Chambers Europe Awards for Excellence 2013
The Chambers Europe Awards 2013 honour those firms that have stood out for the excellence of their work during 2012-13. The event took place in London's Grosvenor House Hotel on April 25th 2013, and was co-hosted by Miriam Gonzalez of Dechert and Chambers Europe Editor Georgia Brooks.
The evening saw 23 country awards, plus regional awards for Offshore, the Baltic region, Central & Eastern Europe, and a final award for European Law Firm of the Year. The country awards recognise a law firm's pre-eminence in key practrice areas, and take into account strategic growth, market feedback and involvement in market-leading deals. The nominees were drawn together by the Chambers Europe team, based on research carried out for the latest edition of Chambers Europe. In addition, there were also eight ad hoc client service awards, presented to those law firms that had exceptional client feedback across the board.
We also gave three 'Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession' awards to individual lawyers. These were presented to two leading lawyers in private practice, and, for the first time, one in-house lawyer. The winners were Pascale Lagesse of Bredin Prat, Lejb Fogelman of Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak and Paul Lister from Associated British Foods.
For a full list of the Europe Awards shortlist click here.
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European Law Firm of the Year 2013: Clifford Chance
The European Law Firm of the Year award goes to one of the most consistently strong firms in the region. It tops the tables in almost every European jurisdiction in which it has an office. Indeed it has the most band-one rankings of any firm. It is regularly involved in the most complex, cross-border deals and wins tremendous feedback for its technical skill and highest level of client service. Here is what one client said about the winning group:
“Practically perfect, one of the best firms I have ever worked with. The quality of the lawyers is world class. They bring their expertise and knowledge and apply it to our business. They consider both the commercial and legal aspects and explain things in ways we can understand. Finally they are great to work with; I feel comfortable talking to them about anything, and they make sure that negotiations stay friendly.”
Outstanding Contribution Awards
Pascale Lagesse - Bredin Prat
Pascale Lagesse is among the most influential figures in the French employment law market. She built the employment practice at Freshfields before moving with her team to Bredin Prat in 2008. Lagesse advises companies on all aspects of employment law and has a wealth of expertise in corporate restructuring, collective agreements and negotiations. Eminent clients speak highly of her versatility and her talent for handling challenging cases.
Paul Lister - Associated British Foods plc
Paul Lister has worked as an in-house lawyer since 1994, initially for drinks companies Guinness and Diageo. In 2001 he moved to Associated British Foods (ABF). Here, he is responsible for the global legal needs of a diverse portfolio of brands from British Sugar to Twinings to Primark. A major career milestone for Lister was advising ABF on its purchase of Littlewoods Stores for £409m in 2005. 120 stores were acquired, some 40 of which were converted into Primark. In 2008, a Panorama documentary wrongly accused Primark of using child labour: Lister was instrumental in the battle for an investigation and an apology in 2011.
Lejb Fogelman - Greenberg Traurig Grzesiak
Lejb Fogelman is one of the most renowned practitioners in the Polish legal market. A rainmaker, he is praised for his excellent understanding of client needs. Fogelman has been a pivotal figure in many of the country's most significant cases. He advised on most of the major financial institutions’ M&A's, several of the key privatizations, as well as the co-operation between a Polish oil company and Canadian shale gas company for the exploration and production of shale gas in Poland and the US. Most market commentators have admired the way he handled the seamless transition of his entire team to Greenberg Traurig following the demise of Dewey and LeBoeuf.
Austria Law Firm of the Year: Wolf Theiss
This CEE titan, with outposts in 13 countries in the region, has the largest presence in the Austrian legal market, with over 120 lawyers. Quantity is in this case matched by quality, as satisfied clients who use the firm's services in dispute resolution, corporate / M&A, banking and finance, capital markets, competition, tax and real estate regularly testify. The impressive group frequently attracts instructions from international clients for mandates covering multiple jurisdictions. In a notable mandate, the firm advised KELAG on the issue of a EUR150 million corporate bond, and on the establishment of the first debt issuance programme approved in Austria following the new prospectus regime.
Belgium Law Firm of the Year: Clifford Chance LLP
Clifford Chance has had a tremendous year for corporate and real estate, as well as maintaining its leading position in areas including finance, tax and competition. Impressed sources repeatedly highlight both the commercial culture of the firm and the individual brilliance of its Brussels-based practitioners. This combination makes it a regular fixture on the market's standout mandates: notably, the team has recently advised the Belgian state on a range of issues related to Dexia's high-profile EUR5.5 billion capital increase.
Czech Republic Law Firm of the Year - National: PRK Partners
This outstanding domestic player enjoys a stellar reputation for its banking and finance and employment practices, and is a solid contender in corporate/M&A and real estate. The firm receives glowing client feedback, and offers significant international capacity through co-operation with several prominent international firms. In a recent example, it assisted BNP Paribas, in co-operation with Gide Loyrette Nouel, with a USD6.5 billion multi-jurisdictional securitisation programme.
Czech Republic Law Firm of the Year - International: Weil, Gotshal & Manges s.r.o. advokátní kancelář
This US firm remains a popular choice among big-name domestic and international clients, such as CEZ, Ceska Sporitelna, the Ministry of Transportation and GE Money Bank. It is praised for its ability to handle highly complex transactions, its strong regional and domestic foothold, and its exceptional expertise in corporate / M&A, dispute resolution, projects and energy. Amongst several instructions by CEZ, Weil provided advice on the construction of two new units of the Temelin nuclear power plant in the Czech Republic.
Denmark Law Firm of the Year: Plesner
This firm continues to reign supreme in Denmark, offering almost unrivalled strength across all practice areas. It is a consistent presence on the most high-profile and complex deals, recently acting for Nycomed on its EUR9.6 billion acquisition by Takeda. Its outstanding client base includes household names such as Danske Bank, Burberry and Coca-Cola. Interviewees are quick to highlight the firm's skill and experience in international transactions
Finland Law Firm of the Year: Krogerus
This esteemed firm continues to grow in prominence across a number of different practice areas, including real estate, energy, corporate / M&A, intellectual property and insolvency. It is a prime choice for major domestic matters, and also acts for a number of notable foreign investors, particularly from Asia and Germany. It counts major Finnish and other Nordic equity investors and construction companies among its clients, and recently advised AVIC International Investments on the Finnish law aspects of its acquisition of Deltamarin.
France Law Firm of the Year: Clifford Chance LLP
This international titan's efforts across a spectrum of sectors have been noted, with the firm gaining particular prominence in the areas of banking and finance, projects and public law. The much-admired group serves a range of eminent clients, including several European states. The past year has seen it continue to advise the EFSF on sovereign bailouts.
Germany Law Firm of the Year: Allen & Overy LLP
Allen & Overy stands out for its highly successful lateral hiring strategy, which has allowed it to make great strides in areas such as employment, insurance and dispute resolution. Benefiting from its tremendous reputation in the finance sector, it remains a byword for excellence in its core competencies of acquisition finance, restructuring and tax. Key highlights from the last twelve months include advising SAP on its USD4.3 billion acquisition of Ariba.
Greece Law Firm of the Year: M & P Bernitsas Law Offices
This traditional firm has maintained a prominent position in Greece since its inception in 1946. It stands out in core business areas including corporate, restructuring and banking and finance, and attracts a varied international clientele, which instructs it on big-ticket work. In one such example, the firm advised Société Générale on the restructuring of Geniki Bank, its former 99.8% subsidiary, and on the sale of its stake to Piraeus Bank. The versatile group is also lauded for its competition and real estate practices. A highlight in the latter field was advising the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund on the structuring, development and international tender of its private real estate assets.
Hungary Law Firm of the Year: Kajtár Takács Hegymegi-Barakonyi Baker & McKenzie
This prestigious firm maintains a market-leading reputation in a broad range of areas, from corporate / M&A, employment and competition to life sciences and private equity. It benefits from a long-established presence in the Hungarian market, and is held in the highest regard for its impressive international network and enviable client roster. Tesco International, Nike, KBC and Bank of China are just some of the names on its client list.
Ireland Law Firm of the Year: Arthur Cox
Arthur Cox remains one of the premier Irish law firms, lauded for offering an exceptional quality of service across an impressively broad range of practice areas. Amongst a range of other attributes, clients particularly value the credibility the firm brings to negotiations, its strength in depth and its common-sense approach. Key highlights include acting for the Department of Finance on the special liquidation of Irish Bank Resolution Corporation.
Italy Law Firm of the Year: Chiomenti Studio Legale
This major player continues to dominate the rankings in practically every sector. The past year saw it augment its position in several areas, and it has also made inroads in areas such as employment, expanding its already impressive reach. Clients note that the firm invests in its teams, which offer strength at all levels, from senior partner to associate. In a key instruction, it assisted Cassa Depositi e Prestiti with the 100% share capital acquisition of Fintecna, in a deal worth EUR2.3 billion.
Netherlands Law Firm of the Year: NautaDutilh
It has been a strong year for this Benelux firm, with outstanding client reviews and impressive transactional mandates placing the team among the jurisdiction's finest. The firm maintained its leading position in practices such as dispute resolution and restructuring and insolvency, and also has notable experience in corporate / M&A, investment funds and banking regulation. Notable highlights include advising the supervisory board of SNS REAAL on the group's nationalisation
Norway Law Firm of the Year: Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS
Thommessen continues to enjoy a superb reputation and a formidable deal flow, providing a comprehensive range of services to both Norwegian and international clients. The firm is unanimously lauded for its unparalleled expertise across a wide array of practice areas, such as banking and finance, capital markets, corporate / M&A, dispute resolution and energy. In a standout mandate the corporate team acted for Norsk Hydro on the merger of Norsk Hydro and Orkla's extruded aluminium products businesses.
Poland Law Firm of the Year -National: Domański Zakrzewski Palinka
With country-wide coverage, a full-service offering and excellent client feedback, DZP retains its status as one of the foremost domestic firms. It is an undisputed leader in public procurement, and has had a remarkably strong year in energy and environment work. In a landmark instruction the firm assisted PGE EJ in relation to the construction of the first nuclear power plant in Poland. A forerunner in corporate / M&A, dispute resolution and life sciences, the firm is regularly instructed by a diverse clientele, including Getin Noble Bank, LOT Polish Airlines, Skanska and Bauer.
Poland Law Firm of the Year- International: Greenberg Traurig Grzesia
Since the collapse of Dewey & LeBoeuf, this corporate powerhouse has risen like a phoenix, joining forces with Greenberg Traurig and maintaining its top-tier standing in a number of areas. Corporate / M&A, equity capital markets, private equity and tax remain highly active practice areas, and the firm has also been increasingly visible in real estate. Key recent highlights include acting for Barclays Capital, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Ipopema on the USD640 million IPO of Alior Bank, and advising PKN Orlen on a long-term crude oil supply contract with Rosneft Oil Company.
Portugal Law Firm of the Year: Morais Leitão, Galvão Teles, Soares da Silva & Associados
This top-quality independent firm has a long-standing presence in the Portuguese market. Its full-service, sophisticated offering attracts domestic and international clients from a variety of sectors, including financial services, defence, energy, infrastructure, food and beverages, pharmaceuticals, and the public sector. It has alliances with firms in Angola, Mozambique, Brazil and Macau, and is also a member of the Lex Mundi network. Recent examples of the firm's high-profile work include representing EDP in its EUR250 million public offering.
Romania Law Firm of the Year: Nestor Nestor Diculescu Kingston Petersen SCA
This firm offers enviable depth and breadth of resources, with an impressive client roster and country-wide coverage. It maintains top-tier rankings across all practice areas, and is regularly instructed by organisations such as Orange Romania, OMV Petrom, Rompetrol and Microsoft. Clients highlight the team's commitment and commercial awareness as key features.
Russia Law Firm of the Year - National: ALRUD
This independent Russian firm is a dominant figure in competition and antitrust law, and is also highly recommended for corporate/M&A and dispute resolution. ALRUD is regularly instructed by big-name international and domestic clients, including Rosatom, Sberbank, Deutsche Bank and Unilever. In addition, it is a popular choice for referral work for leading international firms without a presence in Russia, such as Slaughter and May, Macfarlanes and Sullivan & Cromwell.
Russia Law Firm of the Year -International: Clifford Chance
Clifford Chance has shown positive growth in recent years and is regularly involved in many of the market’s most significant transactions. It possesses unparalleled strength in banking and finance, dispute resolution and restructuring and insolvency, and has been extremely active in aviation matters of late. Further areas of note include capital markets, competition and corporate / M&A. The firm's diverse client base includes Sberbank, VTB Capital, Morgan Stanley and Brunswick Rail Group.
Spain Law Firm of the Year: Linklaters
With over 12 years of experience in the Spanish market, this prestigious magic circle firm offers outstanding local knowledge as well as UK and US law expertise. Its 100-strong team includes well-respected academics and several dual-qualified lawyers who handle complex mandates on behalf of some of the world's best-known companies. Standout mandates include advising Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and UBS on Bankia's EUR3.1 billion IPO, and assisting Carlyle with the EUR400 million acquisition of an 85% stake in Telecable de Asturias.
Sweden Law Firm of the Year: Roschier
This full-service firm has made impressive strides in the past year, strengthening its team with a number of significant lateral hires. The firm attracts particular acclaim for its private equity team and also fields strong teams in corporate / M&A, capital markets and banking and finance. It receives excellent client feedback and acted on some impressive matters over the past year, winning a number of significant new clients, including Investor, Vitruvian Partners and Riverside. In an impressive mandate it acted for Koninklijke Ahold on the sale of its majority holding in ICA to Hakon Invest.
Switzerland Law Firm of the Year: Bär & Karrer AG
It has been another strong year for Bär & Karrer, with the firm continuing to receive a raft of high-profile mandates and tremendous market feedback. As well as a leading position in core areas such as banking and finance, capital markets and corporate / M&A, the firm is highly respected for its dispute resolution, real estate and private client practices. Notable highlights include assisting Pentair with its merger with the Flow Control business of Tyco International, creating new company Pentair Ltd. Another highlight was arbitrator Michele Bernasconi's inclusion as part of the ad hoc division of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) for the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Turkey Law Firm of the Year: YükselKarkinKüçük Attorney Partnership
This stellar Turkish firm continues to grow in strength and depth. The firm is widely regarded as a leading choice across the board, with its corporate / M&A, IP, dispute resolution, banking and finance, capital markets and projects and energy practices winning plaudits from interviewees. A highlight for the group was advising Anadolu Efes on its investment grade bond offering of USD500 million 3.375% notes due 2022. It also offers expertise in competition, real estate, tax and criminal law. The firm's association with DLA Piper ensures a steady flow of international clients.
UK Law Firm of the Year: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP
This stellar magic circle firm is in its element when it comes to dealing with complex cross-border M&A, high-stakes litigation, and technically challenging competition issues. It acted on the vast majority of the headline deals of the year in the UK market, advising on the sale of Northern Rock to Virgin Money, and Xstrata's merger with Glencore. A highly successful year was rounded off by its leading role in the preparation and staging of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Ukraine Law Firm of the Year: Baker & McKenzie
This international powerhouse has an impressive offering in Ukraine, with top-tier rankings across core practices, including banking and finance, capital markets, corporate / M&A and restructuring. The firm also secures stellar rankings in employment, IP and real estate, and is regularly instructed by an enviable client base. ArcelorMittal, Credit Suisse, Metinvest and Ferrexpo are just some of the names on its client list.
Central & Eastern Europe Law Firm of the Year: White & Case LLP
White & Case was one of the first international firms to enter the CEE market, and wins plaudits for its experience and its breadth and depth of practice. The firm has strong operations in the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Russia, Slovakia and Romania, and is singled out for its corporate / M&A and projects and energy expertise. Illustrative highlights include advising PPF Group on its EUR2.5 billion sale of a 49% stake in Generali PPF Holding to Generali, and acting for a consortium of banks led by UniCredit on a EUR1 billion financing of EP Energy.
Baltic Law Firm of the Year: Raidla Lejins & Norcous
Extolled for its excellent corporate and commercial work, Baltic titan Raidla has an admirable reputation in the region, with clients noting its effective cross-border collaboration on pan-Baltic deals. It retains top-tier rankings across many practice areas, with its Lithuanian energy practice particularly gaining recognition. The past year saw it advise on several landmark cases involving the banking and energy sectors. In one such example it advised Höegh on its long-term lease agreement for a floating LNG terminal in Lithuania. It also assisted failed bank Ukio Bankas with the transfer of its activities, which includes assets worth EUR785 million, to Siauliu Bankas.
Offshore Law Firm of the Year: Mourant Ozannes
Few can match this firm for its breadth of abilities and almost unparalleled roster of big-name clients. It leads the market in key areas such as corporate and finance, property, investment funds and dispute resolution. It attracts enthusiastic endorsements from clients, who are quick to highlight the firm's strength in depth, cross-border capabilities and consistently high standards of service. It is a top choice for complex mandates, recently advising Jersey Finance on the implementation of the Vickers proposal.
Client Service awards go to firms who have been consistently singled out by clients during the course of our research for the quality and range of their client service. We don’t give out client service awards every year in every country, but believe that this year the following awards are thoroughly deserved:
Austria: CHSH Cerha Hempel Spiegelfeld Hlawati
This Vienna-based firm has unbeatable expertise in Austrian capital markets, where it has historically been a trailblazer. This is matched by a pre-eminent corporate/M&A practice, and strong finance and litigation teams. The firm draws praise from clients for its efficient service and problem-solving attitude:
“The firm is flexible and solution-oriented. I can call the partner directly if I need something and he knows immediately what to advise.”
This firm serves a prestigious client base from its offices in Brussels, Antwerp and Luxembourg, and its international offering is augmented by membership of the CMS network. A growing force in the market, according to one client:
“The team had an exceptional knowledge of the subject. The deadlines were scrupulously respected and the delivered work was clear and to the point. It was very pleasant to note that the lawyers were available at any time and did all they could to make the operation a success. They displayed an outstanding knowledge of their field and suggested very pragmatic solutions.”
Ireland: Mason Hayes & Curran
This enterprising firm has had an outstanding year, raising its profile in a number of key areas. It is a strong choice for technology matters, evidenced by its innovative work for Facebook. The firm is recommended for its corporate and dispute resolution practices, which, like the rest of the firm, are praised for their client service ethos:
“The firm gives great strategic input and wants to build a long-term partnership. It knows where we are coming from and has become an extension of our business. The lawyers are approachable, not at all arrogant and will deliver a quick solution."
This high-profile domestic firm fields superb teams in corporate/M&A, banking and finance and energy. It has had an especially successful year, clearly adapting well to the tough market conditions. Clients are quick to praise its highly knowledgeable, commercial lawyers:
“I like working with the team. The lawyers strike a good balance between being technical and commercial. They speak the language of the business and organise their resources appropriately. They have been a huge help.
This esteemed firm has a reputation for excellence and attracts a high-quality clientele, with recent instructions coming from the likes of ING, Canon and NYSE Euronext. The team's pragmatism, experience and goal-oriented approach leads sources to describe it as one of the best in the Netherlands:
“They really listen to us and look at both the commercial and legal aspects. At some firms you talk to a different lawyer every time, but that's not the case with these guys. The lawyers get to know their clients and don’t overly delegate. They’re very hands-on, which is quicker and cheaper for us.”
Portugal: Sérvulo & Associados
This firm is a leader in public law, and also excels in other practice areas, including dispute resolution, employment and competition. Sérvulo is increasing its international reach, and recently established a partnership with Manesco, Ramires, Perez, Azevedo Marques in Brazil. Clients report:
“The lawyers have team spirit and work well with clients. They always have the answer, even for the most complicated questions.”
With over 25 offices in Spain and several overseas offices, the geographical coverage of this well-established Spanish firm is second to none. In addition to this, its full-service offering and enviable experience make Garrigues a top choice for large national and international clients. The firm attracts widespread praise, particularly for its creativity and quick response times:
“The team proposes strategic solutions and keeps us informed at all times. Its ability to adapt to our needs as a client is amazing.”
This firm has had an excellent year. TMT is a key area of strength, and the firm fields highly rated lawyers in public procurement, IP and life sciences as well as corporate and dispute resolution. Delphi is a firm favourite with clients, who value the commercially astute, timely and supportive work provided by the teams:
“The lawyers are interested in solving the problem rather than billing hours. They understand the customer culture and are flexible and efficient."