Banking 2017: Analysis

The latest edition of Who’s Who Legal: Banking comprises 782 listings, including 629 finance and 153 regulatory experts, from 287 firms across 64 jurisdictions.

Thought Leaders
North America
Rodgin Cohen Sullivan & Cromwell, New York
Randall D Guynn Davis Polk & Wardwell, New York
Paul Lee Debevoise & Plimpton, New York
Richard Higa McCarthy Tétrault, Toronto
Michael M Wiseman Sullivan & Cromwell, New York
Latin America
Ricardo Arango Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega, Panama City
Michell Nader S Nader Hayaux y Goebel, Mexico City
Roberto E Silva Jr Marval O'Farrell & Mairal, Buenos Aires
Bruno Balduccini Pinheiro Neto Advogados, São Paulo
Europe, the Middle East and Africa
Philip Bowden Allen & Overy, London
Philippe Hoss Elvinger Hoss Prussen, Luxembourg
Frank Laudenklos Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Frankfurt
Stephen Lucas Kirkland & Ellis International, London
André Andersson Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå, Stockholm
Yuen-Yee Cho King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney
Simon Lynch Gilbert + Tobin, Melbourne
John Schembri Gilbert + Tobin, Sydney
Peter Doyle King & Wood Mallesons, Sydney

Magic circle powerhouse Clifford Chance once again tops our research this year with an impressive 38 listings across Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. The firm’s London office boasts 12 nominees, including Charles Cochrane who is regarded as “outstanding” and draws widespread praise from respondents for his practice focusing on advising on high-value acquisition financing and syndicated lending facilities. Nicola Wherity is commended for her syndicated loan expertise and stands out when advising clients on raising loans in the emerging markets while Jim MacHale is a prominent figure in the London market, regularly appearing on the firm’s larger mandates. According to one source, “He is very smart, commercial and efficient.” Michael Bates is recognised as “one of the best lawyers in town” thanks to his “exceptional” practice focusing on acquisition financing and refinancing in the infrastructure sector. Simon Gleeson is extremely well thought of thanks to his deep knowledge of financial markets law and regulation. He regularly advises a range of clients on regulatory issues and has assisted governments and regulators with the drafting and formulation of financial legislation and regulation.

Elsewhere in Europe, Brussels-based Bert De Maeyer is praised for the breadth of his banking and finance practice. Respondents describe Marc Benzler from the firm’s Frankfurt office as one of the country’s leading finance lawyers thanks to his regulatory expertise. Christian Kremer is also singled out for his active regulatory practice that sees him counsel clients on the regulatory issues raised by acquisitions and refinancings. Singapore-based Andrew Brereton is a well-known name in the Asian market with one source describing him as “sharp, responsive and solutions-oriented”. Andrew Gambarini specialises in acquisition, leverage and export credit financing and is praised by respondents for his experience and skill. In the firm’s Sydney office, Richard Gordon focuses his practice on acquisition and leveraged financing transactions and competently handles transactions for private equity-held businesses. Anthony Oldfield is the managing partner of the firm’s São Paulo office and provides clients with considerable experience advising clients on cross-border acquisition financing.

Allen & Overy also impresses in our research this year with 24 listings in the following pages. Trevor Borthwick heads the firm’s corporate lending group and comes highly rated for his expertise advising both institutional lenders and borrowers on high-value structured financings and restructurings. Sources consider him a “strong name in the London market”. Banking practice co-head Philip Bowden is considered one of the go-to lawyers for leveraged acquisition financings and is particularly adept when advising on lending transactions in various markets in Africa, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. The “fantastic” Timothy Polglase is one of the most highly rated lawyers active in London thanks to his specialist structured finance practice. He is known for acting for sponsors in complex, cross-border finance transactions. Jonathan Brownson co-heads the leveraged finance practice and regularly advises domestic and international clients on leveraged and investment-grade financings. The “highly rated” Melissa Samuel attracts warm praise for her broad finance practice which sees her represent both institutional and corporate clients in a wide array of financing matters. Brussels-based Yves van Pul is “efficient, effective and always looking to find the best solutions for issues”. One respondent sums up market sentiment by stating, “Yves Van Pul is one of the best young finance lawyers around.”

In the firm’s Johannesburg office, co-managing partner Lionel Shawe is considered “one of the country’s top three banking and finance lawyers” by peers thanks to his “enviable work ethic and excellent turnaround times, his knowledge of the law, his practical commercial approach and his understanding of the nature of these types of transactions”. In Sydney, the “fantastic” Jason Huinink comes highly regarded in the asset financing space and Adam Stapledon is deemed worthy of inclusion thanks to his significant contribution in major acquisition financings and syndicated loans in the Asia-Pacific region.

Linklaters’ banking and finance practice continues to impress in our research, garnering 15 listings across eight offices worldwide. In particular, the firm boasts a strong crop of practitioners in mainland Europe. Names highlighted in the firm’s London office include the “excellent” Nick Syson, who is praised for his highly specialised practice which sees him advising lenders on sponsor-backed leveraged finance transactions. Syson’s enviable list of clients include KKR and Apax. Philip Spittal is considered “one of the best lawyers in the City” by a source who is impressed with his broad practice covering domestic and cross-border acquisition, event and leveraged finance transactions, as well as syndicated lending. Brussels-based David Ballegeer draws high praise from one market source: “He is a tremendously sharp and intelligent lawyer. For me, he is the best of the best in Belgium.” Clients regularly turn to Ballegeer for his considerable experience in leveraged finance and bank bond structures. Charles-Antoine Leunen is praised for his flexibility and wide-ranging expertise. Regulatory specialist Etienne Dessy is a high-flyer. According to one source, “Etienne is one of the to go lawyers in regulatory matters and I have no doubts when referring clients to him when I am conflicted.” The “excellent” Patrice Doat and the “very well known” Carl Peter Feick from the firm’s Paris and Frankfurt offices respectively are also deemed worthy of inclusion. In Moscow, practice head Michael Bott is described as “outstanding” and “one of the best practitioners in Russia” by respondents, who point to his strong track record in finance transactions and syndicated lending in general. He also regularly advises international banks and corporate clients on the impact of the ongoing US and EU sanctions. In Singapore, the highly rated Philip Badge is praised for his significant experience in syndicated and secured loan facilities, often with cross-border elements.

King & Wood Mallesons performs well in this year’s research, particularly in the Asia-Pacific region with all but one of their listings coming from the firm’s Australian and Chinese offices. In Sydney, the “eminent” Peter Doyle is particularly well known for his longstanding practice and proficiency in the infrastructure and project financings, while Philip Harvey garners praise for his “pragmatic, solutions-oriented approach” to financing transactions and banking regulation issues. Respondents deem global practice coordinator Yuen-Yee Cho a “definite inclusion” as she is regularly seen on high-profile deals. She specialises in acquisition financing and general corporate finance. Jeff Clark out of the firm’s Melbourne office is praised for his extensive experience in real estate financing and acquisition and leveraged finance. In Beijing, managing partner Ling Wang receives high praise for her considerable expertise in banking and financial services regulation. In Milan, Giancarlo Castorino is also singled out for his real estate and acquisition finance expertise.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s finance team is a core practice group at the international firm, with 14 listings in this year’s edition. In London, Sean Pierce co-heads the global financial services group and is particularly well versed in acquisition and leveraged finance transactions, treasury transactions and restructuring. The “superb” Alex Mitchell is warmly endorsed for his banking practice that sees him advise clients on syndicated lending, restructuring, acquisition and infrastructure finance. Frank Laudenklos out of the firm’s Frankfurt office is known for his debt financing and real estate finance expertise, while the “accomplished” Gunnar Schuster draws praise for his knowledge of financial services regulatory law. In Vienna, Friedrich Jergitsch receives high praise for his wide-ranging expertise that sees him advise banking clients on finance and regulatory issues.

New York-headquartered international firm Davis Polk & Wardwell boasts 14 entries in this year’s research. The firm’s New York office is home to a fantastic team of banking and finance lawyers including “top player” Jason Kyrwood who respondents consider “articulate and commercial”. He focuses his practice on high-value leverage and investment-grade acquisition finance. Peers describe financial institutions practice head Randall Guynn as “one of the foremost regulatory experts in North America”. He regularly provides clients with regulatory advice in M&A and capital markets transactions. Margaret Tahyar is a regulatory specialist with a strong track record advising major US financial institutions on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act and regulatory developments. The “brilliant” James Florack heads the firm’s Latin American finance practice and is particularly adept when advising clients on leveraged acquisition finance transactions. In São Paulo, Stephen Hood is a key name in the Brazilian market known for his proficiency in cross-border lending work.

London-based international firm Ashurst is home to 13 nominees, including seven highly rated practitioners based in the firm’s offices in Australia. In Sydney, managing partner Shawn Wytenburg specialises in leveraged and acquisition finance. One interviewee sums up market sentiment by noting, “Shawn is probably the new market leader in leveraged and corporate finance.” Steve Smith is recognised for his impressive practice focusing on domestic and cross-border corporate and acquisition finance that sees him regularly counsel financiers and lenders. In London, leveraged financing heavyweight Nigel Ward is considered an excellent choice while Huw Thomas is commended for his extensive experience on finance transactions in the oil and gas space.

Sullivan & Cromwell impresses with 12 listings, including two of the most highly nominated individuals in North America: Rodgin Cohen and Michael Wiseman. The former is an internationally renowned regulatory expert who sources consider an obvious inclusion, while the latter regularly represents international commercial and investment banks in finance transactions and regulatory and enforcement issues. In London, Presley Warner heads the firm’s European credit and leveraged finance practice and counts financial institutions, private equity houses and corporates among his clients. Sources praise him as a “highly adept and hard-working lawyer”.

Herbert Smith Freehills is home to 10 noteworthy practitioners. In Sydney, market-leading practitioner John Angus specialises in domestic and international structured finance transactions. John Nestel is recommended for his wealth of experience advising clients on cross-border financings across a range of industry sectors. Andrew Booth is a seasoned practitioner with over 25 years of experience advising lenders and borrowers across a broad range of finance transactions. Brendan Quinn is also recognised for his project financing expertise.

Latham & Watkins’ Christopher Kandel emerges as one of the top 10 lawyers active in London in this year’s research. Kandel co-chairs the firm’s global banking practice and is a go-to practitioner for complex, cross-border finance transactions. The “distinguished” Stephen Kensell is a recent addition to the firm’s finance team in London. He is known for his wealth of experience assisting financial institutions on complex leveraged and acquisition financings. Alan Avery out of the firm’s New York office is a regulatory specialist with significant experience advising international banking clients on US regulatory legislation and compliance. The “excellent” Gregory Robins in the firm’s Los Angeles office represents commercial and investments banking clients in the leveraged finance space. He is particularly knowledgeable in term loan and credit facilities transactions.

White & Case garners 11 entries in this year’s edition. In London, Lee Cullinane is “an impressive operator” known for his strong focus on leveraged financing, particularly in the emerging markets. Jacqueline Evans is “a great technician” known for her extensive experience in big-ticket leveraged financings. In New York, Ernest Patrikis is a seasoned veteran with over 45 years’ experience advising banking clients and financial institutions on state and federal regulatory issues.

At Slaughter and May, the "fantastic" Matthew Tobin is commended for his impressive track record advising clients on acquisition and bid financing. Regulatory expert Ben Kingsley and corporate finance specialist Jan Putnis are also singled out from the firm’s London office. Peter Lake out of the firm’s Hong Kong offering is a go-to lawyer for domestic and international banking clients, funds and corporates on a wide range of finance transactions.

Four lawyers are singled out for praise at Sidley Austin. In London, global finance co-head Matthew Dening is commended for his profound understanding of derivatives regulation. A client notes, “Dening’s advice is invariably thorough, intellectually sound and practical.” Leonard Ng co-leads EU financial services regulatory group and comes highly rated for his expertise on UK and EU regulatory issues. Ng is known for offering clients “clear, sophisticated advice” in relation to the Basel III international regulatory framework and the US Dodd Frank Act. In the US, the firm is home to two further listings: practice co-head William Eckland and Connie Friesen. Eckland is “a terrific regulatory specialist” known for his broad practice covering regulatory compliance in the banking and finance sector. He regularly assists clients with compliance issues relating to financial products, alternative financial services holding companies and the US operations of international financial institutions. Peers warmly endorse Friesen for her significant expertise in anti-money laundering compliance that has seen her advise a number of international banks in this area.

Three individuals are singled out from Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz’s market leading financing practice. The “superb” Richard Kim draws praise from market sources for his extensive knowledge and understanding of regulatory issues. He advises banking clients on the regulatory and compliance issues accompanying M&A transactions, recently acting on the Itau Unibanco and Corpbanca merger which was formally concluded this year. Kim regularly provides "invaluable counsel" to financial institution clients in connection with M&A transactions. Patricia Robinson is a well-regarded industry expert with extensive transactional and regulatory expertise, commended for her wide-ranging experience assisting clients on financing M&A transactions. A former assistant general counsel at the Federal Reserve System, Robinson is a well-established lawyer with a strong grasp of the regulatory issues facing banking clients. The "highly distinguished" Edward Herlihy specialises in M&A transactions and recapitalisations involving financial institutions.

Lenz & Staehelin is home to one of the most prominent teams in the Swiss market as attested by our research this year. The "tremendous" Stefan Breitenstein is a prominent name in the Swiss market known for his vast experience in domestic and international transactions. In particular, respondents are quick to stress Breitenstein's regulatory expertise, which they view as "superb". François Rayroux co-heads the Geneva office’s banking and finance practice and is recognised for his expertise in investment funds and derivative instruments. One respondent considers Rayroux a “top-class lawyer” with a well-established and reputable practice, while another is keen to stress his excellent grasp of the swiss regulatory environment. Fellow co-head Shelby du Pasquier is considered an "important name in the market" thanks to his “outstanding practice” covering domestic and international banking clients and onshore and offshore alternative lenders. In Zurich, practice head Patrick Hünerwadel is “a go-to lawyer” known for his broad financing and regulatory practice that sees him advise clients on a wide range of financings and compliance issues.

Debevoise & Plimpton’s New York office is home to one of the most highly regarded individuals in this year’s research: Paul Lee. Lee is renowned in the US regulatory space and provides clients with a vast amount of experience advising banking and corporate clients, as well as bank supervision authorities, on regulatory compliance issues. Gregory Lyons is also commended for his considerable experience advising financial institutions on compliance and M&A-related matters.

Australian independent Gilbert + Tobin enjoys a fantastic reputation in the market and boasts two of the most reputable and well-regarded practitioners in the Asia-Pacific region. John Schembri is a renowned for his expertise in leveraged financing, particularly in relation to the financing of asset and real estate acquisitions. According to sources, “Schembri is one of the top five lawyers in the finance space.” Sources are also effusive in their praise of Melbourne-based Simon Lynch’s wide-ranging expertise that sees him advise corporates and private equity clients on acquisition finance, LBOs and corporate facilities.

At Kirkland & Ellis International’s London office, the “outstanding” Stephen Lucas is a standout name known for his impressive practice focusing on advising sponsors on finance transactions. Respondents are impressed by his deep knowledge and understanding of the lending market.

At Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg, Carol Pennycook is a major name in the Canadian banking and finance field who is regularly involved in major domestic and cross-border transactions.

McCarthy Tétrault’s Richard Higa emerges as one of the leading finance lawyers in Canada. Peers and clients alike commend his broad financing practice that sees him regularly counsel financial institutions and corporates on acquisition and leveraged finance transactions. Barry Ryan, Stephen Furlan and Michel Deschamps complete the firm’s complement of listed practitioners.

Nei Schilling Zelmanovits from Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados’ São Paulo office is recommended for his finance and regulatory expertise. His wide-ranging practice covers advising clients on financial instruments and compliance, as well as corporate M&A and regulatory-related litigation.

At Schellenberg Wittmer, Zurich-based practice head Martin Lanz is a prominent fixture in the market known for his proficiency in syndicated loans and real estate financing. He is also deemed "highly knowledgeable" about regulatory issues, particularly those affecting financial intermediaries. In Singapore, Philippe Borens is "a skillful practitioner" with a strong working knowledge of Swiss banking and financial services regulations.

Walder Wyss’ Markus Pfenninger is an accomplished practitioner with over 20 years of experience financing transactions in the Swiss market. Pfenninger draws high praise for his "excellent understanding" of the Swiss banking and finance regulatory environment. Johannes Bürgi comes highly recommended for his broad knowledge of finance transactions. In particular, peers commend his securitisation expertise.

At Pinheiro Neto Advogados, Bruno Balduccini is an accomplished banking specialist with a fine reputation in Brazil and abroad. Sources consider Balduccini an expert on both finance matters and regulatory compliance issues.

Marval O'Farrell & Mairal’s banking department co-head Roberto Silva Jr is the foremost regulatory expert in Argentina and is particularly knowledgeable in foreign exchange control regulation. He also advises clients on a wide-range of banking and finance matters.

Mexican law firm Nader Hayaux y Goebel’s name partner Michell Nader S is a distinguished practitioner in the Mexican market known for his expertise in acquisition financing. According to market sources, Nader S is a "tremendous dealmaker" who "really understands the needs of the parties involved". His partner Yves Hayaux-du-Tilly is "a go-to lawyer" for both Mexican and international insurance sector clients seeking advice on financing transactions.

Panama firm Arias, Fábrega & Fábrega is home to Ricardo Arango, banking and capital markets practice head, who is praised for his strong track record on many high stakes transactions.

Elvinger Hoss Prussen’s Philippe Hoss emerges as Luxembourg’s chief banking lawyer in this year’s research. He is particularly adept in acquisition finance and respondents are quick to recommend him for his proficiency in this area.

André Andersson from Mannheimer Swartling Advokatbyrå’s Stockholm office leads the firm’s banking and finance group and is a seasoned practitioner with over 20 years of experience advising clients in financing matters.

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison’s Eric Goodison is a longstanding fixture of the New York market known for his “fantastic leveraged finance practice”.

At Posse Herrera Ruiz, name partner Mariana Posse is a prominent player who regularly offers "highly nuanced advice" to foreign commercial banks looking to undertake major financings in the Colombian market. Posse is also praised for her "practical approach" to regulatory issues.

At Dr Colin Ong Legal Services, founder Colin Ong is a client favourite known for his ability to “quickly cut right to the heart of the matter” and “deal with complex issues succinctly and efficiently”. He is a disputes specialist with wide ranging experience of banking and financial instruments.

At Conyers Dill & Pearman in the British Virgin Islands, managing partner Robert Briant is considered “one of the senior statesmen in the jurisdiction” thanks to his considerable experience advising clients on financing transactions.

AÉLEX’s banking and financial services practice head Lawrence Fubara Anga emerges as one of Nigeria’s most eminent practitioners on both the transactional and regulatory side. Fubara Anga regularly leads on the firm’s largest financings and is highlighted for his "exemplary expertise". Respondents also commend his deep knowledge of Nigeria’s financial services regulatory environment.

At Bonn & Schmitt, Alex Schmitt regularly offers clients “incisive, solutions-oriented advice” on domestic and cross-border financings. A key member of the firm’s banking practice, Schmitt is also well-versed in the regulatory issues facing clients in the financial market.

At G Elias & Co in Nigeria, "seasoned veteran" Fred Onuobia focuses his practice on financing large transactions and projects.

At SSEK Legal Consultants, the “exceptional” Ira Andamara Eddymurthy is a market-leading banking and finance practitioner with an impressive practice focusing on a broad range of finance transactions.

At Morales Justiniano Peña & Lumagui, managing partner Rafael Morales is a leading practitioner with a deep understanding of both Philippine and international banking and finance law. Boasting close to 40 years of experience in the field, Morales advises clients on a wide range of banking and finance issues, including derivative and repurchase transactions.

At Barcellos Tucunduva Advogados, José Luis Leite Doles is a "highly active" presence in the market who draws praise for his "excellent technical ability".

Eduardo Cárdenas of Dentons Cardenas & Cardenas is one of Colombia's most experienced and highest regarded banking practitioners. Also at the firm, Bernardo Cardenas Martínez boasts deep expertise across a comprehensive range of financing matters, covering mining, energy, banking and infrastructure projects.

Olivier Marquet of PCM Avocats possesses unrivalled expertise in Monaco banking and financing matters.

Ludwig Smith of Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr is considered "a real go-to lawyer" by one source, with another maintaining, "He is one of the top three practitioners in South Africa." He is also praised as "client-friendly and very insightful" in his tax and regulatory-related advice.

In London, the “fantastic” Malcolm Hitching of Ropes & Gray earns the praise of peers and clients alike for his practice focusing on leveraged and corporate financings.

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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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