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Boardman overtaken by new Slaughters star; Sullivans' Sampas in second place
The European M&A tables for 2001 turned up the usual names for the ranking of the top 10 firms. For individual lawyers, though, it was all change at the top with just one constant. Top of the MergerMarket 2001 league tables for deals by value is corporate star William Underhill of Slaughter and May. He is head and shoulders above the pack, having overtaken Slaughters rainmaker Nigel Boardman. Underhill was also ranked number seven in deals by volume, carrying out 8 deals that were individually worth more than £10m last year. His most notable deal was advising Blue Circle on the second and successful hostile takeover bid from Lafarge. Last year, Slaughters swept the board on deals by volume, with a massive four partners in the top 10, but this year, all the attention has been focused on Underhill. At number two on both deals by value and deals by volume is London-based George Sampas of Sullivan & Cromwell. Sampas notched up 11 deals of more than £10m and is the only constant in the top 10. Last year, he was ranked sixth on deals by value, having moved up from sixteenth in 1999. Anthony Salz predictably emerged as this year's big star for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer - he was ranked fourth in deals by value. Matthew Middleditch of Linklaters came in top of the deals by volume, showing a steady progression from last year, when he was also ranked highly. He overtook Linklaters big-gun David Cheyne, who ranked fifth in deals by volume last year. Last year, Ashurst Morris Crisp's Adrian Clark led on deals by volume. This year, Ashursts had two partners in the top 10 - Thomas Forschbach was ranked fifth and Michael Johns sixth. Freshfields topped the table of firms, acting on 166 deals worth £133.7bn, followed by Linklaters with 210 deals at £132.1bn. In third place was Clifford Chance which showed an M&A deals value of £120.6bn for 2001.