Sberbank publishes winners and losers on first formal legal roster

Russia’s largest bank has launched its inaugural legal panel, appointing 37 firms across 13 sub-panels in a move that is indicative of a growing trend in the Russian market for banks and companies to establish more formal panel arrangements for their external legal providers.

The new panel, the results of which are publicly available on Sberbank’s website, is made up of sub-panels that cover corporate and M&A, Russian corporate and M&A, capital markets, banking and finance, IP, international arbitration, administrative law, litigation, Belarussian law, Kazakh law, Ukrainian law, legislative drafting activities and legal and regulatory risks.

As well as publishing the list of those firms that have been successful, the bank has also taken the unorthodox step of publishing the names of the firms that did not make the cut.

Clifford Chance, Debevoise & Plimpton, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells, Linklaters and White & Case have all been appointed to the corporate and M&A sub-panel. However, Baker & McKenzie, Chadbourne & Parke, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, CMS, DLA Piper, Goltsblat BLP, Latham & Watkins, Morgan Lewis, Norton Rose, Orrick, Salans and SNR Denton failed “to meet the necessary requirements” to make the grade, according to the information available on Sberbank’s website.

Clifford Chance, Debevoise & Plimpton, Hogan Lovells and White & Case were the only four firms that also succeeded in winning spots on the bank’s Russian corporate and M&A sub-panel. Other firms, such as Baker & McKenzie, Chadbourne & Parke, DLA Piper, Goltsblat BLP and Latham & Watkins, which were not appointed to the overall corporate and M&A panel, were also successful on this panel. ALRUD was the only Russian law firm to make the Russian corporate and M&A sub-panel.

In addition to the 13 sub-panels, the review saw the establishment of 12 sub-streams in the capital markets list and six sub-streams in the banking and finance roster. The capital markets sub-panel is broken down into the following areas: debt capital markets; equity capital markets; derivatives; syndicated lending; LMA lending to attract funds; subordinated loans; securitisations; tax; other capital markets transactions; advice on Irish law; advice on Cypriot law; advice on Luxembourg law; and advice on Swiss law. The banking and finance sub-panel comprises project finance; trade finance; syndicated lending and LMA lending; restructuring and bankruptcy; Russian restructuring and bankruptcy and investment and construction lending.

Morgan Lewis, Norton Rose, Salans and SNR Denton were four of the firms that lost out most on the sub-panels, failing to win spots on the bank’s corporate and M&A, Russian corporate and M&A and a number of the capital markets sub-streams. Morgan Lewis did, however, win a spot on the other capital markets transaction sub-stream of the overall capital markets sub-panel.

Norton Rose was the only one of these firms that made the project finance sub-panel, while Salans and SNR Denton were two of five firms that made the grade on the restructuring and bankruptcy sub-stream of the bank’s capital markets sub-panel. Salans also made the IP sub-panel, alongside Russian firm Baker & McKenzie and Gorodissky & Partners.

Although Cleary Gottlieb, which has been a longstanding adviser to the bank and is advising it on its long-awaited secondary public offering (17 September 2012), failed to make either the corporate M&A or Russian corporate M&A sub-panels, it was successful on all six of the 12 capital markets sub-panels that it pitched for.

Meanwhile, other long-term Sberbank advisers Clifford Chance and Linklaters won 18 spots and 10 spots respectively. However, Clifford Chance lost out on three spots that it pitched for, including the Russian restructuring and bankruptcy sub-stream, which Linklaters was successful on, while Linklaters fell short of the 18 areas for which it had pitched.

In the international arbitration category Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Herbert Smith, Hogan Lovells, Latham & Watkins and Linklaters have all won spots, while Baker & McKenzie, Chadbourne & Parke, Cleary Gottlieb, CMS, Debevoise & Plimpton, DLA Piper, Goltsblat BLP, Morgan Lewis, White & Case and Russian law firm Yust all failed to meet the necessary requirements.

According to the documentation available, the appointments are valid for a 12-month period, although it is not clear whether the entire panel will be formally reviewed again after this time.

Sberbank did not respond to requests for comment.