INTERNATIONAL FIRM OF THE YEAR
WINNER: White & Case
White & Case had a standout year in 2012, a trend that shows all the signs of continuing in 2013. The US firm is one of the most established in the market and the breadth of its London office, built up over decades, is one of its core strengths. Last year saw White & Case's capital markets, M&A and disputes groups in particular all perform well. All but two of the 35 associates in the litigation group headed by partner John Reynolds billed more than 1,800 hours. Most were above 2,000. Three were above 2,300. A mix of cases kept the litigation and arbitration groups busy, with highlights including a key Libor-related role and advising Turkish conglomerate Çukurova on its disputed stake with Russia’s Alfa Group in Turkey’s largest mobile phone operator Turkcell. On the non-contentious side White & Case partner Allan Taylor advised UK oil company RusPetro on its $250m IPO, the first premium listing of 2012 on the London Stock Exchange. The firm also snared a key role on the restructuring of €206bn of Greek debt as well as the restructuring of Kazakhstan's BTA Bank. “The restructuring of Greek sovereign debt was a truly amazing mandate, highly pressured and had far-reaching consequences for the global economy,” said one of the judges. “White & Case have global scale and, it would appear, true global profile.”
At Dechert, 2012 saw the conclusion of the firm’s six-year representation of Ukrainian businessman Michael Cherney in his extremely well-publicised litigation against Oleg Deripaska. The case was one of the largest ever brought to trial in the UK with about a million pages of disclosure, trial bundles comprising some 500 lever-arch files and more than 100 witness statements from some 75 witnesses keeping Dechert’s lawyers busy until the case settled on the steps of the court last year. Elsewhere, Dechert cemented its position as one of the leading global advisers on Middle East and North Africa (Mena) sovereign bond issues by representing the joint lead managers on the Kingdom of Morocco’s $1.5bn debut Rule 144A bond issues. Since June 2012 Dechert’s emerging markets team has acted on more than $8.5bn in debt issuances by Mena sovereigns. That case, as well as a string of high-profile lateral hires, has helped Dechert seal its place in the UK legal market. The firm made notable hires into its international dispute resolution, banking, finance and restructuring groups, and 26 associates and three trade and regulatory advisers joined in London during 2012. Indeed, last year the firm's London office saw a 44 per cent increase in turnover.
3RD: King & Spalding
King & Spalding’s work for Houston-based oil company Anadarko Petroleum on the landmark $40bn Anadarko LNG export project – the largest deal of its kind in the region – underscores the firm’s strong background in African matters, especially in the energy and oil and gas markets. Lawyers from the firm's Houston, Singapore and London offices worked on the deal, the scale of which served to emphasise the confidence the firm's clients have in it. Elsewhere King & Spalding’s London and Middle East lawyers teamed up to represent Saudi Arabia-based Mohammed Al Subeaei & Sons Investment Company on a £150m sharia-compliant financing to help fund the redevelopment of King's Reach Tower in London. The deal highlights two of the most vibrant parts of King & Spalding’s global practice, Islamic finance and construction/real estate. Indeed, last year the firm launched a real estate practice in the City to better serve its burgeoning cross-border client base.