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  1. Corporate restructuring and insolvency
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Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld provides β€˜responsive, commercial and pragmatic’ advice to bondholders and noteholders and is noted for its track record on many of the largest cross-border mandates. Aided by the firm’s entrenched energy expertise, the β€˜excellent’ James Terry has been involved in the majority of European oil and gas restructurings in the market, and is currently advising an ad-hoc group of bondholders in their interests as stakeholders of Norske Skog. Co-head Barry Russell (who is β€˜at the top of the pecking order for private placement workouts’) recently acted for the par and secondary holders of private placement notes on the €2bn financial restructuring and subsequent bankruptcy of Royal Imtech. Other recommended partners include β€˜fantastic’ co-head James Roome; the β€˜technically strong and commercial’ Neil Devaney; the β€˜top-notch’ Tom Bannister; and Liz Osborne and Emma Simmonds, β€˜who are both very good at navigating complex cross-border structures’.

Allen & Overy LLP provides β€˜creative and commercial advice’ to lenders including RBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays. Ian Field (who attracts praise for his β€˜extensive experience of difficult deals’) acted alongside Carolyn Conner for the senior coordinating committee on the Β£350m restructuring of Cory Environmental. While the team is busier on the creditor front, it does handle a significant amount of debtor work; highlights included advising Four Seasons Health Group on financial restructuring options with respect to its term facility, senior secured notes and senior notes, as well as its real estate portfolio. The β€˜results-oriented’ Earl Griffith led on that matter and is recommended alongside the β€˜creative and solutions-oriented’ Randal Weeks and β€˜calm and authoritative’ Tim Crocker. Gordon Stewart retired from the partnership (although he remains a consultant) and Mark Sterling now works on a part-time basis.

Clifford Chance LLP’s client base comprises an array of stakeholders including banks, funds, corporates and IPs. Philip Hertz (who β€˜excels at getting deals over the line’) acted alongside the β€˜superb’ Iain White to advise the ad-hoc bondholder committee on Spanish company Abengoa’s proposed €19.5bn restructuring. White is also acting for Codere on its high-profile restructuring of the company’s revolving credit facility and high yield bond indebtedness. Adrian Cohen has β€˜huge experience across a number of jurisdictions’ including the UAE, and is currently advising the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on insolvency law reform. Other recommended partners include David Towers, who is praised for his β€˜strategic nous’, β€˜rising star’ John MacLennan, and the β€˜commercial’ David Steinberg.

The β€˜vastly experienced’ Ken Baird heads Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s β€˜talented’ ten-partner team, which provides β€˜very creative advice’ to clients including KKR, Alcentra and PwC. The firm, which is β€˜excellent at complex cross-border matters’, is a regular fixture on significant pan-European restructurings, and recently advised German-based global technology metals business H C Starck on its €700m restructuring. The β€˜unflappable’ Richard Tett led on that matter and has β€˜an excellent understanding of current trends and structures’. The recent hire of Ward McKimm from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP has strengthened the team’s ability to handle restructurings involving high yield debt. Nick Segal, Sean Lacey, Adam Gallagher and the β€˜very strong’ Catherine Balmond are also recommended.

The β€˜first-rate’ team at Linklaters LLP has the strength in depth and international platform to handle a range of mandates for an array of stakeholders. The β€˜calm, commercial and proactive’ Nick Le Masurier recently acted for the ad-hoc committee of senior creditors on the Β£817.5m sale, by way of scheme of arrangement, of Guardian Digital Communications to Motorola Solutions. β€˜Accomplished’ co-head Rebecca Jarvis has been involved in numerous energy-related matters, including advising the syndicate of senior secured lenders on the attempted restructuring and ultimate administration of Afren Group. Other key figures include co-head Richard Bussell (who is β€˜a class act’), Yen Sum, who is known for her bondholder and CLO expertise, Bruce Bell, and insolvency litigator Euan Clarke. David Ereira joined Paul Hastings LLP in November 2015.

The β€˜responsive and proactive’ team at Kirkland & Ellis International LLP provides β€˜commercial advice’ to a private equity and funds client base including Oaktree Capital, Centerbridge Partners and KKR Credit. The β€˜commercial’ and β€˜effective’ Kon Asimacopoulos advised Centerbridge Partners as majority lender on the debt-for-equity restructuring of Apcoa Car Parks. Asimacopoulos also acted alongside the β€˜superb’ Partha Kar for KKR portfolio company Northgate Information Solutions on its global, multi-jurisdictional restructuring, which involved a debt-for-equity swap and the transfer of ownership to existing mezzanine lenders Goldman Sachs and Park Square. Elaine Nolan is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ β€˜multi-disciplinary team’ attracts praise for its ability to β€˜draw on strong legal expertise from the firm’s structured finance, litigation and real estate groups’. β€˜Very commercial and pragmatic’ team head Adam Plainer (who is β€˜a clear leader in his field’) recently concluded his long-running representation of Barclays on General Healthcare Group’s financial restructuring. Also recommended are the β€˜very commercial’ Andrew Wilkinson, who β€˜understands how creditors think’; the β€˜very experienced and reliable’ Paul Bromfield; Mark Lawford; Alexander Wood; and β€˜personable and clever’ of counsel Linton Bloomberg.

Ashurst’s β€˜commercial and imaginative’ team acts for an array of stakeholders including senior lenders, funds and debtors. The β€˜commercial and creative’ Simon Baskerville* (who is β€˜tapped into the funds community’) recently advised Avenue Capital on its proposed acquisition of a €2bn non-performing loan portfolio from Ulster Bank. The β€˜superb’ Dan Hamilton and the β€˜responsive and knowledgeable’ Olga Galazoula continue to act as English law adviser to the Bank of Cyprus on the financial restructuring of some of its largest corporate exposures. London team head Giles Boothman and the β€˜pragmatic and clear’ Lynn Dunne are also recommended. *Simon Baskerville joined Latham & Watkins in July 2016.

The β€˜high-quality team’ at Herbert Smith Freehills LLP attracts praise for its β€˜ability to manoeuvre around difficult and conflicting stakeholders’, and for its β€˜excellent oil and gas sector expertise’. The group is traditionally best known for its debtor-side practice and has picked up numerous mandates in the mining sector; highlights included advising Lonmin plc on the refinancing and restructuring of a $360m English law facility agreement and ZAR2bn South African law facilities. The β€˜superb’ Laurence Elliott leads the team, which includes Kevin Pullen, who continues to act in the long-running Nortel bankruptcy.

Hogan Lovells International LLP is praised for its β€˜ability to manage stakeholders extremely well’, both in a restructuring and formal insolvency setting. Led by the β€˜superb’ Stephen Foster, the team is best known for its work for banks including Lloyds, Santander and Bank of America. The β€˜excellent’ Paul McLoughlin recently advised GE on the sale and transfer of its European commercial mortgage portfolio, and the β€˜dependable and solutions-oriented’ Deborah Gregory recently acted for the syndicate of secured lenders to Caparo Industries. The β€˜smart and commercial’ Tom Astle and β€˜sincere and bright’ Joe Bannister are also recommended.

Clients appreciate Latham & Watkins’ β€˜efficient staffing’ and β€˜high level of service’. β€˜Very creative’ team head John Houghton β€˜fully understands the commercial imperative’ and is known for his β€˜robust approach’; in addition to advising bondholders, Houghton also handles debtor mandates and acted alongside the firm’s Moscow office on the restructuring of Ukranian entity DTEK Holdings. The β€˜careful and thorough’ Helena Potts is also recommended.

Slaughter and May’s cross-departmental approach ensures it can provide β€˜nimble and creative’ advice to debtors on their restructurings. The firm is often involved in politically sensitive matters, and recently acted on the winding-up of former Icelandic bank, Glitnir. The β€˜very calm’ Richard de Carle, and β€˜rising star’ Tom Vickers acted on that matter and are recommended alongside β€˜top-drawer’ group head Ian Johnson.

Led by Christian Pilkington, White & Case LLP’s four-partner team has β€˜a deep understanding of the restructuring market’ and acts for a balanced and broad array of clients including banks, funds and debtors. The team’s ability to leverage the firm’s wide-ranging international network and complementary practice areas was recently illustrated by its advice to Kaupthing on its approximately $45bn restructuring. The team has also been heavily involved in restructurings in the energy and shipping space; highlights included advising the debtors of Afren plc and lenders to Torm on their $1bn-plus restructurings. Laura Prater has β€˜the requisite skillset to get even the most complicated deals done’ and is recommended alongside Ian Wallace, who joined the firm from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP in August 2015.

Led by Gregory Petrick, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s β€˜impressively well-prepared’ five-partner team acts for a range of fund clients including Oaktree, GSO and Apollo. The β€˜creative and responsive’ Karen McMaster has acted for numerous distressed funds; recent highlights include acting alongside the β€˜hugely impressive’ Yushan Ng on Njord Partners and Goldman Sachs Special Situations’ €25m debt investment in a Portuguese cabling company. Also recommended are Richard Nevins, for his β€˜ability to manage disparate groups of creditors to achieve sensible conclusions’; and Louisa Watt, who is β€˜a pleasure to work with’ on debt and claims trading matters.

Jones Day attracts praise for its ability to β€˜pull together lawyers from various jurisdictions and complementary practice areas’ to provide β€˜a comprehensive’ service to funds, banks and debtors. Team head Ben Larkin β€˜effortlessly combines commercial deal experience with deep restructuring knowledge’ and recently advised Paperlinx on its insolvency. The β€˜thorough and commercial’ Kay Morley regularly advises hedge funds on distressed investment opportunities in Europe. Insolvency litigator Sion Richards is also recommended.

Headed by the β€˜responsive and proactive’ Ben Jones, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s four-partner team provides β€˜a pragmatic and solutions-oriented service’ to a range of mid-market clients including IPs, banks and funds. β€˜Insightful and clever’ insolvency litigator David Leibowitz advised the trustees in bankruptcy on the largest UK Ponzi scheme to date, which involved a court resolution on the most effective way to get the recovered sums to the investors in the scheme. Also recommended are Marc Trottier and Ian Benjamin, who provides β€˜robust and definitive advice’.

Headed by the β€˜knowledgeable and solutions-oriented’ Rita Lowe, CMS’ practice has deeply entrenched relationships with UK clearing banks and a balanced perspective that debtor clients appreciate. In an illustration of its overall energy sector strength, Emma Riddle acted for the UK entities of Noreco on its bond restructuring. The β€˜calm and measured’ Peter Wiltshire has also been very active in the energy sector, and is recommended alongside Pranai Karia, who specialises in real estate restructurings, and β€˜excellent problem-solver’ Ashley Smith, who handles distressed debt trading.

DLA Piper’s national and international network enables it to handle a significant volume of mandates for clearing banks and corporates in both a formal and informal insolvency and restructuring setting. Led by the β€˜commercial and pragmatic’ Michael Fiddy and β€˜exceptional’ Amy Jacks, the firm remains a leader on both the buy and sell side for distressed portfolio mandates; Jacks and Fiddy recently advised Aviva on the Β£2.5bn disposal of its distressed real estate portfolio to Lonestar Funds. Fiddy acted as co-counsel for Abengoa on its high-profile restructuring. David Ampaw leads the London distressed trading team and is β€˜excellent within the funds space’.

Dentons’ 11-partner team provides β€˜absolutely top-class’ advice that β€˜combines both technical expertise and commercial awareness’. Its expertise covers a range of contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency work for banks, IPs and corporates. Team head and β€˜fantastic tactician’ Nigel Barnett is continuing to act as co-counsel in the proceedings relating to the distribution of surplus assets in the Lehman Brothers insolvency. Also recommended are insolvency litigator Rachel Anthony, for her β€˜superlative ability to anticipate the actions that the opponent might take’; the β€˜technically astute and determined’ Celia Hayward; and the β€˜commercial and solutions-oriented’ Byron Nurse.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s β€˜very strong, small team provides commercial and effective advice’ to strategic investors including KKR Credit, TPG Special Situations and Sankaty Advisors. β€˜Dynamic duo’ James Douglas and Tony Horspool attract praise for β€˜their creative approach to protecting their clients’ interests’; they acted alongside Daniel Martin for the senior unsecured bondholders on the Β£1bn restructuring of Towergate Insurance.

Sidley Austin LLP’s four-partner London team works with colleagues in the US and Asia and excels at providing β€˜thoughtful and strategic advice’ on multi-jurisdictional restructurings for a broad range of stakeholders. β€˜Energetic’ team head Patrick Corr β€˜always comes up with innovative ideas’; he recently advised Northwood Acquisitions on its €285m acquisition of French public company Cegereal. Also recommended are the β€˜technically proficient’ Phillip Taylor and Marc Wassermann, who provides β€˜thoughtful and considered advice on ABS restructurings’.

Simmons & Simmons provides β€˜commercial and sensible advice’ to clients including Deloitte, Morgan Stanley and Avenue Capital. β€˜Pragmatic and experienced’ team head Peter Manning recently advised the board of GHG Property Group on its proposed Β£2.1bn restructuring. The β€˜commercial’ Alyson Lockett and Ross Miller (whose β€˜years on the trading floor has given him a strong understanding of clients’ needs’) have particular expertise in debt trading. The β€˜pragmatic and no-nonsense’ Alan Gar is also recommended.

Chris Mallon heads Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s two-partner London team, which leverages the firm’s large international network to handle complex cross-border mandates for a broad array of stakeholders. Mallon recently advised TORM on its $1.4bn restructuring. The β€˜considered and calm’ Dominic McCahill is acting alongside Mallon on the high-profile restructuring of HETA Asset Resolution.

The β€˜experienced’ Devi Shah at Mayer Brown International LLP has significant cross-border insolvency expertise and acted for the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) supervisors on the ongoing implementation of a complex CVA of a North Sea oil and gas development and production company. David Allen is also regarded as a β€˜top practitioner’ for insolvency litigation. Ashley Katz joined Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson (London) LLP.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s high-quality’ team provides β€˜user-friendly’ advice to a creditor-focused client base, which also benefits from the firm’s UK and US high yield bond restructuring expertise. β€˜Highly strategic’ team head Nick Angel is β€˜excellent at stakeholder management’, and Peter Newman is β€˜adept at devising creative solutions for cross-border restructurings’. Angel and Newman acted for an ad-hoc committee of junior lenders on the $2bn restructuring of General Healthcare Group.

Paul Hastings LLP’s London office has gained a particularly strong reputation for representing clients in the distressed structured finance CMBS space. Stephen Parker is β€˜excellent at navigating complex problems’, and acted for Deutsche Bank as note and security trustee on the Fairfield CMBS transaction. Michelle Duncan is noted for her β€˜great tactical judgement’ on insolvency litigation and is recommended alongside Karl Clowry. The β€˜vastly experienced’ David Ereira joined from Linklaters LLP.

Headed by Clifford Atkins and working closely with the firm’s broader finance group, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s practice has a strong reputation within the financial services sector and has handled a number of major mandates for troubled Greek banks; the β€˜commercially minded’ Mei Lian acted for Piraeus Bank on its €4.9bn recapitalisation. US-qualified partner Solomon Noh provides β€˜strong practical guidance around Chapter 11 options in European situations’.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP’s five-partner team provides β€˜a good level of service’ to banks and accountants including RBS, Barclays and Deloitte. The β€˜knowledgeable, courteous and tenacious’ Alison Goldthorp advised KPMG as administrators of De Stefano Property Group, including facilitating the sale of a large property portfolio to Catalyst Capital.

Baker McKenzie LLP provides a β€˜commercial and pragmatic’ service to a range of lenders, debtors, IPs and security trustees. Co-head Louise Webb β€˜combines strong insolvency skills with great attention to detail’; she has been involved in several energy-related restructurings, including acting for the joint receivers, liquidators, and security trustee in an oil and gas related enforcement and sale process. The arrival in January 2016 of the β€˜fantastic’ Hugh Lyons from Hogan Lovells International LLP enhances the group’s contentious prowess, particularly in disputes involving distressed or insolvent companies or fraud and financial misconduct. β€˜Highly intellectual’ co-head Ian Jack is also recommended.

At Eversheds LLP, team head Paul de la Pena recently advised Oaktree/Sabal on the acquisition of a portfolio of non-performing loans from NAMA. On the contentious front, Jamie Leader β€˜not only has an intricate knowledge and understanding of the technical aspects of insolvency law, but ably distils it into succinct and cogent advice’.

Headed by the β€˜practical and level-headed’ Simon Beale and Jat Bains, the β€˜responsive and commercial’ six-partner team at Macfarlanes LLP β€˜provides excellent commercial understanding and market knowledge, both in restructuring and pure insolvency’. Clients include Ares, Better Capital and ING.

At Nabarro LLP, the β€˜knowledgeable, thoughtful and commercial’ Glen Flannery has particular expertise advising on insolvencies in the financial services sector. Flannery is continuing to advise the special administrators on a range of issues in the UK and abroad arising from the special administration of foreign exchange broker, LQD Markets. Patricia Godfrey is β€˜well connected in international work’ and is a go-to practitioner for international trustee work.

Now headed by James Stonebridge and Sarah Coucher following Hamish Anderson’s retirement from the partnership to become a consultant, Norton Rose Fulbright’s β€˜responsive and commercial’ seven-partner team excels at handling both contentious and non-contentious matters. Stonebridge β€˜combines robust legal analysis with pragmatic and commercial advice’.

Pinsent Masons LLP provides β€˜pragmatic and proactive advice’ to an increasingly balanced array of clients that includes lenders, funds, IPs and corporates. Steven Cottee specialises in law firm insolvencies and recently acted as solicitor manager alongside administrators Alix Partners on the administration of legal and professional services provider Parabis Group. Nicholas Pike and Tom Withyman provide β€˜clear and concise advice’ across a range of insolvency and restructuring matters, and Nick Gavin-Brown is noted for his β€˜strong understanding of lender-side commercial issues’.

Proskauer Rose LLP acts for trustee and fund clients including Contrarian Capital Management, David Rubin and Partners, and Duff and Phelps. β€˜Highly thoughtful’ team head Mark Fennessy is noted for his β€˜valuable market colour, which is useful when trouble crops up for a creditor’s position’.

Stephenson Harwood’s eight-partner team is handling a growing number of complex international restructurings in addition to its traditional diet of mid-market domestic mandates. Susan Moore (who is β€˜intelligent, articulate and shrewd’) and Elizabeth Elliott (who β€˜combines quality legal skills with winning charm and diplomacy’) lead the team, which is advising Winsway Enterprises on its $350m cross-border bond restructuring. Key figures on the contentious front include the β€˜tactically astute and tenacious’ Julian Cahn and β€˜charming and insightful’ Stuart Frith.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s small team benefits from UK and US law expertise and the support of its US practice, making it a strong choice for complex, partner-led work. Highlights included acting for ZIM on its $2.6bn debt restructuring and debt-for-equity swap. The β€˜creative’ Christopher Howard and Presley Warner are recommended.

Led by the β€˜commercial’ Nick Moser, Taylor Wessing LLP’s ten-partner team handles domestic and international work for clients including AlixPartners, PricewaterhouseCoopers and CVR Global. Leveraging the firm’s overarching IP strength, the team is a natural choice for restructuring matters in IP-rich businesses and recently acted for on its restructuring. Neil Smyth is also recommended.

Travers Smith LLP handles an array of work for the special situations arms of the firm’s private equity client base. Senior counsel Douglas Hawthorn provides β€˜balanced and commercial advice’, while the arrival in February 2016 of the β€˜pragmatic and calm’ Edward Smith from K&L Gates LLP further strengthens a team that includes recommended partners Peter Hughes and Jeremy Walsh.

The β€˜personable’ Joss Hargrave heads the team at Bird & Bird LLP, which provides β€˜clear and commercial advice’ to a range of stakeholders and has particular expertise in the financial services and renewable energy sectors.

At Charles Russell Speechlys LLP, Simon Ridpath β€˜combines great legal knowledge and a pragmatic approach on insolvency litigation’.

At Clyde & Co LLP team head Andrew Foster provides β€˜robust and forthright advice’ on a range of contentious and non-contentious matters. Foster is also well known in the distressed ABL space.

At Cooley (UK) LLP, team head Jon Yorke focuses on insolvency and restructuring within the financial services and insurance industries.

The arrival in January 2016 of the β€˜excellent’ Paul Fleming from DLA Piper has bolstered Dechert LLP’s restructuring practice. Fleming acted alongside β€˜pragmatic and commercial’ litigator Adam Silver for hedge fund Contrarian in its opposition to APP Group’s attempt to implement an English law scheme of arrangement.

Farrer & Co β€˜punches above its weight’ and is β€˜particularly good in relation to complex administrations and liquidations, where there are difficult legal issues that need to be worked out in short order’. β€˜Hardworking’ team head David Fletcher regularly advises boards of directors and private banks in insolvency and restructuring situations.

At Fieldfisher, Manchester-based Michelle Shean provides β€˜solutions-oriented’ advice on non-contentious restructuring matters, while the β€˜hardworking and attentive’ Kit Jarvis specialises on the contentious side.

Key figures at Fladgate LLP include Jeremy Whiteson and senior associate Peter Reynolds, who recently joined from Memery Crystal LLP. The practice provides β€˜responsive and clear advice’ across a range of restructuring and insolvency matters.

Led by Julian Pallett in London, Gowling WLG’s six-partner team has strong lender and IP connections and provides β€˜responsive and commercial advice’ across an array of predominantly domestic mid-market insolvency and restructuring matters.

In spite of the recent departure of Edward Smith to Travers Smith LLP, K&L Gates LLP still maintains a β€˜quality team’ that includes β€˜impressive’ team head Jonathan Lawrence and Andrew Petersen, who regularly handles structured finance related restructurings.

At King & Wood Mallesons, team head Jeremy Goldring handles domestic and cross-border work for funds and IPs. Goldring is advising FTI as administrators of several companies in the Climate Energy group whose businesses had been adversely affected by policy changes concerning subsidisation of green energy initiatives.

Michelmores LLP’s three-partner practice is acting for York Global Finance as one of the respondents in connection with the β€œWaterfall II” directions application made by the Lehman Brothers liquidators. Charles Maunder and Alexander Wood are praised for their β€˜knowledgeable and very commercial approach’.

At Olswang LLP, Alicia Videon is β€˜at the top of her game’ and β€˜excels at complex and distressed situations’, particularly within the real estate sector. The β€˜practical and commercial’ Julian Turner is also recommended.

At Reed Smith LLP, team head Charlotte MΓΈller provides β€˜easily digestible and on-point advice’ to clients across a range of sectors including energy, real estate and financial services. MΓΈller has detailed knowledge of the UK Special Administration regime.

At Squire Patton Boggs, team head Cathryn Williams handles restructuring and insolvency work for a range of banks, IPs, funds and corporates. Paul Muscutt is recommended for ABL restructurings.

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