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FIRM OF THE YEAR - BANKING, PROJECT FINANCE
In 2013, Clifford Chance continued to expand its global footprint opening its doors in Seoul, the Republic of Korea and establishing its own partnership in Saudi Arabia. On top of this, the firm entered into a formal law alliance with Cavenagh Law in Singapore to broaden its service offering in the region.
|Arbitration||7||Insurance & Reinsurance||7|
|Business Crime Defence||4||Mediation||3|
|Commerical Litigation||10||Private Clients||1|
|Corporate Governance||1||Public Procurement||4|
|Corporate Tax||7||Real Estate||12|
|Energy||5||Sports & Enterainment||2|
|Environment||4||Telecoms and Media||3|
|Insolvency & Restructuring||2|
The firm has long been focused on investing in growth markets and today has offices in 26 countries throughout the world. The popularity of the firm among the world’s leading corporates and financial institutions is clear for all to see – in 2013, the firm worked for over half of the Fortune 500 – and the firm’s clients make full use of its global network: 37 of the firm’s clients work with them in 20 or more offices.
|Total Listings in WWL||214||Established||1880s|
|Home jurisdiction||UK||Total size of firm||3,400|
|Number of partners||589||Number of offices||36|
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
Our project finance firm of the year, Clifford Chance has a “superb” practice spanning its global network. In DC, Kate McCarthy specialises in the representation of lenders and sponsors in project finance transactions in range of sectors including power, telecoms and energy. Christopher McIsaac is joint head of the Americas energy and projects group specialising in oil and gas, power generation and other energy projects. He is a “sophisticated lawyer” with “strong technical skills”. Anthony Giustini specialises in project development and finance transactions in the oil and gas, petrochemical, power projects, mining and infrastructure sectors. He is also co-head of the firm’s Africa practice. Russell Wells has over 25 years’ experience in the energy and infrastructure sector and is considered a “leading finance lawyer”. Robin Abraham in Dubai has advised on several high-profile deals in the Middle East and is noted for his finance skills in relation to projects and the aviation industry. Singapore-based Geraint Hughes is “very thorough” and advises on infrastructure, oil and gas, power, mining, water and transportation projects. Nicholas Wong is in “high demand” among sponsors and banks in relation to projects in the Americas, Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
The banking practice is also held in high esteem and is recognised as the leading firm in the area in our research. Mark Campbell is the global head of finance at the firm and specialises in acting for banks and borrowers in syndicated, leveraged and structured finance transactions. Huw Jenkins is experienced in infrastructure and power projects advising on financings and securities issues. He is also recommended in the area of public procurement. Malcolm Sweeting, the senior partner of the firm, specialises in global finance. Bettina Steinhauer in Frankfurt specialises in acquisition finance and general bank lending. Frank Graaf is head of the securities and derivatives group within the Amsterdam finance department and is noted for his banking and capital markets work. Ting Ting Tan is based in the firm’s Singapore office where she advises on the financing of energy and infrastructure projects. She also has experience in financial institutions M&A and cross-border financings.
The capital markets team includes some of the world’s leading lawyers in the field. The firm recently advised a banking consortium led by Barclays, Commerzbank, Merrill Lynch and Société Générale in connection with a bond issue in a total volume of €2 billion by Bayer AG, Leverkusen, as well as advising banks on the issuance of 1.2 billion renminbi bond by Volkswagen. London-based David Dunnigan specialises in debt and equity capital market transactions and is renowned for his work in emerging markets and on sovereign debt. Markus Pfüller in Frankfurt concentrates on capital increases, securities offerings, stock exchange listings, takeovers and securities trading. He is “highly accomplished” and a “safe pair of hands”. Stephen Curtis is focused on structured financings including securitisation of real estate assets and sports receivables. Lounia Czupper in Brussels specialises in banking, finance and debt capital market transactions. Dubai-based Debashis Dey advises on debt and equity capital markets and structured finance transactions. He is a “talented practitioner” according to peers. Peter Voisey is a structured finance “guru” while Qudeer Latif heads the firm’s global Islamic finance practice and has pioneered many transactions.
Clifford Chance’s aviation practice boasts “in-depth” knowledge of the industry and “superb” asset finance capabilities. Zarrar Sehgal is head of the transport and logistics group and co-head of the US asset finance practice. Based in New York, Sehgal is particularly experienced in aircraft financing. William Glaister advises financiers and lessors in relation to aircraft financing and leasing and is “top notch”. Geoffrey White in New York is a “key figure” in the aviation finance market while Simon Briscoe is head of asset finance in Asia and has over 20 years’ experience advising lessors, operators and banks in the region. John Howitt is “sought after” for his expertise in leveraged lease transactions, operating leases, new and used aircraft purchases, sales, securitisations, restructurings and manufacturer support arrangements. Nick Swinburne is a “talented” finance lawyer who specialises in asset finance and equipment leasing. Riko Vanezis in Frankfurt acts for financial institutions, lessors, lessees, borrowers and arrangers in domestic and cross-border asset finance transactions. He is also involved in airport financings. In Bangkok, Fergus Evans specialises in aircraft financing and enjoys a “prominent position” in the legal market.
Dispute resolution is a key focus of the firm with experts in arbitration, litigation and mediation across a range of sectors and industries. Moscow-based Timur Aitkulov is active in international arbitration and litigation. He handles disputes in the areas of nuclear energy, oil and gas and mining, as well as general commercial matters. London-based Roger Best is “world class” in the areas of asset recovery, litigation and investigations. He specialises in regulatory enforcement proceedings and is “in high demand”. José Antonio Caínzos in Madrid is recommended in the areas of litigation and asset recovery while Fabian von Schlabrendorff in Frankfurt is renowned for his arbitration and litigation practice. Also in Frankfurt, Heiner Hugger specialises in business crime defence and internal investigations. He also advises companies on compliance and fraud prevention measures. Graham Lovett in Dubai concentrates on asset tracing and recovery, commercial litigation, investigations and mediation. He is particularly adept at cross-border disputes. New York-based Edward O’Callaghan has extensive experience in fraud matters having previously served as an assistant US attorney for the southern district of New York and co-chief of the terrorism and national security unit. He also conducts internal investigations for corporate clients. In London, Judith Seddon is recommended for her work in the areas of business crime defence and investigations.
Clifford Chance’s total number of hours dedicated to pro bono activities has risen by 10 per cent in the past year to 55,347 hours. Thirty-three of the firm’s offices now record their pro bono time and the firm is also seeing increasing engagement at partner level. Some examples of the firm’s work include working alongside Citi in Hong Kong to host two pro bono workshops for local NGOs, assisting Habitat for Humanity and Asylum Access, and working with institutions providing microfinance to small businesses.
In a bid to achieve greater inclusivity at the firm, the firm aspires to have 30 per cent of its partners women. At present, the proportion has risen to 16.3 per cent and Clifford Chance continues to focus on career development, mentoring and training to achieve its goal. In addition to its women’s network the firm has an LGBT network named Arcus and several support groups for different religions. Clifford Chance is also committed to widening access to the profession and is involved in several community initiatives to raise aspirations among students from less advantageous backgrounds.
Clifford Chance aims to be a leading firm not only in today’s legal market but in the future. By closely monitoring regulatory developments, investing in its people, their expertise and its spread of capabilities, and keeping pace with client expectations of service, the firm hopes to achieve this goal. For example, in order to minimise costs, Clifford Chance has invested in an offshore centre in India which now houses 18 per cent of non-secretarial business service staff in functions such as finance, HR, IT, research and administration.
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