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FIRM OF THE YEAR - BELGIUM
In 2013, Linklaters strengthened its already considerable international presence with the launch of a new foreign legal consultant office in Seoul. The move enhances Linklaters’ on-the-ground capability across a number of key practice areas including M&A, foreign direct investment, private equity and capital markets. This opening enables the firm to further capitalise on its knowledge of the Korean business environment and 30 years’ experience of advising the leading Korean corporations and financial institutions.
|Arbitration||1||Insurance & Reinsurance||1|
|Aviation||2||Labour & Employment||3|
|Business Crime Defence||2||M&A||7|
|Corporate Governance||5||Project Finance||14|
|Corporate Tax||16||Public Procurement||5|
|Insolvency & Restructuring||5|
2013 also saw Linklaters expand its operations to Washington, DC, making the new office its second North American location after New York. The firm continues to grow its global US team, which brings specialist knowledge of US commercial law and local markets to major cross-border disputes and transactions. Linklaters’ presence in this major US business and financial centre allows it to meet client demand for leading advice on crucial regulatory, disclosure, compliance and liability management matters as well as litigation with international considerations. Linklaters has also been announced as our Belgium law firm of the year, demonstrating its status as a “leader” for corporate and M&A transactions work, asset finance and IPOs in the region and consolidating the impressive reputation of its teams in Brussels and Antwerp.
|Total Listings in WWL||152||Established||1838|
|Home jurisdiction||UK||Total size of firm||2,600|
|Number of partners||460||Number of offices||29|
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
Linklaters has a “truly outstanding” capital markets practice and is known as a “world leader” in the sector. The firm advises in relation to equity, debt and structured finance transactions as well as a wide range of derivative and securitised products. Andrew Malcolm heads the Asian capital markets practice and maintains an “impeccable reputation” for his work on equity and equity-linked securities issues in the Asian and European capital markets, With over 10 years’ experience in the field, he is described as a “go-to” lawyer for advice on derivatives transactions, particularly in the Hong Kong market. He is joined by the “exceptional” Mary Matson who acts as the head of securitisation in Hong Kong and focuses on assisting arrangers, originators and trustees in the securitisation of various Asian assets, including commercial property, consumer loan receivables and trade-related debt receivables. In London, Julian Davies leads the global project bond practice and founded the firm’s structured finance group and global securitisation practice. Acknowledged by peers as a “real authority” in the project bonds field, he also specialises in the capital markets financing of renewable energy projects. Jim Rice is singled out for his “comprehensive understanding” of the technical and legal issues arising from structured financings and securitisations, with a focus on the Hong Kong market. Singapore-based Kevin Wong has “extensive experience” of advising underwriters and issuers in a range of international capital market transactions throughout the Asia-Pacific region including Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, the Philippines, India and Hong Kong. The “immensely talented” Peter Frost advises issuers and underwriters on issues relating to convertible and exchangeable bonds, domestic and international corporate hybrid transactions, equity offerings and bank regulatory capital products. In Dubai, Richard O’Callaghan is a “key name” in the UAE market with “leading” expertise on issues relating to debt and hybrid capital securities. Antonio Soares heads the corporate finance department in Lisbon and is “revered” by peers and clients alike. He has “in-depth knowledge” of international debt and equity capital markets and recently advised on the IPO to privatise CTT involving JPMorgan and Caixa BI. David Ballegeer is a securitisations “guru” and regularly represents clients in major international debt capital markets transactions, while the “sharp and diligent” Peter Waltz advises issuers and underwriters on debt transactions with particular emphasis on corporate bonds including convertibles, exchangeables and hybrid bonds.
The firm has an “internationally renowned” competition practice, with many of its specialists recognised in this year’s edition. In London, Michael Cutting is the global practice head for competition and specialises in EU and UK competition and utility law. He is commended for his “technical ability and practical approach” and has over 20 years’ experience in the field. He is joined by Sir Christopher Bellamy QC, chairman or the firm’s global competition practice and a “legend” of the international competition bar. He has “invaluable” experience in relation to articles 101 and 102 TFEU and established the Competition Appeal Tribunal, where he was president for eight years. Also based in the London office is Nicole Kar, a “key resource” for advice on EC and UK merger control and competition regulation who has particular expertise in the mining, energy and utility sectors. In Brussels, Gerwin Van Gerven has a “stellar reputation” for his work on merger control, anti-cartel enforcement and conduct investigations. With over 25 years’ experience in the field, he has represented European, US and Asian clients from a wide variety of industries in proceedings before the European Commission and competition authorities across Europe. Carsten Grave is a “major player” in German competition law and regularly advises on associated issues arising from mergers and acquisitions and distribution systems. Widely acknowledged as a “terrific advocate”, he also represents clients in antitrust-related litigation. The “deeply knowledgeable” Malgorzata Szwaj heads the competition practice in Warsaw and is a “leading light” in the Polish competition law market, with a focus on merger controls, cartels, dominance and state aid. She regularly appears before the Polish Competition Authority and is particularly experienced in the telecommunications, health-care and retail sectors. In New York, Thomas McGrath is one of US competition law’s “most respected figures”, with expertise in distribution arrangements, price discrimination issues and US compliance programmes. The “superb” Jeffrey Schmidt specialises in merger issues, civil litigation and cartel enforcement proceedings, and brings to bear considerable experience from his previous role as director of the Bureau of Competition of the US Federal Trade Commission.
Linklaters also boasts a “highly skilled” international corporate tax team. Gordon Warnke is the global head of the firm’s tax practice, as well as head of the US tax practice. He is described as a “first-rate” tax specialist by peers and clients alike, with a practice focusing on federal income taxation of domestic and international mergers, acquisitions, spin-offs and other divestitures. In Washington, DC, the “distinguished” David Brockway specialises in tax planning and has “extensive experience” in handling tax matters related to corporate acquisitions, dispositions and cross-border structured finance. Henk Vanhulle is praised for his ability to “provide concise and practical advice” on employee share schemes and in relation to the tax aspects of private banking and estate planning. In London, Yash Rupal is “one of the absolute best” for advice on the tax implications of various transactions including mergers and acquisitions, corporate reorganisations and capital markets transactions, while Frankfurt-based Jens Blumenberg is a “recognised authority” on tax treaties and EC tax law.
The firm has a free legal advice programme which focuses on increasing support for local community partners in all jurisdictions in which the firm operates, and helping those partners to create innovative solutions that benefit marginalised communities. Linklaters is also passionate about supporting local advice agencies in the UK, which are threatened by fundamental changes to the legal aid budget and reduced local authority funding, and has made personal commitments to agencies of a three-year duration offering unrestricted funding and pro bono legal advice.
Linklaters aims to maintain a working environment where individual differences are respected and valued and in which all are given an equal opportunity to progress. The firm regularly organises events addressing diversity-related issues with its clients and other law firms, to raise greater awareness of issues ranging from ethnicity to religion and sexual orientation. The firm is also a member of the Diversity and Inclusion in Asia Network (DIAN), allowing it to share its approach and participate in activities addressing diversity and culture.
In 2014, Linklaters will continue in its strive to be the leading global law firm. Through building long-lasting relationships with clients and retaining recognised specialists in key practice areas, Linklaters aims to ensure leading companies, governmental organisations and financial institutions see the firm as their “first choice” for advice on the most challenging and complex international disputes and transactions.
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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.