The 2013/09/06 at 08:02
With Clément Sabatier and Catherine Dupuy Burin des Roziers, Partners.
Commerce International: what does the heart of your activity consist in?
Clément Sabatier: We are a generalist business law firm. This means that we offer our clients the range of services a business may require, namely in labour law, intellectual property, competition and distribution… Mergers and acquisitions and commercial contracts make up the bulk of our activity.
Who are your clients?
Clément Sabatier: Our clientele is mainly made up of businesses. These may be large groups or SMEs, French or foreign, especially players in industry or the services sector. This ranges from air transport to fine chemistry, via mass retailing and renewable energies. The firm has also developed leading competence in the latter domain. This is an ultra-specialised activity and few lawyers in France can boast of having the expertise of our Partner Catherine Dupuy, with 20 years behind her in this domain.
What are the specificities of the renewable energies sector in business law?
Catherine Dupuy Burin des Roziers: This is a domain that is fully expanding, at the crossroads of different competences – real-estate, industrial and environmental competences applied to the management of this type of project. This requires an understanding of technical and industrial aspects in which BCTG has been active for a very long time now. Certain projects on which we have provided or currently provide advice represent heavy financial and technical investments. Our team, made up of six lawyers, is keen to understand every project well and we intervene in all phases, from the start of development, to partnerships, to the commissioning stage, via all supply, production, construction and financing contracts. This sector has developed considerably in the last ten years or so, due to the legal obligation to purchase energy at regulated rates and greater awareness of the issues relating to sustainable development.
How are you present internationally?
Clément Sabatier: Our firm is entirely French and independent, but half of our clients are foreigners. We are very proud of this fact. We help them in their operations in France, just as we help our French clients overseas. The firm carries out many cross-border operations, relying on what is known in our profession as “best friends”, that is, a network of law firms corresponding to our structure, with whom we are accustomed to work, whose efficiency and solidity are known to us. We therefore have clients just about everywhere, but there are zones that we focus on. There is namely Japan, a country with which we have very old ties. We have a deep understanding of Japanese culture and methods, very different from our own. In recent times, we have also decided to gear our development towards emerging countries, namely Brazil, as one of our partners is Portuguese and has many connections in this country. We are also striving to reinforce our activity in Francophone Africa, a global region whose growth potential is far greater than that of developed countries.
What are your mid-term development prospects?
We confront French, America, Anglo-Saxon superstructures with hundreds of lawyers on a daily basis, but we have deliberately decided not to exceed a critical threshold of fifty lawyers, beyond which we would spend much more time administrating than looking after our clients’ files.
What are the strengths of the firm?
One of the elements that characterise us is the proximity we develop with our clients. We try to get as detailed and accurate an understanding of their professions as possible. We maintain very personal relationships with them: they know the partner in charge of their file and the collaborators working with him or her. So while our structure is sufficiently large to allow us to intervene in all types of files, it remains human-sized. All the lawyers in the firm practise litigation. It is important to us that each of them is familiar with all aspects of the profession: we can necessarily give better advice when we also plead in court!
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