UK

London (Firms)

Banking & Finance


Due to the number of tables in this section, the editorial is in alphabetical order by firm name.

Banking & Finance - London (Firms)

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Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 13 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Reputation for strength in mid-market finance deals and an impressive lender-side practice. Largely known for its work with banks and financial institutions. Increased volume of borrower-side work with notable new instructions from blue-chip companies.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“They're easy to get on with and very pragmatic.”  

“They were very good. What they’ve done really well is to stick to their cost estimates.”

Work highlights Represented four major UK lenders in a £130 million acquisition financing, for Kier Group’s procurement of May Gurney.

Acted for Morris Homes, a well-known residential building company, on the complex senior revolving facility provided by RBS, and funding from US lender GSO Capital, with a combined worth of over £200 million.

Notable practitioners  

A highly experienced member of the banking team, John Cutler specialises in leveraged finance and acquisition finance matters. He is well known for his success in the corporate lending arena. Peers describe him as “a really effective guy.”

Amanda Gray is head of the banking and finance team and has worked on building the team in London over the past years. Clients note her as someone who “takes a commercial view; she is always seeking to concisely explain the impact of taking either route. She always has an eye on getting the transaction completed.”

Significant clients Santander, HSBC, Bank of Ireland, PNC Business Credit, Chime Communications.

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 6 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Principally works with corporate borrowers on matters such as raising funds in debt markets and hedging transactions. Known for its work in the energy industry, with particular reference to the gas, mining and oil sectors.

What's new? Lisa Leiman Hearn was promoted to partner at the beginning of 2014.

Work highlights Acted for the Bulgarian arm of LUKOIL on the EUR420 million of financing used to improve its oil refinery in Burgas.

Worked with Max Petroleum on a USD90 million refinancing by Sberbank Kazakhstan, required for the repayment of a facility from Macquarie Bank and to restructure the company’s convertible bonds.

Notable practitioners  

Frederick Heller leads the firm’s international banking practice from the London office and is often instructed on high-value cross-border work. Commentators describe him as “a class act” and a “fantastic lawyer,” and note that he stays “shoulder to shoulder with clients on deals.”

Recently promoted to partner, Lisa Leiman Hearn continues to impress sources, with one client enthusing: “It’s against her nature to do anything other than improve everything she touches.” She focuses on international corporate finance matters and is developing an expertise in this area.

Significant clients VimpelCom, Orascom Telecom, Pharmekon Advisors, CEVA Group, Volga Gas.

Basic facts about the department
- 30 partners
- 85 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acclaimed team of banking and finance practitioners, renowned for handling a tremendous volume of high-value mandates for an enviable client base of borrowers and lenders. Regarded as one of the leading City firms advising on the sale and purchase of loan portfolios and Islamic finance matters. Frequently instructed to act on high-profile leveraged finance transactions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They have a reputation for being one of the best and it's well deserved. They are top-calibre. I haven't come across a single person there that doesn't impress me."

"They have the manpower to throw at big deals, and they're market-savvy."

What's new? Newly appointed to the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) panel.

Work highlights Acted for Arqiva on all aspects of its £3.4 billion restructuring process, which involved a £600 million high-yield bond issuance and £1.586 billion of senior debt, among other facilities.

Represented Credit Suisse in a USD6.6 billion financing, used to partially fund Liberty Global's acquisition of Virgin Media.

Notable practitioners  

Clients enthuse that co-head of the national banking practice Stephen Kensell is "an absolutely first-rate lawyer." Apart from his wealth of experience and expertise, peers and clients appreciate his "sensible and down-to-earth" approach. 

Timothy Polglase garners acclaim for his "tremendous" knowledge of all manner of structured financings. He is particularly proficient in advising sponsors on LBOs with a multi-jurisdictional component. One source notes that he is "just someone you know is excellent."

One client describes key banking partner Simon Roberts "as one of the best lawyers in the market." Interviewees affirm that he brings a "commercial and friendly" approach to his dealings with clients and is "proactive in finding solutions." He acted on behalf of Wells Fargo/Lone Star on the purchase of a £4 billion commercial real estate loan book, notable for being the largest portfolio trade of its kind since the global financial crisis.   

Noted for being "incredibly detailed and borrower-friendly," partner Robin Harvey excels at advising borrowers, lenders and sponsors on significant acquisition finance transactions and restructurings. He has led the team on a number of significant matters of late, including advising Global Closure Systems on a substantial refinancing of its senior and mezzanine debt, involving multiple jurisdictions.   

George Link has built up a considerable reputation in the market for his expert handling of a range of financing matters, particularly those involving high-value loans. He acted for Advent on a sizeable public-to-private debt financing. 

Jonathan Brownson is particularly lauded for his "amazing amount of knowledge in the area of structured finance and derivatives." Clients value the fact that during transactions he is "always ready to support you" and remains "incredibly flexible" in his approach. He is increasingly gaining recognition from market participants: "I have a lot of respect for him. He's very businesslike, sensible to negotiate with and very pragmatic."

Clients report that David Campbell "is a pleasure to deal with," with one describing him as "a firm, pleasant, respectful guy who is looking after his clients but also trying to collaborate, facilitate and get deals done in the right way." He possesses expertise across a range of financing matters, notably in acquisition finance transactions involving public and private bids within the UK, the USA and Europe, as well as leveraged and investment-grade finances.  

A celebrated figure within the banking and corporate finance market, Michael Duncan "clearly knows his stuff." He has expertise in Islamic finance, syndicated loans and acquisition and asset finance. Peers note that he is "very easy and pleasant to deal with" and is "always trying to find solutions in the most pragmatic way possible." 

Global head of the general lending practice Trevor Borthwick is particularly adept at advising on structured financings and restructurings, as well as real estate financings, work for which his bank and borrower clientele "would have no hesitations in recommending him."

Atif Hanif bolsters the core banking and finance team with his highly specialised knowledge of Islamic finance, advising borrowers, sponsors and financiers on a wide array of financings and DCM transactions. Recent work includes advising Saudi Electric on the issuance of its first sukuk to US and other international investors.

Roger Wedderburn-Day has worked on a "a significant number of Islamic deals" throughout his career. Described by one peer as "a DCM expert," he also remains a valuable contributor to the core banking team.

Significant clients Barclays, Imperial Tobacco, CVC Capital Partners, HSBC, Arcadia.

Basic facts about the department
- 17 partners
- 42 other qualified lawyers 

What the team is known for Noted as a go-to adviser to many corporates and financial institutions. Particularly active in the insurance and infrastructure sectors. Versatile team handling a variety of finance products, including the flourishing area of credit funds. Good track record acting for borrowers, lenders and sponsors.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're technically very savvy, our clients find them user-friendly and they have good commercial acumen."

"They don't let you down. Project management is always excellent. They're a bit more creative than some other firms in terms of trying to find solutions." 

Work highlights Acted for Commerzbank on Hypothekenbank Frankfurt's £4 billion sale to Lone Star and Wells Fargo of its whole UK commercial real estate portfolio and servicing platform.

Represented a syndicate of banks, including HSBC and RBS, as the underwriters and arrangers for the £375 million refinancing of the Pret A Manger group by Bridgepoint.

Notable practitioners  

Mark Vickers "is an extremely experienced operator" with a "huge reputation across the sector, and rightly so," say commentators. Clients add that "he has a very easy-going demeanour about him, but is very good at being robust when he needs to be." He has garnered particular acclaim for his expertise of debt funding in public-to-private transactions. 

Nigel Ward is hugely experienced in the areas of leveraged finance and restructurings, with one source commenting that he is "technically at the top of his game, without question." He represented Barclays, as a member in a syndicate of arrangers, in the financing of Permira's £300 million acquisition of R Griggs. 

Sources frequently reference Helen Burton's "depth of experience" and overall capability. Of late, she has been actively involved in the growing product area of credit funds, advising long-term clients and specialist unitranche providers on a variety of financings.   

Clients report that partner Lee Doyle is "enormously customer-focused and always willing to go the extra mile." He is especially admired for his "ability to think outside the box." He has acted for a number of major clearing banks, including Lloyds, RBS and HSBC on corporate lending and investment-grade finance matters. 

Tim Rennie remains one of the team's strongest practitioners in the area of acquisition finance. Clients are consistently impressed by his capabilities, with one remarking: "He is very bright and very switched-on. Really good at bringing in the right people from the wider Ashurst team. He'll really give you a genuine view on the commercial aspects."

Abradat Kamalpour is a partner in the finance department and also head of the emerging markets and Islamic finance desk. He combines vast expertise in securitisation, debt capital markets and structured finance with an in-depth understanding of Islamic-compliant structures.

Significant clients Lloyds Bank, Haymarket Financial, Sankaty, Markit, Santander.

Basic facts about the department
- 16 partners
- 24 associates

What the team is known for Established presence in the banking and finance area. Sizeable team with the bench strength to tackle a wide range of work within the practice, including work for lenders, borrowers and sponsors on securitisation, acquisition finance and regulatory matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

“They have a lot of resources to provide a big team. They are always well organised, highlight the right topics and are always up to speed.” 

“A great firm committed to a high standard of service to the client.” 

Work highlights Acted for a Nigerian telecommunications company on the raising of a USD3 billion debt facility from a group of 17 West African banks and a further five international financial institutions.

Worked on the securitisation of a £20 million investment by Rutland & Partners for UK turkey farmer and producer Bernard Matthews.

Notable practitioners 

Clients describe Bernard Sharp as an “expert in the structuring of financial documents” and “very loan-oriented, very good at advising - his knowledge of the market is very good.” He is head of the London banking practice and specialises in acquisition finance work.

Significant clients Standard Chartered Bank, Macquarie Bank, Colony Capital, AXA Private Equity, Carlsberg.

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 12 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Maintains a strong client base, representing market players from private equity investors to blue-chip borrowers. Comprehensive experience in sophisticated servicing, derivatives and distressed debt lending matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“Very practical and focused on sticking to the important bits.” 

Work highlights Acted for Tesco on the raising of over £490 million for the complex securitisation of a mortgage loan owned by Tesco and Cambridge University Endowment Fund.

Acted for Puma Hotels on its cross-border refinancing, worth £323 million.

Notable practitioners  

Head of banking Emma Howdle-Fuller has an impressive list of successful transactions under her belt. She has experience in domestic and international banking transactions, including syndicated lending, real estate finance and debt restructuring.

Marc Palley practises in the acquisition, property and trade finance arenas. His wider areas of focus include capital markets and insolvency, which inform his work on banking and finance matters.

Significant clients Barclays, Deutsche Bank, Hellenic Petroleum, Thames Water, Standard Bank.

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Equally weighted between lenders and borrower work, listing many major names on its client roster. Extensive international footprint, which connects the banking team across a variety of jurisdictions. Particular expertise in the energy sector and on sports-related transactions.

Work highlights Acted for Sustainable Developments on its capacity as asset manager for Green Investment Bank on the financing of 149 NCP car parks.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Trystan Tether is able to call upon 25 years of experience in the area. He is known for his experience in general banking matters and corporate transactions but also has knowledge of the developing electronic financial services market.

Andrew Hallgarth has a varied practice within banking and finance, covering work from aviation finance to emerging markets. He has a depth of experience in international transactions, with a particular focus on CEE.

Significant clients BNP Paribas, Santander, Goldbeck Construction, Lloyds Bank, Ahli United Bank (UK).

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 30 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Identified as a force on the borrower and sponsor sides, representing numerous significant clients. Demonstrates strength in international transactions, particularly those involving the emerging markets. Experienced bench able to handle a range of financing situations, from debt restructuring to tailored refinancing solutions.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"The team enjoys a great reputation. They have a large enough sponsor practice so they can give us the benefit of what they're seeing across the market. They're bright."

"The lawyers we worked with were able to explain complex matters in simple terms. They listened to us and really tried to understand the business and our strategy going forward." 

Work highlights Advised TPG on its £400 million acquisition, from Charterhouse Capital Partners, of TSL Education Group.

Acted for CVC Capital Partners on its acquisition of some of the European brands of soup company Campbell's, advising on the syndicated senior debt funding. 

Notable practitioners  

Glen Scarcliffe advised Univeg on a senior facility agreement and high-yield bond offering worth a total of EUR375 million. He has broad experience acting for issuers and financial institutions, and also works on capital markets transactions.  

Key partner David Billington receives particular acclaim for his skilled handling of financing arrangements in emerging markets. He recently advised African Minerals on a USD250 million pre-export loan facility and the extension of an existing USD100 million credit facility.

Andrew Shutter is widely regarded as a "standout finance lawyer." Specialising in equity finance transactions and those involving the origination and restructuring of debt, he is known for his "commercial and innovative" approach. Clients are keen to add that he is "succinct, helpful and always available."

Significant clients ArcelorMittal, Fiat, Goodyear, government of Greece, Rosneft.

Basic facts about the department
- 20 partners
- 76 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Multidisciplinary banking group with a dominant market position, capable of advising lenders, borrowers and investors across the full spectrum of financings. Continues to be involved in some of the most prominent finance deals in the market, including LBOs, refinancings, and loan and bond financings related to acquisitions.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"One of the leading practitioners in the loan market. Their market knowledge is extremely good."

"The overall standard of their individual lawyers is excellent. We have to cover a very wide range of topics and they can cover pretty much everything for us and then tie it all together. The fact that they have a global network is also something we find extremely useful." 

Work highlights Represented a syndicate of banks, including Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs, in the provision of EUR1.97 billion of covenant-lite senior financing used to aid the acquisition of major publishing business Springer Science by BC Partners.

Acted for the lead arrangers, including RBS as co-ordinator, on the Royal Mail's £1.4 billion post-IPO facility.  

Notable practitioners  

Michael Bates is co-head of the London banking and finance practice and is considered a key player in leveraged infrastructure finance transactions. One client offers particularly effusive praise: "I think he's the best banking and finance lawyer I've worked with. He's worked on pretty much all the big deals you could ever want and seen it all before. Plus, he's very good at giving advice rather than just acting on instructions. He's absolutely brilliant."

Charles Cochrane is an active player in the banking and finance market and has accumulated a wealth of experience acting on a multitude of high-profile UK and cross-border financings. He advised a syndicate of lenders, including Goldman Sachs, on a EUR1.79 billion covenant-lite senior financing to facilitate BC Partners' acquisition of leading international publisher Springer.  

Market commentators remark that Alan Inglis is "the real trusted adviser." With over 30 years of experience advising on banking and corporate finance transactions, "he's seen it all." One client adds: "Particularly when things go wrong, he's very good at giving us advice based on strong knowledge of the documents we have."

James Johnson is best known for his lender-side work, covering leveraged and acquisition financings, restructurings and structured financings. He continues to be involved in a number of impressive transactions, recently advising a syndicate of lenders on the public-to-private financing of DE Masterblenders. 

Clients value the fact that Jim MacHale "isn't afraid to be robust when the transaction needs to be moved along." Apart from his enduring relationships with prominent institutional lenders, he is also well known for his capabilities advising on investment grade and acquisition financings.   

Key partner Nicola Wherity is singled out for her niche expertise of the fund financing arena and her up-to-date knowledge of the syndicated loan market. She is a primary point of contact for a number of clients, one of whom declares that she "does a fantastic job of co-ordinating for us. Really prepared to do the behind-the-scenes work to get us what we want. She has a really strong focus on providing good client service."

Karen Hodson is a sought-after practitioner, who garners particular acclaim for her recent work on complex bid financings for the likes of ENRC. One peer notes that "she's always completely pragmatic, sensible and manages to head off problems between clients."

Clients appreciate the "tenacious" Emma Folds for her hands-on approach, which "really drives transactions." She is especially well regarded for her work with bank syndicates, advising them on a range of loans issued to household names. 

Sources report that banking and finance partner Roderick McGillivray consistently "serves his clients well." His first-hand experience of US and European markets was valuable in the team's successful completion of Cinven's acquisition of CeramTree, which involved a New York law loan and bond financing.  

Taner Hassan is a "very active lawyer" who is reportedly "more up to date on current events and the latest trends" than most in the market. He primarily acts for borrowers and sponsors, and has a wealth of experience advising on a wide range of financings, notably leveraged financings in Europe and the emerging markets.

Robert Lee advised on Codere's refinancing, as part of its EUR1 billion restructuring. He demonstrates strength in the areas of acquisition finance and disposals of loan portfolios. Clients note that he is able to "get things done, in a timely, executable manner."

Considered "a very well-known banking and finance industry figure," Malcolm Sweeting has acted on an impressive array of high-profile transactions and represented a number of prominent banks. He remains an important contributor to the core banking group and is particularly valued for his comprehensive knowledge of global finance.

Head of the banking and finance department Mark Campbell possesses "huge credibility in the market" and displays an "obvious depth of experience and knowledge," according to sources. He continues to advise on landmark deals in which the team is involved, lately acting for several lenders on the amendment and extension of Icopal's debt through a UK court scheme. 

Habib Motani is best known for his distinguished Islamic finance practice, as well as his broad knowledge of derivatives, securities lending, repo, and netting and collateral.

Significant clients J.P. Morgan, Türk Telekom, GSO, Bridgepoint, GE.

Basic facts about the department
- 25 partners
- 53 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Regularly instructed on mandates in the UK and Europe involving large-scale transactions for lenders and borrowers. Sector specialisms include leisure, hotels, TMT and healthcare.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“Everyone we work with is just incredibly excellent at what they do. An instruction comes back to you with only those key questions that they need your input on.”

“Extremely pragmatic, hard-working and high-quality. Overall a real pleasure.”  

Work highlights Acted for Pendragon on the refinancing of substantial core facilities, worth £320 million.

Represented Lloyds Bank in Project Carnivore, involving the provision of acquisition finance facilities to fund Graphite’s purchase of restaurant group Hawksmoor.

Notable practitioners  

Peter Crichton concentrates his practice on structured, syndicated and leveraged finance. Sources report: "He’s excellent, a very good guy. Knows his stuff, very commercial.” Other market commentators note he is "very experienced from a legal perspective. He’s also very practical, client-focused, and deals well with myriad counterparties.”

Will Meredith focuses on leveraged, property and lending finance. According to sources, he “truly understands what a relationship is, he really gets it. We get lots of value-added from him. Just an excellent relationship guy.”

Alex Patience is a “very practical and sensible” lawyer “who has good banking clients - he has many contacts in the financial world.” He is a well-established name in the banking and finance practice area, with a wide scope of expertise.

Significant clients RBS, HSBC, Santander, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs.

Basic facts about the department
- 26 partners 
- 73 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acknowledged as a good player on international transactions, thanks to the firm's extensive network and global client base. Particularly proficient on deals with an Islamic finance component. Strong presence on major bank panels, and also acts for many private equity firms.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“Very focused on delivering on time, delivering what we need and giving good advice. Good support team - it’s important to have a good bench. They’re organised, give good advice and they know the market.”

“I'm pleased with the level of expertise shown not just at the partner level but down the chain as well. Associates provide good commercial advice and are cost-effective.” 

Work highlights Acted for the government of Ras Al Khaimah on the NASDAQ Dubai listing of RAK Capital's USD2 billion trust certificate issuance programme, as well its issuance of a USD500 million sukuk under the programme.

Advised Standard Chartered Bank in its capacity as lead arranger on Türk Ekonomi Bankası's EUR316 million and USD140.5 million dual-currency term loan facility.

Notable practitioners  

Catherine Astruc enjoys a breadth of experience in banking and finance matters. Her practice covers acquisition and lending finance, corporate lending and restructuring. Sources say: “She’s very commercial, very sensible and she understands the commercial points. She’s able to explain our legal position very well - a clear, good communicator.”

Isaac Felberbaum has a dedicated specialism in syndicated loans, leading that branch of the banking and finance practice. He acts for institutional lenders, corporate borrowers and international companies. He has further experience in capital markets, restructuring and derivatives.

According to market commentators, Matthew Sapte is an “absolute guru - a walking black box of legal ability.” Clients seek him out for “Islamic bonds and the more technical work.”

Richard de Belder is “very well known and very well respected” by scholars of Islamic finance law and has a “deep understanding” of the practice area. He has an expertise in Shari’a-compliant deals and co-ordinates the Islamic finance practice for the firm.

Significant clients State Street, Investec, Silicon Valley Bank. 

Basic facts about the department
- 24 partners 
- 73 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Large team able to leverage the firm's global footprint to handle project finance and debt finance work in the City and further afield. Niche expertise in the emergent practice of unitranche financing.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“They provide very good advice, they take it upon themselves as a personal responsibility and they’re commercial as well.”

“You always get senior involvement when you’re dealing with them. You’ll always get senior staffing and advice from people who know what they’re talking about. They’re diligent.”  

Work highlights Advised a syndicate of banks, including Barclays and Lloyds, on Martin McColl Group's £100 million refinancing of its senior and mezzanine facilities.

Acted for Ares Capital Europe and GE Capital on their EUR115 million unitranche financing, provided via their joint venture funding vehicle ESSLP, to Nicotra Gebhardt Group.

Notable practitioners  

Philip Butler is “easy to work with” and has a “high level of expertise,” according to market commentators. As head of the finance and projects team he has had extensive experience in handling the full spectrum of lending, finance and acquisition transactions.

David Miles has a depth of expertise in a wide array of domestic and international transactions including dealing with complex mezzanine, unitranche and senior structured lending. Clients call him a “high-calibre lawyer.”

Alexander Griffith is always “pragmatic, positive and proactive in terms of trying to find working solutions for different parties.” He is a dedicated banking lawyer with particular strength in leveraged finance work.

Daniel Hendon enjoys enthusiastic praise from clients, who describe him as “a star of the future” and “very personable, diligent and experienced.”

Significant clients Babson Capital, Commerzbank, Chenavari Financial, H.I.G. Capital, Mothercare.

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Provides a bespoke corporate finance service focusing on club and syndicated lending for banks. Also handles financings and refinancings for significant corporate borrowers.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“They are very knowledgeable in their specific area and have good industry contacts.”

Work highlights Acted for Honda Finance Europe on an innovative financing by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, worth £50 million.

Represented borrower Greene King in the extension of its existing facilities and an increase used to retire bond debt, with an overall matter value of £460 million.

Notable practitioners  

David Boyd is a well-known name in the real estate finance sector, who “cuts to the chase” on transactions. He has a strong client base and enduring relationships with lenders in the market. Clients note him for his enthusiasm: “He’s very good for the team - he really cares about his team and the clients.”

Clients rate Nick Swiss because he is “very easy to deal with” due to his “great interpersonal skills, and he’s also commercial, which makes it a lot easier to get to a position with a client where you can find a sensible solution.” He has a thorough knowledge of the syndicated lending and acquisition finance markets.

Significant clients HSBC, Barclays, RBS, East Africa Development Bank, Louis Dreyfus.

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Burgeoning team acting for borrowers and lenders on a broad range of banking transactions, often with a cross-border element. Increasing presence on matters involving the aircraft industry.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“Responsive and commercial - they turn things around incredibly quickly. Strong and technical firm with high-calibre banking lawyers.”

“Exceedingly good response; they always make themselves available. A very pleasant crowd to work with on a human level, and they know us inside out.” 

Work highlights Advised J.P. Morgan on £28.5 million of financing for a substantial property in London.  

Represented Silicon Valley Bank in a number of cross-border life sciences and technology sector lending transactions, including amendments to existing facilities and receivables financings.

Notable practitioners 

Sources note that head of finance Andrew Evans “brings a lot of experience and knowledge” to transactions. He is “always up to date on market practice and industry standards.” His specialist areas include secured and unsecured lending, asset finance in wealth management and real estate finance.

Significant clients Europe Arab Bank, Standard Chartered, Aviva, Threadneedle, EMED Mining.

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 50 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Highly respected banking and finance practice with the versatility to advise across all finance products. Regularly acts for high-calibre private equity clients on financings of portfolio acquisitions and disposals. Notable for its in-depth knowledge of the infrastructure finance market.   

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Ultra-professional. They are the standard that everyone else should set themselves to."

"They're very good communicators, they're technically strong, and they keep the legal teams in the loop. Generally very responsive and know when to bring others in." 

Work highlights Represented Advent International in EUR740 million of senior secured financing used to fund its public-to-private acquisition of Dutch company Mediq, a supplier of medical and pharmaceutical devices.

Acted for Ardian and Aena on all of the financing aspects for their acquisition of the London Luton airport concession from TBI Airport Holdings.

Notable practitioners  

Sean Pierce is a celebrated figure in the banking and finance market, renowned for adopting a "big-picture and solutions-driven" approach whilst advising his sponsor clientele on various restructurings and financings. He also maintains a reputation for being "very client-focused."

Partner Alex Mitchell has had a busy year leading the team on numerous substantial deals, including acting for a syndicate of arrangers on a £3 billion refinancing for the AA group. One satisfied client recalls that Alex was "even-handed in negotiations" and demonstrated great proficiency while addressing a "unique and complicated capital structure."

Peter Hall is a well-established partner within the firm's banking and finance department with a successful practice focusing on infrastructure finance. He also frequently represents banks in high-value lending deals, as evidenced by his advice to a syndicate of banks on the provision of a EUR1.35 billion revolving credit facility to Electrical Supply Board.

Martin Hutchings is a respected legal adviser to a range of banks and borrowers and is also one of the firm's key partners practising in the corporate treasury sphere. Notable recent work includes acting as lead adviser on a significant secured financing in connection with a public-to-private acquisition. 

Sean Lacey led the charge on a high-profile transaction for client Carphone Warehouse Group, advising on a £650 million acquisition of shares and a substantial refinancing. He is highlighted for his technical prowess, with one client remarking that he is "very good at synthesising information. He knows how to get things done."

Michael Steele acted for Blackstone on its purchase, for around EUR2.9 billion, of Multi, a European shopping centre developer and manager. He concentrates his practice on leveraged and acquisition finance transactions.  

Significant clients Cinven, Prudential M&G, RBS, ABB, Warburg Pincus.

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 38 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Illustrious client roster on the borrower and bank side, regularly representing FTSE 250 companies and household-name banks. Strong track record on reserve-based lending deals and energy finance. Noted for its emerging markets offering and particular focus on India, Russia and Africa.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We were very impressed. We like working with them because they're very attentive; you get a lot of partner attention and involvement."

Work highlights Acted for Northgate on the £428 million refinancing of its existing US private placements, bank facilities and institutional loans. The financing comprised senior multicurrency term and revolving facilities.  

Advised Deutsche Bank in its capacity as agent on an ECA-backed loan of USD234 million to Bharti Airtel, for the purpose of funding its acquisition of telecoms equipment from Nokia Siemens.

Notable practitioners  

Head of finance for the UK and EMEA Malcolm Hitching possesses significant experience in the market. He represents lenders and borrowers in a range of transactions and has notable expertise in Islamic financings.

Ewen Fergusson is known to clients as "a very affable guy - he relates very easily to both the businesspeople and our clients." He took the lead acting for Northgate on its complex £428 million refinance.

Ian Yeo acted on the provision of an ECA-backed loan by Deutsche Bank to fund Bharti Airtel's purchase of certain telecoms equipment. He frequently handles multi-jurisdictional transactions.

Significant clients Standard Bank, BNP Paribas, hibu, Perenco, Lonmin.

Basic facts about the department
- 18 partners
- 45 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Identified as a key player in the flourishing unitranche debt market. Continues to build strong relationships with key banking institutions on an international basis, particularly in Africa. London operates as the hub of the firm's worldwide banking offering.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"We get an excellent and responsive service and a highly commercial approach to dealing with problems. My impression is that they have very engaged and motivated associates who also strive to attain very high standards."

"Very professional, pragmatic and commercial."  

Work highlights Represented BNP Paribas in its provision of financing to Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan, utilised to fund its successful bid for, and subsequent acquisition of, Burton's Biscuits from Apollo and CIBC.

Advised Kingdom Holding on the major refinancing of London's Savoy Hotel.

Notable practitioners  

Sources note that Matthew Cottis possesses "a wealth of experience, but he is incredibly easy to deal with. He's very comfortable getting his hands dirty." He advised Barclays and HSBC as the revolving credit facility mandated lead arrangers for thetrainline.com's refinancing.  

Penny Angell invites warm praise from a range of sources, with one noting that she is "a pleasure to work with." She is highlighted for her hands-on approach to transactions and "is extremely proactive about identifying issues while at the same time suggesting solutions and potential compromises."

Stuart Brinkworth assisted HSBC and Proventus Capital Partners with the provision of facilities for the acquisition by Phoenix Equity Partners of a majority interest in The Gym. An interviewee remarks: "He is extremely well networked and very experienced." 

Paul Mullen impresses with his negotiation skills, with one source saying: "He is very good at steering negotiations in a positive and productive way. He clearly has the experience and understands what the commercial points are."

Colin Craik is an able practitioner, handling a range of financing transactions, often on a cross-border basis. He represents lenders and borrowers and is equally adept in project finance deals.

Significant clients Barclays, Actis, Société Générale, GE Capital, Crédit Agricole.

Basic facts about the department
- 17 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Noted as a collaborative department, housing specialists with knowledge of various disciplines and jurisdictional focuses. Skill set includes structured finance, asset-based lending, acquisition finance and emerging markets finance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“We’re always impressed with their advice, their professionalism and their availability.”

“They’re very responsive, they really put their clients first and try to come back with relevant advice quickly. They’re reliable, proactive and we believe they give good value for money.”  

Work highlights Acted as legal adviser for Base Resources on the alteration of its existing financing of the Kwale Mineral Sands Project in Kenya.

Represented a group of lenders, including Canyon Capital, in a debt restructuring and the provision of a new money issue financing worth EUR1.38 billion.

Notable practitioners  

Edwin Borrini is, according to clients, “very hands-on.” Sources find him “easy to deal with” because he is reportedly “very good at communication and very commercial.” He focuses on general banking matters such as syndicated, structured and acquisition financings.

Significant clients Goldman Sachs, Macquarie Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, RBS.

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners 
- 26 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Reputation for strength in the fields of real estate finance, international leveraged financing and funds finance. Enjoys close relationships with alternative lenders, overseas financial institutions and investment banks.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

“Very good. Experienced, available and able to deal with our requirements swiftly and efficiently.”

“They were excellent - we highly recommend them. Fund finance and private equity finance are things that they're very experienced in, and have a strong reputation for."

Work highlights Represented Vnesheconombank in the provision of more than USD2 billion of financing facilities used to fund the 2014 Winter Olympics.

Assisted Lion Capital with the financing for its £150 million acquisition of ghd, a UK hair styling brand, from Montagu Private Equity.

Notable practitioners  

Ian Borman is particularly recommended for his solid work in the real estate sector. He covers a wide scope of transactions from senior and mezzanine structures to syndicated facilities. Peers note him as “an excellent banking and finance lawyer.”

Clients would recommend Christopher Fanner for his expertise in emerging markets finance and syndicated lending. His client base includes major banks and corporate borrowers and he has niche expertise in the telecoms industry.

Significant clients RBS, Lloyds Bank, Bank of Montreal, Haymarket Financial, Bank of Ireland. 

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Represents an array of top-tier sponsors, including private equity houses, hedge funds and debt funds. Demonstrates strength in bank and bond-financed LBOs, refinancings and recapitalisations. Displays considerable expertise in financings with M&A and leveraged finance components.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Everything was always perfectly prepared and on time. They were very successful in helping us to reach our negotiation goals." 

"They have a very strong group - very intellectually minded and clients like them a lot. The whole group was incredibly useful. Absolutely pleased with the end result." 

What's new? Stephen Lucas joined the firm from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in 2014. 

Gained Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan as a client.

Work highlights Acted for CVC Capital Partners on the financing for its acquisition of an energy management company, ista International.

Represented Mid Europa Partners with regards to the merger of Telemach and Serbia Broadband, a refinancing of the joint entity and then its eventual sale via auction to KKR.

Notable practitioners  

Numerous peers concede that Stephen Gillespie is one of the best banking partners currently active in the market, marrying a robust "take-no-prisoners approach with an incredible technical capability." His highly acclaimed practice combines a broad range of banking and finance work, including M&A and divestitures, and maintains a distinct focus on investment grade and leveraged financings.

"Superstar" banking and finance practitioner Neel Sachdev receives superb feedback from clients and peers, who "find him a pleasure to work with." He is especially regarded for his expert handling of multi-jurisdictional LBOs. He recently advised on the loan and bond elements of Bain Capital and Altor's acquisition of EWOS, a transaction valued at NOK6.5 billion.  

Philip Crump is "technically superb and able to slice the Gordian knots to get results." He is praised for being "super-responsive and user-friendly." Recently, he advised new client Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan on its acquisition of a major UK biscuit manufacturer, Burton's.

Sources describe partner John Markland as a "standout" practitioner who is "up on the market, sensible and commercial in his approach." Clients are impressed with his deft handling of complex debt financings, remarking that he is always "focused on identifying the key matters for the client." He has assisted with several debt restructuring exercises for major portfolio companies recently, including Clarion Group.

According to clients, Stephen Lucas is an "incredibly high-energy, very focused, technically very able lawyer," and, as one source enthuses, "half brainbox, half tiger." A go-to lawyer for a number of the firm's lender and sponsor clients, he has a "highly developed understanding of what will genuinely move the needle for his client's commercial interests and how to balance risks." He joined the firm from Weil, Gotshal and Manges, where he advised Advent International and its portfolio company, Equinti Group, on the provision of £440 million notes and a £75 million super senior revolving credit facility to a subsidiary of Equinti.

Significant clients Bain Capital, Sankaty Advisors, Searchlight Capital, Palamon Capital Partners, Astorg Partners.

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners
- 1 counsel
- 46 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Commended for its substantive experience in transatlantic financings, and versatility in handling a variety of financial instruments. Highly visible on complex leveraged and acquisition finance deals across the globe. Especially acclaimed for its high-yield ability and high-calibre client list.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They are equally capable on both loan and high-yield products, which is rare. The quality of their service is really good. The team are responsive, commercial and able to distil key issues."

"Very good, quality people who know a lot about the market. One of the few law firms that can offer a truly cross-border practice."

What's new? Leveraged finance partners Ross Anderson and Mohamed Nurmohamed were promoted to partner.

Work highlights Advised RBS, Deutsche Bank and Barclays on a EUR1.45 billion senior facilities agreement for Tank & Rast, which took place alongside the issuance of a EUR240 million payment in kind loan and EUR460 million in second-lien notes.  

Acted for The Carlyle Group on the financing for its acquisition of consumer and pharmaceutical packaging products supplier Chesapeake. 

Notable practitioners  

Clients and peers believe co-chair of the global banking practice Christopher Kandel strikes an ideal balance by being an "extremely good technical attorney" who is also "personable and commercial." He has enjoyed a busy year advising an assortment of high-profile lenders across a range of complex transactions.

Peers affirm that co-chair of the global Islamic finance practice Craig Nethercott has a solid reputation for producing quality work and is a "good practitioner to work opposite." He is also a member of the project finance and development group, where he has cultivated significant experience advising on oil and gas, mining and infrastructure financings across multiple jurisdictions.  

Dominic Newcomb is highly rated for his comprehensive international bank finance practice. Clients deem him to be "an exceptionally good loan lawyer who is very into the detail and very clear and straightforward in the explanation he gives to his clients." Also appreciated is his "creative and super-flexible" approach to resolving issues. He led the team on The Carlyle Group's acquisition of Addison Lee and Eventech.  

Jayanthi Sadanandan is held in high esteem for her wide-ranging banking and finance knowledge, with sources particularly singling out her expertise in leveraged finance. One impressed client reflects that "she did an excellent job on a complex deal within a very short timeline." She represented PAI Partners in its acquisition of R&R Ice Cream.

Christopher Hall is highlighted for his firm grasp of leveraged acquisitions, recapitalisation financings and refinancings. Sources confirm that he is equally adept at representing lenders and sponsors across a range of finance transactions. Notably, he advised Hellman & Friedman on the implementation of a EUR745 million second lien to finance its acquisition of Scout24. 

Market commentators report that Sam Hamilton is one to watch in the banking and finance market. Sources pick out his "pragmatic approach to transactions" and his "mindset of solving problems, not raising issues." Additionally, clients value his facilitation of difficult transactions: "He was very commercial and was able to get the car off the ice when things became difficult in negotiations with the other party. Excellent." 

Ross Pooley is noted for being particularly "good on the loan side." He acts on behalf of a diverse blend of corporates, financial institutions and private equity investors. He was instructed by a syndicate of banks, including HSBC, on the financing of an acquisition, which involved term loans, a revolving credit facility and a capex facility. 

Partner Mohamed Nurmohamed is held in the "highest regard" by his clients, one of whom remarks: "Not only is he technically very knowledgeable, he is extremely focused on providing great service to his clients. He is also commercial enough to get deals done by coming up with alternative solutions to issues." J.P. Morgan instructed him to handle the EUR470 million refinancing of a Spanish theme park.  

For a number of clients, partner James Chesterman is a "calming influence" who inspires confidence with his expertise in all manner of financings. Interviewees also remark that he is "very good at big-picture strategy, as well as being a strong technical lawyer."

Basic facts about the department
- 50 partners
- 189 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Admired for the breadth of its offering, which covers the spectrum of finance transactions as well as related regulatory concerns. Weighted towards the representation of lenders but also consistently attracts high-profile borrower mandates. Recognised as a key international player thanks to its extensive global footprint.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Overall, they're the top for me. They've got very active partners with good structuring skill sets, in addition to capable associates who can run deals. They provide advice which is constructive." 

"They have a deep support team which allows them the resources to deal with the more complex end of overseas transactions."

Work highlights Represented the arrangers Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan in United Biscuits' major refinancing process.

Advised Tank & Rast on the refinancing of its existing facilities, which included EUR460 million of senior notes, EUR240 million of payment in kind facilities and EUR1.4 billion of senior facilities.

Notable practitioners  

The "reasonable and considered" Gideon Moore enjoys a pre-eminent reputation in the marketplace and is highly recommended by clients and peers. He is known for his in-depth knowledge of acquisition finance and corporate lending, having completed a multitude of high-profile transactions throughout his career.

Co-head of the firm's leveraged finance department, Nick Syson is rated for his comprehensive knowledge of acquisition finance and restructurings, and for his market know-how and ability "to distil key issues." 

Philip Spittal receives positive feedback from interviewees, one of whom describes him as "a fantastic lawyer" who "represents our interests well." He is respected for his experience and guidance on finance transactions, particularly those involving syndicated lending.

Peers consider David Ereira "to be a very strong practitioner," adding that "in terms of knowledge, he's way up there." He acts on a range of finance transactions and is also consistently noted for his restructuring and insolvency experience.

Toby Grimstone is commended for his "very strong structuring skill set," in addition to his burgeoning international banking practice. He continues to represent bank and borrower interests in the European and emerging markets, advising on a number of impressive transactions, including a £17 billion financing for Glencore Xstrata and Glencore International. 

Partner Jeremy Stokeld is a respected figure within the UK and international finance market, chiefly known for advising banks and borrowers on syndicated lending and secured and structured financing deals.

One peer describes Oliver Edwards as "probably the most pragmatic lawyer that I have ever worked with." Clients state that he is always "happy to help with the innocuous small stuff, as well as the more complex items."

The "very keen and thorough" Edward Aldred frequently strikes clients as someone who "seems to have unlimited energy." His energy and enthusiasm are complemented by his commercial acumen and knowledge of leveraged finance and bank and bond structures. 

Adam Freeman possesses considerable experience advising financial sponsors, arrangers and borrowers across a range of finance transactions, with a particular emphasis on acquisition and leveraged finance. He played a key advisory role in the College of Law acquisition refinancing.

Co-head of the leveraged finance department Brian Gray has developed a reputation for "finding answers" to difficult legal matters, according to peers. His practice encompasses the full spectrum of leveraged and acquisition financings and restructurings, including LBOs, distressed M&A and event-driven investment grade and crossover credit work. A recent key mandate includes assisting with Tank & Rast's refinancing.  

Co-head of banking Stuart Thomas is described by one impressed client as "very calm, very experienced, supportive, helpful and diligent." He has cultivated a broad general banking practice, acting for clients across a variety of financing contexts. He advised HSBC Bank Middle East on funding for the USD560 million acquisition of Valerus Field Solutions by Kentz.

Significant clients Alcentra, Citi, Glencore, Lloyds Bank, The Carlyle Group.

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 17 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Marked out for its broad coverage of the market, representing all key stakeholders from borrowers to private equity sponsors. Noted for its aptitude in the niche area of fund finance, backed up by the firm's impressive grounding in private equity. Principally active on acquisition finance matters.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"You get access to the partners; they're very open in terms of where they are and very approachable in terms of discussing issues with you. Comfortable with some fairly complex structures and working within timeframes."

"Very good, high calibre of people from the partners all the way down. We get a good level of partner coverage and the associates and trainees are very good too."  

Work highlights Represented Verizon Communications in the English law aspects of its USD61 billion credit agreement, which was used to partially finance its acquisition of Vodafone's interests in Verizon Wireless.

Advised Cath Kidston Group on its £65 million refinancing process.

Notable practitioners  

Andrew Perkins is described by one interviewee as an "extremely diligent and very user-friendly" practitioner. He acted for RBS on a term debt and revolving credit facility provided for the MBO of Mountain Warehouse Group.

Reportedly a "big name in the corporate finance market," Bronwen Jones is characterised as "professional, with a lot of experience." She assisted Investec, HSBC and Lloyds Bank with the provision of facilities worth £70 million for Graphite Capital's purchase of City & Council Healthcare Holdings.

Significant clients Investec, Ares Capital, Partners Group, TA Associates, Darwin Private Equity.

Basic facts about the department
- 19 partners
- 35 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Increasingly instructed on cross-border deals and high-value, sophisticated transactions. An established capacity for asset-based lending matters and leveraged finance transactions. 

Work highlights Represented US property investor Ashkenazy Acquisition/Tribeca Holdings in the financing for the purchase of Old Spitalfields Market, in the form of senior and mezzanine facilities from Blackstone.

Acted for Mubadala GE Capital, a Bermuda-incorporated borrower group, on an asset-based term loan facility provided by Citibank, used to purchase a group of US-based loans.

Notable practitioners  

Dominic Griffiths is a key contact here.

Significant clients Barclays, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Deutsche Bank, GE Capital.

Basic facts about the department
- 6 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Offers substantive expertise across the board for European and US clients. Geared towards high-end transactions, with experience in bank, bond and mezzanine financing. Transatlantic capability continues to be a major draw for clients, as does the team's renowned specialism in Islamic finance. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"All in all they are very professional, highly skilled, well trained and extremely talented across the board." 

"They really make a massive and successful effort to integrate themselves with the company. They have a very deep understanding of the company's commercial aims."

Work highlights Acted for a syndicate of banks, including UBS and Deutsche Bank, on the financing for General Atlantic Partners and Warburg Pincus' USD1.4 billion acquisition of Santander's global asset management business.

Represented Credit Suisse in French-headquartered Photonis Technologies' cross-border refinancing process, involving a EUR30 million multicurrency revolving credit facility and a EUR250 million first-lien term loan facility.

Notable practitioners  

Suhrud Mehta strikes interviewees as "an excellent lawyer." He is frequently found acting on high-profile deals, such as the mandate by Nomura to advise on its USD1.5 billion bridge loan to Grifols, provided for the acquisition of the diagnostics arm of Novartis.

Timothy Peterson advised a raft of lenders, including Park Square Capital, on a EUR240 million payment in kind loan facility provided for Tank & Rast's significant refinance. Clients admire his "very deep understanding of his client's commercial aims. Having that kind of history with the company, where you really understand what they think - that's a very, very powerful force."

Neil Caddy is visible in the market on sophisticated financing transactions. He led the team advising a committee of lenders including Centerbridge on a debt restructuring and new money financing for Promotora de Informaciones.

John Dewar is well known for his project finance work, which frequently incorporates Islamic finance elements. He advised Qatar Solar Technologies and Qatar Foundation on a substantial murabaha facility.  

Significant clients Bluebay Asset Management, Nomura, Park Square, Albilad Bank, Banque Saudi Fransi.

Basic facts about the department
- 56 partners
- 141 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Clients benefit from the support and resources of the firm's worldwide banking practice. Handles the full spectrum of banking work from asset finance to debt capital markets.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“Their professional expertise and their depth - they’re like a one-stop shop, they cover a lot of different aspects."

“They’ve taken the time to understand the group and our requirements. They are able to provide very strong and sound advice.” 

Work highlights Represented Etisalat Nigeria in the refinancing and extension of its existing facility to a USD1.2 billion equivalent medium-term facility, made up of a NGN149.575 billion tranche and a USD235 million tranche.

Acted as non-US counsel to Bank of America on its role as lead arranger for Dell's USD2 billion asset based finance facility.

Notable practitioners  

Michael Black has particular expertise in the asset-based lending field. Clients report that “he knows our business, he knows what we need, and he’s very good and easy to work with.” He has a lender-focused practice due to his strong relationships with the major clearing banks and other financial institutions.

Head of Islamic finance in Europe, Farmida Bi is a key player in the Islamic capital market field and is often instructed on innovative, big-ticket deals in the UK and overseas. She receives enthusiastic praise from clients, who say that "she has a really good sense of market practice in what is sometimes an undefined market. She's able to take on complex legal constructs and synthesise them down."

Michael Ings runs the syndicated and leveraged finance arm of the banking team in London. He has a particular strength in media transactions specifically pertaining to the telecoms industry. He has a balanced practice, regularly representing borrowers and lenders.

Significant clients BNP Paribas, HSBC, Gatehouse Bank, Saudi Oger, Tullow Oil.

Basic facts about the department
- 9 partners
- 19 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Works equally for lenders and borrowers on a wide range of banking and finance matters. Specifically known for its real estate and TMT lending expertise. Particular experience in the fields of technology, leisure and retail. 

Work highlights Acted for the Bank of Ireland on a number of bank club deals with an aggregate value of over £100 million.

Advised a bandwidth infrastructure provider, euNetworks Group, on financing provided by Barclays Private Credit Partners worth EUR30 million.

Notable practitioners  

Charles Kerrigan is skilled in advising on transactions in the TMT and real estate industries, acting for both major banks and alternative lenders in the UK and abroad. One source reports: “He got up to speed in terms of understanding the nuances of the industry very quickly.”

Moni Mannings' practice lies in the property investment, acquisition finance and LBO areas. She tends to have a borrower-led practice but has also built strong relationships with banks.

Significant clients Clydesdale Bank, Chamonix Private Equity, Kaupthing Bank, Sportech, Nationwide Building Society.

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 14 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Houses a growing offering in the banking and finance field. Enjoying a high volume of activity thanks to strong relationships with clearing banks and increasing involvement in the investment-grade syndications market.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“It's quite a small team and you get very good senior partner coverage alongside some of the juniors. You always feel that partners are involved.”

“They're good. They've got good expertise, they’re commercial, they understand the commerciality of the current market conditions and are helpful in giving us advice.”  

Work highlights Represented a major UK banking group in its co-ordination of a syndicate providing part of a £535 million facility to Constain Group.

Acted for the Dennis Eagle Group on its unitranche financing, provided by Blue Bay and another major UK lender.

Notable practitioners  

Head of department Martin Bishop has a "broad skill set" and a "good range of knowledge and experience, in both leveraged finance and corporate transactions." Clients note he takes a "very commercial view to everything that he gets involved with."

Significant clients Clydesdale Bank, Aareal Bank, Redefine International, Halfords Group, Caretech Holdings.

Basic facts about the department
- 15 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Strength of client base and diversity of skill set means this team is prominent in the banking and finance market in London. It offers niche knowledge ranging from media and film finance to trade and commodity finance.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“I think they’re fantastic; it really feels like they’re partnering with us. They’re very client-friendly and they’re prompt.”

“Approachable and focused on the client objectives, they work constructively with all parties involved.”  

Work highlights Represented CBPE in the securing of leveraged debt facilities used to finance the purchase of Côte Restaurants.

Advised the government of Kazakhstan on a USD7 billion debt financing agreement with Sberbank and VTB. 

Notable practitioners  

Leon Stephenson has significant experience advising on high-value financings, syndicated secured financings and LBOs. Sources report that “he definitely knows the market. He’s been really helpful to us in guiding us through the UK market.”

Significant clients The Co-operative Group, Santander, Telecity Group, Siemens Financial Services, Patrizia Immobilien.

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 24 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Dominant presence on the sponsor side, acting on some of the largest and most complex deals in the market. Highly credible offering on the lender and borrower sides, picked out for its representation of household-name clients in the telecoms sector. Experienced bench with tested prowess in the full range of financial instruments.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're exceptionally professional and they work well together as a team. We are particularly pleased with their commercial understanding."

"They're good at making sure everything gets done, but they don't allow the rules to stifle us. They're very intelligent guys and they find a workaround. They're not pedantic and they explain things in simple language."

Work highlights Represented the shareholders of McCarthy & Stone, including Alchemy Partners and TPG, in a new injection of equity into the retirement home builder.

Acted for the Barchester Group on a number of financing transactions, including the sale of its 160-property UK care home-owning property company Bluewood.

Notable practitioners  

Peers identify senior associate Fergus Wheeler as an impressive "up-and-coming" practitioner, calling him "approachable, responsive and a pleasure to work with." Clients are similarly effusive, highlighting his commerciality.

Maurice Allen is co-managing partner of the practice and continues to garner respect from leading figures in the market. Clients appreciate that he "still rolls his sleeves up and gets stuck in," as evidenced by his key involvement in a financing related to Liberty Global's USD2.3 billion acquisition of Virgin Media. 

Matthew Cox is the recipient of praise from market commentators, who describe him as "a strong negotiator who understands the commercial basis of the covenants." A client adds: "He's 100% reliable and very good and resourceful. He's just brilliant in his thinking."

Mark Wesseldine receives particular praise for his "commercial acumen and calm demeanour." He has considerable expertise advising lenders and borrowers on multi-jurisdictional LBOs and complex restructurings.

Highly respected partner Michael Goetz is UK and US-qualified, offering clients the benefit of many years' experience in leveraged lending and acquisition finance matters.

Significant clients AMP Capital, GoldenTree Asset Management, KKR, Singers, Vision Capital.

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 23 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Sophisticated finance offering, regularly handling transactions requiring New York and European expertise. Agile bench, acting on fast-paced cross-border deals for an international client base. Known for its long-standing relationships with key lender and sponsor clients.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"One of the few New York firms in the UK that possess a strong high-yield capital markets and leveraged banking practice. Has a high percentage of technically proficient attorneys who are also highly approachable and personable."

"They're very responsive, they have deep technical knowledge and a practical approach." 

"They are very proactive and very commercial in their approach; they don't present just the law, they think beyond that and present solutions. They're very useful in really helping us get to where we need to go and in moving the entire process forward."  

Work highlights Advised Oberthur Technologies and Advent International on the refinancing, using a covenant-lite term loan B credit facility, of Oberthur's senior bank debt. 

Acted for Jefferies and Goldman Sachs in their capacity as lead arrangers for the financing of TSL Education's acquisition by TPG.

Notable practitioners  

Anthony Ward is highlighted as a "strong technical lawyer, who is also very commercial, practical and even-keeled." He advised Investcorp on the financing for its purchase of the Hydrasun Group. He is further described as "intellectually rigorous."

Clifford Atkins took the lead for a group of banks acting as initial purchasers and arrangers on complex financing arrangements for Thomas Cook's refinance, which involved a high-yield bond issue. A client notes that he is "thoughtful and careful in his analysis." 

Caroline Leeds Ruby attracts warm praise from sources, with one enthusing that she is "very diligent, extremely responsive, flexible and has deep technical knowledge." She acts for corporate and financial institution clients.

The "technically strong" Peter Hayes is praised for his knowledge, particularly on intercreditor issues. Clients also appreciate his communication skills and ability to "explain very complex legal points to non-legal experts."

Iain Goalen impresses interviewees with his "great attitude" to getting deals done. "He's got a very nice manner," explains a client, adding that he is "a brilliant negotiator." He led the team advising Goldman Sachs and Jefferies Finance on the financing arrangements for TPG's purchase of TSL Education.

Philip Stopford "comes across as very intelligent and quietly effective," according to sources. He is an associate and regularly assists on high-profile deals, including advising Nokia on its financing arrangements for the purchase of Siemens' stake in the Nokia Siemens Networks joint venture.  

Significant clients Advent, Citi, Investcorp, Ziggo, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Basic facts about the department
- 18 partners
- 27 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Multidisciplinary approach with the department housing specialists in a range of disciplines from acquisition finance to real estate finance. Sector-based practice allows the team to focus on industries such as TMT, life sciences, energy and infrastructure.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“Very easy to work with. Obviously give us all the legal options, but they’re also very commercial as well.”

“Depth of team was impressive - they offered bespoke transactional work, and were able to draw influence and strengths from specific teams for the work.”

Work highlights Advised bond arranger RBC Europe and security and bond trustee Prudential Trustee Company on the completion of a 3,000-bed student housing project worth £145 million.

Acted for Marlin Financial Group on its involvement in a £25 million revolving credit facility and issuance of high-yield senior secured bonds valuing £150 million.

Notable practitioners  

James Bresslaw is a key contact here.

Significant clients Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Schroders, SEB, Standard Bank.

Basic facts about the department
- 5 partners
- 15 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Demonstrates considerable strength on the sponsor side, frequently acting on some of the largest transactions in the market. Houses an esteemed bench of UK and US-qualified lawyers, able to act on the full range of financing matters. Particularly noted for its leveraged finance expertise. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They care a lot about their clients and defend their clients' interests always."

"They calibrate the importance of the particular issues during a negotiation. They make sure to include us in the important decisions and don't include us in the less important ones." 

Work highlights Acted for Apax Partners affiliate Rhino Bondco, on a EUR490 million financing for its acquisition of Rhiag Inter Auto Parts Italia, comprising a private notes offering, a super senior revolving credit facility and an issuance of floating-rate senior secured notes.

Advised NXP Semiconductors on a new USD400 million senior secured term loan facility. 

Notable practitioners  

The "phenomenal" Ian Barratt is a partner in the firm's credit team, widely respected for his expert handling of domestic and cross-border acquisition financings. In addition to being "incredibly hard-working and tenacious," clients affirm that he is "very clearly client-focused" and "exceptional at driving into the detail and coming up with key solutions quickly."

Nicholas Shaw maintains a good reputation in the London finance market and is particularly noted for his ample experience advising private equity firms and their portfolio companies on a range of bond issues. Clients praise him for being "incredibly hard-working, smart, creative and commercial."

Euan Gorrie has a well-established practice, advising a host of borrowers and institutional lenders on issues ranging from property finance to restructurings. He has increasingly received key mandates from a number of prominent corporate borrowers, and advised on a new multimillion-euro facility agreement for Gestamp Automoción. 

Stephen Short is particularly known for his specialised knowledge of private equity financings. He led the team on a significant number of high-profile transactions this year, including advising on the financing for TDR Capital's £750 million acquisition of David Lloyd Leisure.

Significant clients Blackstone, New Look, Polymer Group, Deutsche Bank, HgCapital.

Basic facts about the department
- 3 partners
- 9 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Caters to an impressive and varied clientele, including sponsors and lenders. Serves as the core of the firm's European finance offering. Frequently called upon to handle bespoke deals for new and existing clients. Strong reputation for leveraged finance, especially on a multi-jurisdictional basis.  

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Very pleased with them. They are very professional, very easy to communicate with and very pragmatic. They are very deal and goal-oriented, and they deliver on time." 

"I like the expertise, the support and responsiveness of the people."  

Work highlights Represented Joh. A. Benckiser in EUR3.3 billion of financing used to partially fund its EUR9.8 billion acquisition of global coffee company D.E. Master Blenders.

Acted for Altimo Holdings & Investments on a USD3.25 billion loan, used to finance its tender offer for a 49% stake in Orascom Telecom Holdings.

Notable practitioners  

Clive Wells is picked out by one client as a "technically excellent lawyer who really understands the commercial needs of clients." He assisted the SIBUR Group with its refinance, arranged by way of a USD1.9 billion loan facility from Gazprombank.

Global co-head of banking Mark Darley is "very experienced and also very deal-oriented - he can pick up the relevant issues in a fairly complex situation." He advised the borrower, VTTI, on a credit facility provided in order to refinance its existing debt.

Pete Coulton was responsible for the banking aspects of the high-yield bond offering by Avanza, made in connection with its refinancing. He has a depth of experience in leveraged finance and also handles many restructuring transactions.

Significant clients Doughty Hanson, Ares Life Sciences, Helios Investment Partners, Nafta Moskva, J.W. Childs Associates.

Basic facts about the department
- 22 partners
- 68 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Fields a highly active and experienced bench, adept in cross-border work. Widely regarded as a leading borrower-side team, advising particularly on acquisition financing transactions. Attracts corporate clients drawn from a wide variety of sectors. Has seen increasing activity in the IPO market of late.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"Extremely professional; if one partner is not available there is always a broader range of partners that know our company and can help us. Amazing to see how they combine a very professional attitude with a bit of humour and a positive attitude." 

"My personal experience with them has been in line with their strong reputation. It's very impressive to see them in action."

What's new? The team was appointed to the first ever legal panel of Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ and was reappointed to the HM Government UK major projects panel. 

Work highlights Advised Shire on a new, fully underwritten USD2.6 billion short-term bank loan, used to partially fund its acquisition of rare disease company ViroPharma.

Acted for Manchester Airport Group on £1.2 billion of investment grade financing for its acquisition of Stansted Airport, which comprised a £300 million revolving credit facility and a £900 million term loan.

Notable practitioners  

Philip Snell maintains a reputation for being "very down-to-earth and not fazed by anything." He has considerable experience advising across the full spectrum of financing transactions and is particularly highlighted for his expertise acting for the treasury departments of multinational corporations. Key work highlights include advising GE Money Bank on the CHF1.5 billion financing involved in its IPO. 

Key partner Matthew Tobin greatly impresses clients with his comprehensive knowledge of complex financings and their associated security structures. One client comments: "He's very, very professional and has a broad knowledge. He's capable of tying in the commercial interests to solutions." He led on a number of high-profile matters of late, including a refinancing and debt extension for ISS.

Edward Fife is well regarded for his broad banking and finance practice, which covers debt capital markets, non-bank lending, acquisition finance and derivatives. A syndicate of arrangers, including Deutsche Bank, instructed him to advise on a USD1.03 billion secured syndicated term loan facility for Saudi Oger.

Clients find Robert Byk to be "extremely professional," noting that "he has a great knowledge of the marketplace." His comprehensive general banking and finance practice is lauded by market commentators.

Miranda Leung assisted the team with a number of key mandates this year, notably representing Technicolor in its refinancing. Her broad finance practice spans work in restructuring and corporate recovery and structured and acquisition finance. 

Significant clients Barratt Developments, Workspace, Corsair Capital, INEOS, Deutsche Bank.

Basic facts about the department
- 10 partners
- 11 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Dedicated banking team covering the full spread of finance transactions, including bilateral and syndicated lending, debt restructuring and loan sales. Experiencing strong deal flow in the acquisition finance, structured finance and corporate lending areas.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“They get straight to the root of the issue and understand the personalities around the table and the end goal. They actually give an opinion - they tell you what they would do as well as giving the advice. A guiding hand in challenging times.”

“They do a really good job of managing complex transactions. I feel comfortable that they manage the process well and have a good handle on all the things that I should be looking at.”  

Work highlights Worked with Chinese conglomerate HNA Group on the financing for its acquisition of TIP Trailer Services from GE Capital.

Advised Baker Tilly on the acquisition financing of its procurement of RSM Tenon from the administrators.

Notable practitioners  

James Linforth is a key contact here.

Basic facts about the department
- 7 partners
- 23 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Long-standing client relationships. Advises on a range of sectors, including real estate finance, trade and receivables, and oil and gas reserve-based lending. Offers advice on general banking matters as well as more specific expertise on Shari’a-compliant financing and investment fund matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“What has always impressed me is the quality and the legal brains that they can bring to bear in the issues that we have. We’re very pleased and they’re a pleasure to deal with.”

“They have a massive team, they are highly experienced and provide really high-quality work and advice.” 

Work highlights Acted for borrower Just Retirement on a secured loan facility provided to Clifden Holdings for the purchase of ERIL.

Represented Hyperion Insurance Group in the negotiation of an agreement with General Atlantic to acquire 30% of shares in the group from 3i and BP Marsh & Partners.

Notable practitioners  

Martin Yells specialises in acquisition finance and property-related transactions. Peers identify him as a “calm, measured, thorough individual” who will “capture everything and make sure everything is covered.” One client reports that he has a “breadth of experience.”

Hamid Yunis is experienced in domestic and cross-border banking transactions and has a good reputation in Islamic finance. His sector focuses include healthcare, utilities and transportation. He is head of the firm’s global Islamic finance practice.

Ross Caldwell is dual-qualified under English and Scots law, and has good cross-border experience in a broad range of banking and finance work. Clients remark that “he shows patience, resistance and resilience” in complex matters. Others note that he is “very proactive in finding solutions, and his interaction with other legal counsel is also very impressive.”

Significant clients Deutsche Postbank, Rutland Partners, Canada Life Investments, RBS, Lloyds Bank.

Basic facts about the department
- 8 partners
- 16 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Respected and growing team in the London market. Often instructed on international transactions by a range of clients. Also developing a niche expertise in unitranche financings.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

“They’re really proactive in terms of the managing process. They know how we function and they can run a lot of negotiations on our behalf, which is really helpful. A very good team.”

“A very detailed approach - it is a partner-led firm supported by very good associates. You get more partner interaction with them than potentially some of the other larger firms. They’re particularly good at foreseeing problems down the line.” 

Work highlights Advised Peel Holdings on the £266 million refinancing of its existing facility.

Assisted thetrainline.com with a £50 million super senior revolving credit facility and a £140 million unitranche facility, used to refinance its existing bank facilities and fund a substantial shareholder distribution.  

Notable practitioners  

Matthew Ayre has a strong lender-led practice and specialises particularly in acquisition financings. Clients praise him for his ability to “take control of a transaction; he doesn’t argue the small points but focuses on getting the deal done.” Market commentators note that he has a “very commercial, proactive approach and he’s very keen to develop a relationship.”

Charles Bischoff principally acts for lenders on transactions concerning corporate and leveraged facilities, but also acts on leveraged finance deals for private equity sponsors. One client reports: “He’s awesome. He has got market expertise and specialist knowledge in the areas we work with him on.��

Jeremy Walsh offers advice on debt restructuring and acquisition finance to borrowers, investors and financial institutions. Clients mark him out as a "very commercially minded” practitioner.

Andrew Gregson covers the full spectrum of general banking matters and has particular expertise in acquisition finance and corporate lending. Clients describe his approach as "very calm and very diligent” and say: “He’s a very rational chap to deal with. He’s a very steady pair of hands. He methodically works through things and is very aware of the market.”

Significant clients Bridgepoint Advisers, Silicon Valley Bank, RBS, Exponent Private Equity, Macquarie Bank.

Basic facts about the department
- 14 partners
- 20 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Acclaimed for its strong grasp of cutting-edge finance products. Regularly handles transactions with European and US funding elements. Invites highly sophisticated mandates on the sponsor and lender sides. Able to cover a diverse range of instruments such as unitranche loans, high-yield bonds and Yankee leveraged loans. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're incredibly slick when it comes to execution and they can deliver. They're well resourced and they do have a very capable pool of associates."

"They massively benefit from their US practice - they can bring that technology over straight away. They have good, reliable links with foreign counsel, which is also very relevant." 

Work highlights Advised Charterhouse Capital Partners on USD490 million of first and second-lien credit facilities used to fund its acquisition, via a secondary buyout, of Armacell from Investcorp.

Acted for Oxea, a German chemical manufacturer, on its USD1.3 billion first and second-lien dividend recapitalisation refinancing.

Notable practitioners  

Thought of as "a very charming and able lawyer" who is "the deal doer," Mark Donald is well regarded for his strong relationships with bank clients, as well as his deep expertise in leveraged and fund financings. He advised OMERS Private Equity on the senior loan financing involved in its acquisition of Civica. 

"Top-quality" associate Tom Richards is regarded as being "very effective, able to influence the process and drive it forward." One market commentator notes: "The great thing about him is he commercially gets it. If we have a pretty intense deal, I will probably ask if we can have him on board."

Significant clients Advent International, Lion Capital, Goldman Sachs, Oaktree Capital Management, Citi.

Basic facts about the department
- 12 partners
- 47 other qualified lawyers

What the team is known for Deep bench servicing the full range of market participants. Utilises its US capabilities on bank and bond financing transactions for borrowers and lenders. Sponsor practice bolstered by significant lateral hires on the private equity side. Continues to demonstrate strength in the emerging markets, notably in Africa, Russia and Poland. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"A very deep team in terms of the quality of people on both the partner and junior level."

"Very good, pragmatic and business-oriented. They are focused on results rather than billing." 

Work highlights Acted for luxury yacht manufacturer Sunseeker on a new £30 million revolving credit facility, borrowed for the purpose of refinancing its existing term debt.

Advised the lead arrangers, including Danske Bank, on NOK815 million of term and revolving facilities used to help fund Permira's acquisition of Norwegian pharmaceuticals company Pharmaq.

Notable practitioners  

Talented partner Jacqueline Evans is the recipient of extensive praise from market sources, one of whom explains: "She's got excellent cross-border capabilities - she's a person who will give you advice, take a view and defend that view." On the lender side, she advised Danske Bank, Nordea Bank Norge and Bank of Ireland on facilities for Permira's purchase of Pharmaq.

Lee Cullinane is a well-known figure in the market, frequently advising major clients on complex, multi-jurisdictional financing matters. He is marked out for his "real commercial acumen - he is able to isolate the big issues quickly and make sure the negotiations are efficient and productive." 

Noted as a knowledge practitioner by one source, Christopher Czarnocki maintains a broad practice servicing financial institutions, corporate borrowers and sovereigns on cross-border finance deals.

Jeremy Duffy assisted a portfolio company of EQT, Sanitec, with a high-yield bond issue and new credit facility, drawing in team members from across Europe. He is described by one source as "very client-focused and solution-oriented." 

Colin Harley joined White & Case in 2014. He concentrates his practice on leveraged acquisition finance transactions, as well as financial restructurings. He is a popular choice for financial institutions and alternative capital providers, who appreciate his efficiency on deals.

Significant clients Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Gazprombank, Morgan Stanley, GSO Capital Partners, EQT.

Other Ranked Lawyers 其他上榜律师

Nicholas Benham of Davis Polk & Wardwell London LLP is well versed in complex transactions with a specific focus on leveraged finance and restructuring. He acts for borrowers and debt providers.  

Iain Shurwood heads up the corporate banking team at DWF LLP. He has particular expertise in cross-border matters and is able to handle multiple finance disciplines, from acquisition finance to workouts.  

Emma Menzies of Greenberg Traurig Maher LLP is "extremely commercial and she's very pragmatic in her approach - she sees the bigger picture. She's very good at getting the deal done," according to sources.  

Stephen Hans Moller of K&L Gates advised FHW Capital as lender on the Salford PFI loan worth £90 million. As well as enjoying a broad banking practice, he also handles capital markets transactions.

Michael Rainey of King & Spalding International LLP has extensive experience aiding investors based in the Middle East who are looking to invest in European property via conventional leveraged finance or Shari’a-compliant routes. Peers remark that he is “very well known” in the market.

Phillip Slater of Morrison & Foerster (UK) LLP covers a wide variety of sectors with his financial transactions practice, representing banks, governments, funds and private equity houses on a domestic and international basis. He is praised as a "pragmatic and experienced" adviser, who is "very commercially astute."

Akmal Ghauri of Osborne Clarke concentrates his practice on the overlap between banking and restructuring, and has extensive experience on both sides of the fence. He focuses particularly on life sciences, technology and healthcare-related matters. Sources note he is a “very bright and slick operator. He takes the pain out of doing a transaction for us - he understands what we need.”

Denis Petkovic heads up the international finance and projects practice at Withers LLP. He works across a broad range of sectors, including oil and gas, energy and transportation.  

Michael Crosby of Proskauer Rose LLP advised HgCapital on a bridge financing in relation to an up to £150 million facilities agreement. His clients include hedge funds, private equity sponsors and mezzanine funds.  

Clients appreciate that Sukh Ahark of RPC is "always available, very helpful and very professional." He advises on a range of mandates, from leveraged and acquisition finance to real estate finance matters.

Chris Howard of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is "very experienced" and a "big name" in the market according to commentators. He is marked out for his strong bank relationships and his ability on matters with an international component.

Recognised in the market as an Islamic finance specialist, Jonathan Lawrence of K&L Gates continues to represent a broad spread of market players. He is also adept at handling international deals with real estate or project finance elements.

Presley Warner of Sullivan & Cromwell LLP is "commercially minded. He's very strong, very detail-focused - he's not going to miss any points," explains one interviewee. Another adds: "There isn't a question that pops up that he doesn't have the ability to answer, and he's very quick to respond." 

Sources note that Nicholas Edmondes of Trowers & Hamlins LLP is “very direct, precise and thorough,” and “understands the clients’ needs.” His particular specialism involves advising overseas clients on investing in UK or European companies.

Since publication, Colin Harley has joined White & Case LLP

Zoë Ashcroft of Winston & Strawn is praised for her strong client relationships and practicality, with one interviewee further describing her as "commercially savvy and astute - she can react to quickly moving goalposts." 

Foreign Experts

Foreign Experts are individuals with expertise in a different jurisdiction to the one they are based in. These individuals are particularly highly regarded for international and cross-border work. Usually, they will be identified in the jurisdiction in which they are based and in their country of expertise.

Senior Statesman

A 'Senior Statesman' is a lawyer who no longer works hands-on with the same intensity but who, by virtue of close links with major clients, remains pivotal to the firm’s success.

Eminent Practitioners

'Eminent Practitioners' are highly influential lawyers in a particular practice area who, due to managerial or client relationship commitments, are less active in day-to-day work but remain key players in the team.

Other Noted Practitioners

Other Noted Practitioners are individuals who have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.

Other Noted Firms

Other Noted Firms are firms that have not yet been ranked but are seen to be active and accomplished in this area of law.