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Denis Chemla



Chemla Denis
Denis Chemla



Denis leads the Litigation department in Paris, where his practice encompasses a wide range of complex litigation matters both in civil and criminal courts. Denis has substantial experience in the area of product liability, with a strong focus on aviation. He appears in court for major international corporates or financial institutions, practicing principally in banking and finance, securities litigation, regulatory defence work and white-collar crime.

His practice is quintessentially international and he has gained considerable experience dealing with complex cross-border issues, such as conflicts of law and jurisdiction and devising international litigation strategies involving France and other countries. Denis is one of the few practitioners to appear regularly before the courts of French-speaking African countries, where he represents international corporates and financial institutions in commercial and criminal matters.

Denis served in the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in 1999 as a legal advisor to the Head of Mission. He is also the Spokesperson of Droits d'Urgence, a non-governmental organisation providing free legal aid to disadvantaged groups. A former member of the French National Human Rights Commission (by the appointment of the Prime Minister), he teaches international litigation at ESCP Europe, a leading European Business School. He is currently serving as an officer of the Litigation Committee of the International Bar Association. In December 2013, Denis was elected as a member of the Paris Bar Council (Conseil de l'Ordre des Avocats) – the governing body of the Paris Bar. In December 2017, Denis was awarded the the Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur, the highest order of merit in France.

Denis is a recognised practitioner by « Best Lawyers » since 2010 in Arbitration and Meditation, Aviation Law, Criminal Defense and Litigation.

"Leading Individual" (Corporate and commercial litigation)

Band 3
Chambers Global/Europe 2020 - France (Litigation)

* * * * - Contentieux financier, boursier et réglementaire AMF (France, ODA 2020)
* * * * - Droit Pénal des affaires et sanctions AMF (France, ODA 20)

"Denis Chemla has notable expertise in financial and commercial disputes. He represents domestic and international corporates as well as banking clients."
Chambers Global/Europe 2020 - France (Litigation)

"Denis Chemla acts on contentious and non-contentious matters involving money laundering, international sanctions and bribery aspects. He is notably recognised for his criminal litigation expertise." 
Chambers Europe 2019 - France (Corporate Compliance & Investigations in France)

"Denis Chemla is noted for his experience in banking disputes, as well as commercial cases and white-collar crime. He often advises on criminal investigations involving tax, financial regulations and money laundering. Clients laud his tactical approach, suggesting: "He is a lawyer who thinks in 360 degrees; he looks at all possible options."" 
Chambers 2019 - France (Dispute Resolution: Litigation: Elite)

"Leading Litigation practitioner in France" 
Expert Guides: Best of the Best Global, 2019

"Thorough, practical and creative advice, he's sharp as a tack and extremely good on his feet when it comes to presenting in court." 
Chambers Europe 2018 - France (Dispute Resolution: Litigation)

"Denis Chemla of Allen & Overy LLP is cited by market sources for his experience in dispute resolution. He has a strong focus on the aviation sector and regularly handles product liability, white-collar crime and regulatory defence cases" 
Chambers 2018 - France (Transportation: Aviation)

"Practice head Denis Chemla ‘is excellent at analysing legal issues, able to provide memos setting forth legal issues in a short timeframe and willing to think outside of the box to come up with practical solutions’.”
Legal 500 2017 – France (Dispute Resolution / Commercial Litigation)

"Denis Chemla has an 'excellent strategic mind and international experience; he is very easy to work with as an international client'." 
Chambers 2017 - France (Dispute Resolution: Litigation Elite)

"Denis Chemla is able to ‘handle large and complex matters without being scared to debate difficult and untested issues, and is not afraid to move out of his comfort zone to explore out-of-the-box solutions’." 
Legal 500 2017 – France (Dispute Resolution / Commercial Litigation)

"Denis Chemla stands out in our research as one of the country’s leading litigators." 
Who’s Who Legal 2017 - France

"Denis Chemla gains recognition for his international outlook and specialist expertise in white-collar and regulatory litigation." 
Who’s Who Legal 2017 - France (Business Crime Defence & Investigation)

News & insights

Publications: 02 JUNE 2020

Covid-19 coronavirus: Points to note for EEA securitisations regarding EBA 22 April ‘Statement on additional supervisory measures in the Covid-19 pandemic’

On 22 April 2020, the EBA published a “statement on additional supervisory measures in the COVID-19 pandemic” [1] (the Statement). The Statement clarifies, amongst other things, the application of the…

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Key regulatory topics

Publications: 01 JUNE 2020

Key Regulatory Topics: Weekly Update 22 - 28 May 2020

Our weekly update on key regulatory topics affecting the financial services sector. If you would like to receive this update by email and be added to our marketing mailing list please…

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Publications: 01 JUNE 2020

Covid-19 coronavirus: multi-jurisdictional survey on force majeure and equivalent doctrines

This high-level comparative survey of the legal position relating to force majeure and other similar doctrines covers ten key jurisdictions: England & Wales, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy,…

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Publications: 27 JUNE 2018

Settlements with Société Générale – beginning of a new era?

​On 4 June 2018, Société Générale (the Bank) announced that it had entered into settlements with the US Department of Justice (the DOJ), the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (the CFTC) and the…

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Allen & Overy LLP
52 avenue Hoche
75008 Paris

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Admitted to the Bar, New York, 1990

Admitted to the Bar, Paris, 1987


LL.M., General Legal Studies, New York University School of Law, 1990

Post Graduate, International Law, University of Paris II, Panthéon Assas, 1986

Msc, Private Law, University of Paris II, Panthéon Assas, 1985

Pro-bono experience

  • Denis is the Spokesperson of Droits d'Urgence, a non-governmental organisation providing free legal aid to disadvantaged groups.
  • Denis also served in the United Nations Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo in 1999 as a legal advisor to the Head of Mission.
  • Denis has served as legal expert to the Council of Europe in numerous legal assistance field missions in Eastern and Central Europe, Russia, Armenia, Ukraine and Georgia.
  • Denis won in October 2013 the prestigious PILnet pro bono award at the 7th annual European Pro Bono Forum.

Published work

  • Pro Bono : de l'action individuelle à l'action politique, Lettre des Juristes d'Affaires, December 2013
  • Trois questions à Denis Chemla, Erwan Poisson, Michael Young, Option Droit & Affaires, May 2013
  • The validity of one-way jurisdiction clauses put at risk by the French Supreme Court, PLC Dispute Resolution, November 2012 (co-written with Erwan Poisson, Camille Fléchet)
  • La procédure accusatoire garantit-elle les droits de la défense ?, Lettre des Juristes d'Affaires, December 2011
  • Conseil constitutionnel et mariage gay : service minimum ; Note sous Conseil constitutionnel, QPC, 28 January 2011, Corine C et a. numéro 2010-92 QPC », La Gazette du Palais, April 2011
  • Réforme de la garde à vue : de qui se moque-t-on ?, La Gazette du Palais, January 2011
  • Pro bono : les exclus ont toujours plus besoin de nous, La Gazette du Palais, November 2010 (co-written with Jean-Luc Bédos)
  • Carte judiciaire : du courage !, Les Echos, 12 October 2007
  • LVMH/Morgan Stanley : un arrêt "remarquable", Option Finance, September 2006 (co-written with Frédéric Grillier)
  • Référé probatoire et secret bancaire : un secret bien gardé, Revue de Droit Bancaire et Financier, May 2004 (co-written with Emmanuelle Bouretz)
  • Prospectus liability in Europe and the US: Understanding the issues, Global Counsel, September 2003 (co-written with Julian Copeman and Alex Bafi)
  • Denis Chemla was Chief editor of the Code des droits contre l'exclusion, Dalloz, 2011.