Best Investment Banks 2010: Best Legal Advisers




Skadden, or more formally Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, was the number-one legal adviser on global mergers and acquisitions announced in 2009, according to Thomson Reuters. The firm advised on 173 M&A; deals valued at more than $354 billion last year. Skadden has 24 offices in financial centers around the world. In March 2010 it advised CNOOC, one of China’s largest state-owned oil companies, on its $2.5 billion acquisition of a 55% stake in Sonangol Sinopec International, a joint venture in Angola.

North America


Skadden was the legal adviser on six of the top-10 US mergers and acquisitions last year. Altogether, the firm advised on 125 US deals in 2009, giving it a 36.3% market share. In December 2009 Skadden advised XTO Energy on its $41 billion acquisition by ExxonMobil in an all-stock transaction.

Western Europe

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has more than 2,500 lawyers in 27 offices worldwide. The firm was legal adviser on 187 deals involving companies based in Europe last year. These deals, valued at $266 billion, gave it a market share of 32.3%. Freshfields was strategic adviser to the German government during the credit crunch. It also helped to establish the Bank of England’s liquidity program.


Baker & McKenzie

Baker & McKenzie, founded in Chicago in 1949, is one of the largest international law firms, with 3,900 lawyers in 67 offices in 39 countries. In July 2009 it acted for Nissan Motors on its joint venture in Vietnam with Kjaer Group, based in Denmark. Earlier this year, it advised CNOOC, China’s state-owned oil company, on its $3.1 billion joint venture with Bridas Energy, an oil and gas company based in Argentina.

Latin America

Pinheiro Neto Advogados

Pinheiro Neto Advogados, founded in 1942, is well established in the Brazilian market and was the leading legal adviser on deals in Latin America last year. It advised on 48 M&A; transactions, valued at nearly $15 billion. The firm also was counsel to Santander Brasil on its $8 billion initial public offering in October 2009, which was the largest-ever IPO in Brazil.

Central & Eastern Europe

Clifford Chance
Clifford Chance was the number-one legal adviser on M&A; transactions in eastern Europe in 2009, when it advised on 16 deals, valued at $11 billion, according to Thomson Reuters. The firm has well-established finance practices in Warsaw and Prague. Bucharest-based Badea Clifford Chance works with major international investors in Romania and southeast Europe.

Middle East & Africa

Shearman & Sterling
Shearman & Sterling advised on 11 deals, valued at $26 billion, in the Middle East and North Africa last year, giving it a market share in the region of 43%. In July 2009 Shearman & Sterling advised Abu Dhabi National Oil on its $10 billion joint venture with ConocoPhillips to develop the Shah gas field in the southern United Arab Emirates.