Chris Willott > Clifford Chance > New York, United States > Lawyer Profile

Clifford Chance
NEW YORK, NY 10019-6131
United States

Work Department

Banking & finance, Banks, Mining & metals, Oil & gas, Power & energy networks, Transportation infrastructure


Chris Willott advises sponsors, borrowers, banks and multi-lateral institutions with respect to the development, construction and financing of projects across the energy and infrastructure sectors, with a focus on Latin America.

Lawyer Rankings

Latin America: International firms > Banking and finance

(Leading individuals)

Chris WillottClifford Chance

Clifford Chance has seen a further uptick in bulge-bracket financings across Latin America. With a growth in large-cap deals in Brazil, this has further favoured a firm that has an especially strong record in Latin America’s largest economy. This should not detract from its experience elsewhere, as the firm ‘does a very good job of covering the territory and has a strong fleet of Spanish speakers‘. Syndicated loans and trade and commodities finance have been a particular feature of its Brazil work, while project finance is flourishing right across the region. The firm has built a particularly formidable position in Colombia and Argentina project financings and is recognised for its experience in restructurings in Brazil and Mexico, including in the offshore oil-and-gas sectors. From a historical reliance on multilateral agency (MLA) and development finance institution (DFI) clients, the firm has successfully diversified its client base to also include a range of key commercial banks, alternative lenders and corporate borrowers. Clients now include Citibank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS, CVC Capital Partners, Franklin Square Asset Management, Rialto Capital, Sealed Air and Siemens. It advised BNP Paribas, JP Morgan, Mizuho and Rabobank on the $9.2bn acquisition financing of Suzano Papel e Celulose’s $11bn acquisition of Fibria; the financing involved a bridge loan facility and an export prepayment facility. The firm also advised Supercanal, the Argentine cable, television and internet provider, on its $400m restructuring involving Chapter 15 proceedings and a tender offer for its $300m New York law-governed notes. The team ‘always meets its commitments and takes initiative more than any other firm to anticipate issues and provide solutions‘, according to one client.  Chris Willott is a giant of the Brazil financing market, while Jennifer Demarco has a prolific record in Latin American restructurings. In the latter segment, Washington DC’s Fabricio Longhin has made a significant impression on the market in recent years and is ‘a very experienced practitioner across a range of products‘, ‘maintains an outwardly cool demeanour, seems unflappable and is smart and reasonable‘; he is one of a number of Argentine natives in the team that have helped the firm gain an especially strong position in financings linked to Argentina’s recent RenovAr programme. Catherine McCarthy and Lori Bean are key members of the Washington DC team that continues to work closely with MLAs and DFIs on Latin America financings. Guido Liniado was elected to the partnership in May 2019 and senior associate Andrew Young is another up-and-coming name. Madrid partner José Guardo is commended for ‘effectively negotiating with sponsors‘, ‘professionalism throughout difficult negotiations‘ and is ‘critical in keeping the deal moving‘.

United States > Finance > Project finance

Clifford Chance has a multi-faceted team that comes highly recommended for major international projects. The firm’s impressive network of offices, including those in Europe and Latin America, help make it a leading force in major Latin American infrastructure and energy projects. Much of that work is led by the US team, which is headed out of Washington DC by the highly rated Lori Ann Bean. The practice is especially strong on the lender side, but is also growing on the sponsor front, and has in the past year represented several clients on US development projects in the petrochemicals and manufacturing space. Other key individuals working in the capital include Fabricio Longhin  and Catherine McCarthy , who are well known for their Latin America expertise, as are Gianluca Bacchiocchi, Hugo Triaca, Chris Willott, and Guido Liniado in New York.