France > Leading tax law firms

Leading tax law firms

Index of tables

  1. France – Leading tax law firms
  2. Other recommended firms
  3. France - TDH500
  4. Next generation lawyers
  5. Revenue authority details

France - TDH500

  1. 1
    • Litigation
    • Stéphane Austry - CMS
    • Gauthier Blanluet - Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
    • Philippe Derouin - Philippe Derouin
    • Eric Meier - Baker & McKenzie SCP
    • International tax
    • Marco Blanco - Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP
    • Private clients
    • Jérôme Assouline - Sekri Valentin Zerrouk
    • Jérôme Barré - Franklin
    • François Tripet - François Tripet, Cabinet
    • Marc Vaslin - Vaslin Associés
    • Maryse Naudin - Tirard Naudin Société d’Avocats
    • Property
    • Vincent Agulhon - Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier
    • Pierre Appremont - Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
    • Jean-Yves Charriau - Allen & Overy LLP
    • Emmanuel Chauve - De Pardieu Brocas Maffei
    • Olivier Mesmin - Fairway
    • Laurent Modave - Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.
    • Transactional/corporate tax
    • Vincent Agulhon - Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier
    • Gauthier Blanluet - Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
    • Laurent Borey - Mayer Brown
    • Anne-Sophie Coustel - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Eric Davoudet - Clifford Chance
    • Niels Dejean - Shearman & Sterling LLP
    • Pierre-Henri Durand - Bredin Prat
    • Bruno Gibert - CMS
    • Edouard Milhac - CMS
    • Yves Rutschmann - Bredin Prat
    • Renaud Streichenberger - Bredin Prat

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Marie-Laure Bruneele - Goodwin
    • Nicolas de Boynes - Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

Bredin Prat is the market’s leading reference for M&A-related tax advice. Highlights included advising Air Liquide on its acquisition of Airgas and acting for General Electric on the sale of its equipment finance and receivables finance businesses in France and Germany. The 20-lawyer team also handles high-profile litigation. Yves Rutschmann heads the practice, in which Renaud Streichenberger, Sébastien de Monès, Pierre-Henri Durand, Edouard Sicot and Julien Gayral are all recommended.

CMS is able to combine general taxation advice with specialist service in practically every niche area. Benefiting from very large resources (over 60 partners and 135 associates), the firm serves many leading CAC 40 groups, including Air France, Lafarge, Total, Vivendi and LVMH. The practice is currently involved in the market’s most high-profile litigation cases, many of them challenging the French legal regime. It is notably representing many CAC 40 groups in the landmark 3% dividend taxation case, acting for Orange in a dispute with the French authorities following a €2bn tax penalty, and advising several leading digital companies regarding tax audits and criminal tax matters. Stéphane Austry is a leading reference in France for strategic litigation. Other key figures include Bruno Gibert, Michel Collet and Edouard Milhac for international taxation, as well as Richard Foissac and Jean Guilmoto for direct taxation. Ariane Beetschen, Henri Bitar, Arnaud Donguy, Renaud Grob, Philippe Grousset, Laurent Hepp, Luc Jaillais, Julien Saïac and Philippe Zoubritzky have been heavily involved in key matters recently.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP advises on the market’s most strategic M&A transactions and notably assisted EDF with the partial sale of RTE. The practice also stands out for its record in ground-breaking tax litigation cases acting for many CAC 40 companies. It is representing Orange following the largest tax reassessment ever done in France, advising a number of CAC 40 corporations in a joint litigation regarding the 3% contribution on dividends, and assisting Fiat in very sensitive case in relation to tax rulings in Luxembourg that have been declared as unlawful state aid by the European Commission. Gauthier Blanluet is the key name behind the practice and Nicolas de Boynes is also highly recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP has ‘strong real estate tax expertise’, where it advises on the market’s most high-profile transactions. The firm notably assisted GE Capital with the €1.8bn sale of its French real estate portfolio and advised Abu Dhabi Investment Authority on the acquisition of Tour Alto. The nine-lawyer team also advises on tax aspects of finance and M&A matters. It notably assisted the banking syndicate during Amundi’s IPO. The team is led by Mathieu Vignon and Jean-Yves Charriau, who has ‘outstanding in-depth property industry knowledge’.

With 100 lawyers involved, Arsene Taxand fields one of the market’s largest teams. The firm provides a broad range of expertise with particular strength in the LBO and property sectors. It is also dealing with some strategic litigation. Key figures among the 20 partners include: Frédéric Donnedieu de Vabres, Denis Andres, Antoine Glaize, Marc Brocardi, François Lugand and Alain Recoules.

Baker & McKenzie SCP has ‘excellent expertise’ and shows ‘great anticipation’. It has the most comprehensive set of expertise among international law firms, achieved through a team of more than 30 lawyers. The practice particularly stands out in the litigation area through the excellent Eric Meier, Régis Torlet and Ariane Calloud, with achievements including a major victory for client Orange against an alleged abuse of law. The corporate tax practice is also strong, especially in pharmaceuticals, where recent work includes assisting Abbott Laboratories with the sale of its generics business to Mylan. Many leading corporations are clients, such as Danone, Johnson Controls and Ardian. Practice head Véronique Millischer is recommended along with Guillaume Le Camus, who provides ‘excellent, timely and thoughtful tax advice’. The firm also has leading transfer-pricing expertise through ‘great adviser’ Caroline Silberztein, who has a strong network. The recent arrival of Anne Quenedey from the defunct King & Wood Mallesons Paris is expected to be an asset for French-Chinese work.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has great experience in tax planning of the market’s largest M&A and capital markets transactions. The practice notably assisted Groupama with the merger of Holdco SIIC into Icade and advised BNP Paribas on making two CRD IV additional tier 1 offerings totalling $1.5bn. Anne-Sophie Coustel is praised for her ‘strategic vision and practical approach’.

Clifford Chance provides ‘good responsiveness and accurate analysis’. The ten-lawyer team has strong M&A, LBO and property tax expertise, including knowledge of property funds. Highlights included advising GE on the sale of GE Money Bank and acting for Asian investors on the acquisition of Sofitel Le Faubourg hotel in Paris. The practice also handles tax litigation. Alexandre Lagarrigue is recommended along with the ‘adaptable and responsive’ Eric Davoudet.

Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier is strongly recommended for corporate reorganisation, M&A transactions and property work, as well as representing clients in tax litigation. Practice head Vincent Agulhon ranks among the best in the field. Loïc Védie was promoted to partner.

De Pardieu Brocas Maffei stands out for its leading property tax expertise, but the team also handles major M&A and LBO transactions and has a strong litigation practice, where it is managing several high-profile cases challenging the French tax regime. Recent mandates include advising Gecina on the €1bn sale of its Gecimed healthcare portfolio and assisting Eurosic in its takeover bid for Foncière de Paris. The practice is headed by highly experienced litigator Bernard Boutemy and Emmanuel Chauve, who ranks among the market’s best property tax experts. Alexandre Blestel and Sarah Espasa-Mattei are also highly recommended. Marie-Laure Bruneele joined Goodwin.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a strong transactional practice that advises on the largest M&A, infrastructure and property deals. The team advised EDF on its €2.5bn acquisition of Areva NP and acted for Immochan on tax planning of France’s largest development project, Europa City. The eight-lawyer practice is also representing large corporations in high-stakes disputes. Ardian and CDC are also clients. Practice head Cyril Valentin and Vincent Daniel-Mayeur are strongly recommended. Antoine Colonna d’Istria joined Norton Rose Fulbright.

Gide Loyrette Nouel A.A.R.P.I.’s ‘competent and responsive team is a great asset for handling challenging matters’. The practice is particularly strong in property taxation and recently advised Swiss Life REIM on the acquisition of two hotel portfolios. The practice also handles high-profile corporate, M&A and financing work. It assisted Crédit Suisse with the absorption of the French branch by its parent company in Luxembourg. BNP Paribas and Société Générale are also clients. The practice is led by the ‘remarkable’ Olivier Dauchez, who shows ‘impressive skills in managing high-level strategy’; the ‘excellent’ Laurent Modave, who has ‘solid tax knowledge’, and Christian Nouel, who has ‘broad knowledge and in-depth understanding of the structuring of M&A transactions’. Recently promoted partner Bertrand Jouanneau is a promising practitioner.

Latham & Watkins has leading LBO tax expertise and advises on the market’s largest transactions. The firm notably assisted Ardian with its acquisition of a majority stake in Trigo. The seven-lawyer team also advises on M&A, high-yield and capital markets transactions. It assisted Bain Capital with Maisons du Monde’s IPO. Xavier Renard and Olivia Rauch-Ravisé are the key contacts.

Mayer Brown has leading LBO tax expertise and assists investment funds or management boards with the market’s largest transactions. It acted for Webhelp in the €1bn LBO transaction conducted by the managers and KKR. The team also advised Altice on the acquisition of Cablevision. The team also deals with transfer-pricing work and is highly sought to advise on sensitive management packages and tax reassessment audits. Practice head Laurent Borey is top notch. Benjamin Homo, Olivier Parawan and Christopher Lalloz are also recommended.

White & Case LLP advises on the market’s largest M&A, property and capital markets transactions, such as assisting Arval with the acquisition of GE Capital’s European fleet management activities and advising the banking syndicate on Airbus’ sale of its remaining 23.6% stake in Dassault Aviation. Practice head Norbert Majerholc and Alexandre Ippolito are the key contacts in the six-lawyer team.

Ashurst LLP is ‘very strong on transactional matters’, especially in private equity deals or restructurings. It recently assisted ICG with the sale of Parkeon and advised the lenders on the debt restructuring and senior lenders’ takeover of Desmet Ballestra. Finance and property transactions are also part of the practice. Practice head Nadine Gelli is ‘very strong in her field, solution-oriented and a nice person to work with’.

Jones Day has top financial tax expertise through Siamak Mostafavi and assists leading banks such as BNP Paribas. The six-lawyer team also advises on tax aspects of M&A, such as acting for Stallergenes in a merger with Greer Laboratories. Emmanuel de la Rochethulon is ‘very professional and reassuring’.

Linklaters has great M&A and private equity expertise. The practice recently advised Eurazeo on the acquisition of Fintrax. The eight-lawyer team is also active in the energy sector. Edouard Chapellier and recently promoted partner Cyril Boussion lead the practice.

Paul Hastings LLP is often handling M&A and LBO transactions. Headed by Allard de Waal, the three-lawyer practice notably advised Astorg on the sale of Saverglass to Carlyle.

Shearman & Sterling LLP assists leading French groups and multinationals. Headed by the highly regarded Niels Dejean, the three-lawyer team advises on strategic matters, notably in M&A transactions or sensitive tax investigations. It assisted Alstom with the sale of its non-transport activities. The practice also advises the management in large LBO deals. Counsel Anne-Sophie Maes is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP advises on the market’s largest LBO transactions. The practice notably assisted Montagu with the sale of Centor Division. Headed by Stéphane Chaouat, the six-lawyer team also advises on large M&A deals, insolvency cases and manages sensitive litigation. It assisted General Electric with the sale of GE Fleet. Edouard de Lamy is another name to note.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has strong expertise in tax aspects of M&A and LBOs. The practice recently assisted Qualium with the sale of Feu Vert. The five-lawyer team also advises major corporations on tax-driven reorganisations. Elior and Lagardère are clients. The highly experienced Marie-Hélène Raffin and the ‘remarkable’ Pierre Ullmann lead the practice. Counsel Philippe Grudé is also highly involved.

DLA Piper has great expertise in assisting major investment funds with LBO transactions. Guillaume Valois heads the practice, which notably advised Ardian on the acquisition of Solina.

Dentons’ ‘highly knowledgeable, business-focused and exceptionally responsive’ team is ‘able to develop a multi-option plan, pursues it rigorously’ and ‘above all, obtains positive results’. The practice is particularly strong in property tax, while also being recommended for complex transfer-pricing, restructuring and tax audit issues. It notably advised Qatari investor Alduwaliya on the acquisition of Tour Vista. The practice is headed by Benoît Giraux and Sandra Hazan, who is ‘creative and very much aware of the latest tax reforms and trends’. Vincent Lacombe, Jean-Luc Calisti and Jessie Gaston are also key figures in the team.

Fairway has leading property tax expertise. The firm recently advised on some of the market’s most high-profile transactions. It assisted Tishman Speyer with the acquisition of the CBX tour in La Défense. The three partners are Olivier Mesmin, Christine Daric and Emmanuel Galifer, who is ‘very efficient and an able communicator who understands the needs of his clients quickly and is able to provide good solutions’.

Gibson Dunn has substantial expertise in taxation relating to property and M&A. The firm is also representing one of its clients in a major tax reassessment audit. Merck, BPI and BCBG Max Azria are clients. Ariel Harroch and Jérôme Delaurière lead the practice.

Headed by Eglantine Lioret, Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s team is recommended for M&A and property tax. It notably assisted Amundi Immobilier with the €1bn acquisition of a pan-European office property portfolio.

Led by Bertrand Dussert, K&L Gates LLP’s two lawyer-team handles LBO and property work for investment funds. It recently assisted HIG with the sale of a majority interest in Financière Looping and assisted a family office with the sale of Hermès’ headquarters.

Lacourte Raquin Tatar has strong property tax expertise and assisted Vinci Immobilier with a real estate development in Lyon. The firm also handles M&A and litigation. Aéroport de la Côte d’Azur and Post Immo are clients. Julien Souyeaux is strongly recommended.

Headed by the ‘extremely efficient’ Anne-Sophie Kerfant, Orrick Rambaud Martel’s four-lawyer team often advises companies on M&A. It assisted Apax Partners with the acquisition of InfoVista. The practice is also recommended for transfer-pricing and international tax issues and is handling a major tax dispute.

Scotto & Associés’ rebuilt five-lawyer team is now led by Jérôme Commerçon, who joined from Latham & Watkins and is praised for his ‘extensive LBO and patrimonial tax knowledge’. The practice routinely represents management boards during LBO deals and also handles related litigation. It recently assisted the management with the €800m acquisition of SGD by JIC.

Villey Girard Grolleaud A.A.R.P.I. provides ‘a high level of service’. The firm is highly sought by family offices and has strong M&A expertise, but also handles litigation. Recent work includes advising Eurazeo as shareholder during AccorHotels’ acquisition of Fairmont, Raffles and Swissôtel. Practice head Yann Grolleaud is ‘very precise, accurate and calm in negotiations’.

Winston & Strawn LLP has strong property tax expertise. The six-lawyer team assists high-profile investors with the structuring of major property transactions. Jean-Pierre Collet is highly recommended. Florence Bilger and David Colin are other names to note.

The Big Four

Index of tables

  1. The Big Four
  2. France - TDH500

France - TDH500

  1. 1
    • Niels Dejean - Shearman & Sterling LLP
    • Frédéric Donnedieu de Vabres - Arsene Taxand
    • Gilles Entraygues - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Bruno Gibert - CMS
    • Bruno Gouthière - CMS
    • Eric Meier - Baker & McKenzie SCP
    • Renaud Streichenberger - Bredin Prat
    • Pierre-Sebastien Thill - CMS
    • Pierre Ullmann - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Ernst & Young Société d’Avocats has a comprehensive practice staffed by some 300 tax specialists. It advises the very largest corporations.

Fidal fields some 420 tax lawyers spread across its 90 offices. The firm can deal with any type of tax issue and has many specialised niche experts. It recently handles high-profile work in the restructuring, litigation, patrimonial, M&A and property tax sectors. The practice assisted Primonial with the acquisition of Gecina’s clinics portfolio. Generali, Boralex, Bayer and Christian Dior Couture are clients. Didier Laforge and Thierry Nicolas head the practice. Other key figures in the team include: Patrice Graillat, Antoine Badinier, Marc Cretté, Arnaud Moraine, Mikael Maheust, Benjamin Litchlé, Jean-Etienne Chatelon and Laurent Leclercq, who has ‘strong direct tax expertise and brings highly valuable support’.

PwC Société d’Avocats has extensive resources and expertise across its ten French offices.

Taj offers a broad range of expertise in five offices around France.

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