David Préat advises public and private entities as well as financial institutions on public law matters including deregulation, energy, privatisation, state aids, public domain and public services.
David specialises in public contracts (concessions, public private partnerships (PPP), public procurement) in relation to major infrastructure projects including arenas, hospitals, prisons, railways, motorways and airports.
News and client work
Career and qualifications
- University of Paris XI (Public Law) 1989
- Cabinet J-P Boivin 1989
- University of Paris XI / Paris Bar (Institut de Droit Public des Affaires) 1990
- Admitted as an avocat in Paris 1991
- Joined Gide Loyrette Nouel 1991
- Joined Clifford Chance 1999
- Partner since 2002
Awards and citations
- According to sources, David Préat "is really one of the most talented lawyers in the field of public-private partnerships."He regularly acts for private and public clients on concession agreements, with further expertise advising on privatisation of state entities. Clients report him to be a "very experienced and determined lawyer," before adding: "He has a pragmatic approach to business issues, an ability to take strong positions and excellent drafting and negotiations skills."
Chambers Europe 2020, Public Law - France
- "Clifford Chance's state-of-the-art public law, project finance and M&A infrastructure capabilities make the firm an infrastructure and energy project leader in France, in Africa and other parts of the world. The practice is currently advising on many of France's largest rail, motorway, broadband network and renewable projects. Highlights included assisting Eiffage Concessions with its tender bid for the RCEA motorway project tender, and EDF EN with the floating offshore wind test project. The firm is also involved in large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, mostly in Africa but also in other diverse jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. It is assisting the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group is also advising on strategic new pipeline projects and on major infrastructure projects in Turkey including assisting a group of lenders with the Bursa health campus project. The 27-lawyer team is made up of high-profile figures including Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib, Richard Tomlinson, Delphine Siino Courtin and public law expert David Préat."
- Legal 500 EMEA 2019, Project Finance - France
- "Combining first-class public law, project, finance and M&A expertise, Clifford Chance has impressive capabilities that are difficult to match. In France, the firm is advising sponsors on the country's largest offshore wind projects, and also advised on major gas, heat and renewables infrastructure M&A transactions. It assisted Cube Infrastructures with the disposals of district heating supplier Idex and Taranis. The practice is equally strong in the oil and gas and power sectors at international level, often acting for lenders and also for sponsors. It is advising on large-scale LNG, gas power, geothermal and hydro projects, primarily in Africa but also in other jurisdictions including Georgia and Indonesia. Highlights included assisting Sace with the financing of the Coral Floating LNG project in Mozambique, as well as Cacib with the financing of the Muara Tawar gas-fired power plant in Indonesia, and the government of Ethiopia with a 500MW geothermal project. The group also advises on highly strategic new pipeline projects. Key names include David Préat, Laurent Schoenstein, Benjamin De Blegiers, Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell, Delphine Siino Courtin, Richard Tomlinson and Daniel Zerbib."
Legal 500 EMEA 2019, Industry Focus: Energy - France
- "Clifford Chance has an impressive track record when it comes to advising on France's largest PPP and infrastructure projects, including handling complex post-performance and execution issues. Headed by one of the market's most respected figures, David Préat, the practice recently advised clients in the transport, renewables and energy sectors on landmark greenfield projects. It notably assisted Eiffage Concessions as a bidder for the Route Centre Europe Atlantique (RCEA) motorway project, and a Transdev-led consortium as a candidate to operate the future Charles de Gaulle Airport express rail link (CDG Express). The team is also advising EDF Énergies Nouvelles on a floating offshore wind test project. The firm also assisted banks with motorway and rail refinancing projects, and advised sponsors on several domestic high-speed broadband network projects. It is also assisting the Transport Ministry with complex issues raised by the government's abandonment of the Notre-Dame-des-Landes airport project, as well as with the potential privatisation of Paris airports owner and operator ADP. Finally, the firm also advised on large-scale offshore brownfield projects. Counsel Gauthier Martin is the other key name in the practice."
Legal 500 EMEA 2019, Administrative & Public Law - France
- David Préat is renowned for his experience in all issues arising from private sector involvement in large infrastructure projects in France. His client list includes public authorities and construction companies. "He is one of the most talented lawyers in the field of public-private partnership and has managed to build a team of exceptional quality," states one interviewee. Another client praises Préat's drafting skills and his pragmatic approach, saying: "His aim is not to please everyone but just to tell things the way they are."
Chambers Europe 2019, Public Law - France
- "Clifford Chance is ‘the best in town and gives clients real value for money’. The firm provides ‘superb in-depth analysis and knowledge of project finance’ and its ‘ability to link legal and commercial aspects is outstanding’. The Paris hub stands out for its top capabilities on both domestic and international projects and is involved in several of France, Europe and Africa’s landmark power, hydropower, gas, renewables and pipeline projects including major domestic offshore projects and brownfield transactions. Abroad, the practice is assisting the Maltese Government with a 215MW gas-fired power plant and a LNG storage and degasification facility project. The first-class team is led by Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell and Daniel Zerbib. David Préat is a key name for public law matters in France and abroad. Also strongly recommended are Delphine Siino Courtin and Benjamin de Blegiers, who is ‘a must when it comes to M&A transactions in the energy and infrastructure sector’. Richard Tomlinson is another name to note."
Legal 500 EMEA 2018, Industry Focus: Energy - France
- "The ‘extremely professional’ Clifford Chance is ‘above the pack’, ‘provides high quality work’ and is ‘the best in town and gives clients real value for money’. The firm provides ‘superb in-depth analysis and knowledge of project finance’ work and its ‘ability to link legal and commercial aspects is outstanding’. The 38-lawyer team stands out for its leading capabilities on both domestic and international projects but is also involved in large transport and construction projects in Africa and Turkey: notably, the practice is assisting HSBC and sponsors Meridiam and Rönesans with the project bond financing of the Turkish Elazig health campus, and several lenders with the financing of the Turkish Bursa health centre. In France, the practice is involved in most of the country’s few ongoing large greenfield projects, including advising Transdev’s biding consortium on the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport Express rail project. Other work included high-profile instructions in the energy sector, including involvement in many of France, Europe and Africa’s landmark power, hydropower, gas, renewables and pipeline projects: it is assisting the Maltese Government with a 215MW gas-fired power plant and a LNG facility project. Practice heads Anthony Giustini, Nikolaï Eatwell and Daniel Zerbib are some of the market’s finest advisers. David Préat is a key name for public law matters in France and abroad and also strongly recommended are Delphine Siino Courtin and Benjamin de Blegiers, who is ‘a must when it comes to M&A transactions in the energy and infrastructure sectors’. Richard Tomlinson is also involved."
Legal 500 EMEA 2018, Project Finance - France
- "Clifford Chance routinely handles France’s largest and most sophisticated public law contract matters and is involved in headline ongoing road, rail and internet greenfield projects. The practice acts for sponsors, investors and the French state and is ‘at the market’s forefront in preventing any possible conflict of interests - which is a major safety insurance for clients’. It notably assisted Transdev-led biding consortium with the Paris-Charles de Gaulle Airport Express rail project, as well as advising Eiffage Concessions on the bidding for the RCEA road concession project. The team is also handling highly sensitive matters dealing with performance issues affecting several high-profile PPPs, especially in the high-speed rail sector. It notably advised Lisea as project concessionaire on performance difficulties regarding the new Tours-Bordeaux high-speed rail link. The firm also recently completed several brownfield transactions, notably in the energy sector, and is advising on large renewables offshore projects. The French Ministries of Environment and Justice, Meridiam and EDF EN are other clients. The ‘excellent and creative’ practice head David Préat ranks among the best in his field. Also recommended are counsels Marion Roquette-Pfister and Gauthier Martin."
Legal 500 EMEA 2018, Administrative & Public Law - France
- "David Préat is well recognised for his significant experience in the public law area. He acts for both public and private clients on high-profile infrastructure transactions, mostly in the energy and transportation sectors."
Chambers Europe 2018, Public Law - France
- "With extensive experience in PPPs and public law, David Préat advises concessionaires, state entities and lenders on infrastructure, energy and transport projects". Clients identify him as "really one of the most talented lawyers in the field of PPP."
Chambers Europe 2018, PFI/PPP - France
- "Clifford Chance has ‘excellent’ expertise and is particularly recommended for the most complex projects. The firm often advises export credit agencies and commercial lenders on the financing of Africa’s largest power projects and also assists state entities; acts on projects in France and Europe, covering oil and gas, conventional energy and renewables, as well as transport and other infrastructure in France and Africa. Highlights included advising the Maltese government on the development and financing of a 215MW gas-fired power plant and an LNG storage and degasification facility, as well as assisting the lenders with the financing of the 450MW Azura-Edo IPP project in Nigeria. Anthony Giustini, Daniel Zerbib and public law expert David Préat are market-leading figures, as is the ‘very responsive and highly knowledgeable’ Nikolaï Eatwell. Delphine Siino Courtin, ‘dealmaker’ Benjamin de Blegiers and Richard Tomlinson are also recommended."
Legal 500 EMEA 2017, Project Finance - France
- "Clifford Chance has ‘excellent’ expertise and is particularly recommended for high-profile projects. The firm often advises export credit agencies and commercial lenders on the financing of large African power projects – such as the financing of the 450MW Azura-Edo IPP project in Nigeria – and also routinely assists state entities. It is handling energy projects in France and Europe, and is particularly active in the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors. Highlights included advising the Maltese government on the development and financing of a 215MW gas-fired power plant and an LNG storage and degasification facility. Anthony Giustini, the ‘very responsive and highly knowledgeable’ Nikolaï Eatwell, Daniel Zerbib and public law expert David Préat are leading market figures. Delphine Siino Courtin, ‘dealmaker’ Benjamin de Blegiers and Richard Tomlinson are also recommended."
Legal 500 EMEA 2017, Energy - France
- "Clifford Chance has one of the market’s top public-private partnership (PPP) practices. The firm is involved in major road, rail and other transport projects, advising on issues such as bids or refinancing and handling sensitive litigation. The practice is representing the Ministry of Environment and Energy in dealing with the complex issues challenging the construction of the new Nantes Airport, as well as acting for the Ministry of Transport and Ministry of Foreign Affairs in managing problems relating to the Perpignan-Figueras new high-speed rail project. Vinci, Eiffage and EDF Energies Nouvelles are also clients. David Préat ranks among the best in his field. Counsels Marion Roquette-Pfister and Gauthier Martin are also key figures."
Legal 500 EMEA 2017, Administrative & Public Law - France
- Star lawyer David Préat maintains his expert reputation in public law. He handles significant French infrastructure projects and transactions as well as restructuring, deregulation and privatisation of public services. Recently he has been an adviser to the French Ministry of Transport on their competitive bid for a motorway concession contract. Clients continue to be impressed, regarding him as an "outstanding lawyer" with "great eloquence and an exceptionally high-reaching strategic vision."
Chambers Europe 2017, Public Law - France
- David Préat advises mostly on brownfield projects and in particular on concession contracts, for which he has extensive experience. Clients say: "He has a unique and deep knowledge of PPPs for transport infrastructures, as well as remarkable negotiation skills."
Chambers Europe 2017, PFI/PPP - France
- Leading name David Préat advises on greenfield and brownfield projects in different industries and at a domestic and international level. His clients include public authorities, sponsors and lenders. Clients say: "He is clearly very good, he thinks outside the box.
Chambers Europe 2016, PFI/PPP - France
- An outstanding presence in public law, David Préat is "knowledgeable, creative and hard working." He advised Autoroutes Paris-Rhin-Rhône and Société des autoroutes Rhône-Alpes on the Government's decision to freeze toll rate increases on privately owned motorways. One peer says: "He is really beyond the others and in a different category of public law lawyers."
Chambers Europe 2016, Public Law - France
- "Clifford Chance is a leading firm for PPP, public contracts and litigation. The practice, which variously assists public sector entities, sponsors and lenders, is involved in key matters. It is notably advising APRR and AREA regarding the French state’s decision to freeze privately owned motorway toll rates, and assisting the French Ministry of Transport with the A355 motorway project. The firm also advises on regulatory matters. The practice is led by David Préat."
Legal 500 EMEA 2016, Administrative and Public Law - France
- "Clifford Chance’s impressive energy projects practice often advises lenders and is involved in numerous large hydropower, conventional and renewable energy project financings in Africa, as well as high-profile renewable energy projects in France. The practice is assisting the lenders with the financing of the 450MW Azura gas turbine power project in Nigeria and has been advising Eolien Maritime France on three major offshore wind farm projects. The firm also handles oil and gas and mining work, as well as some energy M&A. Key figures in the practice include co-head of the firm’s Africa practice Anthony Giustini, co-head of the North Africa practice Delphine Siino Courtin, Nikolaï Eatwell and David Préat, who is a reference in public law."
Legal 500 EMEA 2016, Energy - France
- "Clifford Chance has the ‘best lawyers in town’ for French project finance work and is involved in major domestic road and infrastructure projects, as well as mandates internationally. It is assisting the International Finance Corporation (IFC) with the financing of the Adana health campus. The firm also has an impressive energy project practice, where it often advises lenders. It is involved in many conventional power, hydro and renewable energy project financings in Africa, such as assisting the lenders with the 120MW Kribi power plant expansion financing in Cameroon. Key figures in the team for international projects include Anthony Giustini, who jointly heads the firm’s Africa practice, Delphine Siino Courtin, who jointly heads the firm’s North Africa practice, as well as Nikolaï Eatwell and recently promoted partner Richard Tomlinson. For domestic project finance work, David Préat stands out for public law aspects, while Daniel Zerbib and recently promoted partner Benjamin de Blegiers are ‘outstanding individuals either on the banks or sponsor side’."
Legal 500 EMEA 2016, Project Finance - France
- "Practice head David Préat continues to enjoy a sterling reputation as a "prominent practitioner in the market." Sources highlight his proficiency in administrative law in particular and his visibility in the field."
Chambers Europe 2014, PFI/PPP
- Practice head David Préat retains his outstanding reputation in French public law, as peers note his wealth of experience and sound market presence. Clients also describe him as "an excellent lawyer with a solid reputation."
Chambers Europe 2014, Public Law
- "Clifford Chance gives ‘strategic advice’ to lenders, sponsors or public entities regarding large public-private partnership (PPP) projects and related litigation, as well as handling important regulatory issues. Notably, the firm is assisting the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy (which also has responsibility for transport) with a number of key matters. The practice is headed by the ‘brilliant and highly competent’ David Préat, who has ‘strong strategic vision’."
Legal 500 2014, Administrative and Public Law
- "Public law guru’ David Préat heads the practice".
Legal 500 2013, Administrative & Public Law
- "Public law expert David Préat is highly regarded".
Legal 500 2013, Project Finance & Energy
- Sources acknowledge that David Préat is "An enormously capable lawyer and a tough opponent". Clients affirm: "He has real vision when it comes to PPP in France, and is particularly imaginative and pertinent in the critical phases".
Chambers Europe 2012, PPP/PFI, France
- David wins rave review from peers, as "Dedicated, talented and creative" and clients, as "A reference point in Paris for public law". He receives particular mention for his ability to handle the full range of public law matters, and adeptness at representing both private clients and public bodies. Interviewees say: "He adapts very well to his clients' needs; they feel super-safe in his hands”.
Chambers Europe 2012, Public Law, France