Jean-François Prat joined the firm, which today bears his name, shortly after it was created. On his initiative, the firm specialised in corporate law. Jean-François Prat was a recognised authority on securities law, mergers and acquisitions, corporate litigation, arbitration and white collar crime. He advised on most of the major takeover battles of his time which earned him a reputation as a key expert on such matters.
In 2003, Chambers and Partners, which publishes the international guide to the world’s best lawyers, presented him with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his distinguished career.
Jean-François Prat was a member of the Paris Bar Council between 2004 and 2009.
He died on 26 March 2011 after having practised law for forty-five years
THE LAW FIRM HE CO-FOUNDED
Bredin Prat, one of the top French business law firms, is reputed for providing advice of the highest quality and sophistication in its selected practice areas, namely: corporate law / mergers and acquisitions, securities and financial law, international litigation and arbitration, tax law, competition and European law, financing and banking law, restructuring and insolvency, employment law and public law.
Founded in 1966, the firm was first renowned for its expertise in general litigation and arbitration before focussing more on corporate law in the 1980s. Over the last thirty years, Bredin Prat has indeed worked on most of the major public M&A transactions in France, both domestic and cross-border, including high-profile privatizations and landmark contested takeovers.
With offices in Paris and Brussels, Bredin Prat has succeeded in expanding while at the same time respecting the firm’s culture and staying committed to excellence. The firm now has 140 lawyers and its success and particularity is due to the intense personal involvement and reputation of its 42 partners who are unanimously recognized for their expertise.
At an international level, Bredin Prat has developed a unique approach enabling it to work on all cross-border files with international integrated teams of lawyers from firms who are among the best in their jurisdiction. The Best Friends network, created ten years ago, comprises, in Europe, the law firms Bonelli Erede Pappalardo (Italy), Bredin Prat (France), De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek (Netherlands), Hengeler Mueller (Germany), Slaughter and May (United Kingdom) and Uría Ménendez (Spain). The Best Friends currently have 27 offices and more than 2,000 lawyers worldwide.
THE ART COLLECTION ADVENTURE
It is perhaps from his grandparents, who sang in the Opera de Monaco, that Jean-François Prat inherited his passion for music… as well as a certain nostalgia for the Mediterranean land.
As soon as he arrived in Paris, at the beginning of the 1960s, his encounters with leading art collectors, artists and gallery owners such as Jean Fournier, aroused his keen interest in the art of his time. In those years, there was no place for speculation. It was possible to buy for a relatively modest price the works of artists who are now famous.
With Marie-Aline, whom he met at Aix University, he began an art collection which grew incessantly as they travelled, visited galleries and regularly attended art fairs. It is a very personal collection which has nothing to do with “good tips” or the ephemeral fashions of the time. This is because it is firmly built on the history of art, both ancient, modern & contemporary.
Jean-François Prat had a curious mind, watching the customs and practices of his time, interested in how they would evolve. He was keen to give pertinent answers to new problems as they constantly arise in our world, in particular the world of business; those questions that the law and statute at the time had not anticipated.
Jean-François Prat understood the law, not as a fixed structure, but as an organic body which moulds and adapts itself constantly to the society that it is charged with regulating.
Within this dialectic, invention fed by intuition and intellectual rigour seemed to be one of the fundamental elements
of his practice.
Against such a background, his interest in the art of his time took on its own dimension: an artist also looks ahead and invents.
Frequenting contemporary art is a real “accelerator of thoughts”; it shocks sometimes, it engages the mind, often the body, it forces us to look anew at the world and others in their diversity with more empathy. It makes us look on the future of the world with more kindness than might appear.
Convinced of the benefits of living with contemporary art,Jean-François Prat shared his collection by making works available to those of his friends, partners and colleagues who so wished. He employed “active learning” which provoked enthusiastic and often contagious discussions and questioning.
The presence of these works was part of a professional and social dynamic. It is also at the heart of and perpetuates
the “family spirit” that Jean-François Prat had initiated within the law firm Bredin Prat.
This prize pays tribute to the man whose personal life and exceptional professional career were governed by ethics, excellence, inventiveness and generosity.