Michel Petite

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EU Revolving Door.jpg This article is part of the EU Revolving Door project of SpinWatch.
Michel Petite, a French lawyer who is the former head of the European Commission's Legal Service, joined 'Magic Circle' law firm Clifford Chance in January 2008.[1] Clifford Chance counts tobacco giant Philip Morris International among its clients. Shortly before Christmas 2012 Petite was re-appointed to the EC's three-man ethics panel on lobbying, despite controversy over revelations that he had met with EU officials between 2011- 2012 and discussed tobacco legislation with them while he was sitting on the panel from 2009-2012.[2]

The EC's ethics panel advises the EU executive if it is OK for former commissioners to join private companies in the same sector as their old portfolios.[2]


Petite's move from the EC to Clifford Chance came at a time when top law firms were reporting an increase in regulatory work coming their way. Petite had been in the EC role for six years before he joined the firm. In total he had worked at the European Commission for 28 years.

In his role at the law firm he advises clients on EU issues, working closely with its public policy practice, as well as the firm's anti-trust, trade, banking and taxation teams. He also advises on international commercial law and litigation at the World Trade Organisation court. The EC's Legal Service advises the EC on proposed legislation and investigates business accused of breaking European law.

Simon Baxter, head of Clifford Chance's European competition and regulatory group, said: "Michel is one of the most senior EU officials to have moved into private practice, and is the first head of the Legal Service to make such a move."[3]




  1. Clifford Chance, "Clifford Chance recruits the Head of the European Commission's Legal Service," 10 January 2008, accessed 31 January 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Andrew Rettman, EU appoints tobacco lobbyist to top ethics panel, EU Observer, 28 December 2012
  3. Clifford Chance, Clifford Chance recruits the Head of the European Commission's Legal Service, 10 January 2008, accessed 31 January 2010.