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Small is Beautiful: a Combined Approach to Criminal Defense

The arrival of our new partner Louis-Marie de Roux adds a great deal to the team, as he brings with him expertise in press and media law

White collar crime and compliance specialists Coat Haut de Sigy de Roux, a firm launched in 2017, has doubled its team in the past year. Founders Claire de Haut de Sigy and Julian Christen Coat bring together two different areas of expertise to the benefit of their corporate clients.

Co-founded in 2017 by Claire de Haut de Sigy and Julian Christen Coat, the firm Coat Haut de Sigy is this year celebrating the three-year mark. Within its first 12 months, the boutique firm had already brought in Louis-Marie de Roux and senior counsel Michel Beaussier. Mr. Beaussier was previously head of White Collar Crime and Regulatory Litigation at White & Case. He worked with the two founders first while they were associates at Beaussier & Associés and, from 2010, when they were all at White & Case.


Following successful careers in a big law firm, Julian Christen Coat and Claire de Haut de Sigy decided to create a boutique firm specializing in criminal law, which they wanted to bridge a dual focus of white collar crime and compliance. “The arrival of our new partner Louis-Marie de Roux adds a great deal to the team, as he brings with him expertise in press and media law” adds Claire de Haut de Sigy. The firm recently changed its name to Coat Haut de Sigy de Roux.

With complementary skills, the lawyers work with large French and international companies, banks and financial institutions, as well as their directors and shareholders, that are facing banking, financial, stock market and tax offences. The firm also handles labor, economic and environmental violations. Julian Christen Coat says: “Our combined white collar crime and compliance practice is essential for several cases that require this dual focus because we handle both criminal and regulatory issues.” Mr. Coat, a member of the bar in both New York and Paris, recently acted in an internal fraud case for a stock brokerage company that had been defrauded to the tune of €120m. “We also defend large companies whose directors and employees have been accused of corruption by foreign powers.” says Louis-Marie de Roux. Claire de Haut de Sigy, who recently defended directors sued for misleading commercial practices, has seen a trend in this type of cases: “In criminal investigations, judges and investigators are increasingly relying on formal charges available to them, such as under anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing regulation (AML/CFT) or consumer law, to pursue criminal prosecutions.” This trend has driven the firm to strengthen its ability to interpret legal and regulatory obligations, as well as to implement internal corporate policies to protect against corruption, money laundering or influence peddling.


In a climate of sensitive criminal cases, the partners keep a cold head: “Our priority is still to strengthen our positioning in criminal defense and litigation.” The firm is keen to keep its structure of four associates and wishes to grow sustainably in order to maintain its boutique feel. Despite regularly being contacted by headhunters from larger firms, the partners wish to continue to grow gradually: “We all enjoy appearing in court and defending clients, which is something we want to share with our team.” And 2020 is already showing plenty of promise for this independent boutique.


Décideurs Juridiques, Marine Calvo

February 2020

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