On an annual basis, Chambers & Partners conducts extensive research and thorough data analysis in compiling its objective list of talent available at the highest level of international legal practice. Its research methodology has been independently audited and confirmed to be thorough, robust and complete.
In Chambers' 2009 review of international legal talent in the area of Investment Funds, our Firm is listed among the best in the world.
Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation
Global Ranking: Tier 2
The firm is establishing itself as a global presence in key locations outside the USA, such as London and Asia. The firm is attracting instructions from clients outside of its geographical bases, who explain that they are attracted to its "excellent knowledge of the business and ability to be right up-to-date on market terms and conditions." These include Actera Partners, who engaged the team to advise on the formation of one of the largest ever buyout funds focused principally on Turkey, with commitments of USD475 million. Many clients spoke highly of the firm's capacity to act on both the sponsor and investor side of fund formation: "It brings both perspectives to its advice" to fund managers and to the investors themselves, and its 20-plus years of focusing on private fund formation have honed these skills. In these testing economic times, clients appreciate that the lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis "will go the extra mile to get the best possible terms for sponsors." At the firm's Chicago home base, Bruce Ettelson is one of the group's longest-serving funds lawyers. The London practice has been expanding and consolidating its position in the European market following its hire of well-known UK funds lawyers Mark Mifsud and Justin Dolling; meanwhile in Asia, David Eich oversees the practice on both the upstream and downstream sides. These two offices recently worked together to advise CVC Capital Partners on the formation of its USD4.1 billion Asia Pacific III Fund. Other recent significant work for the firm has included assisting Mid Europa Partners, a leading independent private equity investment firm focused on CEE, with the formation of its third fund, Mid Europa Fund III. This fund closed with total commitments of EUR1.5 billion, making it the largest independent private equity fund raised for investment in CEE. The firm also regularly acts for fund sponsors Candover, 3i, Madison Dearborn Partners and Court Square Capital Partners.
Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation
USA Ranking: Tier 2
Considered to be "far and away the most significant player in the Midwest," this Chicago-based firm is seen to be raising its fund formation profile to a national and global level. Clients seek out the team for its "up-to-the-minute overview of the US funds market" and say they value its depth of experience across funds. Observers also commented approvingly on the firm's "forceful style in negotiations." The firm advised Madison Dearborn Partners on its fifth LBO fund, worth USD6.5 billion. Other clients include Citicorp, Sun Capital Partners and Vestar Capital Partners. Bruce Ettelson is head of the 50-lawyer investment funds team. Clients laud his "extremely knowledgeable stance" and "excellent customer service." Others say he is "authoritative, and uses this to good effect in negotiations." He recently worked on Golden Gate Capital Opportunity Fund, a permanent capital fund with a hybrid of hedge fund and private equity capabilities. The oversubscribed multibillion-dollar fund closed in the autumn of 2007. Firm stalwart Kirk Radke "brings a wealth of experience to the table in both fund formation and LBOs," say clients.
Investment Funds: Private Equity
Asia-Pacific Ranking: Tier 3
Although Kirkland & Ellis is a relative newcomer to the Asian market, it has advised on complex private equity transactions involving Asia for many years. Building on its global experience in the field of private equity fund formation, the firm has expanded into Asia by hiring and training numerous Chinese private equity lawyers to better serve its clients in the region. After a few months of operations, it can already claim an impressive track record, which includes the formation of the USD1.975 billion CVC Capital Partners Asia Pacific II fund, and the USD1 billion LaSalle Asia Opportunity Fund II. The team regularly advises on other types of investment fund-related matters, including M&A and joint venture transactions. It notably advised on the USD500 million LBO of ChipPAC from Hyundai by Bain Capital and the USD2 billion joint venture involving ESun Holdings, Silver Point Capital, Oaktree Capital and others to develop Studio City, a casino and leisure resort project in Macau. David Patrick Eich is the main contact for funds work in Hong Kong.
Europe-wide Ranking: Tier 3
Thanks to a successful recruitment drive in London, this prominent Chicago-headquartered firm has become a serious contender in the European funds landscape. The addition of a specialist team recruited from fund giant SJ Berwin, combined with the firm's expertise in the US private equity market, also "puts it firmly on the map" as a significant player in the private equity fund formation sector. Although based primarily in London, the group has all the ingredients for success on a much wider scale, sources agree. Its transatlantic platform is a major draw for European clients, and for US clients looking to expand into Europe, while the breadth and depth of the practice makes it a destination of choice for funds operating across a broad variety of industries and jurisdictions. Recent instructions include representing Mid Europa Partners in its third buyout fund, which closed in excess of EUR1.5 billion, and acting for Terra Firma on its Terra Firma Capital Partners III fund, worth EUR5.4 billion. In addition, the firm assisted Pacific Road Management with the formation of the Pacific Road Resources Fund, a global mining exploration fund. Mark Mifsud heads the firm's London private funds group.
Investment Funds: REITS
USA: Other Notable Practitioners
Sources "constantly hear wonderful things about" Bruce Gelman of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. His tax advice is "always extremely helpful" and he is regularly involved in major deals. He offers considerable experience in representing offshore investors in the US REIT market, and advises fund sponsors and investors on organising and structuring real estate investment funds.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers Global, The World's Leading Lawyers for Business 2009 - www.chambersandpartners.com.