Most Highly Regarded Lawyers: Project Finance 2012

In this section we analyse the findings of our research in greater depth to identify the firms and practitioners who stand out worldwide.

Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Phillip Fletcher Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy LLP, London
Cyril Shroff Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co, Mumbai
Jonathan Rod Latham & Watkins LLP, New York
Bimal Desai Allen & Overy, Dubai
Arthur Scavone White & Case LLP, New York, DC
Harold Moore Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP, New York
Frederic Rich Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, New York
Phillip Cornwell Allens Arthur Robinson, Sydney
Cynthia Urda Kassis Shearman & Sterling LLP, New York

Clifford Chance LLP is the leading firm in this edition in terms of featured experts. Internationally recognised for its project finance work, we list a total of 26 lawyers. With four inclusions, the firm’s Dubai office has the highest number of entries. Peter Avery was commended to researchers as a “real talent” and Robin Abraham has advised on a number of high-profile project finance deals in the Middle East. The firm’s European offices are also home to a wealth of talent, with a trio names featuring from England, France and Spain. In London, Andrew Grenville heads the firm’s global energy and infrastructure group and Paris-based Nicholas Wong recently advised on the first limited recourse project financing of gas-fired combined cycle power plant in Turkey. In Madrid, clients singled out José Guardo for his “remarkable ability to explain things effectively, impressive depth of technical knowledge and his great negotiation skills”. Frankfurt-based Beda Wortmann is a “leading name” and Charles Adams in Milan is “first rate”. In the US three names hail from the firm’s Washington, DC, office including the “terrific” David Evans, who is lauded for his energy-related work. Former staff counsel for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and vice president and general counsel for KMR Power Corporation, “his industry knowledge is second to none”. The firm is also well represented in Asia and a pair of names feature in the firm’s Singapore office. Managing partner Geraint Hughes is “leading name in the industry” and Ting Ting Tan’s expertise includes advising a cross-section of industries including mining, oil and gas and alternative energy. Shanghai-based Stephen Harder is a “must for inclusion and has over 20 years of experience in the field, and in Hong Kong Huw Jenkins is a commended for his work regarding power projects.

Allen & Overy LLP has an impressive international lineup, with 23 lawyers listed from 13 countries. In Paris, the “exceptional” Tim Scales heads the projects, energy and infrastructure team and advises on the financing of projects in Europe, Africa, Europe and the Middle East. Brussels-based Helga Van Peer has advised on the first PPP to close in Belgium and in Amsterdam Bart Meesters is a “prominent name” in the field. In Frankfurt, Peter Stenz advises banks and sponsors on energy, infrastructure and telecoms projects and Juan Barona works out of the Madrid office and is noted for the “breadth of his expertise” having advised on project finance matters in the energy, transports and renewable industries. Three names hail from the firm’s Sydney office including the “impressive” Christopher Rushton. In particular, he is regarded for his work structuring project financings that include direct funding or guarantee support from multilateral and export credit agencies. Dubai-based Bimal Desai is a respected figure commended for his “world-class practice” and in Tokyo Adam Moncrieff is singled out for his knowledge of energy and water projects. The impressive Asia practice also includes the “outstanding” Thomas Brown in Hong Kong and in Singapore John Richards is a “top-tier” practitioner. The firm’s North American contingent consists of two leading names. In Washington, DC, David Slade is “one of the best” and New York-based Robert Kartheiser has worked for 25 years on financings and infrastructure development in developed and emerging economies.

Eighteen industry experts feature from White & Case LLP and one-third of the names we list can be found in the firm’s US offices. In New York, Arthur Scavone was picked out for his “pre-eminent expertise” and Troy Alexander is renowned for his international project financings practice which includes the mining, telecommunications and power industries. In Washington, DC, Victor DeSantis is “a premier lawyer” for financing work and a recent transactions includes representing Citigroup Global Markets and Santander Investment Securities as lead arrangers in the approximately $575 million financing of the Alpha Star offshore oil drilling rig. One of three names to feature from the firm’s London office, Philip Stopford heads the London energy, infrastructure and project finance group. A “highly respected name in the City”, he represented the sponsors in connection with the financing of the $6 billion Qatargas 4 LNG project. Peter Finlay’s clients include Hess, Ivanhoe Mines and Saudi Aramco and Jason Kerr’s practice focuses on project financing in the emerging markets of Central Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. White & Case also has a presence in the UAE list through the “excellent” Margaret Cole and Shibeer Ahmed. The firm’s international strength is underlined further by inclusions in China, France, Hong Kong, Mexico, Poland, Singapore and Turkey.

Latham & Watkins LLP has an excellent track record in this area and we list 17 of the firm’s most respected names. Seven practitioners are based in the US: three in California, two in New York, one in Washington, DC, and one in Texas. Jonathan Rod is a “leading authority in the field” and has represented Credit Suisse First Boston in a $1 billion capital markets financing for the Petrozuata extra heavy crude project also Venezuela. The “exceptional” Michael Darden is lauded for his energy expertise and John Sachs’ practice focuses on the development and project financing of private power projects. The “sensational” William Voge is described by peers as “an absolute must for inclusion”. He is joined in London by an additional three names including Simon Dickens whose clients include Qatar Gas Transport Company Limited, Crédit Agricole Commercial & Investment Bank and ExxonMobil. Managing partner of the Tokyo office, Joseph Bevash recently represented the lenders in connection with the $2.97 billion financing of the Hongsa Mine-Mouth power project in Laos. He is joined by the “talented and sharp” Michael Yoshii.

Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy is another “premier” firm and we feature 15 prominent names in the industry. With nine lawyers, the firm’s US offices perform particularly well. In New York, Jonathan Green in one of five highly regarded individuals and his recent transactions include the 845MW Shepherds Flat wind project in Oregon and the Ridgefield landfill gas-to-energy projects in California and Rhode Island. Also in New York, Daniel Bartfeld is lauded as a “highly skilled” practitioner and managing partner of the Washington, DC, office Glenn Gerstell is a “leading name”. The London office is home to a trio of names including Phillip Fletcher, leader of the firm’s project finance group and the most highly nominated practitioner in our research. He is joined by the “highly skilled” John Dewar and “greatly respected” Cathy Marsh. With further listings in Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore, Milbank demonstrates its international presence.

The 15-strong contingent from Linklaters LLP includes six names from London. Clive Ransome is “very impressive” and both Fiona Hobbs and John Pickett are “absolute musts” for inclusion. In Paris Bertrand Andriani has 15 years of experience in advising on major project financings and the “exceptional” Pedro Siza Vieira is head of finance and projects in Portugal. The Middle East also features with two prominent names. In Dubai, Sarosh Mewawalla is a “real talent” and consultant Jonathan Inman’s knowledge of the market is “second to none”.

Shearman & Sterling LLP fields 12 lawyers from six jurisdictions, with four of these hailing from the US. In New York, Cynthia Urda Kassis is “technically brilliant” and Gregory Tan has an “admirable” practice. London-based Nicholas Buckworth and Tim Pick are respected names in the market. Head of the project development finance group in Paris, Christophe Asselineau has over 20 years of advising on projects worldwide. Managing partner of the Abu Dhabi office, Philip Dundas is lauded for his work in the oil and gas sector and the “first-class” Iain Elder is also credited for his work in the energy sector.

Baker Botts LLP has nine experts listed, a third of whom hail from the firm’s US offices. Chair of the firm’s energy sector and head of the project development and finance section firm wide, Steven Miles is “a leading name in the industry” and has worked on over 100 major LNG transactions globally. Also in Washington, DC, Maura Goldstein is described by peers as a “formidable practitioner” and has represented sponsors and lenders on energy, transportation and infrastructure projects worldwide. In Moscow, Steven Wardlaw is a “commercially savvy lawyer” and Dubai-based Nigel Thompson is singled out for his financing expertise in the energy and oil and gas sectors.

Seven lawyers feature from Ashurst LLP. Global head of the energy, transport and infrastructure team, London-based Mark Elsey’s clients include government agencies, municipal authorities, funders, sponsors and contractors. In Tokyo, John McClenahan is an “expert” in the field and in Sydney Joanne Evans is particularly credited for her PPP practice. Abu Dhabi-based David Wadham has a wide range of finance experience, with a focus on the financing of independent water and power projects.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP also impresses with seven listings, all from the firm’s New York and Washington, DC, offices. In DC, the “superb” Peter Fitzgerald received praise for his work regarding energy and infrastructure projects in emerging markets. He is joined by Rohit Chaudhry, co-head of the project finance group. Notable instructions include representing a consortium comprised of Macquarie Mexican Infrastructure Fund and other sponsors on the acquisition, development, financing and partial sale of the approximately $1 billion, 396 MW Ion wind project in Mexico. In New York, Todd Alexander is highly regarded for his work representing developers of and lenders to energy-related projects and Chaim Wachsberger is “incredibly experienced”.

Also with seven experts listed is Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP. Described by peers as “finance heavyweights”, co-heads of the of the firm’s energy and infrastructure projects group both Martin Klepper and Harold Moore are respected names in the industry. In London, Douglas Nordlinger is “top tier” and Alan Schiffman heads the firm’s Asia energy and infrastructure projects group.

The “fantastic” Jeffrey Barratt is one of six nominees from Norton Rose LLP. Heads of the firm’s global projects group, prominent projects he was worked on include the Athens Ring Road and the financing for the London Underground. Anne Lapierre is a “leading authority” in the French market and is currently advising clients on a number of renewable energy projects in France. In Beijing, the “brilliant” Nigel Ward’s practice focuses on emerging markets.

Frederic Rich at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP heads the firm’s global project development and finance group. Credited as a “clever and commercial” lawyer he is “hugely admired” for his international project finance expertise. Three more highly regarded names join him on the list.

In Australia, we list three leading names from Allen Arthur Robinson. Phillip Cornwell heads the firm’s project finance group and is “one of Australia’s most highly regarded” finance lawyers. He is joined by Richard Gordon who is lauded for his “insightful and effective counsel and Diccon Loxton whose expertise includes working on ground-breaking finance deals. At King & Wood Mallesons, Melbourne-based Jeff Clark is a respected industry figure. In Sydney, Peter Doyle’s expertise includes infrastructure, energy and PPP, while Mark Upfold has led a number of significant infrastructure transactions including the Darwin Correctional Facilities PPP.

Brazilian firm Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados fields three names including the “outstanding” Jose Ribeiro do Prado Jr. Antonio Corrêa Meyer and José Roberto Opice are also recognised internationally for their work in the field. At Souza Cescon Barrieu & Flesch Advogados, Ronald Herscovici, Guilherme de Figueiredo Forbes and Luis Antonio Semeghini de Souza are highly regarded for their project finance work. At Veirano Advogados Pedro Aguiar de Freitas is recognised for his “first-rate mining expertise”, and Robson Goulart Barreto was consistently recommended to researchers for the breadth of his expertise. Julio Cesar Bueno at Pinheiro Neto Advogados is a “very responsive and practical practitioner”.

In Canada, Anne Stewart QC is one of three names to feature from at Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP and she is noted for her “very impressive infrastructure practice”. Michael Allen at Stikeman Elliot LLP is “one of the big names in Canada” and Brian Kelsall at Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP is “first rate”. At Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP Lorne Carson’s practice focuses on project development and finance in the oil and gas, pipeline, petro-chemical, electrical power and infrastructure sectors.

An impressive four names feature from Luthra & Luthra, including two of the firm’s “most prominent names”, Rajiv Luthra and Mohit Saraf. From Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co, the “world-class” Cyril Shroff is one of the most highly regarded names in our research and Shardul Shroff is “legendary in the field”.

In Nigeria, three names also feature from Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie including the “hugely talented” Dan Agbor. One of two names from Aluko & Oyebode, Kofo Dosekun enjoys an “excellent reputation”.

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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.

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