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United States > Finance > Capital markets: debt offerings > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, praised for being ‘service-oriented and sensitive to pricing’, continues to be sought out by issuers and underwriters to advise on some of the most complex and high-value capital markets deals in the market. In early 2015, the firm assisted Actavis with its purchase of Allergan, which included financing via a $21bn notes offering; the bond deal, led by Jeffrey Karpf, was the second largest corporate debt issuance ever. The firm does not appoint practice heads, but other key names include Craig Brod and Michael Volkovitsch; Volkovitsch acted for Credit Suisse in what was the first issuance of ‘bail in’ securities by a Swiss bank, further demonstrating the firm’s leading-edge practice. On the bank side, in relation to a series of debt deals by AIG, Brod and Karpf advised various parties including underwriters, structuring agents and dealer managers. Counsel James Small left for an in-house role while Adam Brenneman was promoted to partner.

The team at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is hailed by one client for its ‘truly outstanding level of service’ and for the ‘remarkable impact on every deal that we have worked on together’. The securities team, led by ‘best in the business’ William Whelan, advises issuers and underwriters on major debt deals spanning a wide array of industries, including healthcare, real estate and media. Highlights included acting for Qualcomm on its $10bn debut debt offering and assisting Time Warner with two offerings totaling $2.8bn; Scott Bennett led on the former, and Johnny Skumpija and William Rogers on the latter. On the underwriter side, a team led by Stephen Burns and Andrew Pitts advised JPMorgan, Mizuho Securities, Wells Fargo Securities, Morgan Stanley, Barclays and Citigroup on Actavis’ $21bn senior notes offering. William Fogg, Craig Arcella and Kris Heinzelman* are also names to note. *Since publication, Kris Heinzelman has retired from the firm's corporate department.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has a stellar reputation in the field of capital markets, and in the investment grade space it advises some of the world’s biggest issuers including ExxonMobil, Comcast and Freeport. Standout engagements in the past year included advising Visa on its $16bn notes offering and acting for the representatives of the underwriters on AbbVie’s $16.7bn notes offering. The first matter, led by Joseph Hall, was the second largest securities offering by a financial technology company ever; the second, led by Richard Truesdell, was the largest securities offering by a pharmaceutical sector issuer ever. Hall and Truesdell are based in New York along with Michael Kaplan and other senior members of the team while Bruce Dallas and Alan Denenberg are based in Menlo Park and are part of the firm’s strong West Coast presence.

The ‘exceptional’ capital markets practice at Sidley Austin LLP is jointly headed by New York-based Edward Petrosky, Craig Chapman and William Massey and Chicago-based Kevin Blatchford. The team has had a busy year despite market turbulence; highlights included advising new client BorgWarner on its issuance of $1bn of senior notes and acting as designated underwriters’ counsel in relation to Disney’s $2bn notes offering. Eric Haueter, who handled the Disney work, is ‘careful and detail-oriented’. Petrosky, who acted on the BorgWarner matter, also led the advice to Simon Property Group, a leading REIT, on notes offerings totaling $1.1bn. The REIT space is a rich source of financing work for the practice, as are private equity and corporate acquisitions. Other names to note are Aryeh Zarchan, James O’Connor and Robert Ryan, all based in New York.

Arthur Robinson’s team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is ‘world class’, say clients. ‘The overall level of service is excellent - the response times could not be better and the experience, industry knowledge and business acumen are particularly impressive’. The team generates a lot of work through its first-rate private equity practice, acting for portfolio companies and as designated underwriters’ counsel; it also represents major public companies. Palo Alto-based William Brentani, who ‘has a depth of experience and a practical nature that allows clients to move quickly and effectively’, handles a lot of debt work for Microsoft, and in 2015 he advised it on offerings totaling $23.75bn. Kevin Kennedy and Daniel Webb, also in Palo Alto, advised the underwriters on a series of debt offerings by Apple totaling $23.7bn. Roxane Reardon, Kenneth Wallach and Andrew Keller also stand out; they are based in New York, as is Mark Brod, who returned from the firm’s London office in early 2015.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is hailed for its depth and consistency of quality: ‘from partners to associates it delivers excellent service.’ A notable highlight in 2015 was acting as designated underwriters’ counsel in relation to AT&T’s $17.5bn notes offering, the third largest corporate bond deal ever. The ‘very reasonable’ Patrick Brown led on that matter. Brown is based in Los Angeles, but most other key members of the group are based in New York, including Robert Downes who advised the Building Materials Corporation of America on its $1.1bn senior notes offering and John Estes who handled Cheniere CCH HoldCo II’s $1bn offering of secured payment-in-kind (PIK) convertible notes. New York-based Robert Buckholz and David Harms are also highly regarded; Buckholz advised the underwriters on two offerings by Becton Dickinson, including an exchange offer, and Harms assisted the underwriters with two offerings by United Technologies.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is counsel of choice for many investment banks and as such advises underwriters in a huge number of investment grade and high-yield debt deals each year. Recent highlights include advising the joint book-running managers and co-managers on the $15.5bn Rule 144A/Regulation S notes offering by CCO Safari II (a subsidiary of Charter Communications), the proceeds of which will be used to complete Charter’s pending acquisition of Time Warner Cable. John Tripodoro, Corey Wright and Brian Kelleher led on that matter. Elsewhere, a team led by Ann Makich and Michael Reddy assisted the underwriters with a $4bn public offering by Comcast while a team led by Daniel Zubkoff and Douglas Horowitz acted for the underwriters in a $650m public offering by Xerox. Other names to note are William Hartnett, James Clark and Susanna Suh.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s capital markets team focuses largely on issuer-side work. It represents a mix of private equity sponsors, portfolio companies and corporate clients in the full array of debt and equity transactions, including complex exchange offers, where it benefits from the firm’s first rate restructuring practice. The firm has a focus on the complex high-yield market, but it also handles investment grade work for the likes of Boeing, Kellogg’s and Heinz. In 2015, in a particularly standout matter, New York-based Joshua Korff advised Heinz on its offering of notes totaling $12bn, the proceeds of which part financed its merger with Kraft. In another highlight, Richard Aftanas and Ross Leff, also in New York, advised Exelon on its offering of $4.2bn of senior unsecured notes. Other key contacts include Dennis Myers, Christian Nagler and Robert Hayward.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s capital markets practice, headed by Marc Jaffe in New York and Patrick Shannon in Washington DC, is one of the largest in the world, advising on all product types across a wide array of industries. The team has longstanding ties with many of the key underwriters, but the steady expansion of the firm’s private equity client base means issuer-side representations now account for roughly half its work in this area - particularly in the investment grade arena. Notable recent matters include advising the underwriters on CNO Financial’s $825m offering of senior notes and assisting CommScope with its $3bn acquisition of certain businesses of TE Connectivity, including debt financing via a $2bn notes offering. Jaffe and Senet Bischoff led on the former; Shannon and Jason Licht led on the latter. As an example of the firm’s cross-border expertise, a team led by Chicago-based Roderick Branch acted for Illinois Tool Works in its offering to European investors of €1bn of New York-listed notes. Kirk Davenport and Ian Schuman are other key names.

Shearman & Sterling LLP has capital markets lawyers based in its New York, Washington DC, Palo Alto and San Francisco offices, as well outside the US in Toronto and Sao Paulo. Led by David Beveridge, the ‘deep bench’ operates ‘at the highest level’, providing ‘significant strength in business acumen and appropriateness of advice and value’. Investment grade debt is a core strength and the firm regularly acts for issuers and underwriters. Highlights included advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Barclays, JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs on Qualcomm’s launch of a $4bn commercial paper program and CVS Health on a registered shelf takedown offering of $15bn of senior notes. Stephen Giove led on the latter while Lisa Jacobs led on the former. Other key names are Jonathan DeSantis, Michael Benjamin and former department head and Latin America specialist Antonia Stolper. Newly promoted partner Merritt Johnson is described as ‘very hard working’ with ‘great client coverage’.

Given its huge M&A practice, it stands to reason that Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is strong on corporate finance. An impressive year for the firm includes advising Coca-Cola on what was the largest-ever issuance of euro-denominated bonds by a US company - €8.5bn; this was led by Dwight Yoo. In another notable matter, Stacy Kanter acted for longstanding client Gilead Sciences in its $10bn notes offering. Michael Zeidel handled a novel matter, assisting CS&L and Windstream with a debt-for-debt exchange involving an offering of $1.6bn of CS&L debt securities. The team also acted as underwriters’ counsel in two debt offerings by Brixmor Operating Partnership. Gregory Fernicola is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is commended for its ‘excellent work’ advising issuers and underwriters on high-yield and investment grade debt offerings, often in the context of acquisition finance. Following the retirement of Matthew Bloch, Alexander Lynch is now sole head of the team, which also includes Jennifer Bensch, Frank Adams and Corey Chivers. Highlights from 2015 included Bensch advising H&R Block on a $1bn offering of senior notes by its subsidiary Block Financial; Adams acting for the underwriters in a $2.4bn notes offering by Harris Corporation to finance its $4.75bn acquisition of Exelis; and Chivers handling, for the underwriters, two notes offerings by Microsoft valued at $13bn and $10.75bn respectively. The firm’s premier restructuring practice is also a source of work for the team, and a significant matter in this regard was assisting, with Chivers leading, GE Capital with a $36bn debt exchange offer as part of GE’s strategy to shrink its financial services arm.

David Kirkland and Kelly Rose head Baker Botts L.L.P.’s firmwide corporate department out of Houston. The largely Texas-based team has a clear strength in the energy market, regularly advising issuers, private equity sponsors and underwriters in relation to securities offerings. Recent examples include advising Halliburton on its $7.5bn senior notes offering and acting for Valero Energy on its $1.25bn senior notes offering; Rose led on the first of these and Gerry Spedale on the second. On the underwriter side, Tull Florey assisted Deutsche Bank, BNP Paribas, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley with Enbridge Energy Partners’ $1.6bn offering of senior unsecured notes.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable, very thoughtful’ team earns praise from clients for being ‘in tune with the industries’ in which they work. Led by Steven Slutzky and Matthew Kaplan, it team handles the full array of capital markets transactions for its clients, which include public company, financial institution and private equity issuers, and to a lesser extent underwriters. A standout matter in 2015 was advising Spirit Airlines on its $577m debut offering of enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETCs), the proceeds of which will be used to finance 15 new aircraft. This deal, which was led by Kaplan, is an example of the type of nonstandard matters the team often works on. Other highlights include Kaplan assisting Corporate Risk Holdings with various matters relating to its Chapter 11 proceedings, including refinancing and restructuring around $2bn worth of debt. Other key figures include Peter Loughran, who handled a series of debt deals in 2015 for International Paper.

Stuart Gelfond and Daniel Bursky lead the ‘top-notch’ capital markets team at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, which earns praise for ‘consistently exceeding all reasonable expectations’ and for an overall level of service that is ‘beyond compare’. The team handles a wide range of capital raising transactions for the firm’s numerous corporate and private equity clients and also acts regularly as underwriters’ counsel. Highlights in 2015 included advising Merck on a €2.5bn offering of euro-denominated notes, a concurrent tender offer to purchase any and all of certain outstanding notes totaling $1.8bn, and a subsequent $8bn notes offering. On the underwriter side, Gelfond and Mark Hayek acted for Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo in Quest Diagnostics’ $1.2bn notes offering. Other key names include Joshua Coleman and Andrew Barkan.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has relationships with some of the largest corporations and financial institutions in US, including Mondelēz, Capital One, General Electric and Intel. These relationships supply a steady source of financing work for the practice; in an example from 2015, a team led by San Francisco-based Stewart McDowell closed a $7bn notes offering for Intel, the proceeds of which helped fund Intel’s acquisition of Altera. Also in 2015, a team led by New York-based Andrew Fabens advised Mondelēz on a euro-denominated notes offering and its first-ever offerings of sterling-denominated and Swiss franc-denominated notes. On the underwriter side, Douglas Smith acted for Wells Fargo Securities in relation to a series of issuances totaling $17.55bn. McDowell and Fabens chair the practice alongside Los Angeles-based Peter Wardle. Robyn Zolman in Denver is another name to note.

Jones Day’s sizeable corporate and M&A practice feeds into what remains an active capital markets group, particularly on the corporate issuer side; Cleveland-based Christopher Kelly and Michael Solecki head the ‘very practical and responsive’ team. Major corporate clients continue to do debt deals and in 2015 the team acted for key client Starbucks in its public offering of $850m of senior notes with Chicago-based Edward Winslow leading. In another highlight, Winslow teamed up with San Francisco’s Timothy Hoxie to assist semiconductor company Lam Research with its offering of $1bn of senior notes; this was notable as tech companies are not traditional debt market users. On the underwriter side, New York-based Rory Hood and John Owen advised in relation to two separate offerings by PepsiCo, one totaling $3.25bn and the other $3bn.

Mayer Brown has capital markets practitioners based in its New York, Chicago, Houston and Palo Alto offices as well as in offices outside the US, giving it a good range in terms of geography and client base. Chicago-based Edward Best leads the group; he recently worked alongside David Bakst and Jennifer Carlson in advising the dealers, including Citigroup Global Markets, on the setting up of Agricultural Bank of China’s $10bn senior MTN program. They also acted for Citi as the representative of several underwriters in Agricultural Bank of China’s subsequent $1.25bn notes offering. Out of Houston, Harry Beaudry, Bill Hart and William Heller handled a $1.5bn notes offering for Noble Energy while Chicago’s David Schuette assisted biopharma company Baxalta with its issuance of notes worth $5bn.

The ‘exceptionally responsive and creative’ team at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP is a leader in asset and project finance, and much of the debt capital markets work it does arises from its experience and relationships within these fields. Highlights in 2015 included New York-based Arnold Peinado advising the initial purchasers on the first offering in South America of aircraft-backed EETCs - just over $1bn issued by LATAM Airlines. Another was advising the dealer managers on a private exchange offer by Verizon involving $10.4bn of existing debt and $13.37bn in newly issued securities - one of the largest exchange offers on record. This was led out of London and New York by Stuart Morrissy and the ‘very smart’ Paul Denaro, who ‘can understand complex matters and identify which issues are of concern’. Practice head Marcelo Mottesi, Rod Miller and Brett Nadritch are also recommended - all are based in New York.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable, experienced and responsive’ capital markets group handles a substantial amount of investment grade work. Led by the ‘highly experienced’ James Tanenbaum, who ‘gives excellent and valuable service’, the team advises issuers and underwriters on, among other things, Rule 144A/Regulation S offerings, continuous debt offerings, covered bonds and complex hybrid securities such as convertibles. In a recent matter, the ‘brilliant’ Anna Pinedo assisted Incapital with the establishment of a continuous registered debt offering of $40m of InterNotes by Alcentra, a business development company (BDC); this was notable as BDCs do not typically issue debt securities. In addition to acting for financial services clients such as Incapital, Capital One and Bank of Nova Scotia, the firm is noted for its experience in the REITs and life sciences arenas; Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Bacterin are recent clients. Ze’ev Eiger is also recommended.

At O’Melveny & Myers LLP, the capital markets practice is chaired by San Francisco-based Brophy Christensen and New York-based Michael Schiavone. On the debt side, the team picks up a steady stream of underwriter work and over the course of 2015 it acted on sizeable offerings by, among others, American Honda Finance (three offerings totaling $1bn and another of €1.2bn), Toyota Motor Credit (five offerings totaling $5.3bn) and Prologis (one offering of $750m and another of €700m). Schiavone led on the Prologis offerings while Los Angeles-based John-Paul Motley led on the others. Daniel O’Shea in New York and Peter Healy in San Francisco are other names to note; each served as underwriters’ counsel in various deals in 2015. On the issuer side, Motley handled Air Lease Corporation’s $500m public debt offering.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has a significant debt practice, particularly in the high-yield space on behalf of issuers, where it attends to the financing needs of a stable of private equity clients. Gregory Ezring and John Kennedy jointly lead the ‘intelligent and practical’ team, which also includes ‘standout’ Monica Thurmond. Notable recent maters include Kennedy handling cruise ship operator Carnival’s offering into Europe of €1.25bn of senior notes. Other representative examples include Andrew Foley assisting Canadian Pacific Railway with various offerings of notes totaling $2.7bn and Raphael Russo acting for Ralph Lauren on a $300m notes offering. On the underwriter side, Christopher Cummings advised on various notes offerings by TransCanada PipeLines.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s capital markets team is ‘highly client focused’ and is ‘a strong player in the debt space’. Frank Lopez has ‘his finger on the pulse of the market’ and is ‘a great resource’. Lopez heads the practice alongside Julie Allen and under the pair’s stewardship the firm’s capital markets practice has grown substantially in recent years. In a standout matter from 2015, Lopez and Stephen Gruberg advised longstanding client Celgene on its offering of five tranches of notes totaling $8bn, the proceeds of which were used to finance its acquisition of Receptos. The firm has good relationships with major underwriters and private equity firms with a significant amount of work flowing from these. For example, Lopez acted for the underwriters in two offerings by Techniplas while Los Angeles-based Monica Shilling assisted Ares Capital with two notes offerings totaling $600m. Los Angeles-based Philippa Bond is ‘a rising star’.

The team at Vinson & Elkins LLP, jointly headed by the Houston-based David Oelman and Keith Fullenweider, is praised for its excellence and for being ‘proactive instead of reactive’. It is a major player in the debt space and routinely ranks as one of the largest practices nationally in terms of deal volume and deal count. Much of this work originates from issuers in the energy sector, but the group also represents underwriters and has industry expertise in areas such as aviation, real estate, financial services and technology. Highlights included advising Plains All American Pipelines on notes offerings totaling $2.95bn; Oelman led on this matter along with Alan Beck. Other active clients in the energy space include NiSource, MarkWest Energy and Energy XXI. Outside of energy, the firm has acted for Southwest Airlines, Apollo Global and Cardtronics.

The ‘outstanding’ corporate and securities team at Andrews Kurth LLP is jointly headed by David Buck and Michael O’Leary. Largely based out of Houston, but with practitioners also located in Austin, Dallas and Washington DC, the team advises issuers and underwriters on public and private offerings primarily within the energy space. Recent highlights include assisting master limited partnership ONEOK Partners with its offering of $800m of senior notes and handling Cheniere Energy’s registered direct offering of $625m of convertible notes; O’Leary led on both matters. Other names to note are Henry Havre, Meredith Mouer and Scott Olson. One client says of the team: ‘they have all provided the highest level of service and expertise and I trust each and every one of them as close advisers’.

William Anderson and Charles Still lead Bracewell LLP’s largely Houston-centered team, which is noted in particular for its work within the energy sector. A standout transaction of 2015 was handling Kinder Morgan’s first €1.25bn notes offering, its first-ever euro-denominated issuance; Troy Harder led on that. Other notable highlights included Anderson advising ConocoPhillips on a $2.5bn notes offering and Still acting for Venoco on a series of financing transactions including an exchange offer. Newly promoted partner Emily Leitch is another key figure.

Covington & Burling LLP is well known for its strong relationships within the life sciences industry, particularly with Fortune 500 companies. The firm handles the full range of financing transactions for such clients, and in the debt capital markets space has recently advised on notes offerings for Eli Lilly (€2.1bn), Bristol-Myers Squibb (€1.15bn) and Johnson & Johnson ($2bn). Chaired by Donald Murray, the ‘excellent’ team also includes New York-based Eric Blanchard, who is described as a ‘go-to lawyer for debt offerings’. Outside of the life sciences space, Blanchard advised the underwriters on consumer products company Clorox’s $500m notes offering and Washington DC-based senior counsel David Martin assisted Avid Technology with a $125m Rule 144A/Regulation S placement of convertible notes.

Key figures at DLA Piper LLP (US) include capital markets practice chair Christopher Paci and head of the debt capital markets group Jamie Knox. Knox and Paci are both based in New York, but the firm also has capital markets lawyers in its Los Angeles, Washington DC, Chicago, Silicon Valley, Minneapolis, Baltimore and San Diego offices. This broad reach attracts a range of issuer clients, although the firm has particular strength in real estate, technology and life sciences. Recent work includes advising biopharmaceutical Immunomedics on its $100m Rule 144A/Regulation S convertible notes offering and handling Lima Metro Line 2 Finance’s close to $1.2bn Rule 144A/Regulation S notes offering.

Dechert LLP’s capital markets practice is ‘outstanding in every way’, advising issuers from a range of industries, and also underwriters, on the full spectrum of debt work. Led by New York-based David Rosenthal and Boston-based Thomas Friedmann, the team has practitioners operating across its US and international network. ‘I would never use anyone else’, says a client who compliments in particular the ‘response times, specific practice knowledge and value’. The firm has a strong showing among life sciences, private equity and BDC clients. Recent highlights include advising FS Investment Corporation, a BDC, on its public offering of $325m of unsecured notes and acting for pharma company Egalet on its offering of $60m of senior convertible notes. Philadelphia-based Eric Siegel is hailed for his ‘consistent, measured and thoughtful advice’.

Faegre Baker Daniels has strong relationships with several high-volume debt issuers, the most notable of which is Wells Fargo. During the course of 2015, the team advised Wells Fargo on public and private debt offerings totaling $18.5bn, including floating and fixed rate notes, senior and subordinated notes, and structured securities; leading the advice was Dawn Holicky Pruitt and practice head Sonia Shewchuk, both of whom are based in Minneapolis. Over the same time period, Indianapolis-based Christine Long and Janelle Blankenship advised Zimmer Biomet on public debt offerings totaling just under $7.7bn. Other recent clients in the debt space include Target, Northern Oil & Gas and Archer Daniels Midland.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s US capital markets practice has grown considerably since the arrival of a team at the end of 2014 from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, which included high-profile practitioners Valerie Ford Jacob, Paul Tropp and Michael Levitt. The acquisition of such a well-known group has strengthened the firm’s brand recognition significantly, particularly among banking clients. Notable recent highlights include acting as underwriters’ counsel in relation to a $200m notes offering by Ares Capital, a $500m notes offering by Republic Services, and two offerings by FS Investment Corporation worth $600m combined. Levitt led on the Ares and Republic Services matters; Tropp led on the FS Investment Corporation deal.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has a largely issuer-side practice, with its excellent regulatory credentials proving an attractive option for issuers within heavily regulated industries such as life sciences and healthcare. A recent example was assisting UnitedHealth with its $10.5bn notes offering; Washington DC-based Richard Parrino led on that. Parrino also led advice to newly acquired client CBS in a series of offerings totaling $3.5bn. Other key names include practice head David Bonser, Eve Howard and Stuart Stein, all of whom are based in Washington DC. Howard handled matters for Anthem and Extended Stay America and Stein continued the firm’s work with Apple Inc, acting on an $8bn notes issuance under a shelf registration.

The overall level of service is excellent’ at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. In particular, ‘the firm responds quickly, has strong industry knowledge, provides a good depth of resources through its team approach and offers great value’. The capital markets group, led by Philadelphia-based Joanne Soslow and Pittsburg-based Amy Pandit, handles a steady stream of debt financing work for the firm’s corporate clients, which include life sciences and utility companies. Highlights in 2015 included advising American Water Capital Corp. on its $550m notes offering and acting for pharmaceutical company AmerisourceBergen on its $1bn notes offering. James McKenzie led the second matter; Soslow led the first alongside senior attorney Sally Liao and of counsel Maria Ross, who is valued for her ‘extensive, industry-wide experience with utility mortgages’. John Hood, another key name, provides an ‘impressive depth of securities laws and financial transactions experience’.

The service at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is ‘prompt and responsive’ and ‘excellent in all respects’, with the firm providing ‘a high level of expertise in public, private and bank financings’. The global team is led out of Hong Kong by Edwin Luk; key contacts in the US include Brett Cooper in San Francisco and New York-based Stephen Ashley, who ‘is very responsive, does thorough research and speaks in plain English’. The firm has a sizeable stable of cleantech industry clients, and recently advised Cube Hydro on a private placement of $140m of senior secured notes. Ashley led on that alongside Tara Higgins, who earns praise for being ‘extremely knowledgeable of our industry, our company and of financing options in general; she’s very personable and engaged’. The firm also has notable expertise in the conventional energy, infrastructure, technology and life sciences industries, and in 2015 the practice also handled deals for PG&E and TC PipeLines.

Paul Hastings LLP’s capital markets team is chaired by Michael Zuppone. The practice has grown steadily in recent years, particularly in the high-yield space, but also in relation to investment grade debt. Highlights included John Cobb advising the underwriters on a $200m notes offering by Centene, and Michael Fitzgerald and Arturo Carrillo handling Mexican corn flour producer Gruma’s $400m Rule 144A/Regulation S bond offering, the proceeds of which will go towards redeeming what are possibly the only perpetual corporate bonds ever issued in Mexico. Elsewhere, Cathleen McLaughlin, a new recruit from Allen & Overy LLP, acted for the Government of Jamaica in a $2bn dual-tranche bond issuance.

WilmerHale’s capital markets team handles public offerings and private placements for a client base largely made up of public companies within the life sciences, financial services, technology and communications industries. Recent highlights include Washington DC-based Erika Robinson advising Danaher on a $1.8bn notes offering and assisting the corporation with a €2.7bn notes offering by its Luxembourg finance subsidiary. Robinson also acted for Discovery Communications in its issuance of notes totaling $900m, and worked alongside Boston-based Mark Borden in advising Red Hat on an $805m Rule 144A/Regulation S placement of convertible notes. Practice co-chair Brian Johnson is based in New York.

Winston & Strawn LLPprovides extraordinary service’ to its clients, which in the debt capital markets space are mostly underwriters. Washington DC-based Christopher Zochowski co-chairs the practice with Matthew Bergmann, who is based in the Chicago office along with key name Cabell Morris. The firm also has capital markets experts operating from its New York office, including James Junewicz, based in both New York and Chicago, who is ‘clearly one of the best lawyers I have worked with regarding capital markets and M&A’ according to one client. Chicago-based Robert Wall also impresses. The firm acts as designated underwriters’ counsel for several major issuers, including Exelon, and in 2015 Morris advised on multiple debt offerings by the energy company totaling several billion dollars.

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