Most Highly Regarded Firms: Capital Markets 2013

This year’s research into the leading capital markets lawyers focused on three distinct areas of specialism: debt and equity; structured finance; and Islamic finance. Through extensive conversations with lawyers and corporate counsel, we have identified the firms and practitioners that stand out worldwide. Allen & Overy leads this year's research with an impressive 22 inclusions, followed very closely by Clifford Chance which boasts 21 listings.

Allen & Overy leads this year’s listings, with an impressive 22 inclusions across the three chapters. The firm is particularly strong in England and the UAE. Dubai-based Anzal Mohammed heads the “formidable” global Islamic finance team in which Roger Wedderburn-Day is particularly active. He is highlighted for his expertise in advising on Islamic finance transactions from London, alongside “superstar” Jamie Durham. Colleagues Salim Nathoo and Christian Lambie are identified as leaders in the field of structured finance, the former managing the firm’s global securitisation group. Stephen Miller displays “outstanding commercial knowledge” and is recommended by peers as a top practitioner in the debt and equity capital markets.

On the debt and equity side, Oliver Seiler co-heads the firm’s ECM group and is noted as “well informed and practical” in this area. Tony Sparks is rated for his “attention to detail”, and Khalid Garousha impresses peers and clients alike with his “hard-working approach and responsiveness”. In Poland, Jacek Michalski provides “first-class advice” on domestic and international transactions. Niels van de Vijver also specialises in cross-border capital markets transactions, with particular expertise in flotations, debt issuance and equity offerings.

Henri Wagner features in both our debt and equity and structured finance chapters, and is identified as a leading capital markets practitioner. He is particularly experienced in repackagings and derivatives, and is a “stand-out” lawyer in this area. Brussels-based Sylvia Kierszenbaum is also listed in both chapters. She is an “active presence” in Belgium and a “trusted source” on the Belgian capital markets. Dual-qualified David Wainer is noted for his extensive international experience in structured finance, having practised in New York and Asia for the last 15 years. Julian Johansen is recommended as an Islamic finance expert in Saudi Arabia.

Clifford Chance also boasts a high number of practitioners in this year’s edition, with 21 inclusions worldwide. In London, Peter Voisey and Stephen Curtis are selected as both debt and equity and structured finance experts, and the latter acts as adviser to the Loan Market Association. Andrew Forryan is a “seasoned specialist” in debt and equity capital markets and works alongside the “intellectually impressive” David Bickerton. David Dunnigan heads the firm’s global capital markets practice and is regarded as “a top-tier adviser” for international debt and equity capital markets matters. Stuart Ure is highly nominated in our debt and equity chapter alongside Debashis Dey, who heads the capital markets team in Dubai and also features as a “sought-after” structured finance expert.

Lounia Czupper is included as a leading lawyer in the debt and equity and structured finance sections. She has built up a reputation that is “second to none” in Belgium, advising both borrowers and lenders on transactions from syndicated loans to leveraged finance and restructurings. Peers highlight Crawford Brickley as a debt and equity specialist. Now acting as a foreign legal consultant in Hong Kong, he is “extensively experienced” in US capital markets matters and is well placed to offer informed advice on international transactions. Reiko Sakimura is an active practitioner in international capital markets, and also advises Japanese clients on issuances and EU regulatory issues. Based in the firm’s Tokyo office, she is lauded for her “international and commercial outlook”.

Islamic finance expert Qudeer Latif practises in Dubai and is “vastly experienced” in a range of Islamic financial products, particularly in the capital markets and structured finance space.

The capital markets group at Linklaters continues to go from strength to strength, with numerous peer and client recommendations making it one of the most highly nominated firms in our research: 15 lawyers are featured. Practitioners from the firm’s London office are particularly well regarded – Richard Levy and Jim Rice feature in both the debt and equity and the structured finance chapters. Julian Davies founded the firm’s structured finance group as well as the global securitisation practice, and specialises in structured bonds, particularly within the water and utilities industry. He is noted as a “considerably talented lawyer”. Lachlan Burn is also a “key name” in the firm, having specialised in the capital markets field for over 30 years.

Linklaters’ strength in Asia is demonstrated by several inclusions in Singapore, Japan and Hong Kong. On the debt and equity side, Jon Gray is “highly specialised” in high-yield debt offerings and equity transactions, applying his experience as a US lawyer to give domestic and cross-border advice in the firm’s Hong Kong office. Andrew Malcolm heads the team in Hong Kong and is “hugely experienced” in the Asian and European capital markets, while partner William Liu is noted for his “significant expertise” in public debt and equity-linked transactions. In Singapore, Kevin Wong and Arun Balasubramanian specialise in high-profile international capital markets transactions, and the former is particularly noted for his “pragmatic and business-minded approach”. Peter Frost is a “super lawyer”, having handled high-value international issuances in Tokyo. He advises underwriters and issuers and is lauded for his “innovative” work. Mary Matson is head of the securitisation team in Hong Kong, taking on a “key role” in the firm’s structured finance practice. Moscow senior partner Dmitry Dobatkin is a debt and equity and structured finance expert, having advised high-profile clients including Credit Suisse, JP Morgan and Gazprom.

The capital markets practice is a core area for international full-service firm Latham & Watkins LLP. A high proportion of the firm’s entries this year are from the UK and US offices – Mark Nicolaides is a “commercial mastermind” and specialises in structured finance products. He is also “at the forefront” of regulatory reform in this area, and is internationally recognised as a “trusted adviser” on the Basel II and Basel III regulations. Colleague Craig Nethercott acts as co-chair of the firm’s global Islamic finance practice. He is a “first-class” practitioner, having acted on transactions across the world in the infrastructure and energy sectors.

In California, David Lee is a “spectacular attorney” and specialises in structured finance, debt and equity transactions. Having spent several years working as an accountant, he is praised for his “pragmatic and market-oriented view”. Colleagues Mark Stegemoeller and Anthony Richmond are also highly regarded in the field, with the former acting for several international banks and financial institutions. Joel Trotter heads the firm’s global public company representation practice group, and is “adept at handling complex issues” for major corporate clients. Alongside him in Washington, DC, Scott Herlihy acts in debt and equity issues for leading hotel chains and various other corporations and is recommended for his “excellent judgement”. In Chicago, Ellen Marks is noted for providing “creative advice and solutions” to leading companies in capital markets transactions, and is particularly recommended as a “leader” in the structured finance field.

Latham & Watkins fields two exceptional debt and equity practitioners in Singapore. Michael Sturrock is vice-chair of the global corporate department and focuses his practice on capital markets transactions in Asia. He is rated as “particularly good” by clients, who trust his “pragmatic and collected approach”. Sharon Lau is “eminently respected” for her expertise in domestic and international IPOs, equity offerings and convertible debt offerings, and has advised on many of the largest deals in the region.

International powerhouse Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP fields a robust capital markets team, with multiple listings across Europe. Stephen Revell is co-head of the global capital markets practice and is recommended for his “unrivalled knowledge” in this area. Having worked in the US, London, Singapore and Hong Kong, he has a “truly international perspective” and is therefore highly sought after for cross-border transactions and financings. David Trott is a “versatile lawyer” with expertise in debt and equity transactions and structured finance, and Peter Allen impresses sources with his “unique understanding of clients’ goals”. Vincent Macq heads the corporate practice in Brussels and is recommended for his “multidisciplinary approach” to clients’ needs, both transactional and regulatory. The firm boasts a particularly strong team in Germany – Christoph Gleske is a “fantastic lawyer” and focuses on IPOs and convertible securities, as well as regulatory capital instruments. Andreas König has represented many leading German companies, including Lufthansa and Norma Group, in various transactions. Rick van Aerssen is recommended as a “client-focused and results-oriented practitioner”.

Structured finance expert Hervé Touraine impresses peers and clients with his “analytical approach and responsiveness”. Teresa Ko is the founder of the firm’s capital markets practice in Hong Kong, and is “simply excellent”. Her “first-rate ability” has seen her lead numerous “one-of-a-kind” deals and transactions for domestic and international clients, including assisting state-owned enterprises including China Mobile and Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical to put forward listings on the Hong Kong stock exchange.

Sidley Austin LLP enjoys 15 listings this year in its offices across the globe. Australia and Singapore are strong jurisdictions for the firm’s capital markets practice – Robert L Meyers heads the securitisation practice and is “highly recommended” for IPOs and debt and equity offerings and securities, having handled high value offerings for public and private companies as well as the Commonwealth of Australia. Colleague Bruce Dailey is “very visible in the market” and is frequently seen advising underwriters and issuers on cross-border deals placed in numerous jurisdictions. In Singapore, Prabhat K Mehta and Gerard A Hekker are “at the top of the game in capital markets”, both having represented leading Asian companies in equity offerings and debt transactions. Matthew Sheridan is also an “outstanding presence” on the Asian legal market – he co-chairs the international corporate finance practice in Asia and is a “trusted adviser” on transactions involving the telecommunications, financial services, technology and energy industries.

Edward F Petrosky is rated for his “wide-ranging expertise”. As global co-head of the firm’s capital markets group, he is “extremely visible in the market” as an adviser to issuers and underwriters, dealing with offerings on the New York stock exchange as well as international and cross-border capital markets transactions. Also featured in our research as a debt and equity expert is Eric S Haueter. Based in California, he is a “technically excellent” lawyer and frequently advises on high-profile debt and equity offerings.

The firm also boasts an impressive number of structured finance experts. In London, John D Woodhall co-heads the global finance practice in the UK and is “highly respected in the field”. Colleague Matthew Cahill is “unusually well informed” on a broad range of capital markets issues, and has advised on many novel and innovative structured finance deals. Thomas W Albrecht is recognised for his work on multibillion-dollar structured finance transactions in the IP and financial services sector and, as co-head of the global finance practice, actively contributes to the strength of the firm in Hong Kong. New York expert Cathy M Kaplan co-heads the office’s global finance practice and is considered “at the top of her game”, having been instrumental in the development of numerous structured insurance products. Renwick D Martin brings a “wealth of experience” to his capital markets practice and focuses on asset-backed structured financings. Dale Lum is an “established leader” in the field, and is widely considered a “pioneer” in complex structured finance products.

Herbert Smith Freehills is well represented in this edition, with inclusions across the debt and equity, structured finance and Islamic finance lists. The success of the firm’s recent merger is demonstrated by the preponderance of entries in Australia and the UK. Michael Ziegelaar heads the corporate group in Melbourne and is joined by “key player” Philippa Stone and “dean of the capital markets bar” Tim McEwen. In Sydney, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage is praised for her “quick and strategic” work, with sources saying she has a “unique market perspective”. Andrew Booth “excels” in the structured finance space, advising Australian and international banks, and is “commercially experienced” in all kinds of derivatives transactions.

The London office also houses several expert practitioners – Peter Epp is “second to none” in debt and equity capital markets transactions. He has been responsible for numerous “innovative and complex” high-value deals. Corporate partner Clive Barnard focuses on debt finance, and his 30 years’ experience working with transnational companies also sees him noted in our structured finance listings. “International high flyer” Dina Albagli is well regarded for her work in derivatives and structured products within the financial services, real estate and energy sectors.

On the Islamic finance side, Nadim Khan heads the global Islamic finance group and has played a “key role” in the development of novel products and transactions. Based in the UAE, he is a “notable presence” in the developing Islamic finance market.

Eleven debt and equity specialists are listed from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, across the UK, Asia and the US. Jeffrey M Oakes heads the European financial institutions group in London and is a “valued adviser” to large scale companies making offerings on the international capital markets. Simon Witty is recommended as an “industry leader” and has lent his “considerable expertise” to many high-profile IPOs and secondary offerings, and Paul Etienne Kumleben is “highly regarded” for his work advising companies in the financial services and health-care industries.

The “formidable team” in the firm’s New York office is led by Richard J Sandler, Michael Kaplan and Richard D Truesdell Jr, all praised for the “innovative” nature of their work within the debt and equity capital markets, on IPOs, convertibles and high-profile transactions across a huge range of industry sectors. Managing partner Thomas J Reid is a “significant global player”, having advised on transactions and deals with global impact across Europe, Asia and the US. In Hong Kong, William F Barron is highlighted as an “extremely talented and creative lawyer”, and is often present on “landmark” offerings and transactions. Theodore A Paradise is a “dean of the industry” and impresses peers and clients in his capacity as head of the Tokyo office. He works alongside “cross-border expert” Eugene C Gregor.

Also highly nominated in our research is Michael Schlitt, considered “one of the foremost” structured finance experts. He heads the capital markets practice in Hogan Lovells International LLP’s Frankfurt office and has been a “driving force” in the development of many new financial structures, on a domestic and an international level. Duncan McGrath is one of the most highly nominated practitioners in Australia, specialising in debt and equity capital markets work at Gilbert + Tobin. “Esteemed attorney” Robert Buckholz Jr contributes to the “world-class” debt and equity practice at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP in New York, and John Vetterli is also ranked as “among the top in the world” for his extensive experience at White & Case. In Argentina, Alexia Rosenthal achieves a high number of nominations for her “excellent” practice, for which she has been involved in numerous high-profile domestic and international debt and equity transactions.

On the Islamic finance side, Barry Cosgrave leads our research at Vinson & Elkins LLP, where he advises on Islamic structures including sukuk and other shariah-compliant financing methods. He is “definitely one of the leaders” in this field.

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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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