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Clifford Chance LLP


  • 10 Upper Bank Street
  • Canary Wharf
  • London
  • Greater London
  • UK
  • E14 5JJ
  • Tel:020 7006 1000
  • Fax:020 7006 5555
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Web:Visit website
  • Managing Partner: David Childs
  • Senior Partner: Malcolm Sweeting
  • Number of partners: 577
  • Number of fee-earners: 3350

Firm Overview:
International law firm Clifford Chance combines the highest global standards with local expertise. Leading lawyers from different backgrounds and nationalities come together as one firm, offering unrivalled depth of legal resources across the key markets of Africa, the Americas, Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. The firm focuses on the core areas of commercial activity: capital markets; corporate and M&A; finance and banking; real estate; tax, pensions and employment, and litigation and dispute resolution.

Main Areas of Practice:
Capital Markets:

The capital markets practice comprises over 420 partners and lawyers who concentrate on securities transactions and other products sold into the capital markets. The practice is founded on a full-service US and UK securities law capability, complemented by local securities law expertise in each of the key financial centres. It provides practical, integrated legal advice covering the full spectrum of global capital raising activities including public and private domestic and international offerings of traditional debt and equity securities as well as convertible and other derivative and structure securities.

The corporate practice,which comprises over 790 partners and lawyers worldwide, provides clients with a single law firm that combines a market leading practice with specialist, local expertise. Its global transaction capability includes English,US and civil law expertise in the key financial centres across the UK, Europe, the Americas, Middle East and Asia-Pacific. The practice represents many of the world’s leading multinational and national corporations, financial institutions and sponsors on the largest and most complex transactions across the globe – from public takeovers,mergers and cross border acquisitions to strategic alliances, joint ventures, outsourcings and restructurings. The firm’s cross-border M&A experience is enhanced by a depth of sector expertise across financial institutions, energy and infrastructure, TMT, insurance, healthcare, private equity, real estate, funds and investment management, industrials, consumer goods and retail and transport and logistics.

Clifford Chance’s finance practice,which comprises over 700 legal advisers worldwide, is the leading international finance practice of any law firm. The practice provides highly commercial and practical advice across the full spectrum of financial products including syndicated lending and leveraged and acquisition finance, asset finance, derivative products, project finance, financial regulatory, insolvency, restructuring and structured finance. It advises regulatory authorities, supranational bodies, governments and government agencies and actively helps to shape the market through working with market organisations to develop documentation, policy and best practice.

Litigation & Dispute Resolution:
The firm has a team of more than 470 litigators internationally and has experience in virtually all segments of the business and financial markets across multiple jurisdictions. The lawyers work with clients to resolve disputes efficiently and effectively – whether through arbitration, litigation or other techniques. They also work with clients to develop compliance programmes that minimise future litigation risks. The firm is currently representing clients in some of the largest and most significant actions, particularly in the areas of antitrust / competition litigation, white collar, regulatory, insurance, banking securities and international arbitration.

Real Estate:
Clifford Chance’s leading real estate practice offers UK, European,Asian and US real estate capability. Over 300 partners and lawyers worldwide advise the real estate industry’s leading players on the entire property ‘life-cycle’ from the initial acquisition, development, leasing, joint venturing and financing through to the final exit, as well as tax structuring, PFI/PPP, corporate outsourcing, planning, environment and litigation.

Clifford Chance has one of the world’s largest international tax groups within a single law firm, with over 200 tax advisers worldwide. The firm is uniquely placed to provide leading edge advice to clients, and the practice is structured on an integrated global basis. Local tax groups within the practice work closely with areas such as securitisation, securities, M&A, corporate restructuring, private equity, real estate and funds. The pan-European VAT Group advises on all areas of VAT and has particular strength advising on novel and complex issues in the structured finance, financial services, corporate finance and real estate sectors.

Employment, Employee Benefits & Pensions:
Clifford Chance’s Employment, Employee Benefits and Pensions Groups comprises over 150 legal advisers worldwide. The teams of experienced employment, employee benefits, ERISA, immigration and pensions specialists work with clients from a wide range of sectors to address local and cross-border issues.

ABU DHABI: Tel: +971 2 419 2500

AMSTERDAM: Tel: +31 20 7119 000

BANGKOK: Tel: +66 2 401 8800

BARCELONA: Tel: +34 93 344 22 00

BEIJING: Tel: +86 10 6505 9018

BRUSSELS: Tel: +32 2 533 5911

BUCHAREST: Tel: +40 21 66 66 100

CASABLANCA: Tel: +212 52 013 2080

DOHA: Tel: +974 4491 7040

DUBAI: Tel: +971 4 362 0444

DÜSSELDORF: Tel: +49 211 43 550

FRANKFURT: Tel: +49 69 71 99 01

HONG KONG: Tel: +852 2825 8888

ISTANBUL: Tel: +90 212 339 0001

KYIV: Tel: +38 044 390 5885

LONDON: Tel: +44 20 7006 1000

LUXEMBOURG: Tel: +352 48 50 50 1

MADRID: Tel: +34 91 590 75 00

MILAN: Tel +39 02 806 341

MOSCOW: Tel: +7 495 258 5050

MUNICH: Tel: +49 89 21632 0

NEW YORK: Tel: +1 212 878 8000

PARIS: Tel: +33 1 44 05 52 52

PERTH: Tel: +61 8 9262 5555

PRAGUE: Tel: +420 2 22 555 222

RIYADH*: Tel: +966 1 478 0220

ROME: Tel: +39 06 422 911

SÃO PAULO: Tel: +5511 3049 3188

SEOUL: Tel: +822 6353 8100

SHANGHAI: Tel: +86 21 6335 0086

SINGAPORE: Tel: +65 6410 2200

SYDNEY: Tel: +61 2 8922 8000

TOKYO: Tel: +81 3 5561 6600

WARSAW: Tel: +48 22 627 1177

WASHINGTON DC: Tel: +1 202 912 5000

* Clifford Chance has a co-operation agreement with Al-Jadaan & Partners Law Firm in Riyadh


General Business Law - Barcelona

THE FIRM The Barcelona office of this international powerhouse is strongly recommended for its corporate/M&A and IP advice. Recently the corporate team advised la Caixa on the transfer of its depository business to the Spanish Confederation of Savings Banks. The IP team is a market leader in patent litigation, and it is particularly well reputed for representing life sciences clients. In a recent highlight, the team represented Pfizer in patent infringement proceedings against all the companies that launched generics of Viagra. 

Sources say: "The lawyers don't promise the moon, but they do make good decisions for us." "Efficient and easy to work with."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Ignacio Ojanguren is managing partner of the Barcelona and Madrid offices.

Banking & Finance - Belgium

THE FIRM Although hit by the loss of Yves Herinckx, this magic circle firm retains an extraordinarily strong brand for banking and finance in Belgium. Like many firms, it has been diversifying its practice with restructuring and crisis work, particularly regarding Dexia. Recent highlights include advising Citibank on the USD670 million bank loan and USD400 million bond financing for Apollo's acquisition of Taminco. In early 2012 it continued its high-profile DCM work by helping BNP Paribas Fortis establish a EUR1 billion Euro Medium Term Note programme for the Belgian national railway company.

Sources say: "Its quality of work, rapidity of dealing with issues, and defence of our interests are extremely impressive." "The team is very proactive, thinks about everything, makes suggestions, and has a very large knowledge of these matters."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients single out Bert De Maeyer for his "sound legal knowledge, responsiveness and positive attitude." He enjoys a notable reputation in project finance, where he advised the equity provider and lenders on the EUR200 million financing of the Noord-Zuid Kempen Road PPP Project.

Lounia Czupper specialises in debt capital markets, regulatory and structured finance. She advised the lenders on the complex structure for financing the Mons Prison PPP Project. Clients note her negotiation skills, saying "she does everything she can to understand the whole case although her real strength is her quality of persuasion."

Competition/European Law - Belgium

THE FIRM This firm covers the full range of competition issues, including state aid and Belgian domestic work. Highly reputed for its capabilities in the hi-tech sector, the team notably assisted Oracle with worldwide competition complaints following its dispute with Hewlett-Packard. On Article 101 cases, the group is acting for Toll Group on the freight forwarding cartel investigation. The team is enjoying a period of growth thanks to the arrival of Johan Ysewyn, and sources anticipate this will boost the firm's domestic competition offering.

Sources say: "Very often we have questions where we need a very practical approach and no theory, and that's what the team will give us."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Vinje is a leading expert on IP and IT issues in competition law. He currently advises several online companies concerning the EC's abuse of dominance investigation into Google. Clients say he is "very practical, and able to get a good understanding of our business very quickly."

Practice head Tony Reeves assists with cases before both the UK and EU authorities. He advised Citigroup on the Phase I and II investigations of its EMI divestments to Universal and Sony. "He's done a really good job of getting to know the business and helping us navigate the law," say clients. 

A well-respected specialist in Belgian competition and EU state aid law, Johan Ysewyn is assisting the Belgian government with the Dexia bank restructuring. Sources praise him as a "solution-driven lawyer."

Corporate/M&A - Belgium

THE FIRM Notable work highlights and extensive market feedback propel this firm up the rankings this year. Amongst its many standout deals the team represented Sanoma in acquiring the EUR1.2 billion Dutch and Belgian assets of ProSiebenSat.1, together with local partners. A second key instruction was advising IK Investment Partners on the sale of its EUR555 million equity interest in Magotteaux, which was eventually acquired by Sigdo Koppers.

Sources say: "With this firm everything always works out as planned."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Philippe Hamer has been involved in many of the team's key deals, including Nieuwe Steen's merger with VastNed Offices/Industrial. Sources describe him as "very practical, a good negotiator and pleasant to work with." 

Xavier Remy draws praise for his expertise in the energy sector, where he assists clients such as Fluxys. He led the team on Sanoma's acquisitions from ProSiebenSat.1 and is hailed as "very diplomatic – someone that all parties can trust."

Employment - Belgium

THE FIRM This global giant fields a compact employment team that handles restructurings and operation closures for clients such as Nokia and Reader's Digest. It also provides pension advice, and recently assisted the UK trustees of the Belgian Alcatel-Lucent Pension Fund with its conversion into a Belgian pan-European pension fund (PEP).

KEY INDIVIDUALS Partner Xavier Remy is the main contact.

Real Estate - Belgium

THE FIRM This dynamic practice enters the top tier thanks to outstanding client feedback. The group is well positioned to handle multifaceted matters and is a regular presence on the market's most complex deals. The team is noted for its ability to advise on the tax aspects of real estate deals, and recently advised Willy Tans on the tax structuring of its acquisition of a property in Ghent. Further clients include IVG, Morgan Stanley and Allianz.

Sources say: “The team is always at the forefront: the lawyers are innovators, and really set the standard. They are responsive, open and easy to deal with.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Henri d'Ursel heads the real estate team, and recently advised Vulpia on the EUR65 million reorganisation and partial sale of its portfolio of care homes. Sources appreciate his organisation skills and commercial knowledge: “He knows everyone on the market, and we go to him even when we only need market advice."

Thierry Blockerye is known for his experience regarding the tax aspects of real estate deals. One source states: "He comes up with strong tax strategies and we very much appreciate his advice."

Maximilien van de Werve is an increasingly respected figure in this field, and is noted by clients for his work on all aspects of real estate deals: "He manages the transaction from start to finish." 

Since publication, Maximilien van de Werve has joined K Law

Tax - Belgium

THE FIRM This team advises a raft of clients on topics including the tax structuring of M&A and finance transactions, as well as the tax implications of complex financial products. The group is known for its real estate specialisation, and has considerable experience advising REITs and other investment funds. In a recent highlight, the team acted for the underwriters in relation to an issuance of convertible bonds by Cofinimmo. It also advised Fluxys on a pan-European review of its tax structuring, showcasing the firm's considerable international clout.

Sources say: "The team is at the forefront of the market: its lawyers are innovators."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients appreciate practice head Thierry Blockerye's "solution-driven" approach to tax strategies. He is particularly strong in real estate tax, and recently assisted Vulpia Group with the reorganisation and part sale of its property portfolio.  

TMT - Belgium

THE FIRM The TMT practice of this magic circle firm is renowned for its strength in IT and its ability to utilise its global network to provide integrated cross-border advice. It assists household names with contentious and non-contentious matters in competition, regulatory and IP law, and has extensive experience in cloud computing and e-payment systems.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Vinje is recognised for his expertise in TMT, with sources indicating he is "a big name in IT."

Banking & Finance - Czech Republic

THE FIRM This prestigious firm boasts exceptional expertise in representing banks and financial institutions in several areas, from real estate and distressed financings to emission trading. Key highlights include representing a bank syndicate led by Erste Bank and Československá obchodní banka in relation to a CZK10 billion recapitalisation facility for Falcon Borrowers and TMCZ Holdco II. On the capital markets front, the team advised Barclays Capital, Česká spořitelna, Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking, and UniCredit on the update of a EUR10 billion EMTN programme of the Czech Republic.

Sources say: "A top firm." "It is extremely hands-on, flexible, and quick."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Praised as a "highly knowledgeable and reliable figure," managing partner Vlad Petrus continues to be sought after for his ability to structure complex deals. He is also valued for his capital markets expertise, and recently acted for Société Générale Corporate & Investment Banking, Barclays Capital, and Česká spořitelna on the EUR300 million Eurobond issue by České dráhy, the Czech state railway company.

Milos Felgr joins the rankings this year after receiving high praise for his "client commitment and creativity." He was part of the team advising Atrium European Real Estate on the financing of the EUR191 million acquisition of the retail and office space Palac Flora in Prague.

Martin Glajch is described as "an approachable, hard-working lawyer and talented negotiator." He is well known for his work in the field of derivatives, capital markets, and regulatory issues.

Competition/Antitrust - Czech Republic

Corporate/M&A - Czech Republic

THE FIRM This international powerhouse remains one of the top names for complex domestic and cross-border transactions, and is particularly praised for its regional expertise and strength in restructurings. The department also handles a wide array of matters such as takeovers, joint ventures, asset acquisitions, and private equity. High-profile highlights include its ongoing work representing KKCG in relation to the CZK3.81 billion takeover of the insolvent national lottery operator, SAZKA. Other highlights saw it acting for Mitsubishi on the acquisition of a 25% stake in Sungwoo Hitech and Sungwoo Hitech Slovakia from South Korean car parts producer Sungwoo Automotive.

Sources say: "It offers an excellent mix of sound technical knowledge, business savvy, and pragmatic approach; plus the lawyers are fun to work with!" "The team did a great job."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "A standout lawyer and great negotiator," David Koláček is specialised in local and regional M&A transactions. For instance, he advised KIT Digital on a number of acquisitions in the Czech Republic, France, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and the USA.

Gaining increasing recognition for his regional expertise in private equity, Alex Cook is highlighted by sources as "one of the leading names for cross-border matters." A qualified English lawyer, he has over 12 years of experience in the CEE market. Recently he advised the Swiss group Bühler on the acquisition of two manufacturing facilities in the country.

Projects - Czech Republic

THE FIRM Thanks to its outstanding track record in projects and energy, Clifford Chance is pulling in some of the most prominent mandates in the region. It has a strong project financing capability, and has built up a robust energy practice. Recent work has focused on development, acquisition, financing and litigation in the gas, nuclear and photovoltaic sectors. In pure projects work the team recently advised Rodamco Ceská Republika on the development of a shopping centre. Another highlight involved assisting HB Reavis with the acquisition of a development project for an office space. The group continues to advise the Czech Ministry of Environment and State Environmental Fund of the Czech Republic on ongoing matters.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Vlad Petrus heads the department and is the main point of contact for clients.

Real Estate - Czech Republic

THE FIRM This international market leader continues to impress by pulling in some of the most high-profile and complex mandates in the real estate market. Recent work ranges from big-ticket acquisitions, disposals and refinancings to real estate dispute resolution. Key highlights include advising Atrium European Real Estate on the EUR191 million acquisition of a shopping centre in Prague, and assisting Rodamco Ceská republika with the development of a brownfield site into a retail facility.

Sources say: "This firm is proactive and finds solutions which set the standard." "Lawyers here work on a higher level in terms of clients, complexity and the size of deals."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Group head Emil Holub is singled out for his long-standing experience of construction and environmental matters. One client said: "He is very conscientious and aware of changes in local laws and how to adapt them to international standards. He is the top guy in real estate." Another client added: "He is commercial, a great negotiator and has an understanding of the market far beyond that of a traditional lawyer."

Lubomír Bartál is a senior lawyer at the department and has advised on some key cases, including an instruction by Atrium European Real Estate on the acquisition of a shopping centre in Prague. His expertise lies in both real estate and construction. 

Restructuring/Insolvency - Czech Republic

THE FIRM The Czech outpost of this magic circle firm comes highly recommended for its restructuring and insolvency work. The team regularly represents creditors in high-profile cases, and recently advised KKCG on SAZKA's and BESTSPORT's insolvencies, two of the largest cases in Czech insolvency history. Other notable clients include Crédit Agricole CIB and Česká spořitelna. The group draws on expertise from the firm's stellar banking and finance department, and is particularly praised for its significant experience as well as its capacity to handle cross-border and complex projects.

Sources say: “A stable team offering great quality service.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees describe Tomáš Richter as “one of the top insolvency practitioners in the Czech Republic,” and laud him for his in-depth and vast knowledge. He is also an accomplished academic, and recently played a leading role in the drafting of a new Insolvency Act.

Managing partner Vlad Petrus is a seasoned lawyer with over 20 years of experience in the field. He is regarded as an “extremely talented adviser,” and is valued for his banking and finance and capital markets expertise.

Despite his young age, Jindřich Arabasz is considered by market sources to be a “rising star.” “He is a quick thinker and a skilled problem solver,” says one interviewee.

Arbitration (International) - Europe-wide

THE FIRM With strongholds in the UK and across continental Europe, Clifford Chance has one of the widest-reaching litigation and arbitration practices on offer. Highlighted for its capacity to advise on cross-border, highly technical and multidisciplinary assignments, the team has enjoyed a particularly busy and successful year. It recently defended the government of Poland in an Energy Charter Treaty claim under Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC) rules, regarding the operation of an oil business in Poland. Barclays, JPMorgan and Carrefour are some of the firm's other clients.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Well known for his work in both commercial and investment treaty cases, Audley Sheppard is one of the top arbitration specialists in the world. His expertise in construction disputes is frequently sought.

Although perhaps now better known as an arbitrator, Fabian von Schlabrendorff continues to advise a broad range of commercial clients on banking, construction, engineering and corporate matters.

Robert Lambert continues to be associated with Russia-related arbitrations. He possesses extensive knowledge of engineering, construction and telecoms disputes.

Banking & Finance - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This premier firm has one of the most experienced banking and finance groups in Europe, typically advising clients on complex, cross-border transactions. Its impressive client list includes leading lenders from around the world, such as Goldman Sachs, UBS, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. In one highlight the London team advised Citi on a EUR4.5 billion facility for food and beverages giant Nestlé. The firm has also been active in the area of European sovereign debt, as highlighted by the Paris and London offices' advice to the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) on the financial assistance agreements provided to Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Clifford Chance is also marked out as one of the leading international firms in the CEE region, and its ever increasing commitment to Eastern Europe is reflected in the number of mandates earned from national banks in the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia. In one highlight the Moscow team advised the Co-ordinating Committee of Banks on the first ever harmonisation of the pre-export finance structures and cover ratios across eight facility agreements.

Sources say: "The lawyers are very good at picking up points which are not necessarily law-related, to the extent that I can be sure no issues will go unspotted." "They have a strong command over the mood at the negotiation table; they make sure that everything is kept calm and nothing gets too heated." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Amongst the firm's excellent bench of lawyers, key contacts include Alexandra Hageluken and Barbara Mayer-Trautmann in Germany; Charles Adams and Giuseppe de Palma in Italy; Alberto Manzanares and José Guardo in Spain; Logan Wright and Victoria Bortkevicha in Russia; and Mark Campbell, Michael Bates, Alan Inglis, Malcolm Sweeting and Charles Cochrane in the UK. 

Capital Markets - Europe-wide

THE FIRM Clifford Chance remains one of the most sought-after firms for cross-border capital markets work, especially for debt capital markets and structured finance. It has standout teams in the UK, Spain, France, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Russia. A recent highlight on the debt capital markets side saw the London office advise the Greater London Authority on the issuance of GBP600 million of notes under the Community Finance debt programme. On the equity side, it advised the underwriters on the high-profile USD10 billion Glencore IPO. The firm also remains a leader in derivatives and structured debt, with the London and German offices especially active in this area. For instance, the London office recently worked with the New York office to advise HSBC on a restructuring of its covered bond programme.

Sources say: “With Clifford Chance you have the possibility to work with lawyers from other jurisdictions when required. Everyone is very easy to work with and they understand the complexities of the documentation. Not all law firms get this.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based David Dunnigan is the global head of the debt and equity capital markets practice. Also in London, Kevin Ingram heads the firm's structured debt practice. José Manuel Cuenca leads the capital markets team in Madrid, while a key contact in Paris is Cedric Burford. 

Competition/European Law - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This firm has strong competition practices throughout Europe, with key departments in Belgium, Russia, the UK and Poland. The group is currently representing Oracle in separate investigations by the EU, French and Spanish authorities concerning abuse of dominance in relation to Hewlett-Packard's Itanium processor. In Brussels, it is advising Samsung on the EC's abuse of dominance case concerning standard essential patents. In the field of merger control, the firm notably assisted Citi with merger control proceedings for its divestment of EMI divisions to Sony and Universal. 

Sources say: "We haven't found anyone on its scale that can handle multiple complicated jurisdictions at the same time."

KEY INDIVIDUALS In Brussels, Thomas Vinje is chairman of the global practice. Other key partners include Oliver Bretz, who splits his time between Brussels and Paris, Elizabeth Morony in London and Torsten Syrbe in Moscow.

Corporate/M&A - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This thriving global firm is securely established at the top of the European market. It has a broad, well-integrated practice across Europe with market-leading teams in London and Madrid, and significant strength in Germany, France and Benelux. The group is also notably strong in CEE, with its teams in Poland, the Czech Republic and Romania all attracting the highest-quality deals. It consistently attracts top-quality, complex deals from high-profile clients in all sectors. Recent highlights include advising Delta Holding on the sale of the Delta Maxi supermarkets to Delhaize Group in Belgium for EUR932.5 million, which involved co-ordinating the transaction in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro and Serbia. The firm also acted for Hearst Corporation on the purchase of Lagardère's international magazines unit, a deal which involved the firm's Spanish, French, English, Italian and Ukrainian offices.

Sources say: “I chose to work with Clifford Chance because of its international capacity and its experience of working on deals taking place in multiple jurisdictions at the same time.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based Matthew Layton heads the firm's global corporate practice. He is supported by Thierry Schoen in France, Arndt Stengel in Germany and David Kolácek in Prague.

Dispute Resolution - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This outstanding firm is a leading expert in dispute resolution matters across Europe, with an exceptional standing in the UK, Spain, Russia and France. In addition, its practice in the Netherlands serves as a vital link for its several European offices, handling a vast range of high-value cross-border work. Significant work highlights include defending EADS and several of its directors in regulatory and criminal investigations initiated in France, Germany and the Netherlands, regarding an alleged breach of corporate financial communication duties and insider trading rules. The firm also represented the government of Poland in defending an Energy Charter Treaty claim under the rules of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce, in relation to the operation of an oil product business in Poland.

Sources say: "An excellent law firm – one of the biggest."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Amsterdam's Jeroen Ouwehand is head of the firm's European litigation and dispute resolution practice.

Employment - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This magic circle firm continues to impress with its transactional and advisory employment work. A presence in 11 European countries gives it a broad platform from which to advise clients, with its UK, French and Spanish teams viewed as being particularly strong. McGraw-Hill has mandated the firm of late on employment matters across more than 20 jurisdictions, including the spin-off of its education business and outsourcing of various functions. On the transactional side, highlights include advising Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget on the disposal of its packaging division to DS Smith for EUR1.6 billion. The group has been very active recently with regulatory matters.

Sources say: "We use the firm for employment law because we're convinced of the quality." "Very well linked internationally, withb good results. Very user-friendly for non-lawyers also."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Chris Goodwill is the main contact for the UK practice. Other key individuals include François Farmine in France, Nicole Engesser Means in Germany and Juan Calvente in Spain.

Intellectual Property - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This firm has a noteworthy IP presence in several European jurisdictions. It is currently building up its practice in Germany, adding to its strength in Belgium, France and Spain. It serves an impressive array of clients throughout the region such as Nokia, Oracle, Citi and Honda. Areas of expertise include patent and trade mark disputes, franchising and licensing agreements, and copyright issues. The Spanish team recently advised Nestlé Nespresso on patent, trade mark and unfair competition proceedings against Sara Lee Southern Europe. A further highlight involved representing DuPont in patent validity and infringement proceedings against Safety Hi-Tech.

Sources say: "A bright and responsive team that takes a pragmatic approach to problem solving." "Efficient and easy to work with, the group provides the right balance of partner involvement."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Miquel Montaña heads the IP group in Spain, whilst Thorsten Vormann is a leading figure in the Frankfurt office.

Life Sciences - Europe-wide

THE FIRM The life sciences group of this international titan is characterised by its extensive coverage, with standout practices in Germany, Spain, France and Poland. The firm advises leading multinational companies on the full range of industry matters, from M&A and joint ventures to pan-European patent litigation and regulatory compliance. The French office has recently been advising several clients on the impact of new transparency legislation, while the German team continues to advise companies including Abbott Laboratories and Bayer on the reform of Germany's pricing and reimbursement system, known as AMNOG.

Sources say: "These lawyers can deliver solutions to problems."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Dieners leads the global healthcare and life sciences group from Düsseldorf. A key contact in London is David Walker, who specialises in private equity and venture capital work in the healthcare and life sciences sectors.

Projects - Europe-wide

THE FIRM Clifford Chance is known for its considerable expertise in high-value project financing and energy transactional work. Consistently rated as outstanding by clients in the UK, France, Germany and the CIS/CEE region, it is exceptionally placed to handle complex cross-border projects involving these jurisdictions, and rightfully maintains a market-leading reputation for its capabilities in this area. In recent months much infrastructure/PPP work has centred on the Turkey region, with the Paris office advising the EBRD on the financing of the 143 MW Bares wind farm, and the Frankfurt team counselling the lenders on the financing of the Bosphorus car tunnel project. The firm continues to excel in gas and oil in Russia and the CIS, recently advising Shtokman Development on its USD25 billion development of the Shtokman Field in the Barents Sea in conjunction with the firm's London and Amsterdam teams.

Sources say: “It's absolutely clear that Clifford Chance is outstanding in the market."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Andrew Grenville heads up the global energy and infrastructure group in London. Paris-based Anthony Giustini and David Griston in Amsterdam are also important contacts at the firm.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Europe-wide

THE FIRM This firm has unparalleled coverage of leading restructuring/insolvency teams across Europe. It is especially strong in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and CEE regions, with a leading practice in Russia and offices in Poland, Romania, Ukraine and the Czech Republic. It deployed this capacity on the USD850 million debt restructuring of Donetsksteel for a group of banks including BNP Paribas, UniCredit, ING, Citi, Raiffeisen and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking. Another key mandate saw the group advise the co-ordinating committee of senior lenders on the landmark scheme for Rodenstock. On the company side, it advised nursing home provider Southern Cross on its widely publicised financial difficulties and subsequent consensual restructuring and winding down. Another UK highlight was acting for the revolving facility credit lenders on the Quinn Group restructuring.

Sources say: "It's very proactive, it's got the right team on board and is actively involved in the negotiations."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The firm's insolvency and restructuring group is led by Mark Hyde in London. Reinhard Dammann, Iñigo Villoria and Daniel Badea are top practitioners in France, Spain and Romania respectively.

Tax - Europe-wide

THE FIRM Clifford Chance maintains a key position in the European tax market, with standout teams in the UK, Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, as well as a notable presence in Spain, Italy and Poland. Financial institutions make up a large percentage of the firm's clients, but it also advises industrial companies and other blue-chip corporates. The practice is dominated by transactional, restructuring and structured finance mandates, but is also recommended for funds work, tax litigation and transfer pricing. Key recent deals include advising AEW Europe on tax issues relating to the merger of three pan-European real estate investment funds, which held portfolios in France, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.

Sources say: "Its financial and transactional tax advice is particularly strong." "It houses strong and large tax teams in key European jurisdictions."

KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based David Harkness is the firm's global practice leader. Other key European contacts include Frank de Vos in Amsterdam, Eric Davoudet in Paris, Josef Brinkhaus in Frankfurt and José Ignacio Jiménez-Blanco in Madrid.

Technology - Europe-wide

THE FIRM Regulatory, corporate, finance, competition and litigation specialists contribute to this firm's international TMT offering. The firm combines cross-practice expertise with impressive geographical coverage, with key teams in the UK, Spain, Germany, Belgium and Poland. Clients include Oracle, Amazon, Inmarsat and Saudi Telecom. The firm recently advised the latter on a major contact centre outsourcing project. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS London-based Joachim Fleury heads the firm's global TMT practice group. Other contacts include Bernd Meyer-Witting in Frankfurt and Thomas Vinje in Brussels.

Banking & Finance - France

THE FIRM This firm's Paris banking team has impressively broad capabilities and receives strong reviews from clients and market commentators. The team provides top-level advice on topics such as leveraged finance, project finance and corporate loan facilities. The multifaceted department also benefits from the presence of respected banking regulatory experts and practitioners who can advise on both French and English law. Recent highlights include advising Pernod Ricard on a EUR2.5 billion corporate facility, and the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) on its financial assistance to multiple European states.

Sources say: "A step above other legal advisers we have used." "Very high quality: the lawyers are precise and detailed in their work, but don't hide behind jargon."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Well-known figure Thierry Arachtingi is popular with major financial institutions. He has advised on the financing of some of France's biggest LBOs in recent years, including Oberthur and Webhelp.

James Butters recently moved from the firm's London office to strengthen the English law offering in Paris. He is already proving popular with French clients: "He is proactive and can get things done astonishingly quickly. He has a good knowledge of the market and is strong in negotiations."

Capital Markets - France

THE FIRM Commentators are impressed by this full-service capital markets practice, especially for its work on the debt side. The team is equally proficient in derivatives, equity and structured finance, and regularly advises financial institutions, corporations and international organisations. Significant recent mandates have come from the European Financial Stability Facility, which it advised on the sovereign guarantees of EUR780 billion aimed at supporting and stabilising the Eurozone. On the debt side, the firm assisted Société Générale with Iliad's issue of EUR500 million bonds.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Cédric Burford has been particularly active in debt capital markets work of late. He recently advised BNP Paribas on Valeo's issue of EUR500 million notes and a tender offer. He gains a wealth of positive feedback, with one source saying: "He is incredibly knowledgeable, pleasant to work with, and always finds the right solution. A real hands-on partner."

Jonathan Lewis attracts warm praise for his work in derivatives and structured finance: "He offers high-level technical advice on complex transactions. He's very impressive." His recent achievements include assisting OSEO with setting up its EUR4 billion EMTN programme.

Aline Cardin focuses on equity capital markets, with experience in both domestic and international transactions. She regularly advises financial institutions and corporate clients.

Sources acknowledge Frédérick Lacroix's talent in structured finance and derivatives, and note his continued presence in the market.

Competition/European Law - France

THE FIRM This growing practice continues to benefit from the addition of Oliver Bretz to the team. The Paris branch of this magic circle firm impresses with its work for clients such as the Dutch National Bank, Tate & Lyle and Oracle. Recent highlights include representing the French Football Federation in a EUR50 million arbitration case against Sportfive.

Sources say: "The team is just wonderful - it is super." "Always available, very, very responsive. Often we have questions where we need a very practical approach and no theory, and that's what we get from this team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Hubert is a highly experienced practitioner in the field of competition law. He is hailed by an impressed client as "responsive, very bright and likeable."

Oliver Bretz joins the rankings this year on the back of significant praise from the market. He is known as being a "first-class competition lawyer with excellent client skills." He splits his time between Paris, Brussels and London.

Corporate/M&A - France

THE FIRM The corporate department of this international giant counts 41 lawyers amongst its ranks. The firm continues to invest in this area with the recruitment of three new partners. Clients appreciate its impressive manpower as well as the smooth interaction between departments, which allows the firm to work on some of the market's most complex deals. The team regularly represents financial institutions, retail companies and energy corporations.

Sources say: "I'm very happy with the team: it's fully reliable, can help us with any aspect of the law, and provides a full range of services."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Thierry Schoen specialises in public M&A and frequently represents well-known clients such as Carrefour. "He's excellent technically, has good ideas and reacts quickly," say interviewees.

Mathieu Remy remains a favourite with clients, who say: "He's intelligent, proactive and does excellent work. We trust him implicitly."

Gilles Lebreton continues to go from strength to strength. One observer notes: "Despite being a young partner, he is already one of the pillars of the practice."

Dispute Resolution - France

THE FIRM This well-regarded team recently invested in its arbitration practice through high-profile hires including a former secretary general and deputy secretary general of the ICC, Jason Fry and Simon Greenberg. The firm remains prolific in litigation, where it is a regular adviser to major clients such as RBS and Apple. Recent arbitration highlights include representing Siemens and the British Railways Board, and it also has an active white-collar crime and securities litigation practice.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Litigation luminary Jean-Pierre Grandjean recently advised Apple on a multimillion-euro claim brought against it by a major retailer. He continues to gain great admiration from commentators: "He's someone you want on your side in negotiations. He can pick up a case and know what the crux of it is in a few moments."

Thomas Baudesson specialises in commercial litigation and is becoming increasingly active in white-collar crime. One client notes: "He's prudent in assessing all the risks, and is able to provide a clear view of the bigger picture."

Sources are highly impressed by Thibaud d'Ales, saying he is "dynamic and works closely with clients. He has a great understanding of litigation and the relevant authorities."

Employment - France

THE FIRM This team remains a significant market player, serving standalone clients in addition to deriving work from the firm's corporate and M&A practices. Litigation is a particularly strong suit for the group, but it also handles a number of day-to-day advisory matters. Recent highlights include advising LyondellBasell on the closure of a refinery involving the dismissal of 400 employees. The team also regularly advises on the termination of employment contracts for senior executives.

Sources say: "The availability and commitment of the team is remarkable – it exceeded our expectations."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head François Farmine is greatly esteemed by clients and peers alike. One client states: "His availability and the quality of his work are outstanding. He handled all the sensitive elements of the case very well." Farmine counts Adecco, Alix Partners and Fujifilm amongst his most notable clients.

Energy & Natural Resources - France

THE FIRM Market observers are full of praise for this full-service practice. Commentators are particularly complimentary of its depth and breadth, as the multi-disciplinary team involves projects, corporate, public law and litigation lawyers, amongst others. It has expertise in a number of areas including oil and gas, mining and power. The firm works on deals in a number of regions including France, francophone Africa, CEE, Asia and South America. Recent achievements include advising EDF and Edison on the reorganisation of the equity investments in Edison and Edipower totalling more than EUR1.5 billion.

Sources say: "We rate them extremely highly and when we have a project in France there's no discussion as to who we should use." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Anthony Giustini receives unanimously positive feedback for his expertise in energy projects. "Personally he is the best lawyer I have ever worked with. He is very business-minded, creative and reactive." His practice focuses on large energy projects, with a strong focus on Africa. He recently advised the lenders on the financing of a gas-powered electricity plant in Rwanda.

Projects - France

THE FIRM Clients are extremely enthusiastic about this firm, identifying it as a leader in the PFI/PPP field. Its outstanding finance and public law capabilities enable it to act on behalf of sponsors, lenders and public authorities. The team has experience of working on different types of projects including transport, energy and infrastructure. It has handled some of the biggest deals in the market including advising the French Ministry of Justice on the partnership contract with Arélia for the construction of the new Paris Courthouse. It has also represented the European Investment Bank, Eiffage and the Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy.

Sources say: "It is without doubt one of the best firms for this type of work in Paris. It is extremely reactive and precise, and what I like above all is that it is able to adapt its services to the needs of the client. The quality of the advice is incredible."

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Préat receives unanimously positive client feedback: "He combines analytical knowledge of the law with pragmatism and is able to take the lead in negotiations. He has real credibility in the market which means that he's respected by all the main players." Préat heads the Paris public law and PPP group.

Daniel Zerbib earns solid market feedback for his project finance expertise. One commentator notes: "He is an experienced partner, he works very hard, knows the projects inside out and is very precise and technically adept."

Counsel Olivier Belondrade receives excellent feedback for his PPP and public law expertise: "He's a very hard worker, he speaks well and with conviction, he also takes the initiative and comes up with original ideas that meet our needs."

Finance counsel Benjamin de Blegiers comes highly recommended: "He's excellent: great presentation, great knowledge and great delivery." Another interviewee adds: "He's very good at getting people to agree on things in negotiations."

Pharma/Life Sciences - France

THE FIRM This team regularly advises pharmaceutical laboratories and medical device manufacturers. It has remained busy with product liability litigation and criminal investigation proceedings. Key work highlights include representing Novartis Santé Familiale in civil proceedings relating to an alleged defective medication. Pfizer and ViroPharma are amongst its other clients.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Baudesson is the key contact on this team.

Projects - France

THE FIRM The Paris branch of this international player maintains an esteemed position in the market, acting on mandates across the globe. It has a strong presence in both North and Sub-Saharan Africa, but it is equally capable in European, Middle Eastern and Asian mandates. It recently advised BNP Paribas and Société Générale on a USD373 million financing for the United Steel Company (SULB) for the construction and operation of a steel complex in Bahrain. In energy and natural resources, a notable recent deal was advising the lenders on the Lake Kivu methane extraction and power project in Rwanda.

Sources say: “The quality of the lawyers is excellent. They are very good at picking up on the non-legal points and I trust that they will spot any issues. They are able to keep things calm in long days of negotiations."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Anthony Giustini is widely recognised as one of the most eminent lawyers in international projects, particularly for Africa-related work. He recently advised the Pan African Infrastructure Development Fund and Africa Finance Corporation on the EUR15 million Abidjan toll bridge project.

Nicholas Wong gains plaudits for his ability to handle high-profile international projects around the world, with standout knowledge of Turkey. Interviewees praise his in-depth local expertise, and describe him as "incredibly helpful and dedicated." He represented the lenders in the financing of the Gebze-Orhangazi-Izmir motorway in Turkey, a deal which included aspects of Islamic financing. 

Nikolaï Eatwell has vast experience of working on projects in Africa, Eastern Europe and Turkey. He previously worked in Clifford Chance's Moscow and London offices. Sources speak highly of him, describing him as "a world-class lawyer." He assisted the lenders with the financing of a 216 MW gas-fired power plant in Cameroon. 

Public Law - France

THE FIRM This top international player maintains its position at the pinnacle of the market, working on some of the most important public law projects in France. It is able to handle all manner of cases in this field, including those relating to environment, energy, transport and education, covering work from the structuring phase to refinancing. Of late it has seen a marked increase in litigation and arbitration cases. The group acts for both lenders and sponsors, as well as government bodies. It recently advised the European Investment Bank on the PPP contract for the Nîmes–Montpellier high-speed rail link.

Sources say: "One of the best in public law." "The team is reactive and has a great ability to defend its clients' interests."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Public law and PPP practice head David Préat gains superb feedback from market observers. One source says of him: "He's great: highly skilled and always in a position to give good advice, especially when matters are difficult to settle. He remains pragmatic in each situation."

Real Estate - France

THE FIRM Clifford Chance has an impressive reputation for its client care and wide-ranging real estate expertise. Its portfolio of clients includes big-ticket names such as Société Générale, Prologis and Qatar Holding. A particular work highlight was advising Norges Bank Investment Management on a EUR1.4 billion acquisition of office buildings from AXA REIM.

Sources say: "A very good firm covering lots of specialisms." "A straightforward and efficient team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS François Bonteil leads the real estate practice. He is lauded for being "extremely diligent," and garners praise for his real estate finance abilities in particular.  

Restructuring/Insolvency - France

THE FIRM This firm's growing team is active on all sides of restructuring and insolvency files. The team's broad activity includes advising lenders on distressed situations, assisting corporate clients with closing operations, and representing employees in disputes. Sources appreciate the team's international capabilities and the value added by the Paris office's strong employment practice.

Sources say: "We had a very good experience on an extremely difficult project. Whenever I had a question, the firm could always put the right expert in place to help.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Reinhard Dammann is prominent in the French restructuring and insolvency field. He has a keen client focus, with one interviewee observing that “the availability and the quality were both outstanding.”

Tax - France

THE FIRM The tax team at this magic circle firm retains a healthy market share, advising a variety of clients on both domestic and international files. It receives particular praise for its cross-border capacity in tax matters relating to real estate, fund formation and employee share schemes. Clients also note that the lawyers offer a personal touch despite being part of a large firm. In a recent case of note, the group advised Generali on the reorganisation of its European asset management and real estate activities.

Sources say: "A reliable and proactive firm with the resources to work on a global scale."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Eric Davoudet is regarded as "top-class" for his work in real estate matters. He is also considerably experienced in taxation relating to M&A transactions, LBOs and group reorganisations.

Alexandre Lagarrigue attracts praise for his "consumer-oriented and responsive" approach. He excels in work relating to real estate and private equity funds.

TMT - France

THE FIRM This international player has a strong foothold in the French media market. It is very well regarded for its focus on sport law and sport-related media. Of particular note is the firm's internal co-operation, which allows the team to co-ordinate with diverse practices to suit its clients' needs. It recently represented the Ligue de Football Professionnel in relation to the sale of Ligue 1 media rights.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Yves Wehrli is the Paris office's managing partner. He focuses mainly on sport-related media law and recently co-advised UEFA on the 2016 UEFA European Football Championship.

Banking & Finance - Germany

THE FIRM Sources commend this firm's incredible standing in the financial legal market as well as its tremendous client service. The team displays market prominence in acquisition finance and syndicated lending, and also comes recommended for regulatory and aviation work. A key mandate for the group has been advising RBS, HSH Nordbank, Harbourmaster Capital Management and M&G Investment Management on the successful restructuring of the Rodenstock's debt facilities. Its wide-ranging client base is made up of private equity investors, commercial and investment banks, and public regulatory authorities. 

Sources say: "One of the best firms in Germany for finance matters." "The lawyers are diligent, creative and consider the commercial implications."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Described as "one of the top finance lawyers in Germany," Alexandra Hagelüken draws praise for her technical skill and business acumen. She recently advised Fluxys G on the acquisition of Eni's interest in the TENP (Germany) and Transitgas (Switzerland) pipelines.

"Excellent finance lawyer" Barbara Mayer-Trautmann earns rave reviews from both clients and peers. Clients appreciate that she "never fails to give a first-class service and is available around the clock."

The "extremely diligent" Bettina Steinhauer focuses on general bank lending as well as structured and acquisition finance.

With his significant prowess in asset finance and leasing in both aviation and rail matters, clients affirm that Edmund Boyo is "a strong negotiator who always strives to provide excellent legal support." He is also recognised for his broad knowledge of the Nigerian market.

Sources describe Peter Scherer as "one of the most intelligent and most successful regulatory lawyers around."

Riko Vanezis advises on both rail and aviation-related finance issues. In addition to his strong domestic presence, he is recognised outside Germany for his specific knowledge of the Turkish market and clients. 

Capital Markets - Germany

THE FIRM A market leader within structured finance, this firm continues to advise international financial heavyweights such as Commerzbank, Merrill Lynch and Société Générale. With a strong focus on high-yield bonds, the practice has a strong foothold within the debt and equity market and has been busy advising firms on capital increases and IPOs. Clients appreciate the firm's presence in multiple jurisdictions, whilst the German office continues its close collaboration with the Hong Kong team on cross-border matters. Such projects focus on the issuance of renminbi-denominated bonds.

Sources say: With Clifford Chance you have the possibility to work with lawyers from other jurisdictions when required. Everyone is very easy to work with and they understand the complexities of the documentation. Not all law firms get this.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS An established figure within the debt capital markets arena, Sebastian Maerker heads the debt group here. He recently led the firm's transaction with renminbi bonds for BSH Bosch and Siemens Hausgeräte. 

Banking and capital markets practitioner Peter Scherer remains active within the field of structured finance law.

Marc Benzler recently led the practice's work with Ares Capital in connection with the purchase of a bond. The matter was a cross-border deal, as the initial note holders are situated in Luxembourg.

Described as “a strong addition” to the team, Austrian and New York-qualified George Hacket is key to advising on US aspects of the group's deals.

Arne Klüwer continues to support many of the firm's banking clients with their capital markets needs.

Continuing his work advising conduits, Oliver Kronat remains a key member of the firm's structured finance practice.

Head of equity capital markets Markus Pfüller impresses sources with his “experience and breadth of work.” He advised Crédit Agricole as underwriter on the successful IPO of Adler Modemärkte.

UK-qualified Kirti Vasu continues to demonstrate strong work within the securities market.

Michael Weller has been especially active of late advising financial industry clients on structured finance matters within capital markets.

Up-and-coming practitioner in the area of derivatives, Gregor Evenkamp wins praise for his expertise in equitised derivatives.

Competition/European Law - Germany

THE FIRM This magic circle firm's German competition practice advises clients in a broad range of industries, notably the energy, telecommunications and automotive sectors. Key recent mandates for the group include advising Fluxys G on the acquisition of TENP and Transitgas, and assisting Volkswagen with its acquisition of the outstanding shares in Porsche.

Sources say: "The team is very hands-on and has an outstanding ability to understand and work on a client's needs."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Besen enjoys growing market visibility and clients say: "He's a great guy to work with; practical, hands-on and no-nonsense." He recently advised JPMorgan on the merger control case concerning Liberty Global's acquisition of Kabel Baden-Württemberg. 

Joachim Schütze wins praise for his experience in the energy sector: "His strong point is his familiarity with the energy market - not many German competition lawyers can claim the same expertise." He notably advised Fluxys G on the acquisition of TENP and Transitgas. 

Corporate/M&A - Germany

THE FIRM Due to its stellar reputation in the sector, Clifford Chance's German corporate practice was particularly active in high-end energy-related transactions over the past twelve months. Standout assignments include advising a consortium of institutional investors led by Commerz Real on the acquisition of a 74.9% share in transmission system operator Amprion, and providing advice to Fluxys on its EUR860 million acquisition of Eni's interests in TENP and Transitgas.

Sources say: "Top-notch lawyers: quick, trustworthy and extremely service-oriented." "I appreciate the team's intelligent input, understanding of the economics behind the deal, participation in negotiations and excellent drafting skills."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients describe Arndt Stengel as a "creative and constructive" lawyer. "He is an outstanding technician and can always come up with ideas to solve our problems."

Wolfgang Richter is recognised in the market for his ongoing work with Volkswagen. He has recently represented the company in its takeover offer for truck manufacturer MAN.

Clients praise Andreas Dietzel for his ability to co-ordinate large, cross-border transactions. One interviewee says: "He is committed, organised and thinks about the bigger picture. He's also hugely experienced." 

Dispute Resolution - Germany

THE FIRM Recognised for its strong market presence within dispute resolution litigation, the German practice at this magic circle firm displays extensive market coverage in a wide array of industry sectors. Clients highly recommend the group's capabilities in litigation disputes. With established offices in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, the practice has experienced further geographical growth with the recent formation of a commercial litigation team in Munich. 

Sources say: "The firm offers competitive rates and always does a good job."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head and experienced litigator Uwe Hornung is consistently recommended by clients, who say he “has great judgement based on wide experience. He combines outstanding legal and personal insights for a very balanced and practical approach of the case inside and outside of the courtroom.

Fabian von Schlabrendorff remains a known arbitrator within the German market.

Frankfurt partner Burkhard Schneider impresses sources with his experience working for the defendant in litigation matters.

Clients enthuse over Sebastian Rakob, saying: “He is highly experienced and capable. Our working relationship with him is always excellent.” 

Dispute Resolution: White-Collar Crime - Germany

THE FIRM This international legal heavyweight remains a market leader in white-collar crime corporate advisory in Germany. One of the primary areas of focus for the Frankfurt-based team in recent times has been the interface between criminal law and tax law, also relating to cross-border financial services and corruption charges. The group frequently advises on criminal law matters within the scope of corporate, banking, capital markets and real estate law. The team boasts an impressive client portfolio in an array of different industry sectors, such as energy, automotive and financial markets. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Heiner Hugger continues to manage a team of seven in white-collar matters and remains a respected leading figure amongst peers.

Employment - Germany

THE FIRM Best known for its transactional support work, this firm's employment practice has recently handled a number of restructurings, litigations and compliance matters. The team's varied client roster is comprised of prominent German and international companies from a range of industries, including financial services, energy, automotive and media. Notable recent highlights include advising Visteon with regard to European works council issues.

Sources say: "We use Clifford for employment law because we're convinced of the quality." "The team is quick, straightforward and practical, and has excellent know-how."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Nicole Engesser Means comes recommended for her responsiveness, commerciality and experience. She is considered particularly strong for contentious matters.

The respected Bernt Gach assists clients with reorganisations, co-determination issues, company pensions and employee benefits.

Thomas Hey is an active presence on the German employment market. His recent mandates include advising the works council with regard to the complex restructuring of WestLB, and representing biotechnology company Amgen in its acquisition of Micromet.

Since publication, Bernt Gach has retired from this practice.

Energy & Natural Resources - Germany

THE FIRM Interviewees laud this top-ranked player's formidable expertise in both transactional and regulatory energy matters. It is regularly seen advising on the biggest transactions in the market, recently counselling two bidders on the auction process for Open Grid Europe, and assisting Fluxys with the acquisition and financing of shares in the TENP and Transitgas pipelines. On the regulatory side, the team recently won a test case against the Federal Network Agency relating to the initial setting of upper profit limits for network payments. It remains a visible presence in the renewables sector, where notable work highlights include advising the project developers on the financing of offshore wind park EnBW Baltic 1.

Sources say: "The firm is clearly outstanding in this market."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Commentators describe the highly reputed Peter Rosin as "one of the forefathers of German energy law." Clients value his in-house experience, saying: "He has practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge, and that makes him really special."

The well-regarded Thomas Burmeister recently advised Fluxys on its acquisition of shares in the TENP and Transitgas pipelines.

Interviewees remark upon Björn Heinlein's prolific activity. His recent work highlights include advising Mid American Holding on its bid to acquire Open Grid Europe from E.ON.

Environment - Germany

THE FIRM This practice frequently draws on the expertise of the firm's successful energy, real estate and M&A departments. The team comes recommended for its international capabilities but also maintains a strong domestic practice, particularly in the areas of waste disposal, environmental liabilities and planning law. Highlights from the past twelve months include advising Amprion on planning approval procedures for high-voltage power lines and underground cables.

Sources say: "The lawyers are really efficient with their time, and very good on international issues." "A very high level of competence and advice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Munich-based partner Horst Schlemminger is recognised for his expertise in environmental issues relating to real estate and construction. His notable recent mandates include advising Macquarie on several urban development contracts connected to a geothermal power plant.

Healthcare - Germany

THE FIRM This internationally active firm offers a broad-ranging practice in both the healthcare and life sciences fields and wins praise for its substantial global network. Throughout recent months, the group displayed an ever-growing presence within the healthcare industry and the team comes highly recommended for its regulatory and compliance work. A recent highlight saw the team representing clients Pfizer and Bayer in proceedings relating to medical advertising law. The group also advised Boehringer Ingelheim, Bayer HealthCare and Janssen Cilag with respect to the AMNOG reform (Act on the Reform of the Market for Medicinal Products).

Sources say: "Always providing consistently outstanding service - the turnaround time is very short and the quality of advice is very high." "The firm is very well positioned in the life sciences sector - the lawyers really know their business."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Life sciences aficionado Peter Dieners is lauded as "certainly one of the most prominent lawyers in this legal field in Germany." Sources further applaud his grasp of the ever-changing market: "He has a unique status - he is an excellent lawyer whilst having a very good sense of new developments - a really valuable partner in discussions on unknown legal fields." He recently advised Amgen during Micromet's takeover.

Ulrich Reese received instruction from Bayer and Pfizer regarding the Medical Products Advertisement Law. Enthusiastic feedback confirms: "He really is an outstanding lawyer with very deep knowledge of the law and a very good understanding of the healthcare and life sciences environment."

Insurance - Germany

THE FIRM This recognised insurance group's core strengths lie in M&A transactions, corporate governance and compliance. Working closely with colleagues from the firm's tax and funds departments, the insurance team is equipped to handle the full range of structuring, financial and regulatory aspects associated with large-scale transactions. Standout recent mandates include advising UNIQA Group on the sale of its 91% stake in listed insurance company Mannheimer.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Krecek is the main contact for insurance and reinsurance matters at the firm.

Investment Funds - Germany

THE FIRM Standout work highlights and glowing market feedback cement this firm's top-tier position in investment funds. Clients laud the firm's international network and the strength of the group's cross-jurisdictional work. The team has been particularly active in real estate funds work, notably advising on public open-ended real estate funds that closed due to liquidity problems. An important mandate for the group saw it assist DVB Bank with regards to insolvency claims filed against one of the three main insolvent Icelandic banks.

Sources say: "Very good expertise on the fund side - it's a great team with an excellent international platform." "The lawyers are experts in this field."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers continue to highlight Sven Zeller as "one of the most remarkable figures in the German investment funds industry." He has recently been working extensively with Barclays Bank in relation to new UCITS funds.

The "brilliant" Josef Brinkhaus is head of the tax practice and funds group. His broad legal knowledge enables him to advise on real estate, M&A and fund-linked structured products issues.  

Private Equity - Germany

THE FIRM This international giant remains a leading light within the private equity world. It has won a number of new clients of late, including Triton, Bridgepoint and Chequers Capital. Further recent highlights include acting for the vendor in Montagu's sale of BSN Medical. The team has also frequently been advising client HgCapital, notably regarding the sales of SLV Group and Mondo Minerals. Clients appreciate the international platform the firm is able to provide and the team's ability to quickly mobilise its resources.

Sources say: "The team works incredibly efficiently and the service quality is great." "A top-ranking global firm with international coverage, an excellent partner network and depth in numbers when needed."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice leader Oliver Felsenstein is consistently recommended as "outstanding." Sources say: "He is very commercial, very experienced, responsive and has a very good standing in the market. He has a very good ability to form solid teams in an efficient manner. He is not one of these dry technical guys - he understands the market very well and has a commercial approach."

Clients enthuse about Christopher Kellett, saying: "He is very responsive, commercial and knows exactly what a client needs." Others say: "He is excellent to work with. He is qualified in both the UK and Germany, which is extremely helpful to pan-European clients - he is completely able to work across both systems and always hits the ground running."

Munich-based Burc Hesse is lauded as "a very efficient negotiator and a very good communicator - he points out potential problems in the deal at the right time." He recently advised HgCapital on the sale of SLV Group.  

Projects - Germany

THE FIRM Clifford Chance's sizeable German team maintains an exceptionally high profile in the international projects market, impressing sources with its involvement in numerous cross-border project finance transactions. Recent highlights include advising KfW IPEX-Bank on the financing of the 272 MW Seigneurie de Beaupré wind parks in Canada, and representing the lenders with regard to the financing of the USD10 billion Gebze Izmir toll motorway project. Due to the firm's outstanding reputation in the banking and financial services sector, the team is regularly called upon to advise leading financial institutions such as Commerzbank, European Investment Bank and Deutsche Bank.

Sources say: "The lawyers are very familiar with the banks' requirements." "Strong and active in the offshore wind field."

KEY INDIVIDUALS English law-qualified Riko Vanezis is recognised for his projects work in the Turkish market, where he recently advised on the Bosphorus Car Tunnel Project. This project concerns the development and construction of the Istanbul Strait Road Tunnel Crossing, enabling light vehicles to travel between the European and Asian sides of Istanbul underneath the Istanbul Strait.

Described as "an expert" in this legal market, Beda Wortmann focuses on project finance and PPP mandates, as well as real estate finance transactions. Sources say: "He's absolutely someone who has a broad practice and deserves to be in Band 1."

Tobias Schulten has notable expertise advising on project finance transactions concerning energy and infrastructure. He recently advised lenders on financing the acquisition of a 48 MWp solar power facility located in Canaro, Italy.  

Interviewees admire Dietrich Stiller for his "extraordinary knowledge regarding financing." He led the firm's work on the financing of the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind parks in Canada.

Real Estate - Germany

THE FIRM Sources are unanimous in their praise for this firm's top-rated real estate practice. Working closely with its acclaimed finance, tax and corporate departments, the team is consistently involved in the most prominent and high-volume transactions in the market. Significant mandates from recent months include advising Aareal Bank on the EUR300 million secured refinancing of a logistics property portfolio, and assisting Curzon Capital Partners III with its acquisition of the Dieterich-Karree property in Düsseldorf.

Sources say: "Certainly a top firm." "An excellent team; very well networked and very up to date with current developments." "Decidedly pleasant and unpretentious."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources acknowledge the "brilliant" Klaus Minuth's extensive experience in real estate transactions. Clients add: "He's very pragmatic, business-minded and deal-oriented." 

Christian Keilich moves up in the rankings this year thanks to extensive complimentary feedback from interviewees. Impressed clients say: "He is commercial, pragmatic, efficient and experienced. He is able to create a good atmosphere in negotiations, and win the trust of the counterparty."

Sources pick out the renowned Reinhard Scheer-Hennings for his sharpness and strong negotiation skills, as well as his impressive client base.

Practice head Cornelia Thaler is recognised as an active and leading figure in the real estate market. She recently assisted a real estate fund managed by The Carlyle Group with the EUR63.5 million sale of its office and retail building in Hamburg.

Known for his complex transactional work, Jörn Stobbe is appreciated for "putting the deal first." Clients also highlight his down-to-earth and responsive approach.

Real Estate - Germany

THE FIRM This impressive real estate finance team climbs to the top band this year after receiving highly complimentary feedback from interviewees. Working closely with the firm's top-ranked real estate practice, the team is particularly visible in refinancings and loan restructurings, and is a regular presence on the biggest transactions in the market. One noteworthy recent mandate saw the team advise Aareal Bank on the EUR300 million refinancing of a logistics property portfolio in Germany and Poland. Further highlights from the past twelve months include assisting Hatfield Philips with the restructuring of a EUR940 million securitised loan.

Sources say: "Engaged in almost every relevant real estate finance transaction." "An extremely strong practice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees commend Beda Wortmann for his long-standing experience in the real estate finance market. His recent work includes assisting DWS with the financing of its acquisition of Allianz's German headquarters.

Banking and capital markets practitioner Tobias Schulten acts for banks and sponsors on domestic and international financing projects. He is recognised for his strength in the energy and infrastructure sectors, in addition to his transactional knowledge. He also acts on matters involving the aerospace and defence sector.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Germany

THE FIRM This magic circle firm is frequently praised for its debt restructuring expertise, and is most often seen advising the senior lender syndicates in restructuring and insolvency cases. Examples of this include advising the banking syndicate on the refinancing of automotive supplier Novem and its subsequent sale to Bregal Capital. The team also advises the State of Saxony on all issues relating to Sachsen LB's EUR17.5 billion portfolio on an ongoing basis.

Sources say: "For a practice of this size, it is remarkably personal in its approach." "Clifford Chance would always be my first stop for a complex restructuring or insolvency."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients consider Stefan Sax an "authoritative adviser on complex, large, multi-bank restructurings." Interviewees praise the high-quality and timely delivery of his work.

The "prominent" Heinz-Günter Gondert recently advised on the insolvency claim brought by Qimonda against Leipziger Messe and M+W Services.

Tax - Germany

THE FIRM This ten-partner practice provides tax support on real estate, corporate and investment funds transactions. Notable mandates include advising CommerzReal and the investor consortium on their acquisition of a stake in energy company Amprion, and advising Hatfield Philips on structuring a EUR940 million securitised loan.

Sources say: “The Clifford Chance partners we deal with are highly engaged and enthusiastic.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS According to peers, Stefan Behrens has “an excellent reputation for real estate transfer tax.” He advises clients from a variety of industries such as insurance companies and pension funds on real estate fund structuring on an ongoing basis.

Josef Brinkhaus heads the tax practice and funds group at the firm. He advised on the taxation aspects of CommerzReal's acquisition of a 74.9% stake in energy company Amprion.

Hubert Schmid receives praise for his “highly enthusiastic and responsive” approach. Sources also appreciate the “high quality” of his work.

TMT - Germany

THE FIRM This firm receives positive recognition from both clients and competitors for its IT work. Its strong global network means it is well placed to advise international clients on a variety of issues, with notable areas of expertise including outsourcing and sector-specific corporate transactions. In a recent highlight, the group advised Research In Motion on the acquisition of Munich-based company Ubitexx.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Bernd Meyer-Witting leads the practice from the Frankfurt office.

Banking & Finance - Italy

THE FIRM This firm plays a starring role in many of the market's most important banking and finance mandates. The team draws particular praise for its expertise in leverage finance, capital markets and pure banking work. Recent highlights include advising Banca IMI, UniCredit and Cassa Depositi, amongst others, as lenders on refinancing the existing debt of Edipower. Sources are quick to praise the team's strength in cross-border deals, as demonstrated by its work for leading financial institutions such as JPMorgan, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Charles Adams "is simply outstanding, almost of another world. He has strong commercial and managerial skills," say clients. He is a noted name in project finance and earns plaudits for his international experience, being qualified in both the UK and Italy.

Sources describe department head Giuseppe De Palma as "a superb negotiator who focuses on the business aspects of a deal." He recently assisted JPMorgan with the bridge-to-bond financing of the LBO of the Bormioli Group.

Capital Markets - Italy

THE FIRM This excellent team is strong across the board but has been particularly prominent in equity capital markets recently, winning a series of important mandates for both corporates and financial institutions. The team advised Mediobanca as the lead manager on Fondiaria SAI's EUR1.1 billion capital increase, and assisted Moleskine with its IPO. On the debt side, the team handles a steady stream of instructions: highlights include Luxottica's EUR500 million bond issue in April 2012. Market observers also regard the group as a significant player in securitisation.

Sources say: "Precise in its advice. Up to date and well positioned." "I like the international network: when there are restrictions all over the world, Clifford can answer questions quickly and without incurring further expense."

KEY INDIVIDUALS A leading figure in the team, Alberta Figari inspires confidence in clients thanks to her extensive experience on topics including IPOs and other equity-linked deals. She has strong relationships with a number of major financial institutions.

Interviewees confirm Filippo Emanuele's position as a prominent UK-qualified debt capital markets lawyer. Clients are quick to praise him, pointing out that he "knows the arguments well and is very practical. He's a smart and quick lawyer." 

Tanja Svetina is a high-profile presence in the market and receives strong feedback from clients. She recently advised Barclays on Mercurio's issue of EUR7 billion RMBS. Sources indicate her "commercial approach" as a particular asset.

Franco Grilli Cicilioni wins recognition as a leading Italian-law debt capital markets partner in the team. A recent work highlight was advising Deutsche Bank on two simultaneous senior secured notes issues by Lecta totalling EUR590 million.

Described by clients as a "very skilful and promising" lawyer, senior associate Carlo Lichino recently assisted with several key securitisation and covered bond deals.

Competition/European Law - Italy

THE FIRM In spite of recent departures, this group remains strong in this area. The team is divided between Milan and Rome, and increasingly combines administrative assistance with traditional competition advice. A recent highlight saw the firm represent Pfizer before the IAA in an alleged abuse of dominance case, and subsequent appeal before the Rome administrative tribunal.

Sources say: "I feel like part of the team; the lawyers are friendly, collaborative and deliver a high-quality service."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Luciano Di Via joined the firm in August 2013, and observers await to see the impact this will have on the market. "He has an in-depth knowledge of Italian antitrust legislation. He is passionate about his job and offers strong support to his clients," notes an interviewee.

Corporate/M&A - Italy

THE FIRM The well-reputed corporate/M&A team at this magic circle firm has grown in size recently, and maintains a healthy level of activity on a variety of domestic and cross-border deals, advising high-profile clients such as Generali, Pfizer, E.ON and Poste Italiane. In a recent highlight, the firm assisted Cassa Depositi e Prestiti and Fondo Strategico Italiano with the negotiation of a joint venture with Qatar Holding. The JV will invest up to EUR2 billion in 'Made in Italy' products and companies.

KEY INDIVIDUALS “Very dedicated” Umberto Penco Salvi is “impressive in negotiations, not only on the legal side but also on financial and business items,” note clients. He acted for EDF on the EUR1.8 billion acquisition of the 50% of Edison that it did not already own.

Clients say Paolo Sersale is “technically very strong and knows the business environment well. He has a very flexible attitude and style.” He recently advised Japanese construction conglomerate JS Group on the EUR600 million acquisition of Permasteelisa.

Alberta Figari is well known for both corporate/M&A and capital markets work. Recent mandates include advising Nice on the acquisition of an 80% stake in Elero from Paragon Partners.

Dispute Resolution - Italy

THE FIRM This global firm has been involved in a number of the market's most significant cases over the past year. Cases of note include advising Standard & Poor's on the unprecedented market abuse investigation against it, and on a large number of requests for damages from investors who bought Lehman securities. The team operates across a broad range of industries and of late has been particularly active in white-collar crime investigations and restructuring and insolvency matters.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The principal contact here is Fabio Guastadisegni, who heads the litigation and dispute resolution group.

Employment - Italy

THE FIRM This magic circle firm houses a comprehensive employment practice which is particularly commended for its cross-border capabilities. Standout recent mandates include advising Generali on the employment aspects of a complex group reorganisation. The team also continues to provide strategic advice to Apple on its retail expansion.  

KEY INDIVIDUALS Moving up the rankings this year thanks to excellent client feedback is Simonetta Candela, who wins plaudits for her ability to “unpack legal concepts and explain them in layman's terms.” She is also noted for her swift understanding of complex problems.  

Energy & Natural Resources - Italy

THE FIRM Sources report that this firm has a solid presence in the Italian energy market, and its team covers topics project development, M&A and industry regulation, amongst other topics. Recently, it acted on EDF's high-profile acquisition of the 50% of Edison it did not already own, and advised ERG on the acquisition of two wind farms in Italy. The firm is also currently representing BG Group in long-running litigation before the administrative courts.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Italian managing partner Charles Adams is renowned for his expertise in project finance, and described as an “excellent lawyer – reliable and effective.” He recently advised Investec Bank on the financing of ten photovoltaic plants.

Chiara Commis has considerable experience in energy law and project finance. She recently assisted Solarinvest with the development and sale of a number of plants.  

Private Equity - Italy

THE FIRM Since the arrival of Claudio Cerabolini in May 2011, this international giant has experienced a period of growth in private equity transactions. Thanks to its wide coverage, it predominantly acts for international clients and has been involved in a number of important mandates. In a recent example it acted for Equistone Partners Europe on the Italian law aspects of the EUR1 billion sale of shopping tourism company Global Blue.

Sources say: "A team of resilient professionals who are always able to find a solution that meets clients' expectations."

KEY INDIVIDUALS According to clients, partner Claudio Cerabolini "is able to offer an in-depth understanding of the analyses and goals of private equity players." He recently represented UniCredit in the sale of Sofipa to Synergo.

Public Law - Italy

THE FIRM This team advises on both international and domestic public and administrative issues for major clients such as Citibank, EDF, Poste Italiane and Trenitalia. Notably, the firm continues to advise Tirrenia di Navigazione, Italy's state-owned shipping line, on its privatisation. The team also recently assisted Brindisi LNG with various administrative procedures relating to the authorisation of British Gas's LNG regasification terminal in Brindisi.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Aristide Police is a venerable figure in the public law market, and receives high praise from interviewees: “He is one of the best lawyers in Rome, and Italy, for administrative law.”

Real Estate - Italy

THE FIRM This skilled team offers the gamut of real estate services, although debt restructurings have dominated its workload in recent months. It assists an eclectic mix of domestic and international clients including institutional investors, banks, hotels and retail groups. It recently represented the Asian hotel chain Shangri La in the EUR116 million acquisition of Turati Properties from Aedes.

Sources say: "Knowledgeable, responsive, reliable and service-oriented."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Paolo Rulli is popular with clients, with sources stating: "He is very commercial. He knows my needs and delivers creative solutions." He recently acted for Central Retail Corporation on the EUR130 million acquisition of a three-building retail portfolio.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Italy

THE FIRM This firm handles a considerable volume of Italian restructuring work thanks to its strength in banking. It is especially active on behalf of international lenders, recently advising RBS as senior lender on the Seat Pagine Gialle restructuring. The team also represented Standard & Poor's in civil liability proceedings arising from the Lehman bankruptcy. Clients say its exceptional global network is a definite asset in cross-border work.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Charles Adams focuses on acquisition and project finance as well as restructuring. Qualified in Italy and the UK, he often handles cross-border transactions, and clients say: "He has a great commercial attitude and is always able to find a solution."

Tax - Italy

THE FIRM This tax department is best known for acting on the tax aspects of M&A, capital markets and restructuring transactions, such as advising RBS on the tax issues of Seat Pagine Gialle's debt restructuring. The team is also active in litigation and pre-litigation stages of challenges to tax assessments.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients appreciate Carlo Galli's diplomatic approach to negotiations: "He understands the business considerations and supports both parties to come to a workable solution."

Banking & Finance - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This prolific magic circle firm assists domestic and international clients with all aspects of banking and finance. It represents major financial institutions, private equity houses, commercial groups and public bodies, with the Luxembourg team frequently acting in conjunction with the wider firm to advise the European Financial Stability Facility on key European issues. Recent highlights also include large-cap acquisition financings. Clients note the group's rapid approach and extensive international reach.

Sources say: "The team has outstanding knowledge and finds creative solutions."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Steve Jacoby is highlighted as "a top banking lawyer." He is highly reputed for his work in areas ranging from acquisition finance to insolvency.

Christian Kremer has wide-ranging expertise, and has recently advised on issues including the establishment and licensing of a new bank.

Clients appreciate the work of Marc Mehlen "on sophisticated, high-pressure deals." His practice encompasses corporate facilities, acquisition finance, structured finance and securitisation.

Capital Markets - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This firm covers the full spectrum of capital markets work but is particularly strong in debt matters. The team advises major financial institutions and corporate groups on senior note and high-yield bond issues, as well as covered bonds and complex structured finance products. The group also has experience in acquisition financing for deals that use the 'Double LuxCo' structure. A recent highlight was assisting Commerzbank with Agate Asset's EUR10 billion asset-backed MTN programme.

Sources say: “Willing to go the extra mile. The lawyers are responsive, commercial, and happy to go outside their comfort zone.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Christian Kremer is a key figure in the capital markets team. His recent activity includes MTN programmes, covered bond issues and bond restructuring.

Interviewees appreciate Steve Jacoby's “commercial outlook, and ability to convert commercial requirements into the necessary legal documentation. He's a very talented lawyer."

Marc Mehlen advises banks, corporate groups and private equity clients on various capital markets work. He is praised for his direct approach and ability to “clearly explain the law and tell you what is the right thing to do.”

Corporate/Commercial - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This international firm's Luxembourg office has an impressive offering across a wide spread of corporate issues. Cross-border M&A is a particular strength, especially in the banking and insurance sectors, and the team is commended for its tax structuring expertise. Corporate reorganisations, corporate governance, company secretarial work and regulatory compliance are all issues which the lawyers handle on behalf of a prestigious client portfolio. Major private equity transactions are also a key area of expertise within the department.

Sources say: “Fantastic. Our preferred firm for corporate work in Luxembourg.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS The “reactive and quick-thinking” Christian Kremer heads the department. Sources are full of praise for his approach, saying: “He has a strong knowledge of the market and Luxembourg law in various areas, and always spots where the key problems on a transaction are straight away.”

Steve Jacoby is a banking specialist with broad experience in major corporate transactions, and is described as a “switched-on, commercial lawyer.”

Dispute Resolution - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This active team has a strong reputation for its cross-border and multidisciplinary dispute resolution work. Recent mandates have included representing banks in bankruptcy proceedings, assisting UK liquidators before the Luxembourg commercial court and advising large corporates on fraud investigations. The team also handles international arbitration cases.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Key partner Albert Moro receives high praise from interviewees: "He can handle difficult decisions, and will put the client's interests before his own reputation."

Employment - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This global firm carries considerable weight on the employment market thanks to a varied offering which encompasses both contentious and non-contentious work. The team's advisory activity includes assisting clients with senior management contracts, termination agreements, collective bargaining, transfers of activities and employee data protection, alongside work on major corporate transactions. On the contentious side, the group defends employers against claims made by current and former employees. 

Sources say: "We have an excellent relationship: if we call requiring assistance within four hours, we get it. Urgent and complex matters are always dealt with."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Albert Moro receives high praise from interviewees for his employment practice. One source states: "He is extremely well-rounded, with tons of experience and a pragmatic approach to everything. He is always a pleasure to work with and very understanding of the issues at hand."

Investment Funds - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This international firm covers the full spectrum of investment funds work. The team regularly advises on the establishment and management of specialised investment funds with a variety of target sectors; real estate and infrastructure are noteworthy areas of expertise. Sources particularly commend the team for its ability to seamlessly handle regulatory approval across multiple jurisdictions.

Sources say: “Lawyers with very creative minds and great ideas.” “Fast, responsive and thorough.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Interviewees say Joëlle Hauser has “really exceptional knowledge; she seems to know SICAFs better than the regulator.” She is considered “tremendous for real estate funds.”

Real Estate - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This firm has a respected real estate practice which handles an impressive selection of transactions and disputes. Alongside acquisitions and disposals, the firm recently established a strong foothold in the rental market and represents a number of high-profile clients in complex lease agreements. In PPP, the team's activity includes regularly advising private and public entities on the tendering and construction aspects of deals.

Sources say: "It is a diligent firm, with quick turnaround times and an excellent partner-level service."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients appreciate the work of "fine technician" Albert Moro. "He will make hard calls and guide you through the process," states one source. His recent highlights include large commercial lease agreements, and office and residential development projects.

Tax - Luxembourg

THE FIRM This team houses practitioners qualified as both lawyers and accountants, and advises on a raft of complex tax mandates. The group is especially active in the financial services sector, but also offers considerable experience in areas including insurance, funds and energy. Recent highlights include assisting HSBC with a complex tax analysis, and advising AEW Europe on the structuring aspects of the merger of three funds.

Sources say: "An efficient team which provides fast answers, even to complex questions. The lawyers have an excellent understanding of the interaction of Luxembourg with other jurisdictions." "The practice knows the bigger picture regarding our work, and gives us practical, applicable solutions."

KEY INDIVIDUALS François-Xavier Dujardin moves up the rankings this year thanks to very strong client feedback. One source states: "He is highly sophisticated and considered, as well as being available, responsive and reactive." He is acknowledged for his prowess in financing structures.

Banking & Finance - Netherlands

THE FIRM This firm is universally regarded as housing one of the best banking and finance teams in the country, thanks to its breadth of expertise and considerable local and international presence. Recent mandates have centred on bank lending, asset finance, and real estate finance, and the group is also increasingly active in regulatory work. It is regularly involved in the market's most important deals, such as advising Rabobank as lead arranger on the all-senior financing package for 3i's acquisition of Action. The team also advised ABN AMRO and NIBC on the acquisition financing for the Philips High Tech Campus.

Sources say: "The team is highly dedicated, and it really stands out for the way it handles client relationships." "Clear market leaders in financing."

KEY INDIVIDUALS UK-qualified Mark Huddlestone heads the practice and attracts fantastic praise across the board: "He's very proactive and knows what we require. A great guy to work with." He was recently involved in the team's work for Rabobank, regarding the financing package for 3i's acquisition of Action.

Sources enthuse about Bas Boris Visser's diplomatic approach, saying "he takes in everyone's interests and gets the deal through." His areas of expertise include acquisition finance and restructuring.

Jelle Hofland impresses clients with his breadth of expertise and superb negotiation skills: "He's very popular and creates a good rapport with clients as well as those on the other side." He notably advised TKH Group on the financing relating to its public takeover offer for all outstanding shares in Augusta Technologie.

Clients describe UK-qualified Angela McEwan as "dedicated and savvy – she can find practical solutions for complex issues." Her recent highlights include advising ABN AMRO, Barclays, BNP Paribas, Credit Suisse, HSBC, ING, Rabobank, and RBS on a series of bilateral multicurrency revolving facilities totalling EUR775 million for Fugro Finance.

Frank Graaf is the key contact for regulatory work. His practice covers securities, derivatives, and financial services-related work.

UK-qualified Jackie Jones works for a range of international banks, and has been particularly active in bank lending, refinancing, and acquisition finance in recent months. She recently acted for ING on the new USD500 million borrowing base transaction for Mercuria.

Senior associate Titus De Vries attracts widespread praise for his growing practice. He specialises in acquisition finance and general lending, and was recently involved in assisting a pool of banks with the acquisition financing of Scotch & Soda by Sun Capital Partners.

Capital Markets - Netherlands

THE FIRM A market leader in debt work, this firm has a deep bench of top-notch capital markets lawyers. It advised Volkswagen and its subsidiary Volkswagen International Finance on a USD3.35 billion bond issue by Volkswagen International Finance. It also acted as arranger for Deutsche Bank on the establishment of a EUR3 billion MTN Programme for Enexis Holding. On the equity side, the team advised Cinven and Warburg Pincus on Ziggo's IPO on NYSE Euronext Amsterdam.

Sources say: "We appreciate its global reach and excellent understanding of new regulations."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Hans Beerlage heads the equity capital markets team, and is praised by clients as "a guy you can really depend on."

Highly respected for his expertise in financial regulation, Frank Graaf is also recognised for his work in derivatives, structured products and repackaging transactions.

Pieter van Welzen receives praise from market commentators for his work in securitisation. He also handles structured finance, derivatives, and asset-based and real estate finance.

Tineke Kothe is a highly visible figure in debt work. Her practice covers international capital markets offerings and financial regulation.

Jurgen van der Meer wins praise for his work on bond issues. Sources describes him as "a good sparring partner who is always up to speed with market developments."

Competition/European Law - Netherlands

THE FIRM This firm's strong financial expertise means that it is well placed to advise financial institutions on state aid matters. It has continued to represent the Dutch Central Bank in an appeal against the General Court of the EU relating to state aid provided to ING, a matter which has attracted much attention. Other notable matters include advising SAMSUNG in an antitrust investigation, and advising América Móvil on the competition aspects of its partial tender offer for KPN. Further key clients for the practice include Vodafone, CVC Capital Partners and Pon Holdings.

Sources say: "The firm serves us very well. I like it because it's solution-driven rather than problem-driven."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Dividing her time between the Dutch and Brussels offices, Frances Dethmers attracts praise from sources for her commercial expertise. One client remarks: "She's one of the best I've come across. She combines an economics background with legal expertise."

Steven Verschuur continues to impress with his strengths in competition and state aid matters. One interviewee states: "He's a very good lawyer – sound in his knowledge of the law and practical in his approach."

Corporate/M&A - Netherlands

THE FIRM This major corporate team advised CVC on its disposal of C1000 to Jumbo in one of the biggest deals of the past year. Other highlights include advising AES on the sale of 80% of its holding in Murcia Generation to Electrabel International. The firm is praised for its excellent international capacity, as well as its strengths in financing matters.

Sources say: "We appreciate the seamless work between offices. It has a lot of expertise, and provides very solid execution."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeroen Koster heads the corporate practice and specialises in M&A, joint ventures and commercial contracts.

Dispute Resolution - Netherlands

THE FIRM The dispute resolution team at this magic circle firm handles an extensive range of corporate, commercial and financial disputes. Its reputation in financial litigation is undisputed, with the team's role in representing Bank of America Merrill Lynch in the Fortis securities litigation attracting the attention of market commentators. Further notable clients include Rabobank, Carrefour and Pfizer.

Sources say: "Very thorough analysis of situations, its advice is always solid. The global network is also an advantage."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Jeroen Ouwehand leads the firm's continental Europe litigation and dispute resolution practice. He handles corporate and commercial litigation and arbitration, and is leading the team advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch on the Fortis case.

Counsel Leonore Bruining specialises in corporate and securities litigation.

Employment - Netherlands

THE FIRM This magic circle giant has a strong foothold in the Dutch employment market. Despite the departure of department head Ruth van Andel the firm continues to be held in high regard as an employment practice. It recently advised on all employment-related matters relating to CVC Capital's sale of supermarket chain C1000 to Jumbo Groep. It also assists with the employment law aspects of restructurings, outsourcing and M&A.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Counsel Sara Schermerhorn is a key contact for the firm.

Energy & Natural Resources - Netherlands

THE FIRM Clifford Chance plays a strong role in the domestic energy market and on cross-border energy transactions, where it can draw on its vast international network. Recent highlights include advising Arawak Energy Ukraine on establishing a strategic partnership with Geo-Alliance Oil-Gas, and advising Sword Infrastructure III on the financing for its acquisition and expansion of Argos Terminals.

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Griston, who recently arrived from the Moscow office, and Jaap Koster are the key contacts for the energy practice.

Investment Funds - Netherlands

THE FIRM WIth a pre-eminent position in banking and finance, this international heavyweight also maintains its leading role in the Dutch investment funds market. Recent highlights for the three-partner team include acting for Waterland Private Equity Investments on a range of matters, and advising PGGM Vermogensbeheer on its investment funds, pension fund clients and asset management activities. It also assisted Amvest with the fund structuring of its real estate portfolio. Other major clients include Blue Sky Group and Bouwinvest. 

Sources say: "The team is co-operative, knowledgeable and flexible. The whole experience has been very positive."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Ate van IJlzinga Veenstra heads the practice. Sources praise his extensive experience and strong practice.

Quirine Eenhorst was recently promoted to partner. She has expertise relating to private funds, institutional investments and asset management, as part of a broad practice. Interviewees praise her as being "very good and very hard-working." 

Sources say Marian Scheele is "excellent – I'd recommend her for anyone interested in setting up funds or venture capital. She knows such a lot about the area."

Private Equity - Netherlands

THE FIRM This firm's undisputed financial expertise gives it significant leverage in private equity work. The team advised CVC on the disposal of C1000 to Jumbo, in addition to advising it on its investment in Raet. The firm has also been active in portfolio restructuring, exits and secondary buyouts (SBO). It advised selling shareholders Cinven and Warburg Pincus on the IPO of Ziggo, and a consortium of private equity firms on Nielsen Holdings' second offering. Other key clients include Hutton Collins, IK Investment and Doedijns International.

Sources say: "Very thorough, pragmatic and creative." "We're very happy with the firm – there's good co-operation between offices."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Dividing his time between Amsterdam and London, Thijs Alexander co-heads the private equity practice, and is praised by peers as "a very clever, reputable lawyer."

Co-head Gregory Crookes focuses on private equity-sponsored M&A deals and joint ventures. One client comments: "He really understands the commercial implications and can think outside the box."

Jeroen Koster handles a range of corporate, M&A and private equity work. Peers describe him as "a great lawyer and very well known."

Hans Beerlage receives warm praise from market sources for his work with CVC. He focuses on capital markets transactions and public and private M&A.

Real Estate - Netherlands

THE FIRM This magic circle firm's skills in financing make it a natural choice for real estate finance and project finance work. Amongst notable highlights, it advised ABN AMRO and NIBC on the financing for the Philips High Tech Campus in Eindhoven; the team provides similar advice to banks including Rabobank, Deutsche Bank and BAWAG. It is also active on wider real estate matters for clients such as Pfizer and Rotterdam World Gateway.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Jaap Koster is noted for his expertise in projects and project financing. He recently advised on the development of a new container terminal in the port of Rotterdam.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Netherlands

THE FIRM A leader in restructuring work, this magic circle firm's financial capabilities come to the fore as it acts for numerous financial institutions. The team attracted attention for its role advising ING and others on the financial restructuring of engineering consultancy firm Grontmij. It also acted for NIBC on the restructuring of the corporate facilities and equity of Multi Corporation in a deal that took over two years. Interviewees praise the firm's international reach and the high standard to be found throughout the restructuring team.

Sources say: "An excellent firm. The speed and responsiveness is top-notch, and the team was able to handle everything extremely well."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Asset and acquisition finance specialist Jelle Hofland has a strong restructuring practice. One client notes: "He's extremely efficient and can always find a workable solution."

Sources say that Angela McEwan is "great at bringing it all together and co-ordinating across different parties and countries."

Senior associate Ilse van Gasteren is seen as a rising star in the market, adept at advising on the full range of restructuring and insolvency work.

Tax - Netherlands

THE FIRM Clifford Chance's noted financial expertise makes it a popular choice in the Dutch market, particularly for funds and capital markets-related tax work. Recent highlights include advising LyondellBasell Industries on the Dutch tax aspects of its USD3 billion senior notes offering, and assisting Nigerian bank Access Bank with its USD350 million guaranteed notes issue. The team also advised CVC on its disposal of C1000 to Jumbo.

Sources say: "A good-quality, successful tax practice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Investment funds specialist Ate van IJlzinga Veenstra provides a broad range of tax advice for domestic and international funds.

The "excellent" Frank de Vos heads the tax, pensions and employment practice. He regularly assists clients with international tax matters.

Michiel Sunderman is praised for his long track record in corporate tax work. "He's very smart and very good," a source says. 

Since publication, Frank de Vos has retired from this practice.

TMT - Netherlands

THE FIRM This magic circle firm is primarily known for its strong transactional IT and outsourcing practice. Able to draw upon the international Clifford Chance network, the team is well placed to handle the largest of cross-jurisdictional mandates. Interviewees cite this global reach as a major advantage, and also praise the group's responsiveness. Rotterdam World Gateway and CVC are clients.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Joachim Fleury heads Clifford Chance's Global TMT group and is the key contact for clients.

Transportation - Netherlands

THE FIRM This magic circle firm ascends the aviation rankings this year in recognition of its exceptional track record in this field, as well as positive market feedback. Interviewees commend the firm's impressive capabilities in aircraft financing and admire its international reach. It has recently been involved in a number of high-end aviation-related matters.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "excellent" Jelle Hofland has a strong asset finance practice and is often seen on aircraft financings. Other key areas are real estate and structured finance, and restructurings.

Banking & Finance - Poland

THE FIRM This stellar magic circle firm is securely established as an integral player in the Polish banking and finance market. While an obvious go-to firm for a raft of banks, the firm is an increasingly attractive choice for borrowers. Recent mandates include advising Grupa Kapitalowa Gwarant on its PLN180 million debt restructuring.

Sources say: "This is one of the few teams where legal advice is combined with a true commercial understanding of our business."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Grzegorz Namiotkiewicz elicits praise from interviewees as being "one of the top banking and finance lawyers in Warsaw." He juggles his dual roles as office managing partner and departmental head with impressive versatility. Clients appreciate his wealth of experience and cite his wisdom, accommodation and welcoming personality as key attributes.

Andrzej Stosio was made partner in 2012, and is applauded by market sources for his expertise in financial regulatory matters. Recently he advised Ciech on a complex debt and restructuring transaction.  

Anna Biala represents clients in a gamut of financial regulation matters. Clients laud her as "extremely approachable and helpful."

Capital Markets - Poland

THE FIRM The capital markets division of this world-class firm comes highly recommended for its leading debt capital markets practice, as well as its strength in equity capital markets. It is active on the local and international market, and in the past year has worked closely with its offices in Ukraine and Romania. The team was recently instructed by ENERGA on its EUR1 billion MTN issue. It also advised Russian and Ukrainian-based agribusiness Valinor Public Limited on the legal aspects of being listed on the Warsaw stock exchange.

Sources say: "It fields outstanding experts for all capital markets matters."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Grzegorz Namiotkiewicz heads the banking and finance practice and receives plenty of praise for his expertise in debt capital markets.

Andrzej Stosio is a renowned debt capital markets practitioner. Clients appreciate how "he understands the business not just the law."

Marek Sawicki has returned to Poland following a six-month secondment in London and continues to be recognised for his talent in equity capital markets.

Competition/Antitrust - Poland

THE FIRM This magic circle firm houses a strong competition department. Drawing on the firm's outstanding corporate and M&A capabilities, the team is regularly instructed on merger control. In addition, it is highly active in representing clients before the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection. The practice has a strong following of financial, insurance, media, telecoms and pharmaceutical companies. A recent highlight was successfully representing Kraft in consumer protection proceedings.

Sources say: “All lawyers I work with at Clifford Chance deal with their duties with a high level of engagement, and pay a lot of attention to the client.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Group head Iwona Terlecka is widely recognised as one of the strongest lawyers in the Polish market. She represented Lafarge Cement in appellate proceedings concerning the cement cartel case.

Construction - Poland

THE FIRM The Warsaw outpost of this magic circle firm remains one of the top choices for construction as well as real estate work, thanks to a strong track record in representing international companies. It regularly handles sales and asset acquisitions, as well as infrastructure projects. In the construction sector one of the group's prominent clients is POL-AQUA, which it continues to advise on the PLN800 million construction of the Northern Bridge in Warsaw. In addition, the team assisted Prologis with the sale of a EUR188 million portfolio of five logistic parks in Poland.

Sources say: "This firm is active and has a strong team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Market observers praise Daniel Kopania as an "extremely knowledgeable” and client-oriented adviser, with one impressed client saying: "He is very practical, knows the business and tries to give solutions that are useful.”

Up-and-comer Bartosz Kaniasty is well versed in real estate matters, and was part of the team advising BPT Optima on the sale of its largest asset, Twarda Tower.

Corporate/M&A - Poland

THE FIRM This outstanding firm is unequivocally regarded as a market leader in the corporate field, and benefits from the team's broad range of specialisations including financial services, energy, environment, competition and TMT. A prominent highlight saw it advising PKN Orlen on the sale of its stake in Polkomtel. In addition it represented GTS Poland in the tender process for the acquisition of TK Telekom.

Sources say: “Extremely proactive, responsive, flexible, and has a sense of urgency.” “Once you have Clifford Chance on board, you don't have to worry about the legal side of the deal.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Agnieszka Janicka is the driving force behind the firm and has supervised some of the firm’s key deals, including assisting Elliot Advisors with the structuring and implementation of a buy-back programme. Clients enthuse: “She always finds solutions in difficult circumstances. She is an excellent leader and a hard-working lawyer.”

Nick Fletcher led a team acting for Krafts Foods Polska on its corporate restructuring. He is described as "significantly experienced, pragmatic, and a pleasure to work with,” and is highly regarded for his private equity expertise.

Tomasz Derda is "a dedicated, open-minded and helpful lawyer. He is experienced in complex M&A deals where many parties are involved, and has good communication skills," an interviewee confirmed.

Dispute Resolution - Poland

THE FIRM The Polish outpost of this magic circle firm continues to earn plaudits for its pre-eminence in dispute resolution. It offers outstanding cross-border capabilities, and attracts some of the most high-profile cases in the market. Key highlights include successfully defending the Republic of Poland in an investment arbitration dispute with Mercuria Energy Group. The team is a favourite amongst organisations such as Royal Unibrew, BNY Mellon, TP and Polski Bank Przedsiębiorczości.

Sources say: "Absolutely impressive." "It is the best firm in Poland."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Bartosz Kruzewski is singled out for his cool head and is "an exceptionally talented and business-oriented lawyer," say sources. He is also building an excellent reputation as an arbitrator.

Newly made partner Marcin Ciemiński is a highly regarded practitioner, and is noted for his expertise in healthcare-related litigation and white-collar crime.

Employment - Poland

THE FIRM This strong employment department moves up the rankings on the back of positive market feedback. It is well positioned to provide a comprehensive service to large blue-chip clients, and regularly attracts mandates from the financial services industry. Of late it has been busy assisting banks with the implementation of CRD3. The practice also advised PZU on all issues related to a major restructuring project, including collective bargaining, redundancies and devising a new remuneration system.

Sources say: “They are not only lawyers, but also great negotiators.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Anna Hałas demonstrates a high degree of expertise on the CRD3 directive. Clients enthuse that she "knows the reality of the market, and has the ability to find flexible solutions.” 

Aleksandra Lis-Rychlińska is noted for her expertise in restructuring. “She recommends alternative solutions and possibilities that can be implemented,” say impressed clients.

Energy & Natural Resources - Poland

THE FIRM This international player maintains a prominent position in the Polish energy market. Recently the firm has been busy with wind energy projects, but continues to win strong recommendations for its work in the M&A field. The team is valued for its client-friendly approach. Key highlights include acting on behalf of E.ON on a tender for a pioneering blended PPP project – a PPP project involving EU funding – for the financing and construction of an incineration plant in Poznań. The group's impressive client roster includes ENERGA, Lotos, Windflower and Keppel Seghers.

Sources say: "The team is to the point and provides legal advice that we can implement.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS A talented associate to watch, Paweł Puacz is focused on the wind energy sector, and regularly handles acquisitions, developments and connection of wind farms to the grid.

Since publication, Tomasz Janas has joined Dentons.

Environment - Poland

THE FIRM This full-service law firm handles a wide array of environmental matters touching upon real estate, construction and energy. The team has been busy advising on emission trading, EIAs and noise emissions. In a notable highlight, the team advised Metsä Tissue on the reclamation of land and water in the sale of a sewage treatment plant. The group also advised Bank Pekao on EIA regulations applicable to a bioethanol plant development and its financing, particularly the cross-boundary aspects.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Associate to watch Paweł Puacz combines his energy practice with expert environmental advice.

Life Sciences - Poland

THE FIRM This global giant utilises its cross-border presence to advise international life sciences players on their Polish concerns. Recent mandates include acting for Pfizer on the restructuring of its business in Poland, and advising agricultural biotechnology company Monsanto on regulations relating to the labelling of vegetable seeds.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Marcin Ciemiński is this firm's most recognised life sciences practitioner. He is particularly valued by interviewees for his litigation prowess within the field.

Private Equity - Poland

THE FIRM Clients and peers continue to give outstanding recommendations for this leading team. It works with some of the market's most prestigious private equity clients, both locally and internationally. Its client base includes Bridgepoint, Montagu Private Equity, Advent International and Innova Capital, the latter of which it advised on its USD609 million co-investment – with Montagu – in TP Emitel. The team also advised Manchester Securities on the EUR151.8 million sale of the Magnolia Park shopping centre to the Blackstone Fund.

Sources say: "The entire team is fantastic, not just the partners. It never compromises on quality and always goes that extra mile."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Agnieszka Janicka is lauded for her responsiveness and foresight. She is present in many of the firm's key mandates, including advising Advent International on a bid for Polish spice manufacturer Kamis.

Nicholas Miles Fletcher has substantial expertise in this field and acted for Innova Capital on the TP Emitel matter.

Public Procurement - Poland

THE FIRM This firm's global size and full-service offering means it is well placed to advise on large and complex projects, particularly for foreign and multinational clients. ITPOK Poznań, a subsidiary of E.ON, recently instructed Clifford Chance in the structuring and negotiating of a USD170 million incineration plant waste project. The firm also advised PGE Górnictwo I Energetyka Konwencjonalna on the preparation, construction and financing of a carbon capture and storage project in Rogowiec. The EBRD, ENERGA and Tauron Ekoenergia are other key clients of the firm.

Sources say: “The lawyers were creative and good at keeping the process moving forward.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS The best-known public procurement practitioner at the firm is Marcin Bejm, who is known for his sharp analytical approach and terrific response rate. He focuses on infrastructure projects, particularly those relating to transport and energy, and has developed experience in both public procurement and PPP.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Poland

THE FIRM This leading team moves up the rankings on the back of glowing comments from clients and peers alike. It offers a broad range of services, and handles both contentious and non-contentious restructurings. The team has an enviable network of clients including Ciech, RBS Bank Polska and Bank Zachodi WBK. It recently advised the Polish steel manufacturing company Gwarant Grupa Kapitalowa on its complex financial restructuring. It also assisted IKB Deutsche Industriebank with its EUR20 million debt restructuring.

Sources say: “Working with this firm is like being part of a team.” “It completely understands clients’ needs; it is responsive, gives clear answers and offers exceptional legal advice.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Bartosz Kruzewski is noted for his stellar disputes practice and also co-heads the restructuring and insolvency department at the firm. He continues to represent the committee of bondholders of Elektrim in a contingent payment claim against the company. Clients say: “He is easy to work with, attentive and commercial. He offers clear and concise guidance.”

Andrzej Stosio was recently promoted to partner and is praised for his “flexible and open approach.”

Market interviewees value Miłosz Gołąb for being “a very diligent lawyer, and constructive in finding solutions and reaching compromises.”

Tax - Poland

THE FIRM The Warsaw branch of this magic circle firm is highlighted for its technical strength, and offers advisory work and litigation services to clients in the banking, finance and project sectors. The team recently assisted AXA Real Estate with the tax structuring of its acquisition of the Metro portfolio. The firm also acts for high-profile clients such as Morgan Stanley, which it has advised on stock lending transactions.

Sources say: "Once you have this firm on board, you never have to worry about the legal side of the deal." "Extremely high-quality work."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Wojciech Dmoch has a particular focus on project finance and offers a wealth of experience in structuring real estate investments, including tax advice on specific investment projects.  

Up-and-comer Tomasz Szymura enters the rankings on the back of positive market feedback. Interviewees describe him as "a responsive and practical lawyer."

Since publication, Wojciech Dmoch has joined Experto in Tributis

Banking & Finance - Romania

THE FIRM With a large team and a strong portfolio of international clients, this magic circle firm continues to be one of the leaders in this field. It has handled several high-profile mandates of late, including advising Deutsche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan on the offering and listing on NASDAQ of an international software development group, and representing Deutsche Bank, HSBC and Citibank in Romania's USD2.25 billion sovereign bond debut issue.

Sources say: “Clifford Chance is among the most reliable firms in Romania. It is my first choice.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients describe department head Daniel Badea as "an extremely fast and decisive lawyer who always provides good content." In a recent highlight he acted for Société Générale as arranger on the establishment of an EMTN programme by BRD.

US-qualified Perry Zizzi brings an international outlook to transactions. He advised Credit Suisse on a EUR122 million promissory notes purchase facility signed with Romstrade, a Romanian road construction company.

"Focused and constructive," Cosmin Anghel is a key member of the banking and finance team. He was one of the lawyers who assisted Banca Comerciala Româna with updating its internal lending and security documentation in accordance with the new Civil Code.

Madalina Rachieru was part of the team that assisted underwriters Deutsche Bank, UBS, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan with an SEC-registered offering and listing on NASDAQ of a software development group. A client enthuses: "She has become one of the most reliable attorneys we use. She's very thorough and quick."

Andreea Sisman does a lot of banking and capital markets work as part of a broad practice.

Corporate/M&A - Romania

THE FIRM This magic circle firm maintains a strong corporate practice. Key highlights include advising Aviva on the sale of its Romanian operations to MetLife, and assisting Innova Capital with the attempted acquisition of the payment processing business PayNet. It also acted for Bridgepoint on the sale of the Aenova Group. Other notable clients include Siemens, Pfizer and Europa Capital.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Nadia Badea recently advised Aviva on the sale of its Romania operations to MetLife. She is praised for her "hands-on approach."

Energy & Natural Resources - Romania

THE FIRM The team at the Romanian office of this magic circle firm has a strong reputation in the financial and transactional aspects of energy projects and deals. Renewable energy has been at the centre of the firm's significant recent mandates, including advising Banca Comerciala Româna on the financing for the development of a photovoltaic energy project. The firm has also recently acted as transaction counsel to assist the underwriters with the privatisation of Romgaz through an IPO. Numerous large multinationals make up the firm's client portfolio, including Siemens, Enel Green Power and BNP Paribas.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Daniel Badea is the firm's main point of contact in the energy practice.

Projects - Romania

THE FIRM Combining international experience with local knowledge, the Bucharest branch of this magic circle firm is best known for its sophisticated work on the financing side of projects. The firm has considerable experience in PPP and infrastructure mandates, and it recently assisted Credit Suisse with a EUR122 million promissory note purchasing facility for a major road project in conjunction with Romstrade. Deutsche Bank also instructed the firm on structuring the bankability of the Romanian government's EUR4 billion PNDI infrastructure programme. Other noteworthy clients in the projects portfolio include UniCredit, Banca Comerciala Româna, Erste Bank and Van Oord.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Daniel Badea is the main point of contact.

Real Estate - Romania

THE FIRM The Bucharest branch of this international firm impresses with its cross-border transactional expertise. It houses a 15-strong team of real estate practitioners praised for their financing work. Of late, the team assisted IMMOFINANZ with the buyout of the remaining share capital in Adama Holding. Other prominent clients include UniCredit Bank Austria, CB Richard Ellis and Europa Capital.

Sources say: "Number one for large transactions."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Perry Zizzi is an excellent project finance lawyer regularly instructed on real estate mandates. Clients add: "He actively looks for solutions when you're in a deadlock."

Restructuring/Insolvency - Romania

THE FIRM This growing team has broad experience of restructuring and insolvency work, and acts for several big-ticket clients, such as Citibank and RKB Karosseriewerk. The two-partner practice demonstrates its versatility by advising Banca Comerciala Romana on financial restructuring, and acting for EDP Renewables on an insolvency mandate. Another significant highlight was assisting BNP Paribas with the EUR2 billion restructuring of tiling company Monier Group.  

Sources say: "The firm has a strong restructuring practice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Daniel Badea often assists clients with complex restructurings. He led the team assisting Citibank with the insolvency proceedings of Romanian company Hidroelectrica.

Aviation - Russia

THE FIRM This team is consistently praised for its commerciality and responsiveness, and clients regularly refer to its willingness to go the extra mile. Aviation finance is the mainstay of the practice, and the team draws on its substantial local and international expertise to provide a comprehensive client service. In recent highlights, the group acted for RBS Aerospace on the USD250 million leasing of five Airbus A320 aircraft to Aeroflot, and was mandated by HSBC on an ECA financing of 19 Eurocopter AS-350 and AS-355 helicopters for Utair Airlines. Other clients include BNP Paribas and PK AirFinance.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Victoria Bortkevicha is highly regarded for her work in asset finance transactions, and her expertise extends from aviation to the energy and infrastructure sectors.

Banking & Finance - Russia

THE FIRM Clifford Chance is one of the most experienced international offices in Moscow, and its global reach makes it a favourite with many clients in the banking sector. Thanks to the depth of its resources, the firm provides comprehensive coverage of a range of practice areas, and clients appreciate the flexibility of the banking and finance team. In recent highlights, it represented ING in a USD1.3 billion syndicated pre-export facility for EuroChem. VTB Capital and Sberbank also instructed the group on a RUB117 billion facility for Independent Transport Company. Other notable clients include Société Générale, UniCredit and RBS.

Sources say: “One of the strongest teams in the market. It is extremely responsive, reliable, and has a great attention to detail.” “I was very pleased with its work. One of my favourite firms in Russia.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Still very much a focal point for the office, Logan Wright remains a dominant force in this practice area. He is lauded for his negotiation skills, and is unanimously regarded as “one of the top lawyers in the market.”

Victoria Bortkevicha is one of the most experienced practitioners around, and both peers and clients are united in their praise of her legal skills. Her practice covers secured and unsecured financing, project financing, real estate and aircraft finance, as well as PPP projects.

Vladimir Barbolin is a “fast, effective and attentive lawyer,” say clients. He specialises in cross-border financings, insolvency and workouts.

Capital Markets - Russia

THE FIRM One of the largest international firms operating in the market, Clifford Chance attracts praise for its depth and expertise in large and complex mandates. The capital markets team recently acted for NOMOS-BANK on its global offering of GDRs in London and ordinary shares listed in Russia. Morgan Stanley and VTB Capital also instructed the group as underwriters of Magnit's USD350 million share offering. The firm enjoys an excellent reputation for both debt and equity capital markets work, and wins further recommendations for its integrated global service. Further key clients include Sberbank, Troika Dialog and Phosagro.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Arthur Iliev heads the equity capital markets group and enjoys a prolific market reputation. His experience and management skills are particularly valued.

Tamer Amara is predominantly known for his expertise in debt capital markets, though he also works on equity deals. His clients include both issuers and lead managers, and he wins praise for his excellent client focus.

Adrian Cartwright has a broad international practice, encompassing deals in Russia, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

David Dunnigan heads the firm's global capital markets practice and has a notable focus on emerging markets.

Competition/Antitrust - Russia

THE FIRM Clifford Chance utilises the strengths of its international network to provide a range of clients with a comprehensive antitrust service. The Russian office is primarily known for assisting foreign companies with merger control filings, though it also advises on behavioural issues. As a result, the group works very closely with its colleagues in the corporate department.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Torsten Syrbe is the key competition figure at the firm and is best known for his involvement in cross-border transactions. He is singled out as a client-oriented lawyer and, according to sources, is “one of the few lawyers in the Moscow market who can advise multinational clients on very challenging deals.”

Corporate/M&A - Russia

THE FIRM This firm's specialised approach and through knowledge of a diverse range of industries help it to attract mandates from international and domestic companies alike. Interviewees praise the group's practical, business-minded approach and its attentiveness to client needs. The office recently assisted ICT Group with its 50/50 joint venture with Mitsui, a freight car operating business. Regular client EBRD also instructed the team on its acquisition of a 6.29% stake in Russia's MICEX-RTS stock exchange. Pfizer, Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund and BNP Paribas are amongst the firm's other clients. 

Sources say: “One of the best firms I have worked with – precise, detailed and always responding as soon as possible.” “Great customer support and a reasonable pricing policy – I have to admit, it is one of my favourites.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Griston recently left the Moscow office for Amsterdam, but he continues to be heavily involved in Russia-related mandates. He remains a well-recognised figure in the market, and his considerable experience is an important asset for the firm.

Marc Bartholomy is widely perceived as one of the foremost real estate lawyers in the market, and is heavily involved in M&A. Market sources describe him as “an experienced lawyer with commercial sense and great connections.”

Nicholas Rees heads the English law side of the corporate practice and focuses on M&A, joint ventures and equity capital markets. Clients value his proactive approach, confirming he “comes up with many valuable suggestions.”

Dispute Resolution - Russia

THE FIRM This outstanding team of English and Russian-qualified lawyers continues to be at the forefront of the market. Being one of the largest offerings in Moscow, it is capable of providing services across a wide range of sectors. Although perhaps better known for its international arbitration and litigation practice, the team has significant experience advising on Russian courts and is capable of handling complex cross-border disputes.

Sources say: “The lawyers are able to provide first-class English law advice combined with in-depth knowledge of the legal background and culture of the CIS.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Timur Aitkulov is lauded for his considerable experience representing clients in international arbitration. Clients highlight his quick thinking, client focus and eloquence as just some of his strengths.

Former head of the UK dispute resolution practice, Nicholas Munday is recognised as a heavyweight lawyer. Particularly valued for his insurance litigation practice, he also handles shareholder disputes and commercial litigation.

Julia Popelysheva is described as one of the most talented associates in the market. She has handled disputes in a range of industry sectors, including aviation, transport and oil and gas. 

Since publication, Nicholas Munday has retired from this practice.

Energy & Natural Resources - Russia

THE FIRM Clifford Chance utilises the expertise of its vast international network to provide advice on a range of Russian energy mandates, with the London and Moscow offices regularly functioning as one team. For example, lawyers based in the UK, Russia and the Netherlands continue to act for Shtokman Development joint venture company on the ongoing development in the Barents Sea. Sources are keen to comment on the group's terrific transactional ability, and Clifford Chance's deserved reputation as one of the most business-oriented firms in the market. Clients include GeoProMining, ING Bank and PhosAgro.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Amsterdam-based David Griston enjoys a prominent reputation amongst his peers and is a popular counsel with clients. Due to his many years of experience in Russia-related matters, he is widely considered to be one of the foremost experts in the Russian energy sector.

PPP - Russia

THE FIRM Despite being primarily known for representing banks and other lenders, Clifford Chance offers a comprehensive service to clients thanks to its expertise in real estate and construction projects. Recent highlights saw the group represent a consortium of Greek businesses in the construction and operation of the Yanino waste treatment project near St Petersburg. A number of international financial entities, including EBRD and IFC, continued to instruct the firm on the reconstruction and operation of Pulkovo airport, one of the most important PPP projects of recent years. VTB Capital, Fraport and Vnesheconombank are a few of the firm's other clients. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Bartholomy advises both Russian and foreign companies on a range of legal matters, including competition law, corporate and real estate acquisitions and disposals, and construction.

Private Equity - Russia

THE FIRM Clifford Chance enjoyed a successful year in private equity, advising the newly formed Russian Direct Investment Fund on its acquisition of a 1.25% stake in the MICEX-RTS stock exchange. Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund also instructed the team on its acquisition of the 187,000 sq m Galeria shopping centre in St. Petersburg. The firm continues to be amongst the most influential international players in the market, and enjoys close relationships with some of the largest corporates in Russia. The firm's other clients include VTB Capital, UFG Private Equity and EBRD.

Sources say: “Its impact on our transactions was really great. We received all the information we needed and successfully finished the deals.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Nicholas Rees is a key contact for private equity matters.

Real Estate - Russia

THE FIRM Clifford Chance can often be found at the forefront of developments in the real estate sector, particularly in respect of prominent transactional work. The team works closely with departments across the firm, and can count on the added value of a strong litigation and tax practice, as well as the expertise of its wider network. Its finance prowess means the practice regularly works with a number of prominent domestic and global banks, and it also counts construction companies and real estate funds amongst its clients.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Bartholomy is the standout lawyer at the practice and a well-known figure throughout Russia and the CIS. He possesses both substantial experience and a reputation for innovative solutions, and covers acquisitions and disposals, as well as leasing, construction, financing and development.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Russia

THE FIRM Clifford Chance leads the way in restructuring work thanks to its well-rounded team of finance, corporate and disputes lawyers. Clients speak admiringly of the group's ability to articulate the English and Russian legal angles of complex mandates. The firm made its name working on the bank side of the RUSAL restructuring, and in recent projects has advised a number of banks, including BNP Paribas, UniCredit and ING, on the USD850 million debt restructuring of Donetsksteel. Other notable clients include Sberbank, Société Générale and RBS.

Sources say: “The best that can be found in Moscow.” “The most impressive thing is that the lawyers never lost sight of any aspect in a whole bunch of documents.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Logan Wright is a renowned finance lawyer who is valued by clients for his calm and collected negotiating style. Interviewees also point to his creativity, suggesting he is the “kind of guy that is capable of solving a problem in a few minutes whilst others have spent hours on it.”

Victoria Bortkevicha works closely with a number of prominent domestic and international banks, and earns recommendations for her ability to appreciate both Russian and English law implications.

Alistair McGillivray enters the rankings this year following his involvement in a number of eye-catching Russian restructurings. His “solution-finding skills” are much appreciated by clients.

Roderick McGillivray is an extremely experienced London-based lawyer with a strong portfolio of Russian cases. “It was very useful to have someone who could help us to lead the process and give us an idea of where we wanted to go and what steps we should take,” say sources.

Moscow-based associate Adam Fadian enters the rankings following a wealth of positive feedback from market sources. He is noted for his “impressive capacity” to retain an objective view of a huge array of documentation, as well as his ability to “see how the different commercial angles play out.”

Tax - Russia

THE FIRM The tax group at Clifford Chance primarily focuses on the tax structuring of large-scale domestic and cross-border transactions. For example, the team recently advised IFC Asset Management on tax and legal aspects arising from the launch of the Russian Bank Capital Fund. Despite its compact size, the group enters the rankings this year following exceptional praise from clients. Sources point to the firm's long experience in the local market, and the added value of its international network, as key reasons for its success.

Sources say: “Excellent level of knowledge, great response to client demands, pragmatic in finding solutions and business-minded.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Alexander Anichkin is one of the foremost capital markets tax specialists, and a key figure in the Russian market. His advice is a “healthy mix between conservative and aggressive,” and he also attracts recommendations for his communication skills and “helpful, practical advice.”

Banking & Finance - Spain

THE FIRM This first-class team earns warm praise from interviewees, who highlight its prominent work for high-profile financial institutions. It also acts for clients from the infrastructure, energy and finance sectors, advising on issues such as leveraged and acquisition finance, asset management and private banking. In a recent highlight it advised a banking syndicate on the refinancing of Sacyr by means of the sale of Repsol shares, a deal worth EUR4.9 billion.

Sources say: “A market leader thanks to its flexible approach, vast experience and extensive international network.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Carlos Hernández-Canut impresses interviewees with his “practical vision and ability to successfully defend the client's corner.” He recently acted as lead partner advising a syndicate of 32 lenders on a EUR1.34 billion loan.

Clients commend José Guardo's commercial approach and well-established connections. Sources appreciate his “conciliatory style, pragmatic attitude and project finance prowess.” 

Department head Alberto Manzanares is described as “a banking genius – someone who is not afraid to roll up his sleeves and get thoroughly involved.” Clients enthuse about his great negotiation skills and direct style.

According to sources, José Manuel Cuenca strikes a balance between being a formidable academic and giving practical advice. Interviewees describe him as “an accessible partner who empathises well with his clients.”

Interviewees acknowledge Rodrigo Uría's strong communication skills, remarking that he is “always available for the client and understands how to make them feel looked after.”

Epifanio Pérez is appreciated by clients for his meticulous advice. He played a key role in the Sacyr refinancing via the sale of Repsol shares.

Since publication, Epifanio Pérez has moved in-house.

Banking & Finance - Spain

THE FIRM This global firm has equal strength in banking and finance and international capital markets, where it covers syndicated lending, real estate finance, project finance and restructuring. It represents clients from the infrastructure, energy and telecommunications sectors, and continues to act on a series of top-drawer mandates. In a recent highlight, the team advised Antin Infrastructure Partners on the acquisition of Red de Banda Ancha de Andalucía by one of its wholly owned subsidiaries. The matter was valued at EUR67 million and was a cross-departmental deal involving lawyers from the banking and corporate departments.

Sources say: “A fabulous team: it provides a seamless service and is well connected to the other offices, which is why we choose it time and time again.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients say team head Stuart Percival is “magnificent - he's a very good communicator and his technical expertise is second to none." He has broad experience of the Spanish market from both an English and a Spanish perspective, and acts for clients such as Goldman Sachs, Abengoa and Citi. 

Carl Fitzgerald heads the finance group in Barcelona. He focuses on real estate financing and structured finance.

Antonio Henriquez impresses interviewees with his “spot-on advice and constant dedication.” He brings additional capital markets knowledge to the table and played a key role in the structured warrant programme for BBVA.

Interviewees extol Ruth Musgrave's “encyclopaedic banking knowledge, stunning speed of response, and multi-tasking skills," adding that she is "incredibly intelligent." She recently helped advise RBS on the restructuring of indebtedness of Metrovacesa.

Capital Markets - Spain

THE FIRM With five partners and 11 associates dedicated to all areas of capital markets transactions, this international giant's depth of expertise is second to none. In spite of adverse market conditions, the lawyers have handled an impressive number of listings, securitisations and bond issues of late. Recent highlights include handling the EUR2.3 billion listing of DIA shares on the Spanish stock exchange. Other noteworthy clients include Banco Santander, JPMorgan, HSBC and BBVA.

Sources say: "It provides an excellent service. The team is technically very strong, with responsive and practical lawyers."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head José Manuel Cuenca receives warm praise from interviewees, who point to his technical expertise and proactive attitude as key strengths. "He's one of the best – tireless and brilliant," remarks a client.

Clients praise Yolanda Azanza's responsiveness and service-oriented approach, noting: "She's an expert on the Spanish side of capital markets transactions." Another source adds that she is "highly responsive, friendly, and helpful."

A key member of the team, Javier García de Enterría wins broad praise: "He's the technical star; the go-to lawyer when there is a complicated question."

Eduardo García led the team representing Crédit Agricole, Deutsche Bank and Société Générale in their capacity as arrangers of the EUR1.9 billion securitisation of Europcar's car fleet in Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

Competition/European Law - Spain

THE FIRM This two-partner team is a star performer in the market. In spite of adverse market conditions, the lawyers have undertaken a string of high-value representations relating to merger control and cartel issues. For example, they advised Antena 3 on its merger with La Sexta, and successfully assisted Endesa with an appeal against a EUR15 million fine imposed by the CNC. Further clients include Telefónica, Avis, Carrefour and Alliance One. 

Sources say: "What distinguishes this firm is the personalised service it offers, the high level of partner attention and how committed the lawyers are." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Miguel Odriozola is unanimously recognised as an authority in this area. According to clients, he is "extremely committed and tenacious when it comes to finding solutions - he goes beyond what's strictly necessary."

Begoña Barrantes is "an excellent lawyer: intelligent and hard-working. I would hire her if I could," states a peer.

Clients describe Carlos Vergez as "experienced, proactive and technically solid."

Corporate/M&A - Spain

THE FIRM This magic circle firm has a stellar corporate team capable of handling top-drawer work in multiple sectors. In notable deals, it advised Antena 3 on its long-running acquisition of La Sexta, and assisted Actis with its acquisition of Gas Natural Fenosa's electricity distribution assets in Guatemala. The group also plays a significant role in the energy sector, where it continues to advise construction firm ACS on its renewable energy projects. Clifford Chance remains a go-to firm for major clients such as Iberdrola, Santander and Telefónica.

Sources say: "The team works with us late into the night – we appreciate the hard work it puts in. It provides a complete service."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Javier García de Enterría is held in high esteem for his M&A and corporate work, and he has led the team on many of its most high-profile deals. Sources describe him as "an excellent lawyer and an outstanding individual."

Javier Amantegui is a popular choice for private equity clients, and has noted expertise in LBOs and venture capital transactions.

José María Fernández-Daza's recent clients include Kimberly-Clark and Infrared Capital Partners. He has experience in joint ventures, shareholders' agreements and the sale and acquisition of companies.

Dispute Resolution - Spain

THE FIRM This superb international firm rises in the rankings in recognition of its impressive caseload and excellent feedback. The lawyers cover the full spectrum of work, including domestic and international arbitration, and commercial, insurance and competition litigation. Its significant client list includes major domestic and international corporates, such as Abengoa, Macquarie Group and Endesa. It recently assisted Manuel Jove, the former chairman and controlling shareholder of Fadesa, with the Martinsa-Fadesa insolvency procedure.

Sources say: "A great team for highly complex, technically difficult work."  

KEY INDIVIDUALS José Antonio Caínzos earns praise for his commercial awareness and stellar drafting and presentational skills. "He's very intelligent and fully aware of any changes in the market. He's also a great communicator and remains measured and calm throughout negotiations," asserts one client.

Iñigo Villoria enjoys a highly respected insolvency and financial litigation practice. Sources highlight his client-friendly manner and strong performance in court, saying he is "available, attentive and a really great pleader."

Employment - Spain

THE FIRM This well-established team of five is often chosen for restructurings, collective negotiations and litigation cases. It acts on behalf of a varied client list which includes many national and international high-profile institutions. In a recent standout mandate, the lawyers assisted Fruit of the Loom with the restructuring of its business in Spain. Santander, Kimberly-Clark, Citibank and Aviva are some of the clients that instruct the group on employment matters.

Sources say: "The lawyers' client-oriented approach is first-class. They don't only cover the technical aspects, they know how to navigate through the way we work as a company."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Juan Calvente leads the team. Clients describe him as "practical and specific: he won't just tell us about the law and leave us to make a decision. He'll tell us what the options are and what the consequences will be."

Young associate Efraína Fernández enters the rankings on the back of warm client feedback: "She's a great lawyer who provides timely, practical advice in digestible pieces." 

Energy & Natural Resources - Spain

THE FIRM This global powerhouse enjoys a market-leading reputation thanks to its wide-ranging focus and activity on major energy projects. The team regularly co-operates with the firm's top-tier banking and finance, corporate and real estate departments to provide clients with a fully integrated service. Its international strength makes it a prime choice for cross-border mandates, and it recently acted for KKR and a German co-investor on the acquisition of a 49% stake in a Spanish joint venture formed with T-Solar. A recent domestic highlight was representing ACS in divestment operations in the renewable energy sector.

Sources say: "A powerful presence in energy." "It is truly a five-star team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Juan José Lavilla is noted for his public law know-how and specialises in regulatory matters. Clients note that he is "superb – technically excellent." 

Department head José María Fernández-Daza brings his corporate expertise to play when advising on energy matters. In a recent example, he assisted Infrared Capital with the acquisition of a stake in two companies owning solar thermal plants.

Environment - Spain

THE FIRM This well-regarded team of eight environment experts provides transactional, regulatory and dispute resolution advice to major clients such as Villar Mir Energia and Iberpotash. Recent highlights include assisting Endesa Generación with an appeal against government sanctions following an incident at the Ascó nuclear power plant.   

Sources say: "The lawyers identify risks without trying to be the most clever on the table: they focus on what's important and make things happen."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Public law expert Juan José Lavilla receives unanimous praise from market commentators: "He's magnificent: well rounded and wise, you can trust him completely."

Intellectual Property - Spain

THE FIRM This international giant maintains its position at the forefront of IP matters in Spain. It has first-rate expertise in patent litigation and unfair competition issues, and its client list includes household names such as Philip Morris, Pfizer, DuPont and Nestlé Nespresso. In a recent standout mandate, the lawyers represented Samsung Electronics in a non-infringement action against Apple concerning the Galaxy Tab.

Sources say: "Quite creative in a good way: the lawyers find solutions and impressive arguments to deliver great results."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients laud practice head Miquel Montañá: "He's exceptional – really fantastic. He provides deep analysis while still being able to have simple and focused discussions, and he knows exactly when to ask for input and when to get on with things himself."

Isabel Carulla is another key member of the team. Sources describe her as "fast, solution-oriented and pragmatic." She was part of the team assisting Nestlé in patent, trade mark and unfair competition proceedings against Sara Lee.

Market observers say Montserrat López-Bellosta "is very bright, with a strong court presence. She is highly authoritative and works well in a team." 

Life Sciences - Spain

THE FIRM The Spanish outpost of this magic circle firm houses a first-rate patent litigation team. Its lawyers also have a strong track record in competition and compliance, bringing an added dimension to the life sciences practice. The team recently assisted Nobel Biocare with the preparation of a compliance workshop for its European legal and business management. Other big-hitting clients include AGA Medical Corporation, Astellas Pharma and Eli Lilly.

Sources say: "Very efficient and easy to work with. The team is well respected in Spain, and that's important as well."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Miquel Montañá recently played a key role in a landmark case in which Pfizer brought patent infringement proceedings against companies launching generics of Viagra. Sources say he is "great in court: he's very well prepared, conscientious and creative."

Interviewees highlight Isabel Carulla's profound knowledge, her impressive litigation skills and her client-oriented style, saying she is "extremely responsive." 

Montserrat López-Bellosta is admired for being "authoritative, dedicated and able to work well in a team." Her litigation work encompasses patent, trade mark, product liability and design rights cases, amongst others.

Private Equity - Spain

THE FIRM Clients are highly complimentary of this international powerhouse. It advises on all aspects of private equity work including fund formation, investments and disposals. The firm is recognised for its international capacity and has been advising clients in their operations in emerging economies, particularly in Latin America. It recently represented Bridgepoint in the sale and partial reacquisition – with the Canadian Pension Fund Investment Board – of Dorna. Other clients include N+1, AXA Capital Partners and Actis.

Sources say: "It is a well-organised outfit, the lawyers work hard and deliver quality work. You get what you expect, and more." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Javier Amantegui receives positive feedback across the board for his performance in deals. One commentator says: "He leaves no stone unturned, he is a thorough and trusted adviser." He also runs the firm's Latin America desk.

Jesús Durán is praised as "extremely hard-working, well trained and very dedicated to the projects he is assigned to." His focus is on private equity M&A and fund formation.

Sources describe Samir Azzouzi as "a brilliant associate, one of the ones to watch." He acts on private equity, M&A and Latin American deals and recently completed a secondment at the firm's London office.

Dual-qualified Brazilian associate Thais García plays a key role in the practice and the Latin America desk. She has been advising Actis and Permira on their investments in the region.

Projects - Spain

THE FIRM This major international player maintains an outstanding reputation and climbs the rankings as a result. The team is a favourite among clients for complex and cross-border projects, and is highlighted for its breadth of expertise, experience and commercial approach. The group handles large energy and infrastructure projects, and recently advised ACS on the financing of two wind farms with a joint value of EUR400 million. Other clients include Santander, BNP Paribas and the European Investment Bank.

Sources say: "The firm I trust the most: the lawyers are extremely knowledgeable, flexible, reasonable, pro-deal and solution-oriented. Unbeatable."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources enthuse about project finance expert José Guardo, saying he is "exceptional, the best lawyer in Spain: few people have his expertise and he's a pleasure to work with. He is commercial and never leaves loose ends."

Alberto Manzanares leads the banking and finance practice and is a highly respected market figure. He was recently part of the team assisting BNP Paribas with the amendment of an EUR83.6 million financing agreement for the construction of several police stations in Barcelona. 

Banking and finance partner Epifanio Pérez earns strong praise from clients: "He tells things as they are, and is very pro-deal. He's experienced and solution-oriented." 

Carlos Hernández-Canut enjoys an excellent reputation: "He is highly committed and hands-on," say clients.

Sources highlight Eduardo García's excellent negotiating skills: "He's brilliant in complicated negotiations because he calms things down and proposes solutions that work for everybody." 

Interviewees describe senior associate Rodrigo Uría as "definitely up and coming." 

Since publication, Epifanio Pérez has moved in-house.

Public Law - Spain

THE FIRM This prestigious magic circle firm continues to attract praise across the board for its high-quality public law work. As a full-service practice, it offers expertise in a broad range of areas including public sector contracts and administrative law. The team's diverse client base includes household names such as Telefónica and Pfizer. The firm's first-class global network ensures it is equally at home with domestic and international mandates. The group continues to advise ONO on a number of regulatory issues relating to audio-visual and telecommunications matters.

Sources say: "A team of leading lawyers. It's a true number-one firm."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Juan José Lavilla receives effusive praise for his in-depth knowledge of public law. One interviewee states: "He is an excellent lawyer, a first-rate competitor."

Real Estate - Spain

THE FIRM Interviewees highlight this team's excellent knowledge of both the real estate and the financial sectors. Of late it advised Banesto on the EUR35 million financing of the acquisition and refurbishment of the Hotel Suecia in Madrid. Another highlight was advising Apple on the opening of its retail stores across Spain. It also recently advised Morgan Stanley, Orion and The Carlyle Group.

Sources say: "No matter what you ask the team to do, it does it promptly and extremely well."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Global real estate practice head Alfonso Benavides is highly commended throughout the market. Sources describe him as "an extraordinary lawyer, one of the best." He advised Deutsche Pfandbriefbank on the refinancing of two loans and the financing of an acquisition of two logistics premises in Toledo.

Carlos Portocarrero is known for his excellent corporate real estate work. Commended for being client-oriented and personable, interviewees describe him as "splendid, a very reliable lawyer with fantastic technical skills and very good manners." He recently advised Bankia on the prospective sale and leaseback of a EUR400 million portfolio of real estate assets. 

Blanca Ochoa manages the real estate practice in Barcelona. She is widely respected and interviewees comment that "she heads the real estate practice beautifully." She is particularly known for her expertise in corporate real estate. 

Guillermo Rodrigo enters the rankings on the back of high praise received. Clients comment that "he acts like an international lawyer who understands the commercial background and is able to drive the processes," and peers also speak highly of him.

Restructuring/Insolvency - Spain

THE FIRM This stellar team handles both restructuring and insolvency mandates, aided by lawyers from the banking and finance and dispute resolution departments. Its client roster includes top-drawer names such as Eurohypo, RBS and BBVA. In a recent highlight the team advised a banking syndicate on the refinancing of Sacyr by means of the sale of Repsol shares. This cross-border deal involved a number of non-Spanish banks and was valued at EUR4.9 billion.

Sources say: “A very influential team in restructuring and insolvency matters.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources are unanimous in their praise of Iñigo Villoria, describing him as “someone who keeps his cool in stressful situations.” His client portfolio includes major names from the real estate and aviation sectors.

Interviewees single out Carlos Hernández-Canut for his restructuring prowess. He is a much-admired figure and sources particularly highlight his strong analytical skills. He led the team advising the lenders on the EUR122.5 million refinancing of mobile content distributor Zed.

Clients appreciate Rodrigo Uría's knowledge of the automotive sector, and laud him as "a hard worker."

Shipping - Spain

THE FIRM The Spanish outpost of this firm has offices in Madrid and Barcelona. This practice benefits from the extensive international Clifford Chance network, and offers a full range of legal services to clients. It advises shipbuilders and lenders on a variety of shipping finance issues.  

KEY INDIVIDUALS Pablo Serrano de Haro is the key contact for clients.

Tax - Spain

THE FIRM This global giant maintains a steady position in the market thanks to a number of significant mandates. It focuses on M&A work related to the Spanish energy sector, recently advising on the tax aspects of ACS' divestment of its renewable energy groups. It is also active in asset finance, notably in cross-border mandates for clients such as easyJet, TAM and Iberia.

Sources say: "The team provides high-quality advice quickly and efficiently."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Pablo Serrano de Haro heads the firm's tax department. Interviewees value the close working relationship he maintains with his clients, as well as his availability and "straightforward" advice.

Up-and-comer Álvaro Muñoz continues to act on many of the firm's transactional tax matters.

TMT - Spain

THE FIRM This firm comes highly recommended for its telecoms expertise. It provides regulatory, corporate, finance, anti-trust and litigation advice. Indeed the team at this international powerhouse is well versed in EU, British and domestic regulations relating to the sector. It regularly represents telecoms and media operators in contentious administrative procedures. Recently it assisted Cableuropa with several appeals on interconnection issues, payment obligations and public procurement matters of more than EUR100 million. The team also represents France Telecom and Antena 3.

Sources say: "A wonderful team with impressive lawyers across all the practices. A definite market leader." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Telecoms expert Juan José Lavilla wins warm praise from interviewees: "He has in-depth knowledge of the industry and tremendous expertise thanks to having worked in the sector for years." He leads the practice's regulatory work and recently represented Cableuropa in several contentious public law appeals.

Counsel Carme Briera is responsible for the public law practice in Barcelona. She specialises in regulated sectors including telecoms and media.

Former secretary of the Spanish telecoms regulator Jaime Velazquez remains active working on corporate matters relating to telecoms. He recently advised abertis on the acquisition of IT infrastructure towers for some EUR45 million.

Wealth Management - Spain

THE FIRM This reputable wealth management team benefits from the global Clifford Chance network to offer international cross-practice services to its clients. Its broad experience allows it to advise on fund establishment and structuring, as well as providing tax advice on major M&A deals and equity offerings. The firm has significant corporate clients such as Santander, JPMorgan and Barclays Wealth.

Sources say: "It is an excellent practice with extremely good tax lawyers." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Pablo Serrano de Haro plays a key role in the firm's major cases, recently leading a significant cross-border tax mandate for Santander.  

Banking & Finance - Turkey

THE FIRM This international banking and finance giant only recently opened up in Istanbul, but has already entrenched itself firmly in the local market. The team advises on project finance deals, offering in-depth expertise in the energy sector. It also handles capital markets issues and acquisition financings.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Simon Williams is the managing partner of the Istanbul office and the main point of contact.

Banking & Finance - UK

THE FIRM The team at Clifford Chance remains one of the outstanding practices in the City, with an incredible breadth and depth of service in all key areas. This massive department has experienced a steady flow of high-end refinancings, investment grade work and significant activity in the amend and extend area, as well as leveraged finance. The firm continues to expand its emerging markets coverage, with the recent opening of an office in Casablanca. The team acted on one of the headline-grabbing deals of late, the USD12.5 billion refinancing of SABMiller/Foster's Group, as well as a range of other big-ticket transactions, such as the EUR2.5 billion facility provided by Barclays Capital and Nordea Bank Finland to Fortum.

Sources say: "It's clear that it is right on top of the market and knows exactly what is going on." "It has an ability to throw in the resources and specialisations in different areas, and the individuals would always be up to speed whenever it brought new people in."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Bates "will tell you what is important and what isn't and he has the ability to cut to the chase and push things along," clients say. He is one of the firm's most visible lawyers, and has a sterling track record in handling cross-border and structured finance deals. He recently acted for Commerzbank as the mandated lead arranger on the EUR1.2 billion revolving loan facility for Vestas Wind Systems.

Global head of finance Mark Campbell is commended as a "technically extremely able" practitioner, and as someone who "knows the loan market inside-out." He advises on leveraged finance and syndicated lending issues.

Charles Cochrane has a "massive intellectual capability, and the uncanny ability to think one step ahead," earning him the moniker "two-brains" from one admiring client. Sources highlight him as a go-to person for highly complex and demanding situations that require a creative solution.

Well known for his "top-notch" expertise in private equity sponsor work, Alan Inglis recently acted for EQT on several issues, including the fund's acquisition of Dometic Group, involving SEK6.6 billion of senior facilities and a EUR200 million PIK bond.

Peers regard James Johnson as a standout name in the field who "more than anything else is pragmatic and knows how to get a deal done." 

Jim MacHale assisted the mandated lead arrangers on a USD280 million loan to OMERS Private Equity for the acquisition of the V Group. Peers say he is "impressive, very pragmatic and well respected by his clients."

Peers emphasise Nicola Wherity as someone who is great to work across from, with one source noting: "She always wows me. She is a complete standout for me."

Roderick McGillivray acts for several private equity clients including CVC, which he represented in the EUR300 million acquisition financing of RAET.

Senior partner Malcolm Sweeting remains one of the best-known names in the market, with an incredible depth of experience in financing issues.

Banking & Finance - UK

THE FIRM Clients are impressed by the quality on offer, and are comforted by the almost unparalleled resources the firm is able to commit to deals. The team acts on all facets of Islamic finance work and remains one of the go-to sources of advice for the most sophisticated clients in the market.

Sources say: "They do very big, high-profile deals."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Derivatives expert Habib Motani has a thriving Islamic finance practice and is widely recognised as "one of the best" operators in the London market.

Competition/European Law - UK

THE FIRM This prominent practice draws on a cache of global experience and delivers noteworthy strength in matters such as market investigations, merger control and cartels. The team continues to grow, reflecting its increasing client roster, and it has been involved in a large number of leading competition cases. Examples of this work include advising NBCUniversal on the investigation conducted by the Competition Commission into films provided on pay TV. An additional highlight is the advice provided to AXA on a range of matters including the OFT market study into motor vehicle insurance. Clifford Chance is also noted for its expertise in state aid, concerning which it represents such clients as Arriva and the Association of British Bookmakers.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Oliver Bretz splits his time between Paris, Brussels and London, yet his position as a leader in the UK marketplace remains unanimously high. His recent work includes advising, with Elizabeth Morony, an investment bank on the EC investigations into allegations of LIBOR rate-fixing. Morony is cited as a "top-drawer" competition litigation lawyer who attracts praise as a real force in cartel investigations. She is respected for her expertise and "real understanding of how things work." Her recent work also includes representing Morgan Crucible in a damages claim brought by Deutsche Bahn and others against members of a carbon and graphite products cartel.

Alex Nourry heads the London antitrust practice and is highly respected for his expertise in a broad range of sectors including communications, IT and pharmaceuticals. Highlights from the past year include acting for Princes on its GBP182 million acquisition of Premier Foods' canning operations. He has also been instructed to advise on European Commission abuse of dominance investigations.

Market commentators are full of praise for "easy to get along with" Greg Olsen and his expertise in merger control matters. Recent examples of his work include advising RBS on the sale of its worldwide aircraft-leasing business and acting for National Australia Bank on its UK strategy following disposals by competitors.

Luke Tolaini is held in high regard for his expertise in competition litigation and cross-border fraud investigations. Recent highlights include acting for Siemens in defending claims for damages brought by National Grid in an action against members of the gas-insulated switchgear cartel. He also works with major multinational clients on strategic responses to allegations of anti-competitive behaviour.

Corporate/M&A - UK

THE FIRM Two key engagements testify to this team's depth, resources and capabilities. It represented Southern Cross in the high-profile and sensitive restructuring of the group. Of equal note, the firm advised Citi on its division of EMI's business groups and the subsequent GBP1.2 billion and USD2.2 billion sales of the two newly created groups. With global capabilities the firm has the expertise to handle complex cross-border transactions and has developed an impressive repertoire of long-standing clientele.

Sources say: "Creative and flexible." "Very precise and consistent."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "A very strong negotiator," Tim Lewis played a key role in the prominent acquisition of Arsenal Holdings on behalf of US client E. Stanley Kroenke. Clients have expressed confidence in his ability, noting: "He was excellent; he could take a hard line when necessary."

Specialising in private equity and M&A, David Pearson "has a great reputation with investment bankers." Recent highlights include advising CVC Capital Partners on its joint venture with Resource America, a deal involving USD7.5 billion in assets.

David Pudge is recognised by clients as "very technical." He recently co-ordinated with teams in Madrid on a large deal advising Santander on the sale of its stake in Thames Water, the largest water company in the UK, to the Chinese Investment Corporation (CIC).

With a "great record in TMT and emerging markets," Spencer Baylin is regarded as "a very commercial lawyer, easy to get on with and pragmatic."

Dispute Resolution - UK

THE FIRM Clifford Chance's dispute resolution practice is well placed to advise clients on a wide range of business-critical, multi-jurisdictional matters, but is perhaps most well known for its strength in the financial sector. Showcasing its talents, the team recently acted for Siemens on National Grid's claims for substantial cartel damages. Notable clients include Raytheon, the government of Malta and an assortment of major banks.

Sources say: "A class act." "They have strength in depth, know how to fight, have several gears and are great to work with."

KEY INDIVIDUALS  The "disarmingly charming" Simon Davis  is "the complete package," with "great intelligence as well as experience." Clients praise him as an "outstanding" lawyer who is "excellent at strategic advice and tactical litigation. He is smart, proactive and very good at handling clients."

Roger Best "is a very experienced senior litigator" praised by clients for his technical expertise. He acts for a number of major banks, and has advised on investigations from US regulators, criminal authorities and the FSA.

Private equity, contentious trusts and commercial litigation expert Jeremy Kosky is commended by sources for his impressive dedication to demanding litigation of late. Examples include his headline-grabbing defence of mining tycoon Brian Gilbertson against Viktor Vekselberg's allegations of breach of fiduciary duties.

Clients rate Ian Moulding for his "calm and thorough" handling of litigation, and for his aptitude for strategic planning in particular. Moreover, he is noted for valuing the opinion of clients and excelling at working collaboratively. He continues to act on several cases related to the collapse of Lehman Brothers.

Iain Roxborough has recently acted on a contractual dispute on behalf of a mining company involving allegations of fraudulent contracts, and for a prominent financial institution on global freezing orders for accounts held on deposit for a sovereign entity.

"Standout" Matthew Newick enters the guide this year and is regarded as a "tough litigator" by sources, while clients say he has "a very good feel for the issues." He successfully defended SEB against a hedge fund's EUR100 million claim alleging breach of duty following the hedge fund's failure to meet margin requirements.

Employment - UK

THE FIRM This team handles a broad diet of high-value litigation, advice on the employment elements of corporate transactions and guidance on boardroom issues. It advised Shell on the USD1.3 billion sale of its refinery at Stanlow. Key clients include International Power, Barclays Bank and HSBC.

Sources say: “They understand our organisation and culture well, which is a great help when dealing with any employee relations matters.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Christopher Goodwill is “hugely experienced,”  “commercially astute” and “has good judgement,” clients say. He regularly advises on all areas of employment law, including the protection of confidential information, redundancy, restructuring and discrimination issues. He assists International Power with employment issues raised by its GBP17 billion merger with GDF SUEZ.

Restructuring/Insolvency - UK

THE FIRM Clifford Chance continues to receive emphatic client praise, and peers are quick to recognise the team's versatility. The group recently advised on the restructuring of the EUR3.2 billion-plus syndicated facility of Metrovacesa.

Sources say: "A very strong team." "What impressed me was that they were able to draw in more people to their team as and when it was required."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers appreciate Philip Hertz's "very direct, no-nonsense" approach, and have the "highest regard for him." This view is endorsed by clients, who state that "when Philip's around, things are commercial and pragmatic." 

Mark Hyde is global head of the firm's insolvency and restructuring group and has a "first-class reputation." He recently advised Dubai-based real estate company Nakheel on its restructuring of liabilities totalling more than USD16 billion.

Adrian Cohen is described as an "authoritative adviser on complex, large, multi-bank restructurings." He continues to impress peers, with one describing him as "calm and unflappable – he did a great job!"

Tax - UK

THE FIRM This team has a strong focus on advising clients in the finance sector, and it is well placed to advise on the most complex of cross-border matters. The team has been at the forefront of advising clients on changes to legislation in the aftermath of the financial crisis. It also advised Citi on issues arising from its acquisition, and subsequent sale in two parts, of EMI.

Sources say: "They have a large international network and high-calibre staff."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jonathan Elman is described as "very smart" and "very able," and continues to impress with his broad knowledge of corporate and financial taxation. He recently advised RBS on the disposal of its aviation leasing unit, RBS Aviation Capital; due to the multi-jurisdictional location of both corporate entities and leased aircraft, this matter required the involvement of lawyers in the firm's New York, Sydney, Tokyo and Shanghai offices.

David Harkness heads the firm's global tax group, and is widely recognised as one of the most outstanding individuals in the market. He was a key figure in the team's advice to Citi on its acquisition and disposal of EMI, working alongside a number of key partners in Clifford Chance's New York office.

Douglas French specialises in advising clients on the tax issues connected with corporate and commercial transactions.

Dan Neidle is hailed as another extremely strong member of the team and has been particularly active over the past twelve months. He also played a significant role in advising on Citi's purchase and sale of EMI.

The "hard-working and capable" Sarah Squires is well known for her expertise in financing matters. Work on Islamic finance matters is a key feature of her recent caseload, as are tax issues surrounding REITs.

Anthony Stewart is "professional and organised, and approaches negotiations with the other side very well." He recently advised on the formation of Equistone Partners Europe, following an MBO and subsequent spin-off from Barclays Private Equity. This work was conducted in concert with lawyers in the firm's Munich, Milan and Paris offices.   

Since publication, Sarah Squires has retired from this practice.

Banking & Finance - Ukraine

THE FIRM The only magic circle firm in the market, Clifford Chance moves up the rankings on the back of excellent market feedback and high-profile instructions over the past year. The firm offers both English and local law expertise on the ground, and predominantly advises creditors. The practice has seen an impressive increase in instructions related to new loans, and remains highly active in restructuring. Key highlights include advising a syndicate of international banks on the USD600 million loan to Ukrlandfarming, and representing a consortium of banks in the USD500 million financing to Kernel. Other notable clients include Sberbank, Citibank and Valinor.

Sources say: "The quality you would expect from a magic circle firm." "Confident but adequate in its demands on the other side."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The firm's key Ukrainian lawyer in the practice, Olexiy Soshenko is lauded for his extensive experience on high-profile transactions, as well as his deal management and negotiation skills. "He listens to the other side and always finds a common position," confirms a client.  

English-qualified managing partner Jared Grubb divides his time between banking and finance and restructuring mandates. Sources describe him as an "extremely strong negotiator."

Associate-to-watch Roman Stasiv was involved in a number of the firm's key instructions, and is highly active in insolvency proceedings.

Capital Markets - Ukraine

THE FIRM This magic circle firm is increasingly active in capital markets, and joins the rankings this year on the back of positive feedback. The group advises on both equity and debt mandates. Recent highlights include advising Valinor on its listing in Warsaw.

Sources say: "We use the firm in the structuring of deals, where its risk-averse attitude is very useful." "Always available and prepared to help." "A very good team – I can't find any faults at all."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Managing partner Jared Grubb is a key contact for the practice.

Corporate/M&A - Ukraine

THE FIRM The corporate team at this magic circle firm is noted for its expertise in the energy sector. Showcasing its impressive capability in this field, it recently advised Galnaftogaz on establishing a USD35 million joint venture with ADM Capital. Other notable clients in the sector include TNK-BP and Chevron. The group draws on the outstanding local and English law expertise of the firm's banking and finance and restructuring practices, and notably assisted Valinor with its corporate restructuring.

Sources say: "It always kept to deadlines." "It offers competitive prices."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Dmytro Fedoruk enters the rankings this year following extensive feedback from sources. Sources note his "excellent teamwork."

Energy & Natural Resources - Ukraine

THE FIRM This group benefits from the firm's outstanding global reputation in both energy and financing matters, and is regularly instructed by blue-chip clients such as Chevron and TNK-BP. The firm's London and Warsaw offices often lend their energy and natural resources expertise to their Ukrainian colleagues, who handle acquisitions, disposals, production sharing agreements and some financing-related matters. The department recently assisted Arawak Energy Ukraine with the establishment of a strategic partnership with GeoAlliance for further investment and development of oil and gas fields in Ukraine. It also represented GalNaftoGaz in relation to a joint venture with ADM Capital. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Up-and-comer Dmytro Fedoruk is the most visible lawyer in the team, and is also well versed in corporate issues and M&A. 

Restructuring/Insolvency - Ukraine

THE FIRM The Kyiv outpost of this magic circle firm climbs to the top tier of the rankings as a result of its impressive caseload and extremely positive market feedback. The group benefits from the reputation of its London headquarters and the regular involvement of London, Warsaw and Moscow partners in Ukrainian deals. Notable highlights include representing the committee of creditors in the USD820 million debt restructuring of Donetsksteel Iron & Steel Works. Valinor, Citibank and UniCredit are amongst the firm's other clients. 

Sources say: "It recently secured a number of very significant instructions." "We liked its responsiveness."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Olexiy Soshenko is lauded as an "excellent practitioner." Besides being one of the leading restructuring advisers, he also maintains a stellar reputation for his banking and finance expertise. 

English-qualified Jared Grubb is managing partner of the firm's Kyiv office, and leads the banking and finance group. He is also actively involved in restructuring instructions.