Islamic finance awards 2008: Best legal advisory firm
The landscape of Islamic legal advisers has changed dramatically over the past year. Norton Rose once led the pack in Islamic finance but seems to have fallen by the wayside thanks to a series of important client losses. Having lost Abradat Kamalpour to Dechert in January 2006, Norton Rose then lost Muneer Khan to Simmons & Simmons in September 2006. Dechert, meanwhile, the winner of last year’s Euromoney award, lost one of its top lawyers, and indeed one of the most respected lawyers in Islamic finance, Michael McMillen, in the second half of 2007.
Simmons & Simmons has certainly reaped the benefit of new hires and the business those hires have brought across. Allen & Overy should receive credit for having, among other mandates, advised Tamweel on its seminal RMBS deal.
Clifford Chance, however, was able to clinch the award by presenting an extremely impressive array of advisory work already completed, and not limited to the Middle East.
In the past, Clifford Chance advised on record-breaking sukuk issuances from such companies as Saudi chemicals manufacturer Sabic, the Jebal Ali Free Zone Authority Company (in UAE dirhams), Nakheel (at $3.52