United States > Finance > Structured finance > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings
Index of tables
Allen & Overy LLP
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP
- Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP
- Reed Auerbach - Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
Michael Dayan -
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
- Paul Forrester - Mayer Brown
Richard Kadlick -
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
- Steven Kolyer - Clifford Chance
- Jason Kravitt - Mayer Brown
- Vicki Marmorstein - Latham & Watkins LLP
- Renwick Martin - Sidley Austin LLP
Michael Mazzuchi -
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
- David Mitchell - Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP
- Kenneth Morrison - Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Warren Motley -
Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP
- Frank Nocco - Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP
Laura Palma -
Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP
- Donna Parisi - Shearman & Sterling LLP
- Joshua Raff - Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP
Edward Rosen -
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP
- Ray Shirazi - Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
- Lary Stromfeld - Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
- Jon Van Gorp - Mayer Brown
- Paul Watterson - Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
- Neil Weidner - Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is ‘a recognized leader in the finance sector’, and fields ‘an elite group of lawyers’ who are noted for their expertise in securitization transactions, derivatives and structured products, and for their ‘outstanding’ knowledge of regulatory matters. An impressive list of clients includes Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Citibank, Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo, together with managers and new participants implementing CLO-like transactions in innovative sectors. The practice continues to diversify beyond its CMBS roots, and is recognized also in the areas of CLOs, subscription credit facilities, ABSs and a range of more esoteric asset classes, including aircraft loans and leases, cell tower, company cash flows, insurance receivables, manufactured housing contracts and music royalties. The securitization practice is headed by New York-based Michael Gambro and Charlotte-based Stuart Goldstein, while the derivatives department is led by Richard Schetman and Steven Lofchie, who is ‘an expert on broker-dealer issues’. A team led by Neil Weidner in New York advised CPP Investment Board on the acquisition by its subsidiary, CPPIB Credit Investment, of GE Capital’s US sponsor lending portfolio, Antares Capital, for $12bn; in another highlight, the group acted for FirstKey Lending in the first multi-borrower single-family rental (SFR) securitization, totaling $241m. Equity derivatives expert Ray Shirazi, also based in New York, assisted Salix Pharmaceuticals with terminating and unwinding complex convertible call spread equity derivatives backing $1.04bn of convertible notes connected to its $15.6bn sale to Valeant. Lary Stromfeld and Ivan Loncar are considered ‘two of the best structured finance practitioners in the area’. The ‘equity derivatives and regulatory expert’ Jeffrey Robins is also recommended.
Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has ‘excellent business acumen and expertise in the industry’ and an ‘excellent reputation’ for a wide range of finance and securitization matters, including CLO transactions, agency mortgage securitizations, esoteric securitizations and asset-based lending operations, and fixed-income derivatives. The US structured finance, securitization and derivatives team, based in New York and Washington DC, provides the ‘collective wisdom, strength and integrated advice’ to clients that include issuers, underwriters, asset managers, industry associations and other market players. Last year saw the practice working on some of the most notable CLO and mortgage-backed securities transactions in the US. Mitchell Dupler, who focuses on corporate and financial matters in Washington, represented a group of underwriters, including Barclays and Citigroup, in Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae mortgage-backed transactions worth $231bn. ‘Expert in derivatives’ Seth Grosshandler and the ‘excellent and very much sought after’ Edward Rosen, both in New York, have recently been advising individual financial institutions and trade associations on regulatory legislation. Michael Dayan is considered an ‘authority in equity derivatives and equity transactions’; Michael Mazzuchi is a specialist in corporate and security matters, with a particular emphasis on domestic and international structured finance. Based in Washington, Joyce McCarty and Paul St Lawrence continued their work in relation to CLOs, which encompasses transactional and regulatory matters. Also active in the CLO space is Robin Bergen, who advised on 52 transactions valued at more than $27bn. Clients include Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Verizon.
Mayer Brown’s ‘large and deep team impresses with its diverse and balanced practice’. The ‘vast and comprehensive’ practice covers a wide range of products, from mortgage-backed and insurance-linked securities to credit cards, marketplace loans and other, more esoteric receivables. The group is noted for its innovative approach and work on first-of-kind transactions, which attracts some of the largest securitization issuers, such as Honda and Macquarie. The practice is divided between New York, Chicago, Charlotte and Washington DC. In Chicago, Carol Hitselberger and Stuart Litwin led advice to the underwriters in the first-ever securitization of solar assets already financed in a tax equity partnership structure, and the ‘innovative and well-regarded’ Jon Van Gorp acted for several funds to set up titling trusts to enable the acquisition and financing of seasoned mortgage loans and real estate owned (REO) properties. In New York, Stephen Rooney is noted for his knowledge of the insurance and structured finance market. The ‘very experienced’ Jason Kravitt in New York and Chicago-based Paul Forrester are also part of the ‘distinguished team’, as are the ‘deeply knowledgeable’ Keith Oberkfell, Christopher Brady (‘an expert in RMBS and CMBS’), Eric Reilly, who is also praised for his knowledge of commercial and residential mortgages, Amanda Baker, known for her expertise in auto ABS, and the ‘respected’ Angela Ulum.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s derivatives-focused practice was enhanced in late 2014 by the arrival of the majority of the structured finance team from Bingham McCutchen, which added strong expertise in securitization. The diverse practice spans ABS, MBS and esoteric assets, and the group handles everything from transactions to regulatory advice to enforcement matters. ‘Reputed practitioner’ Reed Auerbach advised a loan management company on a complex new issuance of asset-backed securities involving a pool of private education student loans, which required several independent, simultaneous transactions. Steve Levitan is highly experience in dealing with ‘complex securitization transactions’. Headed by Thomas D’Ambrosio and Michael Philipp, the derivatives group advises on a wide range of complex equity, debt and currency instruments. Philipp acted for LedgerX in its registration process with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), which moves LedgerX a step closer towards becoming the first regulated exchange for bitcoin derivatives. The firm is well placed to advise on compliance with new regulations coming into force, and on dealing with the regulatory authorities, especially from its Washington DC office. Joshua Sterling acts for private and public funds and other investment vehicles; he is respected for his derivatives-related regulatory expertise.
Sidley Austin LLP has a longstanding presence in the financial products market and its lawyers are praised for having ‘the highest level of knowledge and efficiency’ and providing ‘thoughtful and steady advice’. It works for issuers and underwriters in securitizations across the full spectrum of asset classes, and provides advice on all highly structured products. The team is led by Myles Pollin in New York and Gary Stern in Chicago. Kevin Blauch is another key member of the team and has a good reputation for his work with issuers, underwriters and sellers of mortgage loans. Edward Fine is renowned for his expertise in securitizations in the real estate sector; Jonathan Nunes has advised clients such as Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley; San Francisco-based Dale Lum acted for CarMax Auto Owner Trust on five public offerings of auto loan backed notes totaling $5bn. Other key names include ‘expert in OTC derivatives’ Ellen Pesch, and senior counsel Renwick Martin, who is ‘knowledgeable in securitization matters’.
A ‘powerhouse in the financial services industry’, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP offers ‘deep market knowledge of the sector, pragmatic solutions to complex tasks, appropriate advice, and transactional and regulatory expertise’. Clients appreciate the interdisciplinary approach, which combines expertise in corporate and tax matters, investment management and litigation, and it is a ‘go-to’ firm for numerous premier financial institutions seeking advice on structured notes programs, both registered and unregistered. Heads of the practice Christopher Schell and Warren Motley led advice to Morgan Stanley on nearly 486 structured products offerings, with a combined value of $2.5bn, consisting of notes linked to a variety of assets. An expert in the development of innovative products, Ray Ibrahim acted for Credit Suisse on 701 structured products offerings, with an aggregate value of $4.5bn; these included SEC-registered notes issued by Credit Suisse AG’s Nassau and London branches linked to commodities, currencies, equities and other assets. John Brandow and John Crowley led advice to JPMorgan on 463 structured products offerings valued at $2.15bn, involving notes issued by JPMorgan Chase & Co and notes and certificates of deposit issued by JPMorgan Chase Bank. Washington DC-based Susan Ervin brings experience in CFTC and SEC regulatory matters to the practice. The impressive list of clients includes Citigroup, Natixis and Société Générale, among others. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York except where otherwise stated.
Dechert LLP’s structured finance group is noted for ‘its great finance service, industry resourcefulness and up-to-date knowledge’. The 48-lawyer team has been active advising issuers and underwriters on transactional and regulatory matters relating to ABS, CLOs and CMBS, and helping clients develop structures aimed at complying with the final US risk retention rule (‘Final Rule’), including the innovative C-MOA structure. It has also been at the forefront of advising on SFR securitization. Charlotte-based head of practice John Timperio and Cinthia Williams in Boston headed the advice to Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Citibank, as lenders, on the financing provided for the acquisition of the Antares business platform from GE, by CPP Investment Board. Richard Jones led the group acting for Progress Residential, as issuer, in relation to its SFR program. Also based in New York, Laura Swihart is praised for her expertise in the CMBS arena. The ‘highly responsive’ Malcolm Dorris is known for his work in ABS for underwriter clients. Stewart McQueen is noted for his expertise in securitizations. Freddie Mac, Cerberus and Wells Fargo are among the firm’s other clients. Since publication, CMBS expert Jodi Schwimmer has joined Reed Smith LLP in New York.
In addition to ‘excellent knowledge of the sector’, Latham & Watkins LLP’s structured finance lawyers provide ‘remarkable commitment, responsiveness to clients’ needs and teamwork’. The group operates out of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, and is led by the ‘highly praised and knowledgeable’ global co-chair, Kevin Fingeret. It acts across the whole gamut of securitization and structured finance, including the securitization of rental car fleets, cell tower assets and aircraft; it also has a ‘top-class’ CLO practice and its adept at innovative and first-of-a-kind deals. Fingeret and Graeme Smyth acted for American Airlines in its public offering of Series 2015-2 enhanced equipment trust certificates (EETCs) worth $1.06bn. The team acts for US and European asset managers. The ‘highly endorsed’ Vicki Marmorstein, based in Los Angeles, focuses mainly on CLOs, and led advice to Black Diamond as collateral manager in a European CLO transaction with an aggregate value of €427m. Also in Los Angeles, Dominic Yoong acted for Carlyle GMS Investment Management, as collateral manager, and Carlyle GMS Finance Inc, as originator, in relation to an offering of notes by a subsidiary of the latter worth $390m. Chicago-based Ellen Marks is also recommended.
The ‘always available team’ at Morrison & Foerster LLP continues to be at the forefront of the development of new financial products and counts among its clients an impressive number of financial institutions. In addition to product development, it regularly advises on transactions and regulatory matters. Areas of activity include registered and exempt products, retail-oriented products and bespoke institutional financial products. Relying on the firm’s extensive tax expertise, the team is well placed to provide product structuring, regulatory and transactional advice in the US, Europe and Asia. On the derivatives side, David Kaufman, Julian Hammar and Robert Fleishman continued their collaboration with clients working in physical commodities to develop one-off, commodity-linked structured products such as first lien and letter of credit-backed commodity hedging facilities, commodity-linked loan structures and long-term commodity supply. Anna Pinedo was part of the team advising Artivest Advisors on the SEC-registration of shares of beneficial interest in Managed Emerging Markets Trust, a commodity pool sponsored by the client. In the structured products field, the team has been advising issuers and underwriters in connection with the SEC’s latest ‘sweep letter’ on exchange-traded notes. An outstanding roster of clients includes Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs and Nomura Securities.
Under the ‘savvy direction’ of Donna Parisi, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s structured finance team has earned a reputation for ‘deep knowledge of the sector and responsiveness to clients’ needs’. The 14-strong practice (including six partners) provides ‘sophisticated and broad derivatives advice’ to US and non-US financial bodies, especially in relation to Dodd-Frank and EMIR and the implications these have for business transactions. The spectrum of work includes major foreign exchange hedging transactions, deal-contingent swaps linked to M&A, committed repos, call spreads, accelerated share repurchase and margin lending, among other things. It acts for Intercontinental Exchange and its subsidiaries in the development of their swaps and futures clearinghouses and trading facilities and related business; Geoffrey Goldman leads on that. Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley are among its other clients.
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s structured finance group is headed by Richard Kadlick, who has built a notable reputation in the ABS and MBS fields. The group provides experience in derivatives, securitization, structured products and other complex transactions relating to financial instruments. Last year saw the firm advising Coca-Cola on an €8.5bn multi-tranche notes issuance, reported as the largest issuance of euro-denominated bonds by a US corporation; Dwight Yoo led the advice; Gregory Fernicola acted for Citigroup in a series of offerings connected to non-cumulative preferred stock, with an aggregate value of $6.25bn. James Stringfellow is a key member of the team and is praised for his structured finance knowledge; Andrew Faulkner has vast expertise acting for participants in ABS transactions. Other members of the team include Stacy Kanter and Andrea Nicolás. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.
Based in New York, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s structured finance team provides ‘strong securitization expertise as well as structured finance market knowledge, and understanding of clients’ needs’. Frank Nocco leads the team, which comprises six partners. It serves a large list of issuers, collateral managers and underwriters, advising on securitization and derivatives. The practice has been engaged in some of the most notable restructurings in the market and has a ‘solid reputation’ for its approach to developing ‘innovative, ground-breaking and cutting-edge’ structures. Under Nocco’s leadership, the team acted for Citigroup as initial purchaser in a series of bond offerings backed by personal consumer loans, with a global value nearing $2.28bn. Robert Chiperfield advised Apollo Global Management’s affiliates, in their capacities as collateral manager and agent, on the structuring and offering of the $1.02bn ALM XVI (an off-shore vehicle) CLO, and two related offerings of $429.5m and $786m respectively. An ‘expert in auto loan securitization’, Jason Smith led advice to Hertz and its subsidiary Hertz Vehicle Financing II (its securitization vehicle to finance its US rental car fleet) on the issuance of asset-backed notes worth $780m and $636m. Recently promoted to partnership, Ariel Kronman has significant derivatives experience, including in credit derivatives, forex and interest swaps, forwards and options.
Clifford Chance’s team, based in New York, is noted for its ‘high industry knowledge, strength-in-depth and the responsiveness of its lawyers’. The practice covers securitization, structured products and derivatives, including transactional and regulatory matters, and the firm’s international platform enables it to advise in relation to EU and US regulations. The group is headed by Steven Kolyer and Robert Villani. Kolyer advised Providence Equity as sponsor/portfolio manager on several CLO mandates, which required the implementation of a ‘tax blocker’ to deal with Volcker and risk retention regulations. Villani acted for Credit Suisse Asset Management on the formation of Atrium XII, a managed cash flow CLO with a value of $818m, and on a number of other CLOs, including Madison Park Funding XVIII, with a value of $719m. William Cejudo from Bingham McCutchen, has enhanced the firm’s capabilities in the RMBS market and the tax aspects of structured finance.
Under the leadership of Erik Klingenberg, ‘a specialist in structured finance, including commercial and residential mortgage-backed securities’, and Stephen Kudenholdt, ‘an outstanding name in the mortgage arena’, Dentons provides ‘vast experience and deep knowledge’ in securitization and structured finance matters. Recognized for its expertise in the real estate market, it is at forefront of SFR securitization. Clients include banks and other financial institutions active in the financing, purchase and securitization of financial assets. Klingenberg, John Kim, Todd Anderson and senior associate Mansi Desai acted for Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank (as underwriters and structuring agents) in the first ever securitization of SFR-backed mortgage loans, with an aggregate value of $229m. The team also advised Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Wells Fargo on a significant loan relating to an SFR securitization worth $552m. It was also instructed by a global bank on the whole-business securitization of a major fast-food retailer, in a matter worth more than $2bn. Other major clients include Barclays, Fortress Investment Group and Bank of America. John Holahan, John Kim and Matthew Yoon are also noted.
The New York-based team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP covers all areas of structure finance, including, among other things, securitization, complex debt instruments, derivatives, structured repos and tax-related structured products. It benefits from the firm’s international network and cooperates closely with its counterparts in Europe and Asia. The 17-lawyer team, which is ‘superb and able to balance complex instructions and clients’ aims’, is headed by the ‘respected’ Brian Rance. Rance oversees a wide variety of securitization and derivatives transactions, including CLO work for Citigroup. Dual qualified in the UK and US, Jerome Ranawake is praised for his ‘commercial negotiating style’; he handles multiple structured financings and brokerage transactions for UBS. Senior associate Ryan Suda is noted for his expertise in the CLO market, where he advises major banks. Other clients include Inter-American Development Bank, Deutsche Bank, Barclays and Credit Suisse.
Led out of New York by Robert McLaughlin and David Mitchell, Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s team advises on the full gamut of OTC and cleared derivatives and structured products, including equity derivatives, commodity derivatives, CLOs, CDOs and esoteric risk assets. In the derivatives market, it has been busy advising clients on the implications of Dodd-Frank. Mitchell provides ‘sophisticated, regulatory advice’ to several high-profile corporations in relation to compliance matters connected to existing and proposed CFTC and SEC rules. McLaughlin is an ‘expert in the derivatives market’ and is considered ‘an authority’ in derivatives and risk management. Recently promoted partner William Breslin, located in Washington DC, has vast experience advising a variety of clients, including hedge fund managers, private equity managers, commodity pool operators and futures merchants, on regulatory and transactional matters. The firm’s roster of clients includes Bank of America, BlueCrest, Capital One and Morgan Stanley.
Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is well regarded for its structured finance and securitization advice, especially in relation to RMBS, auto and equipment. Its team acts as counsel to major issuers, including the likes of Fannie Mae, Ford Motor Credit and GM Financial. The group is led by Washington DC-based Anna-Liza Harris and New York-based Howard Schickler. Harris has made a name for herself in real estate-related structured finance, and Schickler is noted in the areas private equity and structured finance. John Keiserman leads advice to GM Financial in all its domestic securitization and the establishment of related financing programs, and also in its securitizations of non-US collateral. The team also acted for Santander Consumer in the development of - and ongoing matters relating to - its lending platform. A group led by the ‘vastly experienced’ Chris DiAngelo acted for Fannie Mae on its sale of nearly 3,000 non-performing loans to Bank of America for $762m. Joseph Topolski brings experience in auto loan securitization and leads to Ford Motor Credit in all its securitization transactions and non-US transactions offered in the US. Stephen Esko, Stewart Herman and Stanford Renas are all noted for their expertise. Jonathan Goldstein joined Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP.
The asset finance and securitization team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, which comprises five partners across New York and Chicago, provides ‘pragmatic advice and understands business needs’. From Chicago, Jeffrey O’Connor acted for a global institution dealing in securities in a transaction involving the Rule 144A sale of asset-backed notes with a total value of $500m. Also in Chicago, Kenneth Morrison, who regularly works on auto-based securitization matters, led advice to Värde Partners on the formation of an investment partnership with Praxis Finance for the purchase of auto finance receivables. Based in New York, Scott Gordon continued to advise Wyndham Worldwide on timeshare loan receivables under its Sierra program worth $950m. Also in New York, Janette McMahan headed a team advising Ally Financial on its first public non-prime transaction in 2015, with a value of $1.25bn, and in three subsequent non-prime public auto deals with an aggregate value of $2bn. An impressive list of clients also includes World Omni, Navistar, CarMax Business and Barclays Capital.
New York-based Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP acts for issuers and underwriters in all aspects of traditional assets, including RMBS, CMBS and credit card receivables, and is also at the forefront of a variety of esoteric asset classes. The practice has been involved in more than 450 financings, with an aggregate value of more than $275bn. ‘Prominent practitioner in the structured finance arena’ Al Sawyers leads the practice; he is recognized for his role advising major market players and, in particular, for his advice on the drafting of documentation in relation to Tender Option Bond programs. Janet Barbiere is a leading figure in the CMBS area in the US and advises a range of issuers, underwriters, originators, loan sellers and investors. William Cullen acts for some of the most visible actors in the market in relation to CMBS platforms, including Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Ladder Capital. Howard Altarescu and Leah Sanzari led a team advising a high-profile financial institution in a landmark risk-sharing transaction involving the sale of residential mortgage loans and the creation of a SPV, with an overall value of around $82m. Katharine Crost is very experienced in the securitization mortgages, tax liens and students loans, among other assets. Alan Knoll advised Barclays Bank Delaware on its entry into the credit card securitization market; it also advised a well-known credit corporation on the implementation of its whole-loan purchase and sale program in the US. CLO ‘expert’ Joshua Raff and Marty Howard are recommended.
Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP ‘exhibits an exceptional level of service in the structured finance space’ and ‘is consistently at the forefront of the industry in terms of understanding rules changes’. In particular, ‘its regulatory advice relating to the changes introduced by Dodd-Frank and Volcker, and the implementation of risk-retention regulation, is simply top-notch’. Paul Watterson provides ‘pragmatic and good analytical skills’ and has a ‘thorough knowledge of the market’; Craig Stein has made a name thanks to his expertise in securitization and derivatives markets; and Boris Ziser, previously head of the securities department at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, has more than 20 year’ experience across the whole variety of asset classes and focuses on asset-backed securitization, secured financings and commercial paper conduits. Watterson, Stein and Ziser head the team. Last year saw the group acting for a high-profile investment management corporation in several CLOs with an overall value of $1.73bn. It has also been advising multiple hedge funds, including Elliott Management Corporation, GoldenTree and Columbus Hill, on the preparation and negotiations of several dealers’ OTC clearing documentation. Daniel Oshinsky is also part of the team. Since publication, Joseph Suh has moved to Greenberg Traurig, LLP
Having incorporated 30 new finance attorneys into its practice in 2015, Winston & Strawn LLP is becoming ‘a force to be reckoned with’. The group is spread throughout the firm’s New York, Chicago and Los Angeles offices. As appetites for structured products have evolved, the team’s focus has shifted increasingly towards esoteric, non-commoditized asset classes, and it is highly visible in areas such as energy, aircraft and transportation, equipment leasing and life settlements. The team is headed by Chicago-based David Galainena and New York-based Jeffrey Stern. Stern is a recent recruit from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP. Also noted are Ron Jacobson, Pat Hardiman and Michael Mullins in Chicago, and Daniel Passage and Warren Loui in Los Angeles. Highlights included acting for RAIT Partnership in four concluded commercial real estate CLOs, and advising Doral Bank as issuer on the securitization of performing residential mortgage loans secured by Puerto Rican properties. Other clients include American Capital, Citibank, Credit Suisse and Macquarie Investments.
Allen & Overy LLP’s team is ‘particularly strong in the derivatives arena and provides outstanding regulatory advice’, although the New York-based team also advises on securitizations and structured products. Its international network and cross-border experience is ably paired with US market knowledge. Head of the team, John Hwang, is praised for his knowledge of traditional as well as esoteric assets and for his ‘client service skills and ability to transmit complex information in simple words’. In a recent highlight, Hwang acted for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in its credit card securitization program worth $450m. Working closely with the firm’s offices in London, Istanbul and Paris, the team advised Turkish Airlines on its first EETC offering, worth $328m. Other important clients include Toyota Motor Credit Corporation, Bank of Nova Scotia and Royal Bank of Canada. David Lucking advises financial institutions on a variety of derivatives and asset classes. Deborah North excels in OTC derivatives and synthetic products and is well versed in the implications of the international regulatory framework on the derivatives space.
With a diverse and broad client base, and a ‘prominent history working in the structured finance and securitization areas’, Hunton & Williams LLP serves large investment banks, commercial banks and government and private issuers. It is active advising on RMBS and other transactions involving performing and non-performing loans, and is involved in developing new products relating to, among other things, SFRs, tax liens, and energy and utility financing. Last year saw Eric Burner advising issuers and underwriters in over 50 mortgage-backed securitizations, with an aggregate value of well over $15bn. Brent Lewis and co-head of the group Tom Hiner have led advice to Credit Suisse, Barclays, Merrill Lynch and others, as the dealers, on each of Freddie Mac’s Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) transactions since its first issuance in 2013, with an overall value of $6.57bn. Amy Williams acted for Ginnie Mae in relation to 111 multi-class securities transactions, comprising $41bn in government guaranteed REMIC securities. Williams and Steven Becker advised clients in relation to several warehouse financing transactions, including more than 60 closed deals with an aggregate value of $13.7bn. Charlotte-based co-head of the practice, Michael Nedzbada, led the team advising Ocwen Loan Servicing on its sale of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage servicing rights to several purchasers; the unpaid principal credit was over $90bn. Kevin Buckley in Richmond is known for his work in warehouse financing.
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has a niche advising clients on securitizing esoteric assets, such as timeshare loans, solar panel contracts, tobacco settlements, and copyrights, trademarks and patents. The head of the derivatives department, the ‘diligent and exceptional’ Fabien Carruzzo, is vastly experienced representing financial institutions, hedge funds, investment managers and other market participants in relation to derivatives and structured products. Carruzzo recently led the advice to a global corporation on the structuring and negotiation of a bespoke put option enabling the client to exit a hedge fund investment at a relatively short notice subject to the occurrence of prescribed events. The securitization department is headed by Gilbert Liu and Laurence Pettit; Liu leads advice on timeshare loan securitizations, while Pettit is recognized for his work in energy securitizations and, in particular, property assessed clean energy (PACE) financing. The team advised a leading global insurance and financial services provider in several securitization transactions relating to energy efficient projects worth several million dollars; it also acted for 400 Capital Management and its affiliates in relation to the issuance by HERO Funding Trust of $129m of fixed-rate class A notes under Rule 144A.
Led out of New York, the team at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has carved out a niche in relation to intellectual property, media and entertainment, and food and restaurant securitizations, where it advises issuers and underwriters. Head of the securitization practice Jordan Yarett and Robert Zochowski acted for Guggenheim, as initial purchaser, in Dunkin’ Brands’ $2.6bn business securitization of its Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins chains. Yarett, Zochowski and Lawrence Wee advised Dick Clark Productions on the issuance of $340m of notes by a newly formed subsidiary, backed by revenues from the future production of five live television programs. Other clients include AIG, Citigroup, Grain Management and The Wendy’s Company.
Headed from New York by ‘creative and respected practitioner’ Laura Palma, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s compact structured finance practice ‘punches above its weight’. It assists issuers, structuring advisers and underwriters in a wide range of matters across the securitization and structured product area, including with the development of innovative products and structures. Palma is praised for her work in esoteric assets, such as cell tower rentals and time share loans, and also complex equipment-backed products involving airplanes and rental truck fleets. The group acted for GTP Acquisition Partners and others in the $875m offering of American Tower secured revenue notes; and advised the initial purchasers in connection with several Rule 144A offerings of asset-backed notes by Enterprise Fleet Financing, with a total value of $484m. In another highlight, the team advised several Vertical Bridge Holdings SPVs, as borrowers and asset entities, on $200m of debt financing arranged by Guggenheim Securities for the purchase of tower sites. The derivatives practice is headed by Joyce Xu, an experienced practitioner advising financial institutions, hedge funds and private equity funds on currency and derivative matters; her expertise in regulatory issues is also appreciated by clients.
Marvin Goldstein leads New York-based Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s practice, which represents banks and other financial bodies, private equity and hedge funds, and domestic and international corporations in complex financing. It works on innovative and esoteric products such as structured settlements, tax liens, student loans, cell towers, timeshare loans and film receivables, and is adept in financial derivatives as well as physical commodity derivatives, an area in which the firm has a strong position advising on the implications of Dodd-Frank. Highlights saw the group advising Castleton Commodities International and its subsidiaries on two committed facilities with an aggregate value of $3.75bn; the facilities included a syndicated secured credit of $2bn, a committed accordion worth $1.5bn for CCI’s acquisition of Morgan Stanley Oil Merchanting business, and a syndicated unsecured credit of $250m committed with Citibank as the administrative agent. Mark Rae acted for a leading commodities trader in refinancing a syndicated secured credit facility with two global banks in a matter worth $1.3bn. Richard Fried is noted for his work on student loan securitization. Former head of securitization Boris Ziser went to Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, NRG Energy and JPMorgan are among its other clients.
Ashurst LLP is in the process of rebuilding its practice following the departure of several team members to Paul Hastings LLP. The practice is known for its ‘strong knowledge of OTC derivatives, securitization, and regulatory and US municipal matters’, and advises issuers, underwriters, investment managers and other market participants. Other areas of focus include repackaging programs and investment restructuring. The firm’s deep expertise is enhanced by its ‘extensive multi-jurisdictional experience’. CLO expert and former managing director at UBS Securities Eric Bothwell joined the team. Patrick Quill is experienced assisting financial institutions. William Gray is involved in the creation of complex financial instruments and structuring financing techniques and also has vast experience in municipal derivatives products.
DLA Piper LLP (US) has had a strong year advising high-profile clients in relation to CLOs and insurance-related structure finance as well as asset-backed commercial paper programs. The practice is praised for its thought leadership in securitizing esoteric asset classes, including tobacco settlements, and residential and commercial solar assets. The department is headed by Richard Reilly in New York and Ronald Borod in Boston, who is known for his work in relation to tobacco settlements and renewables. Reilly led advice to Goldman Sachs as primary deal counsel to Northwoods Capital in three related CLOs to be managed by Angelo, Gordon & Co. David Luce represented a global institution as initial purchaser in several catastrophe bond transactions, with an aggregate value above $19bn. Other clients include Swiss Re, GC Securities, UBS and Fannie Mae.
Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s team is experienced in a range of structured finance matters, including mortgage, asset-backed and other structured products. The practice group head is New York-based Mark Michigan, who is recognized for his work in future flow securitizations and the securitization of property tax lien. Also based in New York is Sylvie Durham, who, on behalf a European central bank, recently prepared a detailed summary of the netting laws of several entities and jurisdictions in the US, which will eventually form the basis of new regulatory regulations. Chicago-based securitization expert Trent Murch and Tampa and Orlando based Todd Miller, who specializes in auto sector and credit card securitizations, are both recommended. Since publication, Joseph Suh has joined from Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP
Jones Day provides comprehensive transactional and regulatory advice to its clients, which includes banks, hedge funds managers, investment advisers, insurance companies, mutual funds and other market participants. The practice is celebrated for ‘its capacity to anticipate clients’ needs’ and provides ‘value for money’; it has been involved in some of the largest and most complex derivatives transactions representing major financial clients and has also handled complex litigation. In an ongoing matter, it is providing Overstock.com with securities regulatory and market structuring advice related to its blockchain trading platform business. It is also representing Deutsche Bank in an antitrust class action initiated by an Ohio union pension plan relating to putative interference with credit default swaps exchange trading. Washington DC-based Tracy Oley is actively involved in the practice. Former practice head Mark Sisitsky retired in early 2016, and Jonathan Ching joined Linklaters LLP. Since publication, Joel Telpner has joined Sullivan & Worcester LLP.
Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP provides ‘excellent and high-quality services’ to placement agents and managers in relation to CLOs and other structured finance matters. Under Deborah Festa’s leadership, the team acted for KKR Credit Advisors (US) and KKR Credit Advisors (Ireland), as collateral manager and investor, in the structuring of all of KKR’s US and European CLO transactions, the combined value of which was $1.8bn for the US deals and €1.7bn for the European deals. New York-based Jay Grushkin led the team advising Natixis Securities and other affiliates as arranger and placement agent, and also the co-issuers, in the structuring and issuance of several CLOs with an overall value of $1.37bn; it also drafted all documentation needed for the transactions. The team is led out of New York by Albert Pisa. John Williams brings vast knowledge in regulatory matters.
A new entrant in the rankings, Bracewell LLP advises on a variety of complex financial and physical gas, oil, power and other derivatives. The team acted for commercial suppliers and wholesale distributors of petroleum and energy products, as borrowers, in a $400m credit line for the sale and purchase of receivables. It also advised Capital Dynamics on three long-term secured hedges used to finance three wind generation facilities. Houston-based Alan Rafte leads the team.
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP’s structure finance team is ‘fabulous and well known’. Operating mainly out of New York and Chicago, the 36-lawyer group, which includes 11 partners, is led by Henry Morriello, and counts large financial and banking institutions among its clients. It advises issuers, collateral managers and trustees on securitizations and structured products, including CMBS, RMBS, derivatives, CLOs and esoteric products. Morriello led advice to a leading global financial group on warehouse financing of loans made by an American financing provider secured by SFR properties, with a combined value nearing $450m; the team has carved out a niche in this area. In another highlight, the team acted for a multinational bank, as a lender, in relation to the $1.1bn restructuring of a multi-tranche revolving film finance facility collateralized by numerous major films. Daniel Hartnett is recommended for his expertise in securitizations in the real estate area.
King & Spalding LLP has an active securitization practice, especially in relation to billboards and outdoor advertising assets, cell towers and handsets, and whole-business securitizations. In a work highlight, it acted for a well-known banking institution as initial purchasers in the issuance of securitized notes with an aggregate value above $800m. Michael Urschel is the name to note. Clients include GSO Capital Partners and Land South Realty.
Seward & Kissel LLP’s team advises banks and other financial institutions in all manner of structured finance matters, including ABS, RMBS, CMBS, CLOs and related litigation, restructuring, workouts and insolvency. The firm has a longstanding strategic alliance with London-based Simmons & Simmons, allowing the group to serve clients across borders in the structured finance space. It is also involved in developing innovative products and structures designed to comply with a changing, more stringent legislative environment, and is assisting with Structured Finance Industry Group’s RMBS 3.0 initiative, which seeks to reinvigorate the ‘private label’ RMBS market. Other work included advice led by practice head Kalyan Das, Jeff Berman and Steven Starr to a leading Japanese bank, as a lender, on a structured finance transaction connected to unfunded capital commitments in a private equity fund.
Sullivan & Worcester LLP has a long track record advising credit and liquidity enhancers, issuers, purchasers and other market participants in securitization matters. The team acted for an administrative agent and bank purchaser in relation to a $200m purchase facility for revolving pool of trade receivables. It also serves as counsel to a global bank as the administrative agent and lender in connection with a securitization facility for credit card receivables worth $300m. Alexander Notopoulos, George Lindsay and Duncan O’Brien are the key names. Since publication, Joel Telpner has joined from Jones Day.
White & Case LLP’s New York-based group serves major financial institutions, investment funds, hedge funds, public companies and asset managers on matters such as the securitization of esoteric assets, CLOs and related regulatory matters. Head of the practice David Thatch led advice to Guggenheim Securities on structuring a trust and a subsequent senior secured note issuance worth $2.27bn. The ‘commercially savvy’ Charles Pesant and the ‘experienced’ John Donovan advised Element Financial Corporation on its purchase of General Electric’s vehicle fleet management business for CAD8.6bn. Other clients include Bank of America and Deutsche Bank.