Cadwalader’s LIBOR Team Wins Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers 2021 Award

December 13, 2021

Cadwalader has won the Financial Times North America Innovative Lawyers 2021 award in the highly competitive category of “Creating new standards” in recognition of the firm’s market-leading LIBOR transition practice. The team’s work has included representing the U.S. Federal Reserve’s Alternative Reference Rates Committee (ARRC) and a broad range of financial services clients on moving away from LIBOR, known as the “world's most important number,” which is valued as a $200 trillion contractual market. In particular, the Financial Times award was focused on the firm’s efforts in drafting important New York State legislation this past year that governs LIBOR transition and contract remediation. 

Overall, the firm was ranked 3rd out of the “Top 20” in the prestigious “Most Innovative Law Firm in North America: Practice of Law” category.

In a wide-ranging interview with the Financial Times that accompanied the award announcement, Financial Services partner Lary Stromfeld – who leads Cadwalader’s LIBOR Preparedness Team – discusses the firm’s early vision in developing a practice area specialty focused on LIBOR transition and contract remediation, his team’s subsequent multi-disciplinary work on developing proposed contractual fallback language for the replacement benchmark, SOFR, and more recently, its drafting of new LIBOR legislation that was passed by the New York State Legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Cuomo in April 2021. That legislation is now being considered as federal law.  

As excerpted from the article: “We had to convince the people who had spent all this time developing and thinking about their markets and their standards, who are experts . . . that ‘this is what we think you should do’,” Stromfeld said. “It took a high degree of explanation. They had to be very confident in what we were telling them.”

The firm was also shortlisted in the categories of “Sustainability” and “Innovation in Digital Legal Practice,” respectively.  

Cadwalader Fund Finance partner Wes Misson was featured for his representations on nine environmental, social and governance (ESG)-related fund facilities in the U.S., including his work earlier this year advising Bank of America on a $4.1 billion ESG-linked credit facility tied to Board diversity for funds managed by The Carlyle Group. The full write-up, along with other highlighted sustainability case studies, is available here.

A team from the firm’s Financial Services Group, led by Financial Services partner Ray Shirazi, was shortlisted for its development of ottoGen, an attorney-designed, attorney-coded and attorney-launched platform that automates structured notes offering documents, closing documents and the related issuance processes. Associates Jon Mandarakas and Michael Yu were “commended” for their work on the ottoGen platform. The full write-up, along with other highlighted digital legal practice case studies, is available here.

FT Innovative Lawyers is a unique program that assesses lawyers on their innovation for clients and in their own businesses. The program consists of rankings and awards, based on independent research from RSG Consulting and robust journalism from the FT. The North America 2021 results were announced at a virtual awards event on December 9, 2021, and the published Special Report is available here.