We identify the leading firms and individuals in the field of private funds law.
|The International Who’s Who of Private Funds Lawyers 2010|
|Most highly regarded individuals|
|Jason Glover||Clifford Chance LLP, London |
|Thomas Bell||Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York |
|Mark Mifsud||Kirkland & Ellis International LLP, London |
|Michael Wolitzer||Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York |
|Bridget Barker||Macfarlanes LLP, London |
|Jeffrey Tabak||Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York |
|Jeremy Sheldon||Ashurst LLP, London |
|Stephanie Breslow||Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, New York |
|Michael Harrell||Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, New York |
|Mark Lewis||Walkers, George Town |
Debevoise & Plimpton LLP performs exceptionally well in our research, with 11 nominees from four offices making the cut.
Michael Harrell is the most highly nominated Debevoise lawyer and co-heads the firm’s private equity group. He has represented, among others, The Carlyle Group and Oaktree Capital Management and one of our sources called him “a superstar”. Among the other six lawyers from New York, Woodrow Campbell is considered “a senior statesman of the funds practice area” while the “very talented” Rebecca Silberstein and David Schwartz are also listed. Geoffrey Kittredge, Marwan Al-Turki and Anthony McWhirter represent the firm’s London practice. Kittredge is noted for his work on Exponent Private Equity and Park Square Capital, McWhirter has “a stellar reputation”, according to peers, and Al-Turki, who is co-chair of Debevoise’s European private equity funds practice, is also highly nominated. Andrew Ostrognai in Hong Kong is chair of the Asia private equity practice and “heads an admired and well-known funds team”.
SJ Berwin LLP has an established reputation in this area, with over 150 lawyers across 11 offices advising clients in private equity matters. The firm earns 10 places on our list, including one for Jonathan Blake in London. He is “well respected” and one of six partners featured from this office. Josyane Gold is “a familiar face” on the UK private funds scene and she represents HgCapital and Macquarie, among others. Nigel van Zyl is “a top-flight lawyer” whose clients include Lion Capital and Silverfleet Capital Partners. Benjamin Aller and George Pinkham are “major players on the Paris private equity market.” The former has recently brought his excellent reputation with him to Dubai, where he is managing partner of the firm’s new initiative in Dubai, while the latter is founder of the Paris office and head of its private funds practice. Sonya Paul is listed from the firm’s Munich office, while Isabel Rodriguez features from Madrid and both were highly nominated.
Kirkland & Ellis also has a strong international presence, earning 10 listings in the US, England and Hong Kong. Mark Mifsud leads the firm in our research and is considered “a leader in the field.” Richard Watkins is also listed from the London office and is well regarded by our sources. Kirk Radke is one of three partners listed from New York. He brings 25 years of experience to the table and is considered “outstanding, particularly for fund formation.” Jack Levin is one of four lawyers representing the firm’s Chicago office in the following pages and he is said to be “hugely experienced”. Bruce Ettelson also in Chicago is praised for his “profound knowledge of the funds industry” Justin Dolling is included in Hong Kong and is fêted for his practice, including his fund formation work for Candover and Standard Life Private Equity.
Clifford Chance LLP’s Jason Glover is the highest-nominated individual in our research. Peers called him “very highly rated – incredibly good” and “a well known lawyer who stands out from the pack.” Nigel Hatfield is also listed from the London office and has “an excellent reputation.”Two lawyers from Clifford Chance’s Hong Kong office are listed. Mark Shipman is regarded as “smart, responsive and helpful” by our commentators and James Walker, who leads the firm’s asset management practice in Asia, is also listed.
With 12 individuals included, Walkers LLP leads our research in terms of the number of lawyers listed overall. Mark Lewis, the senior hedge funds partner at the firm’s Cayman Islands office, is “one of the best hedge funds lawyers worldwide” and was the most highly nominated lawyer at the firm. He is listed in a group of eight lawyers from this office, among them managing partner Jonathan Tonge, who is “an authority” on hedge funds and Ian Ashman, who is head of the private equity group. Richard May, head of Walkers’ investment funds group in the British Virgin Islands, is praised for his work on restructuring distressed funds and advising fund directors. Rod Palmer is listed from Walkers’ Dubai office and is head of the global investment funds group. He is an expert on shariah-compliant funds and has advised clients such as Cerberus and Blackstone.
According to our sources, Maples & Calder’s Cayman Islands practice is “prominent in the offshore market” and “very active” in both hedge and private equity funds. Iain McMurdo is one of a total of nine Maples & Calder lawyers who merit inclusion in this publication. David Brooks, who is head of the investment funds group in Maples’ Cayman office, is listed, as is the “excellent” Charles Jennings. Paul Govier is listed from Maples’ London office and is head of the corresponding investments group; Tahir Jawed is managing partner of the Dubai office and is “a first-class lawyer” and “an Islamic finance expert” and Anthony Webster, of the Hong Kong office, is “great for Asian funds work”.
Ogier also merits nine listings in the following pages. Founding partner Roger Le Tissier is the most highly nominated Ogier lawyer and is listed with William Simpson from the Guernsey office. From Jersey, Nick Kershaw, chief executive of the Ogier group is “knowledgeable and experienced” and included along with Richard Thomas and Michael Lombardi. The well-regarded Duncan Smith is the resident principal of the Hong Kong practice, and “a reliable adviser”.
US AND EUROPE
Two lawyers from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York office performed particularly well in our research: Michael Wolitzer and Tom Bell. Wolitzer “stands out as a star and everyone knows it,” according to one interviewee, while Bell is “top of the class” and oversees the firm’s private funds practice. Their colleague Glenn Sarno is also listed and counts KKR and ING Group among his clients. Outside of the US, Simpson Thacher earns a listing in Hong Kong with Philip Culhane, who is highly nominated.
Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP provides three major names for our New York list. Shukie Grossman is “definitely a high-end player,” Jeffrey Tabak is co-head of the private equity fund formation practice and Barry Wolf is co-chair of the corporate practice. The practice can boast of clients such as American Securities Capital Partners, Lee Equity Partners and HM Capital Partners.
Other leading players include Stephanie Breslow of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York, who is “extremely well-regarded” and represents clients such as Centrebridge, Rexford and Harbinger.
Three London-based private funds practices performed exceptionally well in our research. Simmons & Simmons LLP has a total of six nominees, led in our research by Iain Cullen, who is “a European market leader in hedge funds.” The firm’s clients include Blue Crest Capital Management, Cambridge Associates and RBS Asset Management.
Bridget Barker leads a contingent of four Macfarlanes LLP lawyers and is considered “a doyenne” by peers. The firm has acted for Goldman Sachs, Hermes Private Equity Group and ECI Partners. Ashurst LLP’s Jeremy Sheldon heads his firm’s investment practice and is “a top-rated practitioner who stands out from the pack.”
Claude Kremer is listed from Arendt & Medernach in Luxembourg. He is said to be “one of the deans of the Luxembourg Bar who knows everything and everyone.”