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Editorial

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  1. Alternative/hedge funds
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  3. Leading lawyers
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Leading lawyers

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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'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 leads 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.

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