice covers the full range of needs of our industrial, manufacturing and retail client base, which comprises chiefly medium-sized enterprises, many of which are family-owned. Our approach is to assure that we secure and protect our clients’ interests from start to finish in whatever business venture they choose to enter into. We ensure that commercial and other interests are exploited in the most appropriate manner, be they B2B or B2C.

  • General commercial law
  • Commercial agency
  • Distribution agreements
  • Franchising
  • General terms and conditions (sale and purchase)
  • Product liability
  • Consumer protection
  • Transport law
  • Leasing
  • Insurance law
  • Competition law
  • Advertising law
  • Collateral security
  • Advising one of the world’s leading luxury jewellers on the development of its distribution network in France.
  • Advising a company specialising in the creation and installation of sportsgrounds in contractual negotiations with a high-profile French football club.
  • Advising a leading European company involved in the production of photo albums on the conclusion of partnership agreements with several distributors, both in hard copy and on-line format.
  • Negotiations for the installation of a fire fighting system in the Eurotunnel.

We also regularly advise on the resolution of disputes arising from the termination of commercial and contractual agreements, whether that be by negotiation, litigation, arbitration or mediation.

Employment

The employer/employee relationship under French law contains many unique aspects which can be surprising to those not familiar with them. Many aspects of French employment law are more stringent and protective of employees than found elsewhere, and knowledge and guidance are crucial for potential employers in France.

Our employment team provides a full service across all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law, both collective and individual. We have lawyers from France, Germany and Italy who advise our clients in their native languages as well as in English as required. Many in our team work across both the transactional and litigious aspects of employment law, enabling us to better understand the implications of one on the other.

We are tenacious when it comes to the interests of our clients, and pride ourselves on considering issues from all angles to ensure we come up with the best solution in the circumstances.

  • The drafting and review of employment contracts
  • Preparation and implementation of dismissals
  • Dissolution contracts
  • Assistance in case of redundancies and closure of establishments
  • Restructurings
  • Transfers of undertakings
  • Employment due diligence
  • Employment aspects of post-merger integrations
  • Works regulations/company agreements
  • Remuneration schemes
  • Working hours schemes
  • Employee participation schemes
  • Employment law litigation before all levels of the French courts and tribunals
  • Day-to-day employment advice
  • Advising a French group on contentious and non-contentious employment issues arising out of a change of activity including consultation and negotiations with the relevant works’ council. This process included the implementation of a new working time scheme and a redundancy plan involving 50 employees.
  • Advising a German group on the reorganisation of its activities in France.
  • Advising an Italian group on the closure of its French facility and settlement negotiations following a number of individual terminations arising as a result of the closure.
  • Representing a German automotive machinery supplier and its French subsidiary in a number of proceedings launched by over 60 employees following the restructuring of the company’s activities in France.
  • Advising a French group on the restructuring of its activity including the transfer of several employees to other group entities.
  • Representing clients defending allegations of inexcusable oversight brought by employees before the French employment courts.
Intellectual property and competition

Intellectual property is often one of the most valuable assets in our clients’ portfolios, and protecting these rights is a critical success factor for many of our clients’ projects. Our intellectual property team works alongside our corporate and commercial lawyers to ensure that our clients’ intellectual property rights are protected from the outset of a project, and defended when necessary. When needed, we also work closely with a specialist firm of intellectual property and trademark attorneys in areas such as the application for and renewal of patents, trademarks, designs and models.

We also work to protect our clients’ interests from an antitrust and competition standpoint, primarily advising on unfair competition issues which frequently arise from abuses of intellectual property rights.

  • Trademarks, badges, labels etc, including litigation arising out of related disputes
  • Copyright
  • Licensing law and agreements
  • Information technology and new media
  • Unfair competition, advertising
  • Defending the interests of a large company specialising in the production of tableware accused of violating copyright in its television advertising campaigns.
  • Advising one of the world’s leading luxury jewellers defending accusations of counterfeit.
  • Defending the interests of a family-owned company in the B2C sector against proceedings brought by a former designer employed by the company.
  • Negotiating a sponsoring contract involving the cession of copyright to a major French museum.
Construction

We advise on public and private sector construction projects in France, acting mainly for the developer. Our work includes both front-end (project development) and dispute resolution work.

In front-end work, we advise on the development of construction projects from start to finish, including the drafting of all relevant contractual documentation. We have a deep understanding of the technical aspects of construction projects, and regularly work alongside other experts in the sector. We are also extremely familiar with the public procurement rules and regulations in France.

When construction projects go wrong, our dispute resolution lawyers are experienced in guiding our clients through pre-dispute negotiations. If recourse to a third party is necessary, we advise on the best dispute resolution option in the circumstances, be it before the courts, arbitration, mediation or expert determination.

  • Public and private construction law
  • Public contracts and public procurement
  • Acquisition and development of real estate projects
  • Approval processes
  • Construction litigation and arbitration
  • Advising numerous German developers and asset managers in the renewable energy sector on the acquisition, construction, financing, management and exploitation of wind farms and photovoltaic plants, including the drafting of all relevant contractual documentation.
  • Advising a national association on the construction of a biomedical research laboratory.
  • Advising the owner on the construction of an office and logistics warehouse building, including on various procedures relating to potential defects in the construction.
  • Advising a sub-contractor supplier of steel for the construction of a silo in expertise proceedings.
  • Drafting CCAGs for a major automotive group.
Real estate

Our real estate group advises across the range of real estate and property matters. We act for a number of large French and international groups in relation to their real estate needs in France.

For our overseas-based clients, we are often called to advise on the best options for obtaining real estate, whether that be by the sale and purchase of land, assets or goodwill, or by commercial leasing. We regularly help these clients establish their offices, plants, factories, retail outlets and other premises in France.

Over the years, we have built up a deep expertise in the area of commercial leasing, acting for a number of large retail chains on the establishment and operation of their retail outlets and other premises in France.

  • Sale and purchase of real estate
  • Property inheritance and patrimonial issues
  • Commercial leases
  • Opening multiple boutiques and points of sale all across France for numerous clients in the retail sector, including jewelers, shoemakers, clothing manufacturers and retailers, sports equipment manufacturers and retailers, and perfumers.
  • Managing litigation for operators in the heavy industry sector, including leading automotive manufacturers and logistics companies.
Energy

The renewable energy sector encompasses a large range of issues : environmental, financial, commercial, legal, political and regulatory. From wind power to solar power to biomass, other renewable energy solutions as yet confidential are being developed today in an atmosphere where science often collides with regulation. Our job is to assist our clients in their projects from start to finish against this constantly evolving backdrop.

  • Renewable energy
  • Project development (wind farms, solar projects)
  • Advising numerous German developers and asset managers in the renewable energy sector on the acquisition, construction, financing, management and exploitation of wind farms and photovoltaic plants, including the drafting of all relevant contractual documentation. We also manage any resulting disputes, particularly administrative (for example, objections to construction permits).
Environmental

Our environmental law practice supports our construction and real estate practices to provide a complete range of services to our clients. Our environmental lawyers advise on the relevant environmental legal and regulatory aspects involved in such projects, including environmental due diligence, drafting relevant contractual provisions, and obtaining permits for the discharge of waste and water and wastewater. We also advise on matters such as urban zoning and planning, contaminated land, emissions regimes    and treatment of waste (e.g. packaging and paper waste).

  • Waste disposal laws
  • Regulatory authorisation to operate (e.g. sites subject to authorisation)
  • Assisting a company specialised in waste treatment services on the purchase of a site by way of public tender offer.
  • Advising a client in its dealings with organisations processing packaging waste.
  • Advising companies on the closure of sites classed as protected by environmental authorities.
  • Advising an operator in the waste recycling industry on the cross-border movement of packaging waste in light of the applicable regulatory regime.
Dispute resolution

Our dispute resolution lawyers advise across the range of dispute and pre-dispute resolution options. We are often called on in pre-dispute phase to negotiate acceptable outcomes for our clients prior to recourse to a court or tribunal. If a dispute does arise, we advise on the best dispute resolution option, be it litigation before the French courts, arbitration, mediation, or another mechanism.

In the contentious phase, we appear before all levels of the French courts, tribunals, and arbitral tribunals. We also appear before the European courts, including the European Court of Justice. We are tenacious in defending our clients’ interests, and ensure that we consider every option from every angle to ensure the best possible resolution of our clients’ issues.

  • Litigation before all levels of the French courts and tribunals
  • International arbitration
  • Mediation
  • Expert determination
  • Pre-contentious advice and negotiations
  • Advising an on-line betting company in litigation against the French authorities and competitors. This litigation, which involved both civil and criminal aspects, went through all levels of the French and European courts, including the French Supreme Court (Cour de Cassation), the French High Court in Public Law Matters, the Conseil Constitutionnel and the European Court of Justice.
  • Advising on an ICC arbitration concerning the consequences of more than 100 proceedings for damages claims in France.
  • Multiple litigations regarding multi-layered insolvency proceedings.

Criminal law

We dispose of significant expertise in criminal law matters. This allows us to efficiently advise our clients when they find themselves involved in situations implying both civil and criminal law consequences.

  • Criminal offences pertaining to labour law legislation (work accidents, employment of illegal workers, illegal subcontracting, moral and sexual harassment, insufficient safety precautions in the work environment: lack of a general coordination plan, of a “PPSPS”, of a security protocol for the deliveries to third parties, etc.);
  • Criminal offences pertaining to industrial or construction law legislation (non-compliance of the machines and equipment with the Directive 2006/42/EC, illegal importations and delivery of such machines and equipment, construction without or in violation of a building permit, etc.);
  • Criminal offences pertaining to the environmental law legislation (violations of the ICPE law: operation of an ICPE (sites requiring a specific authorization) without the necessary authorizations or after the prescription periods, illegal treatment or transport of dangerous waste, sites and soil pollution, etc.);
  • Criminal offences pertaining to the transport law legislation (illegal practice of the transporter profession, realization of illegal cabotage by a transporter without authorization, illegal transport of dangerous goods, breach of the road traffic legislation, speeding, etc.);
  • Transnational criminal offences (money laundering, extortion, international and European criminal cooperation, European arrest warrant, international letters rogatory, etc.).
  • Advising a French client working in the financial sector who had been subject to major cross-border investigations conducted by financial regulators from the United States and the United Kingdom;
  • Advising a client involved in an extradition procedure between France and another state;
  • Advice and representation of a company and its director in a procedure arising out of a deadly work accident;
  • Advice and representation of a company and its director in a case relating to alleged sexual harassment.
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