Established in 1974, and offering English law capability since 1994, Sidley’s London office has approximately 110 lawyers, the majority of whom are qualified to practice English law. We advise on domestic and cross-border matters and have been involved in many highly complex and pioneering transactions across our principal areas of practice: debt finance, including structured finance and derivatives, real estate and real estate finance, financial services regulatory, capital markets, insurance, corporate reorganization and bankruptcy, dispute resolution (including insurance and reinsurance), hedge funds and investment funds (including formation and transactional), corporate and M&A (including employment), antitrust/competition, tax and intellectual property.
The London office is Sidley’s largest office in Europe, where we also have offices in Brussels, Frankfurt and Geneva. Our lawyers work on transactions in many European jurisdictions, together with local counsel where required.
Debt and Capital Raising and Financial Services The office has one of the largest dedicated structured debt finance groups in London and is part of an integrated international structured finance team of more than 130 lawyers with market-leading positions in Europe, the US and across Asia. We offer a balanced mix of debt finance, financial restructuring and derivatives experience with the resources to handle the largest and most complex transactions. Our approach has always been to provide partner-led, multi-practice teams, ensuring that transactions are executed by some of the most experienced practitioners in their field. Our clients include investment funds, issuers, underwriters, arrangers, bookrunners, investors, sponsors, trustees and other service providers such as collateral managers, servicers, special servicers and liquidity or credit enhancement providers.
Our debt finance group spans structured finance, secured lending, ABCP funding and debt capital markets. We have extensive knowledge and experience of a wide range of asset classes and funding techniques including RMBS, trade receivables, CMBS, covered bonds and consumer debt. We have particular experience in advising asset managers and investment funds as lenders, borrowers and investors.
Our financial restructuring group includes dedicated insolvency lawyers from the firm's global bankruptcy and restructuring practice as well as lawyers practicing in the areas of securitization and structured finance. We represent corporate debtors (and their directors and officers), individual creditors, noteholder committees, servicers and other entities with interests in restructuring complex financial transactions, with a particular emphasis on CMBS and real estate transactions.
Our derivatives group advises on all kinds of derivative products including interest rate and FX derivatives, credit derivatives, equity derivatives, repos and securities lending. We have recently been closely involved in advising counterparties to Lehman entities in closing out their exposures to the Lehman Group.
Our financial services regulatory group represents a broad range of financial institutions, including banks, securities firms, investment managers, insurance companies, payment and e-money institutions and related businesses on UK and EU financial services regulatory and data protection matters. We act for clients with extensive UK, European and international operations as well as for clients looking to establish financial services businesses in the EU.
Our capital markets group practices in the debt, equity, equity-linked, statutory covered bonds, regulatory capital and structured product areas, acting for issuers, underwriters, trustees and other market participants on a wide variety of transactions, including restructuring and liability management-related transactions. We regularly work with European, US, Canadian, Asia Pacific, Australian and other non-EU issuers in connection with both Regulation S and other securities offerings in the Euromarkets, and with SEC-registered and Rule 144A offerings in the US.
Insurance The insurance group advises the insurance industry on transactional and contentious matters both within the UK and overseas. The transactional team advises on insurance mergers, acquisitions, business transfers, renewal rights deals, reorganizations, insurance company and broker formation, joint ventures, distribution agreements, policy wordings, regulation including Solvency II issues, alternative risk transfers (ART) and capital markets transactions. They also focus on restructuring insurance and reinsurance companies by sale, Part VII and other transfers, group reorganizations and schemes of arrangement, but additionally have extensive experience in handling insurance company insolvencies.
Corporate Reorganization Our London and US offices have an internationally prominent practice in corporate reorganization and bankruptcy. Our capabilities extend to both court-supervised proceedings in England and Wales and in the US, and also to out-of-court workouts and restructurings throughout the world. We represent clients across the full range of participants in these proceedings including debtors, special board committees, official and unofficial creditors’ and bondholders’ committees, senior creditors, senior debt syndicates, unsecured creditors, subordinated debt teams, acquirers, trustees, liquidators, administrators and receivers.
Dispute Resolution The dispute resolution group’s work encompasses complex commercial litigation and international and domestic arbitration for a wide variety of sophisticated clients in a wide variety of business sectors. The team works alongside the international finance, corporate reorganization and bankruptcy, financial services regulatory and insurance practices in London, and with the antitrust/competition and international trade/arbitration practices in Brussels and Washington, D.C. In addition, the team has close connections with the firm’s wider global complex commercial litigation group. The team deals with matters relevant to a variety of financial services, pharmaceutical and manufacturing entities including high value, complex, commercial disputes, regulatory and commercial investigations, advice relating to planned restructurings or other strategies in respect of complex financial transactions, disputes in respect of supply and distribution agreements and licensing agreements, the protection and enforcement of IP rights, and product liability issues.
Investment Funds Our investment funds group serves virtually every type of investment fund and investment manager, as well as many other market participants. The team advises on all aspects of the structure and operation of hedge funds, private equity and real estate funds and other “alternative” investment products including their marketing and distribution, custody of fund assets, trading and transactional documentation and the creation of structures or repackaging arrangements to access specific markets or investors.
M&A and Competition Our M&A group covers all aspects of English corporate and corporate finance activity including purchases and sales of shares in private companies, takeovers of public companies listed on the main market or AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (including by way of contractual offer or by court sanctioned scheme of arrangement), private equity, acquisitions and sales of businesses (including by or from administrators), joint ventures, management buy-outs/ins, equity investments into listed and unlisted entities, mergers and demergers, shareholder/limited partnership/limited liability partnership/alliance/partnering agreements, restructurings (including debt to equity swaps, reductions of capital and creditor/shareholder schemes of arrangement), listings on EU stock exchanges, corporate governance and commercial agreements (including in relation to manufacturing, assembly, distribution, consultancy and IP). Our work usually involves multiple jurisdictions and is often in the financial services and investment management sectors, in relation to which we work closely with our financial services regulatory, funds and insurance groups.
Our London competition team assists clients with all types of competition matters, including merger control, antitrust investigations by the UK's Office of Fair Trading and Competition Commission, the European Commission and other EU Member State agencies, state aid investigations by the European Commission, and litigation before the European Courts, as well as counseling, compliance and policy projects. Our London team are also fully integrated into our European competition practice and work closely with our Brussels lawyers.
Employment and Employee Benefits The London employment and employee benefits team acts primarily for leading financial institutions and multinational clients, across a variety of sectors, offering advice on a wide variety of employment and employee benefits matters.
The team advises on the application of TUPE in business transfers and outsourcing type arrangement, large-scale cross-border restructuring programs and High Court and Employment Tribunal litigation. They also focus on providing non-transactional advice encompassing senior executive service agreements and terminations, whistleblowing investigations and claims, individual and collective redundancy programs, advising on and defending various types of direct and indirect discrimination claims and the protection of confidential information and the drafting and enforcement of non-competition arrangements. The team works closely with its colleagues in both the US and Europe to provide an integrated cross-border service.
Tax Our London tax group advises on UK taxes in connection with the structuring, negotiation and documentation of finance transactions (including in particular structured, capital markets and derivative transactions), mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate reorganizations and insolvencies, commercial real estate transactions and the structuring, operation and documentation of international investment funds (including hedge funds, UCITS funds, real estate funds and private equity funds). The group also provides non-transactional UK tax advice, and handles negotiations and litigation with the UK tax authority. Much of the group’s work has a significant cross-border element, and its lawyers work closely with their tax colleagues in the US and Germany.
Lawyers in the London office provide legal services through Sidley Austin LLP, a Delaware limited liability partnership (authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority under number 79075). This is separate from the Delaware limited liability partnership of the same name which operates at the firm’s offices other than Chicago, London, Hong Kong, Singapore and Sydney.