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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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Index of tables

  1. Islamic finance
  2. Leading individuals: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals

Leading individuals: Hall of Fame

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Leading individuals

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Allen & Overy LLP is 'the best in this field in terms of technical ability and market knowledge'. Atif Hanif leads the team, with counsel Yusuf Battiwala and Jamie Durham coming highly recommended. Senior associate Sajjad Juma and associate Grainne Drumm acted as lead counsel for a syndicate of Saudi banks including Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation in relation to a SAR 7,888,750,000 murabahah financing for Etihad Etisalat Company to refinance current indebtedness. Paul Nelson, senior associate Luke Elliott and associate Evgenia Erakhtina also acted for the lenders across five different syndicated financing facilities for the $3.5bn Ijara financing of thirty A320 and twenty A330 aircraft to IAFC for lease to Saudi Arabia Airlines, in Saudi’s largest aircraft leasing transaction and the largest aviation deal to date to be secured by Islamic financing. Other clients include Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Saudi Electricity Company, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, First Abu Dhabi Bank, HSBC, JP Morgan and Bank ABC Islamic. Salim Nathoo is also a key contact in the London office.

Abradat Kamalpour leads the practice at Ashurst, bringing impressive experience in multiple jurisdictions and disciplines, particularly debt capital markets and structured finance transactions. The team has been involved in some of the most high profile transactions in the global market, including the first international capital markets issue out of a post-sanctions Iran; as well as advising a group of leading New York based hedge funds as sukuk holders on the $650m Saad Trading and Investment (Golden Belt) sukuk, which has entered into high-profile litigation in Saudi Arabia. Other clients include Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank; CIMB Bank and CIMB Islamic; Goldman Sachs; Bank of America Merrill Lynch; and Saudi Economic and Development Company. Senior associates Conor Funston and Farzana Ali are also key contacts in the London office.

Dentons' ‚Äėvery impressive' team is headed by¬†Matthew Sapte¬†and includes Dubai-based partner Alex Roussos; both¬†are ‚Äėvery user friendly and very hands-on, offering good technical knowledge‚Äô. Recent highlights include advising a bank as dealers on the update of Sharjah Islamic Bank's US$3bn Trust Certificate Issue Programme; and advising a bank as facility and security Agent in respect of a shari'ah-compliant reserve-based lending facility worth $100m for the financing of exploration and production companies with onshore assets in Pakistan, led by Tim Pipe¬†.

Davide Barzilai and Farmida Bi head the London team at Norton Rose Fulbright, which count a number of national governments as clients. Recent highlights include the London, Dubai and New York offices acting as structuring and documentation counsel in advising Al Rayan Bank Plc on a £250m shari'ah-compliant securitisation of home purchase plans. The transaction is the first shariah-compliant public securitisation in the UK and the first public securitisation in the UK to be issued under the UK’s alternative finance arrangements regime, designed to facilitate shari'ah-compliant securitisations. The Singapore, London and Hong Kong offices also advised the Republic of Indonesia on its pioneering move as the first Asian country to sell "green" wakala-structured sukuk internationally in a $1.25bn deal. The London office also advised the Islamic Republic of Pakistan on its $2.5bn combined sukuk and Eurobond issuance, the largest simultaneous multiple tranche transaction by Pakistan. Dubai-based Mohammed Paracha is another key contact. Senior associates Mark Brighouse and Andrew Coote are also key contacts in the London office.

Sarah Gooden¬†and Salman Ahmed¬†head up the team at Trowers & Hamlins LLP, where ‚Äėfamiliarity with Islamic structures coupled with a proactive approach lends itself to a strong relationship of trust and delivery‚Äô. The firm recently acted on the first ever low denomination retail sukuk issuance programme in the GCC, established by Meethaq Islamic Banking. Tony Poole, along with Bahrain-based partner Nick Green, have also been recently highly commended for advising Warba Bank of Kuwait on its first UK real estate acquisition that also included an innovative takaful solution. Neill Gibson¬†is also recommended for his ‚Äėvery strong knowledge of Islamic financing structures and their mechanics.‚Äô

The team at Clifford Chance LLP covers a broad range of disciplines within the Islamic finance market, with the global practice specialising principally in the banking, capital markets, and derivatives sectors. The firm's client base principally consists of Islamic and international banks, central banks, corporates and government agencies. Sovereign debt expert Leonard Cleland and derivatives specialist Habib Motani are the key contacts in the London office, bringing experience in both sovereign and corporate sukuk as well as murabaha, wa'ad, salam and arbun structures. Dubai-based Qudeer Latif heads the firm’s global Islamic finance practice.

Real estate specialist Imam Qazi heads the Islamic Finance team at Foot Anstey. Qazi's highlights included acting for Greenridge Investment management on two significant acquisitions with structured Islamic financing, including the £35m acquisition of a mixed-use property in Sheffield primarily let to the Secretary of State for Transport, Local Government and the Regions. New work for the firm includes acting for Liberis on the development of an innovative shari'ah-compliant corporate finance product for SMEs; and developing a new diminishing musharakah based property financing product for Gatehouse. Another key contact is Fara Mohammad, the director of Islamic Finance in the real estate team and banking practice. Mohammad has continued to bolster the firm’s entrance into the South East Asian market, acting for a Malaysian sovereign investment fund on the acquisition and Islamic financing of real estate in London as well as a joint venture agreement connected with an internationally renowned university. Other prominent clients include QIB UK; ABC International Bank; Ahli United Bank; Qatar National Bank; Rosette Merchant Bank; and 90 North Real Estate Partners.

Jonathan Lawrence co-heads K&L Gates LLP's practice in London, which includes Barry Cosgrave and Natalie Boyd, who recently relocated from the Dubai office. Recent work includes advising Ahmad Hamad Algosaibi & Brothers Company on their $6bn negotiation and documentation of a structured settlement and restructuring of AHAB's liabilities to more than 100 financial institutions globally. Cosgrave also advised Deutsche Bank on the $584m restructuring of the Gulf General Investment Co. PSC (GGICO) Group in respect of its combined contractual and Islamic-compliant debt. Other clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch; MENA Financial Partners; Citibank; Credit Suisse; the Qatar Financial Centre Authority; Emirates Islamic Bank; and JP Morgan.

White & Case LLP¬†attracts praise for its ‚Äėexcellent industry knowledge and acumen‚Äô. ¬†Debashis Dey¬†was¬†appointed global head of Islamic finance in 2017, splitting his time between the London and Dubai offices. Recent highlights include representing J.P. Morgan, Citi and HSBC on the establishment of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia's debut 144A/Reg S sukuk programme and $9bn sukuk issuance; and representing Saudi Aramco on the establishment of its first sukuk issuance programme of up to SAR37.5bn. Derivatives expert Ingrid York¬†is also a key contact in the London office for shari'ah-compliant mandates, as is Tom Bartlett¬†for project finance.

The London practice at Addleshaw Goddard specialise in real estate finance, particularly primary practitioner Paul Salsbury. New recruit Habib Ullah brings a wealth of experience of the GCC, as well as syndicated murabahah facilities and Shari'ah-compliant derivative and treasury product transactions. Doha-based partner Ahmad Anani is also a key contact.

Christopher Axford heads the team at Druces LLP, who have particular experience in real estate securities predominantly, advising on cost-plus and commodity murabaha, wakala, ijarah, mudarabah and musharakah structures. The team has recently expanded, recruiting senior associate Sophie Vann from White & Case. The team has added British Arab Commercial Bank to their roster of panel appointments, which also includes the Bank of London and The Middle East. Simon Pullen and Suzanne Middleton-Lindsley are also key contacts.

The team at Fladgate LLP advises non-Islamic banks on their expansion into Shari'ah-compliant products, in particular commodity murabaha and ijara lease structures. Head of team and investment fund expert Eleanor Leonard  and Seetal Mohdi are recommended for their 'invaluable knowledge of Shari'ah financing arrangements,' as well as their 'professional manner and patience when dealing with a complex structure.' The majority of the practice's work involves establishing Shariah compliant lending platforms and inter-bank or treasury documentation for clients, as well as advising large Middle Eastern and Asian family offices on loan facilities for residential and commercial property acquisitions in London.

The practice at Hogan Lovells International LLP has particular expertise in the aerospace sector. Senior associate Faraz Naqvi is the primary contact in the London office, with wide experience in ijara financing for major international banks and aviation corporates, with asset finance specialist Richard Goss also bringing expertise in aviation finance. High yield practitioner Sylvain Dhennin and real estate expert Andrew Flemming are key contacts in the London office.

John Dewar leads the team at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. Recent work includes representing K-Exim and a consortium of commercial banks on a shari'ah-compliant equity bridge loan for the $30bn Barakah nuclear power project, one of the first cross-border nuclear financings since Fukishima and currently the largest financed power project in the world; and advising Wilmington Trust on two istina facilities for the financing of a portfolio of six 50MW solar PV projects sponsored by Scatec, as well as AIG on its sukuk investment policy. Other clients include Qatar Solar Technologies; Islamic Development Bank and CIMB Islamic; and Al Rajhi Banking and Investment Corporation.

Shakespeare Martineau LLP¬†has close working relationships with GCC banks and financial institutions, specialising in Islamic residential property finance,¬† This mainly comprises diminishing musharaka and commodity murabaha, with recent work advising Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank on ijara mortgages. Splitting time between London and Birmingham, head of practice Mohammed Saqub¬†is a ‚Äėsage of Islamic finance, known for his in-depth knowledge and application of Islamic principles to securities on real property‚Äô. The team has recently expanded, with John Archer¬†joining as partner, and Andrew Stevens¬†as legal director. Clients include Al Rayan plc; ADIB UK; Habib Bank AG Zurich; and Qatar Islamic Bank plc.

Iain Goalen and counsel Moyn Uddin lead the team at Shearman & Sterling LLP. Recent highlights included representing a syndicate of banks in connection with ACWA Power Management and Investments One Limited's sukuk innovation comprising $814 million aggregate principal amount of 5.95% senior secured bonds, a first-of-its-kind bond structure allowing ACWA Power to issue sukuk in the future. Other clients include Wafra Investment; National Commercial Bank; Islamic Development Bank; and Jefferies.

The team at Taylor Wessing LLP¬†is led by Jonathan Marks, whose practice covers the full spectrum of available structures and sectors including real estate and project financing, sukuk, and also more obscure engineered products, such as salaam (futures arrangements) and arboun (an options arrangement). Recent work includes advising Kuwait Finance House on the ¬£23m acquisition of a Luxembourg incorporated entity, where the equity portion of the consideration was funded by a murahabah agreement. The firm has also been involved in a number of default and distressed Islamic financed transactions. Other clients include Gatehouse Bank; Fortress Investment Group; Edinburgh House; Zain Capital Investments; Lloyds Banking Group; Bank of Tokyo ‚Äď Mitsubishi; and Helaba Bank Amlak Finance.

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