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Clifford Chance

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Regional coverage

Europe

Our market-leading European capability gives clients access to the local know-how of a top-tier national firm with the cross-border resources of an international network.

Delivering market leading advice at national and European levels

Clients benefit from the breadth of our European team of more than 1,100 lawyers and over 400 partners, working out of our international network across the UK and continental Europe. We are a top-tier firm in every European country we work in, helping clients understand the local markets, key players, and legal frameworks. And because we regularly work on cross-border deals, clients receive advice from lawyers who regularly work in extended multi-practice, multi-office teams.

The market has recognised this capability and the work of our talented lawyers with a string of awards (see awards and milestones), including both European law firm of the year: Chambers, 2013 and International law firm of the year and more leading global-practice rankings than any other firm in Chambers Europe, 2013.

Understanding our clients through sector focus

We work closely with clients on transactions and matters that are critical to their businesses and this keeps us at the forefront of industry developments. We have built global sector teams that share knowledge and keep clients up to date on sector trends. Combined with our European and international reach, our deep sector knowledge gets the best possible results for our clients.

One example is our strategic role in the European Union’s management of the Euro crisis. We advised the European Commission on the incorporation of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in 2010 and continue to advise the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on a debt issuance programme (aggregate value of €241 billion). Our team navigated capital markets and banking regulations under Luxembourg, English, German, US and EU law – all within tight timescales. Two EFSF bond issues won Deal of the Year: Euroweek magazine awards in 2012.

And in 2013, a Frankfurt-led team was supported by lawyers from the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Spain, as well as China, Brazil, Japan and South Korea, to advise Cinven's Fifth Fund on the purchase of leading ceramics manufacturer CeramTec, Plochingen (Germany) for a purchase price of €1.49 billion.

Client-focused and forward thinking

We deliver these results through close working relationships with our clients, supported by genuine cooperation across practice group and geographic borders. Client comments are often as much about the way we work as they are about the quality of our advice:

  • "The quality of the lawyers is world class. They bring their expertise and knowledge and apply it to our business. They consider both the commercial and legal aspects and explain things in ways we can understand."
    The Chambers Europe Awards, 2013

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • European Law Firm of the Year: Chambers Europe Awards, 2013
  • Belgium Law Firm of the Year: Chambers Europe Awards, 2013
  • France Law Firm of the Year: Chambers Europe Awards, 2013
  • Russia Law Firm of the Year: Chambers Europe Awards 2013
  • Best Law Firm: EuroWeek Syndicated Loan Awards, 2013
  • European Law Firm of the Year: Fund Formation and European Law Firm of the Year - Transactions: Private Equity Real Estate (PERE) Awards, 2012
  • Finance Team of the Year: Legal Business Awards, 2013 for working on the launch of the first retail RMB bond issued outside of China and Hong Kong for HSBC
  • Corporate Finance Team of the Year: The Lawyer Awards, 2013 in recognition of the firm's work on the parallel acquisitions by private equity firm Cinven of Mercury Pharma and Amdipharm to form AMco Group, a global business selling pharmaceuticals to over 80 countries with an enterprise value of £830 million. Together, the deals represented one of the largest UK buyouts of 2012
  • Corporate and Commercial Firm of the Year: Legal 500 UK Awards, 2013. We were also shortlisted in a further five awards categories; dispute resolution, finance, projects, energy and natural resources, real estate and insurance (corporate and regulatory)
  • Private Equity Legal Adviser of the Year: Financial Times and Mergermarket European M&A Awards, 2013.

Recent assignments

Examples of work include advising:

  • a banking consortium led by Barclays, Commerzbank, Merrill Lynch and Société Générale in connection with a bond issue in a total volume of €2 billion by Bayer AG, Leverkusen
  • Carrefour Banque on its first credit card securitization transaction for revolving credit tapped via PASS credit cards
  • the European Commission on the incorporation of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) in 2010 and continue to advise the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) on a debt issuance programme that has a current aggregate value of €241 billion
  • Cinven's Fifth Fund, managed by European private equity investor Cinven, London, on the purchase of CeramTec, Plochingen (Germany) for a purchase price of €1.49 billion. The transaction is subject to approval by the relevant regulatory authorities. CeramTec, a subsidiary of US-based Rockwood Holdings, is one of the leading manufacturers of high performance ceramics used for example in the medical, automotive, industrial, and electronics sectors
  • KBC Bank in its role as underwriter and bookrunning mandated lead arranger (BMLA) of the lenders of a €90 million senior revolving credit facility (RCF) for Fieldlink NV that was completed in November 2013 and was in conjunction with a €285 million high-yield bond. The pan-jurisdictional transaction involved seven jurisdictions (Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Spain, Italy, United Arab Emirates/Dubai) in all of which Clifford Chance offices operated with a cross-practice team
  • Royal Dutch Shell plc on the antitrust aspects of its acquisition of part of Repsol S.A.´s LNG portfolio outside of North America for a cash consideration of US$4.4 billion
  • the Belgian Government on a secured state aid clearance for the aid package granted to the Dexia group by Belgium, France and Luxembourg and the issuance of the definitive guarantee
  • the parallel acquisitions by private equity firm Cinven of Mercury Pharma and Amdipharm to form AMco Group, a global business selling pharmaceuticals to over 80 countries with an enterprise value of £830 million. Together, the deals represented one of the largest UK buyouts in 2012.

Directory listings and client comments

Directory listings

Chambers UK 2014

  • Tier One in 24 categories

Chambers Europe 2013

  • Tier One in 64 categories, more than any other firm

Legal 500 UK 2013

  • Tier One in 34 categories, more than any other firm

Client comments

  • "They consider both the commercial and legal aspects and explain things in ways we can understand."
    The Chambers Europe Awards, 2013
  • "Practically perfect, one of the best firms I have ever worked with."
    The Chambers Europe Awards 2013
  • "The quality of the lawyers is world class. They bring their expertise and knowledge and apply it to our business."
    The Chambers Europe Awards 2013
  • "They are great to work with; I feel comfortable talking to them about anything, and they make sure that negotiations stay friendly."
    The Chambers Europe Awards 2013
  • One satisfied source notes: "Their turnaround time is fantastic and they have a huge view of the market."
    Chambers UK 2013
  • Sources say: "A step above other legal advisers we have used."
    Chambers Europe 2013
  • Sources say: "Top-notch lawyers: quick, trustworthy and extremely service-oriented."
    Chambers Europe 2013
  • "Their client care is outstanding and the lawyers I deal with are very responsive.", comments one source.
    Chambers UK 2013
  • "Very commercial and easy to deal with."
    Legal 500 UK 2013