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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

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Melissa Raciti-Knapp

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Work Department



Partner and Co-Head of Latin America Practice


New York-based Melissa is a finance partner, co-head of the firm’s Latin America practice and head of our US energy and infrastructure group.

Melissa assists commercial banks, export credit agencies, multilaterals and other financial institutions in private equity ventures and a wide variety of financing, such as corporate, project financings, private placements, first- and second-lien financings and sovereign lending. Her sector experience includes power (both conventional and renewable), mining, oil and gas, water treatment, telecoms and other infrastructure.

While Melissa has significant experience in US matters, her expertise is focused on Latin American countries. These draw upon her language skills and ability to bridge cultural differences. Alongside local counsel, she and her team routinely negotiate and draft in Spanish and Portuguese.

All this experience, combined with knowing how the same issues are addressed in different contexts, allows Melissa to come up with thoughtful, constructive solutions – even in the most contentious and complex situations.

Latin America: International firms

Projects and energy

Within: Projects and energy

Very supportive without over-lawyering’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides ‘excellent service’, is ‘practical and responsive’ and constantly demonstrates ‘business mindedness’. The firm has an impressive record in infrastructure projects in Latin America and is a growing presence in oil and gas and renewable energy. It is increasingly active in Mexico’s hydrocarbons sector and maintains an impressive record in Chile, Brazil, Colombia and Peru. It continues to advise OPIC on the financing and restructuring of the installation of a 4G LTE network in six Colombian cities. New York partner Melissa Raciti-Knapp is ‘sensitive to the key issues’, ‘avoids over-heating negotiations’ and ‘achieves results’. London partner and Spanish speaker Graham Watson is increasingly active in Latin America’s oil-and-gas sector and was the lead partner on advice to BG regarding its $80bn takeover by Royal Dutch Shell, which involved assets in five Latin American jurisdictions.

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United States: Finance

Project finance

Within: Leading lawyers

Melissa Raciti-Knapp - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Within: Project finance

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘availability - virtually 24/7 - connection to different investors and banks, and deep knowledge of the subject’ make it a popular choice with lenders and sponsors alike. The practice is led from New York by Melissa Raciti-Knapp, who is ‘an excellent communicator, result-oriented, and has the ability to cool down emotions and remain focused’. Raciti-Knapp was particularly active on international work for key client OPIC; remits included advising on the financing of a 35MW geothermal power plant in western Honduras, and assisting with the bilateral limited recourse financing for the development of a network of cell phone towers and related power solutions across Myanmar. Another significant client of the practice is KfW Ipex-Bank, which Raciti-Knapp advised on the $1.2bn limited recourse financing of an ammonia fertilizer plant in Mexico. On the sponsor side, clients include Petroperú and various infrastructure funds and the team also features in the P3 space, most recently in a procurement role for the Colorado Department of Transportation. Senior associate Kyle Lakin is ‘very accurate in both due diligence and drafting’. Lisa O’Brien retired.

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