The Legal 500

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The increasingly international nature of asset finance work is starting to have a noticeable impact on the strategies of some of the key US practices in this area. Firms such as Vedder Price and Kaye Scholer LLP, not the most famously expansionist of US firms, have noticeably beefed up their overseas offerings in recent years, with a series of strong hires in London and Singapore. Other leading practices such as Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP have also added to their international teams. The asset classes are also becoming increasingly varied, and whereas a couple of years ago the deal lists were largely dominated by aviation matters, the maritime sector now accounts for a considerable amount of the workload.

Bank lending work continued to be very active in 2014, with most finance teams reporting extremely busy workloads for the first three quarters of the year. The final quarter did, however, see a noticeable drop off as traditional lenders, and the market as a whole, came to terms with how US Federal bank regulatory agencies were implementing the updated supervisory guidance on leveraged lending; this has had an impact on loan-to-value ratios as well as the risk that the largest, regulated banks are willing to accept. While there has been a small reduction in work, the most noticeable knock-on effect is in how it has accelerated the growing presence of unregulated lenders, such as private equity and hedge funds and business development companies - this has especially been the case in mid-market loans that some of the larger banks are turning away from. The shift has been a particular boon for those law firms, many in the mid-to-lower tiers of the bank lending table, who have already established strong relationships with such alternative lenders.

The capital markets carried over the strong momentum of the previous year in 2014 with solid levels of activity across the different products. Low interest rates ensured another strong year in the debt markets while the equity markets, despite some patches of volatility and a dip in the fourth quarter as oil prices plummeted, saw a significant amount of IPOs. The highest-profile float appears to have been the $25bn IPO by Chinese online marketplace Alibaba Group, a deal which was symbolic of the recent resurgence of non-US issuers listing on the country’s major indices.

2014 saw yet another successive drop in bankruptcy filings as a result of the US’s historically low interest rates. Filings fell 13% during 2012, 13% during 2013 and 12% during 2014. High costs to file have also been mooted as reason behind the drop. Firms are more bullish now than they were going into 2014; the consensus is that interest rates will rise. In addition, the drop in oil prices is expected to push companies in the oil and gas sectors into bankruptcy. Other areas of expected activity are the retail (due to online shopping), shipping (due to a glut of ships in the market), healthcare (due to a revamp following Obamacare) and mining sectors. In terms of firm headlines, the addition of numerous Bingham McCutchen LLP lawyers into Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP meant a key change for its restructuring practice. Michael Reilly, the former head of Bingham’s group, is a market leader and puts the firm in a good position going forward - particularly as its firmwide energy strength should also pay dividends as the oil and gas sector continues to suffer.

With the majority of the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act now enacted as law, the market is seeing a significant volume and variety of litigation and enforcement actions as the myriad regulatory agencies, emboldened by the enhanced powers bestowed upon them by the Government, have placed increased scrutiny on financial services entities. Driven by public and political will, regulatory bodies have shown a heightened persistence and tenacity in their efforts to bring banks to account for their role in the financial crisis in 2007/8 as a result of perceived excessive risk taking. There are still a variety of ongoing disputes which can be directly linked to the financial crisis, and the most prominent of these are the structured finance cases brought throughout the country by institutional investors, primarily alleging that the banks, selling or underwriting the residential mortgage-backed-securities (RMBS), misrepresented the quality of the underlying collateral of the securities. Numerous law firms remain involved in these cases, however, due to the limitation period there are unlikely to be many new cases. Fresh from meting out hefty fines for banks accused of concealing from investors the risks associated with collateralized debt obligations (CDOs) and other complex structured products, the regulators have for the past couple of years been paying particularly close attention to market manipulation cases across different benchmarks. LIBOR has been the most prominent but this has now given way to enforcement actions, investigations and follow-on civil litigation in other markets including foreign exchange. Firms at the top of the ranking will be able to demonstrate a strong and overarching capability across a wide variety of disputes affecting the industry and be able to handle both the government enforcement action/investigation, in addition to the private litigation which invariably follows in its wake. Although firms are active throughout the US, New York remains the primary location for this work.

Although the Dodd-Frank Act touches upon every type of entity within the industry, it has had most impact and attracted most interest as a result of the ramifications it has upon the business of investment banks. These Wall Street giants are still coming to terms with many of the provisions and restrictions placed upon their businesses, and in this respect, it is perhaps the Volcker rule (one of the more recently enacted provisions within the Act) which has been the key area of concern for senior management. The rule, which at its core is aimed at banning banks from using their own funds for risky trades, has been a fertile source of work for law firms, not only in the build-up to its enactment, through comment letters and other dealings with regulatory authorities, but also now in terms of strategizing and minimizing risks associated with the rule. While a good deal of the mandates handled by law firms in the market relate purely to compliance and advisory work, the increased regulatory strictures placed on entities within the industry, for example, as a result of Volcker or the enhanced capital requirements laid out in Basel III, has also driven much of the transactional work handled by financial services entities, (such as in the divestiture of non-core assets or raising finances on the capital markets); therefore, the ranking will not only assess a firm’s ability to handle standalone advisory mandates but also pay attention to its capacity to handle transactional work, insofar as it is informed by regulatory restrictions. The ranking also pays attention to cross-border capability, particularly in light of the increased tendencies for global regulators to collaborate.

Despite the economic recovery, municipal bankruptcy continues to be a busy market although nothing has since topped the scale of Detroit in 2013 at $18bn. Both Detroit and Stockton are now drawing to a close but others are creating plenty of new legal work - notably Puerto Rico and San Bernardino. Political considerations are an important aspect of this type of work, as investors and bondholders are often challenged by public sector workers and pension funds. Although financial investors will often have secured assets, any settlement that results in redundancies, or reductions in public services or the pensions of public sector workers, will garner public attention. Detroit served to heighten awareness of such issues, and law firms involved in this work have been adapting accordingly. Mediation is on the rise in spite of its tendency to delay timescales.

In the not-for-profit space, clients continue to seek advice on compliance with the Affordable Care Act. This year has also seen a number of mergers between healthcare entities, which many have attributed to the impact of the Act. More generally, firms report continued aggression from state and local tax (SALT) authorities, which have been making attempts to impose sales and property taxes on nonprofit entities. On a federal level, however, there has been a lull in audits in the aftermath of the ‘IRS targeting controversy’, a scandal in which the organization was accused of singling out conservative political groups for excess scrutiny.

In addition, firms have been advising nonprofit clients in New York State and elsewhere on compliance with the state’s Nonprofit Revitalization Act of 2013.

Within the project finance space, the public-private partnership (PPP) market continues to be highly active. Latin America remains a focus for many of the larger US practices, particularly in the area of mining and large energy projects. The US market saw an abundance of activity within oil and gas, including LNG, alongside much speculation as to the future of the price of oil. Meanwhile, financing through the Yieldco structure has been gaining in popularity.

The structured finance sector (which covers securitization, derivatives and structured products) has started to show real signs of recovery following its nadir in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis. As a result, law firms are now the welcome beneficiaries of a significant flow of new money transactions, as opposed to merely advising clients on work-outs and restructurings of existing matters. Of course, there is heightened regulation governing deals, however, the securitization of numerous asset classes are thriving as investors once again go in search of higher yields. For example, the collateralized loan obligation (CLO) market has been particularly active, due in part from its less sullied reputation following the credit crisis but also as a consequence of increased liquidity in the market which is facilitating the deals. The risk retention ‘skin in the game’ provisions may have an influence on forthcoming deal flow, however, market feeling is that it will not impact too severely on appetite for such deals. Certain asset-backed securities (ABS), in particular auto loans, continue to do well, while the commercial real estate market is also relatively buoyant. And while the RMBS market remains relatively depressed, particularly on the private-label side, there are signs that even this may be picking up, as general housing market fundamentals appear on a much surer footing. On the derivatives front, while deals are going through - particularly in relation to equity-linked products - this market has seen even tighter regulation and a good proportion of mandates handled by law firms in the space relates to advisory work on regulatory matters ushered in by the Dodd-Frank Act, including in the area of swaps. Of course some practices will be skewed towards a particular facet of the structured finance market, whether it be on the derivatives front, or in relation to the securitization of a particular asset class, however, firms at the top of the ranking will have an overarching capability in securitization across asset classes, as well as some capability in the derivatives market and an excellent perspective of the regulations impacting on the industry.

Asset finance and leasing

Index of tables

  1. Asset finance and leasing
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Clifford Chance has a first-class reputation for asset finance work where it has an incredibly deep bench of experienced partners. The firm covers just about every corner of the market, including export credit agencies (ECA), investment banks, aircraft leasing companies, investors, and airlines. The nature of the firm’s work is therefore quite varied, and the team is often at the transactional cutting edge, advising on complex capital market offerings, securitizations and enhanced equipment trust certificate (EETC) issuances. The firm has recently carried out a lot of work for AWAS, one of the world’s largest aircraft leasing companies, and advised it on its first unsecured revolving credit agreement, worth $435m, to a Luxembourg borrower. Another highlight was representing Goldman Sachs as the initial purchaser on CIT Group’s $640m aircraft securitization structure, CIT Aviation Finance III Limited, backed by a portfolio of 28 aircraft. Transport and logistics head Zarrar Sehgal jointly heads the team with John Howitt, who is ‘an exceptional practitioner in this field’. They are backed up by a team of quality partners including Geoffrey White and Emily DiStefano. Additional clients include AerCap, Avolon and LATAM Airlines Group. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is one of the go-to firms for advising banks and underwriters on large-scale and novel asset financings. The firm’s track record on EETC deals speaks volumes, and at the time of writing it had acted on 18 separate transactions raising an aggregate amount of over $12bn since early 2012. One of the most recent examples on this front was advising Goldman Sachs and other underwriters on a $956m EETC offering by American Airlines, which set the lowest interest rate for an EETC by a major US airline. Other highlights include advising Goldman Sachs on the $515m securitization of Castlelake’s portfolio of 79 aircraft, the first such aircraft ABS for mid-life and end-of-life aircraft. The firm also represented a syndicate of lenders led by Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs on a $1.5bn secured term loan for ILFC, one of the largest such loans for an aircraft leasing company. The team is led by the highly rated Elihu Robertson and includes extremely experienced finance chair Drew Fine. The expertise of the wider transportation and space group extends beyond aviation and into areas such as satellite financings, where it is a clear market leader. Peter Nesgos, Dara Panahy and of counsel Phillip Spector, also enjoy excellent reputations in this side of the market. The firm’s global offering was also enhanced following the recruitment, in Singapore, of Paul Ng, former head of Stephenson Harwood’s global aviation group. Panahy and Spector are located in Washington DC, and the others mentioned are in New York.

Vedder Price undoubtedly has the largest and broadest asset finance practice in the market, boasting 20 US partners as well as four in London. The team is fairly evenly split between Chicago and New York, as well as two partners in Washington DC. The extremely experienced Dean Gerber heads the global transportation finance team from Chicago and is supported by several key individuals, including the ‘truly exceptional’ Ronald Scheinberg and Cameron Gee in New York, and Chicago’s John Bycraft and Geoffrey Kass. The scale of the practice ensures that every aspect of the market is covered, with clients coming from all corners, including airlines, aircraft leasing companies, banks, funds and major ECAs such as the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). Ex-Im Bank provides a significant flow of work including advice on the $864.7m financing of six Boeing 747-8F aircraft for Atlas Air. Another highlight was advising Air Canada on a $400m note issue, as well as a $1.4bn refinancing. The firm also represented Castlelake in its $515m securitization. Beyond aviation, the firm represented Trinity Industries Leasing Company in the creation and funding of a joint venture to acquire $1bn worth of railcars. Other major clients include CIT Group Inc, Fan Engine Securitization Limited, RBS Asset Finance and Goldman Sachs.

Holland & Knight LLP is ‘highly recommended for aircraft finance transactions and related matters’ and is praised for having ‘a very special understanding of the business allowing it to provide legal services of the highest quality’. Clients appreciate the ‘very helpful’ service, and that ‘the advice is prompt and specific’. The versatile practice lends its hand to most stakeholders across a range of asset classes and transactions. Recently it represented GE Capital Aviation Services in the $360m sale and financing of a spare engine lease portfolio comprising 32 engines on lease. The firm also has a very good track record on the shipping front and represented Keppel Shipyard in the $735m conversion of three LNG carriers into floating liquefaction units. Practice head John Pritchard, Fred Bass and San Francisco’s William Piels ‘are all outstanding professionals with a unique understanding of the business at a global scale and always have creative solutions at hand’. Phillip Durham is ‘pragmatic, prompt in replying, and hardworking’, and Richard Crowley is also highly recommended. All partners mentioned are New York based unless otherwise stated.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has invested heavily in its transportation finance team in recent years. San Francisco-based co-head Thomas Zimmer, who heads the team with New York’s Mark Lessard, is a fairly recent arrival, and his presence was augmented by a team of lawyers from DLA Piper in London to ensure that the firm now offers a truly international practice. This can be seen in its broadening client base as well; the firm has a good track record serving banks and airlines, and is now doing an increasing amount of work for aircraft lessors such as GE Capital Aviation Services and BBAM. Zimmer is particularly active on the aircraft lessor front, and the firm’s advice to Global Jet Capital on its $2bn formation as a new financing and leasing vehicle for corporate jets was a significant highlight. The firm also represented Ethiopian Airlines in the $1.1bn financing of one Boeing 777 and ten 787 aircraft supported by Ex-Im Bank. On the lender side, the firm represented a syndicate of senior and junior banks including BNP Paribas, Natixis and Helaba, on the first-ever commercial financing for Spirit Airlines Inc, in a $400m loan covering ten A320 and A321 aircraft. Other key partners include Charlotta Otterbeck and Michael Schumaecker for ECA financing and capital markets work, and William Bowers and Peter Morgan for capital markets and structured finance.

White & Case LLP has a broad spread of expertise when it comes to asset finance and leasing. The firm acts for an impressive range of banks and leasing companies across a range of asset classes. On the aviation side, a notable highlight was advising JetBlue Airways on the sale of a $225m privately placed EETC secured on 14 Airbus A320-232 aircraft; this was one of the first privately placed EETCs for a US airline. In other sectors, the firm advised the coordinating committee for the secured lenders of the $850m financing of the OSX-2’s floating production storage and offloading vessel (FPSO) refinancing, which formed a key aspect in the bankruptcy proceedings of OSX and IGX. The firm also represented Micron Semiconductor Asia, as issuer, and Micron Technology Inc, as parent guarantor, on a $462m note issue used for the purchase of certain semiconductor production equipment. The US side of the practice is largely based in New York and headed by Christopher Frampton and Someera Khokhar. Ji Hoon Hong is particularly recommended for his expertise in asset-backed and structured debt capital markets transactions including EETCs.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has an ‘outstanding’ reputation within the aviation industry. John Curry heads the ‘extremely intelligent and highly responsive’ New York-based team, which includes an extremely strong bench of partners and counsel, including Le Lam and Raymond Wells. The firm has few rivals when it comes to representing airlines and a notable highlight on this front was representing American Airlines and AAG as special aircraft financing counsel in their 2011-2013 Chapter 11 proceedings. American Airlines continues to be a major source of work, including the purchase from Embraer of 60 E175 regional jet aircraft and the purchase from Bombardier of CRJ900 regional jet aircraft. Another major mandate, which required significant financing expertise, was advising AIG on the $7.6bn sale of ILFC to Aercap Holdings, which also included advice on a $1bn revolving facility. Other key clients include Delta Air Lines, which it advised on the leases of ten Boeing aircraft and 14 Bombardier aircraft from CIT Group, and Clayton Dubilier & Rice, which it advised on a $600m investment in CHC Group.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP is extremely well regarded for its advice to airlines, lenders and other businesses within the industry. New York’s John Hoyns heads a strong team including Steven Chung in Washington DC, and Mark Denham in Miami. Highlights for the extremely active practice include advising United Airlines on the issuance of a $949m pass-through trust certificate to finance 25 new aircraft, including a Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner, as well as the issuance of a $1.06bn pass-through trust certificate to finance 27 new aircraft. The firm also acted for Wells Fargo Securities as initial purchaser and sole structuring agent in a $636m securitization that was sponsored by Avolon. The firm is also advising joint venture company Blackbird Capital on its formation and financing by Air Lease Corporation and asset management company Napier Park Global Capital; the joint venture is expected to acquire $2bn in aircraft assets by the end of 2016.

Norton Rose Fulbright is praised for its ‘excellent level of service,’ which is ‘very professional, always prompt and accommodating’. James Tussing heads the US side of the practice from New York, which also benefits from close links to teams in London and other parts of the international network. The firm acts for several leasing companies and investment funds, including AWAS and Apollo Aviation, which it has advised on multiple multimillion-dollar aircraft portfolio financings and acquisitions to numerous airlines worldwide. The firm also represents airline clients such as Air Canada on the financing of five 787 aircraft through Ex-Im Bank. For aviation matters, the ‘excellentSean Corrigan and David Gillespie are ‘very responsive, knowledgeable and efficient’. The firm is also highly respected in maritime finance, where Brad Berman and Brian Devine are ‘international leaders in ship and secured asset financing’ and are ‘very professional, with wide knowledge in their practice area’. The firm recently advised Castlelake on the formation of a $135m joint venture to invest in shipping assets. The firm also advises Deutsche Bank and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken on ship financings.

Kaye Scholer LLP has been investing heavily into its aviation finance and leasing practice. The US side of the team was strengthened significantly following the recruitment of partner Lawton Camp from Allen & Overy LLP, who has plenty of experience in the sector and previously advised British Airways on its first-ever offering of EETCs. The group has a very strong lender client base, and recently advised a syndicate of lenders including KfW IPEX-Bank, Crédit Agricole, BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, RBS and DBS, on the restructuring of a $550m warehouse revolving credit facility with Avolon for the financing of aircraft leased to carriers around the world; the lenders also participated in several other multimillion-dollar loans to Avolon concerning several major aircraft acquisitions. On the borrower side, Wheels Up, a private aviation membership-based company, is a major client which the firm advised on a $100m financing for the purchase of 23 King Air aircraft. Michael Mulitz heads the experienced team, which includes overall finance chair Henry Morriello and also Kurt Skonberg. The wider global offering was also enhanced after a team of lawyers including partners Philip Perrotta and Sidanth Rajagopal joined the firm’s London practice from Clyde & Co LLP, where Perrotta was former global head of aviation finance.

Asset finance is a core part of Latham & Watkins LLP’ highly rated structured finance and securitization practice, with cutting-edge expertise across several classes, including aircraft, rental car fleets and cell towers. Kevin Fingeret heads the team out of New York, which also includes lawyers in Los Angeles and Chicago. A major highlight for the team was advising American Airlines as issuer on a $957m EETC to finance the purchase of 12 Airbus and five Boeing aircraft; this was notable as the company’s first EETC since it emerged from bankruptcy and merged with US Airways. The firm also represented Deutsche Bank as lead arranger in over $6bn worth of financings through variable funding asset-backed notes issued by Hertz Vehicle Financing. Deutsche Bank also instructed the firm on a helicopter lease backed structured term loan to an SPV subsidiary of an equipment leasing company secured by over 50 helicopters. New York’s Graeme Smyth has been particularly active on this front and is developing a very strong reputation for asset finance.

New York partner George Miller heads a quality five-partner team at Mayer Brown that has plenty of expertise advising on aircraft and railcar financings. The firm is particularly known for advising lenders on related transactions, including EETCs, lease warehouse, and lease securitization structures. Recent highlights include advising Aviation Finance Corporation, Apple Bank and MetLife on the $160m financing of the pre-delivery payments for four Global 6000 aircraft being acquired by the VistaJet Group. The firm also advised Apple Bank on the $111.7m financing of pre-delivery payments for 12 Boeing 787 firm aircraft and four 787 option aircraft being acquired by Virgin Atlantic Airways. On the railcar side, a team led by Chicago’s Julie Gillespie represented Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Securities as underwriters on a $500m offering of pass through certificates by Union Pacific Railroad Company to finance the acquisition of 245 locomotives. The firm also advised Credit Suisse Securities on Element Rail Leasing’s first railcar ABS for $340m.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has a strong pedigree for asset finance and has a very good track record advising lenders on an array of related products, including EETCs, securitizations and lock box cash collections. Past clients have included major financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank Securities, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup Global Markets. Clients can draw from a well of experienced partners in New York, including global finance head Joshua Thompson, William Yaro, Bjorn Bjerke, Robert Evans and Maura O’Sullivan.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has an extremely versatile transportation finance practice that advises across a range of asset classes, including aircraft, automotive, freight, railroad and shipping. The firm also represents a solid mix of stakeholders, including lenders, airlines, aircraft leasing companies and manufacturers. On the lender side, a notable highlight was advising JP Morgan as lead arranger and administrative agent on a $2.1bn credit facility for Air Lease Corporation. The firm is also representing several aircraft leasing creditors in connection with the bankruptcy of American Airlines. Latin American airline Avianca is a major client, which the firm has advised on debt and equity capital markets issues, including a $250m bond issue in 2014. The firm also advised the underwriters, led by Citigroup, Bank of America Merril Lynch and RBS on a $500m senior note offering, some of which will be used for the purchase of commercial aircraft. Alan Brenner heads the well regarded team, which also includes several highly experienced capital markets experts, such as David Williams and Arthur Robinson.

Bank lending (including other sources of financing)

Index of tables

  1. Bank lending (including other sources of financing)
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a superb track record for banking and finance work built around a team of ten highly experienced partners in New York. Michael Goldman heads the market-leading practice, which is often first choice for the largest financial institutions; Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America and Citigroup are key clients. The firm covers all the bases, including leveraged acquisition finance and investment-grade debt. Its reputation means that it is typically involved in some of the largest deals the market has to offer. A major highlight was advising JP Morgan, Mizuho and Wells Fargo as lead arrangers on a record-breaking $36.4bn bridge credit facility to Actavis linked to its $66bn acquisition of Allergan. The firm also represented Credit Suisse in providing $12bn worth of credit facilities to Zimmer Holdings to finance its acquisition of Biomet. Another highlight was advising Credit Suisse on the financing of Bennu Oil & Gas’ complex $700m acquisition of all the Gulf of Mexico oil and gas assets of ATP Oil & Gas, which was in bankruptcy. Key partners include James Cooper, who is noted for his investment-grade debt advice, as well as Tatiana Lapushchik, Stephen Kessing, B Robbins Kiessling, who is also recommended for sports finance, and firm presiding partner C Allen Parker.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLPknows the market well’ and is ‘top notch in all areas’ of bank lending, regularly acting for both borrowers and lenders. The firm is praised for its ‘deep bench, both at partner and experienced associate level’ and clients ‘particularly single them out for working very well with opposing counsel’. New York-based partners James Florack and Joseph Hadley jointly head the group, which includes Jason Krywood and Sartaj Gill, both considered ‘very safe hands’, and Joseph Hadley. Major highlights on the borrower side include advising Tyson Foods on the $8.2bn financing of its takeover of The Hillshire Brands Company. Other major borrower clients include PepsiCo, Delta Airlines and Ford. On the lender front the firm acted for Citigroup Global Markets in a $2.75bn loan to Eastman Chemical Company connected to its acquisition of Taminco. The firm also advised Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan as lead arrangers on a $2.45bn loan to Zebra Technologies for its acquisition of Motorola Solutions. On the leveraged buyout side, the firm acted for Credit Suisse and Bank of America in the $1.3bn financing of Clayton Dubilier & Rice’s acquisition of the Water Technologies division of Ashland.

The ‘superb’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP is praised for its ‘consistent high level of professionalism, responsiveness, market knowledge and balanced advice among all attorneys’. The firm’s lawyers are ‘in the flow and know the market very well’, and the group has the ‘deepest bench’, with lawyers spread across New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston and Washington DC, as well as other key financial centers such as London. Global co-chair Michele Penzer leads the well balanced team, which comfortably acts for both borrowers and lenders, including some of the largest unregulated lenders in the market such as Jefferies. The ‘very seasoned’ Scott Gottdiener in New York ‘works extremely well with clients’, and Daniel Seale, counsel Christopher Dorian, Chicago’s David Crumbaugh, and Los Angeles’ Andrew Faye are ‘superb counsellors in every sense’. A notable highlight was advising the lead arrangers, including Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs, on the €4.75bn senior secured bank loan and concurrent €12bn bond offering to finance Altice’s acquisition of France’s second-largest telecoms operator SFR. On the sponsor side, the firm advised The Carlyle Group on the $2.5bn financing, plus $1.3bn bond offering, connected to its acquisition of Ortho Clinical Diagnostics from Johnson & Johnson.

With a well-balanced practice that covers most corners of the market, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP provides the template that many firms aspire to. The firm remains a top choice for the largest mandates and is equally adept at advising lenders and borrowers. On the lender side, the firm was involved in one of the most high-profile, albeit ultimately aborted, takeovers of 2014, when it represented JP Morgan on the $23bn financing of AbbVie’s proposed acquisition of Shire. A team led by highly rated group head Patrick Ryan also advised the lead arrangers, including Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch on the $5.1bn financing for Avago Technologies’ acquisition of LSI Corporation. Key partners on the lender side of the practice include William Sheehan, Justin Lungstrum, and James Knight. Major highlights on the borrower side, where partners such as James Cross, Brian Steinhardt, Alden Millard, and Washington DC’s Christopher Brown hold sway, include advising Dollar General on the $12.25bn financing of its abandoned takeover of discount retailing rival Family Dollar. The firm also advised Blackstone on its $5.4bn acquisition of Gates Global. Other key clients on the sponsor side include KKR, Hellman & Friedman and The Carlyle Group.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP has established itself as one of the most active firms in the market for lender work, and is often the sponsor’s bank counsel of choice on major leveraged buyouts. 2014 saw a high volume of mandates when compared with some competitors; the firm’s ability to handle this level and scale of work can be attributed to the size and quality of the bench, as well as the reputation of some of its lawyers. James Clark has a first-class reputation as one of the most experienced lawyers in this market, and he is joined by a team of extremely well regarded and active partners, including Jonathan Schaffzin, Corey Wright, Adam Dworkin, Douglas Horowitz, Susanna Suh, Daniel Zubkoff and William Hartnett to name a few. Major transactional highlights include advising JPMorgan Chase Bank, JP Morgan Securities and Wells Fargo Securities as lead arrangers on over $7bn of credit facilities for Burger King’s acquisition of Tim Hortons. Another significant highlight was advising Credit Suisse as lead arranger on Blackstone’s $5.4bn acquisition of Gates Global.

Best known for its finance advice to private equity and corporate borrower clients, Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides ‘an excellent practice’ that is ‘among the best in its field’. The practice is singled out for its ‘top-notch service’ and ‘providing guidance to clients regarding market trends and different lenders’ idiosyncrasies’. Linda Myers heads the team from Chicago and is backed up by a group of partners including the ‘thorough, knowledgeable, responsive and deal-orientedDavid Nemecek in Los Angeles, San Francisco’s Samantha Good, who ‘provides practical guidance and great results’, and the very well-regarded Jason Kanner in New York and Chicago’s Christopher Butler, who is ‘tremendous at handling large, complex syndicated loans’. Highlights in 2014 included advising Burger King on the $9.75bn financing of its takeover of Tim Hortons. The firm also advised Energy Future Holdings on two DIP financings worth almost $10bn for two subsidiaries, Energy Future Intermediate Holdings (EIFH) and EFIH Finance. Other significant transactions included advice to Zebra Technologies on the financing for its acquisition of Motorola Solutions. On the private equity side the firm represented The Carlyle Group in the financing for its $3.2bn acquisition of Signode Industrial Group, and Apax Partners in the financing for its $1.9bn combined purchase of One Call Care Management and Align Networks.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has a very well-established reputation for both borrower and lender work, and the team is commended for its ‘very high level of service’. While there was some disruption in terms of personnel leaving in previous years, the practice has returned to an even keel with several significant hires in 2014, including Damian Ridealgh from Ashurst LLP’s New York office. This came on top of key 2013 arrivals such as Alison Liff in New York and Courtney Solcher Marcus in Dallas, both of whom have active sponsor-led practices. Liff had a particularly active year for clients such as American Securities, which she advised on the $855m financing for its acquisition of Emerald Performance Materials. On the lender side, the firm was involved in several major cross-border deals, and global head Daniel Dokos and US head Douglas Urquhart were both on board to advise JPMorgan Chase on a €7.6bn financing to D E Master Blenders for its coffee joint venture with Mondelēz International that will form a new company called Jacobs Douwe Egberts. Other key deals, in which the highly experienced Morgan Bale led on, include advice to Barclays and Goldman Sachs on their $7.2bn bridge facility to Exelon Corporation to finance its acquisition of Pepco Holdings, and representing Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan on their $8.5bn bridge facility to Tyson Foods to finance its acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Company. Andrew Yoon is also singled out for praise.

White & Case LLP’s lawyers are considered by many to be ‘the best at what they do in terms of specializing in legal advisory for leveraged loan transactions’, where ‘their expertise is unparalleled’. The team is also ‘outstanding at figuring out complex legal issues, and responsiveness and availability around the clock is second to none’. US banking head Eric Leicht is described as ‘the best leveraged loan lawyer on the Street’, and Eliza McDougall and Miami’s Eric Klarhave a tremendous amount of expertise and are both very technically proficient and easy to work with’. The ‘excellent’ Alan Rockwell, David Koschik, David Bilkis and the ‘outstandingScott Zemser are also very well regarded. Deutsche Bank is a famously big client of the firm, having instructed it in several major financings, including $1.55bn to Mallinckrodt to finance the acquisition of Cadence Pharmaceuticals and a $2.75bn loan to two subsidiaries of Endo International to help fund the acquisition of Paladin Labs. The firm is also getting work from a growing amount of alternative capital providers such as Jefferies Finance LLC, which it advised on the $2.1bn financing of Salix Pharmaceuticals’ acquisition of Santarus Inc. On the borrower side, a major highlight was advising Zimmer Holdings on the financing of its $13.35bn acquisition of Biomet. Other clients include Credit Suisse, UBS and JP Morgan.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has an ‘outstanding’ practice that is focused almost entirely on borrower and sponsor-led mandates across a range of areas, including complex cross-border financings, refinancings and leveraged buyouts. As one of the main advisers to TPG Capital, the firm sees a lot of financings in the private equity arena and recently advised it on the multibillion-dollar financing required for its acquisition of DTZ, the property services arm of UGL. Warburg Pincus is another major client which it advised on the $850m acquisition of Electronic Funds Source LLC and the $565m refinancing of one of its portfolio companies, RegionalCare Hospital Partners. A highlight on the corporate side was advising marketing services company Harland Clarke on the financing of its $1.48bn takeover of Valassis Communications Inc. Other recent clients include Medtronic, which it advised on $16.3bn bridge facility for its $43bn acquisition of Covidien. The firm boasts a top-notch group of partners including the ‘outstanding Meme Peponis, Richard Lincer and Laurent Alpert.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides an ‘extraordinary level of service’ that ‘frequently exceeds its peers’. The firm’s lawyers are ‘remarkably consistent in their strengths and qualities’, and have an ‘excellent ability to address complex issues, to articulate them in a concise and understandable manner and to formulate appropriate solutions’. David Brittenham heads the New York-based team, which includes William Beekman, Paul Brusiloff, and Jeffrey Ross. The firm acts almost exclusively on behalf of private equity and corporate borrowers, including Clayton Dubilier & Rice, which it advised on the financing of its $1.8bn acquisition of Solenis International. Other highlights include advising The Hertz Corporation on the $2.5bn financing required for its split into two publicly traded companies: the car rental business, Hertz, and the separate Hertz Equipment Rental Corporation. Other major clients include Warner Music Group, American Airlines, Tribune Company, and The Carlyle Group.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has a highly regarded seven-partner finance team working out of New York. The practice is best known for its advice to financial institutions on a wide array of matters, including cross-border financings, leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, bridge and mezzanine financings and DIP and exit facility financings. ‘Outstanding’ practice head Marc Hanrahan is a big name in the market, and his team includes Marcus Dougherty, Lauren Hanrahan, Albert Pisa, Jay Grushkin, Blair Tyson, and the recently promoted Jerome McCluskey. Notable highlights include advising Nomura, BBVA, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank and HSBC as joint lead arrangers on a $5.8bn cross-border financing to Spanish pharmaceutical company Grifols, to help refinance existing loans linked to its acquisition of Novartis Diagnostics. The firm also advised Credit Suisse, Barclays Bank, BNP Paribas, ING, Natixis and Nomura as joint lead arrangers on the financing of Clayton Dubilier and Rice’s €1.2bn acquisition of Mauser Group. The firm’s advice isn’t limited to lenders, and the team counts several private equity funds among its clients, including Centerbridge Partners, Anchorage Capital and Silver Point Capital.

Paul Hastings LLP is ‘an excellent firm to do business with’ and the heavy investment it has made into this area, particularly as a sponsor-designated counsel to lenders, is definitely paying dividends. The team ‘always gets the loans closed in a timely fashion’, and has ‘a deep and growing bench that is excellent at executing deals’. New York’s William Schwitter co-heads the team with the ‘responsiveJennifer Yount in Los Angeles, who is praised for her ‘excellent legal and business acumen’. New York partners Michael Michetti and Michael Baker are also singled out for being ‘excellent at counselling their lender clients as to what to accept and not. They are very commercial and deal-oriented and are incredibly effective at distilling what is important’. A major highlight saw a cross-office team from California and New York advise the lead arrangers, including Bank of America and Wells Fargo, on the $1.75bn financing linked to Southwire’s acquisition of Coleman Cable. The firm also advised the banks on the $1.1bn financing for IBC Capital’s acquisition of Singaporean company Goodpack, the first Asian buyout conducted solely with a US syndication. A highlight on the borrower side was advising Mexican company Sigma Alimentos on the $1bn financing linked to its acquisition of Campofrio Food Group.

Ropes & Gray LLP has an extremely well-regarded and active leveraged finance practice, and regularly represents some of the largest private equity firms in the market. The department’s joint heads Byung Choi and Jay Kim, respectively based in Boston and New York, are both considered ‘great lawyers’. They are backed up by a team of highly experienced attorneys including Sunil Savkar, Stefanie Birkmann and Alexander Zeltser in New York and Michael Lee in Boston. Major highlights include advising The Blackstone Group on the financing for its $350m acquisition of China-based Pactera Technology, the first Asian LBO to close with high-yield bonds and a full New York-style financing structure. The firm also advised HIG Capital on the $335m financing of its acquisition of American Pacific Corporation, and represented Thomas H Lee Partners in the $1bn+ refinancing of its portfolio company, West Corporation. Other key clients include TPG Capital, Bain Capital, Berkshire Partners and Advent International.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has a strong team that regularly finds itself involved in some of the market’s largest financings. The majority of the firm’s work is primarily on behalf of lenders, but its lawyers are equally comfortable sitting on the other side of the table for clients such as IntercontinentalExchange Group, which it advised on a $3bn refinancing, and Symphony Technology Group, which it advised on a $435m loan linked to a refinancing and dividend recapitalization. On the lender side the firm advised Credit Suisse, Barclays and Citigroup as joint lead arrangers and bookrunners on the $10.7bn financing of Gtech’s acquisition of International Game Technology. The firm also advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Pierce Fenner & Smith, Mizuho Bank and Wells Fargo as joint lead arrangers and bookrunners on $8.1bn of financing to Actavis Capital to help fund the acquisition of Forest Laboratories and refinance existing debt. Global finance head Joshua Thompson heads the team out of New York, where most of the partners, including Michael Steinberg, Jonathan DeSantis, Maura O’Sullivan, and Gus Atiyah are based.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP enjoys a superb reputation for representing corporate borrowers as well as an increasing amount of private equity sponsors on their most cutting-edge financing needs. Thomas Gowan heads the highly regarded team from New York, which is where the majority of the partners are based, including former banking co-head Sarah Ward. Notable highlights from 2014 include Sven Mickisch’s advice to TPG Capital on the financing of its $1.5bn acquisition of The Warranty Group. The firm also represented Priam Capital as lead investor in the recapitalization of 1st Mariner, involving a contested auction with a competing financial institution. Other key partners in the team include Seth Jacobson in Chicago and David Reamer in New York.

Bracewell LLP has an excellent track record advising borrowers and lenders, and few can match the firm’s experience for acquisition finance in the energy sector. While the highly experienced Robin Miles leads the team out of New York, the majority of the firm’s partners are based in Houston, including active partners such as Dewey Gonsoulin, Kate Day, Heather Brown, and Stephanie Koo Song. The Houston side of the practice was also strengthened by the recruitment of extremely experienced oil and gas-lending expert Michael Niebruegge from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. On the lending side, the firm represented Scotiabank in the financing of Baytex Energy Corporation’s CAD$2.6bn acquisition of Aurora Oil & Gas Limited. The firm also advised RBS on a $1.5bn secured reserve-based oil and gas financing for Energy XXI Gulf Coast linked to its acquisition of EPL Oil & Gas. The firm has also been extremely active on the borrower side, and a major highlight on this front was representing Kinder Morgan (alongside Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP) in its $76bn acquisition of the outstanding equity securities of Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Kinder Morgan Management and El Paso Pipeline Partners, in what was the second-largest energy deal in US history. Other major borrower clients include Phillips 66, which it advised on an unsecured $5bn revolving credit facility with JPMorgan Chase.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP has a well-balanced practice that acts for a wide range of lenders, corporations and private equity funds. The seven-partner team is headed by William Reindel and recently expanded following the recruitment of leveraged finance expert Stewart Kagan from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP in New York. Other notable names in the group are J Christian Nahr, Emil Buchman, Brian Murphy and Viktor Okasmaa. A major highlight for the team was advising Perrigo, a maker of over-the-counter medicines, on the financing of its $6.8bn deal to acquire Elan Corporation. The firm also represented KKR in the refinancing of the entire capital structure of one of its portfolio companies, Preferred Sands, a leading supplier of frac sand in the US and Canada. On the lending side, the firm advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the $300m financing of American Tire’s acquisition of Terry’s Tire Town Holdings Inc.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s highly regarded and very active practice is largely split between New York and Los Angeles, from where Joerg Esdorn and Linda Curtis respectively co-head the team. The group’s client base is skewed toward the borrower and sponsor side, although it is doing an increasing amount of work for lenders such as Macquarie. Notable highlights for the team include advising Aecom Technology on the financing required for its $6bn takeover of URS. The firm also acted for Lone Star Funds in the financing of its $1.3bn acquisition of DFC Global Corporation, in a deal that involved numerous cross-border elements in the UK and Canada. The firm also acted for The Williams Companies in a $5.9bn bridge facility linked to its purchase of general partner interests of Access Midstream Partners from Global Infrastructure Partners.

The ‘excellent’ team at Jones Day is very popular with clients owing to its ‘great service, industry knowledge and value for money’. The firm’s lawyers are ‘always available and able to bring resources to bear for even the most complex transactions (think cross-border corporate carve-outs)’. Brett Barragate co-heads the team out of New York alongside Chicago-based Robert Graves, who is ‘very sharp, knows his stuff and is a pleasure to work with’. The practice, which has partners across several offices in the US, does an impressive mix of mid-market borrower and lender work. Major highlights include advising RadioShack Corporation on its $835m refinancing. On the lender side the firm acts for traditional banks such as Wells Fargo, and is also one of Jefferies’ key law firms, recently advising it on the financing of Mitel’ $374m acquisition of Aastra Technologies. Cleveland-based Rachel Rawson is ‘very knowledgeable and will push the market as well as be flexible when needed’, and the ‘great’ John Casais in Boston is also highly recommended.

Mayer Brown is praised for its ‘disciplined, accurate, timely, responsive and totally professional’ service and advice. Global co-head Doug Doetsch leads the team from Chicago, and his reputation for advice on Latin America-related financings has impacted on the wider team - it is particularly noted for its expertise in this area. The ‘very knowledgeable and professional’ New York-based David Duffee is also well regarded and considered to be ‘outstanding at handling negotiations with clients and bank participants’. The firm acts for an impressive array of major lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse and Bank of America, and has also developed strong niches in fund financings and energy finance. The borrower side of the practice is also strong, and the firm advised Packaging Corporation of America on a $1.65bn credit facility to finance the acquisition of Boise Inc. The practice continues to grow, recently recruiting Gabriela Sakamoto from Chadbourne & Parke LLP in Washington DC, and Henry Liu from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP in New York.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s New York-based banking and finance group enjoys a very good reputation for advising private equity funds and other corporate borrowers. The highly experienced Gregory Ezring and Terry Schimek jointly head the team, which also includes well-regarded partners such as Eric Goodison, Thomas de la Bastide and Brad Finkelstein. Recent highlights include advising Bauer Performance Sports on a $650m facility to refinance existing debt and also finance the $330m acquisition of Easton-Bell Sports’ baseball and softball business. The firm also advised Apollo Global Management, which is a major client, on the $300m financing of its acquisition of Caelus Energy Alaska O3.

Proskauer Rose LLP has developed a strong reputation for mid-market transactions and LBOs and is particularly noted for its expertise in multi-tranche finance and sports-related financings. Clients feel that the firm offers a ‘superior platform that consistently exceeds expectations with regard to turnaround time and market knowledge,’ and also praise the team’s depth and ‘the accountability that each member of the deal team accepts’. The team is jointly headed by Boston-based Stephen Boyko and the ‘exceptionalRon Franklin in New York, who is commended for his ‘stellar legal advice within the leveraged finance world’. Clients also rate Andrew Bettwy, Justin Breen and global capital markets head Frank Lopez, who are all ‘extremely user friendly, interact with clients very well and know which points are worth fighting for and which are not’. The firm is well versed in advising both borrowers and lenders. Recent highlights include advising Grifols on a $5.8bn refinancing. The firm has also advised on a number of loans on behalf of Senior Secured Loan Fund, a $9bn loan program jointly managed by GE Capital and Ares Capital. Jefferies is another significant client on the lending side.

Sidley Austin LLP has a very well established reputation for advising major lenders and is actively growing the borrower/sponsor side of the practice, an area where highly respected Dallas-based co-head Angela Fontana has a superb track record. Highlights on this front include advising Vantiv on over $4bn of finance for its acquisition of Mercury Payment Systems, a deal that Dallas-based Kelly Dybala led. Another highlight was advising Darling Ingredients Inc on the $1.1bn financing for its acquisition of Rothsay, a division of Maple Leaf Foods Inc, and the further multibillion-dollar financing for its acquisition of Vion Ingredients. On the lender side, the firm’s clients include Wells Fargo, US Bank National Association, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America. Key lawyers include senior counsel and co-head James Clark, Zulfiqar Bokhari, Robert Lewis and Mark Kirsons, all in Chicago.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is a popular choice for high-profile corporate borrowers and has very good experience of major refinancings, leveraged buyouts, structured lending and connected capital markets work. John Estes co-heads the team with Neal McKnight out of New York, which is where most of the partners are based, except for Dennis Sullivan in Washington DC. Recent highlights include advising American Energy Partners on $5.5bn worth of loans to several companies across the group. The firm also advised Amgen on the financing for its $10.5bn acquisition of Onyx Pharmaceutical. The firm was involved in several significant refinancings for clients such as Chrysler Group, Fortescue Metals Group, and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. Robert Downes and Erik Lindauer both have strong reputations.

Capital markets: debt offerings

Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to issuers
  2. Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to managers
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

In an illustration of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s cross-border capital markets credentials, Jorge Juantorena advised multinational chemicals manufacturer and distributor Mexichem on its $750m investment-grade Rule 144A/Reg S global bond offering. In another recent international highlight showcasing its financial services sector capability, Michael Volkovitsch acted for the managers, led by Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley, on 14 offerings for Asian Development Bank totaling $7.8bn, all of which were conducted under the bank’s global medium-term note program. Leslie Silverman represented HSBC USA in a $2.25bn four-tranche offering of fixed and floating rate notes, and Craig Brod and Kimberly Blacklow acted for various underwriters in a series of debt issuances by American Express Credit Corporation, including a $2.4bn offering of floating and fixed rate notes. Jeffrey Karpf advised Google in its $1bn notes issuance. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s New York-based team of highly regarded securities experts includes William Fogg, Craig Arcella, Kris Heinzelman and William Whelan. Fogg acted alongside Johnny Skumpija for the underwriters, led by J.P. Morgan Securities, Goldman, Sachs & Co, Barclays and UBS Investment Bank, on Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ $2.9bn registered convertible securities offering. Arcella acted for Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank Securities and RBS as underwriters to Johnson & Johnson on two debt offerings totaling $5.5bn. Heinzelman acted for the underwriters, including BNP Paribas, RBS and Wells Fargo Securities, on Hewlett-Packard’s $2bn debt issuance. Whelan advised CBS Corporation on its $1.75bn senior notes offering. LizabethAnn Eisen, Joseph Zavaglia and Andrew Pitts are also recommended.

2014 was another strong year for Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s practice, which has a distinguished track record in investment grade debt. Sarah Solum, who is based in the firm’s Menlo Park office, led the advice to Oracle on its SEC-registered $10bn issuance of floating and fixed rate notes, which was the third-largest investment grade offering in 2014. Michael Kaplan and Byron Rooney, both based in New York, acted for Exxon Mobil Corporation in the establishment of a shelf registration statement and the issuance of $1.25bn-worth of floating rate notes and $4.25bn-worth of fixed rate notes. Other clients include PepsiCo and Comcast Corporation. On the underwriter side, Alan Denenberg, who is also based in Menlo Park, advised the joint book-running managers, including Barclays Capital and J.P. Morgan Securities, on Cisco Systems’ $8bn offering and, in another technology-focused deal, represented the joint bookrunners, including Morgan Stanley & Co, in’s $6bn notes issuance. Bruce Dallas and Richard Truesdell are key contacts in California and New York, respectively.

Sidley Austin LLP handled a number of high-profile issuances for underwriters in 2014. San Francisco-based Eric Haueter represented the agents in connection with the establishment of The Walt Disney Company’s $8bn medium term note program, and subsequently acted for the underwriters in the company’s $2bn offering of fixed and floating rate global notes under that program. In New York, Michael Kohler and Aryeh Zarchan advised the underwriters to Morgan Stanley on five medium term notes issuances totaling $11.5bn. Issuer clients include Caterpillar Corporation (for which the team recently acted on a three-tranche $1.35bn note offering), Aon Corporation and Colgate-Palmolive. Craig Chapman and Edward Petrosky are other names to note in New York, and Kevin Blatchford in Chicago is also recommended. New York-based Robert Ryan was promoted to partner and Sam Zucker was recruited from O'Melveny & Myers LLP to strengthen the firm’s Palo Alto practice.

In keeping with its extensive private equity client list and strong reputations in IPOs and high yield debt, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is also highly active in investment grade debt transactions. The 31-partner team, led by Arthur Robinson, is primarily located in New York where it acts for a balanced mix of issuer and underwriter clients. Joshua Ford Bonnie advised Ingersoll-Rand on a $300m registered offering of senior notes, a $500m registered offering of senior notes, and a $300m senior notes offering. The Palo Alto team handled two high-profile offerings: William Hinman and Dan Webb represented the underwriters, led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo Securities, on the $10bn issue of floating and fixed rate notes by Oracle, while Webb and Kevin Kennedy acted for the underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities, on Apple’s $12bn multi-tranche bond offering. Edgar Lewandowski was promoted to partner.

In an illustration of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s financial sector expertise, David Harms acted alongside Glen Schleyer for key client Goldman Sachs on a $3.2bn, SEC-registered senior notes offering. The diverse and sizeable practice also includes Patrick Brown in Los Angeles, who acted for AT&T in three separate offerings totaling $5bn, and Robert Buckholz, who represented the underwriters in a number of offerings by Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation, including a $1bn two-tranche issuance completed in August 2014. John Estes advised American Energy Partners on a $750m convertible notes issuance and also handled a number of high yield offerings for the same client. The proceeds of these various deals were used to fund a series of acquisition agreements to purchase $4.5bn-worth of unconventional oil and gas assets in the Permian Basin, the Marcellus Shale and the Utica Shale. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York except where stated.

The ‘innovative and dynamicMarc Jaffe in New York and the experienced Patrick Shannon in Washington DC co-head the sizeable practice at Latham & Watkins LLP. The team, which includes leading individual Kirk Davenport in New York, regularly handles high-profile debt offerings for both issuers and underwriters. New York-based Wesley Holmes advised global specialty pharmaceutical company Actavis on a $3.7bn four-tranche notes offering by subsidiary Actavis Funding SCS to fund part of the $28bn purchase of Forest Laboratories. A cross-office team, led by Jaffe in New York and Rachel Sheridan in Washington DC represented J.P. Morgan as underwriters to Exxon’s $5.5bn bond consisting of three and five-year fixed and floating rate notes and a ten-year tranche. This was the oil major’s first issuance in over 20 years. In addition to its strong East Coast presence, the practice fields key practitioners in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Silicon Valley.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s ‘excellent securities practice’ is headed by highly regarded Latin America expert, Antonia Stolper. Lisa Jacobs represented John Deere Capital Corporation (JDCC) in the establishment of its JDCC InterNotes program, a registered US medium term notes program; and also acted for Crédit Agricole CIB, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan and RBS as joint book-running managers in Ford Motor Credit Company’s $1.5bn registered notes offering. Other clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, CVS Health Corporation and Coca-Cola Enterprises. The team, which also includes Jonathan DeSantis and the ‘client-focusedMichael Benjamin, expanded its West Coast presence with the addition of Christopher Forrester in Palo Alto. All named attorneys are based in New York except where stated.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s corporate finance practice is active across a broad range of debt capital markets deals. New York-based practice head Stacy Kanter took issuer-side roles on a number of life sciences deals in 2014, including a $4.5bn multi-tranche notes offering by Pfizer, and a $4bn senior notes offering by Gilead Sciences. Other issuer clients include private equity firm Blackrock, semiconductor manufacturer Broadcom Corporation and chemicals company CF Industries. On the underwriter side, the team represented J.P. Morgan Securities, Morgan Stanley & Co, Wells Fargo Securities and Goldman Sachs as joint book-running managers in a $1.5bn three-tranche senior notes offering by Bed Bath & Beyond, which marked the retailer’s first-ever foray into the debt capital markets arena. Kanter also acted for HSBC Securities (USA) as lead underwriter in two four-tranche senior notes offerings by HSBC USA for $2.25bn and $2.45bn, respectively. Also recommended are Rodriguo Guerra in Los Angeles, and Michael Zeidel and Gregory Fernicola in New York.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s reputation in the energy sector has led to a string of high-value debt issuances. In Dallas, Douglass Rayburn advised EnLink Midstream Partners on a $400m notes issuance, a $450m notes issuance and a $350m notes issuance. In Houston, Tull Florey acted for global offshore contract drilling company Ensco in two $625m senior notes offerings. On the underwriter side, Houston-based partner John Geddes represented Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, TD Securities and Wells Fargo Securities in food products distributor Sysco Corporation’s $5bn notes offering. The firm’s New York office also has an active debt capital markets practice, and recently acted for Liberty Media Corporation in its $1bn issue of convertible senior notes. Also based in Houston, Kelly Rose and David Kirkland are the firmwide practice chairs.

In addition to its renowned high yield debt practice, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is active on the underwriter side in investment-grade debt offerings. Daniel Zubkoff acted alongside Susanna Suh for Deutsche Bank Securities, RBS and the other underwriters on International Paper’s $1.6bn public notes offering, which was comprised of two tranches. In another highlight, William Hartnett and William Miller represented J.P. Morgan Securities as lead book-running managers, as well as the other book-runners, on 21st Century Fox’s $1.2bn notes offering, which included a $600m Rule 144A/Reg S issuance. The practice’s lawyers are all based in New York.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s team of versatile capital markets lawyers regularly represents corporate issuers such as American Airlines, Delta Airlines and Verizon Communications, private equity firms and their portfolio companies, financial institutions such as AIG and MetLife, and underwriters such as Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs. Following its advice to Verizon on its record-breaking $49bn bond offering in 2013, a team led by Steven Slutzky acted for the communications giant on a $500m notes offering. In another issuer-side highlight, Peter Loughran acted for International Paper Company in its $1.6bn notes offering. Matthew Kaplan is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s sizeable capital markets practice includes more than 80 lawyers spread across the firm’s offices in New York, California, Dallas and Denver. Andrew Fabens, who is based in New York with the lion’s share of the practice, advised regular client Hewlett-Packard on a $2bn global notes issue structured in two parts: a $1.25bn fixed global notes offering, and a $750m floating-rate transaction. In California, Douglas Smith and Stewart McDowell regularly advise longstanding client Wells Fargo on sizeable deals, while Jonathan Layne and Karen Bertero advised Herbalife on a $1bn offering of convertible notes. Ryan Murr joined in San Francisco from Ropes & Gray LLP; his arrival strengthens the firm’s life sciences expertise.

Jones Day acts for blue-chip issuers such as Starbucks and the Omnicon Group, as well as for bulge-bracket banks including Citigroup and Credit Suisse. In Chicago, Bradley Brasser and Robert Joseph acted as co-counsel to oil and gas joint venture, Enable Midstream Partners, on its $1.65bn senior notes issuance as part of a Rule 144A/Reg S offering. In New York, John Owen acted for BNP Paribas, Deutsche Bank, and HSBC Bank as underwriters to PepsiCo’s €500m senior notes offering. In Cleveland, a market in which the firm has its roots, Kimberly Pustulka and Michael Solecki represented Marathon Petroleum company in a $1.95bn notes offering, which marked the client’s first large-scale offering.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP stands out for providing ‘practical advice that is designed to get the deal done’, and for its ‘responsive lawyers who are attentive to client needs and always up to date on market practices’. The practice focuses primarily on issuer representations, with key partners spread across New York and Chicago, including Dennis Myers, who represented Bristol-Myers Squibb Company in a $1.5bn senior notes offering; Christian Nagler and Robert Hayward, who advised Kellogg Company on an issuance of $650m-worth of floating rate and senior notes; and Joshua Korff. Other clients include Whirlpool Corporation, the Boeing Company, and Avis Budget Group. Matthew Pacey joined the firm’s newly opened Houston office from Vinson & Elkins LLP.

Mayer Brown has a strong track record advising financial institutions as underwriters and issuers in debt capital markets deals. Automotive finance is a particular strength; practice co-head Edward Best, based in Chicago along with the majority of the practice’s lawyers, advised Hyundai Capital America on two senior notes issuances comprising $900m and $600m. On the underwriter side, which is where the practice particularly stands out, Houston-based partners Harry Beaudry and Robert Gray acted for Barclays Capital, Wells Fargo Securities and Citigroup Global Markets on two $400m senior notes issuances by global offshore drilling contract services provider Rowan Companies. James Barry in Chicago and Jennifer Carlson (who relocated to Palo Alto) are also recommended.

The ‘extremely knowledgeable team’ at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLPtakes the time to get to know its clients’, which enables it to ‘provide a tailored service’. Paul Denaro advised the dealer managers, led by Citigroup Global Markets, J.P. Morgan Securities and UBS Securities, on two private exchange offers conducted by Verizon Communications, which involved exchanging £554.2m in existing debt securities and issuing £694.8m in new debt. Rod Miller acted for sole book-runner Goldman Sachs, co-manager Credit Agricole Securities (USA), and Wells Fargo Securities as initial purchaser, on McDermott International’s $500m offering of senior notes secured on a second lien basis. The team has a particularly strong track record in cross-border capital markets transactions; practice head Marcelo Mottesi and Carlos Albarracín are key contacts for this type of work. Robert Mullen retired in March 2014. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Morrison & Foerster LLP handles a balanced mix of issuer and underwriter representations. The practice is designated underwriter’s counsel for Bank of America Corporation and for Capital One Financial Corporation, for which it advised on a $7.6bn medium term notes issuance and a $1.75bn senior notes offering, respectively. Other issuer-side highlights included Ze’ev Eiger’s advice to the Israel Electric Corporation on its $1.25bn notes offering issued under its recently updated $5bn medium term note program. Anna Pinedo is ‘responsive and has a great understanding of the most recent market practices’. Experienced capital markets specialist James Tanenbaum is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in New York.

At O'Melveny & Myers LLP, practice co-heads Michael Schiavone in New York (who is a convertible notes expert) and Brophy Christensen in San Francisco (who is an ‘incredibly knowledgeable, experienced and responsive adviser who gets great results’), advised Electronics for Imaging on its $345m private placement of convertible senior notes and concurrent convertible note hedge and warrant transactions. Other issuer clients include Yahoo! and American Honda Finance Corporation. On the underwriter side, Schiavone - who has strong relationships with a number of banks - acted for Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated as underwriters to the $2.7bn public notes offering by healthcare company WellPoint Inc (now Anthem Inc). John-Paul Motley in Los Angeles is recommended. In New York, Daniel O’Shea joined from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, while William Kuesel left for an in-house role at Apollo Global Management.

In accordance with its reputation as a ‘go-to team for complex deals’, the 14-partner capital markets practice at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP regularly handles hybrid securities and convertible notes offerings. Sector strengths include retail, leisure and telecoms, where Tracey Zaccone acted for Barclays, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs and UBS Investment Bank as joint book-runners in a $1.25bn senior notes offering by DirecTV Holdings and DirecTV Financing Co. Issuer clients include Ralph Lauren Corporation, Time Warner Cable and Intelsat. John Kennedy, Gregory Ezring, and Monica Thurmond are all key contacts. All lawyers named are based in New York, however the firm also draws on its Toronto office to act on a wide number of Canada-focused deals.

At Proskauer Rose LLP, ‘the service provided is efficient, informed, detailed and constructive’. The practice benefits from the firm’s strong Boston presence and solid track record in the life sciences sector; practice co-head Frank Lopez acted alongside Robert Cantone for biopharmaceutical company Celgene on its three-tranche $2.5bn senior notes offering. In Los Angeles, Philippa Bond - who is lauded for her ‘deep industry knowledge, extreme dedication to projects, tireless energy and incredibly positive demeanour’ - represented longstanding client American Realty Capital Partners and its wholly owned subsidiary Clark Acquisition on a $2.55bn private offering of senior unsecured notes. Other clients include Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citigroup Global Markets and UBS. Fellow practice co-chair Julie Allen is also recommended. All lawyers named are based in New York except where stated.

In keeping with its Texan roots, international firm Vinson & Elkins LLP is particularly active in the energy debt capital markets, where it represents issuers and underwriters. Michael Harrington and David Stone had a busy 2014: highlights included advising the underwriters to Enterprise Product Partners’ $2.75bn senior notes offering; acting for Anadarko Petroleum in a $625m senior notes offering, its first capital markets deal in a number of years; and assisting Waste Management Inc with a $350m offering. Matthew Pacey left for Kirkland & Ellis LLP, while Michael Telle joined from Bracewell LLP and, in Dallas, Michael Saslaw joined from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. David Oelman and Keith Fullenweider co-head the practice. All attorneys named are located in Houston except where stated.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s ‘excellent and reliable capital markets team’ is ‘very responsive, and provides thoughtful advice in a timely fashion’. Recent highlights for practice co-head Matthew Bloch include acting for DirecTV in a £350m senior notes offering, its second sterling-denominated bond issue, and advising the underwriters Morgan Stanley and J.P. Morgan on the $3.25bn senior noted offering by food distributor Tyson Foods, to finance its $8.5bn acquisition of The Hillshire Brands Company. The firm continues to serve as designated underwriter’s counsel for Microsoft. In another highlight, Corey Chivers (‘an experienced and pragmatic deal manager’), represented Barclays, HSBC, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo in the technology giant’s $3.25bn and €3.5bn notes offerings. Practice co-head Alexander Lynch is also recommended. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Based predominantly in Houston, Andrews Kurth LLP’s team is particularly active in the energy sector. Practice co-chair Michael O’Leary and Stephanie Conklin Beauvais represented the underwriters, including Barclays Capital and Morgan Stanley & Co, in a $6bn public senior notes offering by Kinder Morgan. In the midstream space, fellow co-chair David Buck advised Enterprise Products Operating in its $850m and $1.15bn senior notes issuances. Key contacts outside of Texas include Bill Cooper in Washington DC and Richard Kronthal in New York.

Bracewell LLP has a strong track record in energy-related debt capital markets mandates. A cross-office team (led by Jonathan Wry in New York) acted for regular client Chesapeake Energy Corporation in a $3bn senior notes offering. Charles Still represented foodservice products marketer and distributor Sysco Corporation in a $5bn public senior notes offering. Other clients include Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, Phillips 66 and Texas Capital Bank. Troy Harder, Gregory Bopp and Gary Orloff are also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Houston unless otherwise stated.

Covington & Burling LLP continues to act on complex life sciences deals including two recent private offerings of convertible senior notes totaling more than $1.15bn by Illumina. Practice co-head Eric Blanchard, who is based in New York, led the advice to Illumina, and also acted for Acorda on a $345m public offering of convertible senior notes. Other clients on the issuer side include Eli Lilly & Company, Johnson & Johnson, Salix Pharmaceuticals, while on the underwriter side the firm has a strong relationship with Jefferies. The arrival of Washington DC-based lawyers Frank Conner and Michael Reed has strengthened the firm’s traction among financial institutions.

DLA Piper has broad coverage, with practitioners across the country acting for a diverse, although primarily issuer-focused, client base. Debt capital markets head Jamie Knox, who is based in New York, advised CareFusion Corporation on its $1bn investment grade notes offering. In Chicago, Gregory Hayes advised Equity Residential on its $1.2bn notes offering. In Austin, Paul Hurdlow acted for J.P. Morgan Securities as underwriter in a Rule 144A/Reg S offering of convertible notes by international online vacation rental marketplace HomeAway.

Dechert LLPprovides high-quality legal representation at a competitive price’. The balanced practice advises issuers and underwriters through offices spanning both coasts as well as in the Midwest. Clients include Barclays, UBS, Novadaq Technologies and B&G Foods. A cross-office team of lawyers, led by Ian Hartman out of Philadelphia, advised Crown Holdings and its wholly-owned subsidiary Crown European Holdings on a €650m senior unsecured notes offering. David Rosenthal and Thomas Friedmann co-head the practice from New York and Washington DC, respectively.

Faegre Baker Daniels is a strong presence in the Midwest market, and fields 17 partners collectively across its Midwest, UK and China offices. In Minneapolis, practice head Sonia Shewchuk acted alongside Dawn Holicky Pruitt for regular client Wells Fargo & Company and Wells Fargo Bank on a series of public, private and Rule144A/Reg S debt offerings totaling approximately $23bn. Holicky Pruitt also acted for Minneapolis-headquartered retail giant Target in a series of public debt offerings, including a $1bn notes offering. In Indianapolis, David Worrell advised regular client Simon Property Group on a $2.75bn debt offering.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s practice underwent significant changes in 2014; former practice head Valerie Ford Jacob left for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP along with Michael Levitt and Paul Tropp, while Daniel Bursky and Stuart Gelfond were appointed joint practice heads and Joshua Coleman returned to New York from the firm’s London office. Gelfond acted alongside corporate partner Joshua Wechsler on Grupo Televisa’s $1bn senior notes offering. Bursky, alongside Andrew Barkan, acted as designated underwriter’s counsel in Procter & Gamble’s increase of its US commercial paper program to $25bn. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Hogan Lovells fields a team of more than 100 capital markets lawyers spread across all major US financial hubs. Stuart Stein, Eve Howard and Gregory Parisi, all based in Washington DC, led the advice to Apple on its $12bn corporate bond issue in April 2014. The practice is particularly active in the REIT space, and also has strengths in regulated industries such as healthcare, energy, aerospace and defense. David Bonser heads the practice from Washington DC and is recommended alongside Emil Arca in New York, Paul Hilton in Denver and Jon Layman, who splits his time between Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s practice continued to expand in 2014; Rani Doyle and Keith Gottfried joined in Washington DC from Dentons and Alston & Bird LLP, respectively, and in November 2014, the firm finalised the acquisition of more than 750 lawyers worldwide from Bingham McCutchen LLP, adding a number of structured finance experts to its network. The team regularly represents issuers and underwriters and has strengths in the life sciences, utilities, retail and offshore drilling sectors. Tom Giblin advised American Water Corp on two senior notes offerings totaling $500m, and also acted for Florida Power & Light Company on its $500m issuance and sale of mortgage bonds. Allan Reiss advised Goldman Sachs as representative for several purchasers of convertible senior notes issued by offshore oil and gas and maritime transportation equipment provider SEACOR Holdings via a $230m private placement. Linda Griggs in Washington DC and Steve Farrell are recommended. All lawyers named are based in New York unless stated.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP recruited Christopher Austin from Goodwin Procter LLP; his arrival in New York further strengthens the firm’s technology-sector reputation. San Francisco-based Brett Cooper is regularly instructed by Pacific Gas and Electric Company, for which he acted on more than $3bn-worth of offerings in 2014, including a $300m issue of floating rate senior notes. Clients also include Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation and Levi Strauss & Co. Los Angeles based banking and finance partner Alan Benjamin handles underwriter representations for clients such as Wells Fargo.

At WilmerHale, practice co-chair Erika Robinson, who is based in New York, was particularly active in debt capital markets matters in 2014. She advised Thermo Fisher Scientific on a $3.2bn, three-tranche SEC-registered debt offering; acted for Hasbro on a two-tranche senior notes offering totaling $600m; and assisted Discovery Communications with its issuance of €300m-worth of SEC-registered, euro-denominated senior notes listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Boston-based Mark Borden heads the firm’s corporate practice.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s Chicago-based team includes securities practice chair Oscar David and Cabell Morris. Morris advised Motorola Solutions on three public offerings of senior notes totaling $1.4bn, and also acted for Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan Securities and Société Générale as underwriters to Illinois Tool Works’ €1bn bond offering. Bruce Toth, also based in Chicago, advised global supplier of automotive seating and electrical distribution systems, Lear Corporation, on its $325m senior unsecured notes offering. James Junewicz, who divides time between Chicago and New York, is ‘a very good issuer’s counsel who has also built strong relationships with bankers’.

Capital markets: equity offerings

Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to issuers
  2. Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to managers
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP handled several multibillion-dollar capital markets deals in 2014, including the high-profile $3.5bn float by Citizens Financial Group, where Leslie Silverman represented the underwriters led by Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan. Jeffrey Karpf also advised on another IPO by a financial institution, acting for Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase as representatives of the underwriters in the $2bn float by Santander Consumer USA. David Lopez was also instructed in a number of sizeable equity offerings including Surgical Care Affiliates’ $270m float and the $721m IPO by Sabre. Other notable capital markets experts at the firm include Craig Brod, Pamela Marcogliese and Sandra Flow. All named attorneys are located in New York, although the firm can also draw on an impressive global network of corporate finance lawyers.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP really stands out for its work with underwriters in the equity capital markets space. Leading individual Craig Arcella advised Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank Securities and JP Morgan on the $1.1bn registered IPO by Axalta Coating Systems, a portfolio company of The Carlyle Group. William Fogg and Johnny Skumpija acted for JP Morgan, Piper Jaffray and Jefferies in fast-growing retail chain Boot Barn Holdings’ NYSE-listed $92m IPO. LizabethAnn Eisen and Scott Bennett advised Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and BMO Capital Markets on the $874m registered common stock offering by food services company Darling International. William Whelan advised Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley on the $173m float by Diplomat Pharmacy, the largest independent specialty pharmacy in the US. Andrew Pitts and Kris Heinzelman also handled secondary offerings for the underwriters to Freescale Semiconductor and Orbitz Worldwide respectively. Recent issuer clients include international containership owner Costamare, REIT CyrusOne Inc, and supply chain services and solutions company UTi Worldwide. All named attorneys are located in New York.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted on the largest-ever IPO by a US bank when an integrated team of its capital markets, M&A and banking lawyers, led by Nicholas Kronfeld, advised Citizens Financial Group and RBS (which was required to dispose of a number of its assets as part of its bailout terms) on the former’s close to $3.5bn NYSE IPO. In another high-profile financial sector deal, Richard Sandler and Richard Drucker represented Ally Financial on its IPO and NYSE listing of common stock in a $2.57bn deal that included the US Treasury as selling shareholder. Other issuer clients include London-headquartered financial information services provider Markit, Israel Chemicals and Colombian banking group Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores. On the underwriter side, where the practice was also very active, Silicon Valley-based Alan Denenberg advised Barclays Capital and Deutsche Bank Securities as representatives of the several underwriters in the $352m IPO by Virgin America. Richard Truesdell and Michael Kaplan are also recommended. Named attorneys are based in New York except where stated.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s status as a leading practice in this space was reinforced in 2014, with the firm at the forefront of a number of innovative deals; it structured the first-ever capital markets yieldco deal, a new corporate structure for investors seeking dividend income from a diversified portfolio of lower-risk high-quality assets, when it acted in Pattern Energy Group’s IPO. It has since handled a number of other yieldco transactions including solar energy producer TerraForm Power’s $501m float. In Silicon Valley, Mark Roeder advised clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Achaogen on its $82m NASDAQ IPO, and Patrick Pohlen led the advice to high-speed computer networking equipment maker Arista Networks on its NYSE-listed $225m IPO. In Houston, Ryan Maierson represented Barclays Capital in the close to $1.1bn IPO of Antero Midstream Partners. In New York, global practice co-chair Marc Jaffe acted for JP Morgan in the $236m issue of American Depositary Shares (ADSs) on NASDAQ by Paris-headquartered advertising firm Criteo. The practice also has a strong Washington DC presence, where Rachel Sheridan, global practice co-chair Patrick Shannon and Jason Licht are all key contacts.

An international cross-office team of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP capital markets experts, including William Hinman in Palo Alto, acted on the largest-ever IPO, advising Alibaba Group on its listing of more than 368.1 million ADSs on the NYSE, raising more than $25bn for the Chinese-founded online marketplace. In New York, Edward Tolley represented life sciences company Catalent in its $871m IPO, John Ericson acted for the underwriters - led by JP Morgan Securities, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley - in ServiceMaster Global Holdings’ $610m IPO, and Joshua Bonnie and Edgar Lewandowski advised Hilton Worldwide on its $2.7bn IPO, the largest in history by a hospitality company, and its subsequent $2.3bn secondary offering of common stock. The firm’s extensive private equity client list is also a regular source of equity offerings. Lesley Peng in New York and Kevin Kennedy in Palo Alto are other names to note.

Owing to its reputation as a leading corporate firm, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is particularly active in the equity capital markets. Key contact David Goldschmidt handled several manager-side deals in 2014: highlights include representing Citigroup Global Markets and Morgan Stanley as joint book-running managers in online food delivery platform GrubHub’s $221m IPO and acting for the numerous joint book-running managers, including Barclays Capital, Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets, on the $1.5bn NASDAQ IPO of UK-headquartered financial information services provider Markit. The experienced Phyllis Korff is regularly instructed on deals involving Israeli companies listing in the US; she advised Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as lead book-running managers in the $1.02bn IPO of software developer Mobileye. Stacy Kanter heads the practice. All the attorneys mentioned are New York based but it is worth noting the practice also has a strong Los Angeles presence.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has been involved in many of the most high-profile deals of late, confirming its status as a go-to firm for complex capital markets matters. A cross-office team, including Sarah Payne in Palo Alto and Jay Clayton in New York represented the underwriters in the IPO of 368,122,000 ADSs on the New York Stock Exchange by Alibaba Group Holding, raising over $25bn for the Chinese-founded online marketplace company. Clayton, who advises both corporates and high-net-worth individuals, also acted for, alongside Andrew Gerlach, the formerly bailed out Ally Financial in its $1.6bn private placement of common stock and advised the underwriters in its $2.4bn SEC-registered IPO and NYSE Euronext listing of common stock. Additional issuer clients include Canadian energy company Enbridge Inc and Dutch global banking and insurance firm ING Groep. Robert Buckholz and Robert Downes in New York as well as Patrick Brown in Los Angeles are recommended.

Private equity is a particular strength of the capital markets practice at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP and Steven Slutzky advised HD Supply on two secondary offerings totaling $1.3bn, having represented the portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and The Carlyle Group in its $1.1bn IPO in 2013. In another deal for a Carlyle Group portfolio company, the highly regarded Matthew Kaplan acted for management and technology consulting services provider Booz Allen Hamilton Holding Corporation in several transactions through which close to $830m worth of common stock was publicly traded. Peter Loughran represented Envision Healthcare in three offerings of common stock with a combined value of close to $2.5bn, having also advised the outsourced medical services provider in its $1.1bn IPO which closed in 2013. Underwriter clients include Morgan Stanley, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank Securities. All named attorneys are New York based.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has truly national capital markets coverage. Texas-based Jeffrey Chapman worked alongside practice co-chair Peter Wardle in Los Angeles to advise wallboard supplier Continental Building Products on its $164m IPO. In New York, other co-chair Andrew Fabens represented Citigroup as underwriters in Kindred Healthcare’s $213m secondary offering, the proceeds of which were used to fund part of the hostile yet successful $1.8bn acquisition of Gentiva Health Services. Third and final practice co-chair Stewart McDowell, who is based in San Francisco, advised online advertising technology company the Rubicon Project in its high-profile $101m float. The San Francisco office’s technology credentials were further strengthened by the arrival of Ryan Murr from Ropes & Gray LLP. In Colorado, Robyn Zolman acted for key client The Williams Companies in its $3.47bn public offering of shares used to fund, in part, a stake in Access Midstream Partners.

Hogan Lovells’ ‘extremely responsive and proactive’ team is particularly active in the real estate sector, where it acts for issuers and underwriters alike. Stuart Barr and Bruce Gilchrist advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley as underwriters in the $2bn IPO by Paramount Group, the largest-ever REIT IPO. David Bonser and James Showen acted for Colony Capital on four public offerings in 2014 totaling close to $1bn. Other clients include American Homes 4 Rent (a $185m public offering), Choice Hotels International (a $160m secondary offering), and RLJ Lodging Trust (a $250m offering of common shares). All of the aforementioned are based in Washington DC, and other names to note are Paul Hilton in Denver, Laura Berezin in Silicon Valley and Michael Silver in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s core team of capital markets experts, spread mostly across New York and Chicago, was notably active in 2014. Joshua Korff in New York led a number of standout transactions including Travelport Worldwide’s $480m IPO, the travel commerce platform’s third attempt at a flotation, and online food ordering company GrubHub’s $192m IPO and subsequent $421m follow-on offering. In Chicago, Dennis Myers represented global laboratory supply and distribution company CWR Corporation in its $600m IPO and also acted for TerraForm Power in its $501m float. The practice also lists an impressive number of private equity firms and their portfolio companies as clients - Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital are regular sources of work. Christian Nagler and James Rowe are additional key contacts in New York and Chicago respectively.

Paul Hastings LLP maintained an impressive and diverse flow of cross-border capital markets deals in 2014. Michael Fitzgerald, a Latin America expert who advises issuers and underwriters alike, and Joy Gallup represented Fideicomiso Hipotecario in its ground-breaking IPO which raised $633m for the first-ever Mexican mortgage REIT. Scott Saks and Hong Kong-based Catherine Tsang* acted for JPMorgan Chase as the depositary bank in the secondary listing of Hong Kong depositary receipts on The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong by Fast Retailing, the largest Japanese clothing retailer in the Asia Pacific region. In a European-focused deal, William Schwitter and Frankfurt-based Karl Balz advised Piper Jaffray and Citigroup as joint book-running managers on the IPO and subsequent follow-on public offering of German 3D printer provider voxeljet, raising a total of $142m; this is only the third time in over ten years that a German company has listed in the United States. Arturo Carrillo and Michael Zuppone are also recommended. Attorneys named are based in New York except where stated. *Since publication, Catherine Tsang has joined White & Case in Hong Kong.

The final quarter of 2013 saw Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP act on two significant deals. John Kennedy advised the US Department of the Treasury on the $2.6bn sale of Ally Financial common stock as part of the IPO of the bailed out holding company, and Monica Thurmond represented the underwriters, led by Citigroup Global Markets and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, in the $380m IPO of AMC Entertainment Holdings. The practice has a solid track record in the leisure industry, and Thurmond acted for Caesars Entertainment Corporation in its $138m secondary offering. It has also built up relationships with private equity sponsors, notably Apollo Global Management, and their portfolio companies are a regular source of offerings. David Huntington and Gregory Ezring are other names to note; all are based in New York.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s 17-partner team is spread across the country, with key practitioners in New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Palo Alto where Christopher Forrester joined in January 2014. In what was one of the practice’s most high-profile instructions of 2014, Michael Benjamin represented Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Securities as underwriters on the $871m NYSE IPO by Catalent Inc. Jason Lehner advised Barclays Capital, Citigroup Global Markets and Morgan Stanley on Foresight Energy’s $350m float. Issuer clients include City Office REIT (a Second City Capital Partners sponsor company), and ContraFect Corporation. On the secondary offering side, David Beveridge acted for Barclays and JP Morgan as underwriters in the registered secondary offering by Terrific Investment Corporation, a subsidiary controlled by China Investment Corporation. All named attorneys are based in New York except where stated.

Sidley Austin LLP advises a broad array of issuers, including Starwood Property Trust and eBay, as well as leading underwriters such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan. Samir Gandhi represented Athene Holding on its $1.3bn private placement, an offering that was increased in size and price from the original plans due to the continued strong performance of the client’s business. Craig Chapman and James O’Connor advised the underwriters on the $331m IPO by Great Western Bancorp, one of many financial sector deals handled by the firm in 2014. Edward Petrosky and J Gerrard Cummins are also recommend. All named attorneys are based in New York however the practice is also able to draw on its London-based experts to act on high-profile deals including the $1bn capital raising by Bank of Cyprus via a series of equity offerings.

A popular choice for the portfolio companies of private equity firms, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP recently advised restaurant and entertainment venue owner and operator Dave & Buster’s Entertainment (a portfolio company of Oak Hill Capital Partners) in its $100m IPO, and also handled the $150m float by INC Research Holdings (a portfolio company of Avista Capital Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan). The team, co-headed by Matthew Bloch and Alexander Lynch, is lauded for its ‘very high overall level of service’ and ‘scores highly on responsiveness, business acumen and value for money’. Bloch and Jennifer Bensch represented the underwriters, including Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley, in the $644m NYSE IPO of CBS Outdoor Americas, the proceeds of which were used to finance the spin-off of the CBS Outdoor business from CBS Corporation. Heather Emmel and Corey Chivers are also recommended. All named attorneys are located in New York.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s Houston-based team continues to be involved in high-value, complex and high-profile equity offerings in the energy sector. Firmwide capital markets head Kelly Rose, Hillary Holmes and AJ Ericksen represented Shell Midstream Partners in its IPO, through which the limited partnership raised over $1bn in gross proceeds. Joshua Davidson led advice to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley as underwriters to the $467m IPO by NextEra Energy Partners, a partnership formed using the novel yieldco structure. In Austin, Mollie Duckworth acted for ZS Pharma Inc in its $123m NASDAQ IPO, the proceeds of which are being used to finalize the launch of a hyperkalemia treatment. Other key clients include Mediacom, Monitronics International, and LyondellBasell.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP impresses with the volume of work produced by its underwriter-focused capital markets practice. Highlights included representing the lead underwriters on the $2.375bn IPO by Ally Financial, acting for the underwriters in the $834m Aramark IPO, and advising the joint book-running managers as well as the co-managers on the $536m IPO by VWR Corporation. The firm also acts for a range of banks, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, RBC Capital Markets, Citigroup and Barclays. William Miller, Douglas Horowitz, James Clark and Jonathan Schaffzin are recommended. All named attorneys are New York based.

Covington & Burling LLP is regularly instructed by key banking clients to act on healthcare-focused equity offerings. Newly appointed practice co-head Donald Murray represented Jefferies & Co, Credit Suisse and Cowen Company as underwriters to the $127m IPO by biopharmaceutical company Kite Pharma while newly appointed practice vice-chair Eric Blanchard advised Jefferies & Co and Piper Jaffray on the $102m NASDAQ float by Avalanche Biotechnologies. New arrivals Frank Conner and Michael Reed have bolstered the firm’s Washington DC team and they are working in association with Bruce Bennett to expand the firm’s financial services industry client base. All named attorneys are New York based except where stated.

Dechert LLP is lauded for its ‘excellent combination of industry knowledge, transactional experience and value for money’. Kristopher Brown advised Danish biopharmaceutical company Forward Pharma on its NASDAQ IPO of $235m worth of ADSs in a complex deal that required, among others, elements of Danish corporate law and patent litigation considerations. Practice co-chair David Rosenthal impresses with his ‘clear and well-reasoned positions’ and his ‘business-minded approach’; he acted for Citigroup and Jefferies as representatives of several underwriters in the $100m IPO of ADSs by Advanced Accelerator Applications. Emerging markets expert Howard Kleinman and Washington DC-based practice co-chair Thomas Friedmann are also recommended. All attorneys named other than Friedmann are New York based.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP attracts praise for its ‘valuable insight drawn from its diverse client base’, allowing the mostly New York-based practice to ‘get deals done efficiently in a variety of market conditions’. Newly appointed co-heads Stuart Gelfond and Daniel Bursky handled a broad range of deals in 2014 as former practice head Valerie Ford Jacob left, alongside Michael Levitt and Paul Tropp, to join Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. Bursky served as designated underwriter’s counsel in Armstrong World Industries’ series of public offerings of common stock totaling close to $1.1bn. Gelfond advised specialty finance company Fifth Street Finance on its $131m IPO, and also acted for natural gas processing, storage and transportation firm ONEOK in its offering of $714m aggregate principal amount of common units representing limited partner interests. Joshua Coleman has relocated from the London office to New York.

Owing to its bi-coastal presence and sector-focused approach, Goodwin Procter LLP regularly acts for financial services, technology and life sciences companies as well as for REITs. In Silicon Valley, Richard Kline and technology practice chair Anthony McCusker represented cloud-based software provider Opower in its $116m float. In Boston, Mitchell Bloom advised Zafgen on its $90m NASDAQ IPO. Department head Ettore Santucci, who splits his time between Boston and New York, is also recommended. The recruitment of Rezwan Pavri, formerly at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in Silicon Valley, Robert Puopolo, formerly at Greenberg Traurig LLP in Boston and Edwin O’Connor, formerly at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in New York, has bolstered the practice’s technology, life sciences and underwriter capabilities respectively.

The core of Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s team sits in New York. It has particular expertise in cross-border deals, acting mainly for underwriters; in a recent example, practice head Marcelo Mottesi advised Citigroup, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank Securities and BTG Pactual as underwriters to Banco de Chile’s $829m secondary offering of shares sold both on the Santiago Stock Exchange and as ADSs. In another international highlight, Rod Miller acted for Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan as underwriters and lead arrangers on the $350m IPO by Baring Private Equity Asia portfolio company Nord Anglia Education; the deal was run concurrently with a senior secured $515m loan facility and $75m revolving credit facility that closed alongside the IPO. Robert Mullen retired in March 2014 and George Canellos rejoined the firm after serving as co-chief of enforcement at the SEC.

Owing to its firmwide strengths in IP, finance regulation and real estate, Morrison & Foerster LLP is particularly active in capital markets deals that involve technology, life sciences, financial institutions and REITs. A team from the firm’s Washington DC office led the advice to Farmland Partners on its $86m IPO, and also represented the REIT in its $46m follow-on offering. In San Francisco, Charles Farman and John Campbell acted for Marrone Bio Innovations on a $50m follow-on offering, having previously advised on its IPO in 2013. In New York, Anna Pinedo, who is advising the underwriters to Poliwogg Regenerative Fund’s planned NASDAQ IPO, and practice head James Tanenbaum, are recommended for their experience and versatility.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s practice is co-chaired by Brophy Christensen, who is San Francisco based and regularly works with issuers from the technology sector, and Michael Schiavone, a ‘helpful and creative underwriter’s counsel’ based in New York. In Los Angeles, John-Paul Motley was particularly active on the issuer side and his highlights included the $118m NASDAQ IPO by Sportsman’s Warehouse Holdings as well as the $107m IPO on Black Canyon Capital portfolio company Malibu Boats. Daniel O’Shea joined in New York from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and William Kuesel left for an in-house position at Apollo Global Management.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘committed and consistently excellent’ team provides a ‘constructive, detailed, efficient and informed service’ thanks to its ‘outstanding technical knowledge and business acumen’. Ares is a key client of the practice and the Los Angeles office in particular; Monica Shilling advised Ares Capital Management on a number of secondary offerings including one for $286m in December 2013 and one for $258m in July 2014, and Michael Woronoff and Philippa Bond represented Ares Management LP in its $216m IPO in May 2014, the first by a major alternative asset manager in close to two years. A cross-office team led by key New York contact Frank Lopez acted for longstanding client Fifth Street in its reorganization and IPO of its management company Fifth Street Asset Management, which raised gross proceeds of $102m. Underwriter clients include JP Morgan Securities, Raymond James & Associates and Lazard Capital Markets. Julie Allen and Stuart Bressman are other key contacts in New York.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s reputation in the energy sector has borne it a string of high value equity offerings. Douglas McWilliams is a key adviser to private equity fund Natural Gas Partners on its capital markets transactions and recent highlights include the IPOs of Rice Energy ($1.1bn), RSP Permian ($449m) and Parsley Energy ($925m). Practice group leader David Oelman and Ramey Layne represented Dominion Midstream Partners in its $368m IPO, a complex deal with a unique structuring based on equity interests in an operating subsidiary. Recent underwriter deals include the Shell Midstream Partners $750m IPO, and two secondary offerings by Memorial Production Partners totaling $426m. Michael Telle joined from Bracewell LLP and in Dallas Michael Saslaw was hired from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. In addition, four new partners were made in the practice. All lawyers mentioned are Houston based except where stated.

The ‘methodical and focused team’ at White & Case LLP is ‘incredibly service-oriented’ and offers ‘a valuable perspective on legal and business matters’. Colin Diamond, a ‘trusted, user-friendly and experienced adviser’, and London-based Joshua Kiernan, acted in a number of deals involving Israeli companies listing in the US including cybersecurity company CyberArk (an $80m NASDAQ Global Select Market IPO) and biopharmaceutical company Mediwound (an $80m IPO). On the underwriter side, Latin America expert John Vetterli advised JP Morgan Securities, Banco BTG Pactual, Itau BBA USA Securities and Scotia Capital (USA) as underwriters to the $94.5m float by GeoPark. Holt Goddard is a ‘highly experienced transactional lawyer with depth and perspective that make him a valuable partner’. All lawyers named are based in New York.

Andrews Kurth LLP is at the forefront of capital markets deals in the upstream and midstream oil and gas sectors. The practice’s balanced representation of issuer and underwriter clients stands out; co-head Michael O’Leary led the advice to CONE Midstream Partners in its $442m IPO and also acted for the underwriters, including Barclays Group and Citigroup Global Markets, on the $422m Dominion Midstream Partners IPO. Practice co-head David Buck and Stephanie Conklin Beauvais are also recommended. The practice’s core team, including all individuals named, is based in Houston with other key practitioners located in Austin, New York and Washington DC.

Bracewell LLP’s core team works out of Houston and includes practice co-head William Anderson, Troy Harder, Gregory Bopp and Gary Orloff, who is recommended for his experience in representing underwriters. These key practitioners act for an impressive list of energy companies including Chesapeake Energy Corporation, ConocoPhillips and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. New arrival Michael Tankersley, who rejoined the practice in Dallas following a series of in-house roles and an appointment as inspector general of the Export-Import Bank of the United States, led advice to Texas Capital Bancshares on its $111.7m IPO; this matter reflects the firm’s growing portfolio of financial sector clients. Michael Telle left for Vinson & Elkins LLP.

Clifford Chance attracts praise for its ‘knowledgeable, timely and responsive approach’. The practice, co-headed by Jay Bernstein and Alejandro Camacho, is frequently singled out for its cross-border work with recent highlights including the $104m IPO of ADSs by Belgian tech firm Materialise and the $40m NASDAQ float of Edinburgh-based Quotient Biodiagnostics (Camacho leading the advice to issuers in both those deals). Clients also include a number of REITS, another area in which the capital markets team is active. All named attorneys are New York based.

In New York, DLA Piper’s practice chair Christopher Paci regularly represents international issuers and he recently acted for Globant in its $67.3m IPO on NYSE. Silicon Valley-based Peter Astiz advised TubeMogul on its $50m NASDAQ IPO, further showcasing the practice’s technology sector strengths. The practice’s Austin-based lawyers, including Paul Hurdlow and Sam Zabaneh, are recommended for their experience in the venture capital space.

Fenwick & West LLP fields a corporate and securities team of ‘highly knowledgeable and flexible’ technology sector specialists co-headed by Robert Freedman in Boise and Jeffrey Vetter in Silicon Valley. Recent highlights include representing King Digital Entertainment - maker of the game Candy Crush Saga - in its $500m IPO and acting for Facebook in its $3.8bn follow-on equity offering. Seattle-based James Evans is recommended alongside San Francisco-based Michael Brown, who made partner in January 2014.

Jones Day stands out both for the diversity of its deals and the reach of its network, with offices spread across both coasts as well as the Midwest. In Cleveland, Michael Solecki was particularly active on the manager side, acting on three secondary offerings including a $125m offering by Apartment Investment and Management Company, a REIT which is underwritten by Wells Fargo Securities. In Silicon Valley, Timothy Curry advised software provider Five9 on its $80.5m IPO.

Mayer Brown is recommended for its expertise in advising financial institutions, both as issuers and underwriters. Chicago-based Edward Best represented Citigroup Global Markets as lead underwriter in Heritage Insurance’s $66m IPO, and in Houston, William Moss and Andrew Stanger acted for Wells Fargo Securities as underwriter in the $170m secondary offering by Exterran Partners. Jennifer Carlson relocated from Chicago to Palo Alto to strengthen the firm’s Silicon Valley presence.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP continued to broaden its capital markets expertise in 2014 with the recruitment of compliance specialists Rani Doyle and Keith Gottfried in Washington DC, and the acquisition of Bingham McCutchen LLP’s structured finance team. The practice regularly represents clients from the shipping, energy and healthcare sectors. Washington DC-based Linda Griggs acted for propane company AmeriGas Partners in three public equity resale offerings totaling $1.2bn. On the underwriter side, New York-based shipping experts Steve Farrell and Finn Murphy represented Deutsche Bank Securities, Credit Suisse and RS Platou Markets as lead underwriters to the $305m IPO by Scorpio Bulkers and also advised Citigroup and RS Platou as underwriters in a $172m secondary offering by owner and operator of LNG carriers GasLog.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP attracts praise for its technology expertise, representing domestic as well as international issuers and underwriters on all capital markets issues. Clients also come from the energy and pharmaceutical sectors. New arrival Christopher Austin, who joined the firm’s New York office (and who also spends time in San Francisco) in July 2014 from Goodwin Procter LLP, acted for Goldman Sachs as underwriters’ counsel in the close to $110m secondary offering of Benefitfocus. New York-based Brian Margolis and San Francisco-based Andrew Thorpe are also recommended.

Reed Smith LLP wins plaudits for its ‘high standards on response times, business acumen and appropriateness of advice’. Corporate and securities practice head Yvan-Claude Pierre and William Haddad represented African Bank Investments in a R5.5bn rights offering, one of the largest rights offerings by a South African financial institution. On the underwriter side, Haddad acted for Cantor Fitzgerald & Co in the $100m at-the-market deal, a type of transaction the practice regularly handles, by Gladstone Commercial Corporation. Bryan Brown and Marlen Whitley were both hired from Thompson & Knight LLP to bolster the firm’s Houston office and its energy capital markets capabilities.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s strong Boston presence results in a regular flow of life sciences and technology-focused equity offerings. Practice co-head Patrick O’Brien represented IMS Health Holdings in its $1.3bn NYSE IPO, and Craig Marcus advised the underwriters on the $627m IPO by Sabre Holdings Corporation. The team also acted in a number of private equity-related deals, and David Fine represented The Michaels Companies, which was previously backed by Bain Capital, on its $472m float. Key contacts also include Carl Marcellino in New York and Thomas Holden in San Francisco.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is a go-to firm for BDCs on all capital markets matters. Harry Pangas and practice co-head Steven Boehm advised Alcentra Capital Corporation in every element of its formation and $100m IPO. Clients also include Ares Capital Corporation, Main Street Capital Corporation and THL Credit. Other co-head Cynthia Krus is also recommended. In New York, the firm recruited Yasho Lahiri from Baker Botts L.L.P. and Brian Barrett from Goldman Sachs to bolster its non-BDC private equity and insurance finance capital markets work. Attorneys are based in Washington DC except where stated.

WilmerHale has been reaping the benefits of its investment into the capital markets practice - 2014 saw the team gain a number of new clients including Ocular Therapeutix. Boston-based corporate practice chair Mark Borden, who was particularly active in 2014, formed part of the team that advised Endurance International Group Holdings on its $252m IPO. In New York, Steven Singer, the chair of the transactional department, acted for KaryoPharm Therapeutics, a client since 2012, on a $121m follow-on offering, having previously handled the clinical-stage pharmaceutical company’s $125m IPO. Brian Johnson and Erika Robinson co-head the capital markets group from New York.

Capital markets: global offerings

Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: global offerings - advice to corporates
  2. Capital markets: global offerings - advice to financial institutions
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
    • Manuel Garciadiaz - Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
    • Jeffrey Karpf - Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
    • Phyllis Korff - Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Marcelo Mottesi - Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP
    • William Rogers - Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has an impressive global network of capital markets specialists, with leading practitioners based in the US, Latin America, Europe and Asia. David Lopez and Duane McLaughlin handled, for the initial purchasers, a number of high-yield global debt issuances by CEMEX which included two €400m offerings of senior secured notes. In another high-yield deal involving a Mexican issuer, Jorge Juantorena acted for Empresas ICA in its $700m offering of 8.875% senior notes due 2024. Michael Volkovitsch advised Credit Suisse on its SEC-registered offering of $5bn worth of debt securities, including $2bn worth of 2.3% senior notes due 2019. Jeffrey Karpf acted for Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase as representatives of the underwriters in Santander Consumer USA’s $2bn IPO. Craig Brod is regularly instructed by Genting Hong Kong Limited. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Noted for its extensive and diverse Latin American client roster, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has recently handled deals, both for issuers and underwriters, encompassing Venezuela, Peru and Guatemala among others. New York-based Nicholas Kronfeld acted for Grupo Aval Acciones y Valores, in its $1.1bn IPO of ADSs on the NYSE. Leading lawyer Manuel Garciadiaz represented Banco Santander (Brasil) in its SEC-registered offerings of $1.25bn worth of 7.375% Tier 1 subordinated perpetual notes and $1.25bn worth of 6% Tier 2 notes and, in another Brazilian deal, advised Ouro Fino Saúde Animal Participações on its R$363m Rule 144A/Regulation S IPO in Sao Paulo, the stock exchange’s only IPO of 2014. Maurice Blanco, who like Garciadiaz splits his time between New York and Sao Paulo, is also recommended.

A cross-office team of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP lawyers from the US and China acted in Alibaba Group’s IPO, the largest in history, raising more than $25bn. In another standout deal for an Asian-based client, Roxane Reardon and Marcy Geller in New York worked alongside Leiming Chen in Hong Kong advising the underwriters, led by Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank Securities, on the concurrent offerings by Vipshop Holdings Limited of $632m aggregate principal amount of 1.5% convertible senior notes due 2019 and $188m worth of ADSs listed and traded on the NYSE. In the Americas, the firm’s Sao Paulo and New York offices collaborated to advise the placement agents, which included Itaú BBA USA Securities and Morgan Stanley, on the December 2013 R$621m Sao Paulo Stock Exchange IPO of CVC Brasil Operadora e Agencia de Viagens.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP distinguishes itself with the broad array of global offerings its sizeable capital markets practice handles. Despite not having an office in Latin America, the firm remains particularly active in the region; recent highlights include advising the consortium of underwriters to the Federative Republic of Brazil’s €1bn bond offering of 2.875% global bonds due 2021 and also representing the underwriters in debt offerings by Colombia and Mexico; New York lawyers Christopher Mann and Sergio Galvis as well as Washington DC-based Robert Risoleo led the advice on these various transactions. The team is also recommended for Canadian deals, and key practitioner Robert Buckholz in New York represented Bank of Montreal as issuer in its $1bn SEC-registered offering of senior medium-term notes. Other issuer clients include Royal Bank of Canada, Hudbay Minerals and Tyco.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLPendeavors to understand the intricacies of its clients’ businesses which makes its advice tailored and particularly valuable’. Despite having a smaller international network of offices than its peers, the firm’s remarkable reputation in the capital markets sphere and its strong presence in New York, where all attorneys mentioned are based, and London mean it is regularly instructed in high-profile European and Canadian-focused offerings. William Rogers advised INEOS Group Holdings on two Luxembourg Stock Exchange-listed offerings, a $590m Rule144A/Regulation S high-yield offering and a €600m issue. Andrew Pitts represented the underwriters, including UBS Investment Bank and Wells Fargo Securities, on two NYSE-listed registered offerings of common stock totaling $178m by Tsakos Energy Navigation Limited. Craig Arcella and William Whelan are also key contacts.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is a go-to firm for Latin America-focused capital markets deals; the practice, which is headed by Marcelo Mottesi, handled over $20bn worth of debt offerings in the region from the end of 2013 to the end of 2014, acting mainly on the underwriter side. Highlights included advising the underwriters in two issuances totaling $3.2bn by Ecopetrol, and representing Citigroup Global Markets and Goldman Sachs as joint book-runners in a $450m subordinated bond issuance by AES Gener, the first time corporate subordinated bonds were issued in Chile. The firm’s niche expertise in handling US Export-Import Bank transactions is also a regular source of work. Carlos Albarracín, Andrew Jánszky and Tobias Stirnberg are other names to note. All named attorneys are based in New York, and the firm can also draw on the resources of its Sao Paulo office.

Morrison & Foerster LLP distinguishes itself with the breadth of the global capital markets deals it handles; of note is the practice’s expertise in cross-border private placements, in the structured products area and in the global covered bonds markets. Bank of America is a regular source of international debt issuances, and the team is also regularly instructed by Canadian financial institutions including Royal Bank of Canada, for which Jerry Marlatt acted in its offering of €1bn worth of 0.75% covered bonds due 2019. On the equity side, practice head James Tanenbaum and of counsel Nilene Evans represented Mobileye in its $1.1bn NYSE IPO. Anna Pinedo, who like the other attorneys named is based in New York, is also recommended.

Proskauer Rose LLPstands out for its dedicated partner involvement’ and wins plaudits for its ‘excellent overall service’. Practice co-head Frank Lopez advised, alongside Latin America specialist Carlos Martinez, NASDAQ-listed Grifols on its $1bn aggregate principal amount offering of 5.25% senior notes due 2022, the proceeds of which were used to help refinance a $1.1bn interim bridge loan facility. Further highlighting the firm’s expertise in global high-yield offerings, Martinez also advised Pacific Rubiales Energy on its Rule 144A/Regulation S issue of $750m worth of 5.625% senior notes due 2025. The firm’s London and Sao Paulo offices are also very active in high-profile cross-border deals. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s head of capital markets for the Americas Antonia Stolper was particular active in 2014; she advised Ecopetrol on its registered $2bn offering and sale of investment grade senior notes, which have a maturity of 31 years, on the NYSE, and also represented Citigroup Global Markets and Credit Suisse Securities (USA) on the Rule 144A/Regulation S IPO of Certificados Bursátiles Fiduciarios Inmobiliarios (CBFIs) listed on the Mexican Stock Exchange by FIBRA Prologis. Stuart Fleischmann acted for the joint book-runners, including Bank of China (Hong Kong) and Banco Bradesco BBI, on the $8.5bn registered shelf takedown of global notes by Petrobras Global Finance. Jonathan DeSantis is also recommended. All named attorneys above are based in New York however the firm’s Palo Alto office is also active internationally; Alan Seem recently acted on the IPO of ADSs by Chinese microblogging website Weibo.

With offices across major American, Asian and European financial centers, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is particularly well placed to handle a broad range of international capital markets deals. Highlights included advising Chinese internet search provider Baidu on its $1bn SEC-registered offering of 2.75% notes due 2019 and representing the initial purchasers to two Rule 144A/Regulation S high-yield offerings totaling $1.6bn by Pacific Rubiales. Other clients include CEMEX, China Petrochemical Corporation and major bulge-bracket banks. Phyllis Korff, who is very active on Israeli deals, Andrea Nicolas and Alejandro Gonzalez Lazzeri, all in New York, are key contacts.

The capital markets practice at Clifford Chance had an eventful 2014 both deal-wise and on the personnel front, with two new practice co-chairs in Kathleen Werner and Jon Zonis. Zonis advised the initial purchasers on the issuance by Banco do Brasil of $2.5bn worth of 9% perpetual non-cumulative junior subordinated securities. Former practice co-chair Alex Camacho remains as active as ever, and recently advised Belgian company Materialise on its $104m IPO of 1,200,000 ADSs listed on NASDAQ and also acted for Edinburgh-based Quotient Biodiagnostics on its $40m IPO, again on NASDAQ. Jay Bernstein, the other former practice co-chair, is recommended for his expertise in the real estate sector. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP wins plaudits for its ‘highly responsive service as well as its exceptional technical knowledge and strategic perspective’, providing ‘cohesive and integrated advice across multiple products’. Banco Itaú is a key client for Latin American transactions, and the firm can also draw on its network of offices across Europe and Asia to act on deals in those regions. The US practice, based in New York, has a solid reputation in the private equity sphere and this ensures a steady flow of equity and high-yield offerings for Matthew Kaplan, Steven Slutzky and the rest of their team.

Dechert LLP’s Kristopher Brown handled a complex cross-border IPO when he advised Forward Pharma on its $235m float of ADSs on the NASDAQ. In another transaction involving a US flotation by an international issuer, David Rosenthal represented voxeljet in its $97m IPO of ADSs, the proceeds of which will in part be used to finance further expansion and the establishment of new on-demand parts service centers in North America. Other clients include Egalet, Itaú CorpBanca and Industrias Metalurgicas Pescarmona. Howard Kleinman, who like Brown and Rosenthal is based in New York, is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s cross-border work in 2014 highlighted its extensive international network of capital markets experts. New York-based Ian Schuman formed an integral part of the broad cross-office US and Asia team that advised Artsonig, a subsidiary of KKR portfolio company Bis Industries Group, on its $250m issue of 11.5%/12% senior PIK toggle notes due 2019. In Houston, Sean Wheeler and Keith Benson advised GasLog on its NYSE $202m IPO. In Washington DC, Alexander Cohen advised, alongside members of the Singapore office, Indian online travel company MakeMyTrip Limited on its $145m follow-on offering of ordinary shares listed on NASDAQ. Marc Jaffe, Patrick Shannon and Lene Malthasen co-head the practice globally from, respectively, New York, Washington DC and London.

The promotion of Matthew Poulter in May 2014 means that Linklaters LLP now has three key cross-border capital markets partners in New York. Jeffrey Cohen advised Abengoa on the formation and NASDAQ IPO of a yieldco comprising selected assets of the company across Europe and The Americas; this innovative deal, the first yieldco IPO by a non-US issuer, raised $828m. In an underwriter side highlight, Cohen represented Citigroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse Securities and JP Morgan on the $3bn issuance of 4.625% subordinated notes due 2023 and 5.75% notes due 2043 by Rabobank Nederland. Conrado Tenaglia recently acted for Falabella in its $400m offering of 4.375% notes due 2025, the proceedings of which were used in part to finance an acquisition in Peru.

Paul Hastings LLP is active across the equity and debt international capital markets, representing issuers and underwriters alike. Experienced Latin America expert Arturo Carrillo and Michael Fitzgerald, who was instrumental in the creation of Mexican real estate investment vehicle the FIBRA, represented Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, BBVA and Santander as initial purchasers in Fibra Uno’s $1bn inaugural international debt offering conducted pursuant to Rule 144A/Regulation S. The pair also advised, alongside Joy Gallup and some of the firm’s London lawyers, Fresnillo plc on its inaugural $800m international issuance of debt securities. Leveraged finance practice head William Schwitter acted for Piper Jaffray and Credit Suisse as joint book-running managers on the IPO of Materialise, the first US-listed flotation by a Belgian company in over ten years.

White & Case LLP is lauded for its ‘proactive approach, 24/7 service and strong understanding of its clients’ needs’. Colin Diamond, praised for his ‘deep knowledge of securities laws and very good business acumen’, is routinely instructed by issuers and underwriters on Israel-focused deals, and recently represented Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse Securities (USA) and Jefferies as underwriters in the $75m IPO by Lumenis and acted for CyberArk in its $80m NASDAQ Global Select Market float. On the debt side, John Vetterli, who was previously based in the firm’s Sao Paulo office, acted for Unión Andina de Cementos in its Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of 5.875% senior notes due 2021. Both Diamond and Vetterli are based in New York.

Allen & Overy LLP combines a lean US-based team of lawyers focused on high-end work with a sizeable network of capital markets specialists spread across most of the major world financial centers. New York-based practice head Cathleen McLaughlin handled all the major deals led out of the US including advising The Government of Aruba on its private placement of $66m worth of 6.1% senior notes due 2024 and $31m worth of 6.24% senior notes due 2026, as well as acting for Samarco Mineração in its $700m Rule 144A/Regulation S bond issue of 5.95% notes due 2023.

Arnold & Porter LLP is a leader in the sovereign bond market, and acted in close to 20 such deals in 201; the Federative Republic of Brazil was a key client over that period and Whitney Debevoise, alongside Gregory Harrington, advised it on a $1bn issuance of 4.25% global bonds due 2025, a $3.55bn issuance of 5% global bonds due 2045 and a €1bn issuance of 2.875% global bonds due 2021. In New York, Steven Tepper represented the Republic of Turkey in a number of offerings including a $1bn Sukuk offering of lease certificates due 2024. Layers named are based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s new practice co-head Stuart Gelfond is particularly active in cross-border capital markets deals and he advised, alongside Joshua Wechsler, Navios Maritime Midstream Partners, one of the companies that form Navios Maritime Holdings on its $121m NYSE IPO. The pair also represented Citigroup Global Markets, Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan as underwriters in Navios Maritime Partners’ $109m secondary offering. Daniel Bursky was also made practice co-head following the departure of former practice head Valerie Ford Jacob, alongside Michael Levitt and Paul Tropp, to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Mayer Brown acted in several high-value Canadian deals in 2014 including Caisse Centrale Desjardins’ $1bn issue of 1.55% senior notes due 2017 (Edward Best leading) and TransCanada PipeLines’ $1.25bn offering of senior notes due 2034 (Michael Hermsen leading). Other clients of the practice, which has developed strong relationships with several financial institutions, include HSBC Securities, Merrill Lynch and Turkiye Vakiflar Bankasi. Best and Hermsen are based in Chicago, and David Bakst in New York and Bernd Bohr in London are also recommended.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP attracts particular praise for its ‘ability to handle complex transactions’, with its lawyers lauded as ‘very sharp, efficient and pragmatic’. The practice is ‘one of the best for Canadian cross-border work’. Edwin Maynard advised CDP Financial, a wholly owned subsidiary of pension fund manager Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, on its Rule144A/Regulation S offering of $2bn worth of 3.15% senior secured notes due 2024. On the underwriter side, in another Canadian deal Christopher Cummings represented JP Morgan Securities and HSBC Securities as lead underwriters in a $1.25bn public offering of 4.625% senior notes due 2034 by TransCanada PipeLines. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings

Index of tables

  1. Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings - advice to issuers
  2. Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings - advice to underwriters
  3. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is a ‘market leader when it comes to advising underwriters on high-yield offerings’. The practice impresses both with the volume of deals handled and with the size of its New York-based team, which has close to 30 active partners. James Clark, Noah Newitz and Timothy Howell represented the joint book-running managers and co-managers on the Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $2.25bn aggregate principal amount of 6% second lien senior secured notes due 2022 by 1011778 BC Unlimited Liability Company and New Red Finance; the proceeds of the deal were used to finance part of the acquisition of Tim Hortons by Burger King. Jonathan Schaffzin and Stuart Downing acted for Citigroup as lead book-running manager and the other initial purchasers in two offerings, a $1.04bn Rule 144A/Regulation S issue and a €235m issue, by Gates Global. The pair also advised Credit Suisse, as administrative agent and lead arranger, on a series of loans and credit facilities made to Gates Global as part of one of the largest leveraged buyouts of 2014 when The Blackstone Group acquired it for $5.4bn. William Hartnett and Douglas Horowitz are also recommended.

The ‘top-notch team’ at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP continued to grow organically with the promotion to partner of Scott Bennett, making this one of the largest practices in the market currently. Leading individual Craig Arcella advised AerCap Holdings, through its subsidiaries AerCap Ireland Capital Limited and AerCap Global Aviation Trust, on its two Rule 144A/Regulation S senior debt offerings totaling $3.4bn. William Rogers acted for global chemical company INEOS Group Holdings on its €600m and $590m offerings of respectively 5.75% and 5.875% notes listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange. Recent issuer clients also include Crown Castle International and Time Inc, a high-yield market debutant. On the underwriter side, William Fogg and LizabethAnn Eisen represented the initial purchasers, led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan, on the Chrysler Group’s $2.8bn Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of secured senior debt. Johnny Skumpija, William Whelan and Joseph Zavaglia are other names to note. All named attorneys are located in New York.

Top-tier firmLatham & Watkins LLP maintains a particularly active practice with over 100 high-yield deals worked on in 2014. This strong performance is due in part to the team’s ability to balance strong issuer, notably private equity-focused, and underwriter relationships. In Washington DC, Patrick Shannon and Jason Licht advised CommScope on its offering of $650m worth of 5% notes due 2021 and $650m worth of 5.5% senior notes due 2024, the proceeds of which were used to refinance existing higher-interest rate notes on favorable terms following its successful IPO. In Houston, Michael Chambers acted for CONSOL Energy in a $1.6bn Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of 5.875% senior notes due 2022 and a $1.5bn offer to purchase and consent solicitation with respect to the company’s 8% senior notes due 2017. In New York, Marc Jaffe, an ‘energetic and creative expert’, and Erika Weinberg advised Jefferies as underwriters on the $800m offering of 10.5% senior secured notes offering by DFC Global Corp as part of its acquisition by Lone Star Funds. Kirk Davenport, also in New York, is also recommended and the practice has additional key contacts in Chicago, California and Boston.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s reputation in the private equity space has borne it a string of high-profile issuer mandates, while its strong relationships with leading investment banks ensures a stable flow of underwriter work. Practice head Arthur Robinson represented the initial purchasers, led by JP Morgan Securities, Deutsche Bank Securities and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, on CommScope’s $1.3bn offering of senior notes due 2021 and 2024. The team, leaner than that of most of its top-tier peers but nonetheless as active, also regularly acts for Barclays Capital, RBS and Wells Fargo Securities. Andrew Keller advised Sirius XM Holdings on the $1.5bn Rule 144A/Regulation S offering by subsidiary Sirius XM Radio. Recent issuer clients also include Imperial Metals Corporation, Stena and First Data Corporation. Other key contacts include Edward Tolley, and Igor Fert who, like all other lawyers named above, are based in New York, as well as William Brentani in Palo Alto.

Owing to its reputation as a pre-eminent capital markets firm both nationally and internationally, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s high-yield practice attracts high-profile work from a diverse client base. Jeffrey Karpf led advice to Forest Laboratories on its $1.2bn Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of 5% senior notes due 2021; this was its first capital markets transaction in over 35 years. Laurent Alpert and Michael Volkovitsch acted for Harland Clarke Holdings and its subsidiary Harland Escrow in a $275m offering of 6.875% senior secured notes due 2020 and a $540m offering of 9.25% senior secured notes due 2021; the notes were issued pursuant to Rule 144A/Regulation S and the proceeds were used to fund its acquisition of Valassis Communications. David Lopez and Duane McLaughlin represented the initial purchasers, led by Citibank, Credit Agricole CIB, JP Morgan and Santander on two concurrent high-yield global debt offerings by CEMEX which consisted of a $1bn offering of 6% senior secured notes due 2024 and a €400m offering of senior secured notes due 2021. All lawyers mentioned are located in New York. Janet Fisher and Bill Gorin retired at the end of 2013.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP distinguishes itself with its balanced mix of issuer and underwriter representations as well as a significant amount of cross-border deals. John Meade advised Dufry Finance, a wholly owned subsidiary of Dufry AG, as issuer in a Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of €500m aggregate principal amount of 4.5% senior notes due 2022 listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. A cross-office team also acted for the aforementioned client in an equity offering and convertible notes issue as part of a complex cross-border acquisition financing. Michael Kaplan, another highly regarded capital markets specialist, represented Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan Securities as joint book-running managers on the Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $1.05bn worth of 7.25% senior notes due 2022 by Illinois-based Zebra Technologies, the proceeds of which were used to finance its $3.45bn acquisition of Motorola Solutions. Richard Truesdell acted for Kosmos Energy on its Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $300m aggregate principal amount 7.875% senior notes maturing in 2021. All named attorneys are located in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team is ‘very knowledgeable and strong technically’, and noted for its ‘excellent response times’. The practice handles a high proportion of private equity-led work owing to the firm’s reputation and relationships in this space; Bain portfolio company Clear Channel Communications is a regular client and James Rowe, who is ‘very pleasant work with’, advised it on a December 2013 $622m offering of senior notes due 2021 and a May 2014 $850m offering of 10% senior notes due 2018. Joshua Korff, a ‘highly experienced and cutting-edge lawyer’, represented Community Health Systems in a sizeable and complex $4bn offering of notes consisting of $1bn worth of 5.125% senior secured notes due 2021 and $3bn of 6.875% senior notes due 2022, the proceeds of which were used to finance the acquisition of Health Management Associates, a deal also handled by the firm. Dennis Myers in Chicago and Christian Nagler are recommended; other named attorneys are based in New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s growing practice handled several multibillion-dollar offerings in what was a standout 2014. In New York, Julie Allen advised Icahn Enterprises on two senior notes offerings totaling $5bn, which included a $1.35bn Rule 144A/Regulation S issue of 5.875% notes due 2022. Latin America expert Carlos Martinez is regularly instructed by Pacific Rubiales and recently handled a $1.3bn offering of guaranteed 5.375% senior notes due 2019 for the client, the proceeds of which were in part used to finance the acquisition of Canadian oil and gas company Petrominerales Limited. In Los Angeles, Michael Woronoff and Philippa Bond acted for key client Ares Management in a $1.5bn financial restructuring of Guitar Center Holdings which included a private offering of $615m principal amount of 6.5% senior secured notes and $325m principal amount of 9.625% senior unsecured notes. On the underwriter side, New York lawyers Frank Lopez and Stuart Bressman represented Lazard Capital Markets as initial purchaser in Sierra Hamilton LLC’s offering of $110m aggregate principal amount of 12.25% senior secured notes due 2018.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s ‘outstanding securities practice’ was particularly active on the underwriter side and also continued to increase its representation of issuer clients. Michael Benjamincombines excellent legal advice with great commercial sense, a real asset to his clients’; he represented Morgan Stanley, Jefferies and MCS Capital Markets as dealer managers on the $427m Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of fixed rate senior notes by Nine West Holdings as part of a complex leveraged buyout, and also acted for Morgan Stanley as joint book-running manager and representative of the initial purchasers in the $1.2bn Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of senior notes by Forest Laboratories. On the issuer side, Jonathan DeSantis advised ADS Waste Holdings on its Exxon Capital exchange offer of outstanding unregistered senior notes in a $550m deal, and represented Essar Steel Minnesota in its $450m Rule 144A/Regulation S senior secured notes offering. Latin America expert Antonia Stolper heads the practice from New York, where the other named attorneys are also based.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s practice head Stacy Kanter was particularly active in 2014. Recent highlights include representing Canadian manufacturer Kissner Milling Company Limited in its $220m Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of 7.25% senior secured notes due 2019 as part of a wider refinancing, and advising Endo Health Solutions Inc on its $700m offering of senior notes and accompanying $1.3bn debt exchange offer. Issuer clients of this diverse practice also include Realogy Holdings Corp, Springleaf Finance Corporation and industrial and construction equipment rental company Ashtead Group. Representation of underwriters is growing, and Alejandro Gonzalez Lazzeri advised Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Incorporated, Citigroup Global Markets, HSBC Securities (USA) and Itaú BBA USA Securities as initial purchasers on the $1.3bn offering of senior notes by Pacific Rubiales (international work is another standout feature of the practice). Michael Zeidel, who is based in New York like the rest of the attorneys named, is also recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP demonstrates a strong track record across a broad range of sectors, including healthcare, banking, telecoms, energy and natural resources, acting for private equity sponsors, corporate issuers and banks alike. Robert Downes advised CSC Holdings, a subsidiary of longstanding client Cablevision, on its private placement of $750m principal amount of 5.25% senior notes due 2024. John Estes acted for regular client Hudbay Minerals in its unregistered Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $170m worth of 9.5% senior unsecured notes due 2020. Neal McKnight represented United Rentals in its $1.4bn unsecured notes offering to fund its acquisition of a pump and industrial equipment rental company. Scott Miller and Inosi Nyatta are also key contacts. The core of the team, including all the lawyers named, sits in New York and can draw on the firm’s Los Angeles, Palo Alto and Washington DC offices.

Dechert LLP has a strong track record in the life sciences industry as well as in the permanent capital vehicles space. Scott Zimmerman and practice co-chair David Rosenthal, who has ‘an immense depth of industry and transactional knowledge in the healthcare sector’, advised BioScrip and its subsidiaries on its Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $200m aggregate principal amount of 8.875% senior notes due 2021. Practice co-chair Howard Kleinman is particularly active in the international capital markets and recently represented Itaú CorpBanca as the issuer of $750m worth of 3.875% senior notes due 2019 in a deal done pursuant to Rule 144A/Regulation S. All lawyers mentioned above are based in New York while William Tuttle and Eric Siegel are key contacts in Washington DC and Philadelphia respectively.

Stuart Gelfond and Daniel Bursky now co-head the diverse high-yield practice at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP following the departure of former head Valerie Ford Jacob to Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP along with Michael Levitt and Paul Tropp. Andrew Barkan represented 24 Hour Fitness in its $500m offering of senior notes in connection with its acquisition by a number of parties, including the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board. Barkan has also served as designated underwriter’s counsel to Ares Capital Corporation for over a decade. In another interesting deal, Joshua Wechsler and Steven Scheinfeld advised The NASDAQ OMX Group on its public offering of 4.25% senior notes due 2014. Joshua Coleman has relocated from the London office to New York, where all the other lawyers mentioned are also located.

A cross-office team of Jones Day lawyers led by Kimberly Pustulka in Cleveland, Eric Maki in New York and Gregory Gorospe in Columbus, represented Sprint Corporation in its issuance of $2.5bn aggregate principal amount of 7.125% notes due 2024 in a Rule 144A/Regulation S offering. The practice’s broad range of issuer clients stands out: a team of New York partners including John Owen advised TransDigm Group Incorporated in a Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of senior subordinated notes totaling $2.35bn, and Boris Dolgonos, who splits his time between New York and London, acted for CBS Outdoor Americas in its private offering of $600m worth of senior notes. On the underwriter side, Los Angeles-based Stuart Ogg represented Citigroup Global Markets, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith and Deutsche Bank Securities in the $400m issue of 4.75% senior notes by KB Home.

Key contacts for high-yield debt offerings at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP include Rod Miller and Paul Denaro, both based in New York. Miller advised the initial purchasers, led by Goldman Sachs and Barclays, on the $300m offering of 6.55% senior notes due 2022 by Hearthside Group Holdings and acted for the initial purchasers, including Citigroup Global Markets and Credit Suisse Securities (Europe), in the $1.25bn offering of 5% notes due 2024 by Israel Electric Corporation. Denaro represented Goldman Sachs in two deals: as sole initial purchaser in the $400m offering of senior secured notes due 2019 by ContourGlobal, and again as initial purchaser in a $45m offering of senior notes due 2019 by Unifrax. The practice has niche expertise in handling US Export-Import Bank capital markets transactions. Arnold Peinado, also in New York, is another name to note.

Paul Hastings LLP’s integrated bank finance and debt capital markets practice has seen significant investment in recent years, and this continued in 2014 with the addition of John Cobb, a longstanding adviser to Barclays. Michael Michetti and Michael Chernick represented Morgan Stanley, Barclays Capital, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), RBC Capital Markets and UBS Securities as initial purchasers in the $5.1bn offering by two subsidiaries of electricity producer and distributer Dynegy Inc, the proceeds of which were used to fund the acquisition of a number of power generation facilities among others. Richard Farley and Jeffrey Pellegrino acted for the initial purchasers in the issuance of $575m principal amount of 6.5% senior notes due 2019 by Niska Gas Storage Canada ULC and Niska Gas Storage Canada Finance Corp. The team also regularly acts in cross-border deals, with recent instructions having come from Crédito Real and Shuanghui International Holdings Limited. All attorneys named are New York based.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s reputation and expertise in the leisure and entertainment sector ensures a strong flow of high-yield deals from issuers. Monica Thurmond, whose private equity focus is another source of work, and practice-co chair Gregory Ezring, advised Caesars Growth Properties Holdings on its Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $675m worth of second priority senior secured notes due 2022, and also acted for CEC Entertainment, which was recently acquired by funds associated with Apollo Global Management, in its Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $255m worth of senior notes due 2022. Practice co-chair John Kennedy represented Ply Gem in two Rule 144A/Regulation S offerings totaling $650m and also advised, alongside Lawrence Wee, WaveDivision Holdings on its Rule144A/Regulation S $175m issue. All named attorneys are New York based.

Like a number of its ranked peers Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s seven-partner practice has a solid track record of acting for private equity-sponsored companies in their high-yield issues. Heather Emmel, who is regularly instructed by CCMP Capital Advisors sponsor companies, was recently instructed to act for the client in two senior notes offerings totaling $500m, the proceeds of which were used to finance the acquisitions of ECO Services and The Hillman Group. Todd Chandler advised Ceridian, a portfolio company of Thomas H Lee Partners and Fidelity National Financial, on its $855m senior notes issue. On the underwriter side, Corey Chivers represented JP Morgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Barclays, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and RBS in the $1.55bn offering of senior notes by Frontier Communications Corporation. Matthew Bloch and Alexander Lynch co-head the practice from New York where all the other attorneys mentioned are also located.

The experienced Gary Kashar at White & Case LLP advised Dynegy on its mammoth $6.2bn combined equity and debt offering which included $5.1bn worth of high-yield notes maturing between 2019 and 2024 issued pursuant to Rule 144A/Regulation S. He also acted for Calpine Corporation in a $2.8bn shelf registration statement and sale of senior notes which included $1.25bn worth of 5.375% senior notes due 2023 and $1.55bn worth of 5.75% senior notes due 2025. US leveraged finance group co-head Ronald Brody was also very active in 2014, and a recent standout matter was representing Jefferies, Credit Suisse Securities (USA), BMO Capital Markets and Scotia Capital (USA) as initial purchasers in the $220m offering of senior secured notes due 2019 by Kissner Milling Company. Jin Kim and Kenneth Suh are also recommended. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s core focus is advising issuers and underwriters on high-yield offerings by energy companies. Dallas-based Douglass Rayburn represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays and Wells Fargo Securities as underwriters in the $475m issue by Stone Energy Corporation of 7.5% senior notes due 2022. In Houston, Hillary Holmes advised NASDAQ-listed Calumet Specialty Products Partners, a client of the practice since 2006, on a Rule 144A/Regulation S private placement of $900m aggregate principal amount of 6.5% senior unsecured notes due 2021. In New York, recent hire Bonnie Barsamian acted for American Industrial Partners as the private equity sponsor, and CTP Transportation Products as issuer, in a Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of $250m worth of 8.25% senior secured notes due 2019. Kelly Rose and David Kirkland, both based in Houston, are the firmwide practice chairs.

Clifford Chance’s cross-border high-yield work stands out; in a recent example, new practice co-head Jon Zonis advised Credit Suisse and Citigroup as joint book-runners in the issuance by The Republic of Ecuador of $2bn worth of its 7.95% notes, the country’s return to the debt capital markets since its default in 2008. Gary Brooks, a high-yield expert, acted for Jefferies in FLY Leasing’s $300m issue of 6.75% senior notes due 2020, $75m of add-on 6.75% senior notes due 2020 and $325m of 6.375% senior notes due 2021. Issuer clients include the newly formed Sierra Hamilton, and Cimento Tupi. Brooks and Zonis are New York based along with the rest of the core practitioners.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s practice co-head Steven Slutzky represented Reynolds Group Holdings, a portfolio company of The Rank Group, in a $590m offering of 6% senior subordinated notes due 2015 and a $650m offering of 5.625% senior notes due 2016. The practice’s other co-head Matthew Kaplan also handled a deal for a private equity sponsor when he advised Altegrity, a Providence Equity Partners portfolio company, in a restructuring of its capital structure, which included a $825m offering of senior first lien secured notes and the issuance of $540m in second and third lien high-yield notes. Peter Loughran, who like the other named attorneys is based in New York, is also recommended.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s sizeable and mainly issuer-focused practice is co-chaired by Andrew Fabens in New York, Stewart McDowell in San Francisco and Peter Wardle in Los Angeles. Fabens is regularly instructed by Tenet Healthcare Corporation, and recently handled a $500m Rule 144A/Regulation S offering of 5.5% senior notes due 2019. Joerg Esdorn, also a New York partner, advised T-Mobile USA on its public offering of 6% and 6.375% senior notes totaling $3bn. Other clients include Standard Pacific Corp, Coeur Mining and AECOM.

Mayer Brown’s Houston office is recommended for its energy sector expertise, and Harry Beaudry represented Bonanza Creek Energy in two issuances of senior notes totaling $500m and also acted for New Gulf Resources in its $135m offering of 10%/12% senior subordinated PIK toggle notes due 2019. In New York, John Berkery advised, alongside Jennifer Carlson who recently relocated to Palo Alto, Ocwen Financial Corporation in a $350m offering of 6.625% senior notes due 2019 and also represented Wells Fargo Securities as underwriters in the $350m issue of 6% senior notes by Exterran Partners. In Chicago, the highly regarded Edward Best acted for JP Morgan Securities as underwriter in the issuance by Oshkosh Corporation of $250m worth of 5.375% senior notes due 2022.

Owing to its Texan roots, Vinson & Elkins LLP is particularly active in the energy high-yield market, with clients including Rice Energy and Oasis Petroleum as well as several leading managers. David Stone represented California Resources Corporation, a spin-off of Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s California oil and gas business, in one of the largest high-yield deals of 2014, a $5bn offering of senior notes. Michael Harrington handled a number of offerings for Antero Resources, and also acted for the underwriters, led by JP Morgan, to CONSOL Energy’s $1.6bn offering of senior notes. James Prince who, like Stone and Harrington is Houston based, is recommended.

Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy)

Index of tables

  1. Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy)
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP impresses with its ability to secure key roles from both debtors and creditors in high-profile restructurings. Few firms have the resources or experience to be equally as adept on both sides of the table, but this ‘outstanding team’ is commended as ‘fantastic at steering companies through the intricacies of the bankruptcy process’, while also being considered by many as a ‘top choice for creditor's counsel’. Donald Bernstein ‘knows the relevant regulations and processes inside out’ and co-chairs the New York-based group alongside the ‘exceptionally bright and great to deal with’ Marshall Huebner. The department also calls on the services of ‘very talented rising star’ Damian Schaible, ‘top-notch litigator’ Benjamin Kaminetzky, and Timothy Graulich. Among the firm’s recent work, Schaible, Huebner and Elliot Moskowitz represented Merrill Lynch Capital Services in the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9 proceedings, which involved claims of $2.2bn. In a debtor-side highlight, Huebner teamed up with Brian Resnick to advise James River Coal in its $250m Chapter 11 restructuring and in the subsequent sale of its assets to JR Acquisition. The firm also leverages its deep bench of commercial litigators to shine in highly contentious bankruptcies; most notably, Bernstein, Schaible, Kaminetzky and Moskowitz are leading advice to JPMorgan Chase in high-profile fraudulent conveyance litigation challenging the 2007 leveraged buyout of Tribune Media prior to its Chapter 11 filing in 2008. Other representative debtor clients include Elpida Memory, Lehman Brothers International (Europe) and Patriot Coal. The team has also recently undertaken work for financial institutions such as Bank of America, Citigroup and Goldman Sachs.

The ‘proactive, thoughtful and experienced’ team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP is repeatedly described as the best debtor-side counsel in the market right now. Led from Chicago by ‘preeminent leader in the fieldJames Sprayregen, the group also benefits from a sizeable platform in New York and well-staffed restructuring practices in Hong Kong, London and Munich. Lawyers are highlighted as ‘unique’ for their ‘strong business acumen and understanding of the complexities of multi-party negotiations’, and the consensus is that ‘there are few firms able to handle the size and complexity of the large debtor cases handled by this firm’. Although it saw the departure of highly rated Ray Schrock to Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP in 2014, as well as the retirement of seasoned bankruptcy expert Richard Cieri, the strong profile of its partners in this area should ensure no gap at top level. In particular, the ‘business-savvyPaul Basta is an ‘absolute pro’, Jonathan Henes is ‘making his mark as a leader within the next generation of restructuring lawyers’ and Edward Sassower is ‘effective and knowledgeable’; all are based in New York. In Chicago, Patrick Nash is considered a leading name. The firm’s status as US debtor counsel of choice was demonstrated by a string of high-profile roles during 2014. Top of the list was the firm’s representation of Energy Future Holdings in its Chapter 11, which involved more than $40bn in debt, followed the largest leveraged buyout in history and marked the seventh-largest Chapter 11 case ever filed - Sprayregen acted alongside Sassower, New York-based Stephen Hessler, New York-based Brian Schartz and Chad Husnick in Chicago to resource the headline deal. Other debtor-side mandates included advising Edison Mission Energy in its $6.2bn Chapter 11 and acting for ITR Concession Company in its $6bn restructuring. The firm also handles creditor work and recently represented Syncora Holdings in the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP distinguishes itself through its ‘premier financial institutions practice’, which translates into a steady stream of instructions from private equity funds, banks, creditor groups and other creditors and investors in restructuring matters. The firm also houses a robust debtor-side practice that regularly advises companies in bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court restructurings. Alan Kornberg is an ‘invaluable resource on a complex restructuring’ and leads a New York-based group comprised of ‘well-respected lawyers who remain level-headed even in the most gruesome conditions’. Kornberg recently acted with Brian Hermann and the ‘no-nonsense, adaptable and result-orientedKelley Cornish to act for the ad hoc committee of first lien senior secured creditors in the Chapter 11 of Texas Competitive Electric Holdings, an independent subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings. Andrew Rosenberg is ‘the person you call when you have a hairy situation and want to avoid court’; he acted alongside Hermann to advise the steering committee of senior secured noteholders in the successful reorganization of GMX Resources. Among company-side cases, the firm acted for Preferred Sands in its out-of-court restructuring and it also represented School Specialty in its Chapter 11, which saw the educational supplier successfully restructure more than $525m of debt. Other key lawyers in the team include the ‘modest, highly tactical and solution-focusedStephen Shimshak, Jeffrey Saferstein and Elizabeth McColm, who ‘has an art for handling difficult personalities to reach consensus’.

Singled out for its ‘comprehensive and strategic advice’, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is a ‘top-tier firm in the restructuring arena’. Highly rated group lead Jay Goffman has ‘seen it all’ and heads a global practice from New York that is supplemented by specialist partners in the firm’s Chicago, Wilmington and Los Angeles offices - it also frequently pairs up with professionals throughout the firm’s extensive international network. Lawyers are commended as ‘tenacious, highly responsive and highly commercial’ and as ‘great in building rapport with opposing counsel’. In particular, New York-based deputy practice head Ken Ziman is ‘among the best for debtor-side work’, while co-deputy head George Panagakis is highly recommended in Chicago. Although traditionally described as one of the market’s top three debtor shops, the firm’s ability to land plum creditor-side roles demonstrates its strength-in-depth across the area. Most notably, the firm advised the official unsecured creditors’ committee of AMR in the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, as part of AMR’s Chapter 11 - the case finally closed in June 2014. It also represented a consortium of lenders to Entegra Power Group in the restructuring of $1.5bn in second and third-lien debt. Recent company-side mandates included advising Excel Maritime Carriers, Exide Technologies and Nautilus Holdings in their respective Chapter 11 cases. In 2014, Jack Butler - who had a key role in the American Airlines and US Airways merger - left the firm for an in-house position at Hilco Global.

Widely regarded as ‘one of the best firms for debtor work in the US’, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP attracts praise for its ‘first-class lawyers’ and ‘ability to handle big-ticket company cases like no other’. It is also important to note that the practice has diversified in recent years, evidenced by its recent representations of Financial Guaranty Insurance in the City of Detroit Chapter 11 as well as Brookfield Asset Management Private Institutional Capital Adviser (Canada) in the Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy - New York-based group co-chair Gary Holtzer led the firm’s advice in both cases. Also in New York, Marcia Goldstein is a ‘go-to lawyer in the restructuring field’ and jointly chairs the practice alongside Holtzer. Stephen Karotkin is ‘excellent’ and successfully steered American Airlines through its historic Chapter 11 reorganization process, which culminated in the airline’s $18m merger with US Airways. Although the firm lost a senior member of its team with the retirement of Lori Fife in 2014, in a major coup it welcomed the arrival of Ray Schrock from debtor-side rival Kirkland & Ellis LLP; Schrock is ‘outstanding’ and ‘always prepared’. Other key names in the group include Alfredo Pérez and Martin Sosland, who head the Houston and Dallas restructuring practices respectively.

Unreservedly hailed as ‘the best firm bar none for creditor-side work’, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP continues to impress with its ability to garner the most high-profile instructions in this space. From New York, Fred Hodara leads a ‘prepared, efficient and knowledgeable’ financial restructuring group that is also represented in the firm’s Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Washington DC offices. Internationally, the practice also fields platforms in Geneva, Hong Kong, London and Moscow. New York managing partner Daniel Golden is a ‘standout specialist’ and acted alongside Hodara to advise the official committee of unsecured creditors in the $2bn Chapter 11 of Overseas Shipholding Group. Also in New York, Ira Dizengoff is highly recommended for his experience in advising creditors’ and bondholder committees and he had a banner year in 2014, playing lead roles in the firm’s advice to the ad hoc group of holders of around $1.78bn of unsecured PIK notes in the Chapter 11 of Energy Future Holdings and in the team’s representation of the official committee of unsecured creditors in the Edison Mission Energy bankruptcy case. Significantly, the firm continues to develop its company-side practice and Dizengoff is acting with Philip Dublin to represent QCE Finance (Quiznos) in its $600m Chapter 11 proceedings. In addition, New York-based Lisa Beckerman is working alongside Scott Alberino in Washington DC to advise bus operator Atlantic Express Transportation in its Chapter 11, including representing it in multiple asset auctions and in its $53.5m debtor-in-possession (DIP) loan from Wells Fargo.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is commended for its ‘excellent bench strength’ and clients say, ‘you are hiring a firm, not just one individual’. The New York-based team certainly possesses its fair share of high-profile restructuring partners. In particular, New York-based James Bromley is singled out as a ‘strong lawyer who understands what it takes to get a deal through’. Although Bromley handles both debtor and creditor work, it is his company-side practice that has really shone of late, and highlights included acting alongside Luke Barefoot to represent Overseas Shipholding Group in its successful Chapter 11, including obtaining the first-ever recognition of a US Chapter 11 in South Africa. Also in New York, Richard Cooper attracts impressive feedback for his experience in Latin America-related issues and is praised for his ability to ‘gain consensus and take a practical approach to complex issues’; he acted with Sao Paulo-based Francisco Cestero to represent an ad hoc group of bondholders in the $5.8bn restructuring of OGX, which marked the largest-ever restructuring in Latin America. The firm’s niche strength in advising on sovereign debt matters also continues to pay dividends in ground-breaking instructions and Cooper recently teamed up with New York-based restructuring partner Sean O’Neal and sovereign debt specialist Lee Buchheit to advise the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the landmark enactment of the Puerto Rico Public Corporations Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act. The team is also advising the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) - the largest municipal utility in the US - in its complex restructuring of over $9.5bn of bond and bank debt. The ‘efficient and creative’ Lisa Schweitzer is also recommended.

The ‘top-quality’ team at Jones Day provides ‘extraordinary service’. Led out of New York by the ‘exceptionally knowledgeablePaul Leake, the group is ‘near the top of the list for company work’, but can also turn its hand to creditor-side mandates and secures a steady flow of instructions in this space. Also in New York, Corinne Ball is ‘the complete package - a strong lawyer, with deep business knowledge’, and Heather Lennox ‘knows her stuff’. Importantly, the firm’s ‘deep and seamless restructuring team’ extends well beyond the confines of New York, in fact the firm’s national penetration is among the strongest in the market. In Los Angeles, Bruce Bennett is singled out as an ‘undoubted leader in the field’, in Dallas litigator Gregory Gordon is highly recommended, and David Heiman is a key name in Cleveland. In addition, the practice enjoys strong local presences in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco and Washington DC, and also links into the firm’s wider global network. Among the group’s recent debtor-side work, it advised Specialty Products Holding in a complex asbestos-related bankruptcy. It also acted for NII Holdings in its multibillion Chapter 11 proceedings. In a headline example of its work for creditors, the firm represented Financial Guarantee Insurance as one of the largest unsecured creditors in the Residential Capital (ResCap) bankruptcy. Other representative clients include Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Market, Hostess Brands and Peabody Energy.

The ‘deeply experienced and knowledgeable’, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP specializes in advising creditors in restructuring matters and particularly excels in contentious bankruptcies, leveraging its deep bench of seasoned litigators to provide ‘effective results’. The firm also has a strong track record in advising debtors in contested bankruptcies, such as its recent work acting for Genco Shipping & Trading in a contested pre-packaged case, which was completed in less than three months - notably, this was the second-largest Chapter 11 filed in the US in 2014. Lawyers are ‘tenacious, highly commercial and strategic’ and provide ‘long-term returns to the client’. Among the key names, ‘smart and to-the-point’ department co-chair Thomas Moers Mayer is ‘at the top of his game’ and acted with Joshua Brody to represent the indenture trustee and an ad hoc group of second-lien noteholders in the Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy. Mayer heads the New York-based practice alongside ‘exceptional lawyer’ Kenneth Eckstein, who teamed up with Adam Rogoff and Bradley O’Neill to lead the Genco Shipping & Trading case. Amy Caton is recommended for her ‘outstanding industry and legal expertise’ and has a strong profile for advising bondholder clients in municipal bond restructurings; she acted alongside Mayer to represent certain holders of power revenue bonds issued by PREPA in litigation relating to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s bankruptcy. The firm also advised the official unsecured creditors’ committees in the Chapter 11 cases of NII Holdings, Patriot Coal and ResCap.

The ‘knowledgeable, practical and well-connected’ team at Latham & Watkins LLP impresses with its experience in complex, cross-border bankruptcies and it also utilizes its extensive national footprint to resource large national deals. The ‘results-orientedJan Baker in New York jointly co-chairs the global practice alongside New York-based Mitchell Seider and the ‘consistently top-notchPeter Gilhuly in Los Angeles. Baker had key roles in several of the firm’s largest deals over the past year, including leading the representation of uranium producer USEC in its pre-arranged Chapter 11, which involved over $1bn in liabilities. Also in New York, Paul Harner ‘gives good counsel in the heat of the moment and negotiates terrific outcomes’ and acted with Baker to advise US Airways in AMR’s Chapter 11. In another highlight for the group’s New York arm, Mark Broude advised BlueMountain Capital in a backstopped $1.5bn equity rights offering to current shareholders in Overseas Shipholding Group’s Chapter 11. In Chicago, Richard Levy ‘anticipates client needs to deliver practical, timely results’ and represented Royal Bank of Canada as agent for a syndicate of banks under a $500m secured credit facility in Legend Parent’s Chapter 11. Other recommended names in this ‘standout group’ include Caroline Reckler and the ‘extremely experienced’ David Heller; both are in Chicago.

Traditionally regarded as a creditor-side powerhouse, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has secured a series of high-profile debtor-side roles recently. The firm also regularly advises acquirers of distressed assets and DIP lenders in restructurings. New York-based financial restructuring co-chair Dennis Dunne is considered a ‘transformational presence on hard-fought cases’ and advised an ad hoc first lien group in pursuing $2.1bn worth of claims under Cengage Learning’s Chapter 11 restructuring. In another key example of its signature creditor-side strength, New York-based Gerard Uzzi acted for an ad hoc group of junior secured noteholders in the ResCap bankruptcy. Paul Aronzon is a ‘strong tactician’ and jointly heads the practice from the firm’s Los Angeles office; he recently acted alongside Tyson Lomazow in New York to advise Eagle Bulk Shipping as debtor in its $1.2bn Chapter 11 case. However, the firm’s most significant debtor-side mandate was undoubtedly its representation of LightSquared in its highly contentious Chapter 11 reorganization, with New York-based Matthew Barr leading on that matter. Other noteworthy representations included advising secured creditors in the Genco Shipping & Trading bankruptcy and acting for an ad hoc group of bondholders in the bankruptcy of Nortel Networks.

Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s focus on advising non-debtor participants in restructuring matters ensures a steady stream of instructions from banks, hedge funds, private equity funds and other creditors, as well as acquirers of distressed assets. The consensus is ‘you get what you pay for with this team: costs are high but its experience and quality is invaluable’. In particular, restructuring and finance chair Harold Novikoff is singled out as a ‘restructuring doyen’ and is considered as a ‘go-to lawyer for advice on top-flight cases’; he advised JPMorgan Chase as the largest secured creditor in both the headline Lehman Brothers and MF Global bankruptcies. Other key names in the New York-based team include Richard Mason, who led on several of the firm’s new instructions this year such as acting for the equity holders of Energy Future Holdings, which included private equity funds KKR and TPG Capital. Scott Charles is recommended for his strong record in the distressed M&A arena, but he also acts for lenders and creditors in bankruptcy proceedings. In addition, the group has a well-established reputation as a top choice for contentious bankruptcies and recent representations in this space included advising JPMorgan Chase in the multibillion Madoff bankruptcy as well as acting for Credit Suisse in a series of claims arising from the Thornburg Mortgage bankruptcy.

A ‘premier firm for large restructurings’, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s bankruptcy practice stands out as ‘very easy to work with’ and as ‘more efficient than its peers’. In a major boost to the team, it saw the arrival of James Peck as a senior of counsel into the firm’s New York office in 2014; notably, the prominent former bankruptcy judge presided over the landmark Lehman Brothers Chapter 11. Peck now co-chairs the group alongside the ‘highly knowledgeable and responsive’ Gary Lee, who is also based in New York. Lee recently acted alongside ‘strong negotiator’ Anthony Princi, Charles Kerr and Washington DC-based of counsel Rafael Hernandez Mayoral to advise an ad hoc group of holders of tax-based bonds issued by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Other recommended names include ‘deeply knowledgeable’ New York managing partner Brett Miller, who is representing the official committee of unsecured creditors in the mammoth $40bn Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy - Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Peck, Todd Goren, Melissa Hager and Jennifer Marines are also advising on the case. Other representative clients include ResCap, the Chapter 11 trustee for MF Global and the official committee of unsecured creditors in the Chapter 11 of the PMI Group.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP occupies a key position in the market as ‘the top-choice firm for advising on contentious and hard-fought bankruptcies’ and it is widely lauded as ‘simply the best in its area of expertise’. In New York, group head Susheel Kirpalani is a ‘tremendous legal mind’ and heads a team of ‘top-tier litigators who are not afraid to go toe-to-toe, in a respectful way, with the judge’. Other key names include ‘excellent lawyer’ Benjamin Finestone and Andrew Rossman, both of whom are in New York, and Eric Winston in Los Angeles. The firm’s ongoing work for the official committee of unsecured creditors in the Lehman Brothers case perfectly demonstrates its ability to tackle the most complex and high-profile work in this area: it is acting as lead litigation counsel in a string of Lehman’s largest lawsuits, including the estates’ challenge to JPMorgan Chase’s demand for $8.6bn in collateral. The firm has also recently advised Hybrid Technology as the largest secured creditor in Fisker Automotive’s Chapter 11 and it is also representing the trustee of the SemGroup Litigation Trust in the prosecution of several matters.

A serious contender for the market’s most complex and largest restructurings’, Sidley Austin LLP has a ‘high level of talent and deep expertise’, which has been recently evidenced by its ability to win and resource a series of high-profile debtor-side instructions. Lawyers are highlighted for their ‘strong business sense which ensures better, more commercial negotiations’, with Larry Nyhan singled out as ‘simply superior’. Nyhan jointly heads the practice with James Conlan; both are based in Chicago, and the national group also includes ‘extremely bright bankruptcy expertJoel Samuels in Los Angeles. The group is also represented in the firm’s Dallas, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC offices. In a major highlight for the team, it was selected to act as special counsel to Energy Future Holdings in its headline Chapter 11 restructuring. It also represented Dynegy Holdings in its $6.2bn Chapter 11 proceedings. Among recent work for creditors, the firm advised GSO Capital Partners, a lead claim holder under a $1.5bn revolving credit facility, in the Chapter 11 cases of Overseas Shipholding Group. Other representative clients include Bank of America, GE Capital and LDK Solar. Houston-based Duston McFaul joined from Vinson & Elkins LLP in May 2015.

It was all change for Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s restructuring practice last year, following the retirement of eminent group head Peter Pantaleo in 2014. Mark Thompson also recently retired from the partnership, but will remain at the firm in an of counsel role. Sandeep Qusba is now the main contact for the New York-based group, while William Russell remains a key figure on the litigation side along with Steven Fuhrman, who is ‘invaluable on complicated and challenging cases’. As a financial services heavyweight, the firm predictably shines in advising lenders and creditors in restructuring matters and it is regularly involved in the largest cases to hit the market for its institutional client base. Among its recent work, the firm continued to represent JPMorgan Chase and JP Morgan Securities in Jefferson County’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy, including advising on litigation arising from the county’s default on over $3bn worth of municipal sewer warrants. The firm also advised Apax Partners in contesting the Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan of one of its portfolio companies, Cengage Learning - a revised plan of reorganization was eventually approved. The group has also recently undertaken work for United States Fidelity and Guaranty Company and The Travelers Indemnity Company.

White & Case LLP strikes the right note for its ability to ‘courageously take difficult positions with great success’ and for ‘winning battles through the application of strategy, speed and force’. ‘Creative counselThomas Lauria splits his time between New York and Miami and heads a team that also includes New York-based Scott Greissman, who provides ‘timely and knowledgeable advice’, and the ‘technical and strategicJohn Cunningham, who also works out of New York and Miami. The well-balanced practice acts for the full spread of creditors, investors, debtors, lenders and acquirers of distressed assets in bankruptcy proceedings. In a highlight case, Lauria is acting alongside New York-based Glenn Kurtz to advise an ad hoc group of lenders holding the majority of LightSquared’s secured debt in its Chapter 11 proceedings. Lauria is also playing a key role in the firm’s advice to an ad hoc group that currently holds approximately $2.6bn of unsecured note claims against Texas Competitive Electric Holdings, a subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings. In a high-profile debtor-side instruction, Cunningham acted with Miami-based Richard Kebrdle to represent luxury casino Revel in its $2.4bn Chapter 11 case.

The ‘resourceful team’ at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP maintains its prominent position in the market on the back of its ‘deep bench and cutting-edge experience’. From the group’s New York base, Marc Abrams and Matthew Feldman co-chair a diverse practice that is well known for its track record in complex, cross-border restructurings, particularly those with a European angle, where it is able to utilize platforms in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Among the firm’s recent multi-jurisdictional highlights, Abrams is acting hand-in-hand with the litigation practice to advise Nortel Networks UK Pension claimants and the UK Pension Protection Fund in the highly contentious bankruptcy cases of Nortel Networks. In another headline piece of work, Feldman acted with Paul Shalhoub and ‘best advocate in the courtroom’ Rachel Strickland, to successfully obtain approval for Momentive Performance Materials’ Chapter 11 plan in its contentious restructuring. The firm also successfully advised Lehman Brothers in defending a motion to increase the amount it reserves to cover claims relating to RMBS. Margot Schonholtz, who has a strong reputation for advising creditors and lenders in bankruptcy issues, is also highly recommended.

Brown Rudnick LLP’s ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ group ‘works hard to find an out-of-the-box resolution for clients’. The firm excels in advising on restructurings with a litigious bent under New York and Boston-based William Baldiga, who is managing director of the firm’s litigation and restructuring teams. New York-based Edward Weisfelner and Boston-based Jeffrey Jonas jointly head up the firm’s distinct bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice. Although creditors tend to provide the bulk of instructions, the firm does have strong experience in acting for debtors and Baldiga recently advised Aereo in its contentious bankruptcy proceedings. Among its creditor-side highlights, Baldiga acted with Sunni Beville in Boston to advise the official committee of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings of B456 Systems (formerly A123 Systems), where it assisted unsecured creditors to recover over 70% cash. Other key names in New York include the ‘dedicated and client-focusedRobert Stark and the ‘attentive and goal-orientedDavid Molton, while Steven Pohl is recommended in Boston.

A ‘top-notch firm with a top-notch restructuring team’, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP finds favor for the ‘reasoned and clear advice’ it provides. In particular, New York-based co-chairs Richard Hahn and Natasha Labovitz are ‘excellent advocates and deal doers’, Jasmine Ball is ‘thoughtful and smart’ and My Chi Tothinks through all the permutations and is great at tackling complex situations’. The firm has a far-reaching practice that specializes in advising debtors and acquirers of distressed assets in Chapter 11 cases and cross-border restructurings but also acts for creditors, boards of directors and sponsors. Recent company-side cases included advising Altegrity in its $1.8bn restructuring, following an out-of-court refinancing. The firm is also advising OSX in the headline cross-border restructuring of OSX Brasil, which involves over $2bn in funded debt and trade obligations. In a significant transactional highlight, the firm is acting for Standard General in its acquisition, with other investors, of RadioShack’s senior secured asset-based credit facility, formerly led by GE Capital.

In 2014, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP received a significant boost to its practice through the arrival of Los Angeles-based Robert Klyman from Latham & Watkins LLP , who brings solid experience in advising debtors in bankruptcy and restructuring matters. The 34-partner group continues to be co-chaired by Orange County-based Craig Millet, Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Krause and David Feldman and Michael Rosenthal in New York. The national team also calls on partners in the firm’s Dallas, Denver and San Francisco offices, while it is also represented globally through offices in London, Munich, Paris and Singapore. Among the firm’s recent key cases, it represented ten of the largest shareholders of Overseas Shipholding Group in its Chapter 11 restructuring. In a complex piece of litigation, the firm is representing bondholder BlueMountain Capital in its case against the Government of Puerto Rico challenging the legality of the country’s new restructuring law. Arcapita, Cintra and Credit Suisse are also representative clients.

Lawyers at Greenberg Traurig LLP are ‘prompt, informed and to-the-point’. Miami-based co-chair Mark Bloomis outstanding in every respect’ and New York-based co-chair Nancy Mitchell is ‘always one step ahead’. Keith Shapiro co-chairs the group from Chicago and is also highly regarded. Throughout the firm’s network of 29 domestic offices, the team is regularly instructed by the full spread of debtors, creditors, lenders and investors to advise on bankruptcy and restructuring issues. In a recent headline case, it acted for FriendFinder Networks in its Chapter 11 restructuring, which involved over $520m in secured debt. The firm also advised James Feltman as the examiner in the highly contentious Chapter 11 of Fisher Island. Among the group’s other key engagements, it represented the unsecured creditors’ committees in the Buccaneer Energy, Piccadilly Investments and Sears Methodist Retirement System bankruptcies. Clients also single out Diane Vuocolo in Philadelphia, who ‘gives 100% to achieve the client’s aims’, and New York-based Maria DiConza.

The ‘exemplaryKasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP provides ‘outstandingly strategic and tactical advice’, which produces a ‘consistently complete and thorough work product’, according to clients. In line with the firm’s signature strength, its creditors’ rights and bankruptcy group shines in contentious matters, where it represents both debtors and creditors in contested bankruptcy proceedings. Indeed, sources highlight the firm as ‘at the top of the list for hard-fought litigation’. Among the names to note, co-group head David Friedman is ‘highly pragmatic’ and acted with Adam Shiff, Daniel Fliman and Matthew Stein to represent Harbinger Capital Partners in the highly contentious LightSquared bankruptcy. David Rosner jointly leads the New York-based team alongside Friedman and is representing the ad hoc group of noteholders and Caxton Associates LP in the headline Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy case. In a significant example of its debtor-side work, the firm successfully defended TPG Troy LLC and T3 Troy LLC against an involuntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding brought by SPQR Capital (Cayman) and two of its subsidiaries.

Restructuring work is a mainstay of Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP’s niche offering and the Los Angeles-based boutique shines in a wide range of corporate and municipal-related issues. Co-founding partner Michael Tuchin is ‘highly dedicated and solution-focused’ and acted with David Fidler to advise an ad hoc committee of senior noteholders in the Chapter 11 of Physiotherapy Associates Holdings. Lee Bogdanoff and Kenneth Klee are also high-profile figures in the market and recently acted alongside Whitman Holt to represent the official committee of unsecured creditors in Momentive Performance Materials’ $4bn Chapter 11 proceedings. Litigator David Stern is highly recommended for contentious bankruptcy matters and played a lead role in the firm’s advice to the Chapter 7 trustee for IndyMac Bancorp, which included successfully defending the company in a dispute with the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Other representative clients include Cerberus Business Finance LLC, Dymas Capital Funding LLC and Jefferson County.

Mayer Brown’s ‘fully involved and accessible lawyers’ and ‘comprehensive geographical footprint’ draws glowing praise - ‘this firm adds value on a deal’. The team is split between New York and Chicago and specializes in advising lenders and creditors in bankruptcy proceedings, although it does occasionally win roles for debtors. As a case in point, the ‘extraordinarily knowledgeable, talented and effectiveHoward Beltzer acted with Frederick Hyman to represent ATP Oil & Gas in its $3bn Chapter 11 proceedings, which culminated in the sale of its assets through a section 363 sale; both partners are based in New York. That said, work for financial institutions continues to predominate and the practice has strong experience in arranging DIP financings. New York-based Brian Trust heads the group and advised Barclays Bank and UBS as arrangers for a $1.35bn secured exit financing to Overseas Shipholding Group. Also in New York, Joel Moss is lauded as ‘one of the most technically savvy and commercially aware bankruptcy lawyers around’.

In a major development, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s 2014 merger with Bingham McCutchen LLP resulted in the arrival of eight new partners into the restructuring group’s New York and Boston platforms. Most notably, the additions of former Bingham restructuring co-chair Michael Reilly, creditor-side specialist Timothy DeSieno and insurance expert Harold Horwich all boost the team’s New York presence (Reilly and Horwich will also spend time in Connecticut), while Julia Frost-Davies, Andrew Gallo and Sabin Willett reinforce the group’s Boston offering. James Garrity and Glenn Siegel continue to co-chair the practice from New York and both acted alongside Philadelphia-based litigator John Goodchild and San Francisco-based financial services expert John Rosenthal to represent indenture trustees for certain RMBS trusts holding billions of dollars of claims in the ResCap Chapter 11. In another creditor-side highlight, it represented the United Mine Workers of America 1974 Pension Plan as a member of the creditor’s committee in Patriot Coal’s contentious bankruptcy. In a rare debtor-side case, the firm is advising The Scooter Store Holdings in its Chapter 11 proceedings, which involves debt of approximately $150m.

As the largest restructuring-focused boutique in the country, Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones LLPprovides excellent value’ and is commended as a ‘client-oriented firm that demonstrates complete dedication to every case’. From its platforms in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and Delaware, the team acts across the full spread of bankruptcy reorganizations, out-of-court workouts, bankruptcy litigation and distressed M&A and is considered a top choice for conflict counsel in major cases. Most notably, Delaware office head Laura Davis Jones is acting as special conflicts counsel to Exide Technologies in its bankruptcy proceedings, involving around $1.1bn in liabilities. Among the names to note in the firm’s flagship Los Angeles office, Richard Pachulski is singled out as ‘simply fantastic’ and regularly acts for both debtors and creditors in major restructurings, while Dean Ziehl is a key name for bankruptcy litigation. Other highlight representations over the past year included acting as co-counsel to the creditors’ committee in the ResCap Chapter 11, and advising the second-lien debt holders of Energy Future Intermediate Holding in the Energy Future Holdings case.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘comprehensive restructuring practice’ impresses with its experience in a wide spread of financial and operational restructurings, distressed M&A and Chapter 11 proceedings. The firm particularly shines in innovative or contentious cases, such as its defense of Fundamental London Term Holdings against ongoing efforts to hold the healthcare company liable for nearly $2bn in personal injury judgments; Chicago-based Paul Possinger is leading on that matter. In fact, healthcare is a sweet spot generally and the firm is also advising Rotech Healthcare in its successful $500m Chapter 11 reorganization. New York-based group chair Martin Bienenstock is considered a ‘stand-out bankruptcy lawyer’ and led the firm’s representation of the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico in issues relating to Puerto Rico’s high-profile fiscal crisis. National group heads Jeff Marwil and Mark Thomas sit in Chicago and are also recommended, and the team also calls on partners in the firm’s Boston and Los Angeles offices.

The ‘truly top-notch and consistently excellent team’ at Sullivan & Cromwell LLPworks fast and works smart’ under the leadership of the ‘very bright and hands-onAndrew Dietderich. Lawyers receive top marks for responsiveness, with clients appreciating the group’s ‘strong focus on getting the best result in the most expedited manner’ and its ability to ‘incisively and tenaciously handle contentious bankruptcy litigation’. The New York-based team has made great strides since it first began focusing on transactional work in 2007, with its ongoing work for Eastman Kodak in its global restructuring standing out as a clear practice benchmark. The past year has seen it continue to perform strongly, winning plum creditor-side roles in many of the major cases to hit the market. For example, the firm was instructed by the ad hoc committee of noteholders in the RadioShack restructuring, with Dietderich acting alongside ‘masterful litigatorBrian Glueckstein and the ‘top-classMichael Torkin on that deal. It was also involved in the Caesars Entertainment out-of-court restructuring, where Dietderich acted for bondholders. Other representative clients include DISH Network, Lehman Brothers and RPM International.

At Bracewell LLP, Connecticut-based restructuring chair Evan Flaschen is highlighted as a ‘global best-practice restructuring lawyer’ and heads a ‘seamless and effective’ group that is also represented in the firm’s Houston, Dallas and New York offices. The team leverages the firm’s strong focus on energy to possess an excellent track record in advising creditors and debtors on restructurings in the oil and gas, exploration and production and power sectors. Most notably, Connecticut-based Kurt Mayr recently advised Optim Energy in its $750m Chapter 11 proceedings. Cross-border and maritime-related reorganizations are also a forte of this group and in an example that perfectly marries its expertise in both areas, New York-based Robert Burns acted with Flaschen to represent an ad hoc committee of holders of unsecured notes and charter rejection claims in the Chapter 11 of Overseas Shipholding Group. As a ‘first-class restructuring lawyer with a strong work ethic’, Connecticut-based Renée Dailey is another key name.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s ‘small but capable group’ ‘competes with the best in terms of expertise and value’. The team includes three partners in the US, split between New York and Washington DC, and also calls on senior lawyers in the firm’s London office. In New York, the ‘very experienced’ Gregory Petrick is singled out as ‘one of the best lawyers practicing in this field’ and co-chairs the group alongside Washington DC-based Mark Ellenberg. New York-based Ingrid Bagby is also recommended and recently acted with Ellenberg to advise Assured Guaranty in the restructuring of Puerto Rico’s insured obligations, worth around $5.4bn. In another high-value case, the firm is representing MBIA Insurance as the largest unsecured creditor, with claims of over $2bn, in the Chapter 11 proceedings of ResCap. Other representative clients include Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase and Fundamental Partners LP.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP stands out for its ‘exceptional service’, which clients highlight as being ‘far better than many of its larger peers’. Group head Howard Seife is particularly praised for ‘keeping his cool in stressful situations’ and for his ‘collaborative approach’, with one client asserting ‘it is rare for a practice leader to be as involved in day-to-day case work as he is’. Key recent mandates led by Seife included advising NextEra on its proposed $18bn acquisition of Oncor, a profitable non-debtor subsidiary of Energy Future Holdings, and also representing the court-appointed examiner in the ResCap case. Other key names in this ‘cooperative and cohesive’ New York-based group include the ‘talentedDouglas Deutsch and David LeMay, who is a ‘very solid expert in bankruptcy law’. The firm also houses a strong municipal bankruptcy practice and Lawrence Larose is highly regarded in this area.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s Richard Levin is a ‘very experienced and pragmatic lawyer’ and heads an ‘efficient and knowledgeable’ New York-based team that also calls on the services of litigators Michael Paskin and Richard Clary. The firm has a broad restructuring practice that advises lenders, creditors and debtors across the full range of out-of-court workouts, Chapter 11 proceedings and distressed M&A transactions. Among its recent bank-side work, it is advising Credit Suisse as a creditor in both the ResCap and Lehman Brothers Chapter 11 cases. On the debtor side, the firm was instructed by the Detroit Institute of Arts in connection with the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy case. The firm has also recently undertaken work for Banco Santander, Barclays Capital and Federal Mogul Asbestos Personal Injury Trust.

In DLA Piper’s New York office, global restructuring co-chair Gregg Galardi has a ‘wealth of experience’. In Chicago, US co-chair Richard Chesley is recommended. The 14-partner team is well-represented nationally with further strongholds in Baltimore, Dallas, Miami and Wilmington, and also benefits from the global firm’s exhaustive international network. The practice continues to increase its market share of company-side work, with New York-based vice-chair Thomas Califano spearheading the firm’s push in this area; Califano has recently advised the debtors in the Chapter 11 cases of Sears Methodist Retirement Community, ALCO Stores and Philadelphia Entertainment Development Partners. The firm also undertakes work for creditors and is advising the Canadian creditors’ committee in the cross-border insolvency proceedings of Nortel Networks. Other representative clients include Capmark Financial Group, Orchard Supply Hardware and Restora Healthcare. Chris Dickerson recently joined Paul Hastings LLP.

Dechert LLP’s ‘solution-oriented and responsive’ group is particularly well known for its experience in acting for creditors, with first and second-lien lenders, bondholders and hedge funds providing the bulk of instructions. In New York, Michael Sage is considered by many as a ‘first port of call for complex bankruptcy issues’ and is acting with Brian Greer to advise Standard Chartered Bank as a secured creditor in Arcapita Bank’s Chapter 11 restructuring. Sage co-chairs the department alongside New York-based Allan Brilliant, who led the firm’s representation of Macomb County and Macomb Interceptor Drain Drainage District in the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9 proceedings. The firm also does occasionally act for debtors; in a recent example, New York-based Shmuel Vasser worked in conjunction with Brilliant to advise M*Modal in its successful Chapter 11 restructuring. Other recent clients include Aurelius Capital Management, Elliott Associates and Solus Alternative Asset Management.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s New York-based restructuring practice saw two significant staff changes in 2014, with Bonnie Steingart’s retirement from the partnership followed by the departure of Shannon Lowry Nagle to an in-house position with longstanding client CIT Group. Although the reduction in headcount may mean that the three-partner team is smaller than some of its rivals, it continues to attract superlative feedback for its ‘peerless business understanding’ and ‘unswerving focus and commitment to the client’. Put simply, group head Brad Eric Scheleris more results-oriented than other bankruptcy attorneys’, while Gary Kaplan is singled out for his ‘great judgment and incredible responsiveness’; together, they led the firm’s advice to financial services giant Fidelity Management & Research as the largest creditor in the Chapter 11 of Energy Future Holdings. In another strong example of the group’s niche in advising asset managers in restructuring proceedings, the firm is representing ASOF II Investments LLC and Phoenix Investment Adviser LLC as senior note holders in the $600m out-of-court restructuring of Alion Science and Technology Corporation.

The ‘first-rate’ New York-based team at Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP shines in complex and litigious bankruptcies under the leadership of ‘real heavyweightJames Giddens. The profile Giddens enjoys in the bankruptcy area is well-demonstrated by his role as trustee in the $135bn liquidation of Lehman Brothers, the second-largest of the company’s 76 proceedings administered globally. Among the successes for the firm in this case, it successfully won court approval for a $3bn fund for unsecured creditors. Christopher Kiplok is a ‘dynamic and creative lawyer’ and is assisting the Eagle-Picher Industries Personal Injury Settlement Trust with its efforts to resolve asbestos personal injury claims. Other key matters include representing the joint administrators for Nortel Network’s EMEA business in its multi-jurisdictional bankruptcy case and acting for the former CFO of Dewey & LeBoeuf in matters relating to its Chapter 11.

Jenner & Block LLP’s restructuring practice shines in several discrete fields, with avoidance action litigation and commodity broker bankruptcies standing out as particular areas of expertise. Daniel Murray, who chairs the group, is highly regarded for both bankruptcy litigation and transactional matters; he recently advised Public Service Enterprise Group as a creditor in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of Edison Mission Energy and Midwest Generation. In a highlight piece of litigation, Catherine Steege acted with Melissa Root to represent Wellness International Network in a Supreme Court case concerning the constitutional authority of bankruptcy courts to decide whether property in a debtor’s possession belongs to their bankruptcy estate. Vincent Lazar co-chairs the bankruptcy litigation unit alongside Steege and was part of the team that represented the liquidation trustee of Sentinel Management Group in a $1bn investment adviser fraud case. All named lawyers are in Chicago.

Lauded by clients as a ‘safe pair of hands for strategic matters’, McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s ‘responsive and punctual team’ provides ‘commercial as well as legal advice’. Led from New York by global head Timothy Walsh, the group also includes Chicago-based William Smith, whose ‘strong knowledge of the US bankruptcy code is among the very best in the field’. The firm has strong experience in advising on restructurings in the healthcare and energy sectors, with specialist expertise in advising on tax-exempt restructurings. Among its highlight company-side cases, the firm is acting as special counsel to Energy Future Holdings in its Chapter 11 case. It is also advising Ty Cobb Regional Medical Center in restructuring matters. The firm also has an active creditor-side practice and is representing an ad-hoc group of over 30 minority bondholders in the restructuring of Brazilian oil and gas company OGX.

Norton Rose Fulbright brings to bear its global reputation as a go-to firm for energy and natural resources to secure a flood of instructions in that space. In addition, the firm’s extensive international network also ensures that it is regularly involved in cross-border restructurings. From Dallas, Louis Strubeck heads a nine-partner national team that also includes Dallas-based Toby Gerber and David Rosenzweig in New York. Creditor-side work continues to be the leading source of instructions and highlights included advising The Export-Import Bank of China as the largest secured creditor in the bankruptcy of Overseas Shipholding Group. On the distressed M&A side, the firm is acting for AT&T as acquirer in the proposed Chapter 11 plan for Houston Regional Sports Network. Other representative clients include Bank of America, Duke Energy and JPMorgan Chase.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s profile for restructuring work continues to go from strength-to-strength following the arrival of global co-chairs George Davis and John Rapisardi into the firm’s New York office in 2013. The firm also has a well-established presence in its West Coast heartlands, where San Francisco-based US chair Suzzanne Uhland and Los Angeles-based Ben Logan are recommended. The practice is well weighted between creditor and debtor-side instructions and it has racked up a significant amount of work in the energy sector of late. Recent cases include advising BNY Mellon as trustee for the noteholders in the Chapter 11 proceedings of Midwest Generation and its parent company, Edison Mission Energy. In a key debtor instruction, the firm represented Entegra Power in its successful Chapter 11 restructuring, which involved debt of approximately $1.5bn.

The ‘excellent team’ at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLPnever shows less than 110% commitment to the client’s cause’. From New York, Raniero D’Aversa heads a ‘highly knowledgeable and responsive’ group that is also split between the firm’s Sacramento, San Francisco and Washington DC offices. Also in New York, Laura Metzger is ‘outstanding’, and Washington DC-based partner Douglas Mintz is an ‘excellent performer’. The corporate restructuring group specializes in advising financial institutions in restructurings, distressed M&A and special situation financings but the firm also fields a robust municipal bankruptcy practice, which has a strong track record in acting for debtors. In a recent highlight that demonstrates both its corporate and public sector-side prowess, the team advised Wilmington Trust as administrative agent to the lenders in the $6bn restructuring of the Indiana Toll Road.

At Paul Hastings LLP, New York-based restructuring chair Luc Despins is valued for his ‘innate feel for the landmines in this area of practice compared to his peers’. Lawyers in this group also stand out for their ‘deep experience in the market’ and their ‘aggressive and creative approach’. Although better known for its bank-side work, the firm continues to grow its debtor-side practice and sent a strong signal of confidence to the market in 2014 through a significant lateral hire: Andrew Tenzer joins the New York office from Shearman & Sterling LLP and brings the total number of partners in the group up to 15. In a key debtor-side mandate, Despins and Tenzer advised GT Advanced Technologies in its Chapter 11 cases. Among the team’s other highlights, it represented Victory Park Capital in the restructuring of its investment in grocery chain Mi Pueblo Foods.

A knowledgeable team with a keen awareness of client needs’, Reed Smith LLP provides a ‘cost-effective approach to all engagements’. From Philadelphia, Peter Clark heads a practice that shines in creditor and investor-related work, with a strong focus on complex and often litigious cases. In a recent example, Pittsburg-based Eric Schaffer led the firm’s defense of Wells Fargo in two lawsuits brought by ResCap and the official committee of unsecured creditors disputing the value of their liens securing certain bonds. The firm is also representing the official committee of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy of GSE Environmental. Clients particularly draw attention to the firm’s ‘superior bench strength’ and highlight Marsha Houston and Peter Kennedy in Los Angeles for ‘understanding the client’s goals and moving forward to achieve them’. New York-based Michael Venditto is also recommended as ‘practical and business-focused’.

The ten-partner team at Ropes & Gray LLP is jointly led by Mark Bane and Stephen Moeller-Sally from the firm’s New York and Boston offices respectively. Internationally, the group also benefits from strong restructuring expertise in Hong Kong and London. Instructions are largely drawn from the firm’s premier institutional investor client base but it has experience in advising all parties across a range of bankruptcy and distressed M&A matters. Among recent cases, the team was instructed by Delaware Trust, as indenture trustee, and the ad hoc group of first-lien noteholders in the Chapter 11 of Energy Future Intermediate Holdings. The firm is also representing Wilmington Trust as indenture trustee in the Chapter 11 cases of Momentive Performance Materials. Other representative clients include American Industrial Partners, Bain Capital and York Capital Management.

The stock of Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s ‘incredible bankruptcy practice’ continues to rise, following the firm’s involvement in a raft of high-profile deals over the past year. Traditionally a creditor and lender-side specialist, the team has striven to increase its market share of debtor mandates and recently secured an instruction from Trump Entertainment Resorts to advise on its $1bn Chapter 11 filing. New York-based financial restructuring chair Kristopher Hansen is ‘extremely intelligent and has diverse industry experience’; he heads a nine-partner team that also includes the ‘very strong’ Brett Lawrence in New York. In a highlight piece of creditor-side work, the team is advising an ad hoc group of first-lien lenders in the $20bn restructuring of Caesars Entertainment.

Among the best for bankruptcy work in the energy sector’, Vinson & Elkins LLP has ‘deep business knowledge, which facilitates quick results’, with Dallas-based group head William Wallander individually highlighted for his ‘strong experience in the oil and gas sector’. Indeed the Texas-headquartered firm shines in advising debtors, creditors, lenders and acquirers in this field and representative clients include Rockwater Energy Solutions and Sinclair Oil Corporation. In addition, the retail, telecoms, real estate and shipping sectors are also significant sources of instructions. Other recommended partners in the group include Harry Perrin in Houston and Dallas-based Josiah Daniel.

Winston & Strawn LLP is a ‘premier bankruptcy litigation firm in the US’; an assertion that is evidenced by its involvement in a string of recent high-profile contentious cases, such as representing Anadarko Petroleum in litigation concerning environmental liabilities arising from the bankruptcy of another oil and gas company. Although the firm is recognized for its experience in advising creditors, agents and bank groups on restructuring matters, it does infrequently act for debtors. In a recent company-side highlight, the group was instructed by Beverly Hills Bancorp to advise on its $140m Chapter 11 proceedings. The ‘exceptionalRandy Rogers, who is based in San Francisco, heads the practice. Also in San Francisco, Robert Julian is ‘among the best litigators in the country’ and is highly recommended.

Allen & Overy LLP utilizes its vast global network to excel in multi-jurisdictional cases, with its ‘unrivalled experience in cross-border insolvency proceedings involving the US and Canada’ considered a particular strength. Among recent cases with a Canadian dimension, it is advising the monitor and the Canadian entities of Nortel on all Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 matters relating to the bankruptcy of Nortel Networks. It is also advising Ernst & Young as court-appointed monitor for Canadian exploration and development company Oilsands Quest. The New York-based team is led by the ‘practical, talented and exceptional’ Ken Coleman and also includes the ‘very experienced’ Daniel Guyder.

Lawyers at Andrews Kurth LLP are ‘best in class’, and ‘consistently offer a lower price point for service’. Co-chaired by the ‘excellent’ Robin Russell in Houston and the ‘solution-oriented’ Paul Silverstein in New York, this team offers a ‘wide breadth of specialist subject knowledge’. The firm’s Texas headquarters positions it well for oil and gas-related work and it receives a high volume of instructions from creditors and debtors in proceedings involving energy companies. In a key highlight, the firm advised oil and gas exploration company GMX Resources in its $427m Chapter 11 case.

On a par with the best practicing in this area’, Arent Fox LLP is recommended for its ‘professional and skillful advice’. Led from New York by the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Andrew Silfen, the group also leverages platforms in Washington DC and Los Angeles to provide a strong service advising unsecured creditors’ committees and indenture trustees on restructuring cases of national importance. In a recent example, Silfen led the firm’s representation of the official committee of unsecured creditors in the $5.8bn Cengage Learning bankruptcy. In 2015, highly rated partner Mette Kurth left to join Fox Rothschild LLP.

Under the leadership of Washington DC-based Michael L Bernstein, Arnold & Porter LLP’s restructuring group strikes a healthy balance between creditor and debtor-side instructions. Among its recent creditor mandates, Bernstein is representing the Republic of Panama as a creditor in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases of Electric Machinery Enterprises, Nations Energy Corporation and Jaime Jurado. In a high-profile company representation, New York-based Michael Canning is leading the firm’s advice to Quad/Graphics, formerly Quebecor World (USA), in post-confirmation issues relating to its cross-border chapter 11 reorganization. Los Angeles-based Lisa Hill Fenning is another key partner in the group.

Baker & Hostetler LLP’s bankruptcy, restructuring, and creditors’ rights practice is now led by Orlando-based Elizabeth Green, succeeding Cleveland-based Joseph Hutchinson; the team works out of Cleveland and various offices across the East and West Coasts. The 20-partner team has strong experience in advising creditors, trustees and debtors in out-of-court restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings and litigation matters, but it is particularly well known for its relationships with creditors. Recent highlights include advising the committee of unsecured creditors in the bankruptcy of HashFast Technologies as well as advising Andre-Troner LLC as the largest unsecured trade creditor in the Eastman Kodak bankruptcy.

A top choice for unique cases’, Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered occupies a niche position in advising official committees of asbestos claimants in bankruptcy matters. Notable recent mandates include advising the official committee of asbestos personal injury claimants in Garlock Sealing Technologies’ bankruptcy case. It is also acting for the asbestos personal injury creditors’ committee in the bankruptcy of Pittsburgh Corning. New York-based Elihu Inselbuch heads the team jointly with Trevor Swett and Peter Van Lockwood in Washington DC - ‘all are a pleasure to work with and put their egos aside to get the job done’.

Choate, Hall & Stewart is a ‘standout law firm in the Northeast’ due to its ‘strong all-round restructuring knowledge’ and its ability to ‘provide necessary supplementary advice as needed’. Kevin Simard and the ‘practical, responsive and business-minded’ Douglas Gooding co-chair a Boston-based team that has a focus on advising creditors and lenders in restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings and distressed M&A. Highlights included advising Wells Fargo in an $80m revolving credit facility to Sager Creek Acquisition to fund its purchase of food company Allens out of bankruptcy.

At Clifford Chance, lawyers provide ‘first-rate guidance, knowledge and responsiveness’, which ensures that ‘service is consistently outstanding’. In particular, clients recommend the ‘very smart’ Andrew Brozman, who heads the Americas financial restructuring practice, and the ‘very commercial, practical and experienced’ Jennifer DeMarco - both reside in the firm’s New York base. The team typically acts for lenders and creditors in restructurings and bankruptcy proceedings, with a recent highlight being its advice to Pacific Investment Management Company in relation to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. Other representative clients include AerCap, Hyundai Heavy Industries and Ocwen Financial Corporation.

The ‘timely and effective’ team at Covington & Burling LLP impresses with its ‘top-notch work’ and ability to ‘proficiently navigate complex litigation’. The two-partner group underwent a significant reshuffle in 2014, following the departure of former bankruptcy and restructuring chair Benjamin Hoch to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and the elevation of ‘very knowledgeable’ New York partner Dianne Coffino to practice head. Coffino recently acted with Washington DC-based Michael St Patrick Baxter and of counsel Dennis Auerbach to represent the Chapter 11 trustee in the Money Centers of America bankruptcy.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP is a ‘great firm, with great people’. The New York-based group enjoys a prominent reputation as a top choice for conflicts counsel, with practice co-chairs Steven Reisman and Lynn Harrison considered ‘very strong in the restructuring area’. The three-partner team also includes new arrival Shaya Rochester, who joined from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in 2014. Among recent cases, the firm is acting as debtors’ conflicts counsel in the ResCap and Lehman Brothers bankruptcies. In a highlight lead counsel role, it represented Trinity Coal in its Chapter 11 reorganization.

Recommended for its ‘great expertise and strong responsiveness’, Dentonsunderstands the transaction from the clients point of view’ and ‘always brings in appropriate support as needed’. The 14-partner national team is co-led by Farrington Yates in New York and Chicago-based Robert Richards, who ‘proposes practical solutions’. Also in New York, Claude Montgomery is acclaimed as ‘a highly skilled lawyer and a great case manager’. The firm advised the official committee of retirees in the City of Detroit Chapter 9 and it is also representing Longview Power LLC in a pending arbitration relating to its recent Chapter 11 filing.

Foley & Lardner LLPscores highly on all counts’, with its ‘personable yet professional service’ and ‘individualized advice’ attracting strong praise. From Chicago, Jill Nicholson chairs a ‘strong group of experts’ that also includes Chicago-based vice-chair Geoffrey Goodman, and Erika Morabito in Washington DC, who is a ‘brilliant mind and a savvy lawyer’. The firm was instructed by UMB Bank as indenture trustee for $1.5bn in senior unsecured bonds issued by Energy Future Intermediate Holding and it is also advising the official committee of unsecured creditors in Licking River Mining LLC’s Chapter 11 cases.

The ‘committed and client-focused’ team at Hogan Lovells works ‘seamlessly across borders to support the client’s global objectives’. Robin Keller leads the ‘first-class’ group from New York, but the national practice also has platforms in Houston, Los Angeles, Miami and Washington DC, and also benefits from the firm’s ever-growing international network. Also in New York, Christopher Donoho shows ‘exceptional leadership and judgment’ and played a key role in the firm’s advice to the trustees of the Kodak pension plan in the Eastman Kodak bankruptcy.

In a key recent highlight, Kaye Scholer LLP’s restructuring team worked in tandem with the firm’s national security lawyers to represent a steering committee of senior lenders, and Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as administrative agent, in the restructuring of IAP Worldwide Services. Although the firm does advise mid-market companies in restructuring and bankruptcy matters, lender and creditor-side work remains the mainstay of the practice. Mark Liscio and Michael Solow co-chair the group from New York and Chicago respectively.

The team at Kelley Drye & Warren LLP has a strong focus on creditors’ rights under the leadership of New York-based practice chair James Carr. The retail, energy and chemical industries are particular areas of expertise, but the firm has a diverse practice that has also recently advised clients on restructurings in the maritime and technology sectors. Highlights included advising the official unsecured creditors’ committees in both the bankruptcies of Loehmann’s Holdings and OCZ Technology Group. Other representative clients include BP Products North America, UMB Bank and Wells Fargo.

A very credible team that delivers value to its clients’, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton impresses with its ‘incredibly responsive and savvy lawyers’ and ‘strong attention to detail’. In particular, Atlanta-based group head Todd Meyers has a ‘very deep knowledge of bankruptcy law and processes’ and enjoys a strong profile for restructuring work in the Southeast. Among the group’s recent highlights, Meyer acted alongside newly made-up partner Shane Ramsey in New York to represent an indenture trustee for approximately $290m worth of debt instruments in Cengage Learning’s Chapter 11. Representative clients include Flowers Foods, Idaho Bancorp and Wilmington Trust.

King & Spalding LLP’s group has undertaken work on behalf of creditors, debtors, lenders and acquirers of distressed assets over the past year but is particularly well known for its links to financial institutions. Notably, it acted for GE Capital in several matters over the past year, including advising it on its role as agent for the bank group in the successful restructuring of Sports Information Group. From Atlanta, Paul Ferdinands heads a ‘commercial and knowledgeable’ team that also includes ‘insightful and responsive’ Atlanta-based counsel Jesse Austin and Arthur Steinberg in New York.

In 2014, Linklaters LLP elevated ‘terrific up-and-coming partner’Aaron Javian to head of its New York-based restructuring practice; he leads a two-partner national team that regularly works hand-in-hand with offices throughout the firm’s global network. In a recent cross-border highlight, counsel Robert Trust teamed up with lawyers in London, Lisbon and Madrid to advise PRISA on its $3.5bn restructuring. Paul Hessler is an ‘experienced and knowledgeable litigator’ and acted with Trust to advise KPMG, as the special liquidators for Irish Bank Resolution Corporation, on US issues arising from the bank’s liquidation. RBS and JPMorgan Chase are also recent clients.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. is a leader in representing tax-exempt bondholders, and their indenture trustees, in bankruptcy and workout matters and it is currently advising on cases in the community care, health and aviation sectors. Outside of its niche area of expertise, the firm is also active in advising the full spread of debtors, creditors, investors and court officials in conventional corporate restructurings. From Boston, William Kannel leads a national team that is also represented in the firm’s Los Angeles, New York and San Diego offices.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s ‘extremely good team’ provides ‘solid advice based on reasoned judgments’. Instructions are largely drawn from the financial institution sector and the firm shines in complex and contentious bankruptcy matters. In a recent example, San Francisco-based group head David Minnick is defending Wells Fargo in litigation relating to its nationwide policy for handling the bank accounts of individual debtors who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In New York, Deryck Palmer is a key name and is advising Berger Group Holdings in its $1.1bn global out-of-court restructuring plan. In addition to its West and East Coast practices, the firm fields significant restructuring capability in its Houston office.

Houston-headquartered Porter Hedges LLP saw its restructuring group shrink to three partners in 2014, following James Vaughn’s move in-house with client Par Petroleum. Group head John Higgins remains at the helm and clients highlight him as a ‘very experienced counsel’. The firm has a strong record in advising creditors and investors in restructurings and it particularly excels in energy-related cases, in line with its firmwide strength. Highlights included advising Wayzata Investment Partners as an equity interest holder and secured creditor in Goldking Holdings’ Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s New York-based group is led by Adam Harris, who has a focus on advising investment funds and financial institutions in restructuring and distressed M&A matters. Among Harris’ recent work, he represented Black Diamond Capital Management LLC and Spectrum Investment Partners LP in their dispute against The Yucaipa Companies, which stemmed from the bankruptcy of Allied Systems Holdings. Other key names in the group include ‘superior performerMichael Cook, who continues to advise Pfizer subsidiary Quigley Company in litigation related to its Chapter 11 case.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s team may only number two partners in the US following the departure of Andrew Tenzer to Paul Hastings LLP in 2014, but its broad focus and blue-chip client base continues to see it win meaty roles in significant restructuring matters. Fredric Sosnick heads the team and is leading the firm’s advice to Deutsche Bank as administrative agent and collateral agent in relation to a $5.4bn DIP loan to Energy Future Intermediate Holding. Douglas Bartner is the other key contact in the New York-based group and advised Lupatech, and its foreign representative, in its cross-border Chapter 15 proceedings.

The national restructuring team at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is spread between the firm’s East and West Coast practices and is very much in growth mode: in 2015 the group promoted Orange County-based Kenneth Fox and San Francisco-based Michael Lauter to partner. Led jointly by New York-based Edward Tillinghast and Alan Martin, who splits his time between the firm’s Los Angeles and Orange County offices, the team is strongly weighted towards creditor-side work. However, it does also have experience in advising debtors, acquirers of distressed assets and other key players in bankruptcy proceedings. Recent highlights include representing the official committee of unsecured creditors in the $2bn asbestos-related bankruptcy of Plant Insulation Company.

At Squire Patton Boggs, lawyers are commended for their ‘strong execution skills’ and ‘responsive and collaborative approach’. Group head Stephen Lerner is particularly highlighted as ‘effective and highly intelligent’; he splits his time between the firm’s New York and Cincinnati offices. Squire Sanders’ 2014 combination with Patton Boggs has proved especially fruitful on the restructuring side, awarding the merged firm four new partners and two additional senior lawyers across its New York, Washington DC, San Francisco, Dallas and Denver offices. Recent group highlights include advising Veris Gold on its Chapter 15 case and also representing Martha Kopacz as the court-appointed expert in the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9 proceedings.

At Steptoe & Johnson LLP, Washington DC-based group head Filiberto Agusti recently led the firm’s advice to the Allied Pilots Association as a member of the unsecured creditors committee in the American Airlines reorganization. The three-partner team also includes ‘top-notch partner’ Michael McNamara, who is based in Los Angeles. Other representative clients include Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Public Service Enterprise Group.

Sullivan & Worcester’s restructuring group is recommended for its ‘unparalleled attention to detail’. The firm enjoys a solid reputation for advising creditors, lenders and investors in workouts and bankruptcy proceedings, with aircraft finance-related work standing out as a particular specialism. Among recent mandates, the firm represented Bank of Utah as indenture trustee for 11 intertwined financings involving energy investments. Jeanne Darcey heads the three-partner team, which also includes highly rated litigator Patrick Dinardo; both are based in Boston.

A strong performer in energy-related restructurings, Texas-headquartered Thompson & Knight LLP is rated for its ‘deep knowledge and client-focused service’. Dallas-based David Bennett is a ‘creative problem-solver’ and leads a nine-partner group that is also represented in the firm’s Houston and New York offices. In a headline instruction, the firm is representing Vitro in its Chapter 15 bankruptcy, which involves over $1bn in debt. Other representative clients include Jindal Tubular LLC, NGP Capital Resources and TDS Telecommunications.

Considered by some as a ‘go-to-firm for difficult and complex issues’, Thompson Hine LLP attracts glowing praise for its ‘clear and considered strategy’ and ‘very deep bench’. Cleveland-based Alan Lepene is ‘creative and quick on his feet’ and heads a nine-partner group that has a focus on representing creditors, lenders and investors in restructurings. Recent work includes representing Wells Fargo as administrative agent for the first-lien lenders in the Chapter 7 proceedings of Evergreen International Aviation. It is also advising Ares Management LLC in its $340m acquisition of an apartment portfolio out of receivership.

WilmerHale’s six-partner team is run from the Boston office by John Sigel and also includes partners in the firm’s New York and Washington DC offices. In New York, Andrew Goldman is a key name and is leading the firm’s representation of Alfred Giuliano, as liquidating trustee, in the implementation of Getty Petroleum’s restructuring plan. The firm also has an active distressed M&A practice and recently acted for Transportation Management Services in its acquisition of the coach and charter bus business of Chapter 11 debtor, Coach America.

Financial services: litigation

Index of tables

  1. Financial services: litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

New York-based Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP combines a ‘forensic and thorough approach to litigation’ with ‘in-depth knowledge of the financial services markets and its participants’. Involved in many of the most important areas of dispute arising out of the financial crisis, the team continues to handle work for a number of major banks as defendants in a series of RMBS matters. As well as its continued involvement as national co-ordinating counsel for Credit Suisse in all its RMBS litigation and regulatory matters, it also represents JP Morgan and related entities (including Washington Mutual and Bear Stearns) in a raft of lawsuits brought by plaintiffs, primarily alleging that the bank misrepresented the quality of the underlying collateral of the structured products that it underwrote or sold. In addition to handling matters inextricably linked to the financial crisis, the group is also frequently instructed by financial services entities in critical matters where reputational risk is at stake across a range of commercial disputes including antitrust, bankruptcy and M&A litigation. Widely recognized as a leading trial lawyer, Evan Chesler has handled a number of antitrust cases for American Express and recently successfully defended it, after a five-week bench trial, against allegations of illegally conspiring with other credit card issuers to adopt arbitration clauses barring class actions in card member agreements. The ‘excellent Daniel Slifkin and Richard Clary are prominent figures in the group and have been leading the firm’s efforts on the aforementioned Credit Suisse and JP Morgan structured finance litigation. Michael Reynolds, Robert Baron and Michael Paskin are also recommended.

Based out of the firm’s New York and Washington DC offices, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice is regularly instructed on the most complex and sensitive matters in the industry. Aided by a lockstep compensation system which encourages work sharing between practice areas, the firm is ‘seamlessly’ able to resource teams which can handle enforcement and government investigations in addition to the private litigation. Team head James Rouhandeh has been involved in much of the most significant litigation arising in the aftermath of the financial crisis, including disputes involving MBS, Ponzi schemes, and insider trading. Rouhandeh is spearheading the firm’s efforts on behalf of Morgan Stanley in all its structured finance litigation, and as a result of various motions has eliminated well in excess of $10bn in damage claims. Led by Robert Wise and Charles Duggan, the firm also recently achieved success for Morgan Stanley and several of its senior executives in two ERISA class actions arising from the bank’s subprime write-downs and the financial crisis. Duggan has also been pivotal to the firm’s recent success on behalf of Bank of America in LIBOR litigation. Former prosecutor Carey Dunne specializes in white-collar and regulatory enforcement mandates for financial companies and their executives. Dunne is recognized as a ‘leading FCPA lawyer’ and has been involved in sensitive inquiries in numerous different jurisdictions. Linda Chatman Thomsen is regularly involved in enforcement actions/investigations before the regulators and recently represented Bank of America in an SEC inquiry relating to a $3.7bn regulatory capital reporting error. Lawrence Portnoy, Raul Yanes and Jennifer Newstead are also recommended.

Headed out of New York by the ‘superbBrad Karp, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s financial services litigation team is ‘not only excellent at what they do but how they do it’ and is known for the ‘wily and highly strategic approach’ it provides to a host of leading financial institutions in their most important litigation and enforcement actions. The firm continues to represent Citigroup across a raft of litigation and recently successfully represented it in securing the dismissal of a $9bn putative class action on behalf of purchasers of 26 Citigroup Euro notes offerings. Following a major industry-wide investigation into the structuring, marketing and sale of CDOs, the firm successfully established new law on behalf of Citigroup in the pursuant litigation when it persuaded the Appellate court that financial institutions can resolve federal regulatory matters without having to admit liability, and thereby defining the proper scope of judicial review of consent decrees. Susanna Buergel was involved in the aforementioned matter alongside Karp and is a key resource for the team, both on enforcement and litigation fronts. Richard Rosen also has a ‘tremendous reputation’, and alongside the ‘responsive, pragmatic and communicativeDaniel Kramer, successfully represented UBS in the defense of claims brought by investors in several RMBS-comprised CDOs alleging that the bank had designed the structured products for its own benefit in order to profit from the impending collapse of the subprime mortgage market. Bruce Birenboim is also recommended.

Squarely focused on the plaintiff side, litigation boutique Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP does an ‘outstanding job’ for a range of sophisticated institutional investors in much of the most important litigation in the market. The firm is recognized as a ‘leader for structured finance litigation’, and led by the ‘excellent’ Philippe Selendy continues to represent the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) as conservator of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in its RMBS cases brought against the majority of the country’s major banks; to date the firm has obtained over $20bn in settlements. The firm has also been ‘picking up some stellar instructions in relation to benchmarking matters’. In this regard, Daniel Brockett has been representing a number of investment funds, including Prudential, in actions brought against banks alleging that their manipulation of LIBOR negatively impacted on securities held by the funds which produced LIBOR-related interest payments. Other market manipulation instructions have included work as co-counsel for a class of investors in relation to ‘London Fix’, a benchmark relating to the market for gold. The firm was also the first to file a class action complaint seeking to hold banks liable for manipulation of ISDAfix, another key interest-rate benchmark. Peter Calamari has tremendous experience in the financial services market and is a key member of the team which also includes structured finance litigation expert Jonathan Pickhardt and Andrew Rossman; the latter benefits from excellent ties with a raft of private equity firms and hedge funds.

Co-headed out of New York by ‘consummate professional’ Thomas Rice and Paul Curnin, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s ‘top-notch’ litigation practice has an excellent track record acting on behalf of banks and private equity firms. It is frequently involved in bet-the-company litigation, and has acted in excess of 50 RMBS cases brought by government institutions, institutional investors and putative class plaintiffs in state and federal courts throughout the US. Rice has been at the forefront of many of these cases and has represented RBS and Deutsche Bank, as two of the many defendant banks, in the high-profile litigation brought by the FHFA. David Woll is also regularly involved in high-profile litigation for financial services clients and recently secured a notable appellate victory for Deutsche Bank in an RMBS ‘put back’ action. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Peter Kazanoff has an excellent reputation for handling government investigations and litigation, and alongside the ‘intelligent and accessible’ Mark Cunha is defending Fairfield Greenwich Group and associated individuals in more than a dozen federal and state litigations and regulatory investigations arising out of the Madoff Ponzi scheme. The ‘very talented’ Jonathan Youngwood has a ‘client-oriented approach’, and alongside Paul Gluckow and Peter Bresnan, represents numerous banks including JP Morgan in litigation and regulatory investigations related to the collapse of the auction rate securities market.

Based out of New York and aided by a ‘pervasive offering’ throughout its national and global footprint, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has the critical mass and broad-based expertise to handle the most significant regulatory/litigation issues facing financial institutions. The firm continues to represent numerous banks in their structured finance litigation and recently successfully represented Bank of America and UBS in securing the dismissal of multiple actions in connection with the sale of RMBS. Jay Kasner and Scott Musoff were heavily involved in these matters and are also leading the firm’s representation of the underwriting syndicate of four Barclays securities offerings against allegations that it failed to disclose its exposure to subprime and other RMBS. As part of her broad-based litigation and white-collar defense work, Houston-based Noelle Reed has represented a number of financial institutions in high-profile litigation, including Merrill Lynch, which she recently successfully represented in securing the dismissal of an action brought by Town North Bank regarding CDOs it purchased from it and numerous other defendants. Led out of Washington DC by Joseph Barloon and Anand Raman, the firm is also regularly engaged in high-profile consumer finance actions.

The New York-based team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP benefits from deeply entrenched ties with many of the nation’s major financial institutions. An integrated approach enables the firm to provide high-level subject matter expertise across complex capital markets and corporate matters, as well as ensuring the necessary input from its market-leading financial services regulatory team. ‘Very active’ across the spectrum of litigation and enforcement/investigations ushered in post credit-crisis, the team’s integrated service often sees it involved in regulatory actions handled by numerous different agencies in unison with private litigation. As well as settling on behalf of several banks, including Barclays and JP Morgan, the firm’s involvement in the FHFA-initiated RMBS litigation continues with its representation of Goldman Sachs and Nomura (with the latter set for a jury trial in early 2015). The firm is also involved in several market manipulation cases, including its continued representation for Barclays in private litigation following in the wake of its settlements with several regulatory agencies regarding alleged LIBOR manipulation. The firm is also regularly instructed by financial institutions which are subject to regulatory scrutiny in relation to OFAC sanctions and anti-money laundering (AML) matters; Karen Patton Seymour is ‘very accomplished’ at this type of work and represented BNP Paribas in securing its broad settlement of criminal and civil charges relating to its past business with entities subject to US economic sanctions. The ‘pragmatic and robustSharon Nelles and Richard Klapper are also recommended and have both handled a considerable number of mandates arising from the subprime mortgage crisis.

Leveraging the expertise of a number of former high-ranking government officials, Arnold & Porter LLP’s Washington DC-based group excels in private litigation as well as in matters that require making representations before the regulators. Formerly a senior attorney in the enforcement and compliance division of the Comptroller of the Currency, Howard Cayne has wide-ranging litigation and enforcement expertise on behalf of numerous financial services clients and is a pivotal member of the team. It continues to represent the FHFA as conservator to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac across a range of litigation in multiple state and federal courts. The arrival of Michael Mancusi from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in June 2014 adds further weight to the firm’s already considerable consumer finance offering which sees Michael Mierzewski continuing his defense of Visa in various antitrust litigation matters including class actions challenging its interchange rate-setting practices. Managing partner Richard Alexander and Pamela Miller are also recommended. Other clients include Charles Schwab, Wells Fargo and JP Morgan.

Based out of New York and Washington DC, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is able to provide ‘nimble and sophisticated advice’ from a litigation avoidance perspective, as well as in relation to regulatory enforcement and pursuant private litigation actions, to an impressive roster of major financial services clients including Bank of America, BNP Paribas and HSBC. The firm’s collaborative approach sees it successfully combine the expertise of partners with vast substantive knowledge of many complex financial products and structures, with practitioners who have expertise on both the litigation and enforcement sides. The team has been ‘very active in benchmarking matters’, and in addition to representing numerous banks in global FX investigations and related civil actions, is also representing Goldman Sachs in civil litigation regarding its alleged role in manipulation and collusion related to FX trading. David Brodsky has a strong reputation for regulatory enforcement/investigation matters and has been pivotal to the firm’s representation of banks in market manipulation matters, in addition to his work for global banks including Bank of America and Goldman Sachs in regulatory investigations into the structuring and marketing of CDOs and RMBS. As a result of her securitization transactional expertise, Robin Bergen provides an excellent perspective on the myriad regulatory enforcement/investigations surrounding structured finance deals handled by banks. The ‘superb’ Mitchell Lowenthal is regularly engaged in high-profile financial services litigation and has achieved notable successes for, among others, ING Groep in litigation brought against it alleging that it misstated and omitted information regarding its MBS holdings in the offering documents accompanying its multi-billion issuance of hybrid securities. Lawrence Friedman and Lewis Liman are also recommended.

With a strong offering on both coasts, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP provides significant resources to a range of clients, including investment banks and hedge funds, across many of the most important and highly scrutinized areas of the financial services sector, such as structured products mis-selling, market manipulation, FCPA matters and insider trading. Following on from his representation of UBS in its LIBOR litigation, Lawrence Zweifach is also representing the bank in multi-jurisdictional investigations and a related class action concerning its alleged involvement in the manipulation of the FX market. Led by Dean Kitchens out of California, the firm successfully represented numerous underwriters implicated in relation to Countrywide’s sale of MBS securities; the case is ongoing in relation to those plaintiffs who opted out of the class action settlement. Headed by ‘highly revered advocate’ Theodore Olson, the firm also benefits from a market-leading appellate practice which has been integral to achieving a number of important Supreme Court judgments for hedge fund NML Capital in attempting to collect on the $1.8bn in judgments it holds against the Argentinian Government as a result of defaulting on bonds it issued in 2001. The firm was enhanced on the enforcement side by the arrival in February 2014 of New York-based Mark Shelton from UBS.

Based out of the firm’s Midwest stronghold and also aided by a significant presence on both coasts, Sidley Austin LLP provides a ‘very impressive’ service to clients across the spectrum of areas being litigated and scrutinized by the regulators, including insider trading, broker-dealer issues and FCPA matters. Led by Robert Pietrzak, Dorothy Spenner and Andrew Stern, the team represents JP Morgan in various individual and RMBS class actions brought by Federal Home Loan Banks, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) and other investors. Alongside Alex Kaplan, Pietrzak is also representing domestic online broker TD Ameritrade in litigation concerning high-frequency trading; Washington DC-based enforcement practitioner Neal Sullivan is involved for the client in responding to the SEC inquiries. Other major regulatory investigations included the firm’s recent work for Morgan Stanley in an SEC investigation into RMBS transactions it sponsored and underwrote in 2007. Barry Rashkover and Susan Merrill are recommended for their enforcement capabilities.

Elite New York-based firm Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz specializes in undertaking highly complex and sophisticated regulatory investigations and private litigation as befits its very low associate-to-partner ratio. Although it lacks the critical mass to handle the same volume of work as some other firms in the ranking, the esteem with which it is held by many in the financial services industry is illustrated by the leading roles the firm has gained in a number of significant mandates arising out of the financial services crisis. For example, Meyer Koplow recently represented Bank of America in the negotiation of its $16.6bn settlement with the DOJ, federal agencies and six US states in acknowledgment of its role in the housing crisis through the sale of toxic MBS. John Savarese and counsel Lawrence Pedowitz are recommended for their agency enforcement work as well as private litigation.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is best known for its ‘excellent’ work for clients engaged in civil and criminal agency enforcements/investigations. In this regard, the team benefits from a number of former high-ranking agency officials, as well as a global platform, which is of particular use given the current trend of increased co-operation between international regulators. Bruce Yannett has a very strong reputation representing institutions and executives in high-profile regulatory enforcement actions, and alongside Jonathan Tuttle and Sean Hecker continues to act for JP Morgan in investigations handled by multiple federal and state regulators regarding its RMBS practices. Mary Beth Hogan is also representing JP Morgan in civil actions brought by the Massachusetts and New York Attorneys General in connection with mortgage foreclosure practices. Eric Dinallo is another core member of the team and is currently representing a major hedge fund in an inquiry related to high-speed trading and possible early access to market information. Other clients include American Express, Capital One and UBS.

Able to call upon a strong roster of lawyers from the firm’s securities litigation and white-collar crime teams, New York-based Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP continues to be involved in a significant number of high-profile litigation mandates affecting financial institutions and their senior executives. The ‘excellentWilliam McGuinness and Israel David are regularly at the forefront of much of this work, including the firm’s continued defense of numerous underwriter banks, including Goldman Sachs and UBS, in a class action alleging that they were negligent in their assessment in the quality of the underlying loans in relation to approximately $26bn RMBS which dramatically deteriorated as the housing market collapsed. McGuinness and David also recently successfully represented the board of directors of JP Morgan in a shareholder derivative lawsuit alleging that the directors were not sufficiently independent to properly consider the shareholder demand for litigation surrounding the bank’s alleged role in LIBOR manipulation. The firm was impacted on the SEC enforcement front by the departure at the beginning of 2014 of Dixie Johnson, William Johnson and Carmen Lawrence to King & Spalding LLP, although this was compensated to some extent by the arrival at the beginning of 2015 of Evan Barr and Lawrence Gerschwer from Steptoe & Johnson LLP and Morrison & Foerster LLP respectively.

Benefiting from a significant presence on both coasts, Goodwin Procter LLP has a longstanding reputation as an ‘exceptionally strong consumer finance litigation’ firm. In this regard, the team is regularly engaged by banks, mortgage lenders and credit card issuers to represent them in regulatory enforcement actions and investigations, in addition to follow-on private litigation. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Thomas Hefferon heads the firm’s consumer finance litigation practice and handles work for Bank of America, including recently acting for it in the defense of separate Attorney General actions brought against it in relation to its foreclosure process. David Permut also recently settled four enforcement actions brought against Bank of America related to credit card add-in products which the bank had allegedly marketed to consumers in an unfair and deceptive manner. Led by Brian Pastuszenski, the team recently secured a favorable settlement for Countrywide in the RMBS litigation brought against it by the FHFA. Richard Strassberg is also recommended and heads the firm’s white-collar crime and government investigations practice.

Predominantly based out of Chicago and New York, as well as housing a significant Washington DC and California offering, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is praised for its ‘excellent understanding of the law and unmatched ability to create innovative arguments and develop case strategy’. Although it does not have a standalone group focusing purely on financial services litigation, the firm’s recognition as ‘one of the best choices for complex and high-stakes litigation’ ensures that many of its partners have been involved in work for clients across most of the important issues affecting the industry. For example, Robert Kopecky recently secured a settlement on behalf of Ally Financial, as one of the defendants, in the FHFA’s RMBS-related litigation. Andrew Clubok and Beth Williams have both achieved some successful results for UBS in a series of nationwide securities cases alleging market manipulation involving ‘naked short selling’. Both formerly at the SEC, Washington DC-based partners Kenneth Lench and Robert Khuzami provide substantial credibility and insight to clients engaged in government investigations. The firm also has a significant accountant liability practice where both Emily Nicklin and Timothy Duffy have a ‘wealth of experience and are very knowledgeable about auditing’.

Able to resource matters from the firm’s securities litigation, white-collar defense and general commercial litigation practices, Latham & Watkins LLP has ‘substantial bench strength’ throughout its national network of offices and is viewed as an ‘excellent choice for high-stakes matters’. The ‘capable, committed and skilled’ team has involvement in many significant matters affecting financial services clients including its continued representation of Deutsche Bank in RMBS-related actions brought against it by various investors, in addition to its settlement of the majority of the cases brought against the bank by monoline insurer Assured Guaranty arising from the RMBS financial guaranty policies. Richard Owens has had a key role in the RMBS work for Deutsche Bank and has also been a lead partner in the firm’s high-profile representation of the British Bankers’ Association in its US-based LIBOR litigation. Miles Ruthberg, Jamie Wine and Kevin McDonough are praised for their ‘thoughtful advice and knowledge of the accountancy industry’, and recently secured a highly important arbitration victory for Lehman Brothers’ accountant Ernst & Young. Other recommended partners include Christopher Clark, James Brandt and Blair Connelly.

Washington DC-based financial services boutique BuckleySandler LLP has quickly become established in the market as a ‘go-to-firm’ across the spectrum of consumer finance issues affecting clients in the industry including mortgage origination regulations and securitization issues, fair lending and consumer privacy issues. With 25 partners at its disposal, the firm has the critical mass to handle work proceeding across a range of regulatory enforcement/investigation avenues, as well as in private litigation. ‘Very accomplished in matters before the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB)’, the firm has recently settled a case for Flagstar Bank in a CFPB investigation into its default servicing loss mitigation practice; notably this was the first CFPB enforcement action based on the newly promulgated mortgage servicing rules. Name partner Andrew Sandler is particularly knowledgeable in issues surrounding fair lending and recently negotiated a settlement for National City Bank in a joint CFPB and DOJ investigation looking into allegations that its discretionary policies in its mortgage lending business disparately impacted African American and Hispanic borrowers. Benjamin Klubes is also recommended.

Well-connected with regulatory agencies as a result of numerous high-ranking alumni such as former Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan, Washington DC-based Covington & Burling LLP is a strong choice for financial services entities and individuals in relation to regulatory enforcement actions and investigations, in addition to white-collar criminal mandates. Praised for her ‘absolute command of the subject matter and excellent business advice’, Jean Veta benefits from excellent public sector insight as a result of her previous tenure at the DOJ and is regularly at the forefront of the most significant investigation and enforcement actions handled by the firm, including work for former directors and officers of failed banks in FDIC claims, as well consumer finance matters and anti-money laundering investigations. The ‘excellentStuart Stock is also recommended.

Led out of New York by Mark Hanchet and Matthew Ingber, and also aided by significant resources in Chicago, New York, Washington DC and the West Coast, Mayer Brown has the capacity to handle a wide array of litigation impacting clients in the industry irrespective of geography. The firm has a good reputation among international banks, including Société Générale, which it is representing in a number of high-profile cases regarding its alleged involvement in LIBOR manipulation. It is also acting for HSBC in disputes relating to its RMBS issuance, where the ‘excellent’ Michael Ware has played a pivotal role. Leveraging its global footprint when necessary, the team is also recommended for representing clients engaged in cross-border mandates including the extraterritorial application of United States law to global financial institutions.

Following the firm’s high-profile absorption of Bingham McCutcheon LLP, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP is now able to provide even more litigation and enforcement firepower across its national network of offices for a broad range of financial services entities including banks, broker-dealers and hedge funds. Jami McKeon is regularly involved in high-profile litigation in the financial services industry and has recently handled a significant amount of consumer finance-related work for JP Morgan including representing it in numerous mortgage and credit-card related lawsuits. Kenneth Kliebard has an excellent reputation for defending clients in consumer finance cases and recently secured a notable victory for a major bank in a consumer protection lawsuit challenging the manner in which it sought to collect credit card debt from delinquent customers. Spearheaded by Michele Coffey out of New York, the firm is also well equipped to handle agency investigations and enforcement actions and is aided in this regard by the inclusion of a number of ex-regulators in its ranks including the former director of the SEC’s Chicago office Merri Jo Gillette. Jeffrey Smith and Timothy Burke are also recommended.

With a strong presence across both coasts, Morrison & Foerster LLP is seamlessly able to mesh its regulatory, litigation and enforcement capability to provide a compelling proposition for clients engaged in high-profile consumer finance disputes. Co-chair James McGuire recently successfully settled for US Bank and Capital One, two of the banks that were named as defendants in a major class action regarding alleged excessive overdraft fees. Alongside Jim McCabe, McGuire is also acting for Capital One in various Attorney General enforcement actions alleging unfair and deceptive practices regarding the selling and marketing of payment protection plans to consumers. Co-chair David Fioccola and Michael Agoglia are also recommended, while the firm’s credibility for handling matters before the CFPB was also notably increased by the recent arrival of the agency’s former regional counsel Joe Rodriguez.

Led out of Washington DC by Brian Boyle and aided by practitioners on both coasts as well as a significant global footprint, O'Melveny & Myers LLP is well-equipped to handle litigation as well as regulatory investigations and enforcement actions across a range of specialisms including consumer finance, investment adviser regulation and mortgage industry regulation. ‘Great guy and excellent lawyer’ Jonathan Rosenberg and ERISA expert Shannon Barrett are key members of the team, which was strengthened by the return of Danielle Gray in April 2014 following her stint at the Obama administration. Other clients include Visa, Fidelity Investments and Fannie Mae.

Strong on the West Coast and increasingly accomplished out of New York, where it recently welcomed Douglas Flaum and Shahzeb Lari from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Paul Hastings LLP provides broad-ranging litigation and agency investigation/enforcement to a growing cadre of major financial institution clients including Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and UBS. Flaum and Lari are representing Goldman Sachs in a number of matters and are also acting for the monoline insurer ACA Financial Guaranty, which was alleged to have fraudulently misrepresented its exposure to subprime CDOs when providing bond insurance to Retirement Housing Foundation on its issuance of certain auction rate securities. Barry Sher also handles a significant amount of financial services work as part of his broad palette of commercial litigation. Los Angeles-based William Sullivan is also recommended.

Preeminent Washington DC-based litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP provides ‘thoughtful, appropriate and cost-sensitive advice’ to financial institutions and high-ranking executives across a range of litigation and enforcement actions. Known for its high-stakes commercial litigation strength, the firm has been handling an increasing volume of mandates in the financial services sector, particularly in instances when a robust and trial-ready approach is required. The ‘excellent’ John Villa, and Ryan Scarborough who is praised for his ‘calming approach’, have been handling numerous matters for directors and officers of failed financial institutions who have been sued by the FDIC in lawsuits throughout the country. Leading trial lawyer Brendan Sullivan also handles disputes involving financial institutions as part of his broad commercial litigation practice and is instructed by Bank of America in several matters including as a defendant in numerous cases brought by the FHFA in relation to its origination and securitization of RMBS to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Alongside Enu Mainigi, Sullivan also recently represented Bank of America in the first case to go to trial involving claims under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act (FIRREA). Dane Butswinkas is also a leading partner for financial services litigation, while David Zinn has a strong reputation for representing executives in white-collar criminal defense and related regulatory investigations.

Benefiting from a traditional focus in the industry, WilmerHale has a ‘strong practice’ which is able to combine New York-based commercial litigators with the insight and expertise of a vast array of Washington-DC regulatory experts, many of whom have held prominent governmental positions. David Lesser continues to represent HSBC in its ongoing merchant and consumer interchange fee litigation. Fraser Hunter’s broad-ranging cadre of work for financial entities includes regulatory enforcement/investigations, compliance and litigation, such as his representation of RBS in all its LIBOR-related US civil litigation. The firm also has a ‘leading regulatory investigations practice’, which is praised for its ability to guide clients from the industry through a broad range of regulatory and congressional investigations including a significant presence aiding clients before the CFPB.

Financial services: regulatory

Index of tables

  1. Financial services: regulatory
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Praised for its ‘top-notch business understanding’, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘excellent across all areas’ and provides ‘unsurpassed strategic and legal advice’ to domestic and foreign financial institutions, bank investors and trade bodies. The firm’s collaborative and fluid approach ensures that clients receive a ‘holistic and joined-up service’; for example, aided by lawyers in the firm’s M&A, employee benefits, tax and capital markets teams, the ‘superb’ Derek Bush is providing the bank regulatory input to Banner Corporation on its $702m acquisition of Starbuck Bancshares. Bush is also involved, along with capital markets partner Leslie Silverman, for the underwriters on Citizens Financial Group’s IPO. Aided by offices in a number of key international financial centers, including London and Paris, the team is ‘first-rate’ at providing regulatory advice in a global context. In this regard, in addition to continuing its longstanding relationship with the Institute of International Bankers, the team also provides advice on ‘hot-button’ issues such as the impact of the Volcker rule on individual foreign banks including Mizuho Bank, Standard Chartered and Société Générale. Formerly of the FDIC, the ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ Michael Krimminger is a key member of the team which also includes the ‘excellent’ Robert Tortoriello, and Katherine Mooney Carroll who is praised for her ‘technical knowledge and pragmatism’. Giovanni Prezioso, Robert Cook and David Aman are recommended for their broker-dealer expertise and continue to provide capital and margin advice to every major investment bank in the market. In addition to the talent on offer at partner level, clients also appreciate the ‘very impressive associates, who are readily able to drive a project forward and act independently’.

Widely recognized as a thought leader on Dodd-Frank matters, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is one of the go-to-practices for financial institution clients seeking guidance, clarification and potential restructuring in light of the myriad regulatory changes ushered in over recent years. Led out of New York by the ‘superb’ Randall Guynn, the firm’s six-partner team continues to be at the vanguard of change in the industry and following on from its representation of the bulk of major banks on the initial formulation of their living wills, continues to advise these entities as they seek to make revisions in light of the FDIC’s scrutiny of the initial plans. Along with Guynn, Luigi De Ghenghi and Margaret Tahyar are leading the charge on the living wills front and are also the key practitioners involved for a whole host of clients as they seek to navigate the recently revised capital framework for the US banking sector. In addition to direct client representations, the practice has also developed a number of interactive, web-based tools to guide clients through the regulatory changes, including its microsite and Volcker Portal. On the transactional front, as well as advising banks including Lloyds and Morgan Stanley on Volcker rule restructurings, the team represented JP Morgan on its $1.3bn sale of a portfolio of loans from its Global Special Opportunities Group to Sankaty Advisors. Spearheaded by Annette Nazareth, the firm is also noted for its ‘high-quality’ trading and markets practice which handles work for, among others, the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) and the Futures Industry Association, on broker-dealer compliance. Other recommended practitioners include Lanny Schwartz, and counsel Christopher Paridon who joined in September 2014 from the Federal Reserve.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘highly integrated’ multi-disciplinary team provides a ‘practical and responsive’ service to domestic and international financial institutions across the spectrum of regulatory issues including resolution planning, regulatory capital requirements and the Volcker rule. ‘Absolutely the best for bank M&A work’, the firm’s reputation in the area has been established as a result of numerous years acting on many of the highest-profile mergers in the market including the consolidation in the industry in the immediate aftermath of the financial downturn. Mitchell Eitel recently advised ConnectOne Bancorp on its merger with Center Bancorp, and US Bancorp on its acquisition of the Chicago branches of Charter One. Alongside Patrick Brown from the firm’s Los Angeles office, Eitel also recently advised Hanmi Financial on its acquisition of Central Bancorp; the combined entity has become the second largest Korean-American focused bank in the US. The ‘superbRodgin Cohen is a ‘doyen of the industry’, an accolade that is richly deserved in light of his work for systemically important entities in the immediate aftermath of the financial crisis, as well as his ongoing work across a plethora of regulatory issues impacting on domestic and foreign banks. While regulatory reform has driven much of the transactional work handled by the group, it still maintains a steady flow of general compliance work in addition to high-profile enforcement/investigation work across a range of matters including market manipulation and anti-money laundering (AML). The ‘first-rateMichael Wiseman is recommended for his work across a range of financial services M&A and general advisory matters.

A mainstay of the Washington DC legal market, Covington & Burling LLP has a longstanding financial services regulatory expertise on behalf of a broad spread of US and foreign financial services entities. Praised for its ‘accessible and client friendly’ approach, the firm excels at strategic matters involving a real in-depth knowledge of the regulations and a gauge of ‘what the regulators are thinking’. ‘Outstanding’ team head John Dugan has a ‘tremendous pedigree’ and brings ‘significant insight’ into matters as a result of his experience in private practice but also from his previous tenure as the Comptroller of the Currency during the financial crisis. As well as representing individual entities, Dugan’s expertise is regularly sought by trade bodies including The Clearing House, which he aided on the drafting of a key industry comment on the OCC’s proposed rule regarding ‘heightened supervisory expectations’ for large national banking organizations. The ‘smart and savvyKeith Noreika is accomplished in assisting foreign banks navigate the complex regulatory terrain; as one client enthused, ‘he takes time to educate us on the complex US and international bank regulatory terrain to help us make informed decisions’. On the enforcement/investigation side, the ‘excellentJean Veta is ‘superb at working out problems with the banking agencies and has a tremendous ability to keep things under the radar’. Other recommended partners include Stuart Stock, Ed Yingling and Mark Plotkin, while on the M&A front, the firm was strengthened by the arrival in February 2014 of Rusty Conner and Michael Reed from DLA Piper.

In addition to its ‘responsive and knowledgeable work’ for insurers and asset managers as they seek to come to terms with the heightened regulatory strictures place on them by Dodd- Frank, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has successfully broadened the scope of its client base to include more banks and non-bank consumer services entities. Spearheaded on the bank regulatory side by the ‘very thoroughGregory Lyons and Satish Kini, the firm is gaining market recognition as a result of its Volcker rule work for domestic and foreign banks and insurers including Silicon Valley Bank, Mizuho Bank and American Express. The team is also gaining increased market visibility as a result of its advisory work on Dodd-Frank matters and international regulatory and capital initiatives for a number of major trade associations including the Private Equity Growth Capital Council and the Financial Services Roundtable. As well as advising large insurance and brokerage clients on the assessment and revision of their strategic goals and operational structure in light of Dodd-Frank, including by virtue of ownership of depository institutions, the firm has also handled work for major non-bank financial companies including AIG, MetLife and Prudential in seeking to evaluate the implications of potential designation as non-bank systematically important financial institutions (SIFI) and to respond to FSOC inquiries relating to such designation. Nicholas Potter and John Vasily are both recommended for insurance M&A work, while Paul Lee has significant expertise in Dodd-Frank-related matters for banks and insurers.

Although it is smaller than some of the practices in the ranking, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s integrated transactional and regulatory approach ensures that clients receive a streamlined and joined up service which is sympathetic to all the key regulatory changes impacting the industry. The firm’s track record and longstanding expertise in the financial services industry, in addition to the ability to execute highly sophisticated and complex transactions against the backdrop of continued regulatory flux, ensures the group receives a raft of mandates from its private equity, banking and speciality finance provider client base. ‘Strategic and knowledgeable’ head Lee Meyerson is regularly at the forefront of the most significant deals handled by the team including JP Morgan Chase’s $3.5bn sale of its physical commodities business to Mercuria Energy Group. Alongside capital markets partner Lesley Peng, Meyerson also represented the underwriters on Opus Bank’s IPO. Maripat Alpuche is regularly engaged in M&A and capital markets work for financial services clients and has developed a niche practice representing retail and financial institution clients in connection with credit card business sale and program transactions.

Concentrated out of its New York and Washington DC offices, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s integrated corporate and regulatory team has significant resources to direct at a broad range of compliance, enforcement and financial services M&A, both in a purely domestic and international setting. ‘Experienced and knowledgeable’ team head William Sweet has excellent market recognition as a result of his involvement in high-profile M&A and advisory work in the industry. Both he and Brian Christiansen recently advised Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC) on its $1.1bn acquisition of Flagship Rail Services, one of the leading providers of rail car financing solutions. William Rubenstein is also known for his M&A expertise, and along with Sven Mickisch, represented TPG on its $1.5bn acquisition of The Warranty Group. In addition to his work on financial services M&A, Mickisch has also developed significant expertise advising financial institutions on their restructurings and recapitalizations in the wake of the financial crisis. In this respect, both he and David Ingles have been leading the firm’s charge in relation to its work for underwriters and private placement agents handling the auction by the Department of the Treasury of the securities issued by numerous domestic banking organizations under the crisis-era Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). Led by Joseph Barloon and Anand Raman, the firm also has a considerable consumer finance offering which handles advisory, enforcement and litigation work for, among others, International Bancshares Corporation.

Washington DC-based Arnold & Porter LLP is ‘well reputed’ for its compliance and enforcement work for a range of banks, insurance companies and credit unions. Headed by David Freeman, the team benefits from a number of lawyers with significant governmental experience. Himself an alumnus of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Freeman has excellent credibility before the agencies and frequently aids clients in compliance issues and on strategic initiatives with regulatory, legislative and public policy implications. He continues to advise First Republic Bank and its subsidiary broker-dealer, investment adviser and insurance agency across a broad range of regulatory and compliance issues associated with new products and product extensions. Patrick Doyle also benefits from former agency experience and continues to act for State Farm Mutual Insurance Company across a range of Dodd-Frank matters including ensuring compliance with the Volcker rule and aiding it and a coalition of insurance companies on seeking a legislative amendment relating to the capital rules under the so-called ‘Collins Amendment’. Both Doyle and New York-based Kevin Barnard have also been advising major diversified financial services firm TIAA-CREF on capital adequacy requirements. The ‘excellentRichard Alexander continues his representation of a coalition of mid-sized banks across a variety of regulatory issues and is a key member of a team that also includes senior counsel John Hawke, Charles Landgraf and Robert Azarow. The firm’s consumer finance offering continues to grow with the recent arrival of Michael Mancusi from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton adding weight to Michael Mierzewski’s practice in the area.

Primarily focused out of New York but also benefiting from a large network of domestic and global offices, Latham & Watkins LLP’s integrated practice provides clients with both standalone regulatory compliance expertise along with regulatory driven transactional competence. Spearheaded by ‘market leaderDana Fleischman and the ‘excellentStephen Wink, the team is perhaps best known for its ‘fantastic’ broker-dealer practice. Wink recently aided Fantex on establishing the first ever broker-dealer and trading platform for the trading of securities representing interests in the earnings of sports stars. Wink also provided the necessary regulatory advice pursuant to another new entrant to the market, Alphaworks, on the establishment of its crowd funding platform. On the more traditional bank regulatory mandates, Alan Avery is viewed as a ‘safe pair of hands’ by both domestic and foreign financial institutions, and has ‘an excellent knowledge of the US regulatory regime’. Alongside Courtenay Myers Lima, Avery also continues to be involved in resolution planning work for a number of foreign banks. The recent arrival of Vivian Maese from Dechert LLP gives the firm a significant presence in the emerging FinTech space.

Dispersed among the firm’s coastal offices, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘very experienced’ team of regulatory lawyers provide a ‘high level of service and clear guidance’ to domestic and foreign financial entities seeking advisory, enforcement and transactional expertise. The firm’s primary strength lies in the consumer finance area, where it is noted for its ‘encyclopedic knowledge’ of the rapidly changing regulatory landscape, particularly in the credit card space, as well as increasingly in the mortgage area. Oliver Ireland is recommended for his payments system and consumer finance knowledge and is representing a number of banks and clearing entities in ongoing negotiations with the Federal Reserve Board in relation to debit card interchange fees. The experienced Richard Fischer has been at the vanguard of legislative changes in the retail financial services space and is also respected for his knowledge of privacy issues. The firm is also well geared up to guide clients through their dealings with the increasingly aggressive CFPB agency. On that front, as well benefiting from the expertise of Leonard Chanin, a former alumnus of the agency, the team can also count on the knowledge of Donald Lampe and Thomas Noto, all of whom have significant knowledge of the regulations affecting consumer mortgages and fair lending. Los Angeles-based Henry Fields has handled a number of M&A mandates in the industry including advising Beneficial State Bancorp on its acquisition of Albina Community Bank, and representing A.F. Gilmore Company on the sale of its bank subsidiary to Grandpoint Bank. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Barbara Mendelson provides ‘business-oriented solutions and advice’ and is particularly accomplished at providing US regulatory advice to foreign clients. Of late, Mendelson has advised various foreign banks on structure and product strategies to address the Federal Reserve’s proposed prudential regulation for foreign banks, as well as representing numerous international banks on resolution planning issues.

Benefiting from a number of former regulators in its ranks, Hogan Lovells’ Washington DC-based financial services team is well-positioned to advise financial services clients across the spectrum of advisory, enforcement and transactional matters. Although it lacks much involvement for many of the largest banks in the market, the firm does pick up a significant amount of regional and community level bank instructions as they seek to come to terms of the trickle-down effect of Dodd-Frank. For example, team head Richard Schaberg is advising New Hampshire Thrift Bancshares on regulatory capital concerns including advising it on the use of subordinated debentures and related redemption of SBLF preferred stock from the US Treasury. Alongside Laura Biddle, Schaberg is also advising North West community bank Columbia Bank on a regulatory corporate governance review. Biddle also recently advised Moroccan bank Banque Centrale Populaire on the establishment of a representative office in the capital; the first entry of a Moroccan bank into the US and the first new country approved for entry since the beginning of the financial crisis. The arrival to the firm’s San Francisco office in May 2014 of Veronica McGregor from Jones Day adds domestic strength to an already strong global payments offering. Stuart Stein and Gregory Parisi are also recommended. Other clients include Webster Bank, Susquehanna Bancshares, and Western Alliance.

Concentrated out of its Washington DC and New York offices, Mayer Brown’s seven-partner team provides ‘exemplary advice in the financial services field’ to banks, broker-dealers and asset management companies across the spectrum of regulatory issues affecting their businesses. Able to tap into the expertise of lawyers across its global network, the team is regularly engaged in mandates which require knowledge of the extra-territorial reach of Dodd-Frank. David Sahr, Jerome Roche and Marc Cohen show ‘excellent attention to detail’ and are representing a number of international banks on the ramifications of the Volcker rule on their businesses, both inside and outside the US. Other highlights include advising a number of foreign banks on resolution planning issues and international banking clients on derivatives regulatory issues, particularly as they relate to Title VII swap provisions. Other recommended partners include team head Scott Anenberg, in particular for his global perspective, the ‘impressiveThomas Delaney, for his expertise on Dodd-Frank compliance, and Jeffrey Taft, ‘who is able to advise on any and all US regulations that affect securitization’.

Driven out the firm’s Washington DC office and aided by a global and domestic network of offices, Paul Hastings LLP has the resources to handle an ever expanding array of financial services regulatory matters for clients including Citibank, Wells Fargo and E*Trade Securities. The firm remains best-known for its ‘first-rate payments practice’, where Atlanta-based Chris Daniel is the key practitioner of a team which is ‘valued for its depth of knowledge and experience working with entities across the payments spectrum’.Todd Beauchamp is ‘very knowledgeable on money transmission and licensing at the state and federal level’, and along with Daniel is representing Visa and Facebook across a range of matters including advising the former on the development and implementation of a global money transfer program. The firm’s payments practice is rounded out by Thomas Brown, who handles advocacy work for clients in the space and Kevin Petrasic, who handles payments work alongside a diet of broader banking regulatory matters. Petrasic continues to handle work for brokerage and banking company Charles Schwab, including advising it in structuring an innovative, first-of-its-kind product allowing for real-time trading of fractional interests of Exchange Traded Fund shares by Schwab retirement plan customers. Along with Gerard Comizio, Petrasic is also advising JP Morgan Chase on federal consumer financial protection issues related to its mortgage warehouse financing operations. Behnam Dayanim excels at matters at the intersection of gaming, privacy and financial services regulatory.

Headed on the bank regulatory side by the ‘superb’ Reena Agrawal Sahni out of New York, following her arrival from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in August 2014, and Donald Lamson, from Washington DC, the ‘very responsive and thorough’ team at Shearman & Sterling LLP provides discrete regulatory advice across the panoply of issues affecting the industry, as well as providing support on transactions and controversies. Aided by strong global offices in London, Hong Kong, Paris and Frankfurt, the firm is regularly sought out by international banks to provide a one-stop-shop global perspective of many of the regulatory changes impacting on their operations in the US and internationally. Led out of the US by Lamson and Donna Parisi, the firm provided integrated US and EU regulatory advice to a raft of global financial institutions and funds on capital planning matters and Dodd-Frank Section 165 intermediate holding company issues. The firm has also developed a number of interactive tools to aid clients in their navigation of the regulatory landscape, for example, the development of the ‘Volcker Assistant’, has aided numerous entities in ensuring compliance with Volcker-related issues. Headed by the ‘superbRussell Sacks, the firm has a standalone broker-dealer regulatory group which has ‘tremendous market recognition’. Praised for his ‘consistent ability to deliver work in a timely manner and with a great work product’, Sacks has been involved in a number of regulatory-driven transactions for clients in the industry, including his recent work for Plia Systems on its acquisition of SJ Levinson & Sons. Charles Gittleman provides ‘very in-depth industry knowledge’ in the brokerage space, while the ‘user-friendly’ and ‘experiencedBradley Sabel provides particular expertise to international banks on US bank regulations.

Sidley Austin LLP provides a ‘responsive service’ to clients in the banking, funds, broker-dealer and consumer finance space. Washington DC-based William Eckland and New York-based Connie Friesen are the mainstays of the firm’s bank regulatory practice and ‘really understands the business and industry’. Friesen has a particular strength advising foreign banks on the impact of Dodd-Frank on their business activities and operations, as well as representing them on their establishment in the US. In this regard, Friesen continues to act for a number of Asian clients including China Construction Bank, which she represented in connection with the establishment of its New York branch, as well as well as advising it on ongoing matters such as compliance programs, commercial paper issuance and trade finance issues. The firm has also been active advising a range of foreign and domestic banks, hedge funds and broker-dealers on AML compliance programs. On the consumer finance front, as well as James Huizinga’s broad expertise, which encompasses a range of compliance, transactional and enforcement work, the firm also has a ‘very significant’ payments practice which is spearheaded by David Teitelbaum. Teitelbaum’s advice is often sought by clients seeking to structure new payment products which minimize regulatory scrutiny, and recently represented eBay and its PayPal subsidiary in the negotiation of an extension of its credit card program agreement with Synchrony Bank and continues to advise First Data on regulatory guidance in connection with its payments and network businesses. The practice is rounded out by a ‘first-class’ broker-dealer offering which provides transactional, advisory and enforcement expertise.

While it lacks the bandwidth of some of its higher-ranked peers in the market, Ballard Spahr LLP provides ‘enormous strength and depth’ to a plethora of banks and non-banks across the spectrum of consumer financial regulation. Based out of Philadelphia but aided by significant resources in Washington DC, New York and Atlanta, the 100-strong team has the critical mass to ensure that clients benefit from the guidance of experts with specialisms across CFPB’s purview, including advisory work on new regulations issued by the regulator, supervisions/examinations and investigations. The firm is recognized as a thought-leader in the field, and its CFPB Monitor blog has gained much market recognition both from regulated entities and the regulator itself. ‘Collegial and good-natured’ co-head Jeremy Rosenblum is ‘adept at navigating the diversity of jurisdictional requirements on a state and federal level’. As part of his diverse workload, Rosenblum has advised clients on the regulatory aspects associated with the implementation of financing programs for residential solar energy systems and energy efficiency products. Co-head Alan Kaplinsky also has an excellent reputation and is a key member of the team which also includes Washington DC-based Richard Andreano and John Socknat, who jointly head the firm’s mortgage banking group.

Financial services boutique BuckleySandler LLP continues to be ‘incredibly prolific’ in the consumer finance space, where it provides ‘clear, concise and practical guidance’ to clients engaged in CFPB examinations, investigations and enforcement actions, in addition to discrete advisory work and regulatory mandates pursuant to transactional work. Based in Washington DC and with more than 150 lawyers active in the area, the team covers every major area of retail banking and consumer finance, including mortgage loan origination and servicing, credit cards, auto loans, student loans, payday loans, mobile payments and e-commerce. Founding members Andrew Sandler and Jeremiah Buckley have tremendous credibility in the industry as a result of their track record for many of the leading banks and financial services companies across the gamut of regulatory issues affecting their consumer finance facing businesses. Andrea Mitchell focuses her practice on fair and responsible banking matters.

Based out of its New York office, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP provides ‘excellent practical advice’ to both buy and sell-side clients engaged in the broker-dealer industry. The firm often works closely with its transactional lawyers in the derivatives group on providing the necessary regulatory overlay on deals in the post Dodd-Frank landscape but also provides standalone regulatory advice. The esteem with which the practice is held in the market is underscored by the fact that it is advising three of the largest domestic bank holding companies (including JP Morgan Chase) on their swap-dealer compliance procedures. Other high-profile work includes the continued representation of ISDA, on industry strategies to produce and implement documentation necessitated by Dodd-Frank. The ‘legendary’ Steven Lofchie provides a ‘good holistic approach’ and alongside the ‘excellent’ Jeffrey Robins is the primary contact for broker-dealer regulatory work. The ‘very experienced and knowledgeable’ Charlotte-based Scott Cammarn spearheads an increasingly active bank regulatory practice; in this respect, the firm has been handling a significant amount of work of late for foreign banks on the impact of the Volcker rule on their businesses and is described as ‘one of the best in the industry for assessing the extraterritorial impact of Dodd-Frank’.

Led out of Washington DC by the ‘superbThomas Vartanian, Dechert LLP’s four-partner team is appreciated for the ‘excellent insight it has from the regulators’ perspective’. In addition to engagements from funds and banks on key regulatory issues, such as the implications of the Volcker rule, the firm has also been involved in a significant amount of financial services M&A; Vartanian recently represented Paulson & Co, the largest investor in OneWest Bank, in the $3.4bn sale of the bank to CIT Group. The firm is also gaining a strong reputation for representing major financial organizations in relation to representations before the FSOC regarding their potential SIFI designation. David Ansell and Robert Ledig are also recommended and the latter continues to represent the ABA with regard to the CFPB’s new Ability-to-Repay/Qualified Mortgage rules.

New York-based Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP provides ‘knowledgeable and business-oriented advice’ across the panoply of regulatory issues affecting the firm’s funds clients. Praised for his ‘top-class understanding of the intersection between the private equity and banking industries’, Joseph Vitale provides the regulatory expertise to funds investing in banking entities and continues to handle a raft of mandates for Sandler O’Neill Asset Management, one of the most sophisticated private equity investors in banks. Vitale has also been particularly active ensuring Volcker rule compliance for private equity sponsors that invest in banks and vice-versa. Donald Mosher is at the ‘forefront of the burgeoning payments space’ and represents a plethora of leading payments businesses across a range of regulatory issues including in relation to the proposed new Virtual Currency Regulatory Framework. Mosher has also been involved in a number of significant M&A transactions in the payments space including advising Priority Payments Systems on its merger with Cynergy Data.

Washington DC-based firm Venable LLP has ‘deep knowledge and expertise in the financial services area’ and provides a ‘responsive and collegial’ service to a broad range of entities in the sector including banks, insurance companies, savings and loan holding companies and diversified financial institutions. The team has a number of former regulators in its ranks, including Ralph Sharpe, who heads the firm’s financial services group risk management and compliance team and provides ‘stellar enforcement experience’ as a result of his long tenure at the OCC. Ronald Glancz chairs the firm’s overall financial services group and as part of his broad-ranging canvas of expertise regularly assists companies and investors seeking to become or acquire a bank.

Based out of Washington DC, Allen & Overy LLP has gained significant market recognition since its relatively recent emergence in the US for financial services regulatory work. The real catalyst for this recognition was the arrival at the beginning of 2014 of ‘superb’ bank regulatory partner Heath Tarbert from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. ‘Particularly good at sorting out difficult problems’, Tarbert has been able to leverage the firm’s global reputation among many of the world’s leading banks and heads the team which has hit the ground running, particularly in terms of advisory work that has a cross-border complexion, either for US banks on their activities abroad, or foreign banks on their activities in the US. Recent highlights include advising a raft of major banks on Basel and Volcker rule-related issues. Led by Barbara Stettner, the firm also has a significant securities regulatory presence which includes Chris Salter, who is praised for his ‘deep and extensive knowledge of the broker-dealer regime’.

On the bank regulatory side, Bracewell LLP is particularly strong out of its south western offices, including Austin, Dallas and Houston, where it regularly acts for local banking clients on regulatory compliance, M&A, capital markets and enforcement mandates. Led out of New York by the ‘superbJulian Rainero, the firm is also a ‘major player’ in the broker-dealer space. Along with Robert Frenchman, Rainero is providing the regulatory advice to General Atlantic on its purchase of tradeMONSTER and OptionsHouse. Since publication, Sanford Brown has moved to Alston & Bird LLP and Justin Long has moved to Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Leveraging a huge global network which includes financial services expertise out of the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia, Clifford Chance’s New York office is often a key cog in the firm’s ability to provide ‘business-friendly, efficient and responsive advice’ to international financial services clients seeking regulatory advice in the context of a multi-jurisdictional framework. In this respect, the firm is particularly strong at providing comparative advice on extra-territorial regulation to clients that operate internationally; for example, it is representing a consortium of 13 international financial institutions including Barclays and BNP Paribas, in relation to a multi-jurisdictional survey of privacy law and confidentiality obligations around the world. The team is also representing various domestic fund managers, including Fortress and JP Morgan Asset Management, on the implications of the EU Alternative Investment Fund Managers' Directive on their activities in the EU. Nick O’Neill is praised for his ‘broad industry and cross-market knowledge’ and is leading the firm’s efforts in both these matters.

Led out of Washington DC by the ‘sensible and knowledgeableChristopher Bellini, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s small team provides ‘good industry knowledge’ across the range of new regulations affecting banking and asset management clients. Volcker rule issues continue to occupy many clients’ concerns and the team has been advising numerous asset management firms on structuring and transactional work as they seek to comply with the rule’s restrictions. The firm continues to handle a range of advisory and regulatory-driven transactional work for key clients Capital One and Santander. New York-based Jessica Forbes provides broker-dealer expertise, and the firm’s ‘strong derivatives team’ is conversant with all the regulatory issues affecting that sector of the industry.

Led by the ‘responsive and knowledgeable’ Robin Maxwell out of New York, Linklaters LLP’s four-strong team may be small, but punches above its weight owing to its ability ‘to bring in international colleagues as required’ from the firm’s vast global network on multi-jurisdictional mandates. Maxwell has a ‘great ability to explain complex bank regulatory topics in a client-friendly manner’ and has been particularly active advising large global financial institutions, including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, on the international implications of the Volcker rule. Other work has included advising Hong Kong-based investment bank CLSA on numerous regulatory issues associated with the establishment of its ‘access repackaging’ notes program to US investors. Other clients include BlackRock and BNP Paribas.

Led out of its Washington DC headquarters, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s team is well connected to the regulators and includes numerous former SEC lawyers among its ranks. This public sector experience enables the firm to ‘effectively’ guide its broad-ranging financial services clients in examinations and investigations instigated by the SEC and FINRA, as well as other regulators. Spearheaded by Susan Krawczyk, the team has a strong and longstanding presence in the broker-dealer market, a reputation that is underscored by its involvement for a coalition of in excess of 60 broker-dealers in responding to numerous FINRA rulemakings. Stephen Roth heads the firm’s overall financial services practice and has significant experience advising clients on the legal issues impacting SEC-registered variable insurance products. Holly Smith and Clifford Kirsch are recommended for broker-dealer regulatory matters.

Based out of Chicago and also able to call upon practitioners in New York, Charlotte and Washington DC, Winston & Strawn LLP has significant nationwide resources to direct to banks, broker-dealers, bank holding companies, funds and insurance companies across a wide variety of regulatory and transactional matters. Christine Edwards has a strong reputation in the market and continues to advise The Financial Services Roundtable on a raft of issues including SEC rules, the new international capital standards and executive compensation changes. Of counsel Jerry Loeser is also recommended for bank regulatory matters, while New York-based Glen Barrentine leads on the broker-dealer side.

Municipal bankruptcy

Index of tables

  1. Municipal bankruptcy
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Considered ‘a five-star firm’ that is ‘the best in the business’, Arent Fox LLP’s national bankruptcy practice has a longstanding track record of ‘achieving positive results’ in municipal bankruptcy cases, for which clients recommend it ‘wholeheartedly and without hesitation’. The firm is particularly strong in dealing with complex benefits issues faced by municipalities, and its bankruptcy practice is ‘supplemented by excellent litigation expertise’. New York-based David Dubrow is a ‘top lawyer’ who has ‘decades of Chapter 9, Chapter 11 and municipal finance experience’. Dubrow recently represented bond insurer Radian Group on a defaulted payment obligation, and acted alongside Washington DC-based Carol Connor Cohen and Les Jacobowitz to advise Ambac Assurance Corporation (Ambac), a major holder of debt in Puerto Rico and its public authorities, on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s enactment of new legislation allowing certain of its municipal authorities to restructure their debt. In another highlight, Dubrow, Conner Cohen and Washington DC-based public pensions expert Caroline Turner English represented Ambac (the insurer of approximately $180m of Detroit municipal bonds) in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP remains highly active in the market, and is particularly strong in municipal restructurings and complex bankruptcy investigations. The firm has been representing Assured Guaranty in the Chapter 9 bankruptcies of the City of Detroit and Jefferson County; in the latter case, Lawrence Larose and Samuel Kohn led the team in concluding a settlement with the city in which all of the revenue bonds insured by the client would be paid in full, and also assisted in a $1.5bn refinancing of bonds issued by the city’s water and sewer department. In the Jefferson County Chapter 9 case, the partners obtained a favorable ruling concerning the status and priority of ‘special revenues’ under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code and negotiated a plan of adjustment involving a potential municipal bond exit financing that will be insured in part by the client.

Noted for fielding ‘exceedingly fine lawyers who dedicate themselves to their clients and cases unreservedly’, Jones Dayremains unmatched in depth and experience, and is universally recognized across all areas’. The firm has been involved in some of the largest municipal bankruptcy cases, including the Chapter 9 cases involving the City of Detroit and the City of Stockton. The practice served as lead restructuring counsel to the City of Detroit, which involved assisting in the development and implementation of restructuring proposals, including the Chapter 9 adjustment plan, and negotiating with the city’s stakeholders to achieve a consensual restructuring. The key figures involved in the case included ‘gifted lawyer’ David Heiman, who splits his time between New York and Cleveland, the ‘outstandingly smart and effective’ Bruce Bennett in Los Angeles, Corinne Ball in New York, and ‘outstanding restructuring lawyers’ Heather Lennox (who also splits her time between New York and Cleveland), Jeffrey Ellman in Atlanta, and Bradley Erens in Chicago. The firm also has an active bondholder practice; Los Angeles-based James Johnston and San Francisco-based Joshua Morse represented Franklin California High Yield Municipal Fund and Franklin High Yield Tax-Free Income Funds as creditors to the City of Stockton in its Chapter 9 bankruptcy, securing a landmark ruling that the city’s pension obligations were subject to impairment in bankruptcy. Atlanta-based Amy Edgy Ferber and Chicago-based Mark Cody are also recommended.

Boutique Californian firm Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern LLP is headed by Michael Tuchin and Lee Bogdanoff. Bogdanoff, Kenneth Klee and Whitman Holt served as co-counsel to Jefferson County, Alabama, in one of the largest Chapter 9 debt restructurings, which included a ground-breaking issuance of new special revenue indebtedness under a Chapter 9 plan. David Stern is also recommended. Other past highlights have included acting for Mammoth Lakes, California, in its Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which was successfully dismissed in 2012.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has a very strong track record in the municipal bankruptcy sector with proven success in debt restructuring. Marc Levinson heads the team, and acted alongside San Francisco-based public finance lawyer John Knox and senior counsel Norman Hile for the City of Stockton, California, in a 90-day state-mandated mediation process and in its subsequent Chapter 9 bankruptcy. The firm achieved a significant ruling upholding its pre-bankruptcy unilateral reduction and phased-out elimination of retiree health-benefit payments. Washington DC-based partner Douglas Mintz recently won court approval for a Chapter 11 plan concerning one of the largest toll-road debt restructurings, and represented multiple bondholders in a complex municipal restructuring involving the negotiation of more than $60bn in debt. Other clients include the City of Vallejo in California, Goldman Sachs, Royal Bank of Canada and Monarch Capital. Attorneys are based in Sacramento unless otherwise stated.

Headed by Washington DC-based Mark Ellenberg (a ‘strategic thinker’) and Lary Stromfield (‘a great resource’), Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s team is praised for its strength in municipal bankruptcy. Ellenberg and Ingrid Bagby acted for Assured Guaranty, the insurer of general government obligations, swaps and debt issuances for the Government of Puerto Rico and its government agencies, on bankruptcy and restructuring issues arising from the government’s potential restructuring of several billion dollars of debt. Stromfeld and Ivan Loncar handled municipal finance issues in that matter. Associate Thomas Curtain, Ellenberg, Bagby and Stromfeld acted for Bank of America Merrill Lynch on structuring and negotiating a settlement of interest rate swaps related to Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Michele Maman is also recommended. Attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Based in New York, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s track record in the market spans some 40 years, during which it has acted in many of the largest bankruptcy cases in the US. Led by Richard Levin, the team recently represented a not-for-profit corporation that operates the Detroit Institute of Arts in protecting the museum and its collection from the city’s creditor obligations. Levin and banking lawyer George Zobitz, who is experienced in representing borrowers and lenders such as JPMorgan Chase and Credit Suisse, worked together to represent Barclays Capital in its Chapter 9 municipal debt adjustment case, receiving further instruction from the bank to provide an exit financing of $275m to the City of Detroit upon the city’s emergence from its bankruptcy. Other clients include City Council of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and New York City Off Track Betting Corporation.

Acting primarily on the buy side of municipal bankruptcy and corporate restructuring mandates, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. has an excellent track record in Chapter 9 and Chapter 11 cases where it acts for bondholders, trustees and bond insurers. The ‘invaluable and articulate’ William Kannel leads the practice, which focuses primarily on workouts and corporate reorganization for institutional lenders, creditors, debtors, and trustees. The team acted for Liquidity Bank in Jefferson County, Alabama’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy, which involved approximately $70m of bond debt. It also acted for three of the largest institutional creditors to Detroit’s water and sewer department, in a tender and refinancing transaction enabling the clients to have their bonds reinstated in light of the city’s entry into Chapter 9 bankruptcy; and advised several mutual and hedge fund clients on their exposure to Puerto Rico bonds. Bankruptcy experts Adrienne Walker, Richard Moche, Ann-Ellen Hornidge and Michael Gardener are all recommended. Ian Hammel was recently promoted to partner. All named attorneys are located in the Boston office.

Sidley Austin LLP has had key roles in a number of municipal bankruptcy matters, including the Chapter 9 bankruptcies of Detroit, Stockton, San Bernardino and Mammoth Lakes. It recently advised National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation, an insurer of over $2bn of Detroit’s debt obligations, on the restructuring and refinancing of water, sewer and general tax bonds insured by the client; Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Bjork (who is an expert in Chapter 11 cases), Gabe MacConaill, and Washington DC-based Guy Neal all led on that matter. Bjork and Neal also acted for Assured Guaranty in its exposure to the City of Stockton’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy, while Bjork acted for the same client in the Chapter 9 bankruptcy of San Bernardino. In another highlight, Bjork represented a major bond insurer in a restructuring involving the City of Harrisburg.

Ballard Spahr LLP’s Vincent Marriott led the team representing a major bondholder in the Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings of Detroit and San Bernardino. Practice head William Rhodes regularly advises issuers, underwriters, municipal advisers and investors on the evolving landscape of municipal securities regulation and enforcement. Kevin Cunningham deals with general municipal cases and has extensive experience in a wide range of municipal bond financings, with a particular focus on taxable and tax-exempt public debt offerings. Washington DC-based special counsel Pauline Schneider has served as underwriter’s counsel to various state and municipal governments on general financing obligations ranging from $4m to over $1bn. Mark Gaylord in Salt Lake City is also recommended. Jeffrey Cohen left the firm to join Fox Rothschild LLP.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is representing the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in defending challenges to the constitutionality of the Puerto Rico Corporations Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act, which enables Puerto Rico’s public corporations to restructure their debt burdens. James Sprayregen (who splits his time between New York and Chicago) and Ryan Blaine Bennet in Chicago are continuing to represent Syncora in Detroit’s Chapter 9 proceedings.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP regularly represents bondholders in Chapter 9 proceedings, and its restructuring group has strong expertise in financing, labor and pension issues, distressed M&A and asset sales, and litigation. Co-head Thomas Moers Mayer and Amy Caton represented the financial creditors and bondholders in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings, and represented the holders of power revenue bonds issued by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority in litigation challenging the constitutionality of legislation passed by the Puerto Rican government designed to enable the restructuring of its public corporations. Other highlights included representing an ad hoc group of holders of approximately $870m of sewer revenue warrants issued by Jefferson County, Alabama, in negotiations for a Chapter 9 plan of adjustment.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s municipal insolvency practice forms an integral part of its broader restructuring practice, and is particularly highlighted for its representation of trustees in Chapter 9 cases. Chicago-based lawyers William Smith and Nathan Coco continue to advise a US bank as trustee over its $170m exposure to San Bernardino’s Chapter 9 case. Coco, Smith, David Taub and Douglas Youngman are advising several clients on the implications of Puerto Rico’s new insolvency statute designed to give relief to several of its agencies. Erich Eisenegger left the firm.

Reed Smith LLP has particular experience advising indenture trustees, and is currently representing Bank of New York Mellon as an interested non-party trustee in litigation in the US District Court concerning Argentina’s bond default. It also represented Wells Fargo Bank - the indenture trustee to $120m of Jefferson County’s general obligation warrants - in the county’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Pittsburgh and New York-based lawyer Eric Schaffer acted in both cases. Mike Buckley left the firm.

Marcia Goldstein and Gary Holtzer lead the finance and restructuring practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, which has been involved in several high-profile municipal restructuring cases. Debra Dandeneau acted for National Public Finance Guarantee Corporation in the Chapter 9 cases of Stockton and San Bernardino, while Houston-based Alfredo Pérez acted alongside Holtzer for Financial Guaranty Insurance Company as creditor in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Ray Schrock joined the firm from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations)

Index of tables

  1. Not-for-profit (nonprofit and tax exempt organizations)
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s ‘top-notch’ not-for-profit practice is led by the ‘spectacularCelia Roady, who works in the firm’s Washington DC office alongside Matthew Elkin and counsel Alexander Reid. A tax lawyer who focuses on advising museums, universities, charities and foundations, Roady is a ‘practical, responsive, approachable, reliable, trustworthy expert in nonprofit matters’. Elkin’s specialisms include the sponsorship of charitable investment funds and other social investment projects, and representing clients before government agencies. Reid assists clients with structuring philanthropic enterprises and collaborations with commercial entities, in addition to his work in tax audits and compliance. The team is part of the firm’s tax practice, which was augmented in November 2014 by the arrival of 13 partners from Bingham McCutchen LLP. In addition to advising clients on tax planning and litigation matters, the firm also helps nonprofits with governance issues, restructuring and investments; San Francisco-based business and finance lawyer Paul McCoy assists with the latter. The firm represents some of the country’s best-known international charitable foundations.

Robin Krause is the chair of the New York-based team at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP; it handles matters relating to governance, regulatory compliance, IP, employment law, corporate law, real estate, trusts and estates, litigation, and tax. Krause’s clients include a private foundation which she is advising on a rural electrification project in India; the project involves the formation of a number of subsidiary entities. John Sare’s areas of expertise include complex charitable gifts and endowment funds, and he advised the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan on the establishment of the Foundation for Detroit’s Future. The ‘very sharpTomer Inbar is a ‘nice guy’ who assists clients with projects for international development, urban revitalization, healthcare, education and conservation. Internal investigations are a specialism of Laura Butzel, whose clients in this and other areas include a number of universities. Butzel is also known for advising charities on the New York Nonprofit Revitalization Act. Other members of the team include employee benefits experts Bernard O’Hare and David Glaser and litigation specialist Lisa Cleary.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP represented longstanding client Doctors Without Borders in its efforts to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Another client is the Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, for which the firm acted in a $100m gift for the development of a public park and performance space in Manhattan. The firm’s work in program-related investment includes representing The PepsiCo Foundation in its investment in The Closed Loop Fund, which provides 0% interest loans to municipalities and below-market interest loans to private companies to develop recycling infrastructure. Additionally, the team is defending Princeton University in two cases brought in New Jersey by taxpayers seeking to revoke the client’s property tax exemption. The Natural Resources Defense Council is also a client; the firm acted in relation to its acquisition of trademarks, copyrights and other IP-related assets from Reconnecting America, a nonprofit formed to provide technical assistance relating to the link between transportation and community development. Another key instruction was advising the Stephen A Schwarzman Education Foundation on the creation of a $300m scholarship fund for study at Tsinghua University in Beijing and the creation of Schwarzman College Theater. ‘Great lawyer’ David Shevlin is the head of a New York-based team that includes counsels Jennifer Franklin and Jennifer Reynoso. Former counsel and one-time practice head Victoria Bjorklund has now retired.

Venable LLP has a ‘spectacular’ team led from Washington DC by the ‘excellentJeffrey Tenenbaum. Tenenbaum’s clients include think tanks and advocacy groups as well as charities, foundations and professional associations. Other team members in the capital include George Constantine, Lisa Hix, Ronald Jacobs, Brock Landry and Lawrence Norton. The firm’s Baltimore-based co-managing partner Robert Waldman is also very active in this area, and Thora Johnson is another contact in that office. Foundations, hospitals, educational institutions and trade associations are among Waldman’s clients, and philanthropy and estate planning are key parts of his work. The ‘responsive, practical and knowledgeable’ lawyers serve many of their clients as outside general counsel, and are especially active in tax court litigation and the formation of nonprofit entities. The group also has a track record for innovation in the area of IRS audits.

Arent Fox LLP’s Richard Newman is a real estate expert in Washington DC whose clients include the Planned Parenthood Federation, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Bar Association and NPR, and who is very active in tax-exempt bonds. Newman and Eve Corbin recently advised Georgetown Day School on a $40m real estate purchase, and the firm also gives real estate and employment advice to The Salvation Army, and serves as outside benefits counsel to AARP. Other areas in which the firm represents nonprofits include IP, antitrust and government relations. Attorneys are spread across offices in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered is a tax boutique with an excellent reputation for its work with exempt organizations. The firm advises clients on organization and restructuring, compliance with lobbying restrictions and private foundation rules, IRS audits and Unrelated Business Income Tax (UBIT) liability. The bench of experienced lawyers features Marcus Owens, Douglas Varley, Mark Matthews and William Klimon, all of whom are based in Washington DC. The team acts for private foundations, churches and political organizations.

Covington & Burling LLP is a ‘fabulous’ firm that counts the NHL, NFL, NBA and MLB as clients, with advice including tax, media licensing and corporate transactions. The firm serves as outside general counsel for the Protestant Episcopal Cathedral Foundation, and various museums, private foundations, professional associations, educational institutions, governments and quasi-governmental organizations also feature on its list of clients. Of counsel Kevin Shortill is a key practitioner in this area. Other lawyers who are especially active in the nonprofit sector include Robert Gage, who leads the firm’s real estate practice, tax expert Jeremy Spector, and of counsels Stuart Irvin and Heather Haberl, who specialize in commercial and IP matters and real estate respectively.

A large proportion of McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s not-for-profit clients are in the healthcare sector; these include Ascension Health, which Ira Rappeport advised on a joint venture to build and operate a hospital in the Cayman Islands. Rappeport and Gary Gertler, both based in Los Angeles, were among those who represented Tenet Healthcare in the sale of 49% equity interest in a California hospital. Michael Peregrine and Bernadette Broccolo of the firm’s Chicago office are also active in this sector and provide ongoing counsel to the Rush University Medical Center. Additional clients include the Wildlife Conservation Society and Underwriters Laboratories, a safety testing company which Sandra McGill, also in Chicago, advised on the restructuring of its global operations. The firm’s advice to tax-exempt organizations covers tax and regulatory matters, corporate compliance issues and executive compensation.

Jacob Friedman’s not-for-profit group at Proskauer Rose LLP draws on expertise from its litigation, personal planning, tax, IP, corporate, real estate, ERISA and healthcare practices. Senior counsel Scott Harshbarger is a Boston-based litigation lawyer who is active in this sector, having acted for Cambodian teaching hospital Angkor Hospital for Children; the firm assisted it with the restructuring of tax-exempt entities in three jurisdictions. Another of Harshbarger’s clients is the Boston Police Foundation, for which the firm conducted a comprehensive governance review. Roger Cohen, who was promoted to senior counsel in November 2014, was one of those who assisted fellow New York healthcare lawyer Edward Kornreich in representing Jewish Guild Healthcare; this longstanding client instructed the firm in relation to its combination with Lighthouse International, creating a large organization for the benefit of blind and visually impaired people. Other healthcare clients include Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Jersey City Medical Center, and Mount Sinai Medical Center. The firm also represents Columbia University, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the New York City Ballet.

Reed Smith LLP is the premier law firm serving tax-exempt clients in the Pittsburgh area. Carolyn Duronio led the firm’s advice to the The Pittsburgh Foundation, the Heinz Endowments and the Richard King Mellon Foundation when they acquired the August Wilson Center for African American Culture out of receivership. Another client is Highmark Health, which the firm advises on legislative activity, and which in 2014 it represented in its dispute with UPMC, the other healthcare provider in Pittsburgh. Duronio is also advising The Conservation Fund on structuring acquisitions and joint ventures involving sustainable forestry in a manner that will not make it liable for UBIT for the sales of timber or the exchange of carbon offsets.

A number of lawyers in Ropes & Gray LLP’s Boston offices focus on advice to higher education, healthcare and other not-for-profit organizations. Among these, Anne Ogilby is very active in public finance, and represented Boston Children’s Hospital as borrower’s counsel in the public offering of $136.7m of its Series P (2014) bonds. Another of Ogilby’s clients is North Shore-LIJ Health System; she recently advised on its issuance of $175-$250m in taxable senior secured notes. Lorry Spitzer’s work includes representing universities in IRS audits, especially those involving UBIT and compensation, as well as reviewing hedge fund and private equity investments for tax-exempt clients. Kendi Ozmon also represents universities and other nonprofits in IRS audits. Peter Erichsen is co-head of the firm’s colleges and universities practice. John Chesley of the firm’s San Francisco practice advised Stanford University on two public bond offerings with a combined value of over $400,000, and also represents Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. *Peter Serreze recently left the firm.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s clients include scientific research organization Battelle, United Way Worldwide, and The National Park Foundation. The firm advised the latter on a number of corporate sponsorship agreements made in preparation for the centennial of The National Park Service in 2016; the mandate involved lawyers from Washington DC, Phoenix and Los Angeles, and was led by Catherine Wilkinson. The firm’s nonprofit practice is co-chaired by Wilkinson and fellow Washington DC lawyer Suzanne McDowell, who advises the Wounded Warrior Project on corporate governance and executive compensation matters, and is regarded as ‘the real McCoy’.

Adler & Colvin is based in San Francisco and serves only nonprofit clients, the firm’s long list of which features Guide Dogs for the Blind, the California Clean Energy Fund,, and The University of California Berkeley Foundation. The firm is ‘extraordinarily strong in representing private foundations’. Chair of the board Gregory Colvin assists clients with lobbying and political activity, and Robert Wexler is a ‘great lawyer’ who focuses on tax and corporate matters. The firm handles all areas of law affecting nonprofits, including formation, governance, grant-making, revenue generation, and international transactions, and often receives instructions from religious institutions.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s New York-based practice is led by Paul Mourning, and advises nonprofits on corporate governance, tax, financing, employee benefits, M&A, and wills, trusts and estates. Mourning advised MJHS (Metropolitan Jewish Health System) on the pending $50m sale of the Shorefront Jewish Geriatric Center to a for-profit entity. The practice also advised Lighthouse International when it merged with the Jewish Guild for the Blind to form Lighthouse Guild International. Kathy Chin is a healthcare lawyer who represented Amsterdam House Continuing Care Retirement Community in its Chapter 11 case pending in the Bankruptcy Court; the firm obtained confirmation of the client’s plan of reorganization which will restructure approximately $220m of outstanding bond debt. Additional clients include the Salvation Army and Aging in America.

Leah Bishop, co-chair of Loeb & Loeb LLP’s trusts and estates practice, is based in Los Angeles. Alongside Stuart Tobisman, Bishop represented the trustees of the charitable trusts of the late Margaret Cargill in negotiating agreements to facilitate monetizing the trust’s holdings in The Mosaic Company, and represented various foundations and public charities in governance and controversy matters. Paul Frimmer, also in Los Angeles, created and represented various charitable foundations for the lending of major works of art. Alyse Pelavin provided various large foundations with tax advice. Cristine Sapers of the firm’s New York office advised clients on the merger of their family foundations. In the same office Eliot Green advised the Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer on restructuring its governance to comply with New York State’s new law regarding nonprofits. Green also represented Dell in connection with its grant and co-sponsorship arrangements for its solar powered Learning Program. Another significant instruction related to the sale of a $15m property in New York by Green’s client, The First Hungarian Literary Society.

Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp is a ‘top-notch firm’, where the ‘knowledgeable’ David Newman is the practice chair. Newman represented a company that provides online courses for entrepreneurs in its merger with Santa Clara University. Another client is the California Institute of Technology, for which Newman petitioned the Superior Court in Los Angeles County to modify the restrictions on various funds. Other partners working with tax-exempt entities from the firm’s offices in Los Angeles include Allan Cutrow, whose work includes charitable gift planning, and Jeffrey Davine, who represents clients in IRS disputes. Formation, operations, mergers, joint ventures, UBIT and lobbying are also areas on which the firm advises.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP’s lawyers are split between offices in New York and Philadelphia, which are home to Cynthia Fischer and Marla Conley respectively. The firm acts for both local and national organizations involved in healthcare and fine arts, as well as philanthropic trusts. The practice is supported by the firm’s IP team and appellate practice, and it also provides advice on structuring, trust-related litigation, tax, wealth management, finance and corporate matters. The firm represented The Barnes Foundation, an educational art and horticulture institution, in various disputes relating to the client’s decision to move its collection from Lower Merion to downtown Philadelphia; litigation lawyer Ralph Wellington was the lead partner in this matter. Other key members of the team include Christine Carty, who is managing partner of the firm’s New York offices, and who has employment law expertise, and Joseph Lundy and Noel Fleming, who are both based in Philadelphia.

Sidley Austin LLP’s multidisciplinary practice represents professional associations, universities and charities in relation to antitrust, due process and IP litigation, health system financings, contract negotiations, real estate, employment law, structuring, and corporate matters. Jack Bierig filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v Federal Trade Commission on behalf of The American Dental Association, The American Medical Association, Federation of State Medical Boards and others. Michael Clark acted as senior counsel to the YMCA of the Central Bay Area in the issuance and sale of variable rate revenue bonds by the California Enterprise Development Authority. Lynn Fleisher acts for professional associations and foundations. Paul Svoboda’s work included assistance to a US national foundation with expanding its grant-making program globally, and drafting template trust and donor agreements for hospitals and universities. The Chicago-based team also has MIT, the American National Red Cross and Rotary International as clients.

Project finance

Index of tables

  1. Project finance: advice to lender
  2. Project finance: advice to sponsor
  3. Leading lawyers

Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s substantial tax expertise is key to its standing in the renewables market, where projects have historically been financed through tax equity. As a case-in-point, it recently advised NRG Energy and its subsidiaries on a tax equity financing of a portfolio of 12 operating wind farms in eight states. Demonstrating his leading position in the tax space, project finance co-head Keith Martin has been negotiating with the US Treasury and re-fashioning tax products as new financing tools or exit strategies to raise capital for project developers. The firm recently advised the US Department of Energy on the loan guarantees and financing by its financing arm, the US Federal Financing Bank, to construct Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle Nuclear project in Georgia. Other highlights included assisting SolarCity with the first securitization of distributed (rooftop) solar energy assets, after which the client retained the firm for four additional transactions based on the same model. Rohit Chaudhry co-heads the group - which is praised for obtaining ‘very good results’ - with Martin. Lynne Gedanken represents both governments and bidders/lenders in international project financings, and Peter Fitzgerald and Kenneth Hansen specialize in political risk, loan guarantees, financing and international arbitration in the context of financing greenfield projects internationally. The aforementioned attorneys are based in Washington DC. New York-based Douglas Fried, Todd Alexander, Chaim Wachsberger and John Baecher are other names to note.

With its global presence and a team that has ‘excellent knowledge and experience’, Latham & Watkins LLP regularly features in landmark deals and ‘impresses’ with its ‘speedy responses and value for money’. It has a prominent role in the Cameron LNG, a $10bn liquefaction-export project being developed by Sempra, GDF Suez, Mitsui and Japan LNG Investment in Hackberry, Louisiana; the firm is advising export credit agencies JBIC and NEXI, as well as a syndicate of 29 commercial banks, on the $7.4bn debt financing. Key lender-side clients for the group include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Barclays. Its credentials are equally strong on the sponsor side, where it acts for both large and small developers, often in niche areas such as renewables and private equity. It recently advised sponsor Competitive Power Ventures and borrower CPV Maryland on the financing for the CPV St Charles Energy Center in Maryland, one of the first gas-fired merchant power plants to be financed in the growing PJM market. New client wins on the sponsor side included NRG Renew, GSO Capital Partners and DE Shaw. The project development and finance group is led globally by Kelley Michael Gale in San Diego. Other recommended attorneys include Paul Hunt and David Penna in Washington DC, Jonathan Rod, Matthew Henegar and Warren Lilien (‘very experienced’) in New York, and Jeffrey Greenberg in Los Angeles.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s project finance group is one of the longest established and most experienced in the market, adept at handling cross-border matters across the full spectrum of industries. Its advice is ‘very accurate, timely and practically applicable’. Recent work examples include advising Swiss private equity firm Partners Group on making a majority investment in Mexico’s leading natural gas infrastructure company Fermaca for around $750m, and advising the lenders - JBIC and Mizuho Bank - on the senior debt financing for the Petra Nova Carbon Capture project; the $1bn carbon capture and sequestration and enhanced oil recovery project is expected to be the world’s largest facility using captured carbon dioxide from an existing power facility to assist in extracting otherwise difficult-to-reach oil. The bulk of the team is located in New York, where practice head Daniel Bartfeld is based. Jonathan Green, Carolina Walther-Meade and the ‘very capable’ William Bice, also in New York, attract praise, and Roland Estevez recently made partner. The group also has a presence in Los Angeles, where Karen Wong is a key name to note, along with newly made-up partner Timothy Wendling.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s ‘excellent reputation’ means it ‘always attracts the best lawyers - they are of a high caliber at both partner and associate level’. It is known for its ‘lean and mean teams that tend to be a lot more efficient’. The group’s sponsor-side practice is very well renowned for its holistic approach - active across a range of industries, it is regularly engaged in cross-border matters, and often acts for consortiums. A recent example is its advice to Sempra Energy and project company Cameron LNG, which it is advising on the financing for the Cameron LNG export terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana. It continues to advise Australia Pacific LNG following the $8.5bn project finance facility for the downstream parts of its $20bn coal seam gas to liquefied natural gas project on Curtis Island, Queensland; the complex financing plan included funding from US and Chinese export credit agencies and bank senior debt, and it was the first project of its kind to achieve financial close. Utilizing its considerable strength in the Latin America market, it assisted Minera Escondida with various financings and refinancings relating to its landmark Escondida copper project in Chile. The firm also has a strong, albeit less prominent, lender-side practice where it counts a number of investment banks, infrastructure funds, pension funds and private equity funds as clients. Of counsel Frederic Rich is ‘one of those outstanding names in the industry’ and a ‘legend in his own lifetime’, and Inosi Nyatta is a ‘team player’ and ‘wonderful person to work with’. Sergio Galvis, Christopher Mann, John Estes, and Werner Ahlers are the other key figures; all named individuals are based in New York.

White & Case LLP has a strong practice on both the sponsor and lender side, and has been going from strength to strength of late, attracting an array of instructions and growing its headcount. It recently won a place on Exelon Corporation’s panel, adding to a list of panel appointments that already includes Export-Import Bank of the United States, BNP Paribas and Colombia-based Ecopetrol. The firm is advising Freeport LNG, as sponsor, on the debt and equity financings of the first three liquefaction trains of its multi-train natural gas liquefaction facility, which is to be co-located with its existing regasification facility in Texas. Other highlights include advising KEXIM and The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Bank, Natixis and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as mandated lead arrangers and lenders of the senior project financing for borrower Kelar; in a related matter, the firm is also advising Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and Mizuho Bank on the ongoing equity bridge financing for Kelar. Jason Webberdoes an excellent job - he is aggressive but in an appropriate fashion’. Arthur Scavone heads the global energy, infrastructure and project finance group. Other key names include Someera Khokhar, Wendell Maddrey, Washington DC-based Earle O’Donnell and Daniel Hagan and Miami-based Carlos Viana. Unless otherwise stated, named attorneys are based in New York.

At Allen & Overy LLP, ‘the level of service is excellent’ as the ‘responsive, and knowledgeable team’ has ‘access to good market knowledge and precedent’ and ‘competent junior members to support the partners’. Its advice has a ‘decent balance of commercial reality versus legal necessity’. The group acts for both sponsors and lenders, and has extensive experience advising on PPP and handling inter-creditor issues. The firm is advising US Ex-Im Bank as lender in the $471m debt financing to Kingsbridge Limited, the holding company of Asia Broadcast Satellite’s group of operating companies, for the procurement, construction, launch and operation of three new satellites as well as the refinancing of a previous debt facility; the complex financing was comprised of three tranches of debt. The firm has also been advising US Ex-Im Bank and numerous others on the financing of the $12.5bn integrated port, mine and rail project in Australia - the largest-ever mining project financing, the project is expected to produce 55 million tonnes of ore per annum at low cost. Another highlight is its advice to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) on its Rapid Bridge Replacement project, an initiative to address nearly 600 structurally deficient bridges. In New York, leading names include co-heads Robert Kartheiser (‘has a very good ‘bridge-building’ ability with government/agency lenders and lots of good experience to fall back on’) and Kent Rowey, as well as Andrew Fraiser, and Dorina Yessios, an ‘excellent negotiator who holds her own against more senior partners at other firms’. In Washington DC, Gregory Smith is ‘doing an exceptional job’. Since publication, Gregory Smith has gone to DLA Piper LLP (US).

Mayer Brown has within its practice ‘a range of subject-area experts, equipping it with both breadth and depth of experience and knowledge when advising on project- and investment-related issues’. Clients also commend the ‘quick turnaround and availability’ of attorneys. The firm has an established track record for handling PPP work, and has been steadily growing in prominence when it comes to project bond financings. Recent highlights include acting for Goldman Sachs, BBVA and Credicorp Capital as underwriters and loan arrangers on the approximately $520m senior secured bond and an approximately $200m senior secured loan for Rutas de Lima, a PPP toll road project in Lima, Peru. It advised BNP Paribas Securities Corp and HSBC as underwriters on the $432m issuance of a senior secured project bond by Abengoa Transmisión Sur (ATS) for a project to build an 885km transmission line in Peru as part of the country’s plan to increase the reliability of the national electric grid. It also has a role in one of the largest infrastructure projects currently in Chile, representing Interchile as borrower on a proposed senior secured loan to be arranged by a club of international banks and a prospective VAT facility to be arranged by Chilean banks. Split between the Chicago, New York, Houston and Washington DC offices, the group has a strong presence across the US and Latin America. Houston-based Rob Goldberg ‘balances the ability to advise on granular and nuanced issues with pragmatism and a commercial approach to negotiating and closing a deal’. Practice head Barry Machlin, and Christopher Erckert and George Miller are also recommended, along with Thomas Moore, who recently joined from Baker Botts L.L.P..

With its balanced lender/sponsor side practice and experience across energy, mining, infrastructure and transport, Shearman & Sterling LLP has a strong reputation in the market. It has been positioning itself at the forefront of new trends such as bond financing, and reports increasing activity from hedge and investment funds. The firm’s recent activity includes involvement in a number of significant transactions, such as the financing for LS Power’s asset acquisition of the Oneta, Decatur and Carville natural gas combined-cycle power plants from Calpine, where it advised BNP Paribas as syndication coordinator. It also advised Mitsubishi-UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as coordinating mandated lead arrangers, and Union Bank as administrative agent and collateral agent, on the financing for the third phase of Sempra’s Copper Mountain Solar complex, an approximately 250MW polycrystalline silicon photovoltaic solar plant set for completion in 2015, having previously advised on phase two. Another highlight was advising Sasol and its affiliates on entering into a 50/50 joint venture with INEOS Olefins & Polymers USA to construct, finance, own and operate a high-density polyethylene plant in LaPorte, Texas. Names to note include Robert Freedman, Patricia Hammes, Gregory Tan and Cynthia Urda Kassis.

A firm with such gravitas as Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well-positioned to advise on groundbreaking projects. Recent examples include assisting Sun Edison - a regular client of the group - with the $155m financing for the construction of the Crucero Project, a 72.8MW merchant photovoltaic solar power plant in the Antofagasta region of Chile, and one of the largest plants of its type in the region; the non-recourse debt financing arrangement was made with OPIC, Inter-American Development Bank, the Clean Technology Fund and Chilean bank CorpBanca, the first time a local bank has participated in the senior debt facility financing for a merchant solar project in the country. Another highlight was advising InterGen on its acquisition of a 50% stake in the 155MW initial phase of the Energía Sierra Juárez wind project, which is to be the first cross-border wind project between Mexico and the US. In 2013, it was involved in the year’s largest acquisition of exploration and production assets, advising Devon Energy Corporation on its $6bn acquisition, and related financing, of the Eagle Ford assets of GeoSouthern Energy Corporation. Names to note include Houston-based Frank Bayouth and Washington DC-based Paul Kraske and Lance Brasher; the latter heads the department.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s practice remains strong on the domestic front as well as increasing its foothold in emerging markets, being particularly adept in handling oil and gas projects in Central and South America: utilizing its considerable restructuring expertise, the group has been advising the lenders to OGX Petróleo e Gás Participaçõesas as part of the restructuring of its $5.8bn of debt, the largest Latin American restructuring in history. Nonetheless, the firm is better known for its sponsor-side practice - it was recently involved in one of the largest project financings in the Americas, advising Pacific NorthWest LNG on an $11bn natural gas liquefaction and export facility in British Columbia, Canada. It was also called upon by the Mexican Ministry of Communications and Transportation with regards to the financing for the construction and development of Mexico Ciry’s new international airport, expected to become the largest in Latin America and to serve as a regional hub. Other active clients include Vale, Brookfield and PEMEX. Richard Cooper, Chantal Kordula, Jeffrey Lewis and Richard Lincer are all recommended, alongside newly promoted partner Adam Brenneman.

At Clifford Chance, lawyers at all levels are said to be ‘responsive and smart with a strong business acumen’ and are ‘familiar with the latest developments in renewable energy, infrastructure and maritime financing’; this ‘deep bench of knowledgeable and hardworking associates’ represents ‘excellent value for money’. The global team puts emphasis on cross-border work, and is particularly active in Africa and Latin America. Recent work examples include advising the Spanish, Italian and Belgian export credit agencies and a group of commercial lenders on the $400m financing provided to Spanish-led consortium GUPC for the $5.25bn expansion of the Panama Canal. It is currently assisting various clients, including OPIC and US Ex-Im Bank, with the financing of four wind farms in Peru, that are being developed under the country’s Renewable Energy Resource Program and which, when built, will be the largest in South America outside of Brazil. The practice is global, with most of the US team located in Washington DC - key names include Americas co-heads David Evans and Christopher McIsaac, and Lori Bean and Fabricio Longhin. New York-based Jay Gavigan is also recommended. Gianluca Bacchiocchi recently joined from DLA Piper.

Morrison & Foerster LLP has a diverse client base that includes developers and project sponsors, infrastructure and private equity funds, and trading and utility companies. The range of work handled is equally diverse - it has experience of wind, solar and gas-fired power projects as well as LNG, nuclear and coal-fired projects, and projects involving rail, hotels and airports. For example, it is representing a group of airlines in relation to the PPP between the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and a private operator for the $3.6bn redevelopment of LaGuardia Airport’s Central Terminal Building, which is being viewed as a possible model for redevelopment of other airport facilities across the US. Another significant work example is its role acting for Osaka Gas and Chubu Electric Power in their entry into a long-term LNG liquefaction tolling agreement with a two-train LNG liquefaction facility under development by Freeport LNG in Texas. The group is headed by Michael Graffagna in the Tokyo office, who is qualified in New York, California and Tokyo and acts for a range of Japanese clients. Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Chester has extensive experience of wind and solar projects, and San Francisco-based corporate partner Susan Mac Cormac has experience representing start-up to late-stage private companies primarily in the clean technology and sustainable space. Other recommended attorneys include senior counsel Zane Gresham, also in San Francisco.

Norton Rose Fulbrightleverages a solid bench in order to move documents efficiently’ and the ‘extremely responsive’ team has ‘strong industry knowledge’, takes ‘a practical approach to negotiations’, representing ‘great value for money’. New York-based PPP head Michael Pikiel is repeatedly singled out for praise; he recently led advice to Meridiam Infrastructure and Long Beach Judicial Partners on the latter’s sale of $518.5m of 6.88 percent senior secured notes due December 31, 2047 into the private placement market. Piekel also led advice to Kiewit on a project to design, build, finance, operate and maintain approximately 14 miles of tolled managed lanes, general purpose lanes and associated facilities along Texas State Highway 183. Washington DC partner Jeremy Hushon was instrumental in the firm’s work for US Ex-Im Bank in relation to its first transaction with a Russian institution since the 2008 crisis - VTB Leasing; the transaction refinanced previous expenses for the supply of three heavy-duty model 2800 XPC excavators manufactured by P&H Mining Equipment. Also in Washington DC are practice group head Gregg Harris and the ‘highly recommended and very professionalJeffrey Goodman.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘excellent’ team provides a ‘high level of service’, attracting praise for its ‘commercial approach’ and ‘responsiveness’. It has a particularly strong standing when it comes to PPP and infrastructure, having advised on numerous significant transportation financings including recent advice to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey on the privatization of the Central Terminal Building; it is the first airport PPP project that involves design and reconstruction in addition to operation and maintenance. Another highlight for the group was acting as sponsors’ counsel for Meridiam Infrastructure, Fluor Enterprises and Star American Fund in relation to The Purple Line light rail project in Maryland, expected to cost more than $2.2bn. The firm also has deep experience in energy, both renewable and traditional, and counts SunEdison and Pacific Gas and Electric Company as key clients in the space. Washington DC-based Keith Kriebel and New York-based of counsel Aleksey Selipanov are ‘both experienced, determined and diligent - they are not just legal counsel, but valued members of the overall project team’. Also in New York is Daniel Mathews who is ‘very well respected’ and has ‘great negotiation skills’, and Young Lee. Mark Weitzel co-heads the practice from San Francisco.

Sidley Austin LLP’s global practice has experience representing project sponsors, lenders, investors, contractors and service providers, on an array of different project types. It is currently advising Genneia on the development of over 300MW of wind and solar projects in Argentina; the first wind project to go commercial (Rawson Wind Farm) is the largest wind farm in the country. It is also representing the Mongolian Ministry of Transportation and Mongolian Railway State Owned Shareholding Company as lead sponsor on the development, construction and financing of a 1,800km freight rail network anticipated to cost $7bn and intended for transporting Mongolia’s rich mineral resources to international markets. Another recent highlight was assisting Grupo Terra with the development and financing of the approximately 50MW San Marcos wind energy generation project in Honduras, which is only the second major wind farm in the country. Key names to note include Timothy Moran and Ayaz Shaikh in Washington DC, Glenn Pinkerton and Sergio Pozzerle in Houston, Michael O’Hara Duff in Los Angeles, and Irving Rotter in New York.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has a strong foothold in the renewables sector and particularly wind energy, where it has advised the financing providers on a number of high-profile projects. It also has strong relationships with a number of private equity firms that it advises on both renewable and conventional power projects - example clients include KKR and Stonepeak Partners. Among the group’s recent highlights, it represented Alinda Capital Partners and the Universities Superannuation Scheme on their joint acquisition of container terminal APM Terminals in Virginia, which is to be renamed Virgina International Gateway. It advised Santander, as coordinating lead arranger, joint lead arranger and lender, on an approximately $318m senior secured loan facility and an approximately $59m letter of credit facility to Solar Star California XIII, a subsidiary of SunPower Corporation; the project is a 108MW solar PV energy electric generating facility, consisting of 74 of SunPower Corporation’s proprietary Oasis power blocks and owned and operated by its affiliates. Another work example is its advice to Union Bank as lead arranger, as well as the other lenders, on the approximately $218.7m project financing of Bicent (California) Power; the client, through its subsidiaries, owns a 134MW natural gas-fired combined-cycle power facility. David Lieberman heads the group from New York, where Kenneth Wyman is also noted.

One of the top project finance firms in the energy sector’, Vinson & Elkins LLP acts for a range of different clients within the space, from traditional power and renewables to shipping and ports and sports facilities, and many others. It has additional expertise in the energy regulatory and environment spaces, and is supported by strong transactional and tax groups. The firm advised Alto Maipo SpA on the development and financing of the 531MW Alto Maipo hydroelectric project, which will become a key generation facility for Santiago, Chile, reducing electricity costs and cutting greenhouse emissions; the total investment is approximately $2.05bn. Another recent highlight was advising RJS Power Holdings, a portfolio company of Riverstone Holdings, on a $1.25bn high-yield offering of senior notes and $150m secured asset-based revolving credit facility to finance a transaction with PPL to combine their merchant power generation businesses into a new stand-alone, publicly traded IPP. Other key clients include Occidental Chemical Corporation, Noble Energy and Freeport-McMoRan Energy. The group is led by the ‘excellentMark Spivak in Washington DC, where newly made-up partner Katy Gottsponer is also based. Karen Smith in New York, and Kaam Sahely in Houston, are also recommended.

A well-known name in the energy space, Andrews Kurth LLP predominantly acts for sponsor clients; examples include Cheniere Energy, OPIC, The Williams Companies and EDF. It recently advised Petra Nova, a joint venture between NRG Energy and JX-Nippon Oil and Gas Exploration, on the development of an approximately $1bn post-combustion carbon capture and sequestration unit in Texas, and represented the borrower in the working capital facility for the Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction facility. It is currently representing the sponsors in the development of the Acajutla project in El Salvador, a 350MW combined-cycle power plant with a floating LNG storage and regasification unit. David Childress, Dahl Thompson, J Todd Culwell. George Humphrey and Giji John are just some of the key names at the firm’s Houston headquarters. The group also has resources in Washington DC.

Texas powerhouse Baker Botts L.L.P. is a strong player when it comes to energy projects, with its huge depth of expertise in oil and gas, LNG, electric transmission and renewables. Houston-based Jeremy Kennedy recently represented a project developer in the development of a gas-fired power facility in Peru, negotiating both an EPC and EPCM contract as well as other contracts. David Powers advised an independent power company on the development and project financing of a power plant in Africa, and assisted a leading European energy company with the auction sales of seven US power, oil and gas, energy trading and other companies. Thomas Moore left to join Mayer Brown in 2014.

Complemented by its active Latin America practice, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has been involved in some significant US projects of late. These include advising I Squared Capital on the formation of an equity partnership with Energy Investors Funds to construct the Oregon Clean Energy Center, a greenfield 869-MW combined-cycle natural gas-fired generation facility to be located in Oregon, Ohio, and advising Energía Eólica, the operator and owner of two wind power projects in Peru, on its offering of $204m aggregate principal amount of its 6.000% senior secured green notes due 2034. Another highlight was advising Contour Global LLC on its $180m acquisition of the Vorotan Hydro Cascade hydroelectric power plants from the Republic of Armenia, which was the largest single US private investment in Armenia’s history and the first US investment in the country’s energy sector. For Odebrecht Offshore Drilling Finance Limited, a cross-office team from New York and Sao Paolo advised on its $580m offering of 6.625% senior secured notes due 2022, which were secured by all of the assets and revenues of the direct parent companies of the issuer and comprise two deepwater drillships and two deepwater semisubmersible drilling platforms which are chartered to Petrobas and are currently being used for drilling below the seabed off the coast of Brazil. New York-based Joseph Hadley is recommended.

Focusing primarily on the Americas, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has extensive experience of PPPs and has had exposure to a wide range of industry sectors. It is strong on rail and airport work, demonstrable through its ongoing work for the project company behind the further expansion of the primary international terminal at JFK, and oil and gas - it is advising ExxonMobil as sponsor of the construction of a pipeline from Sakhalin Island to China. While it is lighter on the lender side, it has strong relations with a number of large institutions and is advising the lenders on substantially all of the air and surface transportation infrastructure concessions in Chile, while in the US, it is advising the lenders on a $1.5bn solar power plant that will use parabolic trough solar concentrators and molten salt heat storage to permit power generation to continue at night. Other industries in which it is active include metals and mining, power and toll roads. The New York-based group is led by Ivan Mattei, and counsel Douglas Buchanan heads up the project finance and infrastructure groups while Ezra Borut and Sarah Fitts oversee energy and natural resources, and Maurizio Levi-Minzi is the name to note for mining-related matters. Darius Tencza recently retired.

Despite some departures in recent years, Foley & Lardner LLP maintains a robust practice that has demonstrable strength in depth. With on-the-ground presence on both coasts and in the Midwest, it is ideally placed to concentrate on the US market. Recent work highlights include acting for Greenleaf Power, a portfolio company of Denham Capital, in its $100m debt financing, one of the largest project financings in the biomass space. Portable solar product manufactured Goal Zero is a key client; the firm advised on its recent acquisition by NRG Energy. Integrys Energy Group and its affiliates have instructed the group on a number of matters including Integrys Energy’s ongoing merger transaction with Wisconsin Energy Corporation, and Integrys Energy Services on the creation of a residential solar finance fund through the Clean Power Finance market, an online platform through which electric power companies can invest in residential solar. The energy industry team is co-led by Jason Allen in Milwaukee, Jeffery Atkin in Los Angeles (who is also a member of the Latin America team) and John Eliason in Washington DC. Other names to note include Jason Barglow in Los Angeles and Edward Hammond in Milwaukee.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘real global experience and presence and made-to-measure approach is what makes it so special’. It acts for both sponsor and lender clients, but is more heavily weighted toward the sponsor side. It recently advised the Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago, AKA Desalcott, on an amendment to financing obtained in 2013 by a company that went on to become sole shareholder of Desalcott; the matter, valued at $138m, involved negotiating complex intercreditor agreements. Other significant matters include acting as New York counsel to the borrowers and sponsors for the financing of two wind farms in Uruguay, and acting as lead counsel to a bidding team on two separately procured but related projects to build a new toll road between Indiana and Illinois, the latter states’ first new construction PPP. Other key clients include OPIC, Deutsche Bank Securities and Abertis Infraestructuras. The team is leaner than some competitors but has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and provides ‘appropriate advice’. New York-based Melissa Raciti-Knapp, who co-heads the firm’s Latin America practice, has ‘broad US and non-US experience’ coupled with an ‘ability to bring parties to an agreement in complex situtations’. Counsel Adam Giuliano, also in New York, is a ‘rising star and very knowledgeable of the sector’.

Hunton & Williams LLP has a long history of advising the energy market, adopting a multi-disciplinary approach that involves not just the projects team but also the firm’s environmental, finance, litigation, regulatory and tax experts. It recently advised JBIC, NEXI and a group of commercial banks on a $4.369bn senior secured project debt finance, letter of credit and working capital facilities to finance the construction and operation of the first of the Freeport LNG project. Another work example is its advice to ArcLight Capital Partners on the purchase of an interest in a 512MW gas-generating facility in New Jersey. Also on the firm’s client list are JP Morgan, Bank of America and Polaris Energy. Jeff Schroeder leads the group from Washington DC.

As a relative newcomer to this market, New York-based Ashurst LLP enters the ranking having developed a successful practice. A considerable emphasis is on PPP work; a recent example is its advice to Mobility Partners - led by Skanska and John Laing - on the Ultimate Highway project in Florida, a 33.8km section of Interstate 4. The hire of Charles Williams from Allen & Overy LLP was significant; he brings substantial expertise in complex energy and infrastructure projects in Latin America. Within that space, the firm was instructed by ACS Infrastructure Development. InfraRed Capital Partners and Star America Fund on the Portsmouth Bypass project, a DBFOM for a four-lane, limited access highway. Royal Bank of Canada is a key client, with recent work including the restructuring of an existing natural gas prepayment transaction financed with tax-exempt bonds by the Central Plains Energy project. Another highlight was assisting Macquarie Infrastructure Development and Las Vegas Paving Corporation with their bid on Project Neon, procured by the Nevada Department of Transportation, which was later canceled. The other key names to note are Jason Radford and Doug Bird.

With Baker & McKenzie LLP’s vast global network of finance attorneys, it is well placed to advise on multi-jurisdictional transactions as well as domestic ones. It tends to act predominantly on the sponsor side and has demonstrable experience in the renewable energy space; a recent example is its advice to EDF Renewable Energy on the tax equity investment by GE Financial for a 160.95MW wind energy project in Oldham County, Texas, the second phase of potentially three wind energy developments by EDF in the area; the firm had also advised on the first development which was partially financed through a tax equity investment of $225m by Google in what was its largest investment to date in a renewable energy project. Other highlights included representing Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners in its acquisition of the outstanding capital stock of Upper Peninsula Power Company from Integrys Energy Group for approximately $300m, and assisting Mainstream Renewable Power with the sale of the Green River wind farm development to Geronimo Energy. The bulk of the practice is based in Chicago, where the key figures are Michael Smith, Mona Dajani, José Morán and James O'Brien. Clyde Rankin in New York is another name to note, alongside Mark Tibberts who recently joined from Norton Rose Fulbright.

As one of the best known energy firms, Bracewell LLP’s project finance team tends to attract instructions from the oil, gas, power and renewables sectors, acting for both borrowers and lenders and providing ‘extraordinary service’. It was recently called upon by Rockland Capital and Elgin Energy Center for advice relating to a senior secured term loan from GE Capital worth $50m. It also represented JP Morgan in the termination of a leveraged lease structure with Panda Brandywine, relating to a 230MW natural gas-fired electric generation facility and the acquisition of related real and personal property. It acted as borrowers’ counsel to the owner and operator of a natural gas-fired power generation facility in the refinancing of a first-lien term loan agreement worth approximately $301m and first-lien working capital agreement of $65m in 2013, and recently processed the refinancing of the first-lien facilities as well as the second-lien term loan agreement of $130m. It is also advising a leading wind developer on a long-term secured hedge that will enable the funding of a 200MW wind farm in Texas. Key partners at the firm’s Houston headquarters are Alan Rafte, who heads the department, Jessica Adkins, Thomas Tomlinson and the ‘articulate and gracefulStuart Zisman. Robin Miles in New York is also recommended.

DLA Piper is distinguished by factors including its active Africa practice and experience of project bond work in Latin America. Weighted more towards the sponsor side, it has been an active player in PPP work, where its credentials include designing the first successful out-of-bankruptcy restructuring of a P3 toll road in the United States. BTG Pactual is a key client; it recently instructed the firm in a landmark transaction - its $132.8m offering of project bonds by Planta de Reserva Fría de Generación de Eten to finance a 20-year concession for the construction of a 224MW cold reserve power plant in northern Peru. For Abengoa Bioenergy, it advised on the development and financing of a combined cellulosic ethanol production facility and related biomass-fired power plant in Kansas, including a project financing by the Federal Financing Bank guaranteed by the US Department of Energy and application for a cash grant under the US Treasury Department Section 1603 program. It is currently representing Electricidade de Moçambique as part of an investor consortium in the ongoing development of the STE regional transmission system to link the country’s Central Northern and Southern grids to the Southern African Power Pool. Joseph Tato leads the practice from New York, where Andrianne Payson is also based. Gianluca Bacchiocchi recently joined Clifford Chance. Since publication, Gregory Smith has joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

Traditionally strong in oil and gas, King & Spalding LLP has also been growing its expertise in power, mining and renewable energy. It has been involved in a number of high-profile LNG projects of late; for example it is advising Floridian Natural Gas Storage Company on the development, financing and construction of an FERC-certificated, 4Bcf high-performance above-ground LNG storage facility to serve the south Florida market, and represents Anadarko on all aspects of its $50bn+ Mozambique LNG export project. Other significant matters include representing Sadara Chemical Company - a joint venture of Saudi Aramco and Dow Chemical - in all aspects of the development and operation of the largest petrochemical facility ever built in a single phase, valued in excess of $20bn; the firm’s advice includes construction, procurement, employment, IP, corporate, tax, trade and finance. Philip Weems and Ken Culotta lead the practice from Houston, where Scott Greer is also based.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP has strong industry knowledge across oil, gas, conventional power and renewables, having handled numerous high-value transactions for developers. It recently represented Moxie Energy and its subsidiaries in two separate transactions involving the development, equity sale and project financing of two large-scale gas-fired power projects in Pennsylvania, and is now assisting the client with a new project of a similar size. For Sempra Energy and its affiliate Cameron LNG, the firm is acting as project counsel for the $10bn development of a natural gas liquefaction export facility in Hackberry, Louisiana. It recently represented First Wind in the $369m development and financing of a 148MW Oakfield wind energy project being constructed in northern Maine, having previously assisted the client with all of its previous wind energy facilities; this project is to be the largest renewable energy financing in the state. David Asmus heads the group from Houston, where other key names include Brian Bradshaw. Richard Filosa in Boston and Wayne Song in Los Angeles are also recommended.

A ‘go-to firm for project finance’, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is ‘very, very good’ in this area. The group’s attorneys are ‘responsive, business-minded, creative and innovative’ and are noted for having good knowledge of their clients’ businesses as well as the industry as a whole. Among recent work examples, it advised Western Refining on the acquisition of controlling interests in Northern Tier, a refining and marketing company with oil refinery and numerous pipelines, terminals and retail outlets in the US. Chevron is a key client; among many matters for the company, the firm advised it on an agreement to loan $2bn to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to finance an increase in production capacity at the Petroboscan heavy crude joint venture in Venezuela, and advised one of its subsidiaries on an agreement with Argentine oil company YPF to further the development of shale oil and gas resources from the Vaca Muerta formation. For Tenaska, it advised on the refinancing of CSolar South, a 130MW solar photovoltaic power project developed by its subsidiary, CSolar Development, in California; the refinancing was done through the issuance of long-term notes placed by Barclays and MUFG. Houston-based John Mauel and newly promoted partner Julie Mayo, who was also recently appointed co-leader of the energy industry team are also recommended.

Structured finance

Index of tables

  1. Structured finance
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Regarded as ‘one of the leaders in the industry’, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLPbrings a complete range of expertise in almost every area of structured finance’ including securitization, derivatives and structured products, as well as being across accompanying regulatory changes that have impacted on the market. Co-headed by New York-based Michael Gambro and Charlotte-based Stuart Goldstein, the firm’s securitization practice handles work across an ever expanding range of asset classes in addition to its ‘market-leading CMBS offering’. Increasingly active in a relatively buoyant CLO market, the firm is recognized as a ‘leader in interpreting new regulations’, and has been at the vanguard of the developing CLO 2.0 market, including structuring transactions to comply with risk retention requirements. Led out of New York by ‘leading lawyer’ Neil Weidner, with assistance from the firm’s London office, the team advised Bank of America as placement agent on Fortress’ $412m CLO, which was the first US or European CLO to be structured to comply with the latest EU risk retention rules. Weidner also recently acted for BNP Paribas in the first-ever repackaging of a senior class of a broadly-syndicated CLO into a class of Japanese Yen-dominated notes issued by an Irish vehicle. In the derivatives and structured products area, the firm’s cutting-edge knowledge has also manifested itself by the team’s ability ‘to standardize derivatives and incorporate them into structured vehicles’. ‘Two of the very best structured finance lawyers in the market’, Lary Stromfeld and Ivan Loncar ‘work on a range of transactions which helps them in terms of ideas generation and thinking outside the box’. As well as transactional work, Stromfeld has also been at the forefront of regulatory changes in the derivatives market and along with Jeffrey Robins is advising ISDA on amending existing master agreements governing swaps to address the regulatory requirements ushered in by the Dodd-Frank Act. The ‘very prominent’ Ray Shirazi is recommended for equity derivatives work, and is a key member of a team which also includes Richard Schetman and Steven Lofchie, who is praised for his ‘supreme knowledge of broker-dealer regulatory matters’.

Based out of New York and Washington DC, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s multidisciplinary and collaborative approach ensures that work is handled by a team best suited for the assignment. The firm has ‘an excellent reputation’ for handling CLO transactions for arrangers and managers, and in the first three quarters of 2014 has represented a number of prominent banks as arrangers, including 15 CLOs for Citigroup and nine for Credit Suisse, respectively valued at in excess of $8.1bn and $4.3bn. Washington DC-based practitioners Michael Mazzuchi, Paul St Lawrence, Robin Bergen and Joyce McCarty have all been particularly active on the CLO front, both from a transactional and also regulatory standpoint, as clients seek to come to terms with the changes heralded by the Volcker rule. The firm also has longstanding expertise advising underwriters in agency MBS offerings, and led by Mitchell Dupler, has represented a plethora of banks, including Barclays and Citigroup, in Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae MBS transactions. Seth Grosshandler is a ‘very prominent derivatives practitioner’ and along with the ‘excellent’ Edward Rosen has been active advising individual financial institution entities, in addition to trade bodies, across the myriad regulatory changes ushered in by Dodd-Frank. As well as regular work for ISDA, the team has also advised other trade bodies including SIFMA’s swap dealer committee across a range of derivatives matters including global standards governing margin requirements for uncleared derivatives. Michael Dayan also has a superb reputation for derivatives transactions and recently represented a group of banks including Bank of America and Deutsche Bank in a call spread transaction relating to a $730m convertible offering by Qiagen.

Based out of Chicago but also benefiting from a strong offering in New York and Charlotte, as well as globally, Mayer Brown’s ‘very diversified and balanced practice’ has ensured that it has remained well insulated against dips in particular asset classes post-credit crisis. Its ‘breadth and depth of securitization industry knowledge is second to none’, and clients also appreciate the team’s ability to provide ‘clear, succinct and commercial advice’. Another factor in ensuring the group receives a significant volume of top-quality work is its track record and involvement in many of the market’s first-of-kind transactions: for example, it helped to create Trade MAPS, the first-ever securitization of global trade finance assets that allowed Citibank and Banco Santander to jointly remove from their balance sheets trade finance assets owed by obligors in 25 different countries. Co-head Stuart Litwin is ‘very accomplished’ at handling auto and student loan securitizations and along with Angela Ulum, recently represented Volkswagon Credit as servicer, sponsor, and originator, Volkswagen Auto Lease Trust 2014-A as issuer, and Volkswagen Auto Lease/Loan Underwritten Funding as depositor, in a $1.49bn public sale of fixed and floating-rate auto lease asset-backed notes. Jon Van Gorp is well regarded in the market for his innovative approach to deals in the real estate market, and recently represented TPG Opportunities Partners as sponsor in the issuance of $200m notes secured by performing and non-performing commercial mortgage loans. Stephen Rooney excels in transactions at the nexus between the insurance and structured finance market, and has represented clients in a raft of catastrophe bond offerings; notably, Rooney recently advised MetroCat as issuer in the first-of-its-kind $200m catastrophe bond offering that funded insurance for New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority covering the peril of storm surge. Seen as a thought leader in the industry, the firm has advised trade bodies responding to proposed regulatory changes including the implications of risk retention, the Volcker rule and the Basel Committee’s revised securitisation framework for the regulatory capital treatment of securitization investments. ‘Securitization guruCarol Hitselbergercan advise on any major ABS asset class’, and provides ‘serious credibility’ to a team which also includes experienced practitioners Jason Kravitt and Paul Forrester. Other recommended partners include Keith Oberkfell, who is praised for his ‘particularly strong knowledge of CLOs and student loans’, Christopher Brady, ‘an expert on all aspects of warehouse financings and RMBS/CMBS’, Eric Reilly, who has ‘an excellent knowledge of the warehouse finance space for both commercial and residential mortgages’, Amanda Baker, ‘who has an excellent knowledge of auto ABS’ and Joshua Cohn, who is ‘very strong on derivatives work’.

Jointly led out of New York and Chicago by Myles Pollin and Gary Stern respectively, Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘very broad’ practice provides ‘very thoughtful and steady advice’ to issuers and underwriters engaged in securitization across every major asset class, in addition to having a ‘significant presence’ in relation to structured products. Kevin Blauch has an excellent reputation on behalf of issuers, underwriters and sellers of mortgage loans, and along with Jonathan Nunes has acted for Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley in a significant volume of CMBS issuances. Edward Fine is also closely linked to securitization work in the real estate industry, and as well as helping clients navigate their way through the myriad regulations affecting RMBS, has also been involved in numerous transactions, including acting for major financial institutions in the securitization of distressed residential mortgage loans. San Francisco-based Dale Lum is a leader for motor vehicle lease securitizations and recently acted as underwriters’ counsel on CarMax Auto Owner Trust’s $5bn issuance of five public offerings of auto loan-backed notes. Although it has a much smaller presence on the derivatives side, Ellen Pesch has been busy advising on numerous deals that required re-structuring in light of regulatory changes affecting the market, as well as on new transactions which required nuanced and sensitive structuring to comply with Dodd-Frank considerations; for example, she represented the co-lead arrangers on the structuring of an interest rate swap facility relating to an $11bn syndicated loan. Senior counsel Renwick Martin is recognized as a ‘dean of the securitization market’ and is a key member of a team which also includes recommended partners Jeannette Arazi, RJ Carlson - Mark Greenberg, Anny Huang and Cathy Kaplan.

Deeply embedded into the fabric of the financial services industry, New York-based powerhouse Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP provides transactional and regulatory expertise for clients engaged in highly complex structured products and benefits from a multi-disciplinary approach which frequently sees the team working alongside colleagues in the firm’s market-leading financial services regulatory practice, among others. Spearheaded by Warren Motley and Christopher Schell, the firm is noted for its ‘absolutely superb equities derivatives offering’ and is regularly instructed by many of the world’s premier financial institutions on their structured notes programs, on both a registered and unregistered basis; in the first three quarters of 2014 it advised on almost 2,400 structured products issuances. Schell and Motley have acted for Morgan Stanley in almost 400 structured products offerings valued at $2.26bn for the first three quarters of 2014 consisting of notes linked to a variety of reference assets including equities, commodities and currencies. Ray Ibrahim also has an excellent reputation for representing clients on the development and execution of novel and innovative products across a variety of asset classes and has handled a raft of work for Citigroup, including on the development of innovative proprietary indices, exchange-traded notes and global structured note programs. Benefiting from the expertise of a number of practitioners with high-ranking governmental experience including counsel Susan Ervin, who served time at the CFTC and SEC, the firm provides ‘very high level’ regulatory advice across the myriad of issues affecting the derivatives industry including Title VII compliance issues.

Headed by Richard Jones, who splits his time between New York and Philadelphia, Dechert LLP’s ten-partner team is accomplished across a broad range of transactional and regulatory work in the ABS, CMBS and CLO space. Dovetailing with the firm’s pre-eminent funds practice, John Timperio and Cynthia Williams provide an ‘excellent service’ to a raft of asset managers including Apollo Credit Management and Golub Capital; the team advised the latter as collateral manager on a $410m broadly syndicated loan, the first of this type for Golub. Timperio and Williams have also been closely involved in advising on regulatory issues, including taking leading positions in the CLO industry’s response to the re-proposed Dodd-Frank credit risk retention regulations and the final Volcker rule. The firm is perhaps best-known for its work in the real estate sector and acts as underwriters’ counsel for banks including Barclays and Citibank across a range of CMBS transactions. Stewart McQueen and David Forti advised the underwriters on the $1.4bn CSMC Trust 2014-USA standalone securitization. Jodi Schwimmer and Laura Swihart are also recommended for CMBS work. The team is rounded out by Malcolm Dorris, who handles a range of conventional and more esoteric ABS work for a predominantly underwriter-focused client base which includes Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley.

Now offering a much broader bandwidth following its absorption of the majority of the structured finance team from Bingham McCutcheon LLP in November 2014, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP combines the existing derivatives expertise at the firm, with this newly acquired the securitization prowess. With 17 partners spread across the firm’s national network of offices, the diverse practice has the critical mass to handle a tremendous volume of mandates for a fairly even split of issuer and underwriter clients. Matthew Joseph has a ‘very strong’ practice across a range of asset classes and recently represented M&T Bank in its first-time securitization of auto loans. Steve Levitan and Reed Auerbach are also key practitioners and represented Navient Corporation in the $1.26bn combined securitization of Federal Family Education Loan program student loans. In addition to work on conventional asset classes including auto and student loans, credit cards and CLOs, the firm also has significant capability representing clients engaged in the securitization of more esoteric asset classes; for example, Auerbach recently represented Toyota Motor Credit Corporation in the completion of the first ‘green’ auto loan securitization. Led respectively out of New York and Chicago by Thomas D’Ambrosio and Michael Philipp, the firm’s derivatives practice is also active across a broad spectrum of transactions including equity, debt, credit and currency. Involvement in such an eclectic mix of assets ensures the firm is well versed in market practices across all segments of the industry. D’Ambrosio recently acted for ALLETE on its $130m issuance of common stock structured as an equity forward transaction. The firm also has a significant regulatory presence out of Washington DC, which aids a range of financial services entities navigate the treacherous regulatory terrain including advising clients on the implementation of swaps provisions in accordance with Dodd-Frank and representing entities in their dealings with the myriad regulatory bodies. Mark Haskell handles agency investigations and related litigation for clients in the energy industry and has represented multiple clients in CFTC and multiple-agency investigations into energy trading activities. Joshua Sterling is also recommended for his derivatives-related regulatory work.

Led by James Tanenbaum out of New York and also aided by a strong national and global presence, Morrison & Foerster LLP provides ‘a responsive service’, acting for an impressive roster of financial institutions engaged in a range of transactional, product development and regulatory work. Able to call upon the knowledge of the firm’s tax experts, as well as providing expertise in Europe and Asia, the practice regularly partners up with leading financial institutions to develop financial instruments across a range of registered and exempt products. The team continues to work with HSBC on developing novel structured products including the creation of structured notes and certificates of deposit linked to the HSBC Dynamic 5 ETF Index. Lloyd Harmetz and the ‘excellent’ Anna Pinedo have handled work for Royal Bank of Canada on its structured notes programs, including as issuer of approximately $9.6m of commodity-linked notes, linked to the price of gold. Although the firm is less active in the conventional securitization market, as well as utilizing its ‘superb derivatives capability’ to provide an ‘excellent service’ on synthetic transactions, it also has a thriving covered bonds practice which regularly acts for Canadian banks in their US covered bonds programs. Recently enhanced by the recruitment of a number of former high-ranking governmental officials including the arrival in September 2013 of the assistant general counsel at the CFTC Julian Hammar, the team also provides excellent insight into regulatory issues affecting the industry. David Kaufman is also recommended.

Headed by New York-based Donna Parisi, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s four-partner team provides a ‘responsive and helpful’ service to financial institutions, buy-side participants, market infrastructure providers and corporates across a range of regulatory issues affecting the derivatives industry. Leveraging the firm’s international footprint, the team excels at work for US and non-US entities which require an overarching perspective of the regulatory landscape, including knowledge of how major regulatory changes, including Dodd-Frank and EMIR, impacts upon clients’ international business strategies and compliance programs. Parisi has handled a raft of regulatory work for Bank of America including advising it on Volcker rule implications and on the development of client documentation for cleared OTC derivatives. Geoffrey Goldman is also recommended and continues advising IntercontinentalExchange Group on the ongoing development of its swap and futures clearinghouses, trading facilities and related businesses. Other clients include Citigroup, Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank.

Based out of New York, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP represents underwriters, issuers and investors across a variety of ABS transactions including traditional consumer assets, CLOs and esoteric classes. Team head Richard Kadlick has a strong reputation in the asset and mortgage-backed area and recently represented RBC Capital Markets, National Bank of Canada Financial and Bank of America, as US placement agents, in a C$317m offering of CMBS issued by Institutional Mortgage Securities Canada; notably, this represented the first offering of a pool of Canadian mortgages in the US since the financial crisis. James Stringfellow is pivotal to much of the most important work handled by the team and recently advised various underwriters of the BA Credit Card Trust’s combined $3bn offering of two separate tranches of Class A notes issued by the Trust. Andrew Faulkner is recommended for his work in the credit card space and recently represented Chase Bank USA, National Association as sponsor of Chase Issuance Trust in a series of public issuances in 2013 and 2014 aggregating approximately $8.55bn of credit card asset-backed notes.

Led out of New York by Frank Nocco, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s six-partner team provides an ‘integrated service’ to issuers, collateral mangers and underwriters engaged in securitizations and derivatives transactions. Although lawyers in the group are encouraged to be across all asset classes, the team is known in particular for its ‘very strong ABS practice’, and following on from his involvement for Citigroup on One Main Financial’s first-ever rated term securitization of personal loans, Nocco advised the bank as lead initial purchaser on One Main Financial’s subsequent $1.2bn ABS bond offering backed by personal consumer loans. Nocco also represented Spirit Realty Capital as sponsor, and Spirit Master Funding VII as issuer, on a $330m ABS offering backed by commercial real estate, triple net leases and commercial mortgage loans. Jason Smith has a particular niche advising on auto loan securitizations and continues to handle a number of deals for Hertz including advising it on the establishment of HVF II, a variable funding rental car asset-backed platform, as well as handling its first and second fleet lease receivable term securitization. Robert Chiperfield is regularly involved in CDO and CLO transactions and continues to handle work for Apollo Global Management, including in its capacity as collateral manager and the issuer in connection with the structuring and offering of the $1.54bn ALM XIV CLO transaction. Newly promoted partner Ariel Kronman has more of a focus on derivatives, both in terms of those which are embedded in securitization transactions and also for private equity and corporate clients that are hedging their positions. In addition to new money mandates, the team is also regularly engaged by clients to assist on crisis management and the restructuring of structured products. In this capacity, the group regularly works alongside its market-leading insolvency offering, as demonstrated by its work on the Lehman Brothers insolvency, a mandate which involved significant analysis of all aspects of the bank’s exposure to derivatives and structured products, as well as advice on how best to monetize the numerous transactions in its portfolio.

Based out of New York and aided by a huge international footprint, Clifford Chance’s combined nine-partner securitization and derivatives offering excels at handling transactional and regulatory mandates, many of which have a multi-jurisdictional perspective. The firm’s global expertise has proved particularly useful in relation to ensuring that deals are compliant with both EU and US regulatory strictures, and this was brought to the fore when assisting Canaras Management with structuring its $350m Saranac CLO I in order to comply with European risk retention requirements for a non-EU-regulated originator. Team head Steven Kolyer is at the forefront of the CLO 2.0 market, and along with Robert Villani, has handled a number of mandates for leading portfolio managers (including Providence Equity and Allianz Global Investors) on the establishment of their CLOs to accommodate Volcker and risk retention rules. While the team’s focus on the CLO market has been in relation to corporate debt, it has also been involved in other novel deals such as establishing a US CLO backed by infrastructure loans. The arrival of both Robert Gross and William Cejudo from Bingham McCutcheon LLP in December 2014 is evidence of the firm’s expansive aims for the structured finance team and indicates a push towards the re-emerging RMBS market. David Felsenthal leads the firm’s two-partner efforts on the derivatives front, which has been particularly active in relation to ensuring compliance with the various regulatory provisions which have affected the industry. The firm’s expertise in the swaps industry is underscored by its high level representation of ISDA in drafting responses to the US and international regulators in respect of proposed rules and regulatory technical standards regarding margins for derivatives.

Headed by the ‘excellentBrian Rance, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s New York-based team provides a ‘superb service to clients engaged in structured finance and derivatives transactions’, and is ‘able to balance complex legal issues with the desired business goals’. In addition to providing advice in a purely domestic setting, the team often works closely with colleagues in Europe and Asia on deals which require a significant cross-border component. Rance handles a wide variety of securitization and derivatives transactions, including work for Citigroup on its CLO mandates. ‘Excellent’ US and UK-qualified attorney Jerome Ranawake handles work for UBS on multiple structured financing and prime brokerage transactions, including advising it on a $400m structured financing transaction for Lone Star Fund VIII; associate Brett Borsare was also involved in this deal, and both he and Ranawake are praised for their ‘tremendous prime brokerage and ISDA knowledge’. Other clients include Deutsche Bank and Barclays.

Led out of New York by Robert McLaughlin and David Mitchell, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s 13-strong offering provides ‘seasoned and reliable advice’ to clients engaged in transactions across the waterfront of the derivatives market including equity, currency, interest rate, credit and commodity products. Praised for his ‘deep understanding of market practice and commercial issues’, Mitchell has an ‘encyclopedic knowledge of CFTC and SEC regulations’, and is therefore able to structure transactions in a way that is mindful of the fast-moving change in the regulatory landscape. In addition to representing clients on the purely domestic application of the regulations, aided by a strong offering in London, the team is also well placed to represent clients on the cross-border application of key regulatory legislation, including Dodd-Frank and EMIR. Praised for his ‘sophisticated and thoughtful advice’, Washington DC-based senior associate William Breslin is developing an excellent reputation in the market across a broad swathe of transactional and regulatory derivatives, futures and commodities work.

Largely based out of New York but also benefiting from a significant presence in Washington DC and Chicago, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s 11-partner team is recognized as a ‘very strong issuer outfit’ across the RMBS, auto, equipment and CLO sectors. ‘Excellent’ co-head Christopher DiAngelo benefits from vast experience in the market, and along with Stephen Esko, advised Fannie Mae on the development and implementation of its credit risk sharing initiative. Joseph Topolski has experience advising on the securitization of auto loans and continues to represent leading ABS issuer, Ford Motor Credit Company, on all of its domestic securitization programs and in non-US transactions offered in the US. Following on from the firm’s work for GM Financial in establishing its automobile lease financing platform, John Keiserman is representing it again in structuring and offering its initial Rule 144-A issuance of automobile lease-backed securities. In the broader transportation sector, Jonathan Goldstein and Stewart Herman are both regularly engaged in highly structured aviation finance transactions. Washington DC-based co-head Anna-Liza Harris is also very active advising on real estate-related structured finance transactions, while Howard Schickler is particularly accomplished in handling work at the nexus of private equity and structured finance.

Based out of New York and Chicago, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is best known for its representation of auto finance issuers; in this regard, Jeffrey O’Connor represented core client World Omni Financial Corporation in two public offerings of notes backed by retail auto loan receivables totaling $1.83bn. Kenneth Morrison also regularly handles auto-based securitization transactions and recently represented CarMax Business Services in four public offerings of notes backed by pools of motor vehicle retail instalment sales contracts. In addition to his transactional work, Morrison is known for his thought leadership in the industry and has represented numerous clients and trade bodies in comment letters responding to various proposed regulatory changes. The team has started to pick up increased work across other asset classes including timeshares, and has also begun to establish a presence advising its private equity clients on mortgage servicing rights transactions. Scott Gordon recently advised a group of banks as initial purchasers on three securitizations of timeshare loan receivables under the Sierra program of Wyndham Worldwide. As well as his work on securitization transactions, Gordon is also the main contact for the firm’s end-user focused derivatives practice. Janette McMahan is also recommended, for retail auto loan receivables and leases.

Although its team lacks the size of some of its peers in the ranking, Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘very strong’ offering more than makes up for that through the quality of its work on novel and sophisticated transactions. Based in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, the six-partner group is active across a broad range of asset classes and adds value to clients on deals which are innovative or first to market. The ‘very creative and knowledgeableKevin Fingeret is ‘excellent at thinking outside the box’, and both he and Graeme Smyth recently represented Citibank, as administrative agent and lender, in connection with two warehouse financings of consumer loans marketed through two of the largest peer-to-peer lending networks. Both Fingeret and Smyth are also regularly involved in highly structured financings in the aviation industry, and both were recently instructed by American Airlines to advise it as issuer on its $957m enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETC) offering. The team also has a significant presence in the CLO market for US asset managers and European asset managers looking to access the US market; a good deal of that work is handled out of Los Angeles by Vicki Marmostein and Dominic Yoong, and Yoong recently advised Ivy Hill Asset Management on the $334.4m Ivy Hill IX Middle Market CLO transaction. In addition to providing swaps and securitization regulatory advice to clients, Chicago-based Ellen Marks has handled work for Discover as issuer on approximately $6.7bn in credit card receivables for the first three-quarters of 2014.

New York-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has an excellent track record for issuers and underwriters engaged in a broad range of conventional and esoteric asset classes. Although deal flow has been significantly depressed in the private-label RMBS sector, the firm’s continued commitment to the space has started to pay dividends now that the market has begun to show signs of recovery. As well as traditional players such as Credit Suisse and Redwood Trust, the firm has also targeted new entrants and has begun to pick up a significant flow of work for new issuers including PennyMac and Two Harbors. The arrival in February 2014 of William Cullen and Janet Barbiere from Kaye Scholer LLP provides the firm with a hitherto untapped presence in the CMBS sector. Since their arrival the two have already handled a number of transactions for issuers including Citigroup, and underwriters such as Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. Alan Knoll’s diverse deal list includes securitizations for issuers and underwriters across consumer loans, auto loans and credit cards. In addition to his work as underwriters’ counsel on all of Nissan’s registered transactions under its auto lease, auto loan and dealer floorplan securitization programs, Knoll also advises American Express on its credit and charge card securitizations. Katharine Crost handles esoteric deals including tax liens, as well as RMBS work, and is a key member of a team which also includes RMBS experts Marty Howard, Duane Beasley, Howard Altarescu and Leah Sanzari Other recommended partners include CLO expert Joshua Raff and team head Al Sawyers.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s New York-based six-partner team provides ‘extremely responsive and value-for-money advice’ to investment managers, issuers, placement agents and investors across a variety of complex structured and securitized products. The team benefits from the firm’s ‘premier reputation among asset management entities’, and is regularly engaged by them across a range of structured products, including CLOs. Paul Watterson and Phillip Azzollini are ‘both very knowledgeable about the CLO space, in terms of both legal and market knowledge’, and recently acted for Mitsubishi UFJ Securities as initial purchaser’s counsel and as issuer's counsel to Carlyle Global Market Strategies CLO 2014-2, a $600m US CLO. The ‘responsive and detail-orientedDaniel Oshinsky is also active in the CLO arena and continues to handle a variety of work for Fortress Investment Group on its new CLOs. In addition to transactional work for the likes of Marathon Asset Management, Craig Stein is also recognized for his thought leadership on regulatory issues affecting both the securitization and derivatives markets. The ‘commercial and responsiveJoseph Suh represents clients in the structuring of, or investment in, structured finance vehicles or financial products including credit derivatives, equity derivatives and total return swaps.

The New York-based team at Allen & Overy LLP represents arrangers, originators and trustees engaged in a broad range of structured finance transactions. The firm is ‘particularly strong’ in the derivatives market, where its ‘superb regulatory knowledge’ provides a strong overlay to transactions across the spectrum of products, as well as on discrete standalone advisory matters. David Lucking is well regarded in the market and regularly handles work for derivatives industry bodies including ISDA, which he has assisted with the drafting of a number of market standard templates. Lucking has also advised on the transition of the over-the-counter (OTC) derivatives market to regulated trading platforms and central clearing houses. On the securitization front, John Hwang is recognized across a wide spectrum of traditional and esoteric asset classes and recently advised JP Morgan and several other banks, as underwriters’ counsel, on Chase Issuance Trust’s SEC publicly-registered credit card ABS. Hwang is also active on the regulatory front and has acted for numerous international banks on drafting comment letters setting forth their collective interests regarding the Volcker rule. Deborah North is also recommended for OTC derivatives and synthetic products and is well versed in the overarching international regulatory framework and how it affects the derivatives market.

Led out of Washington DC by Scott Faga and aided by a strong presence in New York as well as globally, Ashurst LLP is instructed by six of the ten top arrangers of US CLOs including JP Morgan and Bank of America, and is recognized as ‘one of the clear leaders in the CLO market’. Eugene Ferrer recently represented Morgan Stanley as arrangers counsel in two CLOs of broadly syndicated US corporate loans managed by Neuberger Berman with an aggregate value of approximately $1.14bn. Patrick Quill also regularly handles CLOs as part of his broad-ranging structured finance and derivatives practice, and recently advised Natixis, as structuring and placement agent, on a middle-market CLO involving a bankruptcy remote true sale of originator loans. Outside of the CLO and structured credit market, the team is well versed in advising on complex municipal bond securitization and repackaging programs, as well as representing financial institutions in restructuring investments in closed-end funds. In addition, the firm’s global footprint enables it to provide a strong international perspective of the myriad regulatory changes impacting the structured finance market. William Gray is also recommended.

Benefiting from ‘tremendous experience, acumen, depth and reputation’, Dentons’ New York-based team has ‘comprehensive knowledge’ across a range of securitized assets for issuers, underwriters, credit enhancers and investors. Co-chaired by Erik Klingenberg and Steve Kudenholdt, the team is particularly strong in the real estate market, where it has recently established a leading reputation in single-family rental securitizations. Klingenberg advised JP Morgan, as loan seller, and JP Morgan and Credit Suisse as placement agents, on two of the first large-loan, single-family rental securitizations - the $1.1bn Colony American Homes 2014-1 and 2014-2, single-family rental pass-through certificates. ‘One of the most respected and knowledgeable lawyers in the field’, Kudenholdt has an excellent reputation in the residential mortgage space and, in addition to transactional work, is praised for his ‘thought leadership’ across a number of regulatory changes affecting the industry. As well as purely domestic deals, the team also regularly works alongside practitioners across its expansive international network, for example, in Rule 144A deals for international companies selling ABS in the US. Robert McCarthy is ‘one of the best whole loan practitioners around’ and is a key member of a team which includes ABS expert Paul Tvetenstrand, who is ‘held in high regard’ as a result of his ‘vast experience in the industry’. Also recommended are John Holahan and Matthew Yoon, who are ‘excellent partners with great understanding of their areas of expertise’.

Led out of New York by Mark Michigan, Greenberg Traurig LLP represents stakeholders across almost every asset class in the mortgage, asset-backed, municipal and structured products markets. This breadth of expertise ensures that the firm is closely attuned to market developments and is able to implement novel structures for new asset classes that are brought to market. In addition to conventional ABS deals, Michigan is also well-versed in future flow securitizations, as well as the securitization of property tax liens. Chicago-based Trent Murch handles securitization transactions collateralized by credit card receivables, auto receivables and equipment receivables and handles a significant amount of work for the financial services arm of agricultural and construction equipment business CNH Industrial. Todd Miller is based in Florida and focuses on the auto sector, in addition to credit card securitizations and timeshare loan agreements.

A stalwart of the south-eastern legal market and with a growing presence in New York, Hunton & Williams LLP’s 40-strong team incorporates pure capital markets lawyers with those who have structured finance-related restructuring and tax expertise. Although the team handles a range of asset classes, it is best known for its work in the real estate sector, where it represents banks as issuers and underwriters of RMBS and whole loan transactions involving performing, non-performing and re-performing mortgage loans. The team is at the cutting-edge of the industry and as well as advising on established products, it handles developing and novel structures including new single family real-estate owned (REO) products. Kevin Buckley recently advised Third Federal Savings and Loan Association of Cleveland in connection with the sale of various pools of residential mortgage loans on a servicing-retained basis. As well as private-label work, the firm also has a very active government agency MBS practice. Following her representation of Ginnie Mae in the development of its government guaranteed multiclass securities program, Amy Williams regularly acts for the government agency in the issuance of securities pursuant to the program. New York and Charlotte-based co-heads Thomas Hiner and Mike Nedzbala both have strong practices in the mortgage servicing space. Also recommended are Eric Burner, for RMBS transactions, and Steven Becker, who has a particular niche in relation to warehouse financing transactions. Outside of the real estate sphere, the firm is able to leverage its industry-related strength in the energy sector to provide advice to energy clients seeking to securitize renewable energy assets.

Based in New York, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s three-partner team focuses solely on advising clients engaged in securitizing esoteric assets including timeshare loans, solar panel contracts and tobacco settlement contracts. The firm’s expertise in these types of deals ensures that it is regularly instructed by clients seeking to monetize new asset classes and is regularly at the forefront of developing new asset classes in the market. Laurence Pettit has been involved at the vanguard of the burgeoning renewable energy securitization class and has a particular expertise in property assessed clean energy (PACE) financings; notably, he recently represented the issuer and transaction sponsor in the first securitization of PACE bonds. As part of his broad array of structured finance transactions, Gilbert Liu handles a significant proportion of timeshare loan securitizations for issuers and underwriters, while Fabien Carruzzo has a focus on the derivatives end of the market.

Although it is far less involved in the securitization of conventional asset classes than many of the firms in the ranking, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP’s New York-based practice has a market-leading reputation for advising issuers and underwriters on IP securitizations and structured finance transactions in the media and entertainment industry. Team head Jordan Yarett has recently handled a number of transactions for Guggenheim Partners including acting for it as initial purchaser in the respective $275m and $1.3bn whole-business securitizations of Hooters and of the DineEquity’s Applebee’s and IHOP restaurant chains. Robert Zochowski is well versed in complex media and entertainment financings and recently represented a major investment bank in the $275m securitization of the Miramax film portfolio. Lawrence Wee is also recommended. Other clients include AIG, Goldman Sachs and Major League Baseball.

Spearheaded by ‘truly excellent all-round structured finance attorney’ Laura Palma out of the firm’s New York headquarters, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s small team is well regarded in the market by issuers, structuring advisers and underwriters engaged in securitizations across a wide range of asset classes. Praised for her ‘creativity and intelligence’, Palma has a particular focus on esoteric securitizations and recently represented the initial purchasers in five separate offerings of secured tower revenue securities issued by SBA Tower Trust. Joyce Xu heads the firm’s derivatives practice and advises banks, corporates, private equity firms and hedge funds on interest rate, currency and commodity derivatives. In addition to her transactional work, Xu is also recognized for her expertise advising on the regulatory aspects of equity derivatives.

Headed on the securitization front by Boris Ziser and by Marvin Goldstein for derivatives, New York-based Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP has a significant presence in the market across a range of transactions, for clients including Barclays, The Blackstone Group and Goldman Sachs. Ziser is one of the leading attorneys in the life settlement industry and recently advised underwriters, including Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank, in a $227.5m private placement securitization by JGWPT XXXII LLC, of fixed-rate asset-backed notes that were secured by a pool of structured settlements annuity payments and lottery prizes. Of counsel Richard Fried has experience in student loan securitizations and recently represented the initial purchasers in a $719.8m private placement by Nelnet Student Loan Trust 2014-3, of student loan asset-backed notes. In addition to transactional work, Conrad Bahlke has also been active advising a range of clients, including major banks, on the implications of numerous Dodd-Frank provisions on their derivatives and commodities businesses.

Based out of Chicago and aided by a significant presence in New York, the ‘exceptionalWinston & Strawn LLP provides ‘practical advice designed to manage risk in a fair and equitable manner’. The team is at the forefront of market developments and has been active in a number of new asset classes brought to market. For example, Daniel Passage represented Deutsche Bank Securities, as initial purchaser, in a first-of-its-kind securitization of PACE bonds. The team is also very active on the manager side within the CLO market, and led by Michael Mullins, recently acted for an affiliate of American Capital, as collateral manager and risk retention provider in a $600m CLO arranged by Deutsche Bank. The ‘excellentDavid Galainena co-heads the practice with Jeffrey Stern. Other recommended partners include Warren Loui, across a range of securitizations, and Michael O’Brien, who handles derivatives work for banks, hedge funds and end-users.

Successfully diversifying from its traditional esoterics expertise as a result of a number of strategic lateral hires over the past few years, DLA Piper can now boast a credible practice in the CLO and insurance-related structured finance fields. The ‘practical and commercialRichard Reilly has spearheaded the firm’s efforts on the CLO front and handles a variety of work for both Goldman Sachs and Ares Management. Reilly recently represented Goldman Sachs as primary deal counsel for Northwoods Capital XI, a $621m CLO to be managed by Angelo Gordon & Co. Although Reilly focuses his practice in the US, he is also regularly involved in handling European deals, including advising Ares Management on its first European CLO since the financial crisis. On the insurance front, David Luce represented GC Securities as initial purchaser in a $400m catastrophe bond, the first issued by Texas Windstorm Insurance Association. Out of Boston, Ronald Borod is recommended for his esoterics work including tobacco settlements and renewables securitizations.

Led by Mark Sisitsky out of the firm’s New York office, Jones Day’s profit and work-sharing ethos ensures a collaborative approach between departments and offices and regularly manifests itself in ancillary structured finance and derivatives products being attached to broader financings: for example, the team assisted SanDisk Corporation with convertible note hedge and issuer warrant transactions entered into in conjunction with its $1.5bn issuance of convertible senior notes. The group also provided call/spread hedge advice to Verint Systems pursuant to its issuance of $400m convertible senior notes. As well as new money mandates, the team often works with its market-leading bankruptcy group on structured finance-related matters, recently assisting the team with its work for the City of Detroit on its Chapter 9 bankruptcy, particularly in connection with the termination and restructuring of ‘in-the-money’ swaps with two large financial institutions. Joel Telpner was involved in all the aforementioned matters and is a key member of a team that also includes recommended partners Ilene Froom and Tracy Oley. The firm’s derivatives regulatory capability was reinforced by the arrival in March 2014 of Stephen Obie from the CFTC.

Led out of New York by Albert Pisa, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s seven-partner team provides ‘high-quality work’ to placement agents and managers in the CLO market including Natixis and JP Morgan. The ‘very good’ Jay Grushkin recently advised CIFC Asset Management and Prudential Investment Management as collateral managers on their respective $828m and $811m structuring and issuance of CLOs. The firm also has a significant capability for advising on the securitization of non-traditional assets including renewable energy receivables. In addition, it is praised for its ‘sophisticated and thorough analysis’ in relation to derivatives matters, and is singled out for its ‘tremendous contribution to the clearing industry’. The ‘tremendous’ John Williams is at the forefront of the firm’s regulatory work in the industry and is praised for having ‘really advanced banks’ level of understanding of the risks of derivatives clearing’. Williams is currently advising The Clearing House Association and Futures Industry Association on high-level regulatory analysis in relation to central counterparty clearing. Deborah Festa is also recommended.

Led out of New York by Henry Morriello and aided by a significant Chicago presence, Kaye Scholer LLP’s 11-partner team handles a wide range of transactions including CMBS, RMBS, derivatives, CLOs and esoterics, for issuers, collateral managers and trustees. Daniel Hartnett is well versed at handling securitizations in the real estate market and recently advised Prime Finance Partners as issuer and sponsor of a $600m CRE CLO. Hartnett also advised Redwood Trust on the structuring, approval and documentation of a new mortgage loan purchase and securitization program involving members of the Federal Home Loan Bank system. Other clients include UBS, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

Seward & Kissel LLP has longstanding expertise across the panoply of asset classes including ABS, CMBS, RMBS and CLOs, where its work not only includes transactional representation but also advice in relation to restructurings and associated litigation. Based out New York and Washington DC, the firm’s focus is on domestic matters, however, internationally it benefits from a strategic alliance with London-based Simmons & Simmons. The team is also engaged in numerous initiatives in the industry to adapt to regulatory changes and the heightened scrutiny placed upon it; in this regard, it is assisting the Structured Finance Industry Group on the development of RMBS 3.0, an initiative aimed at reinvigorating the private-label RMBS market. Recent transactional highlights include advising Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas on InSite Wireless Group’s $177.5m secured cellular site 2013-1 revenue notes. Team head Kalyan Das, Andrew Silverstein and Thomas Foley were all involved in the aforementioned deal and are integral members of the practice.

Led out of New York by the ‘superb’ David Thatch, White & Case LLP’s three-partner team is ‘excellent across the board’ and displays ‘superior knowledge’ in transactions involving the securitization of esoteric assets, workout situations and CLOs. Underwriters and managers appreciate the firm’s ‘thoughtful approach’ to CLO transactions which extends to ‘thought leadership’ on key regulatory changes impacting the sector. On the transactional front, Thatch recently represented the placement agent and Octagon Loan Funding on its $413m CLO and also acted for Merrill Lynch, as initial purchaser, in the $621.5m Anchorage CLO 4. The ‘very commercial’ Charles Pesant has ‘excellent technical skills’ and along with the ‘very experiencedJohn Donovan, represented PHH Corporation on the securitization elements of the $1.4bn sale of its fleet management service business to Element Financial. Other clients include Anchorage Capital Group, Bank of America and TPG.

Client Intelligence Report

The Legal 500 United States - Events

GC Magazine -
Summer 2015

GC Powerlist -
United States

Press releases

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Legal Developments worldwide

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Press Releases worldwide

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  • OLG Frankfurt: Misleading advertising featuring corporate history

    If over the course of its history a company was split up, advertising featuring the company’s history may be misleading. That was the verdict of the OLG Frankfurt (Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt) in a recent ruling (6 U 167/14).
  • Gender Pay Gaps: The Latest Reporting Requirements

    On average, male employees are paid more than female employees. In 2015, men working full-time were paid approximately 9.4% more than women working full-time. As a result, the government is working to introduce measures with the aim of reducing this gap.
  • European Commission Recognises The Importance Of Crowdfunding

    It has been announced last week that the European Commission (EC) has published a report on the EU crowdfunding sector, as part of its Capital Markets Union Action Plan. In doing so, the EC has recognised the growing importance of crowdfunding platforms – websites that allow fundraisers to interact with investors and donors – for the improved economic growth and job creation in Europe. Despite being acknowledged as relatively small at this moment in time, its rapid development has been noted, and for that reason, efforts are being made for crowdfunding to be appropriately regulated en route to becoming one of the key sources of financing for small & medium sized enterprises in the future.
  • Pitmans acts on Westcoast’s acquisition of Art Systems Holdings Ltd

    Pitmans LLP has acted on behalf of its longstanding client, Westcoast (Holdings) Limited on its acquisition of Art Systems Holdings Limited.
  • Dubai Investors Take Ownership Of Porto Montenegro

    One of the biggest news reports in the region last week was the acquisition of Porto Montenegro , the luxury yacht marina located in Tivat, by the Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD). The marina was handed over to the new owners during a press conference at the Regent Hotel, where the accompanying protocol was signed by ICD's Executive Director, Sheikh Mohammed Al Shaibani, and the CEO of the marina's previous owner – Adriatic Marinas, Oliver Corlette. The conference was also attended by the Montenegrin Prime Minister, Milo Đukanović, and the Minister of Sustainable Development and Tourism, Branimir Gvozdenović.
  • Insolvency Update: Changes that take effect from April 2016

    The Department of Justice has issued a practice direction in connection with the new insolvency express trials pilot.
  • The Apprenticeship Levy

    Following last year’s autumn statement, HMRC has now published draft legislation which introduces the proposed new apprenticeship levy. The levy will have effect from 6 April 2017.

    Another piece of news related to our competition team in Serbia are the recent signings of a Memorandum of Understanding and Agreement of Cooperation in the field of forensics between the Commission for the Protection of Competition and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA).
  • Chinese Company To Invest In Bosnian Thermal Plant

    The Sarajevo Business Forum 2016 (SBF) was, among hosting a number of lectures and discussions, a platform for one of the largest post-war investments in the energy sector in Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH). The reason for this can be found in the latest reports that an agreement was reached for the EUR 722 million construction of Thermal Power Plant Tuzla's Block 7 between Elektroprivreda BiH and the China Gezhouba Group Corporation , with the official MoU signing taking place on the first day of the SBF 2016. The project financier for the deal in question will be the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM), and the repayment period – together with a five-year grace period, is reported to be 15 years.
  • Karanović & Nikolić Attends Commission’s Anniversary

    ​Karanović & Nikolić attorneys were among the guests at the Republic of Serbia's Commission for the Protection of Competition's 10 year anniversary celebration, which also included an international conference on the topic of the law and policy of competition protection. The conference was opened by Deputy Prime Minister, Prof. Dr Kori Udovički, President of the Commission for Protection of Competition, Dr Miloje Obradović, President of the National Assembly's Committee for Economy, Regional Development, Trade, Tourism and Energy, Dr Aleksandra Tomić, and European Union Delegate, Steffen Hudolin.