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Reed Smith LLP garners a great deal of respect in the market; ‘it is certainly a top-tier firm’. Chris Borg and Brett Hillis ‘always deliver good, strong advice’ to a number of trade bodies including the London Bullion Market Association and the European Federation of Energy Traders. Borg also provides regulatory advice to trading houses and energy companies. Claude Brown is a recognised expert on weather derivatives and structured commodity trades. Prajakt Samant, Rashpaul Bahia and counsel Joanna Williams are also recommended.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has an integrated global practice that is a key adviser to exchanges and clearing houses and is noted for its regulatory and transactional expertise. Barney Reynolds and Thomas Donegan advised ICE Clear Singapore and ICE Futures Singapore on all governance and regulatory matters relating to their launch. Donegan also advised ICE Futures US on the development of its benchmark cotton contract, and ICE Clear Europe on a new physically settled coal contract. Patrick Clancy is also recommended.

Ashurstdelivers on time and on budget, and has a deep understanding of business needs’. The team of ‘smart, hardworking lawyers’ includes James Coiley, who advised Cantor Fitzgerald on regulatory aspects of a commodity financing programme; Jonathan Haines, who acts for Merrill Lynch Commodities Europe; repo and stock-lending expert Chris Georgiou; and counsel Kerion Ball, who ‘knows what clients want and has deep market knowledge’.

At Dentons, Rosali Pretorius (who ‘has a very good name in the market’) and Luca Salerno advised North Sea oil and gas producer Statoil (UK) Trading on the impact of MiFID II regulations on derivatives trading activities. The firm also advises key financial institutions such as Société Générale and Citigroup Global Markets on trading in gas, power and metals both over-the-counter and on-exchange.

Holman Fenwick Willan’s ‘user-friendly and client-focused’ practice is ‘very strong on commodities work’. Regulatory expert Robert Finney and Judith Prior advised CME Europe on the development of a cocoa futures contract. Key figures on the disputes front include Brian Perrott, who represented GMI and Swiss Marine in High Court hearings, and Damian Honey.

Linklaters LLP is the leading Magic Circle firm for commodity derivatives. Highlights included advising LME Clear as the first clearing house to accept LME warrants as collateral from clearing members. The firm also advised the exchange on a new system for the transfer of warehouse receipts. Jeremy Gewirtz counts Noble among his clients.

Norton Rose Fulbright attracts praise for its ‘strong commercial judgement and ability to find solutions under pressure’. On regulatory matters Jonathan Herbsthas formidable command of his subject’ and Conor Foley ‘really knows this area well’. Nigel Dickinson advised a bank on a multimillion-dollar metals deal with a leading trading house. Daniel Franks and Hannah Meakin are also recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP provides ‘excellent business acumen and practical advice’. The practice’s energy capability was strengthened by the arrival of Matthew Williams, Edward Humphries and regulatory specialist Elisabeth Blunsdon from Hogan Lovells International LLP; and Peter Roberts from Andrews Kurth (UK) LLP, who leads the firm’s global oil and gas practice. Clients include BTG Pactual, Noble and JPMorgan.

Simmons & Simmons has ‘a highly effective practice, which is flexible across the commodities space’. Jonathan Melrose is ‘at the top of his profession’ and played a key role in advising an industry association on the implementation of a new pricing benchmark. In another highlight, Omar Al-Ali (who joined from Linklaters LLP) advised Castleton Commodities on energy hedging related to the client’s acquisition of Morgan Stanley’s global oil merchanting business. Charlotte Stalin is also recommended.

Clifford Chance LLP’s practice acts for industry bodies including the LMA and ISDA, and attracts praise for its ‘highly innovative transactional advice’. Leonard Cleland drew on his expertise in margin lending techniques under English and Russian law to advise VTB Capital on its forward sale agreements. Commodity derivatives specialist Matthew Grigg is also recommended.

Clients of Fieldfisher rate its practice for providing ‘advice that is very well tailored and of high quality’. Guy Usher and Edward Miller are advising a Swiss energy trader and a soft commodities broker respectively on the implications of MiFID II regulations. Usher is also advising Mitsubishi Corporation on aluminium trading. Luke Whitmore is recommended and Emma Spiers is one to watch.

Notwithstanding the departure of a significant proportion of its team to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP, Hogan Lovells International LLP still fields several key practitioners in this area. Michael Thomas advised the London Metal Exchange and LME Clear on creating new classes of metal derivatives contracts, while James Doyle advised BNP Paribas on pre-paid forward derivatives in emerging markets.

McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP’s David Birchall is a respected commodities and energy trading lawyer; he has advised Morgan Stanley on metals contracts, uncollateralised arrangements with UK energy suppliers and green trading.

Sutherland (Europe) LLP has ‘deep market experience and precious knowledge of trading’. Paul Sinnott is recommended for oil and metals transactions. The firm advises major oil companies and leading trading houses on transactional and regulatory matters. Experienced litigator Jenni Lajzerowicz is also recommended.

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