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Who Represents Who

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β€˜One of the very best restructuring law firms in Europe’, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld provides β€˜excellent advice from both a legal and strategic perspective’ to bondholders/junior creditors. Praised for its β€˜very pro-active leadership’, the team has the strength-in-depth to provide large and balanced teams with significant partner and associate level involvement on many of the largest international restructurings in the market (where it is also able to tap into the expertise of its preeminent US offering). β€˜Second-to-none in terms of business acumen and industry knowledge’, the team has been at the forefront of work in the oil and gas space, as well as the Norwegian bond market. Appreciated for his β€˜gravitas and commerciality’, James Terry is a β€˜market leader’ for oil and gas work; alongside the firm’s New York office, he is advising the ad-hoc bondholder group in relation to the restructuring of the Seadrill Group. James Roome is a β€˜superstar’ and has been involved in numerous high-profile mandates in 2016 including acting for the mezzanine lenders on the $2.5bn debt restructuring of Expro Holdings, and Brunswick Rail, a Russian railcar leasing business, on its $600m bond restructuring. The β€˜very experienced and practical’ Barry Russell co-heads the team alongside Roome and continues to represent private placement noteholders in the restructuring of Premier Oil’s debt liabilities. Other recommended partners include the β€˜highly intelligent’ Neil Devaney, who is β€˜technically brilliant on difficult structures and legal problems’; the β€˜pragmatic and focused’ Liz Osborne; Tom Bannister, who is β€˜very cool and measured under pressure’; and the β€˜excellent’ Emma Simmonds.

The β€˜creative and pragmatic’ ten-partner team at Allen & Overy LLP provides β€˜solutions-oriented’ advice to an impressive array of banking clients including RBS, Credit Suisse and Barclays, across a range of creditor-side situations. Benefiting from a huge international network, the team excels at cross-border mandates; it continues to be involved for ING, as lender, on the restructuring/insolvency of Danish oil services company, OW Bunker. Led out of London by Mark Sterling, Jennifer Marshall and James Partridge, and involving considerable input from lawyers from the firm’s US, Hong Kong and Dutch offices, work has included complex cross-border issues and various types of litigation and arbitration in over 20 jurisdictions to recover assets for the benefit of the lender (including a notable victory at the Supreme Court which ruled on various complex contractual issues and provided certainty for supply receivable financiers). Praised for his β€˜commercial and practical advice’, the β€˜excellent’ Randal Weeks regularly leads on complex cross-border restructurings including his ongoing work for the co-ordinating committee of lenders on the Al Jaber restructuring. On the debtor front, Earl Griffith continues to act for the Four Seasons Health Care Group and its private equity owner, Terra Firma, in connection with a financial creditor and leasehold estate restructuring of the Group’s debt and capital structure. Other recommended practitioners include Katrina Buckley, Jennifer Marshall, Tim Crocker, consultant Gordon Stewart and senior associate Joel Ferguson.

Able to leverage its extensive international network in an β€˜effective way’, Clifford Chance LLP’s five-partner team provides β€˜commercial advice’ to a broad array of stakeholders including banks, funds, corporates and IPs. Led out of London by Philip Hertz and Iain White and also including supporting from several other international offices of the firm, the team continues to advise bondholders and new money providers on the €13bn Abengoa Group restructuring. David Towers advised the super senior lenders to South African retailer, Edcon, on its highly complex balance sheet restructuring, involving as it did complex intercreditor arrangements, various tranches of debt facilities, and high yield notes, as well as governing documents spanning UK, South African and New York law. John MacLennan has been active within the oil services space and alongside Hertz recently represented semi-submersible accommodation provider, Prosafe SE, on the successful restructuring of its NOK1.3bn and $288m bank facilities. Adrian Cohen has experience across a range of jurisdictions including involvement in the majority of the major corporate restructurings in the UAE. Other clients include Angelo Gordon, HSBC, Mizuho and PIMCO.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a strong market presence on behalf of creditor and debtor clients including funds, corporates, banks and IPs. The firm’s significant high yield capital markets transactional offering ensures that the restructuring team is well-placed to handle mandates involving complex layers of debt including English law governed bank debt and New York law high yield notes. Team head Richard Tett is advising BrightHouse Group on the potential restructuring of its €220m high yield bond due to mature in May 2018. Tett is also providing the restructuring input for HCP on all aspects of its Β£139m holding in a portion of senior notes issued by Elli Investments and its Β£28m holding in the senior secured term loan issued by Elli Finance, both in relation to the Four Seasons Health Care Group. The firm’s ability to quickly and effectively mobilise resources across its UK, Asian, European and US offices was recently starkly brought into focus by its work for Hanjin Shipping on its $5.5bn restructuring. Led out of London on the restructuring side by Adam Gallagher but also including input from corporate, litigation and finance lawyers, the mandate is indicative of the team’s ability to provide a cohesive service on significant cross-border matters involving multiple stakeholders. Catherine Balmond has a flourishing reputation both on the creditor and debtor side; she recently acted for Nordea, as agent for the lenders, on the successful restructuring of Luvata Group’s debt as part of a sale process to a US trade buyer. Other recommended partners include Ken Baird, Nick Segal, Ryan Beckwith and Neil Golding. Sean Lacey left in May 2017 to join Kirkland & Ellis International LLP.

β€˜Right at the top of the market’, the β€˜fantastic’ team at Linklaters LLP β€˜excels at handling complex multi-stakeholder cases’ and provides a β€˜top-notch service’ to senior lenders, IPs, funds and corporates. Praised for her β€˜strong leadership on complex mandates’, co-head Rebecca Jarvis has been working alongside colleagues in the firm’s Madrid office on the ongoing restructuring of Spanish company Abengoa. As part of his broad-ranging restructuring expertise, Richard Hodgson has a leading reputation for advising on distressed M&A mandates; he is assisting PwC and LBIE on the design and implementation of three bespoke auction processes, enabling eligible creditors to sell their remaining claims against LBIE to a third party purchaser rather than taking independent action or waiting for the conclusion of the potentially lengthy "Waterfall" litigation. The β€˜highly personable’ Nick Le Masurier is β€˜very knowledgeable’ on schemes of arrangement and alongside the β€˜super commercial’ Bruce Bell advised the ad-hoc co-ordinating committee of noteholders, via three schemes of arrangement, on the restructuring of Metinvest’s capital structure. Co-head Richard Bussell, Euan Clarke, Richard Hodgson and the β€˜smart and effective’ Rory Conway are also recommended. Despite the departure in November 2016 of Yen Sum to Sidley Austin LLP, the team recently welcomed the arrivals of Sarah Mook, from Goldman Sachs and special situations expert James Douglas from Ropes & Gray LLP.

Leveraging its impressive roster of fund clients including KKR, Oaktree Capital, Blackstone/GSO and Centerbridge Partners, Kirkland & Ellis International LLP’s London based restructuring group β€˜is very visible’ in the majority of the highest-profile restructurings in the market, either as debtors counsel for a private equity portfolio company or for a fund as an investor in a distressed scenario. The β€˜superb’ Partha Kar and Kon Asimacopoulos jointly lead the group and are often at the forefront of the most significant mandates handled by the team including its recent work for Bain Capital portfolio company, Edcon Holdings, on its complex balance sheet restructuring (which involved consideration of New York law governed bonds, South African governed bank debt and an English law intercreditor). Kar and Asimacopoulos are also representing the co-ordinating committee of the first lien lenders of Jack Wolfskin on the financial restructuring of its €365m debt, as well as acting for Algeco Scotsman in its negotiations with lenders regarding its capital structure. Elaine Nolan is also recommended and advised The Harkland Group, an oil services company owned by Oaktree Capital, on it $350m restructuring. The team was recently strengthened by the arrival in September 2017 of Sean Lacey from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Acting as the hub of the firm’s European offering and also able to handle matters with a US nexus by virtue of its preeminent debtor-side New York offering, the β€˜very strong’ five-partner restructuring London practice at Weil, Gotshal & Manges (London) LLP is regularly involved in big-ticket cross-border restructurings involving stakeholders across the capital structure. Benefiting from the experience he has in private practice, as well as in-house at Goldman Sachs, Andrew Wilkinson is recognised as β€˜the real deal’ and alongside Alexander Wood recently advised the ad-hoc committee of senior secured noteholders on the high-profile restructuring of Edcon. Team head Adam Plainer has an β€˜excellent reputation in the market’ and as well as continuing to handle numerous matters for Lehman, has also been active for KKR including on the establishment of a ground breaking new venture to partner with European banks on restructuring their non-performing loan (NPL) portfolios across European jurisdictions. The β€˜smart, responsive and hardworking’ Mark Lawford is recommended. Other clients include Franklin Templeton, Apollo, Standard Bank and Alvarez & Marsal. Paul Bromfield sadly passed away in June 2017.

β€˜Knowledgeable and up-to-date on industry trends’, Ashurst’s seven-partner team acts for a broad spectrum of stakeholders including banks, distressed investors, corporates and IPs on cross-border restructurings/insolvencies. Team head Giles Boothman has recently been involved in numerous energy-related mandates including his representation of UK oil producer EnQuest on its complex $2.5bn restructuring (involving as it did senior debt, high yield bonds, retail notes and the simultaneous equity raise). Dan Hamilton advised Bank of Scotland on the sale of Aston Student Village to an entity controlled by Unite and GIC.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP’s sectoral expertise in the energy industry has manoeuvred its restructuring team in a strong position to pick up some major mandates, particularly in the oil and gas space, as a consequence of the general malaise in the sector brought about by the depressed oil price. Team head Laurence Elliott has β€˜been prominent in the oil and gas sector’ and recently advised the co-ordinating committee of secured lenders on the restructuring of overleveraged UK oil exploration company EnQuest. Elliott also assisted a group of banks, including Barclays and BNP Paribas, navigate the best outcome in relation to their combined Β£170m exposure to beleaguered Scotland-based First Oil plc - a strategy which ultimately led to the sale of its interests in numerous North Sea oil fields using a pre-packaged administration. The β€˜excellent’ Kevin Pullen and contentious insolvency expert John Whiteoak continued to advise Ernst & Young as administrators to Nortel’s EMEA entities. Other clients include Scotiabank, Ferrexpro and Baltic Gas.

Hogan Lovells International LLP’s six-partner team provides β€˜quality advice in a timely manner based on experience and legal analysis’ for a largely creditor facing client base that includes senior lenders and co-ordination committees, agents and security agents, bond trustees, debt purchasers and pension trustees. The β€˜very commercial’ Tom Astle has a burgeoning reputation in the market; he has been advising Barclays Bank as one of the lenders to troubled print business Polestar Printing on the rescue finance, prepack and its subsequent insolvency. Deborah Gregory’s broad practice encompasses distressed M&A work; she recently advised Goodwin on its acquisition of certain assets of King & Wood Mallesons LLP six days before the law firm’s entry into administration. The β€˜absolutely brilliant’ Paul McLoughlin has successfully cultivated a strong distressed loan portfolio offering and is a key member of the team that also includes the β€˜superb’ Stephen Foster and counsel Alex Kay, whose arrival in June 2016 from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP allows the firm to broaden its capabilities in high yield bond restructuring. Other clients include Lloyds, Mizuho, Santander and Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Enhanced by the arrival of Simon Baskerville in July 2016 from Ashurst, particularly in relation to special situations work, Latham & Watkins’s four-partner team excels at representing broad ranging creditor, debtor and investor clients in big-ticket cross-border restructurings. Although it is relatively small in comparison to some of the teams in the ranking, it is able to leverage a strong international offering, particularly in the US, as well as a market-leading UK and US finance brand that includes strength on the high yield and bank side. The β€˜excellent’ John Houghton has recently handled a number of matters emanating out of Eastern Europe including his work, alongside lawyers in the firm’s Moscow office, for DTEK, a privately owned Ukrainian energy company, regarding an English law scheme of arrangement of its Dutch subsidiary to ensure the cancellation of $200m worth of existing notes and the issuance of new ones in their place. Again working in conjunction with the Moscow office, Houghton is advising the bank co-ordinating committee on the restructuring of the Mriya Group; notably this is the largest Ukranian bank and bond default to date. Helena Potts is also involved in the Mriya Group restructuring as well as numerous other major mandates handled by the group including for the super senior liquidity providers on the Edcon restructuring. Other clients include Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Marathon Capital and UniCredit.

Although it has a smaller, discrete standalone restructuring team than many of the firms in the ranking, Slaughter and May’s cross-departmental approach ensures that is able to provide an β€˜excellent business oriented service’ to clients across a range of domestic and cross-border restructurings and insolvencies. Leveraging the firm’s top-notch roster of corporate clients, as well as receiving standalone instructions, the team has a particular focus advising on debtor mandates - where it is able to add value by dint of numerous complementary practice areas including corporate, finance and tax. The team has been involved in numerous energy-related matters of late including advising Premier Oil plc (led by Thomas Vickers and Philip Snell) on the restructuring of its $4bn of debt and acting for Seadrill on the negotiation and implementation of a comprehensive refinancing and restructuring plan. Noted for its expertise in politically sensitive scenarios, a cross-departmental team represented Tata Steel on the restructuring of its European business – work which has included asset disposals, contingency planning and negotiations with a range of stakeholders. Team head Ian Johnson and Richard de Carle are also recommended.

The β€˜young and dynamic’ five-partner team at White & Case LLP continues to make waves in the market as a result of its β€˜incredibly responsive, proactive and commercial service’ to banks, funds and debtors. Recognised for its β€˜wealth of experience in both English and international insolvency and restructuring matters’, the team is able to leverage a β€˜lot of exceptional talent through its network of overseas offices’. Co-ordinated out of London by β€˜very experienced, innovative and client friendly’ team head Christian Pilkington and involving lawyers spread out across eight jurisdictions, the firm recently concluded its long running representation of failed Icelandic bank Kaupthing. Praised for his ability to β€˜resolve difficult matters between groups with competing interests’, Pilkington also recently advised the co-ordinating committee of senior creditors in relation to African Bank’s $3.8bn financial restructuring through a curatorship. β€˜Always able to cut to the chase and identify the important points’, β€˜standout’ partner Ian Wallace has been particularly active within the oil and gas, and shipping/offshore sectors; he is advising Nordea Bank, as one of the key stakeholders, on the high-profile $2.3bn restructuring of CGG. The β€˜outstanding’ Laura Prater was heavily involved in the Kaupthing matters and also regularly acts for core firm client GSO. Other clients include Anchorage Capital Group, Centerbridge Partners, Goldman Sachs and Oak Hill Advisors.

Enhanced by the firm’s recent combination with Nabarro LLP and Olswang LLP, CMS provides β€˜practical and cost-effective’ advice to a balanced mix of debtor and creditor clients including clearing banks, funds, IPs and corporates. The β€˜very solutions-oriented’ Rita Lowe has developed a significant niche advising on law firm insolvencies including her recent work for King & Wood Mallesons LLP on negotiations with its lender and subsequent administration. Peter Wiltshire is β€˜excellent on bank-related matters’ and recently advised Lloyds Banking Group’s client asset management team in relation to its largest exposure in connection with its lending to the Long Port Group of companies (which is comprised of 11 Guernsey registered companies and limited partnerships with prime real estate assets in Guernsey, Jersey and England). β€˜Excellent problem solver’ Ashley Smith provides β€˜very clear and commercial advice’ to stakeholders engaged in traditional insolvencies and restructurings, as well as in debt trading scenarios. The β€˜very hands on’ Duncan Aldred provides contentious insolvency expertise and is a key member of the team that also includes Martin Brown, who excels at multi-jurisdictional mandates, as well as Patricia Godfrey and Glen Flannery, who add gravitas to the team following their arrival from Nabarro LLP. Clients include RBS, HSBC, KPMG and National Australia Bank.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s six-partner team is undoubtedly best-known in the market advising funds clients (including Oaktree, GSO, Centerbridge and Apollo) on restructurings, distressed M&A, and special situations. While it is sector agnostic, the team has been particularly active within the oil and gas/energy sector of late, as demonstrated by its work as international counsel for the bond trustee on the restructuring of $246m notes issued by Harkland Finance and secured against two dive support vehicles. Recognised as β€˜one of the top practitioners in the market’, Yushan Ng led on the aforementioned matter and is highly regarded for his β€˜extraordinarily creative advice’ to funds clients engaged in cross-border matters. Karen McMaster regularly advises investors in direct lending and special situations financing; she recently acted for new money investors underwriting over $1.2bn of new money for distressed Spanish renewable energy group Abengoa. Praised for his β€˜ability to marry a strong commercial sensibility with considerable legal knowledge’, Richard Nevins is a key member of the team that also includes team head Gregory Petrick.

Appreciated by clients for its β€˜very broad practice covering restructuring and contentious insolvency matters’, DLA Piper’s ten-partner team is effectively able to deploy practitioners at the correct level of experience to provide a β€˜cost-effective and commercial’ offering to a range of stakeholders on domestic and multi-jurisdictional matters. β€˜Superb’ team head Amy Jacks is a β€˜very strong all-rounder’ across a range of restructuring and insolvency work including in relation to portfolio sales. The β€˜very commercial and practical’ Chris Parker is β€˜very switched on’ on contentious matters and continues to represent the administrators of Lehman Brothers in the Waterfall I and II litigation. French-qualified partner Noam Ankri excels at complex distressed matters involving an international complexion; he is advising the steering committee of bondholders in relation to the restructuring of French-listed company CGG Group’s $3bn debt which involves exposure to debt not only in France but also UK, US and Norway. Recently promoted partner David Ampaw is β€˜excellent at navigating the issues of debt sales’ and is a key member of the team that also includes the β€˜extremely experienced and knowledgeable’ Michael Fiddy, Neil Riley (who provides β€˜sensible and commercial advice on complex restructuring matters’), and private equity restructuring expert Jonathan Richards. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Lonestar, Lloyds and Aviva Commercial Finance.

Jones Day has significant exposure to creditor and debtor side mandates, both in a formal insolvency setting, as well as in relation to restructuring and distressed M&A-related work. Team head Ben Larkin β€˜effortlessly combines commercial deal experience with deep restructuring knowledge’, and is acting for the liquidators of BHS, primarily to scrutinise the role of BHS directors prior to the retailer’s sale to Retail Acquisitions for Β£1. Larkin also recently advised Standard Chartered Bank on the enforcement of its rights pursuant to a $75m facility provided to a Singapore-headquartered global shipping group. David Harding is noted for his distressed M&A work and recently advised German private equity firm, Aurelius Investments, on its acquisition of The Hospital Medical Group from administrators. Kay Morley has β€˜excellent knowledge of current developments in the restructuring market’ and is particularly active advising hedge funds in distressed scenarios. Sion Richards is also recommended for contentious matters. Other clients include AlixPartners, Lone Star Funds and Orion Capital Managers.

Praised for its β€˜insightful, responsive and commercially astute advice’, Sidley Austin LLP is gaining increased market traction and recognition after some recent strategic hires, including the arrival in January 2017 of the β€˜absolutely outstanding’ Yen Sum and Jennifer Brennan from Linklaters LLP, and in October 2016 by that of Jifree Cader from Kirkland & Ellis International LLP. Praised for her β€˜technical know-how and solutions-oriented approach’, Sum is particularly accomplished at advising funds on special situations, and has since her arrival been involved, alongside Cader and Brennan, on the advice provided to the senior co-ordinating committee of lenders to Fraikin Group regarding the upcoming maturity of the senior holdco and senior opco debt. In addition to the firm’s enhanced offering on the special situations front, the team is also noted for its ability to provide a β€˜co-ordinated global approach’ and frequently works alongside colleagues in the US and Asia, in particular, on debtor and creditor mandates. β€˜Indefatigable’ team head Patrick Corr is praised for his β€˜innovative approaches to problems’; he recently represented Bank of America on the restructuring of EnQuest, the UK-based oil and gas producer. US-qualified partner Marc Wassermann is also recommended for his β€˜deep understanding of the market’. Other clients include Citadel and Alcentra.

Led by the β€˜business-minded and practical’ Ben Jones, Berwin Leighton Paisner LLP’s β€˜responsive’ four-partner team excels at advising IPs, funds and banks in mid-market restructurings and benefits from β€˜excellent industry knowledge’ in key firm-wide sector specialisms including real estate, hotels/leisure and healthcare. Marc Trottier is regularly involved in oil and gas-related restructurings; he recently advised SDX Energy on the $30m acquisition of a portfolio of oil and gas production and exploration assets from the administrators of one of Circle Oil Group’s subsidiaries. The firm also has significant contentious insolvency expertise, where the β€˜excellent’ David Leibowitz is the primary practitioner within the group. The β€˜intelligent and considerate’ Ian Benjamin is also recommended. Clients include Lloyds Bank, Cerberus, KPMG and Lonestar.

Able to leverage the firm’s international network as well as its longstanding presence in the UK insolvency market, Dentons is well-placed to advise a range of stakeholders including banks, funds and corporates engaged in formal insolvencies, in addition to corporate restructurings, often involving cross-border issues. Nigel Barnett is noted, in particular, for his contentious expertise and continues to represent the administrators of Lehman Brothers Intermediate II in the ongoing Waterfall proceedings regarding the disputed distribution of the company's surplus assets. Neil Griffiths is also highly regarded for his contentious expertise, and in a matter involving participation from practitioners in offices across three continents, is representing the special administrator of Cypriot bank FBME Bank on restructuring issues following the DOJs decision to bring sanctions against it for alleged money laundering violations. Other highlights included advising the liquidators on the disposal of the BHS property portfolio. Will Gunston was involved in the aforementioned matter and is a key member of the team that also includes Rachel Anthony, Byron Nurse and Celia Hayward.

Although it was recently affected by the departure of leading restructuring lawyer James Douglas to Linklaters LLP, Ropes & Gray LLP is still well-placed to handle multi-jurisdictional work, particularly on behalf of distressed special situations investors including KKR Credit and TPG Special Situations Partners. Although it is a small team, it is effectively able to work alongside lawyers from complementary areas including M&A and finance, as well as in collaboration with practitioners in the US, to provide a β€˜responsive and commercial service’ for funds across an array of strategies including loan-to-own, distressed M&A or the working out of existing positions. Led by Peter Baldwin and including input from over 100 practitioners in the UK and US, the firm recently advised TPG’s special situations platform on its $1.27bn acquisition of the entirety of the equity, debt and bankruptcy claim assets of the distressed trading desk of Credit Suisse North America. Tony Horspool and Daniel Martin are also recommended.

β€˜Excellent at getting the deal over the line’, Simmons & Simmons’s seven-partner team has the strength-in-depth to effectively resource both domestic and international mandates for a wide array of stakeholders including funds, banks and corporates. Team head Peter Manning has broad-ranging non-contentious and contentious expertise; he advised Deloitte as administrators of HMV. Ross Miller has β€˜extensive experience in distressed debt trading’ and regularly advises high-profile funds including Avenue Capital, which he advised on the acquisition and follow on sale of its ACSRE student accommodation platform to Brookfield Property Partners. Alyson Lockett is also well regarded for her debt trading expertise and is a key member of the team that includes the β€˜technically strong and commercial’ Richard Cook. Other clients include Grant Thornton, Fidor Bank and Credit Veritas.

While small in comparison with many of the higher-ranked firms, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP’s two-partner team is able to leverage a significant international footprint as well as complementary practice areas including banking and M&A to provide a compelling offering to a broad array of stakeholders, including corporates, creditors and funds, particularly as it relates to schemes of arrangements and transactional restructuring. Particularly strong at handling cross-border mandates, the team has been involved in numerous matters with a nexus to central and eastern Europe, including the team’s work for Roust Trading, the ultimate shareholder of Russian Standard Bank, in an English law court-sanctioned scheme of arrangement to restructure two series of Eurobonds. Other highlights included the representation of one of Roust Corporation, one of the world's largest vodka producers, in its prepackaged restructuring. The β€˜attentive and reliable’ Dominic McCahill is the β€˜perfect advisor to have beside you in a complicated restructuring’ and as well as his involvement in the aforementioned matter also continues to be involved in the restructuring of HETA Asset Resolution. Team head Chris Mallon is the other partner in the team which also includes the β€˜very intelligent and commercial’ European counsel James Falconer.

Able to tap into the firm’s widespread international offices - most importantly in the US - and thereby allowing a degree of flexibility regarding the potential use of insolvency procedures including Chapter 11, Mayer Brown International LLP’s six-partner London team provides β€˜excellent advice’ across both contentious and non-contentious work for both creditors and debtors. Particularly active in certain industry sectors, including retail and energy, team head Devi Shah recently advised the administrators of high street shoe chain Brantano on various issues arising out of the administration. The team also continues to receive a steady flow of pensions-related restructuring work and represented the pension scheme trustees of BG Group, Habitat, Woolworths, The Work Foundation (in liquidation), the Merchant Navy Officers and Ratings Pension Fund. David Allen is noted for his contentious expertise, where his client base includes banks, corporate trustees and IPs. The β€˜commercial and responsive’ senior associate Jessica Walker is also recommended. Other clients include Alteri Investors, Wilmington Trust and FTI.

Benefiting from the expertise of two core restructuring/insolvency partners and four banking and bond partners with extensive restructuring expertise, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s London offering is gaining increased traction in the market, particularly on behalf of fund clients, which are appreciative of its β€˜in-depth experience and commerciality’. The team’s commerciality manifests itself in the group’s ability - with UK and US-qualified practitioners on the ground in London and leveraging the firm’s strong position out of New York - to provide an β€˜absolutely top-notch service’ across English and US law financial instruments, insolvencies and restructurings. Team head Nick Angel is β€˜superb at stakeholder management and understanding process dynamics’; he is currently leading a team, along with support from the firm’s Sao Paolo office, on behalf of an ad-hoc committee of creditors with exposure to beleaguered Brazilian corporate Oi Group on its $19bn insolvency. Praised for his β€˜creativity’ and ability to β€˜use his knowledge of US/European law to help craft deals’, US-qualified partner Peter Newman is β€˜exceptional at working through complex issues’ and recently worked alongside the firm’s New York and Los Angeles offices on behalf of an ad-hoc committee of term lenders in relation to Vertellus Specialities’ Chapter 11 procedure. While it is undoubtedly best known for its creditor work, the firm also picks up some debtor side mandates, particularly on behalf of satellite companies where the firm has strong sector knowledge.

Following the arrival in January 2016 of the β€˜cerebral and highly authoritative’ David Ereira from Linklaters LLP, Paul Hastings LLP has successfully broadened the scope of its restructuring/insolvency work to include a broader variety of contentious and non-contentious matters. Praised for his ability to provide β€˜very compelling, commercial and effective advice’, Ereira recently advised Gulf Keystone Petroleum on its successful restructuring (a matter which involved a significant debt reduction through a debt-to-equity conversion and the raising of $25m new equity from an open offer to existing shareholders). The team remains a leading presence in the distressed structured finance space where Michelle Duncan displays a β€˜detailed understanding of the nature of the market and the role occupied by the participants’. Karl Clowry is also recommended. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, RBS and Farallon Capital Management.

Leveraging the firm’s strong pedigree in the US, as well as being able to tap into the expertise of lawyers on the ground in London with US law knowledge, Shearman & Sterling LLP’s small London-based restructuring offering works closely with the broader finance group to provide a β€˜commercial and responsive service’ to a predominantly creditor-focused client base. β€˜User friendly’ New York-qualified team head Solomon Noh has a strong reputation amongst bondholders which are appreciative of his broad ranging knowledge of commercial solutions including guidance around Chapter 11 options in European situations. Noh recently advised the ad-hoc group of noteholders on the $910m restructuring of DTEK's high yield notes – a matter which included a contractual moratorium implemented by way of a scheme of arrangement and a subsequent full-scale restructuring of the notes involving an exchange of the notes by way of a scheme of arrangement. Mei Lian is recommended for her β€˜pragmatic and results drive mind-set’, and senior associate Alastair Goldrein is β€˜confident and knowledgeable’ and increasingly visible in the market.

Leveraging the firm’s strong ties with UK clearing banks, the β€˜responsive and hardworking’ four-partner team at Addleshaw Goddard is a β€˜leading firm for mid-market insolvency and restructuring work’. Particularly accomplished at handling matters within core areas of sector strength for the firm, including healthcare, education, professional practices and real estate; for example, the β€˜tenacious and highly skilled’ Alison Goldthorp recently represented law firm King & Wood Mallesons (KWM) China and Australia in connection with the insolvency of London-based KWM LLP. The β€˜very likeable and approachable’ Simon Thomas is β€˜well-connected and respected’, and as well as work for banks and accountants, has also been key to developing the firm’s presence in the distressed debt and noteholder space. Recently promoted partner James Davison provides β€˜pro-active, commercial and pragmatic advice’ with a particular focus advising funds clients on restructuring/distressed work. Other clients include HSBC, Santander, PNC and KPMG.

The β€˜responsive and technically strong’ team at Baker McKenzie provides β€˜proactive, innovative and thorough’ advice to a varied mix of lenders, debtors, IPs and security trustees. The β€˜very knowledgeable and experienced’ Ian Jack is β€˜very effective in defusing what are often fraught and emotional discussions’ between different stakeholders. Also noted for his emerging markets expertise, Jack continues to advise troubled Ukranian corporate on the $2bn restructuring of its bond and bank debt. Louise Webb is also recommended.

Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP is β€˜very reliable on mid-market matters’, where in addition to a strong presence in London clients also benefit from β€˜excellent regional coverage’. Despite the recent retirement of Paul de la Pena, the three-partner London team still includes numerous well regarded practitioners including β€˜calm and organised’ team head Simon Waller, whose non-contentious restructuring/insolvency expertise encompasses work in several industry sectors including financial services. β€˜Possessing an enviable ability to distil down complex issues, in order to give clients clear and well thought through advice’, Jamie Leader displays β€˜intellectually strong and inquisitive’ qualities, particularly on contentious insolvency matters. Leader recently represented a UK clearing bank on its response to extensive document disclosure requests from liquidators investigating a significant overseas fraud. Principal associates Alexander Mehdevy and Devreaux Gravell are recommended for debt portfolio sales and real estate-related restructurings, respectively.

Leveraging the firm’s strong fund relationships, Macfarlanes LLP provides β€˜pragmatic and commercial advice’ across both restructurings and insolvencies, particularly within the mid-market. Simon Beale has a focus on pure insolvency matters and provides β€˜practical insight and a very commercial approach’ to clients including Better Capital - which he recently advised (through a pre-packaged administration) on the intra group restructuring of CAV Aerospace to Northern Aerospace, a special purpose vehicle within the same group. The β€˜excellent’ Jat Bains has a restructuring focus and recently advised Alchemy Special Opportunities on a new €24m debt facility to refinance the existing holding company debt facility of the Austrian shoe chain, Leder & Schuh. Paul Keddie was recently promoted to senior counsel and displays a β€˜calm and thoughtful approach’.

The β€˜very responsive’ team at Norton Rose Fulbright is able to β€˜bring a breadth of experience’ combining sector specialism from within the firm with a β€˜commercial and practical’ approach to restructuring. Leveraging the firm’s core focus within the shipping and energy sectors, the team recently advised a syndicated of senior lenders on the restructuring and refinancing of facilities made available to the DeepOcean Group. Noted for his β€˜depth of knowledge and attention to detail’, James Stonebridge combines β€˜robust legal analysis with pragmatic, commercial realities to generate effective advice’ and has been particularly active of late within the mining, shipping and oil and gas sectors. Recently promoted partner Mark Craggs is an β€˜excellent all-round insolvency lawyer’ and is a key member of the team that also includes Radford Goodman, who gets β€˜high marks for insolvency disputes’, consultant Hamish Anderson, who is a β€˜real leader of the insolvency bar’, and Sarah Coucher, who has expertise across a range of sectors including real estate, construction, retail, energy and technology. Clients include Credit Suisse, KPMG, Royal Bank of Canada, and Wells Fargo.

With five partners based in London and also able to call upon the expertise of practitioners across a number of regional offices including Manchester, Birmingham and Scotland, Pinsent Masons LLP has the strength-in-depth to provide a β€˜cost-effective and commercial service’ to a varied mix of clients including banks, IPs and funds engaged predominantly in mid-market domestic mandates. β€˜The reliable’ Tom Withyman has a niche expertise advising on charities restructuring; he recently advised the directors of Aston Student Village on the restructuring of this charity vehicle holding the student accommodation at Aston University. The β€˜approachable’ Nicholas Pike handles both contentious and non-contentious insolvency work; he recently advised Gatwick Airport and a group of seven major airlines on arrangements to provide short-term funding to the Aviator Group, a distressed group of companies that operated a ground-handling services business from London Gatwick, Manchester, Newcastle and Birmingham airports. The β€˜very responsive’ Steven Cottee displays a real β€˜"can do" attitude’ across a range of work including law firm insolvencies, while Richard Williams is noted for his expertise on construction restructurings. Clients include HSBC, Alix Partners, KPMG and RBS.

Led by the β€˜tenacious and hardworking’ Mark Fennessy, Proskauer Rose LLP’s small three-partner team β€˜punches above its weight’ and is regularly involved on behalf of key stakeholders in some of the most significant cross-border restructurings in the market. Appreciated by clients for his β€˜value-added and thoughtful approach’, Fennessy recently represented the official liquidator of Onix Capital, a $2bn Chile-based fund. The London team also picks up a significant amount of work for Global Loan Agency Services, an independent provider of debt administration services, including advising it in its role as notes trustee and security agent of a $900m high yield bond offering by Codere, the troubled Spanish construction industry player. Clients also benefit from the team’s ability to leverage the firm’s expertise out of its US offices. Associate Sunay Radia provides β€˜straightforward and clear advice’ to distressed debt investors on existing and potential investments. Other clients include Contrarian Capital, HSBC and Itau.

β€˜Excellent on all fronts’, Stephenson Harwood’s four-partner team provides a β€˜client focused’ and β€˜highly commercial service’ across a range of contentious and non-contentious mandates, increasingly with a cross-border complexion. The β€˜very client-oriented and friendly’ Susan Moore is regularly engaged in the highest-profile matters handled by the team and is appreciated for her β€˜decisive, authoritative and assertive’ advice. As well as her continued involvement in the ongoing administration of the Affinion scheme of arrangement, she also recently advised E-Commodities on its cross-border bond restructuring, which was implemented through processes in three different jurisdictions and funded by a parallel rights issue. The β€˜meticulous’ Elizabeth Elliott β€˜really knows her stuff’ and is advising the Board of the Pension Protection Fund, in its role as the largest creditor of BHS in the company’s administration and subsequent liquidation. Julian Cahn and Stuart Frith are also recommended, in particular for their contentious insolvency prowess.

β€˜Very strong in complex large or international restructurings’, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP provides β€˜very creative advice’ to a range of stakeholders including banks, funds and corporates. Although it has a smaller discrete restructuring offering from many other firms, nevertheless, it displays a fluid approach between finance and restructuring, enabling it to provide a β€˜truly bespoke and commercial service’, particularly in relation to matters involving New York-law governed financial instruments including high yield debt. Rated by one client as β€˜one of the smartest and most commercial lawyers on the planet’, dual-qualified UK/US qualified partner Christopher Howard β€˜never tells you what you cannot do but always tells you how to do what you want to do’. His creativity was recently exemplified by his work, alongside colleagues in the firm’s New York office, for 107 creditors of hibu group, a multinational online directories company, on successfully refinancing and restructuring the company’s balance sheet, strengthening the business and opening new opportunities for growth. Howard was also involved alongside the β€˜exceptional’ Presley Warner on behalf of the co-ordinating committee of bank creditors to Abengoa on its €1.17bn restructuring.

β€˜Experienced operators in the corporate restructuring field’, Taylor Wessing LLP’s ten-partner team has β€˜strength-in-depth’ across a wide variety of creditor and debtor side work, both on the contentious and non-contentious side. Leveraging the firm’s overarching IP strength, the team is regularly engaged in restructuring involving IP rich businesses and recently advised KPMG as administrators on the pre-packed sale of WorldStores Group to Dunelm Group. Neil Smyth led on the aforementioned matter and is also β€˜very good on contentious insolvency issues and pursuing recalcitrant directors’. Team head Nick Moser is β€˜particularly strong in the pensions sector’ where his experience in the area ensures that he β€˜understands the different requirements for dealing with trustees who may have different agendas from the general body of creditors’.

Generating a substantial amount of work from the firm’s impressive mid-market private equity client base, Travers Smith LLP’s two-partner team is active on behalf of distressed investor clients, in addition to advising special situation arms of private equity sponsors on distressed investment opportunities. The β€˜commercial and responsive’ Edward Smith has handled a range of matters within the retail sector and recently acted for Alteri Investors on the acquisition of equity and debt in clothing retailers Austin Reed, Country Casuals and Viyella, and their subsequent administrations. The team also has a strong understanding of pensions-related restructurings and recently worked alongside its market-leading pensions team on a potential restructuring of a cross-border security and guarantee package put in place for the benefit of the British Steel Pension Scheme, in the context of the possible restructuring of its sponsor, Tata Steel UK. Peter Hughes is also recommended at a partner level, and senior counsel Douglas Hawthorn is admired for his β€˜balanced and commercial advice’.

The β€˜user friendly and commercial’ team at Bird & Bird LLP has a focused approach to restructuring work which is aimed in particular at key industry sectors including financial services, energy, real estate and sport. The β€˜exceptionally talented’ and β€˜personable’ team head Joss Hargrave provides β€˜highly commercial advice’ to a range of stakeholders including lenders, debtors and IPs and has developed a strong reputation for handling complex investment bank insolvencies. In this context, Hargrave continues to represent the special administrators of Hartmann Capital regarding a misfeasance claim against a director of the investment bank.

Charles Russell Speechlys LLP’s two-partner team has a strong reputation among IPs (Deloitte, Ernst & Young) and business advisory firms (FRP Advisory, Duff & Phelps) and is consequently regularly involved in a range of significant contentious and non-contentious restructuring and insolvency matters. Simon Ridpath recently acted for the joint administrators on the sale of the business and assets of Peyton & Byrne to French company Sodexo following the loss of contracts including Kew Gardens and the British Library. A β€˜great man to have in a crisis’, Ridpath is also noted for his contentious expertise, where he β€˜combines great legal knowledge, a clear view of the parties’ positions and a pragmatic approach’. Hanh Nguyen is also recommended.

The β€˜knowledgeable and practical’ team at Clyde & Co LLP represents creditors and debtors on domestic and cross-border insolvencies. Andrew Foster is β€˜always on top of the latest developments in the market and has the ability to express complex legal issues in a simple and concise manner’. Stewart Perry joined Fieldfisher in May 2017.

At Cooley (UK) LLP, Jon Yorke β€˜knows everything there is to know about schemes of arrangement, and has orchestrated most of the big ones - particularly in the insurance market’; he is currently advising the administrators of Mediterranean Re, an insolvent reinsurance company. The arrival of finance partner John Clark from Mayer Brown International LLP in March 2016 enhanced the team’s expertise, not only on new money mandates, but also restructurings and on behalf of distressed debt investors.

Unsurprisingly given the firm’s prominence in the funds sector, a good deal of work handled by Dechert LLP’s restructuring team is on behalf of official and ad-hoc committees of secured and unsecured bondholders. The β€˜excellent’ Paul Fleming has a strong reputation in the market and as well as his recent work for hedge fund Contrarian Capital Management in successfully contesting a scheme of arrangement in the English Courts by companies in the Asia Pulp and Paper Group. He also continues to represent administrators of Lehman Brothers Limited in ongoing disputes totalling approximately Β£10bn. Insolvency litigator Adam Silver was involved in the aforementioned Contrarian Capital matter alongside Fleming and is praised for his ability to β€˜find compromises in complex negotiations’.

Leveraging the core competences found at the firm, particularly in relation to private wealth and charities, Farrer & Co has several niches in the market, most notably in relation to enforcement matters for private banks and charity-related restructuring work. β€˜Exceptional’ associate Nyla Yousuf is β€˜always completely on top of the law’ and recently advised a private bank on the enforcement options available following a defaulting facility advanced to two BVI companies. β€˜An iron fist inside an elegant velvet glove’, team head David Fletcher regularly advises boards of directors and private banks on insolvency and restructuring situations. β€˜Outstanding charity lawyer’ Anne-Marie Piper has a particular specialism in advising charities that are experiencing financial difficulties.

Benefitting from strong ties with IPs and business advisory firms including PwC, KPMG and FRP Advisory, Fieldfisher handles a regular flow of debtor side work in a contentious and non-contentious setting. β€˜Not afraid to roll her sleeves up’, Manchester-based Michelle Shean is noted for non-contentious expertise and recently advised on the restructuring of Circle Oil Group and on the subsequent administration of Circle Oil Jersey Limited and sale of its subsidiaries. The β€˜hardworking and commercial’ Kit Jarvis provides β€˜thoughtful advice’ in a contentious context. The arrival in May 2017 of the β€˜very knowledgeable and solutions oriented’ Stewart Perry from Clyde & Co LLP further bolsters the firm’s capability, particularly within the oil and gas space.

Leveraging strong ties with IPs, Fladgate LLP regularly receives predominantly domestic mandates across a range of sectors including in relation to property-related insolvencies. The β€˜smart and creative’ Bree Taylor is β€˜always up for the fight’ and is noted for her contentious expertise; she recently represented a former director of the UK subsidiary of the "Jacuzzi" group of companies in the defence of claims brought by liquidators alleging breaches of duty in relation to transactions entered by the company prior to its 2011 insolvency. Jeremy Whiteson provides β€˜responsive and clear advice’ and is also recommended, in particular for his restructuring/insolvency work on behalf of entrepreneurial/start-up businesses. Clients include BDO, Begbies, Grant Thornton and FRP.

Spread out between the firm’s London and Birmingham offices, Gowling WLG’s five-partner team handles a range of contentious and non-contentious work for stakeholders including investors, pension trustees, clearing bank and asset based lenders, IPs and turnaround professionals. β€˜Strategic thinker’ Andrew Witts is noted for his contentious expertise which includes fraud and asset recovery matters; he continues to represent the liquidators of Stanford Bank on all matters concerning its UK assets. The β€˜knowledgeable’ Alex Jay provides an β€˜excellent client service’ across a range of contentious insolvency matters and is also involved in the aforementioned matter. Julian Pallett is also recommended. Clients include Deloitte, PwC, KPMG and Menzies Business Recovery.

Recently bolstered by the arrival of numerous finance partners including Barry Cosgrave, who joined in August 2016 from Shearman & Sterling LLP, K&L Gates LLP provides β€˜responsive and commercial advice’ to a range of clients including banks, funds and trustees. Able to effectively tap into the firm’s transatlantic offering, the London team regularly handles work for US-based funds looking to acquire distressed assets in the UK. β€˜Impressive’ team head Jonathan Lawrence recently advised LKQ Corporation, a leading supplier of alternative car parts, on the acquisition of the business of Andrew Page and related companies out of a pre-packaged administration run by PWC. β€˜Responsive’ special counsel Clare Tanner has a focus on insolvency litigation and is working alongside Lawrence on behalf of Capita Trust Company, as trustee, in connection with the insolvency of Estates & General, a real estate investment company. Andrew Petersen leads the finance practice in London and as part of his broad-ranging work regularly handles structured finance related restructurings.

Although it is relatively small compared to many of the firms in the ranking, Michelmores LLP’s two-partner team β€˜punches above its weight and is able to advise on some very complex international transactions’. Praised for his β€˜tough but reasonable’ negotiating style, team head Charles Maunder is, alongside the other partner in the team Alexander Wood, representing Alix Partners as receivers of Β£150m debt linked to the Marme Group liquidation in Spain and associated Aabar Block/ Glenn Maud proceedings. Maunder also continues to act for York Global Finance as one of the respondents in the Lehman Brothers Waterfall proceedings and for Octopus/Ticketus as one of the main creditors of Glasgow Rangers Football Club. Other clients include Agilo Master Fund, Greensphere Capital and New Earth Solutions Group.

Increasingly visible in the London market since team head Stephen Phillips’ arrival over three years ago, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Europe) LLP’s restructuring team has a focus on advising alternative credit providers, hedge funds and the special situation arms of investment banks and is also well-placed to handle cross-border mandates as a result of its extensive European, Asian and US network of offices. Praised for his β€˜pragmatic and clear advice’, Phillips’ recent highlights include advising Global Loan Agency Services as trustee of the notes of Edcon, as well as representing the bondholders in relation to Waste Italia’s proposed bond restructuring.

Jointly headed by Jeff Drew and Charlotte MΓΈller, Reed Smith LLP’s four-partner team picks up some β€˜excellent instructions’ from IPs, lenders and funds, particularly in the shipping and energy sectors where the firm exhibits β€˜first-class industry knowledge’. The β€˜responsive and practical’ MΓΈller also has detailed knowledge of the UK Special Administration process and following on from her work for the joint special administrators of online spread betting firm WorldSpreads, is currently acting for another investment management firm in special administration. The arrival in September 2016 of Diane Roberts from Ashurst bolsters a team that also includes the β€˜very practical’ Elizabeth McGovern, who was recently promoted to partner.

Squire Patton Boggs’s two-partner team handles restructuring and formal insolvencies for a mix of lenders, funds and IPs across a range of sectors including retail. Leveraging the firm’s strong asset based lending credentials for clients including Bank Leumi and ABN AMRO Commercial Finance, the team is also regularly involved in insolvency and restructuring work for such lenders if their deals end up in a distressed situation. Cathryn Williams and Paul Muscutt are recommended. Other clients include KPMG, PwC, Alix Partners and Hilco Capital.

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