Winner: SJ Berwin
Highly commended: Clifford Chance
Highly commended: Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer
In considering the criteria for judging the evcj’s private equity law firm of the year in 2000 the following was settled on. The panel looked at the number of management buyouts that were advised on during the year and the split between those deals where the institution as investor was advised as opposed to the management team was noted. Other non-buyout related work undertaken in the private equity and venture capital sphere by firms was considered as were the number of partners and associates working as the firm’s dedicated private equity resource. The geographic reach of private equity practice, in particular dedicated personnel across Europe was noted. Also considered was by how much a firm’s private equity practice had grown both in terms of personnel and activity, on the previous year. Finally, market reputation came into play.
Winner of evcj’s private equity law firm of the year award is SJ Berwin. Private equity is one of the core disciplines around which this firm, which was set up in the early 1980s, has been built. It displays strength in advising institutions and has an active business in structuring funds for venture capital and private equity firms. A key goal in 2000, which was largely realised towards the end of that year, was to put a strong infrastructure in place across continental Europe.
Highly commended is Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is active in advising private equity investors on investments and exits and is involved in some fund structuring. With a strong banking department Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is often an adviser to banks providing debt funding on leverage buyout transactions. The acquisition of Bruckhaus Westrick Heller means the firm is particularly strong in Germany and so we expect to see it capitalise on this further as that market opens up to private equity investment activity later this year and next.
Also highly commended is Clifford Chance. Clifford Chance has teams dedicated to private equity across continental Europe and London and has acted for many of the top tier leverage buyout houses during 2000. As a law firm with a strong banking practice it also does advisory work across a range of debt financing tools.