The Lawyer Africa Elite 2014 features an in-depth look at 46 leading independent firms’ strategies in 15 key sub-Saharan jurisdictions, as well as the views of in-house counsel from some of Africa’s largest companies... Read more
This year, The Lawyer’s annual ranking of the largest UK law firms by turnover is available as an interactive, digital benchmarking tool. For the first time this will allow you to manipulate each data set against the metrics of your choice.
The strength of A&O's banking relationships is reflected in the firm's position as the leading legal adviser for managers of debt issues, according to Thomson Financial.
In 2005, the magic circle firm advised on 489 issues, representing $232bn (£133.2bn) of deals. A&O global head of international capital markets Boyan Wells said: "We believe the tables reflect the strength and depth of our debt practice and our relationship with the underwriters."
In equity offerings, Linklaters led on issuers and managers. The firm acted on 33 deals worth $14bn (£8bn) for issuers and 61 deals for managers with a combined value of $32bn (£18.4bn).
Linklaters global head of capital markets Nick Eastwell said: "The tables show the broad-based geographical spread of our practice and that we can capture deals in every region. But we're not being complacent, as the market remains very competitive."
Freshfields claimed second position in both equity categories.
Individual product groups are also reflected in the tables. The high-yield issuer table ranks Simpson Thacher & Bartlett at the top by deals value, but Latham & Watkins acted on the greatest number of deals. Latham's deal tally included advising ABN Amro, Deutsche Bank and Sampaolo IMI on the Wind issue.
Simmons & Simmons catapulted itself to the top of the collateralised debt obligation (CDO) manager table thanks to a £5bn transaction from Barclays Bank. However, Lovells worked on the greatest number of deals, with 24 transactions under its belt.
Legal advice for CDO issuers was led in value by Clifford Chance with $15.8bn (£9.1bn), but Dublin's Matheson Ormsby Prentice landed the greatest number of deals with 23 CDOs. Ashurst is noticeable by its absence from the CDO league tables, but the firm did not submit to them.
Large IPOs, such as the €986m (£678.2m) float for Belgium telecommunications company Telenet, helped push Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton into pole position in the issuer table. Linklaters' IPO deals for Endemol and Novolipetsk Steel put it top of the manager tables. Its overall strength in the equity market also gave the City firm first place in the convertibles tables for issuers.
The tables have not met with universal approval. Some lawyers have criticised the method of ranking by deal value as opposed to number of issues. One partner said: "One big deal doesn't necessarily pay more than 10 small ones. The business is about winning repeat work."