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United States > Investment fund formation and management > Alternative/hedge funds > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

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  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

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Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP handles hedge fund work for established and emerging managers across asset classes, ranging from traditional long-short equity and activist funds through to more exotic assets such as cryptocurrencies. Jason Kaplan advised Cerberus Capital Management on several distressed asset fund launches, while David Efron advised Warlander Asset Management on a $1.3bn credit fund launch. Other key names include Stephanie Breslow, David Nissenbaum, Jennifer Dunn and Daniel Hunter. Marc Elovitz and Brian Daly’s regulatory practice includes handling SEC investigations for leading managers. The firm also acts for start-up managers, as well as more established names such as activists Trian Partners Fund Management and Elliott Management Corporation. The team is based in New York. Steven Fredman has retired.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP’s hedge fund team is ‘a real resource for solid, market-based legal advice and otherwise a delight to work with’. The firm provides ‘practical and sound advice’ to a range of top names in the space on fund launches and reorganizations, regulatory matters and fund seeding deals, covering asset classes such as distressed debt, traditional lending, mezzanine debt, merger arbitrage and funds-of-funds. Practice head Lawrence Barshay provides ‘valuable and well-thought-out advice’ in various structuring mandates regarding complex fund formations, often in unusual asset classes. Lisa Schneider and Washington DC-based Walid Khuri act as counsel to Goldman Sachs Hedge Fund Strategies in its fund-of-funds. Jonathan Adler, who advises Luminus Management, is also a key contact. Other clients include BlackRock, TCW Group, Centiva Capital and Point72, the new manager created by SAC Capital founder Steven Cohen. All named inividuals are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLPcompares very favorably with the other top players in the hedge fund space - the senior members of the team are all great lawyers’. Udi Grofman is ‘very loyal, has great business judgment and good industry insight’ - he acts as primary outside counsel to Blackstone Alternative Asset Management’s fund-of-hedge funds business. Amran Hussein and Marco Masotti continue to advise Avenue Capital on a range of matters, including fund formation and regulation. Other clients include King Street Capital, HPS Investment Partners and Reservoir Capital. All named individuals are based in New York.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s hedge fund team advises a number of leading names on issues ranging from trading and commodities through to fund regulation and formation. In New York Laurel FitzPatrick advised PIMCO on launching several funds, including funds-of-funds and emerging market funds, while Joel Wattenbarger is advising Sequoia Capital on a range of regulatory and compliance issues, including broker-dealer matters. Jessica O’Mary, who has advised Angelo, Gordon & Co on several fund launches, and Sarah Davidoff, who advises Dragoneer Investment Group, are also names of note. In the Boston office, Leigh Fraser advised Arrowstreet Capital on forming several new quant funds, which included complex regulatory matters regarding algorithmic trading. Away from the East Coast, Deborah Monson in Chicago has futures expertise. Other clients include D E Shaw and Och-Ziff Capital Management.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP is ‘always responsive and forward-thinking in terms of the advice it provides’. In New York Stephen Vine heads the practice, which handles a range of work for a number of well-known and lesser-known names in the sector, some of which are at the interface of private equity and hedge funds. Kelli Moll has experience in working with start-up managers entering the business with great pedigrees, as well as fund formation mandates using alternative fee structures; Dennis Pereira is also a key contact. In Dallas, Eliot Raffkind is ‘a great resource for his extensive knowledge of hedge fund practices and current issues’.

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.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP handles a range of hedge fund work and has a particularly strong reputation for heavy-duty regulatory matters. Nora Jordan and Meyer Dworkin advise HPS Investment Partners, a spin-out from Highbridge, on regulatory issues and negotiations with brokers; Leor Landa has fund formation and regulation expertise; and Gregory Rowland advises both start-up and established fund sponsors. Other clients include D E Shaw, Two Sigma, Oaktree Capital Management, Och-Ziff Capital Management and Bridgewater Associates. The team is located in New York.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP assists a range of fund managers and has particular strengths in quant funds and those pursuing unusual strategies. Lance Zinman and Allison Yacker continue to advise AQR Capital Management on various matters, including structuring bespoke funds, regulatory issues and investment. Henry Bregstein is advising broker-dealer Mercury Capital Advisors on developing a hedge fund platform aimed at high-net-worth investors and their advisers. Fred Santo and Wendy Cohen also advise leading names in the sector on the gamut of regulatory matters. In the litigation finance and manager M&A spaces, Zinman advised GKC Holdings on its $160m sale to British litigation financier Burford Capital. The firm also acts for major institutional investors. Zinman and Bregstein share leadership of the practice. Other than Zinman in Chicago, the team is based in New York.

Clients value Kleinberg, Kaplan, Wolff & Cohen, P.C.’s ‘deep knowledge and reasonable approach to problem solving - everyone in the team from top to bottom adds value and is great to work with’. Jamie Nash is ‘a player-coach for the team and that reflects in the quality of the service’; he and Myron Kaplan continue to advise Elliott Management Corporation - a client for three decades - on various matters, including introducing a private equity-style capital commitment facility. Practice chair Eric Wagner advised start-up manager Whitefort Capital Management on the launch of its funds, including receipt of a $75m seed investment from a major private equity investor. Jeffrey Bortnick has insurance-dedicated fund expertise, and Jason Grunfeld and James McCann are also key contacts. The team, which is based in New York, also acts for Paulson & Co and Kylin Management.

Fantastic’ firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP handles a mix of hedge fund work, including representation of both hedge fund managers and investors. Jedd Wider in New York advised Advocate Capital Management on forming two funds investing in various types of derivatives, while Stephen Tirrell in Boston advised Marathon Asset Management on forming a fund designed exclusively for ERISA-regulated investors. In the manager M&A space, Wider advised MetLife on its purchase of Logan Circle Partners from Fortress Group. In Boston, Richard Goldman advised TPRV Capital, a spin-out from Harvard Management Company, on its entry into the hedge fund business. In the same office, Steven Giordano deploys his ‘tremendous industry knowledge’ for fund sponsors. Limited partner clients include the California Public Employees’ Retirement Scheme (CalPERS), which Wider and Christopher Dlutowski (who is also based in New York) advised on structuring a captive fund to be managed by LongTail Alpha. Wider and Goldman share leadership of the practice, which also acts for the State Board of Administration of Florida and several university endowments. Jim Collins is now general counsel of Silver Lane Advisors.

Proskauer Rose LLPprovides smart and reasonable advice, applying the law rather than just knowing it’. Practice head Christopher Wells (who is ‘a first-rate lawyer with excellent common sense’) advised Hong Kong-based MTI Management on forming MegaTrust Yangtze Fund, which aims to invest in Chinese A-shares, and Robert Leonard (who is ‘exceptional - he has good common sense and is clear-thinking, providing non-wordy documentation’) advised Red Cedar Management on launching a new long-short fund. Other names to note include Michael Mavrides, who is ‘extremely knowledgeable about the law and important developments impacting the industry’ (he works with Maxim Capital Group), and tax partner Amanda Nussbaum, who is ‘also a star - she is very useful for understanding new tax rules’. Other clients include Goldman Sachs Asset Management, Maverick Capital and Hosking Partners. All named lawyers are located in New York.

Seward & Kissel LLP handles a range of hedge fund work, including cryptocurrency issues and advice to various fund sponsors. In New York, Steven Nadel, Christopher Riccardi, Craig Sklar and tax specialist Jon Brose are key contacts; Debra Franzese was elected to the partnership in January 2018.

Dechert LLP is ‘very responsive to clients’ needs, introducing them to a cross-section of people from across the firm as they encounter various regulatory and tax considerations’. The firm acts for leading names in the sector, as well as managers linked to investment banks and new managers. David Vaughan, a former SEC policy adviser who divides his time between New York and Washington DC, is a key contact, as is New York-based Matthew Kerfoot, who advises leading banks on fund finance matters. Timothy Spangler in Costa Mesa is ‘accessible and helpful - he brings a global perspective to things’; he has expertise in fund formations and mergers. Karl Paulson Egbert is now at Baker McKenzie LLP in New York, while Timothy Clark returned to the New York office from O'Melveny & Myers LLP.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is ‘excellent on all counts - the lawyers are cordial, available, knowledgeable and responsive’. The team handles a range of regulatory and fund formation advice, sometimes involving start-up managers. ‘Good all-rounder’ Andrew Raby handles fund formation work, as does counsel Matthew Silver, who ‘helps clients navigate the complicated world of fund governance and compliance’. In the manager M&A space, David Matteson advised RMB Capital Management on two acquisitions of other managers. Clients include Hatteras Partners, PredictWallStreet and Ativo Capital Management. Joshua Yang in Chicago is a new recruit from K&L Gates - he brings expertise in compliance and commodities trading matters, as well as a following among Chinese financial institutions. Other than Silver in Philadelphia, the named lawyers are based in Chicago.

Goodwin handles some fund formation work, but is particularly strong in the regulatory space. Brynn Peltz in New York acts as fund and compliance counsel to Alger Dynamic Return Fund and continues to advise C-III Capital Partners on similar matters. Luciana Aquino-Hagedorn in Boston handles much of the fund formation work and Thomas LaFond in the same office is also a key contact for regulatory work. Counsel David Solander in Washington DC is a new hire from Allen & Overy LLP; he advises Discovery Capital Management on regulatory and compliance matters as well as other managers on new cryptocurrency hedge funds. Other clients include One Stone Capital and Seavest Investment Group.

Lowenstein Sandler LLP handles funds-of-one work, fund formation and regulatory issues, for some leading names in the hedge fund industry. Robert Minion heads the practice, with other notable names including team vice-chairs Peter Greene and Marie DeFalco, Scott Moss, whose work includes funds-of-funds and compliance matters, and Elaine Hughes. The team is located in New York.

Paul Hastings LLP advises a range of leading managers and has a particular following among California-based firms. Arthur Zwickel and associate David Hong advised LongTail Alpha on a $1bn fund-of-one for CalPERS and a $400m managed account for PAAMCO Prisma Holdings; also in the funds-of-one space, the pair advised Dalton Investments on setting up a fund with a Japan-focused equity strategy for a single investor. Yousuf Dhamee is another key regulatory contact. The New York office includes former SEC branch chief Tram Nguyen; her work encompasses heavyweight regulatory matters and fund formation. Other clients include significant limited partners, such as sovereign wealth funds and pension plans of household-name companies, and Michael Yang Capital Management, a new manager created by the founder of mySimon. Attorneys are based in Los Angeles except where otherwise indicated.

Shearman & Sterling LLPprovides an excellent level of service - all the lawyers are knowledgeable, responsive and practical in their advice’. Sean Finley has ‘an advantage over other outside counsel as he has both law firm and in-house experience’; he advised TRG Management on launching a hedge fund investing in Argentinian assets. Of counsel Paul Schreiber advises Shenkman Capital Management on regulatory matters. Nathan Greene has manager M&A expertise. The firm has hired Buddy Donohue as of counsel, whose ‘strength is his depth of experience and the perspective he provides as a former general counsel of major fund companies, and as director of the Division of Investment Management at the SEC’, as well as Jay Baris, formerly head of Morrison & Foerster LLP’s investment management team. The New York-based team also acts for Juniper Investment Company and Maverick Capital Management.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP handles various fund formation and regulatory matters. Key names include James Silk in Washington DC and Joseph Cunningham, Rita Molesworth and counsel Deborah Tuchman in New York. Practice head Barry Barbash, who headed the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, divides his time between the two offices. Lior Ohayon and Brian Greene joined the New York office in mid-2017 from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

Bracewell LLP’s hedge fund team is ‘very commercial and expert in its field - knowledgeable but courteous and professional also’. Cheri Hoff in New York is ‘thorough, meticulous, knowledgeable and professional - a pleasure to work with’; she is advising Cristofferson Robb on formation and management issues regarding the CRC Bond Opportunity Trading Fund, and separately advised on the HT Diversified Investment Fund. Other clients include Fundamental Advisors, Total Compensation Group and the University of Houston, which the firm advises on its investments in hedge funds.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s Dorothy Mehta, based in New York, handles a range of fund formation mandates, particularly involving commodity funds and real estate mandates - many of which cross over into hedge and other types of fund.

K&L Gates’ multi-office team has particular strengths in work concerning funds-of-funds and funds-of-one. Boston-based Mark Goshko advises Wells Fargo Investment Institute, which manages three funds-of-hedge funds, while Michael Caccese, also based in Boston, is advising quant manager PanAgora on various regulatory matters and on fund formation, including entering into a partnership with a Chinese financial services company. Cary Meer in Washington DC is advising PAAMCO on structuring funds-of-funds for single clients. Other clients include Dorchester Capital Advisors (a fund-of-hedge funds which Meer advises), Colchester Global Advisors and Axiom Investors, which is advised by Derek Steingarten in New York.

San Francisco’s Shartsis Friese LLP is a boutique with a reputation in the market for handling unusual regulatory matters and advising emerging West Coast managers. Key names include John Broadhurst, James Frolik, Christina Mickelson Hamilton, Carolyn Reiser and tax specialist Geoffrey Haynes. Clients include Pacific Grove Capital and Valiant Capital Management.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP handles a mix of regulatory and structuring work. Whitney Chatterjee advised Allianz Global Investors on its purchase of Sound Harbor Partners and advised Citadel on restructuring its management operations. Joseph Hearn is also a key contact, and Marc Trevino advises asset managers on executive compensation issues. Other clients include 40 North Management, Tudor Investment Corporation and York Capital Management. All named individuals are based in New York.

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