ONES TO WATCH

Allen & Overy

Concentrating heavily on bank-led restructurings, the firm has been able to export the practice successfully to both Asia and Eastern Europe. London partner Nick Segal has now been charged with breaking into the New York market and achieving the short-term goal of bringing in a team.

Linklaters & Alliance

Strongly focused on restructuring, the firm has handled a number of large workouts, including acting for NatWest and Barclays on Harnischfeger. While the firm has finance partners in New York and servicing restructuring work brought in through the international practice, there is no current march into domestic US work.

Lovells

Handling a broad range of high-level restructurings and pure insolvency, creditor work has begun to dominate the practice. Partner Gary Lee joined the firm's New York office in 1998 to establish the transatlantic practice, which has been handling cross-border asset tracing and filing for section 304 proceedings, whereby US-based assets can be frozen by the liquidator of a company based elsewhere.

Shearman & Sterling

With a strong, broad US-based practice advising US and non-US banks and investment banks, the practice's biggest client is Citibank. The firm also advised Salamon Smith Barney and Credit Suisse in the financial bailout of hedge fund Long-Term Capital Management. With an impressive global network, Shearmans has made strides into the Asian market, but has yet to seriously develop out of London.

Weil Gotshal & Manges

Restructurings are the focus of the firm's highly-regarded corporate debtor American practice, and it tried out in London with partner Jonathan Downey from Simmons & Simmons. He left after 18 months at the firm, finding it difficult to get lender work over here with the practice so debtor-focused in the US. Head of banking Ron Daitz has now relocated to London from New York, and his restructuring expertise, combined with the office's new corporate feel, may provide the springboard to try again.