Michel Petite specialises in European Commission policies, community law and competition law, working in close co-operation with practice groups such as antitrust, trade, banking, taxation and government relations and public policy, international commercial law and litigation at the World Trade Organisation court.
Michel has worked as legal adviser to three Commission Presidents: Jacques Delors, Romano Prodi, (as head of cabinet), and Jose Manuel Barroso. Throughout his time at the Commission he was heavily involved in competition (setting up the merger Regulation, director of State aids), internal market matters and Taxation. He has participated in all the institutional reforms (Treaties of Maastricht, Amsterdam, Nice and Lisbon).
News and client work
- Brexit: Fin De Partie, Fusions & Acquisitions
- First impressions of the new EU Commission
24 September 2019
- Does the rise of populism signal European disintegration?
13 August 2019
- The EU's approach to Brexit
14 November 2018
Career and qualifications
- Université Paris I (Master's degree in Private and Public Law) 1973
- Admitted as an Avocat in Paris 1973
- Joined European Commission 1979
- Joined Clifford Chance 2008
- Member of the Board of Centre for European Reform since 2013
Awards and citations
- Michel Petite garners praise from market sources for his standout expertise on state aid matters. He also represents clients in litigations before the European Commission.
Chambers Europe 2020, Competition/European Law - France
- "Clifford Chance's antitrust practice combines national and European expertise to cover the full gamut of competition matters through the experience of Katrin Schallenberg and David Tayar. The pair jointly head the practice, supported by of counsel Michel Petite. As well as overseeing Europcar's acquisition of Goldcar, the group recently handled Axel Springer's sale of 78.4% of the Aufeminin group to TF1. Schallenberg is currently representing Arkema in a claim against Honeywell on the grounds of European competition law, seeking a worldwide licence to use one of its products; Tayar is assisting Carrefour with its strategic alliance with Tesco covering the joint purchase of own-brand products and the negotiation of services with large international suppliers. Senior associate Emily Xueref-Poviac is also a key contact and is part of the team advising Oracle on a very recent FCA investigation."
Legal 500 EMEA 2019, EU Competition & Distribution - France
- As former Director General of the European Commission's legal service, Michel Petite boasts extensive expertise in EU law. He assists clients with their operations in the aerospace and energy sectors, particularly on state aid and merger clearance matters.
Chambers Europe 2019, Competition/European Law - France
- "Clifford Chance managed to balance the departure of former practice head Patrick Hubert and three of his associates to Orrick Rambaud Martel with the arrival of the ‘exceptional’ David Tayar, who ‘stands well above the rest of the pack’ and joined from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP; additionally, Katrin Schallenberg was promoted to the partnership. Along with numerous high-value merger control cases in the pharmaceutical and car rental sectors, the group is representing clients such as Teva, Ingram Micro and Volkswagen in antitrust investigations. Of counsel Michel Petite successfully obtained clearance with remedies in phase two proceedings before the European Commission on behalf of Airbus Safran Launchers with regards to its acquisition of Arianespace and Marie Pacaux is also a key contact."
Legal 500 EMEA 2018, EU Competition & Distribution - France
- "Michel Petite shares his time between the Paris and Brussels offices. He receives particular market recognition for his expertise in state aid matters, which he combines with a broader competition practice, including advice on Phase II proceedings before the EC."
Chambers Global 2018, Corporate/M&A - France
- "Of counsel Michel Petite stands out for his solid expertise in EU law, having formerly served at the European Commission. He has a strong focus on state aid mandates and also assists clients with merger clearance matters."
Chambers Europe 2018, Competition/European Law - France
- "Clifford Chance recently advised on key merger control matters and notably obtained an EC phase two clearance of Airbus Safran Launchers’ acquisition of Arianespace. The team is also handling highly sensitive tax-related state aid cases. Of counsel Michel Petite is recommended. Emmanuel Durand joined De Pardieu Brocas Maffei and Patrick Hubert is now at Orrick Rambaud Martel."
Legal 500 EMEA 2017, EU Competition and Distribution - France
- Michel Petite advises predominantly on EU law, benefiting from his remarkable experience as former director general of the legal service of the EC. One interviewee says: "He is super-knowledgeable about competition law, super-bright and easy to work with."
Chambers Europe 2017, Competition/European Law - France
- Michel Petite spends time in both the Paris and Brussels offices of the firm. He has a wealth of experience in EU competition law and is particularly well versed in EC policies.
Chambers Global 2017, Corporate/M&A - France
- Clients value Michel Petite for his "very high-profile view on cases and capacity to build a strategy towards the European Commission." He has further expertise in community law and works closely with other practice areas such as antitrust and public policy.
Chambers Europe 2016, Competition/European Law - France
- "Clifford Chance’s 12-lawyer practice produces ‘high-quality work’ and is involved in several high-profile antitrust cases in France. The team ‘has a strong level of expertise in telecoms matters’, where it acted for SFR in a landmark case making claims of abuse of a dominant position by Orange, which led to a €350m fine against Orange. The firm also assisted Airbus Safran Launchers with its acquisition of a majority stake in Arianespace. The practice is led by Emmanuel Durand, of counsel Michel Petite and Patrick Hubert, who is ‘highly experienced and yet always responsive, open-minded and willing to adapt to his clients’ needs".
Legal 500 EMEA 2016, EU Competition and Distribution - France
- Competition law-focused Michel Petite advises from the firm's Paris and Brussels offices. He has notable experience in handling matters concerning European competition and antitrust law.
Chambers Global 2016, Corporate/M&A - France
- "Competition lawyer Michel Petite divides his time between the firm's Paris and Brussels offices. He is noted for his expertise on European matters, advising clients on a range of topics linked to competition, antitrust and community law."
Chambers Global 2015, Corporate/M&A - France
- Michel Petite is hailed as "a great lawyer" who has extensive experience from the EC. "He understands the EU policies that affect our business and can quickly get to the heart of an issue," reports one enthusiastic client.
Chambers Europe 2014, Competition/European Law - France
- Michel Petite excels at sensitive state aid matters
Legal 500 2013, EU Competition and Distribution - France
- European competition law specialist Michel Petite has long-standing experience working as a legal adviser to the European Commission. He regularly collaborates with colleagues in Clifford Chance's Belgian office."
Chambers Europe 2013, Corporate/M&A - France