Aedamar Comiskey, Linklaters
In the past few years corporate partner moves have hit the headlines. But Linklaters lifer Aedamar Comiskey has stayed put throughout, winning lead roles on multiple billion-pound M&A deals last year. Soon after closing Amec’s merger with Foster Wheeler at the end of 2014 Comiskey was advising another longstanding client Amlin on its £3.48bn acquisition by Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance, while Alent was bought by Platform Speciality Products in a £1.35bn deal.
As the firm’s lead relationship partner for both Amlin and Alent, as well as Aviva, HSBC, Tate & Lyle and Dixons Carphone, Comiskey is Linklaters’ gateway to many FTSE 100 companies.
She additionally worked on Visa Europe’s €21.2bn (£16.1bn) acquisition by Visa, with HSBC’s $5.2bn (£3.7bn) sale of its Brazilian business strengthening her position as one of Linklaters’ key Latin American experts.
A member of the magic circle’s partnership board, Comiskey is also heavily involved in its Women Leadership Programme, mentoring female associates coming up the ranks.
James Grimwood, CMS
CMS’s new state-of-the-art City headquarters were the talk of the town last year – but the redevelopment didn’t stop there. At James Grimwood’s request, another office was set up at the start of the year, dedicated to deepening relationships with private equity clients in the heart of Mayfair.
Grimwood saw an opportunity to grow in the affluent area, putting CMS within walking distance of W1’s family businesses and real estate lenders.
Under his leadership, the EU private equity group has grown considerably over the past year, with the firm increasingly acting for major players in the market such as CVC, Cinven and Advent. He is the client relationship partner to private equity house LDC and as such won a role on its £160m sale of uSwitch to Zoopla, and buyout of online travel agent Iglu.
Elaine Nolan, Kirkland & Ellis
Since acting for the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) on the restructuring of Thomas Cook in 2012, Kirkland & Ellis partner Elaine Nolan has cemented her place as the go-to lawyer for the UK’s largest specialist aviation regulator.
In 2014 Nolan, a Kirkland partner since 2010 having joined the firm in June 2008 from Weil Gotshal & Manges, where she qualified in 2004, advised the CAA on the restructuring of Monarch Airlines. Then last year she helped it protect its position when Virgin Atlantic tapped the bond markets for a major refinancing in connection with its landing slots at Heathrow.
While the CAA is just one client in Nolan’s blossoming practice, the fact that the US firm is now firmly a key part of a UK regulator’s external legal armoury thanks to her success on this string of matters is about as big an endorsement as it is possible to find.
Lisa O’Neill, McDermott Will & Emery
McDermott Will & Emery energy partner Lisa O’Neill has had a challenging and busy first year after moving from Berwin Leighton Paisner in late 2014.
All of O’Neill’s clients – including Fortune 250 company Praxair and DEA Deutsche Erdoel AG – moved with her to her new firm and all instructed her on at least one major energy matter in the first nine months.
Much of Lisa’s work involves advising on difficult issues and transactions in challenging jurisdictions. In 2015 O’Neill advised on matters in Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Guyana, Malawi, Tanzania, Comoros, North Sea, Columbia, Mexico, the Canary Islands, Democratic Republic of Congo, and in nine European countries.
Among her many deals, O’Neill acted on Shell’s complex sale of its liquid petroleum gas (LPG) businesses, as well as acting for oil and gas exploration company RWE Dea on a $10bn development agreement with the Egyptian government to continue its exploration efforts in the region.
Nick Pearey, Addleshaw Goddard
It’s been an exciting year in the betting sector, with several high-profile sales and mergers being announced. However, one of the most complicated deals the year was GVC and 888 Holdings’ war for UK-listed Bwin.party, in a transaction about as unpredictable as a game of roulette.
Although a large proportion of the Bwin board plumped for 888 Holdings in July, it was Nick Pearey’s client GVC that eventually stormed to victory in a £1.1bn bid for the company. It took the Addleshaw Goddard partner just two months to help GVC turn the recommendation around in its favour, with both parties agreeing to adhere to the UK Takeover Code despite it being a Gibraltar scheme of arrangement.
When not advising the betting industry, Pearey has been busy in the equally active insurance sector, advising Miller Insurance Services on the sale of a partnership interest to Willis Group.
Andrew Rosling, Addleshaw Goddard
Addleshaw Goddard corporate partner Andrew Rosling has had a busy 2015. He won a first instruction for the firm from Tate & Lyle when the business opted for his expertise and market insight over magic circle advisers for its European restructuring, which went on throughout most of the year.
He has also been hard at work advising Sainsbury’s on its high-profile, strategic joint venture with Dansk Supermarket to create the new Netto grocery chain in the UK – an important strategic development for the retailer.
Long-time client Diageo had Rosling on call for the disposal of non-core businesses earlier this year – an operation that saw him work on breaking up a series of joint ventures in South Africa. These and other great opportunities in the retail and consumer space motivated Rosling to spearhead a change in business plan at Addleshaws, creating a strategy to capitalise on opportunities in the sector.
Last year Rosling also spearheaded the creation of an app on doing business in Africa – an idea inspired by the amount of work he received from the continent and the lack of connection between law firms in the region.