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Arkwood is a boutique tax firm with an increasingly strong reputation for private wealth work. "It's incredible the elegant moves this firm has made in the last couple of years to develop," enthuses an interviewee. Arkwood's avocats advise on a wide range of domestic and international tax matters, and it is also developing its contentious tax practice with the 2017 hire of Arnaud Tailfer from another leading firm.
Arkwood wins particular praise for its cross-border work, and international sources often cite the firm as being among their preferred choices of French co-counsel. "Out of the private client lawyers I've worked with in France," says one, "I've found them to be some of the most user-friendly that I've come across. I find they try more than others to think outside the box. They're familiar with the Anglo-Saxon way of doing things, which helps, and they don't run a mile when they come across Anglo-Saxon concepts like trusts. It's a bit more proactive and can-do, rather than reactive." Another interviewee adds that "they have very good relationships with other lawyers, notaries, accountants and bankers in many jurisdictions, which clearly helps in smoothly implementing their advice."
Julien Riahi gains a ranking for the first time in 2019, and is seen as "a very talented private client adviser." Riahi wins particular praise for French/Israeli work and his expertise on France/Israel double taxation matters. A client says that "the fact that he is as good with personal estate planning as he is with corporate tax is a real differentiator, because for me, both are linked. He is also very efficient when coordinating the advice with the various stakeholders involved in the day-to-day operations and large projects." This interviewee adds that "he knows whom to contact to get the right answer in any area and any country where he has less experience. Often you work with advisers who have limitations because they do not know specific issues and cannot make any proposition. That’s the difference with Julien: he has an extremely broad perspective, and he provides proactive advice in areas that are not his core specialty. That comes with experience."
Marine Dupas is a "highly skilled technician," says a source, and a recognised expert in trusts and tax matters. She is highly experienced in cross-jurisdictional work, with a particular specialism in the Middle East. Dupas also works with life insurance companies and other financial institutions to structure investment products. "She knows the life insurance business and related matters very well," reports an interviewee, adding: "She reacts very quickly and when I introduce her to clients, they give me very enthusiastic feedback."
A client says Michael Khayat has "good analytical strength," adding that he is "bilingual and has a strong network," and that he "has a good way to summarise each situation to make it more simple for a non-banker or non-tax person." Khayat specialises in estate planning and taxation matters, and he often acts for entrepreneurs in the TMT sector. A fellow avocat reports: "Compared to other tax lawyers we have worked with, I would say that Michael Khayat is particularly available." This interviewee also says that Khayat "provides his clients with very easy-to-comprehend documents, which is not often the case among tax lawyers."
Managing partner Stéphanie Auferil specialises in cross-border tax and wealth planning work. Auferil is perhaps best known for successfully challenging public access to the French Public Register of Trusts before the Constitutional Court. "I think she is very intelligent and competent and does a lot of international mobility work," says a fellow avocat; "she is very competent and has a good reputation in Paris."