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Legal Marketplace Analysis: Lawyers

This year, we single out 326 practitioners from 188 firms who are considered leading lawyers in asset recovery law. Several firms stand out due to the high number of listings they achieve, with Appleby taking the top spot. It has individuals from five jurisdictions singled out, with its Bermuda and Cayman Island offices especially well represented. Following closely behind is Kobre & Kim, which has lawyers from its London, New York and Washington, DC offices featured. Other notable firms include Walkers, Hogan Lovells, Al Tamimi & Company and Harney Westwood & Riegels.

We also select the 10 most highly regarded individuals in the world as voted for by their peers and corporate counsel.

WHO's WHO LEGAL: ASSET RECOVERY 2014
Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Martin Kenney Martin Kenney & Co, British Virgin Islands
Edward Davis Astigarraga Davis, Miami
Stephen Baker Baker & Partners
Keith Oliver Peters & Peters Solicitors, London
Andrew Witts Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, London
Steven Philippsohn PCB Litigation, London
Bettina Knoetzl Wolf Theiss, Vienna
Paul McGrath QC Essex Court Chambers, London
Gregory Glynn Arthur Cox, Dublin
Yves Klein Monfrini Crettol & Associés, Geneva

Appleby leads our research, which features eight lawyers from five of its offices. The Bermuda office garners three listings, including John Wasty, a “superb lawyer” with extensive experience in dispute resolution. In the Cayman Islands, Andrew Bolton comes highly recommended for his “steadfast approach to litigation”. He heads the litigation and insolvency practice across the Appleby group and enjoys an “international reputation”. Head of the litigation and insolvency practice group in the BVI, Andrew Willins is known for his “detailed advice” and “solutions-oriented approach” to asset tracing claims. Mark Holligon is located in the firm’s Isle of Man office where he advises clients on commercial litigation, insolvency and restructuring. According to clients, he “really knows his stuff” and they “wouldn’t hesitate to recommend him”. Jersey-based Fraser Robertson heads the office’s litigation and insolvency department and is “in a class of his own” according to peers.

At Kobre & Kim, seven lawyers are singled out in our research. Co-founder of the firm Michael Kim is located in the firm’s New York office and enjoys a “sterling reputation” for his advocacy skills. He is particularly strong on cross-border matters. The London office is home to two “stand out” individuals: James Corbett QC and Lara Levinson. Corbett is particularly active in cases in the Caribbean and is in “high demand”. In DC, Kimberly Cole focuses on complex litigation; her recent engagements include representing a hedge fund investment manager and its principals in litigation over $280 million in losses, stemming from the Madoff Ponzi scheme. In the Cayman Islands, Rebecca Hume is a “dedicated professional” who advises on international judgment enforcement and asset recovery.

Six individuals represent Walkers in this year’s edition. Colette Wilkins receives high praise for her litigation practice. She regularly appears before the Grand Court and the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal and is “incredibly talented”. The BVI office is represented by Sandie Corbett and Jack Husbands. Corbett is managing partner of the BVI office and head of the firm’s global commercial litigation and dispute resolution group. She excels in contentious matters and is a “great asset to the firm”, while Husbands heads the litigation and dispute resolution group in the BVI office and is considered “world class”. Robert Foote in Singapore is a “top name” in the asset recovery legal marketplace and offers “effective and reliable advice”.

Hogan Lovells boasts five “exceptional” practitioners, four of whom reside in its London office. Crispin Rapinet’s recent work includes advising on international asset recovery remedies available to BTA Bank in Kazakhstan following the bank’s collapse. He is “without doubt a leading player” in the market. Chris Hardman is a “sensational” litigator who excels in cross-border matters, often involving a fraud element. In particular, he is well known for his experience dealing with Russian/CIS disputes. Jeremy Cole is an experienced litigator and a “tremendous lawyer” whose “counsel is in much demand”. Cary Kochberg is a solicitor-advocate with experience in cross-border disputes. He is “very active” in the firm’s Russia and CIS disputes practice. The Hong Kong office is also represented, with Chris Dobby coming highly recommended for his experience in asset recovery actions.

Five lawyers are selected for inclusion from Al Tamimi & Company, including senior partner Essam Al Tamimi who has over 26 years’ experience in litigation and dispute resolution in the UAE and other GCC countries. He has a “formidable reputation” and is “greatly respected”. Hassan Arab in the Dubai office is also highly recommended. He specialises in banking disputes, while Doha-based Hani Al Naddaf enjoys a “high-profile reputation” for his work in relation to asset recovery.

Harney Westwood & Riegels also garners five listings from its offices in the BVI, Cayman Islands, London and Hong Kong. Phillip Kite is a “terrific” lawyer who serves as the firm’s global head of litigation and insolvency. He recently relocated to the UK from the BVI. Andrew Thorp heads the BVI litigation and insolvency practice group and specialises in pre-emptive remedies including freezing orders, provisional liquidator appointments and discovery orders. Head of the Cayman litigation and insolvency department David Herbert is a “prominent practitioner” who is noted for his international and offshore experience.

At Mourant Ozannes, four key individuals are singled out including Simon Dickson who resides in the firm’s Cayman Islands office. He specialises in fraud and asset tracing and previously worked in-house at the UK Serious Fraud Office. Guernsey-based Christopher Edwards impresses with his “careful handling” of complex multi-jurisdictional disputes.

Bedell Cristin fields four lawyers, two apiece from its offices in Guernsey and Jersey. Jon Barclay in the former concentrates his practice on cross-border enforcement and asset recovery and is described as a “sophisticated operator”. Jersey-based Anthony Robinson heads the litigation team and specialises in asset recovery in relation to commercial fraud and cross-border insolvency.

Four “outstanding” individuals represent Clifford Chance. Roger Best in London is a “leading figure” in the market with an “exceptional understanding of asset recovery”. Frankfurt-based Heiner Hugger is a “talented litigator” with particular experience in regulatory enforcement, white-collar crime and fraud. 

At Peters & Peters Solicitors in London, Keith Oliver is highly recommended for his experience in international asset freezing, tracing and recovery. He has over 30 years’ experience in the field and is one of the mostly highly regarded individuals in research. Jonathan Tickner is a “prominent figure” in the market specialising in civil fraud and asset tracing cases. He is known for his “strategic approach” and “astute mind”. Alan Bacarese and Sarah Gabriel are also recommended.

Astigarraga Davis is home to the “internationally renowned” Edward Davis Jr, a founding shareholder of the firm. His practice focuses on representing victims of fraud throughout the Americas and Caribbean and he is “highly skilled” at unravelling complex fraud schemes. Also recommended at the firm are Annette Escobar, Arnoldo Lacayo and Cristina Suárez, demonstrating its impressive strength in this field.

Schellenberg Wittmer also earns four listings. In Geneva, Paul Gully-Hart heads the white-collar crime and compliance group and has vast experience in asset-tracing matters. Martin Bernet in Zurich is also highly recommended. He heads the office’s dispute resolution group and comes strongly recommended.

Martin Kenney, managing partner of Martin Kenney & Co in the BVI, is widely considered the “dean of the asset recovery bar” and a “guru” on the use of pre-emptive remedies. Head of litigation Dan Wise also earns high praise for his “significant work” in the field of asset recovery including obtaining disclosure and freezing orders in various offshore jurisdictions.

Stephen Baker at Baker & Partners in Jersey regularly acts for foreign governments in asset recovery actions including in recent years the Federal Republic of Brazil, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Kenyan Anti-corruption Commission. Alongside him, David Wilson is greatly respected for his “superior knowledge of asset recovery”.

Andrew Witts at Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co in London is described as a “pleasure to work with” and a “great strategist”. Emma Jordan at the firm is also recommended.

PCB Litigation in London has three lawyers featured in this edition, including Steven Philippsohn, one of the highest-regarded individuals in research. His clients include state enterprises, prominent financial institutions and organisations and he has particular experience in jurisdictions such as Russia, Ukraine, the BVI, Cyprus, Jersey, Kazakhstan, the US and the UK.

Bettina Knoetzl at Wolf Theiss in Vienna is a “true star” in the field. Head of the firmwide dispute resolution practice she is “greatly admired” by peers and clients alike and is described as a “smooth operator”.

At Arthur Cox in Dublin, head of litigation and dispute resolution Gregory Glynn is a “very fine advocate” who approaches matters with a “solutions-oriented, strategic approach”.

Yves Klein at Monfrini Crettol & Associés in Geneva is a “sensational lawyer” who specialises in asset recovery litigation and fraud. He earns high praise for his “depth of experience” in the field. Enrico Monfrini also features prominently in our research.

At the UK Bar, Paul McGrath QC of Essex Court Chambers is particularly well recommended in our research. He has “unsurpassed experience” in tracing claims and asset recovery and has appeared as counsel before many international courts including the Grand Cayman, the BVI, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. Richard Millett QC at the same chambers is also listed. He “handles complex offshore work with great precision”.

Serle Court’s Philip Marshall QC is praised for his “encyclopaedic knowledge” of international fraud.

Paul Girolami QC of Maitland Chambers is “very active” in the area of civil fraud specialising in worldwide freezing and search and seizure orders.

At Matrix Chambers, the “esteemed” Clare Montgomery QC is known for her work on some of the most complex litigations relating to fraud of recent years.

Ali Malek QC at 3 Verulam Buildings is a “favourite among clients” for his “commanding presence in court”. He is highly recommended for civil fraud and asset recovery.

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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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