06 Allen & Overy
Innovation is paramount at Allen & Overy, and means the firm can provide clients with new and original solutions to their legal problems. The firm is committed to assisting its clients wherever they do business and has built a global network now spanning 44 offices in 31 countries. In the past two years alone, Allen & Overy opened offices in Barcelona, Johannesburg and Seoul.
- Pensions & Benefits
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
Banking is a key focus for the firm with over 1,000 lawyers worldwide practising in the area. Allen & Overy offers expertise in the full range of financial products and is best known for its work on “first-of-a-kind” transactions. The global banking practice is co-headed by Stephen Kensell and Andrew Trahair. Kensell is “extremely able” on event-driven financing, including leveraged, investment grade M&A and IPO-related finance. He is a “pleasure to work with” and provides “sensible advice”. Trahair concentrates on project finance, leveraged and investment grade finance, structured finance, workouts, restructurings and distressed debt transactions. He is a “highly technical lawyer” with “great commercial sense”.
On the project finance front, Allen & Overy has a “stellar team” of experienced lawyers. The global practice is headed by Gareth Price who is also co-head of energy. He advises on complex structured finance transactions and assists clients in putting together funding plans. The practice has undergone expansion in the last year with the arrival of Jason van der Poel in Johannesburg to bolster the sub-Saharan practice and a new office opening in Seoul led by project finance partner Matthias Voss who divides his time between the new office and Tokyo.
Allen & Overy’s competition practice spans Asia, Australia, Europe and the Americas. Co-heads Antonio Bavasso and Elaine Johnston are recognised names in the market. In 2015, the firm was awarded Behavioural Matter of the Year (Europe) for the Samsung Electronics SEP settlement and Merger Control Matter of the Year (Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa) for the Merck KGaA/AZ Electronic Materials deal by our sister publication Global Competition Review. Lawyers are recommended from 13 of the firm’s offices in our research including Michael Reynolds in Brussels who has represented clients before the European Commission in merger control, cartel and unilateral conduct cases.
The firm is the winner of our inaugural award for pensions and benefits in recognition of its deep bench of experienced lawyers. The practice covers technical pension benefits issues, practical advice on the operation of plans, commercial advice on pension risks in transactions and help navigating the regulated pensions environment. Tobias Neufeld is head of employment and benefits in Düsseldorf. He conducts pensions litigation and also advises on a range of company pension matters, and is “incredibly astute”. London-based Neil Bowden advises trustees and employers on their pension arrangements. His “strategic approach” and “technical expertise” are much lauded by clients who praise his work on benefit reviews and liability management.
The practice is organised around two themes: access to justice, and access to education and employment. Last year the firm devoted 27,685 hours to pro bono and community investment work. The microfinance and social investment group allows lawyers to provide strategic support to social enterprises and the structures needed to sustain them, while utilising the firm’s knowledge of the financial sector. The firm developed the first social impact bond in the UK.
While challenges around diversity and inclusion vary across the network of offices, Allen & Overy is committed to its aim of finding solutions to address key issues. For example, in 2010 it introduced formal arrangements for full equity partners to work part-time, thereby retaining more women through to partnership. The firm also offers work experience schemes for young people from less privileged backgrounds in the UK.