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Clifford Chance

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United States

Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 5

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s New York-based practice is now led by Ness Cohen, following Douglas Wisner’s move into the firm’s financial restructuring group. Cohen was busy on a range of debt finance matters, including advising Madison International Realty on the $1.28bn recapitalization of the company’s joint venture interest in a 15-property portfolio of retail assets in the New York City metropolitan area; and on the lender side, Cohen acted for Almanac Realty Investors in the origination of a $150m loan to CA Student Investors. Another name to note is counsel Victoria Manthas, who represented Waterfall Asset Management in connection with its acquisition from Barclays of a senior securitized mezzanine loan secured by equity interests in the owners of approximately 90 Red Roof Inns nationwide. The practice also regularly handles inbound investment and divestment work for the firm’s impressive international client base; in 2016, the team represented AVWL in connection with the $457m acquisition of an indirect interest in an office building complex in Washington DC, and also acted for JHSF Participacoes in the $128m sale of 16-18 West 57th Street, New York. Other active clients include Safra National Bank of New York and National Storage Affiliates Trust.

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United States: Dispute resolution

Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense
Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

At the ‘outstanding’ Clifford Chance, Washington DC-based practice head David DiBari and New York-based Edward O’Callaghan secured a victory for aerospace company Fokker Services at the DC Circuit, concluding a criminal case regarding sanctions violations, and O’Callaghan is also acting for a key witness in the London Whale investigation and former vice-president of FIFA Jeffrey Webb. ‘Clever, commercially savvy and client-friendly’ New York lawyer Christopher Morvillo advised Autonomy founder Mike Lynch on DOJ, SEC and SFO investigations into alleged accounting improprieties at Autonomy. Daniel Silver joined the New York office in March 2016 after leaving the US Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and Robert Rice joined in August of that year from the SEC. Other key figures include Washington DC’s Megan Gordon and New York’s Robert Houck.

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International arbitration
International arbitration - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, key highlights included representing a Spanish investor in an UNCITRAL claim for violations of a BIT arising out of the expropriation of a concession agreement to run Bolivia’s three international airports, and acting for a group of oil companies in proceedings to confirm and enforce a $1.4bn arbitral award against the Nigerian state oil company. In Washington DC, special legal consultant Ignacio Suarez Anzorena, who has a particularly strong Latin America practice, is recommended, and the team was recently bolstered by the arrival of the ‘brilliant’ Janet Whittaker from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

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Securities litigation: defense
Securities litigation: defense - ranked: tier 5

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is ‘terrific at defending securities fraud investigations’ and clients highlight Robert Houck as ‘very commercially minded and a vigorous advocate’. He is defending Bank of Montreal in an MDL comprising more than 40 class actions against primary dealers alleging they colluded to manipulate the auction and resale of US Treasury debt securities. He is also representing ICBC Standard Bank in a class action alleging manipulation of platinum and palladium price benchmarks. Clients also praise the ‘extraordinarily talented and smart’ Edward O’Callaghan and Chris Morvillo, who is representing the founder of Autonomy in cross-border matters. Named attorneys are based in New York.

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United States: Finance

Asset finance and leasing
Asset finance and leasing - ranked: tier 1

Clifford Chance

The New York-based asset finance group at Clifford Chance specializes in acting for investment banks, operating lessors and export credit agencies (ECAs) in matters ranging from aircraft securitizations to fleet acquisitions. Emily DiStefano assisted a private equity-backed financing provider, Global Jet Capital, on a $2.5bn leveraged acquisition of GE’s entire North American corporate aircraft portfolio. Joint practice head Zarrar Sehgal, who also leads the firm’s global transport and logistics group, is well versed in aviation capital markets transactions, having acted for Goldman Sachs in its role as underwriter in relation to Apollo Aviation Group’s second aircraft securitisation, Apollo Aviation Securitization Equity Trust 2016-1; a $510m issuance of asset-backed notes used to acquire a fleet of 32 aircraft. The team also advised Goldman Sachs on a $300m secured warehouse facility, in which Apollo Aircraft Trust 2015-1 was the borrower. Patrick O’Reilly and practice co-head John Howitt advised PK AirFinance on a loan to Wood Creek Capital Management to finance the acquisition of Volito Aviation’s aircraft leasing business.

Leading lawyers

Emily DiStefano - Clifford Chance

John Howitt - Clifford Chance

Zarrar Sehgal - Clifford Chance

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Capital markets: equity offerings
Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s New York-based team leverages its market-leading US REITs practice to offer specialist expertise in that space, and it is also recommended for its strong experience in cross-border deals. Among the firm’s recent work, Jay Bernstein and Jake Farquharson advised Retail Opportunity Investments on three equity offerings worth a combined $361m, and department co-chair Kathleen Werner assisted Corporate Property Associates 19 with preparations for its IPO, which could be worth up to $2bn. Jonathan Zonis is one of the Americas capital markets group heads and has an impressive record in Latin American transactions. Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital and Quotient are also clients.

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Capital markets: global offerings
Capital markets: global offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 3

Clifford Chance

Capital markets: global offerings - advice to underwriters - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s New York office has a good reputation for handling Latin American offerings, though partners such as practice co-head Jonathan Zonis also have experience in other major regions such as Asia. Recent highlights include advising Citigroup Global Markets as lead manager and global coordinator on a $1bn bond issue by the Republic of Ecuador, which will use the funds to invest in infrastructure projects. The firm also has a strong niche in REITs and acted for a major Mexican hospitality company during the formation and IPO of a Mexican REIT, which will be the first of its kind to own resort properties. Other notable names in the team include practice co-head Kathleen Werner, Alejandro Camacho, Jay Bernstein and Per Chilstrom.

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Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance shines in sophisticated specialty finance matters and major multi-jurisdictional transactions, with particular expertise in Latin America. Gary Brooks advised LATAM Airlines Group on its inaugural $800m issuance of high-yield bonds, and Gianluca Bacchiocchi worked alongside the firm’s offices in Peru, Italy, Spain, Japan and Germany to act for Metro de Lima Linea 2 in its $1.1bn issuance of notes. Jonathan Zonis led the US advice to Citigroup Global Markets, as the lead manager and global coordinator, in the Republic of Ecuador’s $1bn notes offering. In a purely domestic set of deals, Kathleen Werner advised iStar as issuer’s counsel in several matters, including bond offerings worth $170m. AES Panama and CLISA are also clients.

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Financial services regulation
Financial services regulation - ranked: tier 7

Clifford Chance

Led out of New York by Nick O’Neill, Clifford Chance’s team provides advice on domestic bank regulatory matters as well as on the connected global regulatory framework. The sweet spot of UK-qualified O’Neill is in advising US clients on the impact of UK and EU regulation on their businesses; working closely with colleagues in London, O’Neill is advising US hedge and private funds on the implications of the EU’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive (AIFMD) on their activities in the EU. O’Neill is also part of a coordinated global team that is advising UBS on its global restructuring in order to reduce risk and better navigate future financial upheavals.

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Project finance
Project finance: advice to lender - ranked: tier 2

Clifford Chance

Project finance: advice to sponsor - ranked: tier 3

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s ‘fantastic’ department is commended for its ‘impressive industry knowledge’ and for its ‘unparalleled levels of commitment and responsiveness’. Projects based in Latin America and Africa are a particular strength, and the firm’s lender-side practice is formidable. Gianluca Bacchiocchi and senior associate Guido Liniado (who are noted for their ‘perfect combination of knowledge, work ethic and commerciality’ and for their ‘incredibly good understanding of counterparty’s concerns’) advised Goldman Sachs as arranger, and a group of senior lenders including Bancolombia, on the debt financing of three toll road projects in Colombia, together worth $965m. Lori Bean has been very active on Africa-based projects: she assisted OPIC, Standard Bank and Nedbank with the $500m financing of a 192MW power plant in Ghana, advised OPIC on $400m-worth of financings pertaining to wind projects in Kenya, and acted for the same client again on the $857m financing of a solar project in South Africa. In an illustration of the practice’s work for sponsors, David Evans assisted Matelec Group with the financing of the $134m Tobene power project in Senegal, and Fabricio Longhin advised Graña y Montero on the $200m part-financing of the Gasoducto Sur Peruano project. Closer to home, Evans acted for Samchully Asset Management on its $609m equity investment in an Ohio gas-gathering system.

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Structured finance
Structured finance - ranked: tier 3

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is an ‘excellent resource’ for structured product transactions, and has been increasingly active in the resurgent CRE market. Joint practice head Steven Kolyer acted for Medley during the structuring and formation of a private investment fund for the purpose of third-party risk retention equity capital to new CLOs and fund sponsors. Robert Villani, who co-heads the group and focuses on novel and traditional structuring, advised Credit Suisse Asset Management as portfolio manager on a series of CLO issuances totaling $814m and made up of floating rate notes, subordinated notes and combination securities. The team is also particularly active in the CMBS and RMBS markets, and assisted ReadyCap Commercial as originator and issuer with the issuance of commercial mortgage pass-through certificates by Ready Capital Mortgage Trust 2015-2. Other notable clients include Hunt Mortgage Group, Bayview Asset Management and Jefferies.

Leading lawyers

Steven Kolyer - Clifford Chance

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United States: Industry focus

Energy transactions: conventional power
Energy transactions: conventional power - ranked: tier 5

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance excels in project finance, although it also handles project acquisitions. It is particularly active in emerging markets, most often in Africa and Latin America. The Washington DC-based Lori Bean advised lenders including OPIC and Standard Bank on financing the $500m 192MW Amandi power plant in Ghana. Much of its Latin American work is lender side and involves renewable energy projects.

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Energy transactions: oil and gas
Energy transactions: oil and gas - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s ‘outstanding’ Washington DC-based practice has ‘superior knowledge’ and a key strength is cross-border project finance. Fabricio Longhin assisted Graña y Montero with obtaining a $200m loan from Credit Suisse to finance the $4.2bn Gasoducto Sur Peruano project; David Evans advised Samchully Asset Management on the partial acquisition from Total and CGAS Properties of a gas-gathering system in Ohio.

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Insurance: non-contentious
Insurance: non-contentious - ranked: tier 4

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has a fine reputation for handling cross-border transactional and regulatory advice in the insurance sphere for asset managers, insurers, reinsurers and brokers; acquisitions, private equity investments into insurance companies and joint ventures are areas of expertise. The firm has experience dealing with start-up insurers such as Fidelis Insurance Holdings, and practice head Gary Boss advised the client on its hybrid investment model and subsequent acquisitions, regulatory matters and corporate structuring issues. Practice head Nicholas Williams continues to advise the Singapore investment arm of CMI on its $2.6bn acquisition of Sirius International Insurance Group from White Mountains Insurance Group. Other highlights included overseeing Willis Capital Markets & Advisory’s establishment of its Middle Eastern operations, including regulatory advice and corporate structuring assistance. Big-ticket clients include Munich Re, Citigroup and Apollo Global Management. Other notable names in the practice are senior counsel tax expert Donald Carden and capital markets lawyer Per Chilstrom. All lawyers mentioned are in the New York office.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Private equity funds
Private equity funds - ranked: tier 5

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s clients value the firm’s ‘deep industry knowledge, prompt turnarounds, market-driven commercial advice and practical legal guidance’. Roger Singer advised Madison International on a real estate debt fund with feeders in three countries; he also handles sales and purchases of limited partner interests on behalf of British pension funds. Other names of note include Clifford Cone and Kathleen Werner; Werner advised H/2 Capital Partners on the formation of a $1.5bn real estate debt fund.

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United States: Labor and employment

Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions)
Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions) - ranked: tier 5

Clifford Chance

The employment lawyers at Clifford Chance advise on transactional compensation issues and clients ‘rate them highly’. Working closely with the firm’s corporate practice, team leader Howard Adler assisted clients with acquisitions and spin-offs in the insurance and real estate sectors, while counsel Robert Stone assisted in work for clients such as Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Colony Capital and Fidelis. Associate Janice Chan joined from Ropes & Gray LLP and is also recommended by clients. Named lawyers are all based in New York.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
M&A: large deals ($1bn+) - ranked: tier 6

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance is recommended for ‘larger and international M&A deals’ and is praised for its ‘extraordinary level of service’. The team is ‘very loyal and engaged’ and demonstrates real familiarity with clients’ businesses, according to one client. It has an impressive record in cross-border transactions thanks to its broad international network and integrated teams. It is notably active in deals involving Latin America and advised Actis on its sale of a 92% stake in Energuate, Guatemala’s largest electricity distribution company, to IC Power, a wholly owned subsidiary of NYSE-listed Kenon Holdings. The firm’s New York office has attracted an impressive client portfolio, including The Coca-Cola Companies, Mondelēz International, Pfizer, McGraw-Hill and Informa. In 2016, it advised Mondelēz on the $13.9bn take-private acquisition of Keurig Green Mountain by JAB Holdings. Real estate and financial institutions are also key sectors; the firm is especially active in the insurance segment thanks in part to the presence of Gary Boss, who is recognized for his record in reinsurance, including advising several hedge fund-backed reinsurers. Former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP counsel Kevin Lehpamer joined the firm as a partner at the end of 2016 to reinforce the senior ranks, which include David Brinton, a big name in energy and Latin America transactions, and Benjamin Sibbett, who is ‘smart, responsive and practical’, and has a strong record in healthcare, media and information services deals. Sarah Jones is another key team member and has close relationships with The Coca-Cola Companies, Mondelēz and AEI. Senior practitioner John Healy is praised for his understanding of ‘business and strategic objectives’ and is recommended for public M&A and corporate governance issues.

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United States: Real estate

Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) - ranked: tier 1

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s New York-based REITs practice attracts clients through its ‘excellent subject matter expertise, responsiveness and business acumen’. Practice leaders Jay Bernstein and Richard Catalano advised Colony American Homes on its $7.7bn merger with Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust. The team also handles debt matters, such as the ‘valued’ Kathleen Werner’s advice to iStar regarding several multimillion-dollar credit facilities and senior note issuances. Having been promoted to partner in 2016, corporate lawyer Jake Farquharson assisted Retail Opportunity Investment Corporation with multiple equity offerings and shelf registrations of common stock. Bernstein and fellow capital markets lawyer Jason Myers are also involved in the recapitalization of Yes! Communities, which turned from a dual-track IPO into a joint venture transaction.

Leading lawyers

Jay Bernstein - Clifford Chance

Richard Catalano - Clifford Chance

Next generation lawyers

Jake Farquharson - Clifford Chance

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United States: Tax

Financial products
Financial products - ranked: tier 1

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance in New York, David Moldenhauer (noted for his ‘depth of knowledge’), Richard Catalano (‘extremely good at problem solving’), Philip Wagman (‘tireless and unflappable during difficult assignments’) and Michael Seaton are the key partners for financial products. Moldenhauer and Wagman advised the major shareholders of AB InBev on its acquisition of SABMiller, including on critical tax matters and deal financing, while Catalano provided assistance to Madison International regarding its Real Estate Liquidity Fund IV, targeting $1.35bn. Seaton supported Enstar Group and an investment manager of UBS in the formation of an alternative asset reinsurance company in Bermuda called Aligned Re. Donald Carden stepped down as partner and is now of counsel.

Next generation lawyers

Michael Seaton - Clifford Chance

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International tax
International tax - ranked: tier 3

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance’s international tax department, which is led out of New York by Richard Catalano, consists of seven partners and several other lawyers. David Moldenhauer and Philip Wagman advised AB InBev’s key shareholders on its $101bn acquisition of UK-based SABMiller. Alongside Emily DiStefano, Wagman also handled Global Jet Capital’s acquisition of General Electric’s entire North American corporate aircraft portfolio for $2.5bn. Sarah Jones led the joint acquisition of AdeS Alimentos de Soja by clients The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola FEMSA from Unilever. Berkshire Group and Fidelis Insurance are additional clients. Donald Carden was transitioned from partner to of counsel.

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US taxes: non-contentious
US taxes: non-contentious - ranked: tier 3

Clifford Chance

At Clifford Chance, practice head Richard Catalano led the advice to Apollo Global Management on tax issues arising from the mergers of Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance and Apollo Residential Mortgage. Other highlights for Catalano included acting as lead counsel for Colony American Homes on its $7.7bn merger with Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, creating a REIT with over 30,000 homes on its portfolio, while David Moldenhauer and Philip Wagman acted for the shareholders of AB InBev on the tax aspects of the company’s acquisition of SABMiller.

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Latin America: International firms

Projects and energy
Projects and energy - ranked: tier 1

Clifford Chance

Clifford Chance has a dynamic project finance practice for commercial banks, MLAs, development finance institutions (DFIs) and export credit agencies (ECAs). The firm has a ‘fantastic brand and team in Washington DC for agency lenders’ and is on the panels of Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC), as well as having close relationships with Corporacion Andina de Fomento (CAF) and the Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI), and a range of DFIs and ECAs. While agency-related work is the traditional bread and butter of the practice, it is increasingly active advising commercial and investment banks. The firm also advises a number of Spanish sponsors in Latin America. The Latin America team continues to be particularly active in the renewables sector, especially in Peru, Mexico and Uruguay. The firm is also a dominant force in the Colombian 4G transport infrastructure programme thanks in part to its flourishing relationship with Goldman Sachs and the commercial bank syndicates. The firm advised Goldman Sachs and others in connection with six different toll roads in Colombia, which comprise the first wave of the $20bn 4G infrastructure programme. It represented the arrangers and placement agents in a $273m financing for the Red Dorsal Nacional de Fibra Optica project, a country-wide fibre-optic network spanning approximately 13,400 km in Peru; the first such RPI-backed transaction in Peru with a delayed-draw funding structure to include both Peruvian and non-Peruvian investors. It also advised the lenders on a $145m debt financing to expand the Corredor Turístico toll road in Honduras. In addition, the firm advised the concessionaire and sponsors on the $1.15bn bond financing of Line 2 of the Lima and Callao Metro project in Peru. The firm has a leading presence in project bonds and bank/bond hybrid financing. With both a civil and common law background, Washington DC-based Fabricio Longhin has an outstanding reputation; English/Spanish bilingual, he has truly extensive project finance experience. New York’s Gianluca Bacchiocchi is another leading project finance specialist and is a dominant figure for project bonds. Kate McCarthy in Washington DC maintains a flourishing agency-led practice, although much of her work is now for commercial banks. Chris McIsaac is a hugely experienced agency specialist and ‘very fine lawyer’, as is Lori Ann Bean who is close to Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and the Export-Import Bank of the United States (Ex-Im Bank). São Paulo-based Chris Willott is active throughout the region.

Leading lawyers

Chris McIsaac - Clifford Chance

Fabricio Longhin - Clifford Chance

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Further information on Clifford Chance LLP

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United States

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