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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Commodities: derivatives > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Commodities: derivatives
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading individuals

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
    • Simone Goligorsky - Reed Smith LLP

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The team at Reed Smith LLP covers commodity derivatives from all angles and is known for its ‘excellent service and advice’ on transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. ‘On energy matters, there is no other firm in the UK that has the same strength’, says one client. Its expertise also covers other asset classes including metals and soft commodities in both exchange-traded and over-the-counter (OTC) markets. The London commodities team, which Kyri Evagora still oversees despite having moved to New York, also benefits from the firm’s network in Asia, the US, Europe and the Middle East, and its client base includes not only financial institutions and funds, but also exchanges and commodity trading houses. ‘Excellent regulatory lawyer’ Chris Borg is ‘someone upon whom clients can really rely – a very strong hand in the pack’. ‘Great transactional lawyers’ Prajakt Samant and Rashpaul Bahia ‘have very good expertise and know the market exceptionally well’. Clients also recommend Brett Hillis, who has particular expertise in gas and power trading, and Claude Brown, who has over 30 years’ experience in derivatives as a banker and lawyer. Counsel Joanna Williams and senior associate Simone Goligorsky are also highly regarded. The firm is closely involved with the development of WeatherXchange, the world’s first weather derivatives platform, and helped secure its authorisation as an introducing broker by the US National Futures Association. Other clients include the European Federation of Energy Traders, the Futures Industry Association (FIA) and global commodity exchange CME.

Shearman & Sterling LLP is ‘a truly global player that understands the whole of the market’. The firm’s primary focus is on market infrastructure and it advises exchanges and clearinghouses. It is a key adviser to the Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and its affiliates including ICE Clear Europe, ICE Futures Europe and LIFFE. It also has a strong client base among financial institutions, corporates and buy-side entities, for which it handles a wide range of transactions, disputes and regulatory matters. The London team works closely with colleagues in the US to advise on the overlap between European, US and UK derivatives regulation. Clients single out ICE relationship partners Barney Reynolds (who is ‘one hell of a lawyer’) and Thomas Donegan; Patrick Clancy, who heads the UK derivatives team; and structured finance expert James Duncan – all are specialists in their respective fields. In a key mandate, the team advised ICE Clear Europe and ICE Futures Europe on an update to clearing and exchange rules in order to enhance sanctions protections; specific amendments were required for white sugar futures, cocoa futures and robusta coffee futures. The team also advised same clients on the impact of regulations such as MiFID II and Securities Financing Transactions rules. Another highlight saw Reynolds advise Abu Dhabi Global Market on the structuring and regulation of a new financial free zone, which included the drafting of commodity trading and derivatives rules. Sasol New Energy, Dow and BTG Pactual are also among the firm’s clients.

Ashurst has a global commodities practice in which the London office plays a central role. Its partners have extensive experience in derivatives and commodities trading matters and the firm represents traders, producers and investment banks in physically-settled and cash-settled hedging transactions. OTC derivatives specialist James Coiley is routinely called on to handle regulatory matters and is leading a project for Bank of America Merrill Lynch for the novation of guaranteed and collateralised intra-group commodity contracts. He is also assisting Institutional Secured Funding (Jersey), an ABCP programme sponsored by Cantor Fitzgerald, on documentation for a commodities financing programme for spot metals trades. Other key mandates include assisting Merrill Lynch International with a review of all commodity due diligence and netting opinions on a global basis, which requires the co-ordination of derivatives and regulatory teams in multiple jurisdictions. Jonathan Haines is leading that project with support from Antony Skinner and counsel Kerion Ball. Chris Georgiou left the firm to help establish the Condor Legal Solutions initiative run by Fieldfisher.

Fieldfishercan hold its head up with the best’, according to one client who also remarks that lead derivatives partner Guy Usher is ‘absolutely excellent, combining unsurpassed technical knowledge with a great deal of common sense’. The firm’s six-partner derivatives team covers a broad range of on-exchange and OTC transactions that include commodities asset classes such as metals, oil, electricity, freight and weather. Luke Whitmore, who is a key structured finance adviser to financial institutions including Citigroup and UBS, acted for Deutsche Bank on a gold swap with VTB Capital. He is also advising Nystar AG on futures agreements with ICBC, Koch Trading and Toyota Tsusho Metals to enable trading on the London Metal Exchange (LME). Edward Miller and Emma Spiers also play key roles in the derivatives team. Regulatory specialist Azad Ali is advising Mitsubishi Corporation on the impact of MiFID II on its commodity derivatives business. Duncan Black is recommended for contentious matters. Usher and associate Steven Burrows, who is praised for his ‘excellent service’, advised Triland Metals on tri-party margin funding structures with three banks that committed to provide margin and take security over the client’s LME futures accounts.

HFW has a deep bench of commodity lawyers whose expertise covers both physical and derivatives trades. The firm’s merger with Legge, Farrow, Kimmitt, McGrath & Brown LLP in the US added an office in global energy centre Houston, Texas, through which derivatives work flows to London. Robert Finney is regarded as a leading specialist in derivatives and regulation, particularly in the energy and metals markets; in 2016, he advised financial institutions and commodity traders on the impact of new regulations such as MiFID II. International trade and commodities partner Judith Prior advises clients on futures trades and contentious matters, and is regarded as a leading figure in the sugar market. Brian Perrott’s practice encompasses not only commodity and freight matters, but also complex derivative disputes. Sarah Taylor focuses her practice on international commodity trading and handles both derivatives trades and contentious matters. The team advised a soft commodity trader on urgent matters relating to the delivery of a multimillion-dollar cargo at the expiry of an exchange-traded futures contract. The firm also assists exchanges with the development and implementation of new commodity derivatives contracts. Clients of the London team include BP, Cargill, Gazprom and Trafigura.

The commodities practice at Linklaters LLP is central to its market-leading presence in energy, natural resources and mining markets, and derivatives are a key part of the team’s skill set. The firm has built up a solid reputation in commodity derivatives thanks in part to its innovative approach to new products such as exchange-traded commodity platforms, structured carbon credit transactions and structured trades in both precious and base metals. The firms is able to call upon a top-tier derivatives and structured finance practice and its prominent physical commodities practice to provide hedging and financing tools for its key clients. Chris Staples, a partner in the firm’s energy, natural resources and infrastructure practice and co-head of the global commodities group, advised RWE on regulatory matters affecting the trading of commodity derivatives in Japan, China, Singapore and Bangkok. Other highlights included acting for Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Citigroup on the preparation of master sale and repurchase transaction documentation for commodities transactions following the impact on the repo market of the Qingdao metals storage and financing dispute.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s highly regarded structured trade and commodity finance practice in London acts for banks, development finance institutions, traders, producers and exporters on a broad range of commodities markets. Global head of financial services Jonathan Herbst is a leading light in the market for regulatory matters, regularly advising on commodity derivatives, custody and clearing matters in light of new regulations such as MiFID II. Herbst and financial services partner Hannah Meakin, who advises numerous financial institutions and industry bodies, assisted FIA Europe with documentation relating to regulatory changes including EMIR. Daniel Franks and Nigel Dickinson focus on OTC derivatives, repos, securities lending and structured finance as well as advising on collateral and netting issues. Other highlights for the practice included advising the Commodity Markets Council – Europe, which comprises 19 major commodity producers and traders, on new legislation including EMIR and MiFID II. BTG Commodities (UK), Cargill, Cleartrade and JPMorgan are also clients.

Noted for its energy commodities focus, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP is ‘a capable firm for the more complicated and innovative deals’, and is well regarded for general trading matters, structured trading, portfolio sales, M&A and regulatory matters. Team co-head Matthew Williams is ‘a seasoned lawyer who can focus on what is important from a business perspective and who provides quick but considered responses, sound commercial and industry awareness, and great value for money’. Fellow co-head Edward Humphries is a trading expert with a significant track record of deals in the UK, Europe and Africa. Peter Roberts, who was once GC of Centrica, gives the firm a strong presence in oil and LNG trading. Regulatory specialist Elisabeth Blunsdon garners high praise for her ‘deep knowledge and understanding of regulatory issues and risks’. The firm’s highlights included advising Axpo Trading on multiple LNG purchase and sale agreements; acting for ENGIE Global Markets as lead external counsel for power, gas, coal and carbon trading agreements; and assisting JPMorgan with its purchase of Morgan Stanley’s base metals trading portfolio.

Simmons & Simmons has a global commodities practice that ties in with its prominent derivatives team in London to generate significant mandates from buy-side and sell-side clients, as well as providers of market infrastructure. The firm counts many of the world’s leading banks and commodity traders among its clients and it is a key adviser to the key players in the European hedge fund industry. Furthermore, it has a highly regarded metals and bullion practice, though its work covers energy trading and a broad range of other commodities. Rosali Pretorius, who was previously head of the regulatory and commodity derivatives practice at Dentons, joined the firm’s regulatory group and added cross-border expertise to the practice. Jonathan Melrose leads the multi-jurisdictional commodities and energy trading and finance practice group, in which he specialises in UK and European regulation on trading, clearing and settlement, asset management and market conduct. Darren Fox, who specialises in energy, metals and financial futures, advises both buy-side and sell-side clients. A key strand of the team’s work in 2016 involved advising international financial institutions on implementation projects driven by regulatory and structural changes to commodity derivatives markets brought about by MiFID II and MiFIR regulations.

Noted for the breadth of its derivatives and structured finance capability, Clifford Chance LLP's practice in London includes several partners that are known for their knowledge of phsyically and financially-settled OTC, exchange-traded and securitised commodity contracts. The firm also has in-depth knowledge of commodity-linked instruments such as carbon-linked bonds. Derivatives specialists Habib Motani, Matthew Grigg and Paget Dare Bryan are all recommended, as are regulatory partners Chris Bates and Simon Crown. Emerging markets experts Leonard Cleland and Logan Wright also handle signficant commodity derivatives matters. The firm advised banks including ING Bank on a syndicated borrowing facility for a pan-European multi-commodity wholesale and trading group, and assisted Trafigura with a $90m financing of two subsidiaries of an independent Russian oil producer. Both deals included derivatives elements.

Energy, infrastructure and project finance partner Mark Cheney, who devotes part of his practice to energy trading matters, and banking partner Matthew Sapte, who focuses on debt capital markets and derivatives, are the key partners in the team at Dentons following the departure of Rosali Pretorius to Simmons & Simmons. Counsel Luca Salerno specialises in non-contentious financial services regulation and advises numerous banks and trading houses on OTC and exchange-traded deals in gas, power, emissions, metals and other commodities. His work includes advice on regulation and credit risk mitigation such as netting, clearing and collateralisation. He recently advised an international oil and gas company on the impact of EU regulations EMIR, MiFID II and CRR on OTC derivatives trades. Salerno also played a key role the team’s work for independent gas and power supplier Utilita Energy Limited on agreements with BP Power and Gas Marketing that included hedging services. The firm also acts for Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Export Development Canada.

Newly merged Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP incorporates the team from what was formerly Sutherland (Europe) and before that Arbis, which focuses specifically on the commodities market. Paul Sinnott has a longstanding reputation for oil and metals transactions; he regularly advises major oil companies and global trading houses on their commodity derivatives transactions for trading and hedging purposes. He also handles structured commodity trade finance transactions that incorporate both physical and derivatives trades. Sinnott also handles exchange-traded and OTC derivatives matters including commodities, freight, foreign exchange and interest rate products as well as customisation of master netting, marginning and deal documentation. He also advises clients on the impact of regulations such as EMIR and MiFID II on their commodity derivatives activities. Highly experienced litigator Jenni Lajzerowicz joined Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

At McDermott Will & Emery UK LLP energy trading specialist David Birchall is recommended for his ‘in-depth knowledge of the physical energy market, which he can flawlessly translate into financial derivatives with sharp insight and pragmatic business acumen’. He is also a key adviser to agribusinesses on trading matters. Key clients include JPMorgan, which Birchall advised on numerous regulatory and trading matters, including master netting terms. Birchall also advised Statkraft on its US carbon trading activities, which included a full audit of all trading arrangements.

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