As head of the global loans group at Allen & Overy (A&O), the understated Mike Duncan had a stellar 2004. His group – the engine room of the all-powerful banking department – simply hoovered up syndicated loan work last year and delivered some of the strongest figures in the firm – and this in a relatively sluggish lending market.
Even more satisfying for Duncan, A&O is starting to take a commanding lead over Clifford Chance in investment-grade financings. 2004 saw him on a raft of Scandinavian deals, and not always for lenders: he acted for long-time client (and muscular borrower) TeliaSonera on its e1bn (£692.3m) credit facility in one of the key self-arranged deals in the market last year.
Add a growing Islamic finance practice and you have one of the most rounded banking lawyers of his generation.