Firms To Watch: Mutual/registered/exchange-traded funds

In May 2022 Kirkland & Ellis LLP hired a seven-partner team from Proskauer Rose LLP, including Nicole Runyan in New York to lead the new practice group, and David Marcinkus in Washington DC, a funds regulatory expert. A team including Paul Delligatti, Christoper Palmer  and Jason Monfort joined from Goodwin in February 2024.

Mutual/registered/exchange-traded funds in United States

Dechert LLP

The blue chip client base of Dechert LLP‘s investment funds department appreciate its ‘great depth in its mutual fund practice‘. The firm is a strong choice for the gamut of issues in the space, covering formation and fund raising, day-to-day operations, regulatory compliance, and all potential disputes. The sizeable practice includes many practitioners with experience as in-house counsel and regulators, and clients include funds, advisers, boards of directors and audit committees, independent directors, broker-dealers, insurance companies, and banks. Recent work has included a number of conversions from mutual funds to exchange-traded funds, following the national trend, and the regulatory side of the practice has been busy with new SEC regulations. Christopher Harvey oversees the practice from the firm’s Boston office and is a leading figure in the market. Alongside him, Christopher Christian is a key contact for US and European asset managers and investment funds, and John O’Hanlon is a regulatory expert. In New York, Allison Fumai stands out for her ETF expertise, while Washington DC is another key location, where Megan Johnson and Douglas Dick are based. San Francisco-based Mark Perlow is recommended by clients as ‘one of the most respected mutual fund/investment adviser attorneys‘.

Practice head(s):

Christopher Harvey

Other key lawyers:

Christopher Christian; Allison Fumai; Mark Perlow; John O’Hanlon; Douglas Dick; Stephen Bier; Thomas Bogle; Megan Johnson; Adam Teufel; Stephanie Capistron


‘Dechert has great depth in its mutual fund practice, and the ability to address emerging best practices and evolving standards. In addition, it has broad capabilities and is able to support a variety of issues that arise tangentially to the core mutual funds practice and is our first “go to” for many of these other issues.’

‘Mark Perlow has a deep background in the mutual fund and investment adviser space, and his former SEC experience provides context for not only the details of regulations but also the policy and practical implications of a variety of matters. He is one of the most respected mutual fund/investment adviser attorneys providing confidence that we will address new requirements correctly.’

Key clients

MainStay Funds

Morgan Stanley Funds

abrdn plc

Work highlights

  • Advised MainStay Funds on all its US mutual funds and closed-end funds, as well as the funds’ board and its independent trustees.
  • Advised Morgan Stanley Funds on its US mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, closed-end funds, BDC and CLOs.
  • Advised Abrdn on its US registered closed-end funds, mutual funds, and ETFs.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a top-of-the-market offering in exchange-traded funds and acts for ’40 Act ETFs, exchange-traded commodity pools, and metals trusts. Seven partners dedicate significant portions of their practices to ETF work, while the broader investment funds group also regularly acts for blue chip registered mutual funds, closed-end investment companies, and variable insurance products. A trio of practitioners oversee the department: John McGuire in Washington DC, a leading name in the US when it comes to ETFs, and strong counsel for regulatory matters; Timothy Levin in Philadelphia, a seasoned advisor of institutional asset management firms and financial services companies on a variety of legal, compliance, and commercial matters; and Boston's Roger Joseph, a standout name in assisting clients with navigating the ever-evolving regulatory environment. From the deep bench of lawyers at the Washington DC office, Laura Flores is valued by clients for her assistance with ‘developing new and innovative fund structures‘, while Thomas Harman is a senior figure across the gamut of funds matters, and Mana Behbin, promoted to partner in October 2022, is an up-and-coming figure to note.

Practice head(s):

John McGuire; Timothy Levin; Roger Joseph

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Harman; Laura Flores; Barry Hurwitz; Toby Serkin; Christopher Menconi; Lea Anne Copenhefer; Lance Dial; Sean Graber; Paul Raymond; Beau Yanoshik; Mana Behbin


‘Excellent China origin export controls practice.’

‘Deep domain expertise specifically in exchange-traded funds.’

‘Laura Flores has helped our firm in developing new and innovative fund structures.’

Key clients

SEI/SEI Funds/Advisors’ Inner Circle Funds (I, II, and III)

WisdomTree ETFs

Penn Mutual/Penn Series Funds

Morgan Stanley Investment Management/Consulting Group Capital Markets Funds

Franklin Resources (Legacy Legg Mason Funds)

Amundi Pioneer Asset Management

State Street Bank and Trust/SSGA/SPDR Funds/Select Sector SPDR Trust

Transamerica Funds


Precidian Investments

Brinker Destination Funds

BNY Mellon Investment Management

UOB Hampshire US REIT

Aquila Group of Funds

Virtus Investment Partners

Manning & Napier, Exeter Trust

Work highlights

  • Assisted SEI Investments and the Christian Brothers Investment Services with the creation of a new mutual fund complex that commenced operations with approximately $10bn in assets under management.
  • Represented The Advisors’ Inner Circle Fund (AIC) mutual fund platform in the tax-free reorganizations of Westwood Management’s mutual fund family into seven newly created mutual funds on the Ultimus Series Trust mutual fund platform.
  • Represented five pioneer stock exchange–listed closed-end funds and their investment adviser, Amundi Asset Management US, in the funds’ redomiciling from Delaware to Maryland.

Ropes & Gray LLP

Ropes & Gray LLP is seen as a destination firm for leading names across the funds space, acting for renowned registered open and closed-end funds, including interval funds, exchange-traded funds, and registered funds investing in hedge funds. The department covers the full suite of work in the area, from the operation of innovative fund types and managing regulatory issues, to transactional matters and related disputes, where, according to one client, ‘the litigation expertise of the firm informs ongoing advice more so than in other firms‘. The firm’s Boston office is one of the key locations for the team, the base for practice co-head James Thomas, as well as Thomas Hiller, who advises mutual and registered funds and their independent trustees on the full range of issues, and John Loder, one of the market's most respected figures, whose extensive experience covers the organization of investment advisory firms and investment funds of all types. The other two co-leaders of the practice Bryan Chegwidden and Michael Doherty are based in New York, while in Chicago, Paulita Pike garners client praise as an ‘outstanding‘ lawyer, and advises on a broad range of issues, including governance structures, compliance, and press communications.

Practice head(s):

Bryan Chegwidden; Michael Doherty; James Thomas

Other key lawyers:

John Loder; Timothy Diggins; Elizabeth Reza; Paulita Pike; Thomas Hiller; Brian McCabe; Jeremy Smith; David Sullivan; Adam Schlichtmann; Jessica Reece


‘The Ropes team is unparalleled when it comes to registered funds work.’

‘Paulita Pike is the best relationship partner I have ever worked with. She understands our business and puts a huge premium on making sure we’re satisfied with every part of Ropes’ service.’

‘The litigation expertise of the firm informs ongoing advice more so than in other firms.’

‘Prompt follow up and good communication regarding setting expectations about deliverables.’

‘Paulita Pike is outstanding.’

Key clients

Affiliated Managers Group (AMG)

Blackstone Alternative Asset Management (BAAM); and its registered investment companies


Brighthouse Funds (formerly MetLife Funds)

Calamos Funds and their Independent Trustees

DoubleLine Funds and their Independent Trustees

Forum Capital Advisors (Independent Trustees)

Fundrise Advisors, LLC

Impact Shares ETFs

Ironwood (Independent Directors)

JP Morgan Funds & ETFS (Independent Trustees)

MFS Funds and their Independent Trustees

Natixis and Loomis Sayles Fund Groups and Natixis Global Investment Managers, Loomis Sayles & Company, L.P., Alpha Simplex Group LLC, and Harris Associates, L.P.

The Northern Trust Company

Pax World Funds

Pacific Investment Management Company, LLC (PIMCO)

Putnam Funds and their Independent Trustees

State Street Corporation and State Street Global Advisers

Thrivent ETF Trust and Thrivent Asset Management, LLC

Voya Funds

Work highlights

  • Acted as fund counsel to over 40 mutual funds sponsored and managed by AMG Funds, a wholly owned subsidiary of Affiliated Managers Group, the leading US-based global asset management firm that operates through a diverse group of boutique investment firms.
  • Represents the DoubleLine Funds, a leading US-based mutual fund family, and their Independent Trustees. They are sponsored by an adviser led by prominent fixed income manager, Jeffrey Gundlach.
  • Representing the Independent Trustees of the MFS Funds and the MFS Funds mutual fund complex, consisting of circa 136 funds in all asset classes.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

The team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has ‘unique industry experience and a breadth of client and transaction types‘, and makes for a ‘proactive and responsive‘ choice of counsel for a host of highly regarded asset managers and funds. Open-end and closed-end funds, ETFs and BDCs are among the names that look to the firm’s asset management department that is co-led by Lior Ohayon and Margery Neale, both of whom are based in New York. Neesa Sood was promoted to the partnership in January 2022- she and Neale are both praised by one client for the respective ‘depth and breadth of their ’40 Act knowledge, combined with excellent business judgment‘. Barry Barbash in Washington DC is a key senior figure, and at the same location, Benjamin Haskin is a contact to note for investment management, while Anne Choe covers a wide range of securities regulation, with a focus on representing ETFs, their advisers, and independent board members. In New York, Elliot Gluck has acted for registered investment companies, their advisers and boards in an array of corporate and regulatory matters, and Jay Spinola is another counsel with expertise in the 1940 Act.

Practice head(s):

Margery Neale; Lior Ohayon

Other key lawyers:

Barry Barbash; Elliot Gluck; Benjamin Haskin; Anne Choe; Bissie Bonner; Jay Spinola; Neesa Sood


‘The WFG mutual fund practice has unique industry experience and a breadth of client and transaction types. We have confidence in the individuals serving us and appreciate their thoughtful and timely advice on both day-to-day and unexpected matters.’

‘The team is proactive and responsive. All members work well without independent trustees. We have a lot of confidence in Barry Barbash and Anne Choe’s industry, regulatory and business knowledge.’

‘Margery Neale and Neesa Sood are standouts in the firm. They each have a well-earned reputation in the industry for the depth and breadth of their ’40 Act knowledge, combined with excellent business judgment.’

‘In response to industry developments including regulatory changes, lawsuits and enforcement actions against peer organizations, Margery Neale and Neesa Sood have drawn on Willkie Farr’s deep bench of expertise in enforcement, regulation, litigation, and tax to provide us with world class advice.

‘ The practice have taken the time to learn and understand our past practices, so that their suggestions and recommendations are brought forward from a context the board can relate to.

‘They are both knowledgeable, available to discuss issues, and, most importantly, are proactive in working with the advisor to address issues before they are presented to the independent trustees.’

‘Willkie Farr, and especially the partner with whom we work with, has given us exceptional advice and support for many years. They are always informative of the latest news and changes whether with the SEC or other related entities. Plus, their communication is excellent. We always receive prompt responses.’

‘They are proactive and are always looking for ways to help our mutual fund improve, whether through cost reductions or through its very vigorous 15c review. Our partner, Jay Spinola, is the difference. He has developed a rapport not only with our independent directors but has gained great respect with the mutual fund management.’

Key clients

Credit Suisse Asset Management and Credit Suisse Funds

Flaherty & Crumrine Closed-End Funds

Gabelli Closed-End Funds

The New Ireland Fund

T. Rowe Price Funds


Extremely knowledgeable of the details of investment laws and relevant regulations‘, the team at Goodwin handles mutual, registered and exchange-traded funds, and is the go-to choice for numerous service providers in the funds sphere, its client base ranging from major custodian banks, transfer agents, and retirement plan service organizations, to fund complexes and independent directors. Marco Adelfio  leads the team.

Practice head(s):

Marco Adelfio


‘The Goodwin team is extremely knowledgeable of the details of investment laws and relevant regulations. The team is especially knowledgeable of SEC matters and refs. The team responds to requests for legal advice quickly and effectively. Their advice is always well thought out and to the point.’

‘They are clearly leaders in their industry. We have yet to come across any issue or question that our independent counsel has not previously seen. They always have great advice on any topic.’


Key clients

Allspring Global Funds/Investments

AssetMark Funds – Independent Trustees

Bridge Builder Trust – Independent Trustees

Eaton Vance

Federated Hermes Funds – Independent Trustees

Guardian Variable Products Trust – Independent Trustees

Hartford Mutual Funds – Independent Directors

INVESCO Funds – Independent Trustees

Series Portfolio Trust

Thrivent Mutual Funds – Independent Directors


Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP

Rajib Chanda spearheads the offering in mutual, registered and exchange-traded funds at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, acting for prestigious clients, including Blackstone, KKR and Carlyle, in ccomplex and innovative matters in the space. Chanda leads from the Washington DC office, which houses the bulk of the firm’s practice. David Blass and Christopher Healey both receive client recognition as ‘key assets to the team‘; Blass praised for his broad, business friendly knowledge; Healey for his expertise on the 1940 Act. Ryan Brizek is fund counsel to registered funds sponsored by some of the largest alternative and traditional asset managers in the US market, and, representing the practice in New York, Benjamin Wells has been particularly active advising on innovative products for well-established sponsors.

Practice head(s):

Rajib Chanda

Other key lawyers:

David Blass; Benjamin Wells; Ryan Brizek; Chris Healey


‘Chris Healey and David Blass are two individuals that are key assets to the team. Chris has tremendous 40 Act knowledge and David provides a broad base legal knowledge that is business friendly.’

‘I simply enjoy working with them. They are always respectful and thoughtful – true professionals in the industry.’

Key clients

Affiliated Managers Group

Angelo Gordon & Co

Apollo Credit Management LLC

AQR Capital Management

Ares Management

BC Partners

Blackstone Credit

Blackstone Real Estate Income Funds

BofA Merrill Lynch

Capital Research Group (American Funds)

The Carlyle Group

Cohen & Steers

Diameter Capital Partners

Ecofin Investments, LLC

EIG Global Energy Partners

Fidelity Investments (Board)

First Eagle Credit

First Eagle Investment Management

Golub Capital

HarbourVest Partners

Investment Company Institute

JPMorgan Asset Management

KKR Asset Management

KKR Real Estate

Legg Mason Closed-end Funds

Magnetar Capital

New Mountain Capital

Oaktree Capital

Onex Falcon Investment Advisors, LLC

Pacific Investment Management Company LLC (“PIMCO”)

PGIM Investments, LLC

SIFMA Asset Management Group

Sixth street

Skybridge Capital

Stone Ridge Funds Independent Trustees

Third Point LLC

Toronto Dominion Bank

Tortoise Capital Advisors, LLC

United Services Automobile Association (USAA)

Work highlights

  • Advised Blackstone Real Estate Income Trust on a $60bn public offering of shares of common stock.
  • Advised Apollo on various matters, including over the past year, the launch of its interval fund, Apollo Diversified Credit Fund.
  • Advised KKR on the formation of KKR Real Estate Select Trust, a non-diversified, closed-end management investment company that invests primarily in commercial real estate in the US.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP continues to be a robust choice for clients looking for advice on the evolving landscape in registered funds, the firm having recently assisted with physically settled futures under ’40 Act leverage requirements, advising managers and banks on alternative methods of seeding ETFs, and registered funds investing in private equity funds. The has strength across the board in the investment funds space and has built an impressive client base of key names in the industry, with expertise across a range of fund types meaning the firm can assist in crossover matters. Gregory Rowland is the primary contact who heads the practice group and provides transactional, regulatory and compliance advice to investment advisers, mutual funds, closed-end funds, business development companies.

Practice head(s):

Gregory Rowland

Eversheds Sutherland

Eversheds Sutherland is a leading name in the market for the formation, structuring, compliance and operation of BDCs, and attracts prominent clients such as Goldman Sachs and Ares Capital Corporation. The group is also noted for its strength in registered insurance products, with a long history of expertise in this area. Stephen Roth, who is head of the firm’s financial services group, focuses his practice on separate account insurance products. Roth co-leads the department alongside Steven Boehm and executive partner Cynthia Krus, both of whom are experts in BDCs. Owen Pinkerton advises closed-end funds and interval funds on regulatory and transactional matters. All named attorneys are based in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Stephen Roth; Steven Boehm; Cynthia Krus

Other key lawyers:

Owen Pinkerton

Key clients



Allianz Life Insurance Company of North America

Allstate Life Insurance Company

Altmore BDC, Inc.

American General Life Insurance Company

Ares Capital Corporation

Athene Annuity & Life Co.

Axxes Private Markets Fund

BlackRock Private Credit Fund

Brighthouse Life Insurance Company

Capital Southwest Corporation

Churchill Asset Management

CIM Real Assets & Credit Fund

Committee of Annuity Insurers

Equitable Life Insurance Company

Fidus Investment Corporation

Flat Rock Core Income Fund

Flat Rock Core Plus Fund

Flat Rock Opportunity Fund

Forethought Life Insurance Company

Goldman Sachs BDC Inc.

Goldman Sachs Middle Market Lending Corp.

Golub Capital BDC, Inc.

Great Elm Capital Corp.

Guardian Insurance and Annuity Company

GuideStone Funds

Lafayette Square Holding Co.

M Fund, Inc.

Main Street Capital Corp.

Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company

Midland National Life Insurance Company

Monroe Capital Corporation

MSC Income Fund, Inc.

MSD Investment Corp.

Nationwide Life Insurance Company

New Mountain Finance Corporation

New Mountain Finance SLF I

New Mountain Guardian III BDC

New Mountain Guardian IV BDC

New York Life Insurance Company

Newtek Business Services Corporation

Nuveen Churchill Direct Lending Corp.

Nuveen Churchill SLF Inc.

Nuveen Churchill Private Capital Income Fund

OFS Capital Management

Owl Rock Capital Corporation

Owl Rock Capital Corporation II

Owl Rock Capital Corporation III

Owl Rock Core Income Corp.

Owl Rock Technology Finance Corp.

Owl Rock Technology Finance Corp. II

Owl Rock Technology Income Corp.

Priority Income Fund, Inc.

Prospect Capital Corporation

Prospect Capital Management.

Prospect Sustainable Income Fund, Inc.

Protective Life Insurance Company

Rand Capital Corporation

Riversource Life Insurance Company

Runway Growth Capital

Runway Growth Finance Corp

Saratoga Investment Corporation

Security Benefit Life Insurance Company

Silver Spike Capital

Stellus Capital Investment Corporation

Sutter Rock Capital Corp.

Symetra Life Insurance Company

Transamerica Life Insurance Company

Trinity Capital Inc.

Universal Life Insurance Company


Varagon Capital Corp.

VOYA Insurance and Annuity Company

Zell Capital

Work highlights

  • Represented Owl Rock Capital Corporation on various matters, including, among others, on the US$1.350 billion A/B exchange offering for Owl Rock Core Income Corp. for the 5.500% Notes due 2025, the 4.70% Notes due 2027, and the 3.125% Notes due 2027.
  • Advising a coalition of 30 major US life insurance companies and their affiliated broker-dealers in providing strategic and legal counsel to these entities in their efforts to affect the direction and details of various relevant SEC, FINRA and US Department of Labor rule proposals and initiatives.

K&L Gates

The well-regarded asset management and investment funds practice at K&L Gates has ‘great expertise in all types of fund structures‘ and its client roster includes prominent, busy fund sponsors and managers. Counsel on open and closed-end registered funds, launches of ETFs, and traditional mutual funds are all features of the department’s case load. Mark Amorosi draws on long-standing experience in co-leading the practice group and leading counsel to a wide range of investment advisers, mutual funds and exchange-traded funds, insurance companies, fund boards, banks and other financial institutions. Fellow practice head Ndenisarya Bregasi has a similarly broad practice that includes leading teams that assists investment company complexes and investment advisers of all sizes with day-to-day operations and compliance, and interactions with the SEC. They are both based in Washington DC, while the third of the practice heads, Michael Caccese is a very experienced name who splits his time between Boston and Pittsburgh. In Boston, George Zornada receives significant client praise for his ‘expertise in unique and different fund structures‘.

Practice head(s):

Mark Amorosi; Ndenisarya Bregasi; Michael Caccese

Other key lawyers:

Mark Goshko; Clair Pagnano; Robert Zutz; George Zornada; Richard Kerr


‘Accessible, practical, vast experience–nothing they haven’t seen before, proactive, professionals that you want as friends.’

‘Robert Zutz–proactive, accessible, nothing he hasn’t seen before, offers practical solutions, understands that little is black and white, can quote regulations off the top of his head.’

‘Great team of professionals that work seamlessly on behalf of the trustees.’

‘George Zornada is a fabulous, attentive, helpful lawyer who’s gives a lot of confidence to the trustees that he has all the issues under control. His style is succinct in a refreshing way, in that he cuts to the essence of a matter quickly without a long and often unnecessary preamble. He is knowledgeable, calm, decisive, balanced and very collegial.’

‘Great expertise in all types of fund structures and reasonable billing rates.’

‘George Zornada – very responsive and easy to work with. Expertise in unique and different fund structures.’

Key clients

Touchstone Advisors

Federated Hermes

John Hancock Investment Management

Victory Capital Management

USAA Funds

Equitable Investment Management and Equitable Funds

Eaton Vance Management

Oakmark Funds and its independent trustees

Independent trustees of the Voya Funds

Direxion Funds

Independent trustees of the TIAA-CREF Funds

Ariel Funds and its independent trustees

Work highlights

  • Acted as fund and adviser counsel to Touchstone in the launch of their first suite of four new ETF products adding to their traditional mutual fund platform.
  • Advised Federated Hermes on the launch of its ETFs.
  • Advised John Hancock Investment Management and John Hancock Variable Trust Advisers, the investment advisers for all John Hancock investment companies in the US.

Paul Hastings LLP

The ‘well-versed, collaborative and experienced team‘ at Paul Hastings LLP assists clients across all types of registered funds and investment vehicles, including mutual, closed-end, exchange-traded, and tender offer funds. Clients include some of the country’s highest-profile investors in various sectors, and the practice covers the gamut of matters, from structuring and fund launches to counsel on the regulations of the SEC. ‘Very knowledgeable and pro-active‘ practice head Michael Rosella leads the department from the firm’s office in New York, and on the west coast the practice’s main contact is David Hearth, a partner in the wider corporate law team with notable experience as lead counsel to a range of market-leading investment firms that manage registered funds.

Practice head(s):

Michael Rosella

Other key lawyers:

David Hearth


‘Mike Rosella leads a well-versed, collaborative and experienced team. No games, just to the point, and sensitive to time constraints.’

‘Mike Rosella has great leadership skills and is exceptionally capable at advising clients. He’s very knowledgeable and pro-active.’

Key clients

Jefferies Finance

Insight Advisors

Longevity Advisors


Brookfield Public Securities Group

TCW Group (TCW Funds and Metropolitan West Funds)

Morgan Stanley

Tocqueville Asset Management

Fiduciary Trust Company / Franklin Templeton

The RBB Fund, Inc.

Matthews Asia Funds

SunAmerica Asset Management

Kayne Anderson Capital

Allianz Global Investors

Oaktree Capital

Intelligent Medicine Group

Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions

Franklin Templeton Private Equity

Wingspan Capital

Work highlights

  • Assisting Kayne Anderson Capital and Kayne Anderson Energy Infrastructure Fund with the $100m acquisition of Fiduciary/Claymore Energy Infrastructure Fund.
  • Advising RBB on implementing creative senior management retention plans that will support the continued growth of their trust, as part of the client’s ongoing development of innovative structures for the trust.
  • Providing regulatory and product advice to Brookfield’s new entity, Brookfield Oaktree Wealth Solutions.

Seward & Kissel LLP

Clients appreciate the ‘deep and unique expertise‘ of the team at Seward & Kissel LLP that advises on the full spectrum of matters for all types of registered fund, and is especially well known for its strength in bank mutual fund activities. The firm represents a variety of asset management organizations, including some of the largest mutual fund complexes in the US and internationally. Practice head Paul Millerhas developed a culture inside the firm that embodies a client focused approach coupled with actually solving business problems‘. His practice focuses on registered investment companies and registered investment advisers, and he has extensive experience on matters affecting registered funds and ETFs, including their formation, their registration with the SEC, and their service provider arrangements. Robert Kurucza and counsels Alexandra Alberstadt and Lancelot King are further key contacts. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Practice head(s):

Paul Miller

Other key lawyers:

Robert Kurucza; Lancelot King; Alexandra Alberstadt


‘S&K’s strength is its people, each with a deep and unique expertise, combined with a client first approach and responsiveness demonstrated by each individual team member. The core values of the firm are expressed throughout encounters with each unique subject matter expert.’

‘Paul Miller has developed a culture inside the firm that embodies a client focused approach coupled with actually solving business problems. To me, this is the essence of S&K that is clearly demonstrated and is a differentiator in the marketplace.’

Key clients

AB Funds/AllianceBernstein L.P.

Aegis Funds/Aegis Financial Corporation

Akre Capital Management LLC

Fairholme Funds/Fairholme Capital Management LLC

Prospector Funds/Prospector Partners Asset Management

Sequoia Fund/Ruane, Cunniff & Goldfarb LP

Homestead Funds

Vedder Price

Admired for its ‘extensive knowledge and experience in the mutual fund industry‘, Vedder Price is a reliable choice for the range of matters in the registered fund sphere, from the plethora of regulatory matters, securities regulations and ERISA and tax matters, to derivatives and structured products, transactions and contentious issues. The practice acts for hundreds of separate open and closed-end Investment Company Act of 1940 registered funds, ranging from those with $5bn to over $100bn in assets. The firm’s Chicago office is a key location for the practice; practice co-heads Cathy Gonzales O’Kelly and Joseph Mannon are based there, as well as Renee Hardt and Deborah Bielicke Eades. Bruce Rosenblum is the third of the trio coordinating the department and is based in Washington DC, alongside Marguerite Bateman and Amy Ward Pershkow.

Practice head(s):

Cathy Gonzales O’Kelly; Bruce Rosenblum; Joseph Mannon

Other key lawyers:

Marguerite Bateman; Renee Hardt; Deborah Bielicke Eades; Jeremy Senderowicz; Amy Ward Pershkow; Jacob Tiedt; Maureen Miller


‘The team, including junior counsel, has extensive knowledge and experience in the mutual fund industry. The availability and responsiveness of the team are excellent. Access to additional resources at the firm is readily available when needed.’

‘Maureen Miller, the partner we work with, is tireless in working with the Independent Trustees on our board. Her knowledge of the business and industry is extensive, and she is very effective in communicating with the Board. She is thoughtful, considerate, and responsive. She works well with other attorneys that represent the Funds and the Advisor.’

‘Cathy O’Kelly and John Marten both provide excellent and timely advice, are knowledgeable, and provide good judgement. I would highly recommend them.’

‘Cathy O’Kelly –experienced, thoughtful and actionable advice. Amy Pershkow–broad perspective with exposure to Washington DC.’

‘The team of lawyers assigned to our engagement has always been excellent. The are available around the clock. Not that it is expected, but it is not unusual to receive callbacks from them late at night or during weekends.’

‘Joseph Mannon has served as fund counsel since 2011. His deep industry knowledge is very much appreciated as he is able to look at issues from the point of view of our mutual funds, which is crucial when discussing potential conflicts of interests and affiliated transactions. He has been proactive in resolving potential conflicts of interests to ensure that these transactions do not trigger prohibited transactions.

‘Cathy O’Kelly has an incredible ability to provide counsel beyond pure legal advice. She has so much experience and is extremely insightful. She’s able to bring us to the heart of issues when we’re floundering, she reminds us of our role as independent directors, and is always the voice of reason.’

‘Knowledge of the rules and regulations governing the investment/registered funds industry is a given. What is most beneficial is their ability to convey how existing regulations and proposed regulation can and does affect boards and shareholders in a manner which is reasonable to understand.’

Key clients

Janus Henderson Funds

DWS Funds

Empower Funds (formerly Great-West Funds)


Driehaus Mutual Funds

Independent Board Members of Principal Funds/ETFs/Interval Fund

Independent Trustees of Invesco ETFs

Independent Trustees of SPDR Funds

Independent Trustees of Franklin Templeton Funds

Independent Directors of American Century Funds

Work highlights

  • Provided guidance to the Independent Trustees since inception of the Invesco ETFs in 2004, including advice on change-of-control and other transactions, new products and approval of advisory contracts, as well as two acquisitions of external suites of funds.
  • Counseled the Independent Trustees of mutual funds and ETFs in the Franklin Templeton Investments complex in numerous matters, including the outsourcing of fund accounting and administration to a third party and the acquisition of Legg Mason.

Proskauer Rose LLP

Proskauer Rose LLP fields a team for mutual and registered funds that is ‘extremely professional and always up to date on developing issues‘. As part of the firm’s global investment management platform, the practice in the US has a history as lead counsel to a host of major players in the market, and is recognized for structuring innovative fund products, and for its extensive experience in the development of regulations. Stuart Coleman spearheads the department from the New York office, and he and David Stephenssolve problems and work on creating solutions in a very business-like and practical manner‘. In Washington DC, Robert Plaze is the name to note for regulatory advice, clients praising his advice on ‘very complicated issues‘.

Practice head(s):

Stuart Coleman

Other key lawyers:

David Stephens; Robert Plaze


‘The depth of knowledge in the registered investment adviser practice is amazing. I am working with the person that originally drafted the regulations that we now have to comply with.’

‘Robert Plaze spent 28 years working at the SEC and was responsible for drafting a number of the regulations that apply to registered investment advisers. I regularly consult with him on very complicated issues. He is very responsive and willing to game out certain situations with me on the phone.’

‘The team is extremely professional and always up to date on developing issues. They are always well prepared to address any issues that arise. The team are practical businesspeople with intelligent solutions on complicated issues. The team is also very personable and respected by our entire board of directors.’

‘Stuart Coleman and David Stephens are the two partners that relate to our multiple boards. That communicate very well with all our directors and have earned our respect. They solve problems and work on creating solutions in a very business-like and practical manner. They also work in a collegial manner with the manager and represent our interests very well. I can’t speak highly enough of the quality of this group.’

Key clients

The BNY Mellon Family of Funds (Fund and Independent Board Counsel)

The Lazard Family of Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

UBS AM Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

Legg Mason Partners Funds and Legg Mason Global Asset Management Trust (Independent Board Counsel)

iShares ETFs (Independent Board Counsel)

Apollo BDCs and Closed-End Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

Baron Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

Needham Funds (Fund and Independent Board Counsel)

Harding Loevner Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

Grosvenor Registered Multi-Strategy Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

Morgan Stanley Pathway Funds (Independent Board Counsel)

Work highlights

  • Represented Central Park Group in the structuring, launch and management of a family of 1940 Act registered alternative closed-end funds.
  • Advised Legg Mason ETFs from their inception through their transition to Franklin Templeton.
  • Advising The Lazard Family of Funds on new open-end funds, fund investment strategy changes, reverse share splits and fund liquidations/terminations.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP advises clients on the establishment and operation of registered closed-end funds, BDCs, mutual funds, and other products regulated under the 1940 Act. The group places emphasis on innovative solutions to business and legal risks, and so have experience in a range of novel fund vehicles, including registered hedge funds, funds of funds, and BDC-sponsored joint venture investment vehicles. The group is led by John Mahon, who is based in Washington DC and has experience in capital markets and securities law matters, and acts for private equity firms and other prominent financial sector participants. Associate Shaina Maldonado, also in DC, is a key name.

Practice head(s):

John Mahon

Other key lawyers:

Shaina Maldonado

Key clients

Sixth Street Specialty Lending, Inc.


Advantage Advisers Xanthus Fund, L.L.C.

Hussman Funds

Investors Diversified Realty, LLC

PFM Funds

Saba Capital Income & Opportunities Fund (formerly Voya Prime Rate Trust)

YieldStreet, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Advised YieldStreet, Inc. on 1940 Act regulatory, compliance and offering-related matters in connection with its regulated fund platform, including its first 1940 Act-registered fund product.
  • Advised Poolit in connection with the structuring and launch of a series of registered closed-end funds initially focused on private fund investments in the private equity and venture capital space.

Shearman & Sterling LLP

Shearman & Sterling LLP fields a team which works seamlessly alongside groups in Hong Kong, Tokyo, and the UK to provide comprehensive support on both cross-border and domestic US matters. The group caters to traditional mutual fund firms, as well as specialized vehicles such as SPACs and BDCs and innovative registered investment companies. The US group, which is based in New York, is led by Paul Schreiber, who has extensive experience in the practice area, and is one of the original founders of the investment funds practice. Counsel Thomas Majewski is also a key contact, and represents investment funds on all aspects of the business, including fund formation, regulatory matters, and SEC registration.

Practice head(s):

Paul Schreiber

Other key lawyers:

Thomas Majewski

Key clients

ALPS Advisors

Miller/Howard Funds (funds counsel and independent trustees counsel)

ArrowMark Financial Corp. (advised by Arrowmark Partners)

Work highlights

  • Represented the Miller/Howard Fund and its directors in its IPO and continue to represent the High Income Equity Fund and its board, on all legal, regulatory and compliance matters.
  • Represented the independent directors of ArrowMark Financial Corp. in connection with ArrowMark Partners’ acquisition of StoneCastle Asset Management, LLC.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP

Sullivan & Worcester LLP provides comprehensive legal services to fund clients, with experience in establishing and registering new funds, providing compliance advice, and handling board governance and shareholder matters. Additionally, the group regularly serves as counsel to prominent investment management firms, advising on securities law compliance, tax planning, and corporate transactions. David Leahy co-leads the team from Washington DC alongside David Mahaffey, who is managing partner of the office. Other core names in the DC group include Nicole Crum, an expert in the representation of boards and board committees, and John Chilton, whose focus is the representation of mutual funds, exchange-traded funds, and BDCs. John Hunt, in Boston, and Domenick Pugliese, who is based in New York, are also key.

Practice head(s):

David Leahy; David Mahaffey

Other key lawyers:

Nicole Crum; Matthew Van Wormer; John Chilton; John Hunt; Dominic Pugliese


‘Knowledgeable; practical advice; responds quickly, listens carefully; focuses on point; does not waste client money.’

‘David Mahaffey- excellent business layer; works hard to understand client and client needs; give practical advice.’

Key clients

Independent Trustees of the John Hancock Funds, including John Hancock Variable Insurance Trust, John Hancock Funds II, John Hancock Funds III, John Hancock Closed-End Funds and John Hancock GA Mortgage Trust

Independent Trustees of the John Hancock Asset Based Lending Fund

Independent Trustees of the Pacific Select Fund and Pacific Funds Series Trust

Independent Directors of the Legg Mason Closed-End Funds

Virtus Mutual Funds and Virtus Variable Insurance Trust and their Independent Trustees

AIG VALIC Retirement Funds and their Independent Directors

ETF Managers Trust, ETF Managers Group LLC, ETF Managers Group Commodity Trust I and ETF Managers Capital LLC

Independent Trustees of ARK ETF Trust and ARK Venture Fund

Pear Tree Funds and their Independent Trustees

Independent Trustees of the Matthews Asia Funds

Advisors Series Trust and their Independent Trustees

Professional Managed Portfolios and their Independent Trustees

Kelly Strategic ETF Trust and Kelly Strategic Management, LLC

Tidal ETF Trust II

ConvexityShares Trust and ConvexityShares, LLC

Thompson Hine LLP

Thompson Hine LLP caters to a diverse client base, including mutual funds, investment funds, ETFs, investment advisers, and domestic and offshore hedge funds. The department is experienced in providing structural, transactional, and regulatory advice, and assists clients in entering the industry, developing new products and services, and adapting to regulatory and industry developments. Team lead JoAnn Strasser, based in Columbus, is highly experienced in alternative funds, including managed futures funds with offshore subsidiaries, closed-end interval funds, and master feeder structures. Also based in Columbus are Andrew Davalla, who has lengthy experience in the practice area, and Michael Wible, who is managing partner for the office. Bibb Strench, in Washington DC, is a thought leader on the design and implementation of compliance programs.

Practice head(s):

JoAnn Strasser

Other key lawyers:

Michael Wible; Andrew Davalla; Bibb Strench; Cassandra Borchers

Key clients

Simplified Exchanged Traded Funds

Northern Lights Fund Trust, Variable, III & IV

Collaborative Investment Series Trust

Advisers Investment Trust

ALPS Series Trust

Pacific Global ETF Trust

Meeder Investments

Boston Trust Walden Funds

Bluerock Total Income + Real Estate Fund

Sprott Funds Trust

Grandeur Peak Global Advisors LLC

Work highlights

  • Assisted the Board of Trustees of Vertical Capital Income Fund with various matters related to activist shareholders and various matters related to increasing shareholder value.
  • Advised Northern Lights Funds on the development and implementation of strategies for new rules adopted by the SEC over the past year.