Capital Markets 2015: Analysis

The 11th edition comprises 574 practitioners from 214 law firms across 57 jurisdictions, divided between three distinct areas within capital markets law: debt and equity, Islamic finance and structured finance.

Clifford Chance's award-winning capital markets practice continues to outstrip its rivals for the sheer depth of its expertise. It is followed closely by fellow London-based powerhouses Allen & Overy and Linklaters, whose “first class” offerings extend across the financial centres of Europe and Asia. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer also earns high praise for its distinguished position.

A number of US giants dominate the market. Sidley Austin excels in the structured finance segment in particular. Latham & Watkins earns effusive praise for its far-reaching practice in the international debt and equity market, while Baker & McKenzie also impresses with its extensive global network. Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft stands out as the pre-eminent firm in the derivatives market.

Davis Polk & Wardwell, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Sullivan & Cromwell and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom are also among the very best names in capital markets law.

The most highly regarded individuals in the debt and equity, structured finance, and Islamic finance chapters are also recognised in this section.

MOST HIGHLY REGARDED
Debt and Equity
Waldo Jones Jr Sullivan & Cromwell, Sydney
Philippa Stone Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney
David Friedlander King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney
David Goldschmidt Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, New York
Stephan Hutter Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Frankfurt
Islamic Finance
Richard De Belder Dentons, London
Farmida Bi Norton Rose Fulbright, London
Atif Hanif Allen & Overy, London
Habib Motani Clifford Chance, London
Rahail Ali Hogan Lovells, Dubai
Structured Finance
Richard Schetman Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, New York
Jordan Schwartz Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, New York
Michael Gambro Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft, New York
Jason Kravitt Mayer Brown, New York
Patrick Lowden Herbert Smith Freehills, Sydney

Clifford Chance again holds the lead as the most prominent firm in our research with an extraordinary 33 listings. On the debt and equity side the London office stands out as a powerhouse of talent. Head of the London capital markets practice Simon Sinclair is among the most highly regarded lawyers in the field. His “impressive practice” specialises in convertible and exchangeable bonds, regulatory capital issues, and liability management transactions among others. He is known for providing “the highest-quality advice” to clients, which draws on “invaluable sector experience”. David Dunnigan is an “acclaimed practitioner” who “expertly advises” sovereigns, major corporations and financial institutions at both international and national levels across a range of industries. The global head of the firm’s capital markets practice, Adrian Cartwright, is praised for his “exceptional understanding” and ability to “effectively tailor his advice to the industry.” His renowned international practice focuses on shares and global depositary receipts in the international markets. Rahul Guptan leads the firm’s India-focused capital markets team based in Singapore, and is considered “one of India’s foremost capital markets lawyers”. Guptan specialises in securities and corporate law with a special focus on transactions involving Indian elements. In Hong Kong, Connie Heng is a “key industry player” and head of capital markets for the Asia-Pacific region. With “significant” recent experience in RMB capital markets products she is “widely recommended as a leading lawyer”. Crawford Brickley is “without doubt a top player”. He has a “fantastic work ethic” and “total comprehension” of a wide range of structured finance products.

In terms of structured finance the London office is again particularly noteworthy. Kevin Ingram is an “outstanding lawyer” with a wealth of experience in the industry and is praised for his “highly skilful handling of complex matters”. Stephen Curtis has been described as “one of the very best in the area”. He has a “fantastic understanding of the industry” and provides “expert advice” on all types of structured financings, including securitisation of real estate assets, sports receivables, corporate loans and trade receivables. Christopher Walsh has “brilliant, in-depth knowledge of all capital market products”. His “exceptional practice” comprises working for both arrangers and originators on a wide variety of transactions concerning different types of financings globally. Peter Voisey is a “fantastic lawyer” with “intricate knowledge” of all types of deals in this space, specialising in international asset securitisation, covered bonds, structured finance and capital market transactions.

Clifford Chance also offers strong expertise in relation to Islamic finance. As the global head of the firm’s derivatives practice Habib Motani is a “leading international financial markets lawyer” with particular expertise in relation to derivatives, securities lending, collateral, clearing and settlement systems. In Dubai, Qudeer Latif heads the firm’s global Islamic finance practice, and is “immensely talented”. He advises on a wide range of Islamic financial services and products, and has been “the architect behind many of the world’s pioneering and ground breaking Islamic finance transactions”. Alongside him Stuart Ure is a “savvy and experienced lawyer”, who specialises in structured finance and conventional and Islamic debt capital markets across the Gulf Cooperation Council and Turkey. In Saudi Arabia Abdulaziz Al-Abduljabbar has “extensive experience”, and is renowned for his “exceptional handling” of major international project financing transactions in the energy, infrastructure, telecommunication and industrial areas.

Closely following behind, Allen & Overy continues to provide “world-class expertise” and garners 28 listings in this year’s edition. The firm boasts an “extremely impressive” debt and equity team. In Australia Tony Sparks is a “brilliant specialist” who “stands head and shoulders above the competition” for his knowledge of a range of corporate and fundraising transactions including capital raisings and mergers and acquisitions. The “esteemed” Lionel Shawe in South Africa has been described as “probably the most prominent finance lawyer in the country”, with a “wealth of experience” and “intricate financial knowledge”. The firm also has an impressive presence across Europe. Stephen Miller in London is “highly recommended” for his “adroit advice” on capital market transactions, with a particular focus on capital raisings for financial institutions. In Germany Oliver Seiler “skilfully” heads the firm’s international capital markets group and features prominently in our research for his “exceptional client manner”.

The firm has a strong Islamic finance department in England. Atif Hanif is head of Allen & Overy’s European Islamic finance practice and is a “renowned authority” on a wide range of banking, finance and debt capital market transactions. He is praised for his “sharp handling of complex transactions”, and his “instinctive understanding of Islamic culture”. Roger Wedderburn-Day draws universal recommendation for his “authoritative practice” and for providing “pragmatic, clear and meticulously worked out advice”. The “truly excellent” Jamie Durham offers “exceptional handling” of a wide range of capital market issues, and is praised for his “thorough attention to detail”. Alongside them Anzal Mohammed is a “top presence” in Dubai, heading the capital markets practice in the Middle East. With an “exemplary reputation in the market”, he has been described as “the firm’s leading light” in this area for his “phenomenal understanding” of Islamic finance instruments and shariah guidelines.

For structured finance matters, Angela Clist is a “leading authority” and held in high regard by those who have worked with her. Offering “unsurpassed experience”, she has worked on the public and private securitisations of numerous asset classes and is praised for being “very commercial in her outlook”. Christian Lambie is “vastly experienced” with a practice covering a broad range of securitisation and structured finance work types, including commercial real estate/CMBS financing and corporate and whole business securitisation. He is praised for being “commercially astute and very knowledgeable”. Elsewhere, Karolina Popic in Sydney is a “truly outstanding, innovative and technically gifted” lawyer. She has a reputation for “proficiently handling complex debt work and securitisation transactions”, and being “very attuned to clients’ needs”. In New York, David Krischer is Allen & Overy’s US managing partner and “one of the top US lawyers” in the sector.  He provides “work of the highest quality” and has been involved in numerous landmark transactions over the past 10 years, including the award-winning Tube Lines, Skynet 5 and Telereal transactions.

Linklaters maintains its status as a provider of leading international expertise with 21 listings in our research. Its debt and equity team is particularly strong across Europe. In Germany Herbert Harrer is a “standout lawyer” with “a consummate understanding of the capital markets industry”. He is internationally regarded as “one of the very best on the continent”. Peter Waltz is championed as an “innovative and dedicated adviser” with “vast experience” advising issuers and underwriters on corporate bonds, insurance and bank regulatory capital, structured finance and derivatives. In Sweden Fredrik Lindqvist employs “incredible insight and diligence”, with “extensive experience” working in the banking, insurance and telecommunications industries. London-based Patrick Sheil “knows everything there is to know” about the debt and equity capital markets and is praised for being “clear-sighted and strategic”. The strength of the firm in the Asia-Pacific region is demonstrated by the “excellent” Kevin Wong in Singapore, who is recommended by clients and peers as “extremely knowledgeable and accessible”.

On the structured finance side, the London office boasts three outstanding lawyers. Julian Davies is the founder of Linklaters’ structured finance group, and his “scrupulous approach” has led him to being considered a “go-to lawyer” for clients. Jim Rice is “a sensational lawyer” who “certainly knows his stuff”. Paul Lewis focuses his practice on fund-linked products, repackaged notes, structured product platforms and collateral and custody structures, and is praised for being “in a class of his own”. Outside Europe, international recognition goes to Andrew Malcolm in Hong Kong. As a specialist with over 10 years’ qualified experience in the international capital markets, he is known as an “outstandingly accomplished lawyer” who provides “thoroughly prepared” and “meticulously crafted work”. He is joined by Mary Matson who is noted for her “exceptional handling of intricate issues” and “client-centred approach”. In particular she has “significant experience” in the acquisition and disposal of financial assets and other general banking areas, including project financing, asset finance transactions and bilateral and syndicated financings.

Sidley Austin boasts 20 listings. On the structured finance side Carlos Rodriguez in New York has an “eminent practice”, which includes representing major commercial an investment banks, fund advisers, insurance companies and government entities in the United States and Latin America. Renwick Martin is senior counsel in the New York office, and he provides “exceptional advice” drawing on “a wealth of experience”. In London, John Woodhall is co-head of the firm’s global finance practice, with an “acclaimed reputation” for working “at the forefront of the development of structured finance law”. He is joined by Matthew Cahill who has “a long track record of excellence” with has over 20 years of experience handling complex matters. Clients benefit from his wide range of experience, including thorough understanding of the European financial regulatory regime and substantial Islamic finance experience.

The debt and equity practice is particularly well represented in the Asia-Pacific. Robert Meyers is “a global leader” and he represents major Australian, New Zealand and US companies and investment banks. Bruce Dailey is a “naturally gifted lawyer” and “as smart as they come”. He is praised for his “hard work and dedication”, and has built up relationships with almost all of the major United States insurance companies, investment banks and collateral/asset management firms. Mimma Barila is “a certain inclusion”, and is widely praised for her “superb advice and strategic approach”. They are joined by the “acclaimed” Prabhat Mehta in the Singapore office. With a multi-jurisdictional practice, he has worked with sovereign wealth funds and major financial institutions on several landmark recapitalisation transactions. 

Latham & Watkins fields a remarkable team of capital market specialists with 18 listings. The structured finance department features the “highly accomplished” Ellen Marks in Chicago who “routinely handles complex and innovative financial transactions and restructurings”. In Los Angeles Vicki Marmorstein is an “incredibly impressive lawyer”. She represents multinational companies and funds and is described as “someone to be reckoned with”. Based in Moscow, Mikhail Turetsky has “a reputation for excellence and achievement” founded on his “extensive experience” advising banks and corporate clients on all aspects of transactions in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States. Mark Nicolaides is the firm’s leading structured finance lawyer in London. He is a “consummate professional” with an “exhaustive knowledge base”, and is at the forefront of developing capital markets-based longevity products.

On the debt and equity side, in Singapore Michael Sturrock represents both issuers and underwriters in corporate financings, and both buyers and sellers in public and private merger and acquisition transactions. He is consistently regarded as “a leading lawyer in the region” for his “unprecedented expertise and efficient handling of complex transactions”. He is joined by Sharon Lau who has been highly praised for her “creative and solutions-driven” approach, and “tenacity in negotiations”. The New York office is represented by the “technically gifted” Kirk Davenport II, whom sources have described as “someone who always goes the extra mile for his clients”. In London Olof Clausson is a “first-rate” capital markets lawyer with “unsurpassed experience”. Craig Nethercott is an Islamic finance partner who practises in London and the Gulf region. He has been described as “hard-working and dynamic” and is praised for “always adding value”.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer continues to maintain its leading presence in our research with 16 listings in this edition. The debt and equity practice is home to Sarah Murphy, a leading lawyer of “exceptional technical ability”. She is described as having an “innovative way of looking at things that delivers a fresh approach to structuring and implementing solutions”. Head of the firm’s worldwide corporate practice group Rick van Aerssen is “second to none” and known for producing “work of the highest quality”. Geert Verhoeven acts for Belgian and global corporates, private equity funds, investment banks and multinational organisations. He is praised for his “commitment, experience and all-round technical excellence.” Vincent Macq is recommended for his “expert analytical skills” and “ability to find the answers to clients’ most complex business issues”. Julian Makin is “highly respected” as a lawyer whose focus is on “thoroughly understanding clients’ business requirements” and working to develop “a pragmatic legal solution”.

The structured finance practice is well represented in London. Ian Falconer is a “leading light” having worked at the forefront of the European securitisation market since the first transactions in 1987. He is known for his “high level of skill” when handling “intensely complex and demanding transactions”. He is joined by David Trott, who is described as an “effective dealmaker”. He has an “impressive client list” advising borrowers and lenders on complex, multi-jurisdictional transactions and clients “can rely on him to get the job done”. In Moscow the “impressive” Nicholas Davies offers “expert advice” combined with “substantial understanding and experience” of the commercial, legal and cultural issues associated with completing transactions in the area.

Baker & McKenzie’s “world-class” expertise in this legal sector is reflected by its 16 listings. The firm’s debt and equity practice has a particularly strong presence in Sydney. Andrew Reilly is a well-reputed name who provides “clear and effective strategies” to meet the needs of clients. He heads the firm’s US capital markets practice in Australia, and focuses his practice on US securities and corporate law matters. Craig Andrade is “widely recognised as a leading Australian capital markets lawyer” drawing on an “impressive track record” of more than 15 years. They are joined by Wildu du Plessis who is the managing partner of the Johannesburg office. He represents and advises major domestic and international financial institutions, private equity groups and corporates, and is widely regarded as “one of South Africa’s leading capital markets lawyers”.

The firm’s structured finance network is “highly distinguished”. Vincent Keaveny advises arrangers, originators and rating agencies on securitisation transactions in the UK and Europe. He combines “extensive technical expertise” with his “commercial, pragmatic approach” to provide clients with “the highest quality advice”. Based in Moscow Vladimir Dragunov has a fantastic reputation and clients “couldn’t wish for a more skilled lawyer”. Konrad Konarski is known for his “financial know-how” and provides “insightful advice” to industry clients.

Baker & McKenzie also has an “impressive” Islamic finance practice represented by Bilal Kahlon whose “vast knowledge” and “extensive experience” in such transactions makes him a “standout practitioner” in the area.

Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft achieves 14 listings in this edition. On the structured finance side Richard Schetman is described as having “a deep knowledge of structured products and derivatives” and is praised for providing “invaluable legal advice” to clients. Jordan Schwartz is a “key industry player” who has “extensive experience” as lead counsel in multiple public and private securitisation transactions, involving a vast range of asset classes. He has an “impressive clientele”, regularly representing major investment banks, commercial banks, insurance companies, and institutional investors. Michael Gambro the “highly acclaimed” co-chair of Cadwalader’s capital markets grouphas represented some of the largest companies in the world in “many noteworthy, ground-breaking or one-of-a-kind structured finance transactions”. Anna Glick is recommended for being an “exceptional practitioner” in the field. Clients praise her “thorough and intelligent approach” and “highly sophisticated solutions”.

The debt and equity team are represented by Jeffrey Maddox in Hong Kong. His “remarkable practice” focuses on international equity and debt transactions in the Asian markets, and he is praised for his “savvy approach” and “superb technical skill”. He is joined by Joseph Beach and James Carroll in Charlotte, who are “invaluable in providing a real-world assessment of legal issues and risks”, and “ensuing appropriate and practical advice”.

Davis Polk & Wardwell offers a high level of international expertise in the sector, with 13 experts listed in our research. Recommended for his structured finance expertise, Richard Sandler leads the firm’s global capital markets and corporate governance practices. He has “extensive experience” providing “meticulous advice” to a wide range of high-profile clients.

On the debt and equity front Alan Denenberg is known to be a “creative and knowledgeable lawyer”, with the ability to work “exceptionally well with clients”. Bruce Dallas is held in high regard for his “exceptional abilities” and “versatile thinking”. Richard Truesdell is co-head of Davis Polk’s global capital markets group, and has been widely acknowledged as “one of the leading and most influential lawyers in the US”. He is joined by co-head Michael Kaplan, a “standout lawyer” with the “ability to get to the heart of the issue”. In London Simon Witty is renowned for his “hands-on and friendly approach” while “always delivering for his clients”.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is represented by 12 “standout” lawyers. On the debt and equity side Gabriele Apfelbacher is “the best of the best” with “unrivalled technical, strategic and intellectual skills”. Leslie Silverman is among the most highly regarded professionals in the sector. He has “immense experience” in cross-border offerings and the development of new financial products. Manuel Metzner offers “first-rate advice” based on “a wealth of knowledge and experience”. Andrés de la Cruz is known for his “boundless knowledge of the sector” and “clear sightedness in relation to complex issues”. For structured finance Joyce McCarty is an “expert practitioner”, highly regarded by clients for her “commercial acumen and strategic approach”.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom also earns 12 listings. David Goldschmidt is a “highly accomplished lawyer”. His “impressive clientele” are drawn from investment banks and US and international issuers to whom he provides “consistently dependable advice” on a variety of financing matters, including public offerings and private placements of debt and equity securities, and international securities offerings. Gregg Noel is described as “a lawyer like no other”, who is able to “bring innovation to the rapidly changing capital markets environment”. Stephan Hutter is renowned for being a “market-leading German and European capital markets practitioner” for equity and debt transactions. In Sydney Adrian Deitz is a “major player”, being widely regarded as “one of the most knowledgeable and experienced” lawyers for debt and equity matters. He is joined by Mark Leemen who is “truly excellent” and has “extensive experience working on major deals” throughout Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.

Further recognition goes to the most highly rated lawyers in our research outside of the above mentioned firms. Waldo Jones Jr at Sullivan & Cromwell is one of the firm’s most highly acclaimed practitioners. He is “technically outstanding” and “beyond impressive”, regularly advising US and non-US corporations and broker dealers, and international governments on securities, privatisation, project finance, venture capital and joint venture transactions in various parts of the world. He is one of 11 practitioners recognised at the firm representing its offices in Asia-Pacific, Europe and the US.

David Friedlander in the Sydney office of King & Wood Mallesons is consistently ranked as one of Australia’s top equity capital markets lawyers, and has been described as “a phenomenon unmatched in the market”. The firm receives a further 10 listings demonstrating its expertise in debt and equity and structured finance transactions.

At Herbert Smith Freehills, Philippa Stone continues to be is the most highly recognised lawyer out of the firm’s collection of nine leading practitioners. She is “a true great” of the equity capital markets industry and “universally regarded as one of Australia’s pre-eminent lawyers”. She is joined by the “outstanding lawyer” Patrick Lowden, whose deals include “award-winning structured and innovative capital markets transactions.” 

Of the three “world-class” lawyers at Mayer Brown featured in this edition, Jason Kravitt stands out the most. He is described as “an incredible legal strategist” whose “outstanding” work has “played a pivotal role in many regulatory initiatives”.

 At Gilbert + Tobin Peter Cook is “a sensation”. With more than 20 years’ experience in the industry he is “certainly one of the world’s best” offering a wide range of capital markets and private equity services to clients.

Richard de Belder heads the global coordination of the Islamic finance practice of Dentons. He wins credit for his “outstanding” and “groundbreaking” contribution to shariah-compliant transactions.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s Farmida Bi “is a true great” having worked on some of the most “innovative Islamic finance transactions”. She is head of the firm’s Islamic finance group in Europe and acts for a broad range of leading financial institutions and sovereign and corporate issuers.

Rahail Ali at Hogan Lovells is “widely acknowledged to be one of the world’s leading Islamic finance lawyers” and his “genius” is often cited by peers and clients. The firm achieves a further five listings recognising its debt and equity and structured finance expertise.

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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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