Mutual/registered/ exchange-traded funds in United States

Dechert LLP

Dechert LLP's 'practical and pragmatic' team is in 'a class of its own when it comes to registered funds'. The group is 'able to handle a myriad of issues and can martial experts who know the law in various jurisdictions'. Based in the New York office, Allison Fumai ('a rock star' with 'deep knowledge of the ETF industry'), Richard HorowitzJeremy Senderowicz and Stuart Strauss provide ongoing advice to Morgan Stanley's mutual and closed-end funds. In Washington DC, Robert Helm is 'a true business consigliere', Douglas Dick is 'thoughtful and pragmatic', and Thomas Bogle is 'intelligent, astute and very responsive'; Brenden Carroll and Stephen Cohen are also key contacts. Boston-based John O’Hanlon advises a large mutual fund complex on regulatory issues and ETF launches. Stephanie CapistronChristopher Harvey, Geoffrey Kenyon and Christopher Christian are also key names in the Boston office. Harvey and Helm jointly lead the practice. Other clients include MainStay Funds and Deutsche Bank ETFs.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP has an excellent reputation in the mutual and registered funds space, and advises funds, trustees and managers on a broad range of mandates. George RaineGregory Sheehan and Chicago-based Paulita Pike advise the independent directors of Prudential Mutual Funds on a range of matters. John Loder provides ongoing advice to Natixis and Loomis Sayles’ fund groups, while Brian McCabe acts as fund counsel for Pax World Funds and its trustees. Other key names include Sarah Clinton, Timothy DigginsElizabeth Reza and James Thomas. San Francisco-based Gregory Davis continues to advise AMG Funds and its affiliate AMG Pantheon Fund. Other clients include Baillie Gifford Funds, Schroder Funds, and Ashmore Funds. Thomas Hiller and New York-based Bryan Chegwidden share leadership of the practice. All named individuals are located in Boston unless otherwise stated.

Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP

Primarily based in Philadelphia, Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young, LLP is ‘very well versed in all aspects of investment law, particularly as it relates to '40 Act mutual funds’, and houses 'a strong team of expert attorneys'. Bruce Leto advises longstanding client Dimensional's funds and trustees on multiple fund launches. In Washington DC, Eric Purple (noted for his 'intellectual and practical manner') assisted the independent trustees of Global X Funds with governance and regulatory issues following the purchase of Global X Funds by Mirae Asset Global Investments. Michael Mundt (also in Washington DC) advised American Century, a mutual funds sponsor with $170bn under management, on its first entry into the ETFs market. Other names to note in Washington DC include Alison Fuller and Ruth Epstein; while in Philadelphia, other key names include Matthew DiClementeMichael Mabry, who is 'an expert in closed-end fund matters', and Michael O’Hare, who has 'depth of knowledge and business acumen'. The team was bolstered in March 2018 by the additions of David Grim and Sara Crovitz to the Washington DC office, who were respectively the former SEC Director of Investment Management and former Deputy Chief Counsel in the SEC’s Division of Investment Management.

K&L Gates

K&L Gates has 'deep expertise in the investment management space'. The 'extremely responsive, pragmatic and business friendly' team is well known for advising funds on management and restructuring mandates, and is adept at handling prominent asset manager M&A deals. In Washington DC, Arthur Delibert and Lori Schneider continue to act as board and fund counsel for Neuberger Berman, while Mark Amorosi provides ongoing fund formation and regulatory advice to AXA, which sponsors 125 mutual funds. Other key names in the Washington DC office include Robert Zutz, who acts as counsel for the independent trustees of the TIAA-CREF funds, and Ndenisarya Bregasi. Michael Caccese in Boston is, in the words of one client, 'a Goliath; when it comes to investment management law and the '40 Act, the man is a Swiss Army knife'; he and Clair Pagnano advised Federated Investors on acquiring a 60% stake in Hermes Investment Management. Mark Goshko and George Zornada are instructed by Wells Fargo Investment Institute’s Global Alternative Investments (GAI). Other clients include ALPS ETFs and USAA.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a well-established reputation in the market for advising investment managers on ETF mandates across the East Coast area. In Washington DC, John McGuire acts as counsel to ETF Securities, which recent;y included advising on the sale of its US business to Aberdeen Standard Investments. Also in Washington DC, Laura Flores advised Guggenheim Partners on the sale of its ETF fund worth $1.2bn to Invesco Powershares. In another matter, Flores and Christopher Menconi (also based in the Washington DC office) advised Exchange Traded Concepts, an ETF platform provider, on the launch of the REX BKCM ETF, which invests in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology-related companies. In Boston, Toby SerkinRoger Joseph and Lea Anne Copenhefer advised Scotland-based manager Martin Currie on the launch of the Martin Currie EM SMASh Fund, which uses a zero-fee structure. Timothy Levin in Philadelphia, Thomas Harman and Joshua Sterling in Washington DC, and Jeremy Kantrowitz in Boston are also key names. Other clients include Domini Funds, Pioneer Funds and WisdomTree.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP 's 'extremely diligent and intelligent' team 'provides excellent client service on a wide range of matters', notably in the regulatory arena. Margery Neale and Jay Spinola advised a leading asset manager on launching its first ETF and registering five additional ETFs. In another matter, Neale and  Elliot Gluck assisted a prominent manager with acquiring 15 mutual funds advised by an insurance company with $13.2bn under management. Washington DC-based Benjamin Haskin and Georgia Bullitt are also key contacts. Neale and former SEC Division of Investment Management director Barry Barbash, who divides time between the Washington DC and New York offices, jointly head the practice. Rose DiMartino retired in March 2019. The team is based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP's workload includes regulatory mandates as well as funds transactions. Nora Jordan and Gregory Rowland advise a prominent manager on compliance matters, most recently on new CFTC regulations regarding derivatives; the duo also assisted JP Morgan with the launch of fund complex Six Circles Trust. In another matter, Rowland represented Guggenheim Investments in the $1.2bn acquisition by Invesco of its ETF business, with $36.7 bn under management. Other clients include the independent directors of Oaktree Capital. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP's practice is ‘very robust in terms of bench strength and industry knowledge'; the team is 'always available and is well versed in the '40 Act'. 'ExcellentJoshua Deringer, who is 'well versed in all aspects of investment management law', leads the practice; he and New York-based Stacy Louizos advised Two Roads Shared Trust on the addition of 17 new funds, including an energy MLP fund and a managed volatility fund. Other key names include the 'superb' Michael Malloy and the 'extremely knowledgeable' Jillian Bosmann. Other clients include FS Investments, Aberdeen Funds’ independent directors and trustees, and Commerce Funds. Unless mentioned otherwise, the team is based in Philadelphia.


The team at Goodwin has particular expertise in acting for independent trustee boards. Marco Adelfio ('an engaged, proactive, and a strong communicator') and Paul Delligatti continue to advise the independent trustees of the Eaton Vance funds, most recently on implementing liquidity risk management programs following new regulations issued by the SEC. Delligatti and counsel Thomas Early, based in Los Angeles, provide ongoing advice to the independent trustees of the Federated Funds, while Christopher Palmer is instructed by Prudential Insurance Funds, with $210bn under management. Robert Kurucza is another key contact. Philip Newman retired in 2018. The team is based in Washington DC unless stated otherwise.

Paul Hastings LLP

From its primary base in New York, Paul Hastings LLP’s team has been kept busy handling a range of work from fund formation and launches to acquisitions. Michael Rosella and of counsel Vadim Avdeychik continue to advise Gabelli Funds on ETF matters, including the addition of two new investment portfolios. The duo also advised Brookfield Asset Management on the acquisition of Center Coast Capital and HRC Fund Associates. San Francisco-based David Hearth garners praise for his 'industry acumen, technical '40 Act knowledge, and strong practical business sense'; he represented the Rainier Funds in its acquisition by Hennessy Funds, and its subsequent liquidation and de-registration. Other clients include Toqueville Asset Management, Morgan Stanley and Kayne Anderson.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

At Shearman & Sterling LLP, the team is noted for its strength in assisting independent boards and managers with the gamut of mutual funds matters. Jay Baris and Nathan Greene ('true stand-outs on mutual fund board matters', according to clients) advise Victory Funds and its trustees on registered funds and ETF matters, including the acquisition of Harvest Volatility Management and USAA Asset Management in two separate transactions. Greene provides ongoing advice to First Eagle Funds, which manages $111bn. Other key lawyers include of counsel Paul Schreiber and of counsel Buddy Donohue. Other clients include SkyBridge Capital, Aberdeen Investment Funds and the independent trustees of Blackstone.

Vedder Price

Primarily based in Chicago, Vedder Price's team provides 'expert legal advice' to funds and independent trustees across a range of funds work. Cathy Gonzales O’Kelly and Deborah Bielicke Eades continue to advise longstanding client Nuveen Funds on closed-end and open-end fund reorganizations and asset sales. John Marten and Renee Hardt assisted the independent trustees of Invesco ETFs with acquiring an external suite of funds, while Joseph Mannon and Washington-DC based Bruce Rosenblum provide ongoing assistance to Select Sector SPDR Trust regarding changes to a number of ETFs following fund index rebalances. O'Kelly and Rosenblum share leadership of the practice. David Sturms retired in 2018.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s New York-based team is well known for assisting a client base of independent directors and investment companies, including OppenheimerFunds, Morgan Stanley Funds and Archstone Partnerships, with a wide range of mandates. Ronald Feiman and George Silfen are the key names.

Proskauer Rose LLP

Stuart Coleman leads Proskauer Rose LLP’s New York-based team, which has been kept busy handling, among other matters, manager M&A deals and closed-end fund matters. Coleman, Janna Manes and David Stephens continue to advise Dreyfus on regulatory, formation and restructuring matters, and recently assisted the client with forming five open-ended funds, including Dreyfus Japan Womenomics Fund. Nicole Runyan advised Silverpeak Credit Fund on the formation and IPO of a '40 Act registered closed-end fund investing in equity tranches of collateralized loan obligations (CLO). Gary Granik is also a key name. Other clients include Lazard Funds, Alger Funds and THL Credit Advisors.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has solid experience handling work involving ’40 Act funds, among other areas. Rajib Chanda is 'an excellent adviser' and is assisting MassMutual with its $5.7bn sale of OppenheimerFunds to Invesco. In another matter, Chanda and David Blass are advising Impact Shares on the launch of its first ETF, the Impact Shares NAACP Minority Empowerment ETF, in partnership with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). Other clients include Blackstone, Wells Fargo Securities, Oaktree Capital, Morgan Stanley, KKR Asset Management and Legg Mason. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP's practice is noted for advising investor and sponsor clients on high-value mutual fund manager M&A and ETF-related capital markets mandates. Practice head Michael Hoffman, located in the New York office, represented Tennenbaum Capital Partners in its acquisition by a subsidiary of BlackRock. In another matter, Hoffman advised investment company Altaba on selling $2bn of shares in Yahoo! Japan to a subsidiary of SoftBank, and on terminating its joint venture agreement with SoftBank. Boston-based Thomas DeCapo and Kevin Hardy in Chicago are also key names. Other clients include Gabelli Funds, Third Avenue Management and Guggenheim Investments.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Sullivan & Worcester LLP fields 'highly experienced lawyers', who 'will do whatever it takes to get the job done'. The team's core strength lies in advising the independent trustees of funds, and is also noted for assisting clients with ETF mandates. In an example of the latter, David Mahaffey acts as counsel to ETF Managers Trust and the Trust's adviser, ETF Managers Group, having recently assisted with the organization of three new series of the trust, including ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, which marked the first US ETF to primarily invest in cannabis companies and related businesses. David Leahy is 'highly experienced in the mutual funds field', and continues to advise the trustees of the Legg Mason Partners Funds Fixed Income Funds, with $94bn under management. Boston-based John Hunt and John Chilton advise the Pear Tree Funds and First Western Funds, respectively. Other notable names include Nicole Crum and Matthew Van Wormer in New York. Other than Hunt in Boston and Van Wormer in New York, the team is based in the Washington DC office.

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP reports an increase in work from the alternative funds space, although the team is adept at handling a broad spectrum of mutual funds and ETF matters. Michael Wible in the Columbus office advised Northern Trust Investments on launching a privately placed money market fund as part of Advisers Investment Trust, a series of funds. Washington DC-based Bibb Strench advised Majority Shares ETF Trust on developing an ETF which complied with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) investment standards. The practice is also known in the market for handling matters concerning shari’ah-compliant funds. Other names to note include Cincinnati-based Cassandra Borchers, and JoAnn Strasser and Andrew Davalla, both of whom are based in the Columbus office.