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Clifford Chance

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  • Image of United Kingdom
  • Image of United Kingdom

United Kingdom

We advise clients on matters and transactions that redefine their businesses. We use our technical skills, commercial know-how and substantial resources to get them the best possible results.

Full-service offering from top-ranked teams

We have London roots that go back past the firm's beginnings in 1987 to the early 1800s. Today, as we have done for the last 200 years, we work closely with domestic and international corporates, financial institutions, regulators, and government and public-sector bodies.

With around 600 lawyers and 170 partners in our London team, our clients have access to top-tier advice across the full spectrum of legal areas. In fact, the Legal 500 UK: 2013 ranked us Tier One in 34 categories, more than any other law firm in the UK. We are well known for our work in finance and the debt and equity capital markets, as well as corporate advisory and M&A work; litigation and dispute resolution; real estate; and tax, pensions and employment.

A capability that delivers high-profile results

We have invested in order to build a resource that meets our clients' needs. And our substantial London team is backed up by expert colleagues – in 2013 Chambers Global awarded us more global Tier One rankings than any other firm.

This gives us the ability to field multi-practice, multi-office teams quickly and to answer complex questions within tight timescales. Clients are often surprised to get an overnight answer to technical, multi-jurisdictional questions.

It's a capability that delivers results for our clients. Examples from 2013 include advising Crest Nicholson on its £550 million IPO; Dangote Industries on its $3.30 billion financing to develop Nigeria's largest industrial complex which is set to contain a fertiliser plant and a crude-oil refinery; Glencore Xstrata on its $17.3 billion refinancing by a consortium of 80 lenders and Suntory on its £1.35 billion acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s Lucozade and Ribena brands.

A focus on efficiency

We always challenge ourselves to deliver what our clients need in the most commercial, pragmatic and efficient way possible. This is our ethos both on- and off- deal. We regularly partner with clients to examine the complete end-to-end process of regular legal mandates so that we can identify more efficient ways of working together. A recent example includes a joint project with a strategic client that scooped Law Firm Innovation Award: British Legal Awards, 2013 and shows how we use continuous improvement principles to turn buzz words such as 'efficiency' into tangible benefits for our clients.

Highly rated by clients and competitors

We believe in long-term client relationships and we invest time and energy to understand our clients businesses, priorities, and their working culture. And comments in independent legal directories suggest that clients appreciate the way we work as much as the results we deliver:

  • "Sources delight in the team's wide-ranging advice that is both legally astute and 'gives us lots of help on the commercial side too'."
    Chambers UK 2013
  • "Their client care is outstanding and the lawyers I deal with are very responsive," comments one source.
    Chambers UK 2013

Recent highlights

Awards and milestones

  • 'Finance Team of the Year': at the 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': at 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 in 2012.
  • 'Corporate and Commercial Firm of the Year': at the Legal 500 UK Awards, 2013. We were also shortlisted in a further five awards categories, including: dispute resolution, finance, projects, energy and natural resources, real estate and insurance (corporate and regulatory).

Recent assignments

Work examples include advising:

  • Deutsche Bank on two longevity swaps, one with the Trustees of the AstraZenaca Pension Fund, in respect of approximately £2.5 billion of the fund liabilities, and one with the Trustees of five pension schemes sponsored by Carillion plc, in respect of approximately £1 billion of the fund liabilities
  • Private equity firm Actis on a joint venture with Mainstream Renewable Power, the global wind and solar developer, to establish a US$1.4 billion renewable energy platform in the Republic of Chile. Actis will invest US$290 million for its majority share of the joint venture vehicle, Aela Energía
  • Barclays and HSBC, as joint sponsors, joint global coordinators and joint bookrunners, and Numis as lead manager, in connection with house builder Crest Nicholson Holdings plc's successful IPO and Premium Listing. The transaction saw the company return to the public markets after being taken over by its lender in 2009 in the wake of the credit crisis
  • Dangote Industries Limited, as borrower, on a US$3.30 billion financing, the proceeds which will be used for the planning, development and construction of a greenfield fertilizer manufacturing plant and a greenfield crude oil refinery plant. The plants are to be constructed in the Olokola Free Trade Zone in Nigeria, at a combined development cost of US$9 billion. It will be the largest industrial complex project in the history of Nigeria
  • A consortium of 80 lenders on the US$17.34 billion refinancing of commodity trading and mining company Glencore Xstrata.  The new revolving credit facilities are for general corporate purposes and replace the previous facilities of both Glencore and Xstrata
  • Suntory Food & Beverage Ltd, the Japanese headquartered global soft drink company, on its £1.35 billion acquisition of the Lucozade and Ribena drinks brands from GSK for £1.35 billion.

Directory listings and client comments

Directory listings

Chambers UK 2014

  • Tier One in 24 categories (Chambers UK 2014)

Legal 500 UK 2013

  • Tier One in 34 categories, more than any other firm (Legal 500 UK 2013)

Client comments

  • "Clifford Chance fields 'a very strong team' with the capability to 'support the client on the most complex transactions'."
    Legal 500 UK 2013
  • "Their turnaround time is fantastic and they have a huge view of the market."
    Chambers UK 2013
  • "Sources delight in the team's wide-ranging advice that is both legally astute and 'gives us lots of help on the commercial side too'."
    Chambers UK 2013
  • "Their client care is outstanding and the lawyers I deal with are very responsive,' comments one source."
    Chambers UK 2013
  • "Clifford Chance has a stellar reputation for providing 'the whole package,' and its lawyers are widely acknowledged for their technical prowess."
    Chambers UK 2013
  • "Clients praise the lawyers' combination of legal knowledge and commercial awareness, while one satisfied customer proclaims: 'It is important to choose a good adviser, and we like them because they are customer service-oriented and you receive personal service. They are the best in London and we work with several firms'."
    Chambers UK 2013