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  1. Structured finance: derivatives and structured products
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Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

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All lawyers in this section are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Noted for its ‘simply outstanding’ structuring capabilities, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is especially skilled at negotiating market-first structures that have implications domestically and abroad. Jeffrey Robins and Lary Stromfeld are acting for the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) on the development of protocols to accommodate new global standards regarding margin transparency for uncleared OTC derivatives. Ray Shirazi and Brian Foster have advised major dealers and bank issuers on various matters, including the development of proprietary indices and the establishment of registered and unregistered note issuance programs. The team is also assisting a financial data organization with the establishment of a platform to allow bond issuers in a certain sensitive jurisdiction to sell to institutional investors outside of that jurisdiction. Ivan Loncar is another key figure in the team.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides ‘market-leading advice’ to a variety of issuers, clearing houses, global financial institutions and trade associations, with noted expertise in commodity, credit and equity-linked derivatives. Michael Dayan advised Crown Asia Investments on the sale of its stake in Melco Resorts & Entertainment, which involved the execution and unwinding of related derivatives. A recognized ‘authority on bankruptcy-related derivatives issues’, Seth Grosshandler is advising the Futures Industry Association (FIA), ISDA and various banks on insolvency law with respect to cleared derivative positions. Other clients include The Clearing House Association and Citigroup. Also recommended are Edward Rosen and Knox McIlwain, who was promoted to counsel in 2017.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is among the premier firms for structured transactions; in 2017 the firm handled more than 4,000 structured product issuances. The department’s regulatory expertise spans US and European compliance, with Christopher Schell and John Brandow providing regulatory guidance to many of the world’s largest investment banks. Ray Ibrahim, Yan Zhang and John Crowley are additional key figures within the group, which acts for clients including Morgan Stanley Wealth Management. Warren Motely retired at the end of 2016.

Mayer Brown has played a significant role in assisting banks and trade organizations with adjusting to new US regulatory requirements, and has also seen a resurgence in its structured transactions practice. Curtis Doty has broad transactional experience covering structured derivatives for project and leveraged finance transactions, insurance products and securitizations. Doty’s highlights included a deal-contingent foreign currency hedge and multiple interest rate hedges. Counsel Pamela Sackmann has provided derivatives advice on various securitized transactions. The team also acts for major industry associations and has provided opinions on novel points of regulatory interpretation such as risk-sharing and the effects of Dodd-Frank on non-US institutions. Anna Pinedo, who has expertise in the establishment of exchange-traded funds, joined the team in 2018.

Shearman & Sterling LLP’s derivatives practice stands out for the breadth of its expertise, which covers a wide variety of structured transactions for clients including financial institutions and swap dealers, hedge funds, corporate end-users, and market infrastructure providers such as ICE. Donna Parisi assisted Bank of America and Wells Fargo with a structure for the retention of commodity hedges following the bankruptcy of various E&P oil and gas companies. Parisi also advised Citigroup on the implementation under Dodd-Frank of margin requirements for uncleared swaps. Azam Aziz has experience incorporating derivatives into cross-border project financing and Geoffrey Goldman handled numerous equity-linked derivative transactions in 2017.

The commodities, futures and derivatives group at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has extensive experience of hedging and derivatives trading, as well as regulatory compliance and litigation. Kenneth Raisler and David Gilberg act as regulatory, compliance and investigation counsel for numerous proprietary and algorithmic trading firms, asset managers and alternative investment managers; the two partners also handled the establishment and/or registration of multiple exchanges in 2017, including American Financial Exchange and AGX Group. In addition to the department’s regulatory expertise, the team plays an integral role in complex commercial trading litigation; recent work includes defending Goldman Sachs against allegations of conspiracy to block exchange trading of interest-rate swaps. Other key contacts include Kathleen McArthur, who has acted for trading companies in CFTC investigations, and Rebecca Simmons.

Allen & Overy LLP has pioneered the development of US and European compliance programs for exchange-traded and OTC derivatives, and has been particularly successful in implementing tech-driven solutions for meeting margin requirements. The firm’s marginMatrix IT system provides global investment banks with cloud-based documentation, negotiations and opinions regarding the mandatory variation margin rules affecting the OTC derivative market. In 2017, Deborah North acted for clients such as Deutsche Bank on cross-border repo transactions, and, separately, advised various US and European banks on changes in LIBOR calculation methodology. David Lucking has wide-ranging structuring and compliance expertise and is advising ISDA on matters affecting the credit default swap (CDS) market, including credit events concerning Toys "R" Us and Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s futures and derivatives team provides ‘timely and considered’ advice to many of the market’s most prestigious asset managers. Specialising in structured transactions, the department has noted expertise in accelerated share repurchase (ASR) and deal-contingent FX forward transactions, as well as experience in derivatives on all major asset classes. The department also has a highly-regarded regulatory practicel Robert McLaughlin, David Mitchell and the Washington DC-based William Breslin advised various end-user clients on CFTC and SEC regulations.

Whether structuring equity or commodity derivative transactions or advising on evolving regulatory requirements, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is ‘simply exceptional’. The team acts for a range of market participants, from clearing houses and intermediaries to proprietary trading firms and end-users. In one of the group’s standout highlights, special counsel Gary DeWaal assisted LedgerX - the first swap execution facility (SEF) and clearing house authorized by the CFTC to trade and settle derivatives contracts on digital currencies - with obtaining SEF and derivatives clearing organization (DCO) licenses. Stanford Renas and Don Macbean advised Morgan Stanley Commodities on multiple hedging and revenue put transactions in connection with renewable and conventional power projects. In the Chicago office, Christian Kemnitz defended 3Red Trading in the first spoofing case litigated by the CFTC. Also recommended are of counsel Arthur Hahn, regulatory expert Kevin Foley, and of counsel Guy Dempsey.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s team is is highly regarded in the equity-linked derivatives market and regularly acts as issuer and underwriter counsel in convertible bond offerings. Following Regency Centers Corporation’s acquisition of Equity One, Rafal Gawlowski and Melissa Alwang advised Citigroup on an amendment and restatement of a margin term loan facility, which originally included shares in the target company. Courtenay Myers Lima acted for Bank of America on the sale by its subsidiary of various fixed income indices to Intercontinental Exchange (ICE). The team works in conjunction with Witold Balaban’s capital markets and financial institutions departments, and also has expertise in securities regulation and fintech. In 2016, counsel Catherine Lee joined the firm from JP Morgan, where she was an executive director and assistant general counsel.

The team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is known for advising buy-side and sell-side clients on highly structured transactions; it also has an active regulatory practice. The department has expertise in equity forward transactions and has been providing derivatives advice to private equity funds and energy development funds in connection with the construction of clean energy power plants. Indeed, Thomas D’Ambrosio advised NextEra Energy on a $1.5bn common stock offering, which was issued through three equity forward transactions. Additionally, D’Ambrosio and Chicago-based Mike Philipp assisted World Gold Council with the launch of an exchange-traded fund (ETF), which offers exposure to gold priced at six non-US currencies. Akshay Belaniadvised Verizon Communications on a hedging facility in connection with a $2bn securitization. Edwin Smith is a key contact in the Boston office.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘commercial and responsive’ derivatives group specializes in utilizing deal-contingent swaps, hedging facilities, repurchase programs and equity derivatives as part of structured financing transactions. Washington DC-based Julian Hammar and Robert Fleishman specialize in commodity-linked transactions and have particular expertise in renewable energy hedges. James Schwartz has expertise in securities regulation and also handled hedging transactions for ON Semiconductor Corporation relating to its convertible note issuance. The group also benefits from the firm’s Asia network and has experience assisting foreign clients, including a number of international banks, with the US regulatory regime. David Kaufman has experience in commodity and equity-linked derivatives. Lloyd Harmetz advises domestic and international financial institutions on structured note issuances. Anna Pinedo joined Mayer Brown in 2018.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s derivatives group is known for advising end-user clients and commercial and investment banks, and specializes in hybrid securities and convertible note and equity transactions. Yossi Vebman advised Stanley Black & Decker on a $750m equity units investment trust transaction, in which the pledged security was convertible preferred stock. The department also has a dedicated regulatory and litigation group, including Mark Young and of counsel Maureen Donley, which provides compliance counseling to asset managers, corporate end-users, swap dealers and pension and financial institutions. Recent work includes representing domestic and international financial institutions in private CFTC enforcement investigations. Additional clients include Royal Bank of Scotland, Chicago Mercantile Exchange, BlackRock and Becton Dickinson.

Clifford Chance advises fund managers, financial institutions and trade associations on incipient US securities regulations and is highly regarded for its deal-contingent hedging work. David Felsenthal represents ISDA in regulatory negotiations regarding collateral requirements for swap transactions, and provides opinions for SIFMA concerning the enforceability of repo and securities lending agreements. Gareth Old leads a team that advises major US, European and Asian banks on Basel III regulatory capital issues. The department also handled a number of CRT and repo transactions in 2017.

Acting primarily for end-user clients, Greenberg Traurig, LLP handles a range of credit and equity-linked derivative products and deal-contingent structures, and also advises on regulatory compliance. Sylvie Durham led a multi-jurisdictional team acting on a complex deal-contingent FX swap in connection with a cross-border M&A transaction. Durham assisted a swaps dealer with its registration pursuant to certain US and global regulatory requirements. The team has also acted for energy companies in relation to hedging and swap transactions. Nanette Aguirre is another key contact. Edwin Nazario joined Reed Smith LLP in 2018.

Hogan Lovells US LLP attracts praise for providing ‘practical solutions to complex derivatives matters’. Headed by ‘consummate professional’ Evan Koster, the derivatives group is particularly strong in Latin America-facing work; it has been involved in the creation of a number of cross-border trading platforms for South American financial institutions and acted for a government entity of a South American country in a unique, multi-asset repo transaction. The department has also acted for various US and European corporates and financial institutions in relation to physical commodity, and particularly energy derivative transactions.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP advises its end-user client base on derivatives in the context of commodity hedging, investment vehicles and broader M&A and restructuring transactions. Headed by Scott Gordon, the group acts for an enviable roster of private equity firms including Apax Partners, Blackstone Group and Vista Equity Partners; in 2017, Gordon assisted these clients with deal-contingent FX hedges in relation to acquisitions and disposals of non-US dollar denominated businesses. In another highlight, Drue Santora was part of team advising on credit-focused pre-and-post-acquisition hedges in connection with Alta Resources’ acquisition of shale assets from Anadarko Petroleum. The department also handled a number of regulatory compliance mandates in 2017. In addition to private equity work, the team acts for corporates including Kellogg Company and Kraft Heinz Foods Company.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s derivatives department has considerable expertise advising global dealer-banks, including Credit Suisse, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs, on structured credit transactions, and has a unique focus on providing strategic market infrastructure advice. Headed by John Williams, the team has developed a comparative matrix of rules and procedures of 20 provisional SEFs, including Bloomberg SEF and Tradeweb. The department is also collaborating with FIA Global on a comprehensive review of the central counterparty (CCP) rulebook. Eric Moser is another key figure in the group.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is among the leading firms in the area of tender option bonds and has extensive experience of structuring equity and commodity-linked derivatives. A team including Al Sawyers and Robert Moyle regularly advises sponsors in municipal bond repackaging programs. Nikiforos Mathews acts for Microsoft Corporation in all of its major derivatives transactions, and has also advised a foreign bank on US and European sanctions concerning its activity in structured products. Alan Knoll chairs the structured finance department. Goldman Sachs and Prosper Marketplace are among the group’s clients.

The department at White & Case LLP regularly advises on derivatives aspects of larger leveraged finance and refinancing transactions, and has considerable experience in cross-border project finance transactions. Ian Cuillerier acted for a consortium of senior lenders on hedges in connection with multiple financings worth $822m for the unification of Chile’s power grid. Cuillerier also advised multinational energy companies and financial institutions on issues concerning ISDA master agreements, CFTC regulations, the Commodities Exchange Act, and regulatory compliance pursuant to the final stages of Dodd-Frank implementation. International Finance Corporation is another of the team’s clients.

The team at Winston & Strawn LLP regularly acts for investment managers and lending institutions on a range of derivatives, with particular expertise in energy, OTC and equity-linked transactions. John Servidio, who joined the firm from McGuireWoods LLP, acted as dealer’s counsel for Bank of America Merrill Lynch in a $200m ASR transaction with Papa John’s International. Led by Michael O’Brien in the Chicago office, the team acts as primary outside counsel to clients such as Nuveen Investments and Pacific Investment Management Company in relation to tender option bonds. Also recommended are Justin Rawlins in Los Angeles and David Neier.

Arnold & Porter’s structured finance team assists domestic and international corporate clients and financial institutions with various swaps and securities transactions. The Washington DC-based Whitney Debevoise assisted Central Bank of Brazil with multiple high-value swap transactions involving European and non-European counterparties. The team also handles regulatory compliance and advised Visa on the application of Dodd-Frank and European Market Infrastructure Regulation (EMIR) to its derivative transactions. Henry Morriello heads the structured finance practice. Additional clients include the Ministry of Economy and Finance of the Republic of Panama and Towne Mortgage Company.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has considerable regulatory expertise and advises its impressive roster of corporate clients, financial institutions and trade organizations on the gamut of US and European compliance issues. In the Washington DC office, Michael Bopp and of counsel Jeffrey Steiner regularly advise clients such as General Electric Corporation on CFTC and SEC rules and other derivatives-related compliance matters. The team, including of counsel Carl Kennedy, helped establish the Coalition for Derivatives End-Users and continues to advise the organization - comprising roughly 300 companies and trade associations - on regulatory and legislative initiatives affecting derivative end-users. The US Chamber of Commerce is among the department’s clients.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP regularly advises major investment banks on the tax aspects of derivative transactions and stands out for its strength in municipal derivatives. In addition to tax-related advice, the team advises clients in relation to municipal bankruptcies and David Taub acted for Barclays as a counterparty in various swap transactions in relation to the Chicago Public School System’s early-stage insolvency situation. Working alongside John Lutz, Taub regularly handles a variety of derivative transactions for banks such as Citibank, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley, ranging from repos to total return swaps. Based in Chicago, Andrea Kramer heads the financial products, trading and derivatives department.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP handles a variety of hedging and swap transactions for its substantial private equity and asset manager client base. The derivatives and structured products team has experience of handling standalone derivatives transactions, as well as advising on structured products in the context of M&A deals. Group head Manuel Frey advised Ariad Pharmaceuticals on the unwinding of outstanding convertible note hedge transactions in connection with its $5.2bn acquisition of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company. The team’s additional expertise encompasses OTC compliance, trading, and various other regulatory compliance matters.

Through a number of key strategic hires, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP established an experienced team of commodity-linked derivatives lawyers in 2017. Paul Pantano and Athena Eastwood joined the firm’s Washington DC office from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, bringing with them particular experience of energy derivatives, including CFTC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) investigations. Eastwood is adept in handling compliance and enforcement procedures and has a broad physical commodities practice covering energy, environmental and agricultural assets. Pantano’s clients include the FIA. Counsel Conrad Bahlke, who joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, has advised United Nations World Food Programme and the African Union on precipitation-based derivatives in insurance transactions.

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