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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United States, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for six consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

Chapters Name Firm Section Work Area Firm ID Lawyer ID Office URL Lawyer URL

United States > Investment fund formation and management > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Legal market overview
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Private equity fundraising continues to boom, with firms reporting a robust and competitive market in which prominent managers are able to raise large funds very quickly. Real estate, infrastructure and technology are key sectors of interest in the private equity space.

For hedge funds, the technology sector presents some of the most attractive opportunities. 2018 saw continued interest in quant funds, and artificial intelligence remains an attractive asset class, with some crossovers into the healthcare field. In spite of the 2017/18 crypto-crash, firms report that managers continue to view cryptocurrencies and other digital assets as potential investment areas.

The ETF space remains a buoyant market, as investors’ interest in passive, rather than active management continues to thrive. Interval funds, which allow investors more freedom to invest in illiquid assets, are another developing area of interest, as their structure allows for more stability in uncertain times.

Further, there has been a hint of consolidation in the private equity market, with manager M&A work on the rise, while in the hedge funds space, there is an increased willingness on the part of managers to use a more creative approach to traditional hedge fund structures, for example, setting up hedge fund structures using private equity strategies, in order to diversify and be able to compete in a challenging market.

Jay Clayton, formerly a partner at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, has come to the end of his second year as SEC chairman.


Alternative/hedge funds

Index of tables

  1. Alternative/hedge funds
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Housing 'a very proactive team', Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP's hedge fund practice reports an increase in fund formation work involving digital assets and cryptocurrencies. In an example, Stephanie Breslow and regulatory expert Marc Elovitz are advising Pantera Capital Management on structuring several funds investing in the cryptocurrency and digital space, including Pantera Digital Asset Fund. The firm is also noted for its strength in assisting managers with distressed assets, activist funds and long-short equity funds. The client roster includes Perella Weinberg Partners, Cerberus Capital Management, Elliott Management Corporation and the Blackstone Group. On the regulatory side, Elovitz and Brian Daly are well known for handling SEC investigations. David Efron is 'innovative, creative, and practical', with other notable names including Jason Kaplan, David Nissenbaum, Daniel Hunter and Jennifer Dunn. All named attorneys are based in New York. 

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s 'knowledgeable, thorough, and responsive' team advises a number of well-known names in the hedge fund arena on a broad range of regulatory issues, fund seeding deals, and fund launches and reorganizations, and reports an uptick in manager M&A mandates. Lawrence Barshay heads the practice, and has solid expertise in complex fund formations. Lisa Schneider acts as counsel to Citadel regarding structuring of funds, and Walid Khuri, based in Washington DC, provides ongoing advice to Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies. Jonathan Adler is also a name to note. Other clients include Point72, BlackRock, and Brookfield Asset Management. The team is based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP handles a range of hedge fund work for institutional and independent fund managers, and is noted for its strength in fund seed investment mandates. Udi Grofman garners praise for his 'prodigious work ethic', and is well known for acting as primary outside counsel to Blackstone Alternative Asset Management. Other recent work for Grofman includes advising Tiger Management on multiple seed investments and regulatory matters. Marco Masotti and Amran Hussein, who jointly advise Avenue Capital, are key names. Other clients include JP Morgan Asset Management, HPS Investment Partners and King Street Capital. The team is located in New York.

At Ropes & Gray LLP, New York-based Laurel FitzPatrick provides ongoing advice to PIMCO on regulatory matters, fund launches and investments in hedge funds, while Joel Wattenbarger assists Sequoia Capital across a spectrum of regulatory and compliance issues. Sarah Davidoff and Jessica O’Mary are also key contacts in the New York office. Boston-based Leigh Fraser, who advises Arrowstreet Capital, co-leads the practice with FitzPatrick. Deborah Monson in Chicago, noted for her futures expertise, is instructed by Willowbridge Associates.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's hedge fund team has 'a good breadth of experience and lots of knowledge about the industry'. New York-based Stephen Vine (who provides 'reasoned, well-thought-out solutions and good practical advice') leads the group, which provides 'good technical advice' on fund formation, structuring and regulatory matters, with notable expertise in assisting start-up managers. Kelli Moll and Dallas-based Eliot Raffkind are key contacts. Ivana Rouse joined Latham & Watkins LLP in 2019.

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From its base in New York, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's hedge fund practice handles a broad range of work, from fund formation to heavyweight regulatory mandates. The firm has an especially strong reputation in the regulatory space, where Nora Jordan provides ongoing regulatory advice to clients such as HPS Investment Partners. Leor Landa has a solid track record of advising leading fund managers on high-profile fund launches, and Gregory Rowland has expertise in digital currency fund formation. Other clients include Citadel, Czech Asset Management, and Lone Pine Capital.

Fund formation mandates form the backbone of Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP's workload, however the team also has a strong reputation in the market for advising on quant funds and manager M&A deals. Lance Zinman and Allison Yacker advise Waterfall Asset Management on regulatory matters, fund formation, structuring and investment deals, while of counsel Fred Santo and Wendy Cohen assist Welton Investment Partners with fund restructuring matters. Other clients include AQR Capital Management and Burford Capital. Zinman and Henry Bregstein jointly lead the practice. Other than Zinman in Chicago, named lawyers are based in New York.

Lowenstein Sandler LLP's hedge fund team is 'technically excellent - knowledgeable, very experienced, and responsive; their level of client service is superb'. The group's recent workload includes fund formation, restructuring, funds-of-one and regulatory matters. Clients include Cerberus Capital Management. Robert Minion chairs the practice, with other key names including team vice-chairs Peter Greene (who garners praise for his 'incredible energy, drive and charisma') and Marie DeFalco (whose 'wealth of knowledge is unparalleled'); also recommended are Elaine Hughes, and Scott Moss. All named attorneys are located in New York.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP's 'strong' team houses 'excellent lawyers'; the group has been kept busy with funds-of-one work as well as fund formation mandates and regulatory matters. Jedd Wider and Christopher Dlutowski, both based in New York, continue to advise the California Public Employees’ Retirement Scheme (CalPERS), most recently on the formation and launch of a fund-of-one. In the Boston office, Stephen Tirrell advised Mariner Investment Group on forming a fund with a key focus on the mortgage-backed security (MBS) markets, while Richard Goldman advised Innocap Investment Management, a Canadian hedge fund manager, on forming a number of private funds for a Canadian pension plan; Steven Giordano is also a key name. In Miami, Ethan Johnson advised HODL Investments on the formation of a cryptocurrency fund, and assisted Dragon Capital with forming a fund for investing in exchange-listed securities in Vietnam. Wider and Goldman jointly lead the practice.

Christopher Wells heads the practice at Proskauer Rose LLP, which has particular strength in handling work for institutional investor clients. Wells led the advice to Dynamic Beta Investment on the sale of a minority equity interest in the firm to iM Global Partner, while Michael Mavrides advised Digital Asset Custody Company on the launch of its digital asset custodial business. Robert Leonard has solid experience in fund seeding deals. Tax expert Amanda Nussbaum is also a name to note. Other clients include Graham Capital Management, Silvercrest Asset Management and Appaloosa Management. The team is based in New York.

Seward & Kissel LLP's New York-based team is adept at handling a broad spectrum of hedge fund matters; clients have included Cedar Rock Capital, Centre Asset Management and Scopia Capital Management. Key names include Steven Nadel, Christopher Riccardi, Debra Franzese, Craig Sklar and tax specialist Jon Brose.

Dechert LLP's 'responsive and knowledgeable' team advises a range of leading managers across the spectrum of fund formation and regulatory issues, and is particularly strong in cross-border work. Practice head David A Vaughan operates from both the New York and Washington DC offices; New York-based Matthew Kerfoot is well versed in assisting clients with financing mandates. Timothy Spangler, who is based in the Orange County office, has expertise in cryptocurrency-related funds work. Timothy Clark is another key name in the New York office.

Regulatory work is a cornerstone area of expertise for Goodwin's hedge fund practice; New York-based Brynn Peltz provides ongoing advice to C-III Capital Partners and Alger Dynamic Return Fund on fund structuring, management and compliance matters. Counsel David Solander ('a real team player'), based in Washington DC, advises Multicoin Capital Management on regulatory, restructuring, compliance and financing matters regarding cryptocurrency fund investments. Other clients include Discovery Capital Management and Electric Capital Partners.

Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C. reports an increase in high-value seed investment launches, and is well known for handling work for prominent names in the sector. Eric Wagner leads the practice, with other notable names including Jamie Nash, Jeffrey Bortnick, Jason Grunfeld and James McCann. All named lawyers are based in New York.

Arthur Zwickel heads the team at Paul Hastings LLP, which handles a wide range of hedge fund work. Zwickel advised Frontier Market Asset Management on cross-border investments in areas such as Pakistan, Iraq and Zimbabwe, and also, acting alongside Yousuf Dhamee, advised another prominent name on fund-of-funds work, among other formation mandates. Other clients includes Beach Point Capital Management, Hawk Ridge Capital Management and Aperimus Capital. Named lawyers are based in Los Angeles. Tram Nguyen left for Mayer Brown in 2019.

Shearman & Sterling LLP's 'highly professional' team is noted for its 'deep understanding of the business issues at hand'. Practice head Sean Finley ('intelligent, measured and thoughtful') advises start-up fund manager BlockTower Capital Advisors on formation and regulatory issues regarding investment in cryptocurrency assets. Of counsel Paul Schreiber continues to advise Shenkman Capital Management on regulatory matters. Other key names include Nathan Greene and of counsel Buddy Donohue. Additional clients for the New York-based group include Maverick Capital Management and TRG Management.

The team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is led by Barry Barbash, who operates out of the Washington DC and New York offices, and has expertise in a broad range of fund formation and regulatory matters. Names to note in the New York office include Joseph Cunningham, Rita Molesworth and counsel Deborah Tuchman, while James Silk is a key contact in Washington DC.

Bracewell LLP’s Cheri Hoff, based in New York, is assisting FCO Advisors with SEC compliance matters; the team also provides ongoing advice to the University of Houston regarding its investments in multiple hedge funds. Other clients include Cristofferson Robb, Reef Energy Fund, and Della Parola Partners.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s team is 'extremely responsive, fast, and knowledgeable'. Dorothy Mehta in New York has solid expertise in handling - among other areas - commodities funds and fund formation work with a focus on real estate assets.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP¬†has been particularly active in fund formation work. In an example,¬†Joshua Yang¬†and¬†Andrew Raby¬†advised Polaris7 Investments on the formation of two private funds using a mini-master structure. Counsel Matthew Silver, who is ‚Äėresponsive, extremely thoughtful, and pragmatic‚Äô, has experience of broker-dealer mandates and regulatory matters. Other clients include Pluscios Management, Port Capital and PredictWallStreet. Apart from Silver and practice head Josh Deringer¬†in the Philadelphia office, the team is based in Chicago. David Matteson has retired.

The 'proactive' group at K&L Gates is 'well versed in all aspects of alternative funds and hedge funds'. The Boston office houses Michael Caccese and Mark Goshko; Caccese is advising Grosvenor Capital Management on a funds-of-funds formation, while Goshko provides ongoing assistance to Wells Fargo Investment Institute regarding fund formation and launches. Washington DC-based Cary Meer is 'extremely intelligent and keeps track of the details'; she assists PAAMCO with structuring funds-of-funds for institutional investors. Derek Steingarten, based in New York, assists HighTower Advisors with regulatory and compliance issues. The client roster also includes Rothschild Asset Management, PanAgora, CRCM, and Russell Investments.


Mutual/registered/ exchange-traded funds

Index of tables

  1. Mutual/registered/ exchange-traded funds
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Next generation lawyers

  1. 1
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

Dechert LLP's 'practical and pragmatic' team is in 'a class of its own when it comes to registered funds'. The group is 'able to handle a myriad of issues and can martial experts who know the law in various jurisdictions'. Based in the New York office, Allison Fumai ('a rock star' with 'deep knowledge of the ETF industry'), Richard Horowitz, Jeremy Senderowicz and Stuart Strauss provide ongoing advice to Morgan Stanley's mutual and closed-end funds. In Washington DC, Robert Helm is 'a true business consigliere', Douglas Dick is 'thoughtful and pragmatic', and Thomas Bogle is 'intelligent, astute and very responsive'; Brenden Carroll and Stephen Cohen are also key contacts. Boston-based John O’Hanlon advises a large mutual fund complex on regulatory issues and ETF launches. Stephanie Capistron, Christopher Harvey, Geoffrey Kenyon and Christopher Christian are also key names in the Boston office. Harvey and Helm jointly lead the practice. Other clients include MainStay Funds and Deutsche Bank ETFs.

Ropes & Gray LLP has an excellent reputation in the mutual and registered funds space, and advises funds, trustees and managers on a broad range of mandates. George Raine, Gregory Sheehan and Chicago-based Paulita Pike advise the independent directors of Prudential Mutual Funds on a range of matters. John Loder provides ongoing advice to Natixis and Loomis Sayles’ fund groups, while Brian McCabe acts as fund counsel for Pax World Funds and its trustees. Other key names include Sarah Clinton, Timothy Diggins, Elizabeth Reza and James Thomas. San Francisco-based Gregory Davis continues to advise AMG Funds and its affiliate AMG Pantheon Fund. Other clients include Baillie Gifford Funds, Schroder Funds, and Ashmore Funds. Thomas Hiller and New York-based Bryan Chegwidden share leadership of the practice. All named individuals are located in Boston unless otherwise stated.

Primarily based in Philadelphia, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP¬†is ‚Äėvery well versed in all aspects of investment law, particularly as it relates to '40 Act mutual funds‚Äô, and houses 'a strong team of expert attorneys'. Bruce Leto¬†advises longstanding client Dimensional's funds and trustees on multiple fund launches. In Washington DC, Eric Purple¬†(noted for his 'intellectual and practical manner') assisted the independent trustees of Global X Funds with governance and regulatory issues following the purchase of Global X Funds by Mirae Asset Global Investments.¬†Michael Mundt¬†(also in Washington DC) advised American Century, a mutual funds sponsor with $170bn under management, on its first entry into the ETFs market. Other names to note in Washington DC include Alison Fuller¬†and¬†Ruth Epstein; while in Philadelphia,¬†other key names include Matthew DiClemente,¬†Michael Mabry,¬†who is 'an expert in closed-end fund matters', and Michael O‚ÄôHare, who has 'depth of knowledge and business acumen'. The team was bolstered in March 2018 by the additions of¬†David Grim¬†and¬†Sara Crovitz¬†to the Washington DC office, who were respectively the former SEC Director of Investment Management and former Deputy Chief Counsel in the SEC‚Äôs Division of Investment Management.

K&L Gates has 'deep expertise in the investment management space'. The 'extremely responsive, pragmatic and business friendly' team is well known for advising funds on management and restructuring mandates, and is adept at handling prominent asset manager M&A deals. In Washington DC, Arthur Delibert and Lori Schneider continue to act as board and fund counsel for Neuberger Berman, while Mark Amorosi provides ongoing fund formation and regulatory advice to AXA, which sponsors 125 mutual funds. Other key names in the Washington DC office include Robert Zutz, who acts as counsel for the independent trustees of the TIAA-CREF funds, and Ndenisarya Bregasi. Michael Caccese in Boston is, in the words of one client, 'a Goliath; when it comes to investment management law and the '40 Act, the man is a Swiss Army knife'; he and Clair Pagnano advised Federated Investors on acquiring a 60% stake in Hermes Investment Management. Mark Goshko and George Zornada are instructed by Wells Fargo Investment Institute’s Global Alternative Investments (GAI). Other clients include ALPS ETFs and USAA.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a well-established reputation in the market for advising investment managers on ETF mandates across the East Coast area. In Washington DC, John McGuire acts as counsel to ETF Securities, which recent;y included advising on the sale of its US business to Aberdeen Standard Investments. Also in Washington DC, Laura Flores advised Guggenheim Partners on the sale of its ETF fund worth $1.2bn to Invesco Powershares. In another matter, Flores and Christopher Menconi (also based in the Washington DC office) advised Exchange Traded Concepts, an ETF platform provider, on the launch of the REX BKCM ETF, which invests in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related companies. In Boston, Toby Serkin, Roger Joseph and Lea Anne Copenhefer advised Scotland-based manager Martin Currie on the launch of the Martin Currie EM SMASh Fund, which uses a zero-fee structure. Timothy Levin in Philadelphia, Thomas Harman and Joshua Sterling in Washington DC, and Jeremy Kantrowitz in Boston are also key names. Other clients include Domini Funds, Pioneer Funds and WisdomTree.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP 's 'extremely diligent and intelligent' team 'provides excellent client service on a wide range of matters', notably in the regulatory arena. Margery Neale and Jay Spinola advised a leading asset manager on launching its first ETF and registering five additional ETFs. In another matter, Neale and  Elliot Gluck assisted a prominent manager with acquiring 15 mutual funds advised by an insurance company with $13.2bn under management. Washington DC-based Benjamin Haskin and Georgia Bullitt are also key contacts. Neale and former SEC Division of Investment Management director Barry Barbash, who divides time between the Washington DC and New York offices, jointly head the practice. Rose DiMartino retired in March 2019. The team is based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

In a cross-platform collaboration between GC magazine and leading IP law firm Finnegan, key partners and senior in-house clients explore the challenges for women in assuming leadership roles in the legal profession.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's workload includes regulatory mandates as well as funds transactions. Nora Jordan and Gregory Rowland advise a prominent manager on compliance matters, most recently on new CFTC regulations regarding derivatives; the duo also assisted JP Morgan with the launch of fund complex Six Circles Trust. In another matter, Rowland represented Guggenheim Investments in the $1.2bn acquisition by Invesco of its ETF business, with $36.7 bn under management. Other clients include the independent directors of Oaktree Capital. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP's practice¬†is ‚Äėvery robust in terms of bench strength and industry knowledge'; the team is 'always available and is well versed in the '40 Act'. 'Excellent'¬†Joshua Deringer, who is 'well versed in all aspects of investment management law', leads the practice; he and New York-based Stacy Louizos¬†advised Two Roads Shared Trust on the addition of 17 new funds, including an energy MLP fund¬†and a managed volatility fund.¬†Other key names include the 'superb' Michael Malloy¬†and the 'extremely knowledgeable' Jillian Bosmann.¬†Other clients include¬†FS Investments,¬†Aberdeen Funds‚Äô independent directors and trustees, and Commerce Funds. Unless mentioned otherwise, the team is based in Philadelphia.

The team at Goodwin has particular expertise in acting for independent trustee boards. Marco Adelfio ('an engaged, proactive, and a strong communicator') and Paul Delligatti continue to advise the independent trustees of the Eaton Vance funds, most recently on implementing liquidity risk management programs following new regulations issued by the SEC. Delligatti and counsel Thomas Early, based in Los Angeles, provide ongoing advice to the independent trustees of the Federated Funds, while Christopher Palmer is instructed by Prudential Insurance Funds, with $210bn under management. Robert Kurucza is another key contact. Philip Newman retired in 2018. The team is based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

From its primary base in New York, Paul Hastings LLP’s team has been kept busy handling a range of work from fund formation and launches to acquisitions. Michael Rosella and of counsel Vadim Avdeychik continue to advise Gabelli Funds on ETF matters, including the addition of two new investment portfolios. The duo also advised Brookfield Asset Management on the acquisition of Center Coast Capital and HRC Fund Associates. San Francisco-based David Hearth garners praise for his 'industry acumen, technical '40 Act knowledge, and strong practical business sense'; he represented the Rainier Funds in its acquisition by Hennessy Funds, and its subsequent liquidation and de-registration. Other clients include Toqueville Asset Management, Morgan Stanley and Kayne Anderson.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, the team is noted for its strength in assisting independent boards and managers with the gamut of mutual funds matters. Jay Baris and Nathan Greene ('true stand-outs on mutual fund board matters', according to clients) advise Victory Funds and its trustees on registered funds and ETF matters, including the acquisition of Harvest Volatility Management and USAA Asset Management in two separate transactions. Greene provides ongoing advice to First Eagle Funds, which manages $111bn. Other key lawyers include of counsel Paul Schreiber and of counsel Buddy Donohue. Other clients include SkyBridge Capital, Aberdeen Investment Funds and the independent trustees of Blackstone.

Primarily based in Chicago, Vedder Price's team provides 'expert legal advice' to funds and independent trustees across a range of funds work. Cathy Gonzales O’Kelly and Deborah Bielicke Eades continue to advise longstanding client Nuveen Funds on closed-end and open-end fund reorganizations and asset sales. John Marten and Renee Hardt assisted the independent trustees of Invesco ETFs with acquiring an external suite of funds, while Joseph Mannon and Washington-DC based Bruce Rosenblum provide ongoing assistance to Select Sector SPDR Trust regarding changes to a number of ETFs following fund index rebalances. O'Kelly and Rosenblum share leadership of the practice. David Sturms retired in 2018.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s New York-based team is well known for assisting a client base of independent directors and investment companies, including OppenheimerFunds, Morgan Stanley Funds and Archstone Partnerships, with a wide range of mandates. Ronald Feiman and George Silfen are the key names.

Stuart Coleman leads Proskauer Rose LLP’s New York-based team, which has been kept busy handling, among other matters, manager M&A deals and closed-end fund matters. Coleman, Janna Manes and David Stephens continue to advise Dreyfus on regulatory, formation and restructuring matters, and recently assisted the client with forming five open-ended funds, including Dreyfus Japan Womenomics Fund. Nicole Runyan advised Silverpeak Credit Fund on the formation and IPO of a '40 Act registered closed-end fund investing in equity tranches of collateralized loan obligations (CLO). Gary Granik is also a key name. Other clients include Lazard Funds, Alger Funds and THL Credit Advisors.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has solid experience handling work involving ’40 Act funds, among other areas. Rajib Chanda is 'an excellent adviser' and is assisting MassMutual with its $5.7bn sale of OppenheimerFunds to Invesco. In another matter, Chanda and David Blass are advising Impact Shares on the launch of its first ETF, the Impact Shares NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, in partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Other clients include Blackstone, Wells Fargo Securities, Oaktree Capital, Morgan Stanley, KKR Asset Management and Legg Mason. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's practice is noted for advising investor and sponsor clients on high-value mutual fund manager M&A and ETF-related capital markets mandates. Practice head Michael Hoffman, located in the New York office, represented Tennenbaum Capital Partners in its acquisition by a subsidiary of BlackRock. In another matter, Hoffman advised investment company Altaba on selling $2bn of shares in Yahoo! Japan to a subsidiary of SoftBank, and on terminating its joint venture agreement with SoftBank. Boston-based Thomas DeCapo and Kevin Hardy in Chicago are also key names. Other clients include Gabelli Funds, Third Avenue Management and Guggenheim Investments.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP fields 'highly experienced lawyers', who 'will do whatever it takes to get the job done'. The team's core strength lies in advising the independent trustees of funds, and is also noted for assisting clients with ETF mandates. In an example of the latter, David Mahaffey acts as counsel to ETF Managers Trust and the Trust's adviser, ETF Managers Group, having recently assisted with the organization of three new series of the trust, including ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, which marked the first US ETF to primarily invest in cannabis companies and related businesses. David Leahy is 'highly experienced in the mutual funds field', and continues to advise the trustees of the Legg Mason Partners Funds Fixed Income Funds, with $94bn under management. Boston-based John Hunt and John Chilton advise the Pear Tree Funds and First Western Funds, respectively. Other notable names include Nicole Crum and Matthew Van Wormer in New York. Other than Hunt in Boston and Van Wormer in New York, the team is based in the Washington DC office.

Thompson Hine LLP reports an increase in work from the alternative funds space, although the team is adept at handling a broad spectrum of mutual funds and ETF matters. Michael Wible in the Columbus office advised Northern Trust Investments on launching a privately placed money market fund as part of Advisers Investment Trust, a series of funds. Washington DC-based Bibb Strench advised Majority Shares ETF Trust on developing an ETF which complied with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment standards. The practice is also known in the market for handling matters concerning shari’ah-compliant funds. Other names to note include Cincinnati-based Cassandra Borchers, and JoAnn Strasser and Andrew Davalla, both of whom are based in the Columbus office.


Private equity funds (including venture capital)

Index of tables

  1. Private equity funds (including venture capital)
  2. Leading lawyers: Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers
Clifford Chance Ė Their Voices

According to one source, Kirkland & Ellis LLP¬†is 'hands-down, the industry leader with respect to representing the managers of private equity funds'. The team has¬†'a¬†deep bench' with 'unrivaled market knowledge' which provides 'high quality client service'. In the New York office, practice head¬†John O'Neil¬†and¬†Daniel Lavon-Krein¬†advised Sycamore Partners on forming Sycamore Partners III, which held its final closing in June 2018 after raising $4.8bn.¬†In another matter,¬†the 'tenacious and disarming' Erica Berthou¬†advised GSO Capital Partners, a new client for the firm, on the final closing of the multibillion-dollar credit GSO Credit Alpha Fund II. Another fundraising mandate handled in New York was Andrew Wright¬†and Robert Blaustein's advice to Warburg Pincus on forming its first companion fund in the financial industry.¬†Other New York-based contacts include¬†John Budetti, Jordan Murray¬†and Katrina Rowe.¬†In Chicago, names to note include John Muno, who garners praise for his 'incredible market knowledge, combining practical business advice with the right mix of thoughtful strategy and perfect attention to detail';¬†Sarah Kirson¬†and ‚Äėtough negotiator‚Äô Katie St. Peters¬†are also recommended.¬†Stephanie Berdik¬†and Sean Hill¬†are key contacts¬†in Boston.¬†Ken Muller¬†joined the San Francisco office from¬†Morrison & Foerster LLP¬†in May 2018.

Large-cap fund formation mandates and high-value asset manager M&A matters form the backbone of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP's practice. Highlights included Barrie Covit and Washington DC-based David Greene advising The Carlyle Group on forming $18.5bn fund Carlyle Partners VII, which made investments in five industries across the US; Thomas Bell assisting Macquarie with the formation and fundraise of MIRA Infrastructure Global Solution (MIGS), the client's first globally diversified umbrella infrastructure fund; and Jonathan Karen advising Brightstar Capital Partners on its inaugural fundraise, which raised $710m. The client base includes Morgan Stanley, Blackstone, and KKR. Other key contacts include Peter Gilman, Glenn Sarno, Jason Herman and Parker Kelsey; Palo Alto-based Michael Nooney and Tom Wuchenich in Los Angeles are also names of note. Unless stated otherwise, all named attorneys are based in New York.

The 'pragmatic' team at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton has been kept busy handling multibillion-dollar fund formation work, particularly Asia-facing funds. Elizabeth Lenas and Michael Gerstenzang continue to advise prominent managers such as TPG, TSSP and KKR with a range of fund formation matters. Lenas also advised an Asia-based manager on forming a $10.6bn fund. Gerstenzang and Adrian Leipsic assist Blackstone with a range of fund-related matters, and Robert Raymond, who advises Angelo, Gordon & Co, is another key name. The team is based in New York.

The team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP 'understand the full life cycle of private equity funds'. Highlights included Rebecca Silberstein advising Kelso & Company on forming Kelso Investment Associates X, a buyout fund with a $2.5bn target; David Schwartz assisting HarbourVest Partners with establishing the HIPEP VIII Investment Program with a $1.7bn target; and Andrew Ahern assisting Leeds Equity Partners with forming Leeds Equity Partners VI, a buyout fund which beat its $750m target. Jonathan Adler, who acts for sponsor-side clients, and counsel Cate Bae are key names. Other clients include Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Blackstone Alternative Asset Management and Credit Suisse. All named individuals are located in New York.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is very well known for assisting prominent names in the private equity industry with high-value, complex fund formation matters. Kenneth Rosh ('a very effective leader') and Jeremy Berry advised Fortress Investment Group with fundraising for Fortress Japan Opportunity Fund IV, a series of parallel funds focused on Japanese real estate-related investments. Rosh and Rebecca Neuschatz Zelenka, who is based in Washington DC, acted as counsel to Brookfield Asset Management on forming Brookfield Strategic Real Estate Partners III, a flagship real estate fund for the client. Other key figures in Washington DC include Matthew Howard and Richard Ansbacher, the latter of whom is noted for his expertise in representing global equity funds. All named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has established expertise in handling high-value buyout and debt fund work. Marco Masotti and Amran Hussein advised Roark Capital on forming two private equity funds -- Roark Capital Partners V, a flagship fund, and Roark Capital Partners II Sidecar, the client's first sidecar fund, which together raised $6.5bn in aggregate. The group is also assisting Apollo Capital Management with forming its first hybrid fund, Apollo Hybrid Value Fund, which has a $3bn target. Other clients include Blackstone, Crestview Partners and TowerBrook Capital Partners. Named individuals are based in New York.

Proskauer Rose LLP continues to handle a broad range of limited partner-side work, and has particular strength in secondaries transactions. David Tegeler and Sarah Cherry advised Greenspring Associates, a client for over a decade, on forming Greenspring IL Master, a fund of funds, and Greenspring Secondaries Fund III, which closed with commitments of $825m and $325m respectively. Robin Painter advised Silversmith Capital Partners on the closing of Silversmith Capital Partners II, which hit its hard cap of $670bn. Painter and Howard Beber also advised Nonantum Capital Partners on the closing of its debut fund Nonantum Capital I, with $350m in commitments. Other key names in the Boston office include Mike Suppappola, who is noted for his expertise in representing secondary fund managers in fund formation matters, and Stephen Mears, who handles venture capital mandates and work for institutional investors. In New York, Chip Parsons and Monica Arora are the names to note. In 2018 Malcolm Nicholls moved to Gunderson Dettmer LLP's Boston office.

Ropes & Gray LLP's team is very well known for assisting investor-side clients, and is also adept at handling sponsor-side mandates. In Boston, John Ayer¬†and Peter Laybourn¬†advised THL Partners on raising its eighth fund, which has a $3.5bn target. Debra Lussier¬†is also a key contact.¬†In the New York office, Morri Weinberg¬†advised Index Ventures, a venture capital firm focused on investments in the technology sector, on forming Index Ventures Growth IV and Index Ventures IX, while Marc Biamonte, along with Ayer, is instructed by CCMP Capital. Amanda Persaud¬†has ‚Äėtremendous in-depth experience and knowledge in this field‚Äô, and has expertise in manager spin-out matters. Other clients include Canada Pension Plan and Temasek. On the West Coast, Raj Marphatia¬†in Silicon Valley is noted for his extensive M&A experience. Other clients include Harvard University, Stanford University, and PIMCO.

From its base in New York, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s team is best known for handling high-value fund formation work for prominent managers. Jonathon Soler advised Crow Holdings Capital Partners on forming Crow Holdings Realty Partners VIII. Andrew Chizzik continues to advise Apollo Credit regarding its Apollo Credit Fund, and in another matter, assisted Brookfield Asset Management with its formation of Brookfield Infrastructure Debt Fund I, an $883.5m infrastructure debt fund acting as a primary investment vehicle for making mezzanine debt investments in North America. Stephanie Srulowitz and Soler advised American Securities on forming American Securities Partners VIII, LP, a $7bn buyout fund.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP's 'passionate' team has been kept busy with debt fund mandates and high-value fund formations. In Washington DC, Fadi Samman advised Mubadala Capital on forming a co-investment fund regarding the client's and EIG Global Energy Partners’ (EIG) joint bid for Transportadora Associada de Gas (TAG), a 2,800-mile natural gas pipeline owned by Petrobras that spans ten Brazilian states. Ann Tadajweski is also a key contact. Stephen Vine and Prakash Mehta share leadership of the practice. Aside from Samman in Washington DC, named attorneys are located in New York.

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Regulatory mandates are a core strength of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's practice, with fund formation work an additional area of expertise. Recent work includes Leor Landa advising China Investment Corporation, the Church Pension Fund, Ford Foundation, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund, as well as a variety of family offices, on investments in private funds. Landa and Nora Jordan continue to advise Perella Weinberg Funds on hybrid funds. Lee Hochbaum, along with counsels Scott Beal and Oren Gertner, are notable names. In 2018 Ron Cami joined Waypoint as general counsel. Named lawyers are based in New York.

The 'knowledgeable' and 'responsive' team at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has been active in handling formation work for sponsor-side clients, particularly in the real estate and technology space. In the New York office, Shukie Grossman advised TCG Capital Management on forming its first private equity fund, TCG 2.0, which has a $500m target. Edward Nelson assisted Olympus Partners, a middle-market private equity firm, with forming Olympus Growth Fund VII, a leveraged buyout fund with an aggregate value of $3bn. Edward Sopher advised WndrCo, a venture formed by former CEO of DreamWorks Animation Jeffrey Katzenberg, on its $1bn fundraise for NewTV, a new media venture, which raised $1bn in a single closing. Los Angeles-based Jennifer Bellah Maguire has an excellent reputation for representing prominent sponsor-side clients in fundraising mandates. Maguire, Grossman and Sopher share leadership of the practice.

Goodwin's 'responsive and reliable' team has solid expertise advising sponsor-side clients on fund formation mandates, with venture capital and real estate funds making up a large part of the group's workload. In the Boston office, David Watson is advising Turner Impact Capital on forming Healthcare Facilities Fund, with a $250m target, which will develop healthcare facilities in under-served communities. Watson and Matthew Giles assisted LBA Realty with establishing its sixth fund, LBA Realty Fund VI, which closed with commitments of $900m. Thomas Beaudoin and James Donohue are other names of note in Boston. In Washington DC, Paul Verbesey assisted Charlesbank with forming Charlesbank Equity Fund IX, a $2.75bn private equity fund, and also handled the $675m Charlesbank Fund IX Overage Program, a co-investment vehicle. San Francisco-based Ian O’Donnell specializes in venture capital work. Verbesey and New York-based John Ferguson share leadership of the practice. Jonathan Axelrad has retired.

Noted for its 'deep expertise and insights into the fund formation and private equity business', Latham & Watkins LLP handles a broad range of fund formation mandates, with energy-focused funds being a particular sweet spot. In New York, Andrea Schwartzman handled the formation of Searchlight Opportunities Fund via a hybrid structure of debt investments and equity-related securities; in another matter, Kathleen Walsh and Matthew Chase assisted Onex Partners Manager with forming its fifth large cap private equity fund, which raised $7.2bn in commitments. In Washington DC, Barton Clark advised Juniper Capital Partners on forming Juniper Capital III, a fund investing in the oil and gas space. Another key figure is Nadia Sager, who splits her time between the San Diego and Los Angeles offices.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP reports an increase in sovereign wealth fund matters, and in this space, Peter Phleger in San Francisco advised Pantheon Ventures on a $2bn commitment into a customized fund from Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), the sovereign wealth fund of Japan. Paul McCoy, who operates out of the New York and San Francisco offices, represented the Public Investment Fund (PIF) of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a $50m investment in Warburg Pincus Financial Sector LP. Pension plan matters are another core area of strength; Louis Singer, who splits his time between London and New York, advised the New York City Comptroller's Office on the launch of a number of strategic partnerships, with an aggregate value of $3bn, between KKR and five New York City pension funds. Gerald Kehoe, who advises Lime Rock Partners, is a key contact in the Boston office.

Based in New York, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP's 'very experienced, pragmatic, responsive and business-oriented' team is well known for its expertise in real estate funds, and also handles more exotic mandates in the technology sphere. Marc Elovitz and Stephanie Breslow, who has an excellent reputation for hedge fund work, continue to advise Pantera Capital Management on forming funds investing in digital assets. Joseph Smith (noted for his 'great energy') is advising Hemisferio Sul Investimentos, a private equity firm focusing on the real estate market in Brazil, on the formation of HSI Special Opportunities II, which has a $400m target. Jason Kaplan advised Cerberus on raising $4bn for its' sixth flagship multi-strategy fund, Cerberus Institutional Partners VI. Other notable names include David Nissenbaum, Phyllis Schwartz and Omoz Osayimwese.

Primarily based in New York, Clifford Chance's funds team is well known for handling real estate and debt funds. Roger Singer advised Griffis Residential on forming Griffis Fund IV, its debut multifamily fund, and is currently assisting the client with forming Griffis Fund V. Michael Sabin advised Greystone on the formation and fundraise of its $750m inaugural real estate debt fund, the Greystone Senior Debt Opportunity Fund. Other clients include Exeter Property Group, Capital Dynamics, Colony NorthStar, and Berkshire Group. In 2018 Victor Levy joined from DLA Piper LLP (US).

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP¬†reports an uptick in infrastructure fund mandates and Asia-related matters, particularly regarding venture capital fund investor work; tech-sector mandates in particular are another core strength. New York-based Quinn Moss¬†and Dolph Hellman¬†in San Francisco advised¬†the San Francisco City and County Employees‚Äô Retirement System (SFERS) on a¬†‚ā¨200m investment in Niam Nordic VII, KB, a Swedish limited partnership, which has a ‚ā¨1.1bn target and is investing in commercial and residential real estate in the Nordic Region. Hellman also advised the same client on¬†its $35m investment in Versant Venture Capital VII, a fund investing in biotechnology companies focused on transformative therapeutics.¬†Of counsel Yong-Nam Jun, based in Los Angeles, assisted with the formation of a joint venture fund between Hyundai Motor Company, SK Telecom and Hanwha, and Element AI, investing in companies and assets specializing in artificial intelligence. Other clients include Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund (OPERF), New York Common Retirement Fund (NYCRF) and Capital Dynamics. Moss and Hellman jointly head the practice.

Paul Hastings LLP is noted for its strength in real estate private equity work, and in this space, Lawrence Hass advised on the formation of Sterling Value Add Partners III, which closed at $495m to invest in retail real estate and mixed-use properties. In another matter, Thomas Rao acted as counsel on the formation of Hillcrest Credit and Income Fund II, a debt fund investing in real estate assets. Joshua Sternoff continues to advise Artemis Real Estate Partners on the formation of two new funds. Yousuf Dhamee is adept at handling fund formation and regulatory matters, while Siobhan Burke has established expertise in acting for limited partner clients. Other than Burke and Dhamee in Los Angeles, the team is based in New York. Other clients include Apollo Capital Management and Morgan Stanley Alternative Investment Partners. Tram Nguyen left the firm for Mayer Brown in 2019.

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, the 'very knowledgeable' Laura Friedrich ('smart, capable, and strong') advised Edmond de Rothschild Private Equity on the formation of TIIC 2 Master Fund, investing in transportation and social infrastructure assets, and assisted Brown Brothers Harriman, which has an aggregate value of $296bn under management, with forming BBH Real Estate Income Fund III. Friedrich was also part of a team that advised Actinver Capital Management on forming a private credit fund investing in private debt instruments, with a focus on Latin America. Other clients include the Development Bank of Japan, Shorenstein Properties and Qatar Investment Authority. Named lawyers are based in New York. John Reiss joined DLA Piper LLP (US) in 2019.

At Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, John Caccia advised a leading global asset manager on forming a $350m private capital vehicle as part of its conversion to a public entity investing in US renewable opportunities, and also assisted Aquarian Capital with its registration as an investment adviser. Lawrence Frishman and Anastasia Rockas are also names to note. The team is based in New York.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP handles private equity fund formations and manager M&A deals. In New York, the 'very thoughtful' Arash Farhadieh assisted Insight Venture Partners with the closing of its tenth fund, which closed with commitments of $6.3bn. Phillip Isom assisted DoubleBlue Capital Management with the closing of both its inaugural Argentine credit fund, DoubleBlue Argentina Consumer Finance Fund I, and its parallel fund DoubleBlue Argentina Consumer Finance Offshore Fund I. Houston-based Michael De Voe Piazza and Lior Ohayon are also key names.

Cooley LLP is known for its solid expertise in venture capital funds. John Dado and Shane Goudey assisted Redpoint Ventures with the closing of Redpoint Omega III, which raised $381m, while in San Francisco, Jordan Silber advised Qiming Venture Partners on the closing of its sixth fund, Qiming Venture Partners VI, which raised $935m. Craig Dauchy heads the practice, in which Mark Tanoury and Boston-based Nicole Peppe, who advises Norwest Venture Partners, are also key contacts. Unless stated otherwise, the team is based in Palo Alto.

Dechert LLP's funds practice is noted for its expertise in handling funds subject to European regulation; for example, New York-based Carl de Brito represented Crescent Capital Group as a sponsor for a group of levered and unlevered direct lending funds organized through an Irish QIAIF structure. David Vaughan in Washington DC and Russel Perkins in New York are key names. Other clients include Waterous Energy Fund, Australis Partners and Bregal Sagemount.

DLA Piper LLP (US)'s practice is well known for handling sponsor-side fund mandates, however the investor-side practice was bolstered in 2018 by David Parrish and Nicole Brennig ('very commercial and responsive') joining the Austin office from Jackson Walker, L.L.P.. The firm's client base includes start-up venture capital firms, American and international sovereign wealth funds, endowments and pension plans. David Goldstein, Richard Reilly, Yasho Lahiri ('a superb negotiator and diligent in his work') and of counsel Carmen Wong are key names in New York. In 2018 Victor Levy moved to the New York office of Clifford Chance and Richard Ginsberg moved to Winston & Strawn LLP's Chicago office; however, in mid-2019 New York-based partner John Reiss joined from Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s team is noted for 'its range of expertise and its solutions-oriented approach to the formation and operation of all types of private equity and venture fund structures, across all strategies and asset classes', including small business investment companies (SBICs). David Winter advised IFC on its investment in BECO Booster Fund II LP, a venture capital fund focused on investments in communications technology in the Middle East and North Africa. Bryan Ricapito has strength in advising sponsor-side clients on fund formation matters. New York-based Adam Tope is 'a highly knowledgeable, creative and practical lawyer'; he advises investor and sponsor clients on fund formations. Aside from Tope in New York, named attorneys are based in Washington DC.

K&L Gates' 'reliable' team is adept at handing both private equity and venture capital mandates. In New York, Edward Dartley acts as counsel to private equity firm Hudson Clean Energy Partners, while James Lee advised Patricia Industries on the acquisition of a $903m majority stake in Sarnova Holdings. In San Francisco, Sonia Gioseffi provides ongoing advice to impact fund Endeavor Catalayst. In another matter, Matthew Mangan in San Francisco and Seattle-based Mark Heine advised CRCM Ventures on forming venture capital fund CRCM Frontier Technology Fund I, investing in the media, virtual/augmented reality, and artificial intelligence industries. Scott Bernhart in Fort Worth is also a key contact.

Linklaters LLP's 'extremely effective' team is perhaps best known for representing sponsor clients from the infrastructure space in fund formation mandates. Practice head Lorna Bowen, Justin Storms and Andrew Ford are 'very smart, experienced and responsive' with 'excellent technical abilities'. The SoftBank Group is a key client. The team is based in New York.

Reed Smith LLP's funds team is noted for its expertise in handling investor-side mandates, as well as limited partner-side instructions and impact funds matters across a range of industries. Key contacts in New York include Parikshit Dasgupta, who advised an infrastructure fund on a fund formation mandate, James Mercadante, who has strengths in acting for fund managers and sponsor-side clients. Tysons-based Benton Burroughs has expertise in heavyweight limited partner matters, and New York-based associate Aaron Bourke is also recommended.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s 'very commercial, responsive and insightful' team is noted for its solid expertise in credit funds. Scott Naidech in New York is well known for representing US and international private fund sponsors in fund formation and launch matters; in the same office, regulatory expert Beth Kramer is 'very good at seeing issues that may not be apparent to others'. In Chicago, Bradley Mandel advised an investor on forming a multimillion-dollar fund-of-one for making venture-focused fund-of-funds investments with BVK. Also recommended are Meg Frey ('strategic and tactical'), and Megan Devaney. Clients include Invenergy, 50 South Capital Advisors and Frontenac Company. In 2018 Richard Ginsberg joined the Chicago office from DLA Piper LLP (US).

Bracewell LLP’s Cheri Hoff, based in New York, leads a team that provides 'great client service' and is well known for its solid expertise in energy and regulatory mandates. Hoff acted for Rockland Power Partners II in a secondary transaction where interests in the fund were purchased by an investor. The University of Houston is a cornerstone limited partner client.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP's team is 'very knowledgeable and professional', and has been kept busy advising fund investors and sponsors on fund formation, launches and regulatory matters, among other areas. Carl Ruggiero continues to advise Merrill Lynch on the compliance and operation of a number of feeder funds, while Shaun Reader handled the formation and launch of the i80 Fund, an open-ended fund focusing on investment in loans; the fund has a $100m target. Sovereign wealth funds are another area of strength for the firm. Other clients include Brevet Capital Management, United Gulf Bank, Livingston Securities and HBM Partners. The team is located in New York.

The 'pragmatic and experienced' team at McGuireWoods LLP reports an uptick in fund formation mandates, with a particular focus on rural development work; Mark Kromkowski is noted for his experience advising rural business investment companies (RBICs) and SBICs. Bryan Bylica and Kevin Boardman in Dallas are also key contacts. Other clients include Innova, Webster Bank and Merion Investment Partners.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s 'dedicated' team has significant strength in investor-side mandates, which are the exclusive focus of the practice. Clients include prominent state retirement schemes from a range of industries. Washington DC-based Robert Bodansky ('extremely proactive and commercial') and Jennifer Neilsson in Chicago and Steven Richman in Atlanta are also recommended.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP handles fund formation mandates, with a core focus on real estate fund matters. Andre Nance is well known for advising leading investment banks on launching feeder funds into prominent private equity funds. Other key names include Eric Requenez and Richard Madris. The team is located in New York.


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