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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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  1. High yield
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP¬†is 'an excellent high yield firm for complex and high-value transactions'. The firm has on one of the longest track records of any US firm in Europe, having worked on¬†several of the initial high yield bond financings done in the mid- to late 1990s. Philip Boeckman¬†(who¬†is 'knowledgeable and a steady hand') and¬†George Stephanakis¬†jointly head the EMEA capital markets practice and are highly recommended. Boeckman acted for silicon metal and alloy producer Ferroglobe in its $350m Rule 144a/Regulation S senior notes offering, and advised NH Hotel Group on its ‚ā¨115m issuance and a ‚ā¨122m debt tender offer by Deutsche Bank. Highlights for Stephanakis included acting for BNP Paribas and other initial purchasers on a ‚ā¨625m offering by¬†La Financi√®re ATALIAN.¬†A key partner in the practice is¬†Alyssa Caples¬†, whom clients describe as 'technically very able; she goes the extra mile to gain a detailed understanding of her clients' business'. Her highlights from 2017 included handling a ¬£550m offering for first-time issuer Drax Finco, which is part of a¬†vertically-integrated electricity generation and supply business with operations in the UK and the US. Her work for deal managers included advisingJPMorgan and other initial purchasers on a ‚ā¨425m offering by optical retailer Alain Afflelou.¬†David Mercado, who counts Premier Foods among his clients, is also recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis International LLP¬†delivers 'an exceptional level of service; it has unparalleled bench strength and market know-how on the sponsor side'. The firm has one of the largest high yield practices in Europe, which focuses purely on¬†US high yield bonds and liability management transactions. It completed 19 high yield offerings in 2017 as primary issuer counsel, and acts for a broad range of financial sponsors and their issuer portfolio companies, as evidenced by its work for¬†Bain Capital, Cinven and Nidda BondCo in¬†the offering of ‚ā¨735m¬†in senior secured notes and ‚ā¨340m in senior notes to refinance a bridge facility used in the takeover offer for STADA Arzneimittel.¬†Matthew Merkle¬†handled that deal. Head of the London capital markets William Burke¬†is¬†'uniquely talented and has no other peer in Europe'. His highlights included acting for¬†Ardian, Goldentree and portfolio company Maxeda DIY in a ‚ā¨475m notes offering.¬†'Outstanding lawyer'¬†Cedric Van den Borren¬†'always finds solutions to complex issues'. He assisted¬†Partners Group AG and PSP Investments with high yield issuance as part of a ‚ā¨1.15bn financing for the acquisition of¬†Cerba HealthCare.¬†Rising star¬†Tim Volkheimer¬†and the¬†'client-focused and solution-oriented'¬†Gilles Teerlinck¬†are also recommended.

Latham & Watkins¬†attracts praise for its 'depth of experience and strong ability to run complex transactions;¬†if Latham is on a deal - regardless of which side it is acting on - it will get done well'. Across its European offices, the firm handled 90 high yield deals in 2017, with a combined value of more than $70bn. Its eight-partner team is the largest in London and is involved in some of the most complex deals in the market. A good example is Wind Tre's cross-border refinancing, which included the issuance of ‚ā¨7.3bn in senior secured notes. Practice head¬†Brett Cassidy, who¬†is 'probably the most technically capable lawyer in the high yield market', acted for¬†banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and HSBC on that deal.¬†Jennifer Engelhardt¬†is 'one of the most well-respected lawyers in high yield - she has encyclopaedic market knowledge, coupled with a collaborative approach that makes you want her on your side'. She acted for Aker BP in a $400m notes offering. The firm's deep bench of talent includes managing partner¬†Richard Trobman;¬†¬†Jocelyn Seitzman, who handled an ¬£855m deal for¬†Madison Dearborn Partners;¬†Francesco Lione, whose clients include Goldman Sachs;¬†Tracy Edmonson, who handled a deal for Wagamama Finance; and¬†Scott Colwell, who represented lead managers in a ‚ā¨5.3bn financing for Bain Capital and Cinven.¬†Jeffrey Lawlis,¬†who works in London and Milan, 'sees some of the most complicated deals in the market and is always able to find a solution'.

Shearman & Sterling LLP¬†has a diverse client base¬†that includes investment banks, corporates and private equity firms across Europe, the US and emerging markets. Its key strengths are the integration of its bank and bond practices, and the strength of its US law capability in London.¬†Key partner¬†Apostolos Gkoutzinis¬†moved to¬†Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, but in mid-2018 the firm hired the former head of European leveraged finance at¬†Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP¬†Ward Mckimm¬†, who has built up a stellar reputation over many years.¬†US-qualified practice head¬†Jacques McChesney¬†has a strong focus on high yield restructurings. His highlights from 2017 included acting for Barclays and JPMorgan as dealer managers in Swissport's exchange offer for ‚ā¨628m in senior notes to remedy¬†defaults under the existing indentures.¬†Marwa Elborai¬†has become a key player in the practice and frequently advises¬†issuers, sponsors and underwriters on high yield deals. She assisted Topaz Marine on its offer to purchase its outstanding senior notes and the subsequent issue of $375m in new securities.¬†Trevor Ingram, who is qualified in both New York and Ontario,¬†'has a calm and engaging style that is extremely effective in searching for solutions, generating a good negotiating environment and general goodwill'. He acted for initial purchasers including¬†BNP Paribas and HSBC in a CMA CGM's ‚ā¨500m notes offering.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP¬†is 'exceptional - a market leader with insight into market trends and terms, and with longstanding and detailed knowledge of precedents'. Since 2010, the firm has represented issuers and initial purchasers in 130 high yield bond deals in Europe, raising more than US$65bn. It is a leading player on the¬†sponsor side with a client base that includes Apax Partners, The Blackstone Group, KKR and TDR Capital. For Blackstone, it handled the Rule 144a and Regulation S offering of ‚ā¨425m in senior secured notes by subsidiary Platin for the acquisition of Schenk Process. It also acted for Blackstone portfolio company RESIDOMO in a ‚ā¨650m notes offering.¬†Gil Strauss, who led both of those deals, is 'exceptionally hardworking and thorough - a strong negotiator and excellent communicator'. He also advised the initial purchasers on CSC Holdings‚Äô $1bn senior guaranteed notes offering, and Aston Martin on its combined issuance of ¬£585m. The other key partners in the practice are¬†Nicholas Shaw¬†and¬†Carol Daniel, who together led mobile network operator Salt's CHF687m notes offering on behalf of initial purchasers. Capital markets counsel¬†Uma Sud¬†¬†advises¬†on¬†high yield offerings as part of a broader finance practice and she frequently represents¬† KKR, Blackstone and TDR Capital.

Allen & Overy LLP¬†benefits from the close integration of its leveraged finance, bank lending and debt capital markets teams in London and New York. Co-head of the global high yield group¬†Kevin Muzilla¬†leads the practice in London, which acts for blue-chip clients such as¬†Goldman Sachs, Pamplona Capital Partners and Deutsche Bank.¬†Matthias Baudisch¬†'demonstrates strong technical skills and an ability to negotiate very successfully with sponsors'. He acted alongside senior associate and rising star¬†John Kicken¬†for JPMorgan and SEB on the ‚ā¨340m notes offering by Norican to finance the acquisition of Light Metal Casting Solutions Group.¬†Jeanette Cruz¬†acted¬†in¬†one of the largest sterling-denominated high yield bond deals of 2017 when she advised¬†Iceland Foods on its ¬£550m notes offering. She also handled one of the largest restructurings that year by acting for MetInvest, which restructured its existing $1.125bn of high yield bonds.¬†Jake Keaveny, who handled Empark's ‚ā¨350m issuance for global coordinator JPMorgan, is also recommended.

The London office of¬†Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP¬†has an extensive record of high-value and complex high yield bond deals for both sponsors and issuers. The firm has a significant market share in Europe thanks to¬†James Robinson, who handles¬†high yield financings and cross-border lending in Europe for investment banks, commercial banks and issuers, and¬†Anthony Tama, who handles both loans and bond transactions. The practice acted for¬†Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank Securities as joint book-running managers in a $1bn Rule 144a offering of by Ardagh Packaging Finance plc and Ardagh Holdings USA Inc. Another key highlight from 2017 saw Robinson and Tama advise¬†Deutsche Bank, CaixaBank, BBVA, Bankia, BNP PARIBAS, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Santander and Soci√©t√© G√©n√©rale as joint book-running managers and Banco Popular, Banco Sabadell and Commerzbank as co-managers on a ‚ā¨500m notes issue by Gestamp Funding Luxembourg S.A to refinance existing indebtedness.

At Clifford Chance LLP the high yield lawyers are 'very focused on the deals they execute, devoting appropriate resources and ensuring excellent service for their clients'. The two-partner handles high-quality and innovative deals in Europe, as well as some New York law Rule 144a and Regulation S issuances. The practice has a strong private equity focus and frequently acts for sponsors such as CVC Capital Partners and Cinven. Global head of high yield Michael Dakin is 'well organised, creative and focused on delivering excellent service'. He recently advised private equity sponsors on a large, sterling-denominated bond issue as part of a corporate acquisition. He also acted for EQT and McLaren Group on high-value deals last year. High yield specialist Fabio Diminich is co-head of the London practice. Among his clients for recent transactions are Macquarie, CVC and Deutsche Bank. The partners have excellent support from counsels Andrew Kelly and Claudia Kim.

Linklaters LLP¬†has a busy high yield practice that works closely with its highly respected banking group in London to generate a steady flow of bond deals, LBO transactions and restructuring work.¬†The practice has two 'very strong and experienced' US-qualified partners in¬†Alexander Naidenov¬†and¬†Mark Hageman, who are 'knowledgeable and creative, very responsive and hands-on in their deals'. Naidenov, who 'stands out for his creativity, pragmatism and hands-on approach, and is quite a charismatic personality', acted for AnaCap Financial Europe in its ‚ā¨325m issuance of senior secured floating rate notes to fund the acquisition of debt portfolios from AnaCap. The deal is notable for the bespoke corporate structure of the first-time issuer, which is formed as a¬†reserved alternative investment fund. Hageman, who is 'proactive and very good with processes, and¬†remains focused on the transactions', assisted¬†Cortefiel and its sponsor shareholders CVC and PAI Partners with¬†Cortefiel's debut ‚ā¨600m high yield bond offering to repay the group's existing debt. He also advised initial purchasers on a ‚ā¨1.35bn¬†high yield bond acquisition financing and refinancing for cable TV operator United Group. Counsel¬†Nadia Sokolova¬†¬†moved to¬†Ashurst.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP, which frequently acts for some of the leading underwriters and issuers in the European market on high yield deals, has invested heavily in its team, which now has significant strength in depth. Leading light¬†Apostolos Gkoutzinis¬†joined from¬†Shearman & Sterling LLP¬†in early 2018 to lead the capital markets practice, bringing with him a team including partner¬†Rebecca Marques¬†and special counsels¬†Ana Grbec¬†and¬†Randy Nahl√©, all of whom handle high yield deals as part of their capital markets practices. They join highly respected partner¬†Tim Peterson, whose track record includes the development of private high yield precedents, and who is frequently involved in some of the¬†most technically demanding mandates in the market, and special counsel¬†Trevor Truman, who is a European high yield bond and leveraged finance specialist with extensive experience in complex bond-driven restructurings. Last year, Peterson acted for issuer S.P.C.M. in its issuance of $500m in senior notes to redeem existing notes and repay a revolving credit facility. Truman played a key part in a ‚ā¨1bn notes offering by Grifols, in which he acted for initial purchaser Morgan Stanley. Highlights for Gkoutzinis included acting for Barclays and JPMorgan as dealer managers in a ‚ā¨680m offering by Swissport.

Paul Hastings LLP is 'excellent, it adopts a dedicated and thorough but very pragmatic approach to high yield deals', according to one client who praises 'the thoroughly knowledgeable lawyers who are smart on the subject and work with the clients to overcome issues'. It acts for investment banks, issuers and private credit funds in high yield bond transactions throughout EMEA, the Middle East and Africa. 'For high yield, and particularly for emerging markets deals, I would use him every time', says a client of practice head Peter Schwartz. Seen as one of the elite US high yield lawyers based in London, Schwartz has more than 20 years' experience and counts Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank among his key clients. Newly promoted partner Edward Holmes handles leveraged loan and capital markets transactions  and is particularly skilled in acting for underwriters and arrangers in acquisition financing and secured and unsecured high yield debt offerings. Schwartz and Holmes acted on several high-profile deals last year, including a groundbreaking $600m offering for Helios Towers Africa on behalf of the underwriters. For JPMorgan and other banks, they handled a $1bn offering by US cable operator Suddenlink.

Ropes & Gray LLP¬†is¬†¬†'an outstanding firm with very thoughtful lawyers who are creative, hardworking¬†and¬†good communicators'. The high yield practice is best known for its work for¬†Altice and Liberty Global, which are among the most¬†active repeat issuers in the market. For Altice, it handled a¬†$1.31bn offering by Cablevision, and the issuance by Cequel Communications/Suddenlink of $1.5bn in senior secured notes. The firm¬†has, however, continued to increase its volume of work for underwriters. It advised¬†an underwriting syndicate of Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan on ‚ā¨3.4bn in bridge-to-bond facilities related to the merger between Lindorff Group and Intrum Justitia.¬†Michael Kazakevich¬†played a central role in all of those transactions. The other key partner is¬†Jane Rogers, who is¬† among the most experienced practitioners in the European market and is lead advisor to Liberty Global and Virgin Media. Last year, Rogers and rising star¬†Robert Haak¬†acted for VodafoneZiggo in a $2bn and ‚ā¨775m offering of senior secured notes in connection with¬†the combination of Vodafone Netherlands' assets with those of Ziggo.¬†All three partners are described by one client as 'outstanding, creative and thoughtful lawyers, who are on top of their game'.'

Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP¬†is 'a great firm for complex work where there is a need for real creative thinking and innovative solutions'. One client remarks that it is 'an excellent firm with a very broad skill set across leveraged finance, spanning sponsors and corporates, and both private and public debt issuances; it punches well above its weight'. The practice is skilled in¬†New York law 144a deals sold to US investors, in which it acts for corporate issuers, banks and sponsors, and it frequently handles restructurings for bondholder committees. The firm has two partners dedicated to this practice area in 'top-notch' head of European high yield¬†Patrick Bright¬†and¬†Nitin Konchady, who are 'very highly qualified and very responsive to client requests'.¬† They frequently work together on high-profile deals, which last year included Verisure's offering of ‚ā¨1.145bn in senior notes, in which they acted for initial purchasers Goldman Sachs, Bank ofAmerica Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Nomura and Nordea. They also assisted Infopro on its debut bond offering of ‚ā¨500m in senior secured notes to refinance its existing debt, and handled another debut bond offering for Shop Direct, which issued ¬£550m in senior secured notes. Sponsors Advent International and Bain Capital, issuer Groupe Paprec and underwriter UBS are among the firm's clients.

White & Case LLP¬†'provides an excellent service and the lawyers are always available, answering queries of the time of the day or night'. Its work includes high-profile European high yield deals and a strong flow of work from¬†emerging markets. The¬†US-qualified London team acts for¬†investment banks and corporate issuers and its highlights from 2017 included advising¬†Wind Tre on the ‚ā¨7.3bn offering of senior secured notes. Practice head¬†Rob Matthews¬†led that deal and¬†is 'client-focused, solution-oriented and commercial; he has many years of experience as is able to advise on any issue'.¬†Jill Concannon, who frequently acts for¬†private equity sponsors, is 'an excellent lawyer, very client-focused'. She acted for¬†Puma International Financing in a $600m Rule 144a/Regulation S issuance, and a tender offer for the company's existing notes. Also recommended are¬†leveraged finance partner¬†Paul Clews,¬†restructuring and liability management specialist¬†David Becker, and newly promoted partner¬†James Greene¬†who played a role in the Wind Tre and Puma deals.

Baker McKenzie¬†has an¬†integrated US and UK capital markets capability that enables it to advise on European high yield debt from London. Its extensive international network of offices enables it to also play a key role in emerging markets debt, which often uses English law with high yield covenants. Dual US- and UK-qualified¬†Adam Farlow¬†is the key partner and his practice encompasses new money issuance, restructuring and liability management. He frequently acts for both issuers and trustees. Farlow acted alongside¬†Roy Pearce,¬†who focuses on emerging markets issuances and is recommended for his work on English law Eurobonds with high yield style covenant packages, on the $2.2bn restructuring of client Metinvest, a Ukrainian and international mining and steel company, which included the replacement of high yield bonds with new debt offerings.¬†Simon Porter¬†is a key player on the trustee side and frequently handles bond restructurings. Porter and Farlow advised Deutsche Trustee Company on the restructuring of more than ‚ā¨4bn in outstanding bonds of Abengoa, which develops¬†¬†innovative technology solutions for sustainability in the infrastructure, energy and water sectors.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP¬†is 'at the¬†upper end of the market in terms of quality of service and it has the ability to efficiently drive bankers while maintaining tight reporting to their client, as well as in-depth product experience and extensive knowledge of covenants'. The lawyers in the practice have broad capital markets experience and work in debt, equity and high yield transactions, predominantly for issuers, focusing on complex and innovative transactions rather than high volume. The practice acted for equipment rental group Loxam in its ‚ā¨850m notes offering.¬†The firm also increasingly acts for underwriters; in 2017, it represented the underwriters in more than $1.3bn of issuance by Puma Energy. The key partner is¬†Pierre-Marie Boury, who¬†is 'friendly and fun to work with' and has more than 20 years' experience as a US-qualified capital markets lawyer advising investment banks and sovereigns on both debt and equity matters. Newly promoted counsel¬†Aseet Dalvi¬†is qualified in US, English and Canadian law has a broad capital markets practice but focuses mainly on high yield debt.

DLA Piper is best known for acting on the corporate side of large UK and international high yield transactions. The practice acted for Laureate Education in its $800m offering of high yield notes to fund a complete top-to-bottom refinancing of New York law bonds and a complex credit facility. Another key highlight from 2017 was its work for Heineken UK on the acquisition of Punch Taverns, which involved the redemption of high yield notes and a refinancing with £978m of subordinated debt. The firm is also active in the restructuring market, and it acted for an ad hoc committee of bondholders in the $3bn debt restructuring of French geophysical survey company CGG, which included $1.5bn in high yield bonds. Head of international high yield Tony Lopez is a standout US-qualified lawyer in London and led those deals. Newly promoted partner Steven Krivinskas has extensive experience in structured finance and debt capital markets transactions, including high yield bonds, and acts for both financial institutions and borrowers. He played a key role in the Laureate deal.

The high yield practice at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP handles transactions for private equity sponsors, investment banks and corporate issuers in Europe and in international markets. The firm's US high yield partners operate from the offices in London and Frankfurt, which are supported by a full-service US law securities practice that operates within its wider international capital markets group and which frequently advises on New York law-governed bonds issuance. Key partner Ward McKimm moved to Shearman & Sterling LLP, but the firm retains significant US law capability in leveraged finance partner Simone Bono, who handles high yield bond offerings, leveraged buy-outs, debt restructurings, IPOs and other corporate finance transactions in Europe and the US. Andrew Hagan, who advises issuers, sponsors, underwriters, investors and other parties on high yield and investment grade debt offerings, private placements and liability management transactions, is also recommended.

Hogan Lovells International LLP¬†is active for both issuers and banks on complex high yield bond offerings, restructurings and liability management. It counts among its¬†key clients¬†Barclays, HSBC, BNP Paribas and Swissport. It has particular expertise in the¬†automotive and aviation sectors, but its flow of work encompasses a wide range of industries. For air cargo handler Swissport and HNA Group, which owns China's fourth-largest airline, the firm handled combined issuance of ‚ā¨690m in high yield notes and an exchange offer for existing debt. In a ‚ā¨1.06bn secured refinancing package for distressed Croatian retail giant¬†Agrokor, the practice acted for an ad hoc committee of bondholders in the restructuring of its high yield debt. Another key restructuring deal saw the firm advise noteholders of Ukrainian farming conglomerate Mriya, which is currently in liquidation. Its work for initial purchasers included advising Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, HSBC, BNP Paribas and other banks on Rexel's combined issuance of $1.45bn in new notes. Practice head¬†Sylvain Dhennin¬†was the key partner on all of those deals. Partner¬†Alex Kay¬†is also recommended.

Jones Day¬†has a young and growing high yield practice that is generating a greater volume of work by attracting repeat issuers as clients.¬†Giles Elliott¬†is the London co-head of the global banking, finance and securities group, which¬†acts for issuers, investment banks and investors in high yield transactions.¬†Jonathan Bloom¬†is the key transactional partner and he focuses on high yield¬†debt offerings and fund-related transactions. Among the practice's new clients is Greek telecommunications company Wind Hellas; Bloom acted for its subsidiary Crystal Almond in a ‚ā¨95m offering of secured notes. Bloom also acted for Wind Hellas Telecommunications on the company's high yield financing structure to incorporate a revolving credit facility. He is also assisting GoldenTree Asset Management on several high yield debt reviews. BC Partners and Canyon Partners are also among the firm's clients.

Mayer Brown International LLP¬†is 'a very capable firm and it provides clear, straightforward and timely legal advice'. The firm is particularly active in deals involving¬†the German, Swiss and Austrian markets, thanks to 'exceptionally quick and smart' bi-lingual US capital markets partner¬†Bernd Bohr, who is 'extremely knowledgeable about high-yield bonds and provides very strong leadership throughout a transaction'.¬†Robert Flanigan¬†,¬†who is qualified in US and French law, frequently advises issuers and underwriters on Rule 144a/Regulation S private placements and SEC-registered debt issuances. Together, they form a 'knowledgeable and hardworking' practice that provides 'high-quality service and is always willing to help'. Last year, Bohr acted for Progroup in its ‚ā¨150m offering of senior secured notes to refinance its outstanding debt. He also handled a ‚ā¨45m cash tender offer by¬†JH-Holding for a portion of its PIK toggle notes, which represented¬†the first ever tender offer for German law governed high yield notes.

Proskauer Rose LLP. 'stands out for its quality service and expertise'. The practice in London works closely with the firm's offices in the US to advise¬†a broad range of corporate issuers, banks and asset managers on innovative and complex deals. It advised¬†Spanish multinational pharmaceuticals and chemicals company Grifols on a ‚ā¨1bn notes offering, which was one of the largest high yield bond deals in Europe and the largest by a Spanish issuer in 2017. For underwriters Deutsche Bank and Jefferies, it handled a $310m offering by Airxcel. 'Commercial, dedicated, client-focused and constructive' corporate and capital markets partner¬†Maximilian Kirchner¬†'stands out as a top-class lawyer for high yield bonds;¬†he has a deep understanding of the market, outstanding technical skills, and¬†he provides invaluable strategic advice to ensure clients obtain the best possible outcome'.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP¬†'delivers sophisticated advice to sophisticated clients'. The firm is a prominent player in deals under¬†New York law,¬†acting for issuers, underwriters and initial purchasers in new issuance and restructurings. Its US law capability in London, and the ability of its lawyers to handle both bank and bond transactions, enable it to handle some of the most complex deals in the market. For initial purchasers including Goldman Sachs and BNP Paribas, it handled Jaguar Land Rover Automotive's Rule 144a/Regulation S debut euro-denominated offering. This ‚ā¨650m transaction was accompanied by a further ¬£800m offering.¬†US-qualified practice head¬†Chris Beatty¬†and English law specialist¬†Vanessa Blackmore¬†led those transactions. Beatty also acted for SoftBank in a consent solicitation to amend indentures for its existing high yield debt. Also recommended are¬†Christopher Howard¬†, who¬†leads the European restructuring practice;¬†Stewart Robertson¬†, who focuses on the¬†natural resources and consumer products sectors; and¬†Presley Warner¬†who leads the¬†European credit and leveraged finance practice.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP¬†is 'very competent and has knowledgeable and dedicated personnel at all levels'. The firm focuses almost exclusively on the corporate trust, loan and agency side of structured finance transactions and 'it stacks up very well against the other firms that operate in this arena', according to one client. Practice head¬†Helena Nathanson¬†'should be singled out - she combines great technical skill with passion, purpose and good humour'. Among her highlights from 2017 was her work for¬†US Bank Trustees Limited and Elavon Financial Services in the issuance of ‚ā¨400m in senior secured notes and ‚ā¨290m in senior notes by Swissport Investments, which is part of the world's largest ground and cargo handling services company in the aviation industry. The proceeds were used to finance the company's existing debt. For the London branch of¬†Citibank, acting as trustee, Nathanson handled combined issuance of ‚ā¨565m by Burger King France, with the proceeds used to repurchase outstanding notes and to repay existing indebtedness.

Reed Smith LLP¬†has 'an excellent team that fully understands the matters at hand and has a "can do" attitude'. The practice handles market-leading high yield transactions, predominantly for trustees and agents, across a broad range of industry sectors. The high yield group works closely with the firm's¬†banking, leveraged finance and debt capital markets lawyers, as well as with the corporate and funds practices, drawing on its dual English and US law capability in London. EMEA managing partner and¬†the head of structured finance Tamara Box¬†and debt specialist¬†Ranajoy Basu¬†are the key contacts. Basu and senior associate¬†Priya Taneja¬†recently advised a leading global bank, in its trustee and agency roles, on a ‚ā¨3bn high yield note offering.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP can call upon the skills of partners whose practices span a broad range of capital markets transactions for blue-chip corporates. Danny Tricot, who leads the firm’s European corporate finance practice, 'explains things well and is a pleasure to deal with; there is no doubting his understanding of his subject area'. James McDonald acted for issuer Roust Corporation in its $385m offering of senior secured notes as part of its prepackaged Chapter 11 case. The firm's ability to handle complex international matters was highlighted by its work for Brunswick Rail on the restructuring of $600m of its debt. The company's revenues are mainly denominated in roubles but the debt is serviced in US dollars.

Slaughter and May is increasingly called on the English law aspects of high yield deals in partnership with its US relationship firms. Between mid-2016 and mid-2017, the firm advised on eight high yield issuances, in each case acting for the issuer. 'The work is exceptional; the lawyers' ability to work to challenging timelines is second-to-none and they have excellent control of complex and multi-faceted projects'. Guy O'Keefe is 'commercially astute and can be relied on for pragmatic and clear advice'; he acted alongside Caroline Phillips for Drax Group on a £550m notes offering. Ed Fife and Robert Byk are also recommended.

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