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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame Icon The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United Kingdon, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for eight years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.
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United Kingdom > London > Finance > Debt capital markets > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings



Index of tables

  1. Debt capital markets
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading individuals
  4. Next generation lawyers

Next generation lawyers

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Who Represents Who

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Allen & Overy LLP is ‘superb; it surpasses all other firms in terms of client service, responsiveness, commerciality and value for money’ according to one client, while another notes that ‘the set-up and the level of partner attention is amazing, and the firm has fantastic knowledge of the industry’. Overall, the team is ‘extremely pragmatic in coming up with solutions that work for all parties involved’. Head of debt capital markets Jonathan Melton is ‘very knowledgeable, has super experience and is at the top of his field’. He leads a team that has one of the deepest DCM benches in London, including experienced partners Matthew Hartley, who acts for sovereigns, supra-nationals, corporates, banks and mutuals on the full range of matters; Philip Smith, whose broad practice encompasses work for issuers and underwriters; Tom Grant who is ‘a key partner in the practice’ and whose work includes liability management deals; Theo Trayhurn, who is ‘fantastic, very quick to respond and works well on tough and innovative projects’ and who is described by peers as ‘an impressive sparring partner’; Jamie Durham, who stands out for equity-linked and emerging markets deals; US-qualified Sachin Davé; and newly promoted Daniel Fletcher, of whom clients remark that ‘few lawyers know more about the regulatory environment’. The team of counsel and associates ‘shows great attention to detail and is pleasant to work with’. The firm’s many highlights included advising dealer managers including Citigroup on a €1bn liability management deal for SABMiller, and acting for lead managers including Goldman Sachs on a €1bn notes issue by Nykredit Realkredit.

At Clifford Chance LLPthe team always has the interests of the client at heart and always delivers on its promises’. Clients praise the firm’s ‘extensive experience in the field of DCM backed by a very strong regulatory team’ and remark that the firm has ‘a group of professionals with vast experience who are easily accessible, attentive to details and diligent; they are creative in their thinking and able to solve difficult and complex matters swiftly’. The firm is present on some of the biggest deals in the market, including the largest ever Euro-denominated corporate bond in which it advised Anheuser-Busch InBev on six series of issuance totalling €13.5bn to finance its acquisition of SABMiller. Stewart Dunlop led that deal and is one of a highly respected group of partners that includes head of capital markets Simon Sinclair, infrastructure and project finance capital markets specialist David Bickerton, project bonds expert Clare Burgess, Paul Deakins, who regularly advises on equity-linked bonds and liability management, and David Dunnigan, who advises sovereigns, major corporations and financial institutions. ‘The partners have a hands-on approach to every issue that arises and are well informed’, says one client. The firm’s many highlights from 2016 included advising arranger HSBC on a €350m greenfield project bond in Turkey, which saw EBRD’s first-ever provision of a subordinated liquidity facility; a $500m deal in Russia for lead managers including GazPromBank and JPMorgan; and a $1bn debut Eurobond issue for Southern Gas Corridor, which was the first to be guaranteed by the Republic of Azerbaijan.

Linklaters LLPhas a very knowledgeable team that provides fast responses, good advice and great service’ across the entire DCM space including liability management, equity-linked bonds, regulatory capital deals and sovereign bonds. The firm is ‘number-one in the market’, according to one client. It not only has a strong practice in English law deals but also has a prominent role in the market for SEC-registered, New York law-governed regulatory capital securities issued by UK and European banks. Elaine Keats leads the practice and stands out for her work on liability management and retail bonds. Ben Dulieu is well known for equity-linked deals. ‘Go-to capital markets lawyerRichard Levy has a broad practice that encompasses regulatory capital, liability management and emerging markets deals. Among the other highly regarded partners are Cecil Quillen (who is US-qualified), Carson Welsh, the ‘highly skilled and responsiveRichard O’Callaghan, who is strong in emerging markets transactions, and Keith Thomson, who ‘knows everything there is about convertibles’. Newly promoted Neil Dixon is a prominent fixture on bank and insurance regulatory capital deals. The firm’s standout deals from 2016 included the ZAR10bn restructuring of Africa Bank’s debt as part of its rescue process; a £2.88bn convertible bond issue for Vodafone; advice to the underwriters of the Sultanate of Oman’s $4bn debut issuance; and the establishment of a £6bn EMTN programme for National Grid.

White & Case LLP is ‘a preferred provider of services in debt capital markets, and one of the best for emerging markets deals’. Clients remark that it is ‘incredibly commercial and, as a truly global firm, able to leverage its expertise in offices in many key jurisdictions’; they also highlight the fact that ‘the firm has spent decades building its DCM capacity and is in so many places that it has become a real force in the market’. The London team is the hub of the firm’s European captial markets capability and is not only a leader in sovereign issuances and emerging markets debt, but also an increasingly strong player in cross-border matters involving Europe and the US. Global practice head Stuart Matty and key US securities law partner Melissa Butler play key roles in outstanding deals, including Ghana’s $750m amortising notes issue, in which the firm acted for joint lead managers Citibank Global Markets, Merrill Lynch and Standard Chartered Bank. Michael Doran has a strong investment grade, equity-linked and debt restructuring practice. Francis Fitzherbert-Brockholes, who is dual English and US-qualified, is a veteran of the European DCM market. Ian Clark is ‘a great guy and a standout specialist in sovereign debt matters’ and Doron Loewinger is regarded as a skilled US law partner. Michael Immordino regularly handles recapitalisation deals for Italian banks and Richard Pogrel stands out for equity-linked and liability management transactions. Key deals included the restructuring of $1.9bn in debt for the Republic of Mozambique, and advising ENI on its €400m equity-linked bonds.

Ashursthas a strong debt practice that is quick and responsive, with good commercial acumen and industry knowledge’. Head of debt capital markets Anna Delgado is ‘efficient and understands the commercial aspects of her clients’ requirements, while being fully up-to-date with all new legislation; her client-care skills are second to none’. Derwin Jenkinson, who has a prominent presence in infrastructure bonds, ‘has exceptionally strong technical knowledge but is also pragmatic and helps to push deals forward’. Francis Kucera has wide-ranging expertise in international securities work in both debt and equity transactions, and newly promoted partner Alexander Biles has a broad practice covering infrastructure and project bonds, regulatory capital matters and liability management transactions. Counsel Christopher Hardingham is ‘knowledgeable, practical and has a great understanding of clients’ needs; he is second to none when it comes to EMTN programmes’. Recently promoted partner Malcom Charles leads the corporate trust and agency team. The firm’s standout deals included advising BP Capital Markets on a £400m issue of convertible bonds linked to BP shares; advising joint lead managers including Citigroup and HSBC on a €1.25bn sovereign bond issued by the Republic of Croatia; and advising solicitation agents JPMorgan Securities, Citigroup Global Markets and Bank of America Merrill Lynch on consent solicitation for ICAP plc’s bonds.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is ‘a prominent player in emerging markets debt’, with clients singling out its ‘broad spread in terms of products and geographies and good reputation for high-end and complex transactions’. In 2016, the London team handled deals in Russia, the CIS, the Middle East and North Africa. All of the lawyers in the finance practice have broad practices that cover not only DCM but also equity capital markets matters, although five partners, one counsel and one senior attorney devote the majority of their time to debt transactions. US capital markets specialists Sebastian Sperber and Pierre-Marie Boury each have more than 20 years’ experience; David Gottlieb is also vastly experienced in SEC-registered debt offerings, and Raj Panasar is dual-qualified in US and English law. Simon Ovenden joined Simmons & Simmons, and the firm promoted sovereign debt expert Jim Ho to partner. Counsel Sarah Lewis and senior attorney Christopher Smith are also recommended. The firm acted for issuer HSBC Holdings in a $1.5bn SEC-registered offering of subordiated notes. Another key deal saw the team act as counsel to the Russian Federation’s Ministry of Finance for $1.25bn in new issuances sold to institutional investors in a Rule 144A/Reg S placement. Other highlights included acting for Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan on two offerings with a total value of $1.6bn by a subsidiary of Telenor in which the parent company disposed of its stake in Vimpelcom.

The ‘responsive and flexible’ team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP advises on a wide range of debt transactions, including sovereign bonds, equity linked issuances, liability management exercises, MTN programme updates, establishments and drawdowns, and regulatory capital issuances. The firm’s strong corporate practice generates a large volume of issuer-side work and acts for bookrunners and managers on debt transactions. The London team maintains its reputation for innovative and groundbreaking deals, as illustrated by its work for Axis Bank, Nomura International and others on the first-ever corporate issuance of masala bonds. The landmark deal saw Indian issuer Housing Development Finance Corporation issue INR30bn of notes. Highly respected partner Peter Allen and Duncan Kellaway played pivotal roles in the transaction. Allen’s highlights also included acting for Tullow Oil on a $300m convertible bond issue. Stuart Grider worked with Kellaway on a $1bn issue of guaranteed notes by mobile network operator MTN Group. Sarah Murphy leads the firm’s US corporate group in Europe and Asia and is co-head of the international capital markets practice. She acts for both investment banks and for companies seeking to access the US and international capital markets. Murphy provided specialist US securities advice on a deal that Allen led for issuer PAO Severstal that saw it issue two tranches of convertible bonds with a total value of $450m. Nick Hayday joined Dentons.

Herbert Smith Freehills LLP is recognised for the breadth of its DCM practice, which covers standalone bonds, regulatory capital instruments, EMTN and commercial paper programmes, private placements, equity-linked bonds and liability management transactions for sovereign, corporate and investment bank clients across a wide range of jurisdictions. Its strong UK and European corporate client base includes UK-listed companies such as G4S, Ferrexpo, Royal Mail and Severn Trent. It also acts for a growing roster of investment banks as deal managers including Bank of China, HSBC and JPMorgan. Andrew Roberts leads a team that comprises English and US-qualified lawyers. Tom O’Neill leads the US securities practice in London and has 20 years’ experience in deals across Europe and emerging markets. Dinesh Banani has particular expertise in US law aspects of debt offerings by non-US issuers. Amy Geddes has broad expertise that includes equity-linked deals and regulatory capital transactions for both issuers and managers. Senior associate Mark Dickinson plays a key role in the practice and with O’Neill advised French company Danone on a $12.5bn financing that included a $5.5bn Rule 144a Yankee bond offering. Another flagship deal for the team saw it advise Tideway, which is constructing the Thames Tideway Tunnel in London, on establishing a £10bn asset-backed, multi-currency programme and subsequent drawdowns with a total value of £450m. Emerging markets highlights included acting for lead managers on a CNY3bn offering by the People’s Republic of China.

Latham & Watkins is ‘a first choice for debt deals in the emerging markets space’, for which clients see the firm as ‘well serviced, very proactive and commercial, and fully aware of market practice’. Clients single out the ‘excellent service and professional approach to all tasks – the team knows the products and the sector, so is able to be innovative’. Its primary focus is emerging markets debt, but the team has a growing presence in the European market. Lene Malthasen has 25 years’ experience and plays a leading role in the emerging markets debt practice. David Stewart, who splits his time between the London and Moscow offices, is ‘extremely knowledgeable in emerging markets debt’. Counsel James Baxter is also recommended. The firm’s work for sovereigns included advising the Republic of Mozambique on a landmark exchange offer to holders of $697m in loan participation notes for Eurobond notes with extended maturity. Corporate issuer work included BMW Group’s debut 144a/Reg S offering in tranches with a total value of $6.25bn. The team also works extensively for underwriters and recently advised Barclays, ING Bank and others on the $500m notes issue by Evraz Group. Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Ukrlandfarming PLC and BBV are also among the firm’s clients.

Mayer Brown International LLPhas an outstanding debt capital markets practice and provides deep understanding of both the cross-border and local issues affecting deals’. Much of the London’s team’s work has a US element, though it also advises on emerging markets deals. The skills of US- and France-qualified Robert Flaniganalways allow for an efficient and positive result for clients; he is a safe pair of hands for complex transactions’. He regularly represents issuers and underwriters on Rule 144A/Reg S private placements and SEC-registered offerings of a wide range of debt and equity securities. James Taylorhas in-depth knowledge of local securities legislation and is always responsive’. He focuses on public and private offerings of debt and equity-linked securities, advising issuers and underwriters. Bernd Bohr, who is qualified in New York, England & Wales and Germany, has a broad practice that covers investment grade debt, high yield transactions and equity capital markets deals, usually with cross-border elements. In an illustration of the collaboration between the US and London teams, the firm acted for Canada Pension Plan Investment Board on the establishment of a CAD25bn global MTN programme, which involved Taylor and a team in New York. The firm also advised Novartis AG on a €1.75bn notes issuance, and Autopista del Sol on a €557m offering.

Norton Rose Fulbright not only has a respected emerging markets debt practice, but also a strong presence in sovereign deals, project bonds and debt restructuring. Peter Young specialises in cross-border transactions under English and New York law and has particularly strong experience in sovereign bond issues. He advised the Central Bank of Bahrain on its $1bn Eurobond and its simultaneous $1bn sukuk, which was challenging given the country’s low credit rating and which represented the first global deal it had issued using a hybrid structure of Ijarah and Murabahah structures. Young was also heavily involved in putting together an innovative project bond-style structure for Angola’s debut sovereign bond issue. A key niche for the practice lies in Canadian deals; Peter Noble handled transactions with a total value of $25bn in that jurisdiction last year, including the country’s first regulatory capital programme. He advised manager Toronto-Dominion Bank on the Province of British Columbia’s INR5bn issuance as it became the first foreign government entity to issue rupee-denominated bonds in the Indian offshore market. DCM expert Farmida Bi regularly handles sovereign debt issuance, project bonds and restructurings, and is head of the Islamic finance team in Europe. US partner Nikolai Mikhailov, who joined from Chadbourne & Parke, enhanced the firm’s ability to handles debt and equity deals in Russia and the CIS.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s clients appreciate the firm’s ‘combination of US and UK law with a practical knowledge and understanding of what is really relevant, as well as the ability to be persuasive and determined’. Co-head of European capital markets David Dixter is ‘top of his game in terms of efficiency and pragmatism’. He advised Citycon on a €350m offering of guaranteed notes to refinance the company’s existing debt and enable investment in new joint ventures. Team co-head Apostolos Gkoutzinis leads on high yield deals but also handles general debt and equity transactions. Longstanding clients include RBS as underwriter and Anglo American as issuer. Richard Price left to take on the role of Group General Counsel at Anglo American but the firm hired Alejandro Gordano as counsel from Credit Suisse and promoted Pawel Szaja to counsel. Highlights included acting for banks including Deutsche bank and Citigroup Capital Markets as representatives of intial purchasers of global pharmaceutical company Mylan’s notes with a total value of €2.55bn, and advising JPMorgan and others as bookrunning managers of a €2bn offering by biotechnology company Amgen.

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘a professional and likeable firm that is always willing to assist and has truly global coverage’. ‘A leader in the US debt market’, the firm is known for its skills in Rule 144a issuances, while one client notes that ‘the advice on Eurobonds is on a par with Magic Circle firms’. The firm advises leading global investment banks in their roles as underwriters, dealers and arrangers, and advises many large US corporate issuers on their debt offerings in Europe. It also acts for many European, Asian and Australian corporate and financial institution issuers in connection with European debt, regulatory capital and liability management transactions. David Howe is ‘highly recommended from a leadership perspective and for his knowledge of the Eurobond market’. He is assisted by ‘a good, solid team’ including Mark Walsh and associate Matthew Ball, who ‘provide excellent service, speed of response and value for money’. Counsel Vivian Root is ‘amazing; she knows exactly what is important to a bank client and has a very commercial, helpful and thorough approach’. Counsel Shireen Khoo is also recommended. Walsh played a key role in the team’s work for US REIT Simon Property Group on a €500m Reg S notes offering listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Howe assisted Bank of Cyprus with annual updates of its €4bn EMTN programme and its €3bn covered bond programme. Another highlight for the team was its work for McDonalds Corporation on a CHF400m issuance of notes listed on SIX Swiss Exchange.

Simmons & Simmons has been building up its DCM practice, and is increasingly being viewed as ‘one of the main players in the market’. The firm now has four partners in London who ‘have the experience to handle any kind of transaction’, according to one client. Piers Summerfield has extensive experience advising underwriters, issuers and institutional investors and leads the international debt capital markets team with co-head Charles Hawes, who is dual qualified in English and US law and advises leading investment banks and issuers on complex and high-value deals. The practice added to its bench at senior level with the hire of Jonathan Mellor, who for the last 30 years was at Allen & Overy LLP and has extensive experience advising underwriters and issuers on all aspects of international debt transactions including liability management, structured equity and regulatory capital matters. Simon Ovenden also joined from Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP to add experience in sovereign debt and emerging markets deals. Summerfield and Mellor have in-depth knowledge of convertible bonds and Hawes excels in deals with a US element including a growing portfolio of privately placed issues. The firm’s highlights included advising arranger JPMorgan Securities on €6.15bn-worth of notes from its €65bn EMTN programme; acting for British Land in €1bn of issuance from its EMTN programme; and handling tender offers for DONG Energy in relation to €2.25bn in outstanding notes.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (UK) LLP is best known for cross-border debt deals including Eurobonds, project bonds, sovereign issuances, and convertible bond transactions. The London team’s international focus sees it act in deals involving jurisdictions such as Russia, Italy and Israel. The firm is a regular adviser on complex and multi-jurisdictional deals for both corporate issuers and underwriters. Head of European capital markets Danny Tricot is the standout lawyer in the practice; his highlights included advising HSBC Securities (USA) as lead underwriter on five separate offerings with an aggregate value of $15.25bn by HSBC Holdings. He also acted for the joint global co-ordinators and joint lead managers in a Rule 144a/Reg S $9bn bond offering by the State of Qatar, which at the time was the largest-ever sovereign bond offering in the Middle East. London office head Pranav Trivedi has a strong reputation for complex capital markets deals, particulary those involving Russia. He worked closely with Tricot on the HSBC deals and also on an $80m private placement of convertible bonds by Atlas Mara. James Healy has extensive experience of international debt offerings for both underwriters and issuers and corporate finance counsel Maria Protopapa frequently advises on both debt and equity capital markets transactions.

At Slaughter and May, ‘the lawyers are knowledgeable and client-focused, always respond on time and definitely provide value for money’. The firm’s primary focus is on borrower mandates, though its advice to banks on structured bond deals is growing. For example, it is advisingWestpac on the annual update of its EMTN and covered bond programmes, and it acted for Standard Chartered on numerous debt issues including a $1bn offering of senior notes. The firm’s multi-disciplinary finance partners cover a broad range of capital markets, structured finance and securitisation transactions. Matthew Tobin, who heads the DCM practice, took the lead on the Westpac deals. Guy O’Keefe advises issuers, borrowers, lenders and counterparties on liability management transactions. He acted for Arrow Global Group on a £220m offering. Ed Fife’s recent highlights include advising Remgro on a £350m placement of senior secured notes, which was the first exchangeable bond issued by a South African company. Caroline Phillips’s work in the debt space includes regulatory capital deals; she regularly acts for insurers and advised Aviva on issuance with a total value of €850m. She also handled a debut bond for Ladbrokes Coral Group. Oliver Wicker and Oliver Storey were both promoted to partner. Miranda Leung retired. The firm has ‘a very good team even below partner level’, with clients singling out associate Louis de Ste Croix.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLPhas a good understanding of the debt capital markets which goes beyond just legal advice’. The firm’s combination of UK and US lawyers in London gives it a leading role in many cross-border deals, particularly where complex structures are involved. A prime example is the team’s work for Anheuser-Busch InBev on the second-largest corporate bond sale of all time, linked to its landmark acquisition of SABMiller, which saw the company issue $46bn in senior unsecured notes. The firm also acted for Coca-Cola HBC Group in connection with its €3 billion EMTN programme, under which it issued €600m in fixed rate notes. Other highlights included acting for Statoil an issuance under its €20bn EMTN programme, and advising Barclays on $560m in SEC-registered debt issuances. Vanessa Blackmore’s expertise covers DCM financings and liability management; she acted along with George White on the aforementioned Coca-Cola deal. Kathryn Campbell frequently advises on securities offerings into the US by non-US companies. John O’Connor counts Goldman Sachs, Barclays and Standard Chartered among his clients. Newly promoted partner John Horsfield-Bradbury was part of the team advising Anheuser-Busch InBev. Chris Beatty, whose practice focuses predominantly on high yield debt, is ‘very knowledgeable and clients like his hands-on approach’.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is noted for its ‘practical and commercial advice and ability to provide solutions rather than opinions’. The firm acts for issuers, institutional investors and hedge funds based in the US, Russia, the CIS, the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Europe. It has one of the leading private placement practices for investors in London and Barry Russell is a prominent figure in private deals for UK and US investors. Mark Mansell advises numerous insurance companies and other financial institutions on cross-border private placements. The firm is ‘excellent in the debt restructuring space, particularly representing bondholders’. The highly respected Robert Aulsebrook advises issuers on Eurobonds, loan notes, convertible debt securities and commercial paper. Also recommended are Sarah Smith, who is ‘superb, always providing thorough, detailed and practical advice’, and Lisa Hearn. Key deals from 2016 saw the firm act for oil and gas giant Lukoil on a $1bn 144a/Reg S offering, which was the company’s first Eurobond and the first of that scale to be placed by a Russian company. Other highlights included advising mobile operator VimpelCom on a $1.2bn dual-tranche offering.

For some, Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP has ‘a market-leading practice for sovereign debt issuance and its bench strength in London makes it a prominent player in the market’, particularly for deals in emerging markets. In an illustration of its track record on innovative transactions in growth markets, the team acted on a $300m Nigerian diaspora bond, the first to be issued by an African country and to be listed on the London Stock Exchange, in addition to being the first retail bond to be approved by the SEC and the UK Listing Authority. Jeremy Willcocks is the key name in London, though partners based in the US including former US Executive Director of the World Bank Whitney Debevoise spend a significant amount of time in the London office. In another example of the firm’s high-end work, it advised the Republic of Turkey on a $1bn sukuk offering that was structured to comply with shari’ah law and involved issuance of lease certificates for government real estate assets that were transferred to the issuer and leased back to the government. Other sovereign clients include the Republic of Azerbaijan, the State of Israel, the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Republic of Kenya and Hungary.

The debt capital markets practice at Baker McKenzie combines English and US law capability, enabling it to play a prominent role in the market for Rule 144a offerings. The London team is also a central hub for emerging markets debt work. Simon Porter leads the London structured capital markets group and regularly advises issuers, trustees and arrangers. Roy Pearce acts for issuers and investment banks in Eurobond offerings and debt restructurings, with a particular focus on deals in the CEE and CIS regions. Adam Farlow’s practice focuses predominantly on high yield transactions but he brings to bear his knowledge of US securities law and transaction management on a wide range of debt matters. Don Guiney retired and Chris Hogan is on secondment to the Johannesburg office. Porter and Farlow acted for Deutsche Trustee on the restructuring of renewable energy company Abengoa, which includes $4bn in outstanding bonds. Other key deals saw the firm act for BHP Billiton on a $152m bond issue, and advise the Kingdom of Bahrain on a $1bn sovereign bond offering.

CMS is ‘excellent on all fronts; very responsive and knows its clients’ business very well’. ‘The lawyers leave their egos at the door’ say clients of Michael Cavers and Jason Harding, who are ‘very focused, consistent, effective and excellent at client service’. The firm’s recent merger with Nabarro and Olswang added corporate partners with DCM experience including co-head of the corporate group Iain Newman and real estate finance partner Mike Delaney, although the legacy CMS team is where the bulk of the firm’s debt capital markets experience lies. Cavers leads the team and frequently handles project bonds, debt programmes and standalone issuance. Harding focuses on structured finance but acts for banks and corporates on Eurobonds and project bonds. Clients remark that the team’s in-depth experience ‘makes negotiations easier and helps to form pragmatic relationships with other law firms’. Daniel Winterfeldt joined Reed Smith LLP. A highlight for the CMS team in 2016 was its work for Ei Group on a range of capital markets transactions including a £250m liabilty management transaction. The firm also acted for Northumbrian Water on the refinancing of £300m in guaranteed bonds.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is a US firm with a long track record of European capital markets deals, although it is best known for its strong Yankee bonds practice. Philip Boeckman is co-head of the EMEA capital markets practice and regularly advises clients in Europe, India and South Africa, frequently acting for leading investment banks such as Citigroup, Deutsche Bank and Credit Suisse. His highlights included acting for European Investment Bank in nine multibillion-dollar offerings listed on the Bourse de Luxembourg. He also advised underwriters including BNP Paribas on a $1.75bn offering by the State Treasury of Poland. George Stephanakis is the other EMEA capital markets co-head and his experience includes extensive work for corporate issuers and financial institutions in investment grade debt offerings. Corporate partner Alyssa Caples also handles debt offerings as part of her broad practice. She advised Bacardi on a $450m Rule 144a/Reg S transaction. David Mercado, who acted for initial purchasers led by Credit Suisse in a $4.5bn notes offering, is also recommended.

At DLA Piper, structured finance partner and head of financial markets Martin Bartlam regularly handles debt offerings; he recently advised Hastings Funds Management and Norddeutsche Landesbank on an innovative €60m hybrid bond and loan financing for the Gloghboola wind farm in Ireland. Bartlam’s other highlights included assisting dealers including Goldman Sachs and Nomura with the update of Santander Consumer Bank’s €32bn EMTN programme. Capital markets specialist Ronan Mellon, whose practice encompasses covered bonds, corporate bonds, commercial paper, project bonds, hybrid structures and masala bonds, also played a key role in that deal. Vincent Keaveny has more than 20 years’ experience advising corporates and financial institutions on a broad range of finance transactions including debt offerings, derivatives trades and securitisations. He acts for issuers and underwriters on international DCM transactions, including the establishment and update of debt issuance programmes. Working with Bartlam he advised Banca IMI on its EMTN and structured note programmes. Mark Dwyer, who focuses on DCM and structured finance, advised Mount Street on a series of debt issues including a €59m privately placed note.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is known for the constructive approach its partners take to debt and equity capital markets deals. A key area of expertise in Yankee bonds. John Banes has been a mainstay of the firm’s London office for 23 years and regularly advises the likes of ABN AMRO, Deutsche Bank, Lloyds Banking Group and UBS on SEC-registered and Rule 144A/Reg S offerings including convertible bonds and investment grade debt. Corporate partner Simon Witty advises on public and private securities offerings and his long track record in the DCM space includes deals for ArcelorMittal, Dexia Credit, Abengoa and Société Générale. Reuven Young frequently acts for underwriters and in this role he has played a part in offerings by companies such as Anglo American, Imperial Tobacco and ING Bank. He also handles liability management transactions including exchange offers for large corporates and financial institutions.

Dechert LLP’s London team advises on the full range of international debt and equity transactions, including liability management exercises, and is known for its ability to provide seamless advice on English and US law on public and private debt issues. The firm has a standout practice for capital markets transactions in emerging markets and is well known for its track record of deals in the Middle East, North Africa, the Mediterranean basin, Central and Eastern Europe, the CIS and Caucasus regions, and Central Asia. Camille Abousleiman and Patrick Lyons are the key partners and senior associate Jennifer Buckett is a rising star in emerging markets transactions. The firm’s many highlights included an $850m offering by the Republic of Tunisia, on which the firm advised Banque Centrale de Tunisie. The firm has advised the bank on all Eurobonds it has issued since 2012. The team also acted for the Arab Republic of Egypt on a $4bn multi-tranche sovereign bond issue, which was the country’s largest-ever public bond issuance and the first triple-tranche bond from the African continent. It also advised the Arab Republic of Egypt on a $1.5bn, ten-year sovereign bond, which was the country’s largest ever single-tranche issuance.

Clients are ‘impressed by the diligence, responsiveness and level of knowledge’ at Dentons, which focuses on Islamic finance and debt issuance in growth markets and has a long track record of acting for sovereign entities. DCM specialist David Cohen, who has extensive experience in sovereign debt issues in emerging markets, and associate Gareth Burton ‘provide deep insight and quick responses’. DCM and derivatives partner Matthew Sapte is well known for his work on shari’ah-compliant structures and for his advice to corporate trustees. Corporate partner Nikolas Colbridge focuses on international debt and equity capital markets transactions. Cameron Half, formerly counsel at Allen & Overy LLP, joined as a partner to advise issuers and underwriters on equity and debt offerings. The firm also hired ‘high-quality associateNick Hayday from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; he joins as a partner. The firm’s diverse workload from 2016 included advising Commerzbank on Lebanese financial institution BankMed’s $500m offering of short-term certificates; acting for the Republic of Ghana on a $750m amortising notes issue; and handling a consent solicitation regarding €600m in outstanding notes for Kazakh state-owned company KazAgro National Management. The firm also acts for Standard Bank of South Africa, mBank and FirstRand Bank.

Hogan Lovells International LLP acts for a wide range of underwriter, issuer and trustee clients from its London office, which works in close collaboration with the firm’s global network to advise on emerging markets deals as well as US and European transactions. Andrew Carey is a key partner in the firm’s international debt capital markets team and has more than 25 years’ experience. His practice encompasses cross-border debt offerings including securities programmes, and both corporate and sovereign bonds. He regularly advises issuers, originators and underwriters on new issuance and bond restructuring. The firm also has a corporate trustee specialist in Kit Johnson. Known mainly for his high yield practice Sylvain Dhennin is also a key figure in Rule 144a deals. He acted in one of the largest-ever reverse Yankee bonds for Brown Forman, which issued tranches of €300m and £300m. The deal was the first Yankee bond to be issued by a US corporate and after the European Union referendum and also the first sterling-denominated deal to close after the vote. Senior associate Jonathan Malim has a busy practice advising on public and private bond offerings, including high yield bonds, on behalf of banks, corporations, multinational organisations and sovereign entities.

Reed Smith LLP’s London team works closely with the other offices in the firm’s international network to assist multinational clients with cross-border deals involving Europe, the US, the Middle East and Asia, and its US and English law capabilities make it a compelling choice among issuers, managers and trustees for cross-border DCM deals. Europe and Middle East managing partner Tamara Box leads the structured finance team but also has a key role in debt matters including MTN programmes and convertible bonds. Ranajoy Basu’s practice also covers both DCM and structured finance; he regularly advises on convertibles, sovereign bonds and debt issuance programmes. Daniel Winterfeldt’s arrival from CMS added significant strength in US securities law; he is widely regarded as an expert in Rule 144a and Reg S transactions. Among the firm’s highlights from 2016 was Basu’s work for paying agent Deutsche Bank and security agent Wilmington Trust on a €210m offering by reusable packaging manufacturer Schoeller Allibert Group. The firm also acts for African Bank Limited and Citibank.

Jones Day has a diverse capital markets practice in which partners handle investment grade debt, high yield bonds, equity capital markets and structured finance transactions. Giles Elliott leads both the capital markets team and the corporate group in which it sits. The team includes highly experienced DCM partner Drew Salvest, who acted for state-owned Norwegian electricity transmission system operator Statnett on a $360m private placement of senior notes. Salvest also advised commodity trading house Trafigura on the issuance of notes under its €2bn EMTN programme listed on the Irish Stock Exchange. Further highlights for the practice included a €500m public offering of senior notes on behalf of issuer Fluor Corporation. Working with the firm’s team in Altanta, Salvest also handled a multi-tranche tranche offering of notes in Europe and the US with a total value of $8bn for global consumer and commercial products company Newell Rubbermaid.

Clients appreciate the ‘fantastic response times and access to global partners’ at K&L Gates LLP, where ‘go-to lawyer’ and trustee specialist Sean Crosky is praised for being ‘commercial and straight to the point’. The London team regularly acts for financial institutions, boutique arrangers, corporate issuers, trustees and rating agencies on DCM matters, and its practice includes a dedicated US securities group. Natalie Boyd joined the London office from the firm’s Dubai office and maintains a strong focus on deals in the Middle East. Barry Cosgrave joined as a partner from Shearman & Sterling LLP to advise on debt issuance and restructuring. Mayank Gupta came over from Mayer Brown International LLP to extend the practice’s focus on emerging markets. The firm’s highlights included advising Law Debenture as trustee on issuance with a total value of $87.5m by REA Finance, and acting for Deutsche Bank as trustee on a $100m sukuk. Stephen Moller moved to Fieldfisher.

Macfarlanes LLP is ‘a good alternative to the Magic Circle for smaller DCM matters’. The firm focuses on complex transactions for financial institutions, corporates and investors with a focus on sectors such as infrastructure and housing. Richard Fletcher is ‘an experienced capital markets lawyer who is very bright and pleasant to deal with’. He is the firm’s sole DCM specialist partner but he calls on a broader finance team of partners and associates in the finance practice for support in debt transactions. Fletcher’s highlights included acting for Venn Partners, PRS Operations and PRS Finance as manager, licensee and issuer respectively in the issuance of £265m under its bond programme to finance the construction of purpose-built and professionally managed private rented developments in the UK in accordance with the Private Rented Housing Guarantee Scheme. He also advised Castle Trust on an update to its £1.5bn debt programme.

At Marriott Harrison LLPthe level of service is of the highest quality in every area and the team is very pleasant to deal with’. Andrew Williamson and Nils Reid, who joined in 2015 from defunct Scottish firm McClure Naismith LLP, ‘make a great team; their client-management skills are the best in the business’. The firm has a strong presence among corporate issuers in deals up to £50m, though the team of two partners and two associates does handle significantly larger deals on occasion. For example, they handled a $200m secured bond listed on the Irish Stock Exchange Global Exchange Market for Queensway Investments. Clients appreciate the ‘partner-led service from people who are businessmen as well as lawyers’.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius UK LLP advises on the full range of debt capital markets transactions including sovereign bond transactions, complex emerging markets deals, high yield and UK corporate issuances. It is also a key adviser to trustees on bond offerings and has a broad practice that can advise on UK, US and European securities law from London. US securities partner Carter Brod, head of international finance Bruce Johnston and partner Timothy Corbett are all recommended. In a flagship deal, Brod advised the Republic of Suriname on a $550m Eurobond offering, which represented the first-ever international securities offering in the country’s history. Brod and Johnston acted for Citibank as GDR depositary in the IPO of Romanian oil company OMV Petrom, which involved the listing of 144a/Reg S GDRs on the London Stock Exchange. For lead managers Morgan Stanley and HSBC the team advised on $375m Reg S Eurobond for Mexican national electricity company Comisión Federal de Electricidad, which listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange and for which the principal investors were based in China.

Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP has ‘one of the leading practices for US private placements’, though it handles a mix of private and public deals from its London office. The firm advises numerous financial institutions on establishing, maintaining and listing debt and equity issuance programmes, as well as standalone debt offerings. The key names in the team are Brian Bates, whose practice covers private debt and equity placements, bank syndications, high yield bonds and LBO financings; Peter Green, who focuses predominantly on structured finance but also assists clients with the establishment of EMTN programmes; Jeremy Jennings-Mares, who regularly advises on equity-linked structured securities, MTN programmes and cross-border debt matters; and Scott Ashton, who is a key player in the firm’s global private placement practice. Highlights included acting as US counsel for Icelandic company LBI on a €2bn exchange offer. The firm also advised Merrill Lynch International on numerous matters relating to the update of Bank of America’s $25bn commercial paper and certificate of deposit programme, and as lead manager on the issuance of JPY110bn in notes from Bank of America’s EMTN programme.

O'Melveny is singled out for the strength of its issuer-side private placement practice. Clients report that ‘the service is great throughout; the team has strong commerciality in addition to providing advice on technical legal points’, and is noted for its track record in private placements, ‘in which it has good resources, a strong team and good coverage’, says one client. The ‘very user-friendly, supportive and incredibly knowledgeable’ Andrew Weiler, who joined from White & Case LLP as head of European M&A and corporate finance, is recognised as one of Europe’s leading issuer-side advisers in the cross-border private placement market; clients describe him as ‘efficient, responsive and a pleasure to work with, and clearly an expert on his subject matter’. Associate Amy Cheung is ‘excellent throughout the deal process, always available at short notice and very good at explaining complex US deals in plain English’. Highlights for the practice included advising Goshawk Aviation on its $231m debut private placement deal and acting for Severn Trent Water on a $471m deal placed with US investors.

Offering ‘an optimal blend of access to partners and competitive fees’ according to clients Pinsent Masons LLP handles a broad range of DCM matters, but its key areas of focus are on bond finance for projects, education and social housing. The firm is a longstanding adviser to UK clearing banks and also represents institutional investors on large-scale privately placed bond issues, particularly in relation to UK-based issuers raising money in the US private placement market. Head of capital markets Edward Sunderland handles EMTN programmes, private placements, listed bonds and commercial paper financings. Other key figures include Michael Watson, who leads the project bonds practice, Stephen Tobin, who focuses on energy and infrastructure finance, Apicksha Patel, who has ‘first-class technical knowledge and provides excellent support through challenging negotiations’, Grace Hui, who leads on matters for bond trustees, and counsel Sharon Smith, who has 18 years’ experience and regularly handles wholesale and retail bonds. The firm advised HSBC Bank and Bank of New York Mellon Corporate Trustee services on a £370m index-linked bond issue by Aberdeen City Council.

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