international employment law firm alliance L&E Global

Joël Grangé: restoring the image of French labour law

After more than thirty years at the Paris Bar, Joël Grangé says he is still fascinated by the legal world and its trials. A formidable lawyer, he now puts his tenacity at the service of the profession and the evolution of the law with a capital L. A multifaceted figure for whom “influence” rhymes with “humility” and “efficiency”.

Joël Grangé’s name is associated with landmark case law. As head of the labor law firm Flichy Grangé Avocats, he intervenes himself in the most sensitive files and remains a “hands-on” lawyer who gets into the nitty gritty of the cases. And what cases! Such as when he pleads in an amphitheater at the Amiens Exhibition Center in the Goodyear case or defends Veolia, whose plan to acquire Suez shares is hampered by issues of consultation with the social partners… Yet he is not a regular face in the media. “My rule is discretion,” he confirms. I consider that my role is to stay in the background… especially if the case becomes a media issue. Maybe that’s why clients choose me.” Without a doubt. When asked if the hustle and bustle of these “big” cases wears on the nerves, he replies that his asset in dealing with them, apart from his passion for judicial dialectics, is his great pugnacity. “It’s rare that I ever back down,” he says with a half-smile.

Restoring the image of French labor law

He regularly intervenes with advisors, ministers or the General Directorate of Labor to shed light on labor law reforms projects. This is an influential approach that he wants to be clear about: No disguised lobbying or promotion of extreme deregulation in favor of corporate clients. “I am not mandated by anyone,” he explains, “I am a practitioner who sees the difficulties.” His contributions have increased in recent years as part of the social reforms brought about by the El Khomri law and the Macron ordinances. One of his main concerns was then the modification of the legal framework of economic layoffs and in particular the suppression of the extension of the obligation of redeployment to foreign subsidiaries. This rule, “out of step with reality in its effects as well as in its implementation”, was all too often an ‘easy’ reason for cancelling redundancy plans in international groups”. In his view, it is indispensable that the legislation be “practical” if it is to be respected. When it seems unrealistic to employers, they give up on applying it. The only remedy for this is to work to “avoid the great gap between reality and the texts.

“We see every day that legislation is in competition, and how much its content has an impact on the choice of countries in which to set up a business,” says Grangé. His commitment to realistic law also helps to avoid discouraging foreign investors, and thus to “restore the reputation of French labor law”.


A member of the Paris Bar Council, he is one of the few business lawyers to join the representative bodies. “It is important that this part of the bar be represented” he explains. It is a dynamic community that is recruiting”. He also explains that being close to companies leads to a different vision of customer relations, or working methods, which must be taken into account in the reflections on the evolution of the profession.

And it is now the entire profession that benefits from his strength of character and conviction. The subject on which he has been most committed remains, of course, that of pension reform. “Our autonomous regime works well, there is absolutely no reason to abandon it,” he repeats, with as much energy as in the early days of the protest. Perhaps even more energy. “In the way it has dealt with the question of compensation for the liberal professions in the face of the Covid-19 crisis, the government has clearly shown that in its mind there are different statuses,” he reacts. There is no reason for us to suffer these disadvantages without benefiting from advantages”. To convince those who listen to him speak of this injustice, Joël Grangé draws again from the rigor and the fighting spirit that characterize him: “This reform lacks precision”, he affirms. The subject is quite technical, financial, it is important to go into detail. I am convinced that the resistance that we led has shed light on data that was not perceived by everyone”. Optimistic for the continuation of this fight? “Prudent,” he replies.

Indeed, he said he wouldn’t back down.


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