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We believe in a commercially focused, pragmatic, approach to advising our banking and finance clients and sound market knowledge underlies all of the guidance we give. We consider that identifying issues early on is key to providing our clients with efficient, reliable and practical legal advice based upon astute commercial awareness.

Our expertise spans a variety banking and finance issues. We have acted for a number of leading lenders and we are able to advise companies of all types on their dealings with lenders. We also advise a variety of corporations (international corporations, family businesses, charities, trusts and developers) on all aspects of their relationships with lending entities.

We advise on the following matters:

  • Corporate lending;
  • Asset/property finance;
  • Project finance;
  • Corporate debt management;
  • Corporate banking;
  • Property acquisition and
  • investment;
  • Insolvency;
  • Restructuring;

Through a network of contacts, we are also able to assist in raising finance.
If you wish to speak to a member of our Banking and Finance Team then please contact us

  • ‘Do Your Research,’ ‘Stick It Out,’ And Other Things Law Schools Should Stop Telling Students About Clerkships – Above the Law

    The school year is over, but rising third-year law students are busy. They are putting the finishing touches on judicial clerkship applications and preparing to submit them via the Online System for Clerkship Application and Review (OSCAR) on June 12, 2023, in compliance with the federal law clerk hiring plan. On that date, students will indiscriminately apply for clerkships with as many as 100 federal judges. Judges review hundreds of applications in just a few days, with substantial input from friendly law professors and their current clerks — before extending interview offers for this coveted first legal job. Sadly, due to the lack of transparency in the clerkship application process, law students will submit their applications, fly across the country on several days’ notice for interviews, and accept these positions — either on the spot or with very little time to think about it — with very little information about judges as managers or clerkship experiences. Some will have wonderful clerkship experiences. Others will experience workplace mistreatment that alters their career paths, derails their careers, or drives them from the legal profession entirely. Troublingly, the latter group are dissuaded from ever speaking about these negative experiences, even with law students considering clerkships with the judges who mistreated them. This month, we can also expect a plethora of social media takes about clerkships — attorneys tweeting and posting on LinkedIn about their positive clerkship experiences and the lifelong mentor/mentee relationships they developed with the judges for whom they clerked. Descriptions of the judge/clerk relationship as “familial.” Photos of judges officiating their former clerks’ weddings. Attorneys advising students to “apply broadly,” meaning across the U.S. and across the political spectrum. Refrains about the importance of accepting the first clerkship you are offered, because you can live anywhere (and endure anything) for a year or two. There’s nothing wrong with discussing the benefits of clerking. Clerking can be a very valuable experience where new attorneys receive a crash course in trial lawyering and judicial decision-making, while honing their writing and research skills. But when the messaging is uniformly positive — from law schools advising students on clerkships, from faculty members referring students to judges and judges to students, and from attorneys mentoring law students and hiring them for their post-clerkship positions — law students lack a critical perspective. When mistreated law clerks hear this toxic positive messaging, they are made to feel that they must have done something wrong. If no one discusses negative experiences, they must be the only ones who were mistreated. This can be enormously isolating. When I was a former clerk participating in the judicial complaint process, that messaging was turned around on me. I was told by an investigator that I “must have done something wrong because the judge hired [me] in the first place.” Current and former clerks reach out to The Legal Accountability Project (LAP) frequently for advice. They ask whether their experiences are common. I underscore that they are not alone: our experiences, while not rare, are rarely shared publicly, due to the culture of silence and fear surrounding the judiciary — one of deifying judges and disbelieving law clerks. When I was a law student at Washington University in St. Louis School of Law, the messaging around clerkships — like at most law schools — was nearly always positive. No one talked about the potential downsides of clerking. Even now, to the extent potential downsides are broached, this is typically limited to the relatively low clerkship salary, and the necessity of moving to a faraway place for a year or two. Realistic and balanced clerkship messaging and programming must become part of mainstream law school culture. Law school clerkship directors, deans, and faculty members may hesitate to broach potential downsides because they worry that it will dissuade some students from clerking. Or because they prioritize their relationship with every single judge — even those known to mistreat their clerks — over their duty of care to all of their students. Yet transparency and candor will not dissuade students from clerking. The students who entered law school dead-set on clerking will clerk anyway. And the clerkship-curious students will pursue judicial clerkships with the confidence that they will be treated fairly and respectfully during both the application process and their tenure as clerks. They will pursue better clerkships. Many law schools continue to give the ill-advised directive that students must accept the first clerkship they are offered — that they can never say “no” to a judge. This contributes to the deification of judges. What is unique about clerkships in the legal profession, such that you can never turn down a job offer? This sends a message to both law students and the judiciary that judges deserve blind respect and total deference. Law schools also rely on euphemisms for mistreatment like “fit” when discussing the judge/clerk relationship. They describe the clerkship search as identifying “good fits” because they do not want to explicitly state that some judges mistreat their clerks. Still others tell students that a “challenging” clerkship (another euphemism for workplace mistreatment) is “worth it” for the prestige. And during conversations with career services professionals, administrators tell me that “law clerks just want to keep their heads down and move on” after a negative experience. Law students and alumni deserve better than evasive or opaque statements and half-truths filtered to law schools’ comfort level. They deserve candor from those who profess to have students’ best interests at heart. Law clerks who experience mistreatment are notoriously unwilling to share that information with their law schools. But in the instances in which they do, too often they are confronted with advice like “stick it out.” They are dissuaded from speaking out or standing up for themselves. Some administrators help students extract themselves from negative clerkship experiences. But this is the exception, not the rule. Law schools should tell students that they can leave a clerkship early if they are mistreated or disrespected, just like they can turn down a clerkship offer if something feels wrong. Anything less than empowering students to stand up for themselves is disempowering, considering the enormous headwinds that clerks seeking accountability face. Law schools tell students to “do their research” about judges before applying. But what research are students to do, when so little information about judges as managers and clerkship experiences is accessible to them? Law schools intend for students to reach out to current or former clerks — ideally alumni of their alma maters — who may or may not share candid information about their clerkship experiences. This backdoor, secretive, fear-infused method of information-sharing is sometimes referred to as the “clerkships whisper network.” Those with information about judges — either law clerks or law school administrators (deans, clerkship directors, and professors) — may or may not share information with students who reach out. But current and former clerks, fearing both reputational harm in the legal community for saying anything less than positive about judges and retaliation by the judges who mistreated them, are disincentivized to share candid information about mistreatment with law students who need it. In the absence of transparent information, law clerks recount to me the troubling ways they attempt to “research” judges — anonymous T-14 blogs, The Robing Room, and outreach to friends at better-resourced schools that keep some records about clerkship experiences. They reach out to former clerks before interviewing, who all paint the same overly rosy picture, as if reading from a script. Law clerks tell me they found out later — after experiencing mistreatment — that former clerks were not fully transparent when they spoke. In the rare instances when clerks share information with their law schools, the schools may instruct them not to tell anyone — putting clerkship directors in the challenging position of either sharing the information anyway (anonymously), or not warning applicants at all. We should encourage law clerks to speak openly and honestly about the full range of clerkship experiences. Empowering clerks to discuss workplace treatment is the first step toward changing the culture in the legal community. Candid dialogue will also raise the bar on workplace civility in the judiciary, challenging every judge to take a hard look at their chambers culture and role as a manager. I often ask deans and judges how they think students obtain information about judges before applying for clerkships; whether information about judges who mistreat their clerks is shared with students; and whether enough information about judges as managers is accessible to applicants. Many agree that greater transparency in the clerkship application process is necessary — yet institutional intransigence and fear of disruptive change have long precluded reform. It weighs heavily on me that we are entering another clerkship application cycle where law students lack information about judges. Here’s some advice to help prospective clerks protect themselves and make (relatively) informed decisions: You don’t have to accept the first clerkship you are offered. You can say “no” to a judge. You can also ask for more time to think about it. If something feels wrong after an interview, you can turn down a clerkship offer, or ask for more time to think about it. The judge will find another clerk, and you’ll find another job. Some judges continue to engage in the practice of exploding offers, pressuring students to accept offers on the spot. But do you really want to work for someone who respects you so little? Ask the right questions of the judge. Ask about chambers culture, hours, tasks, and expectations. You can also ask questions about workplace policies. I speak often with judges who support increased judicial accountability mechanisms and enhanced workplace protections, and who are happy to tell me what else they think needs to change to increase diversity in the clerkship applicant pool and to ensure safe work environments for judiciary employees. A judge’s answer should be a red flag — or a green flag. Ask the right questions of the judge’s clerks. After your interview with the judge, you’ll spend some time with the clerks. This is part of the interview. But it’s also an opportunity to seek a candid assessment about chambers culture, how the judge provides feedback, and the judge’s relationship with their clerks, judicial assistant, and courthouse staff. Clerks’ answers to these questions — and their willingness to answer them at all — is instructive. Seek advice from former clerks. The clerkships whisper network is woefully inadequate but, this year, it’s the system that exists. As soon as you get an interview, reach out to former clerks. Start with your law school’s alumni network. Then search through LinkedIn. Or reach out to LAP, and we’ll try to connect you with former clerks. Ask pointed questions. Former clerks are better-positioned than current ones to answer candidly. Considering the premium that law schools and legal employers place on judicial clerkships, and the outsized importance of a clerkship on an attorney’s future career success, the legal community should ensure access to transparent information about clerkships. Our clerkship system is broken, but we can fix it. We should aim to create a legal profession that is more diverse, more equitable, and more inclusive. But nothing will ever change if no one speaks out about injustice. And it shouldn’t just come from people like me — who are adjacent to the practice of law. We should empower law students, law clerks, and the next generation of attorneys to demand safer workplaces. The first step is to change the messaging around clerkships, so that every clerk knows they are not alone. Messaging matters. Aliza Shatzman is the President and Founder of The Legal Accountability Project, a nonprofit aimed at ensuring that law clerks have positive clerkship experiences, while extending support and resources to those who do not. She regularly writes and speaks about judicial accountability and clerkships. Reach out to her via email at and follow her on Twitter @AlizaShatzman.
  • Advancing AI Safety: Law Student Competition For Drafting A Treaty On Moratorium Of Large-Scale AI Capabilities R&D – Above the Law

    Advances in capabilities of artificial intelligence (AI) are an existential danger to all the people of the world. These advances must be indefinitely stopped via prohibitions on general AI capability research as well as surveillance and reduction in manufacturing of certain computer chips, among other measures. To enforce a regime that will allow humanity to continue to exist, countries need to pass appropriate laws and enter international treaties. The Campaign for AI Safety announces the first law student competition on this topic. This competition invites students from law, philosophy, and related disciplines, including JD and PhD students, to participate in drafting a treaty on the moratorium of large-scale AI capabilities research and development. The winning treaty may provide a blueprint for international governance and legal structures in the realm of AI control. The competition is open to students globally and is hosted on the Campaign for AI Safety’s website. Participants are encouraged to explore the implications of AI development and create a draft treaty that embodies the principles of responsible AI. By participating in this competition, law students have a remarkable opportunity to make a lasting impact on humanity’s survival and contribute their expertise towards the formulation of an international treaty that will shape the future of AI governance. Why participate? Survival of our species. Intellectual Stimulation: Engage in cutting-edge research and legal discourse surrounding the complex field of AI safety. This competition offers an intellectually stimulating platform where students can explore the legal, ethical, and societal implications of AI. Recognition and Exposure: The winning draft will be showcased on the Campaign for AI Safety’s website, providing participants with valuable recognition and exposure in the field of AI governance. This exposure can be a stepping stone to future academic or professional opportunities in the growing field of AI law and policy. Prizes and Rewards: The top three participants will receive substantial monetary rewards. The winner will receive a prize of AUD 4000, the runner-up AUD 1000, and the third-place contestant AUD 500. In addition to the financial rewards, participants can add certificates of participation to their CVs and online profiles, demonstrating their commitment to AI safety and their ability to contribute to critical legal discussions. To participate, students can submit their draft treaty in English, with a maximum length of 10 pages, in Word format. The submission should be made through the Law Student Competition Submission Form, which can be accessed on the Campaign for AI Safety’s website. Participants are required to provide their names and university affiliations for proper identification. The submission deadline for the competition is July 15, 2023. After the judging process, the results will be announced on August 1, 2023, highlighting the exceptional contributions of the participants. The panel of esteemed judges includes both academicians and legal practitioners, who will evaluate the draft treaties based on several key criteria, including clarity, legality, effectiveness, and comprehensiveness. To learn more about the competition and participate, visit the Campaign for AI Safety’s website at [This article is sponsored by the Campaign for AI Safety, an Australian unincorporated association of people who are concerned about the risks of AI.]
  • The Biglaw Files: How Power And Privilege Harm The Legal Profession – Above the Law

    This past weekend, I was plagued by two different jarring stories of Biglaw lawyers that hit social media: the abuse and unyielding rage of Allan Kassenoff from Greenberg Traurig that led to the planned suicide of his wife Catherine Kassenoff, and the vitriolic antisemitic, racist, and misogynistic language spewed by Jeff Ranen and John Barber of Barber Ranen (formed by 140-plus lawyers who departed from Lewis Brisbois at the beginning of May 2023). Both of these incidents are full of emails documenting the widespread abuse of power and privilege within the Biglaw world. As I’ve previously written in my ATL column, these are the toxic behaviors that push women out of law firms and hurt our profession as a whole. It’s this type of despicable behavior that perpetuates negativity in our profession and continues to corrupt it. Yet, it’s a sordid reality of how male Biglaw lawyers wield their power in and out of the courtroom — and how law firms often sweep it under the rug because it’s just regular business for them — after all, if the Biglaw machine is making money, who cares, right? Imagine working for a firm for a decade and learning that the white, male partners refer to women and other POC with demeaning, condescending, and wholly inappropriate language. I’ll let you click on the link to see the examples for yourself. I worked for various abusive male lawyers throughout my law firm days. I’d often ask myself: if this is how they talk to me, can you imagine how they speak to their wives, daughters, and mothers? Allan Kassenoff is a prime example of this — in various TikTok videos from Robbie Harvey, a journalist, which garnered more than 20 million views, he explains and documents the abuse and rage of Kassenoff calling his wife Catherine, a decorated and accomplished woman lawyer and mother to his three daughters, a “fat loser,” among other derogatory terms. Yet, the PR stunts played by these firms should not go unnoticed. Catherine Kassenoff made her public plea on Facebook before undergoing doctor-assisted suicide in Europe, shedding light on the magnitude of her life of hell with Allen Kassenoff. But like any good lawyer, she diligently attached a large file of documents and videos which noted the abuse and corruption in the case. Greenberg Traurig has since put up a statement on its Facebook page defending its beloved firm partner. What we have yet to see are the comments from various legal assistants, law firm associates, and other women in Allan’s work life who may have been privy to the pervasive patterns of verbal and emotional abuse that may have just been swept under the rug since he’s a rainmaker for the firm. For such a brazen and bold figure, he’s certainly now hidden — removing his LinkedIn profile and causing GT to shut off all comments on its social media channels. For Ranen and Barber, their abhorrent antisemitic, racist, and misogynistic behaviors have now come to light, but a little too late — as the documented emails occurred while they were employed by Lewis Brisbois. Thus, it appears to be more of a “gotcha” way to preclude their new firm from flourishing — perhaps from an insider at Lewis Brisbois who may be firing back after Ranen and Barber took away clients and lawyers from them. Yet, what’s even more despicable is that Lewis Brisbois allowed this behavior to permeate for more than a decade, with the New York Post reporting emails that go as far back as June 2012. Where were the internal controls since law firms monitor emails and have various firewalls and language filters? Did they only go up after they exited the firm and took the 100-plus lawyers with them for their spinoff? Where was HR in all of this? Here’s the reality: emails are forever, as is the internet. Certainly, Kassenoff, Ranen, and Barber have shown us how Biglaw operates when push comes to shove with the billable hour and revenue. Yet, in the spirit of irony and hypocrisy, it makes complete sense that Ranen (as his LinkedIn profile denotes) was the editor of Boston College Law School’s Third World Law Journal, focusing on civil rights. Again, the irony within Biglaw shines bright like a diamond. Wendi Weiner is an attorney, career expert, and founder of The Writing Guru, an award-winning executive resume writing services company. Wendi creates powerful career and personal brands for attorneys, executives, and C-suite/Board leaders for their job search and digital footprint. She also writes for major publications about alternative careers for lawyers, personal branding, LinkedIn storytelling, career strategy, and the job search process. You can reach her by email at, connect with her on LinkedIn, and follow her on Twitter @thewritingguru.  
  • From The Bench To Biglaw: Judge Paul Watford Lands At Top 50 Am Law Firm – Above the Law

    (Photo by Bill Clark/Getty Images) Back in January, Judge Paul Watford of the Ninth Circuit announced that he would be resigning from the bench to return to private practice. The 55-year-old judge would officially call it quits on May 31, and in his resignation letter, he said stepping down was “one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my life.” At the time, the legal community wondered where Watford would land. He’d previously worked at Munger Tolles as a partner, and many speculated that he may be returning to his old stomping grounds. We now know where Watford is working — and it isn’t at Munger. Earlier today, Wilson Sonsini — a firm that brought in $1,354,000,000 gross revenue in 2022, putting it at No. 33 in the most recent Am Law 100 — announced that Watford had joined the firm’s litigation practice as a partner. The recently retired judge will work out of the firm’s Los Angeles office, where he’ll focus on appellate and complex commercial disputes. What does Watford have to say about his move from the bench to Biglaw? Here’s the scoop in a press release from the firm: “Throughout my time serving as a Ninth Circuit judge, I had the opportunity to work with amazing people in a collegial and professionally rewarding environment, and to be directly involved in the disposition of interesting and important matters,” said Judge Watford. “In joining Wilson Sonsini, I will be able to continue working with talented lawyers and professionals in a collaborative culture that places high value on diversity and teamwork. I look forward to taking on challenging and engaging matters for the firm’s clients, which include many of the world’s most innovative and dynamic companies.” Congratulations to Judge Paul Watford on landing at a law firm that he loves, and congratulations to Wilson Sonsini on adding a former federal appellate judge to its roster. Best of luck! Former Ninth Circuit Judge Paul Watford Joins Wilson Sonsini as a Partner [Wilson Sonsini] Earlier: Ninth Circuit Judge Plans To Leave The Bench, Return To Private Practice Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter or connect with her on LinkedIn.
  • Cooking Up IP Literacy – Above the Law

    When I first wrote about a podcast appearance by famous chef Dave Chang, our president was still Barack Obama. In that column, I highlighted the benefit of teasing out lessons for success in legal practice from high performers in other industries, “especially when they share lessons they learned on their path to success.” That is doubly true when they achieve their success in a service industry which shares similarities to the service profession that is legal practice. When I wrote that column, even though Chef Chang was very well known for his expanding empire of Momofuku restaurants, he was nowhere near as famous as he is now. Since then, Chang has become a multimedia star in his own right, with multiple podcasts on the Ringer podcast network, as well as numerous TV projects, including Netflix’s “Ugly Delicious.” While I am only an occasional listener to his Ringer podcasts, I make sure to listen when Chang does interviews of accomplished guests from various disciplines. I would commend two interviews in particular. The first is a March 2022 discussion with comedian and producer Nick Kroll, which mixes both humor and pathos in its discussions around work, fatherhood, and the challenges in maintaining friendships while juggling newfound responsibilities. The second is an interview with famed executive guru Marshall Goldsmith, focused on the challenges of mixing career achievement with personal goals in the elusive search for personal contentment and even happiness. In each interview, the guests bring real wisdom borne out of deep introspection to the conversation, playing off Chang’s unrelenting willingness to expose his character challenges without apology — but also coupled to a sincere desire for self-improvement. Listening to either, or both, would be time well spent. In the latest Chang podcast episode that caught my ear, he and his guests were doing a “Debate Club” segment. The topic? “Culinary Intellectual Property and Giving Credit Where It’s Due.” It is important, however, to preface discussion of the episode with some background on Chang and IP issues. For one, he has long been known for boldness in terms of calling out others for alleged IP infractions, as with his 2012 claims that another chain was “running his concept.” He is also a prolific trademark filer and owner, with over 15 marks to his name, centering on his various restaurants and other enterprises. Yet, his status as an IP owner has not cooled his frustration at what he calls the “rampant theft” in the food industry, which he compares to the struggles that fashion houses have in dealing with “fast fashion” competitors like Zara and others. In response to the copying he claims is endemic in the food industry, Chang proposes a licensing model for recipes, similar to what is found in the music industry. At the same time, he acknowledges that certain well-known foods are no longer eligible for IP protection, such as the chocolate chip cookie, which Chang uses as an example. Despite the acknowledgment of the public domain, however, Chang still proposes that if he comes up with a “new” chocolate chip cookie, or if he came up with the “pliable ganache” that pastry chef Alex Stupak is credited with originating, then he “should be getting some royalties for that.” Putting aside the imprecise references to things that may be patentable concepts, versus trademarks or copyrights, it is interesting that Chang does not reference Mrs. Field’s Cookies when talking about IP around chocolate chip cookies, as Mrs. Field’s recipe is a well-known example of a food-based trade secret, similar to the formula for Coca-Cola. Nor is Chang’s call for greater IP protection in the food industry met without counterpoint by his guests. In an initial rejoinder, one of his guests points to the challenge of reducing accessibility and follow-on innovation when recipes are subject to IP protection, even setting aside the traditional ethos around sharing recipes that has long been present in human cultures around the world. Later on in the discussion, an even more potent challenge is raised to Chang’s proposals, namely the lack of a viable enforcement mechanism in the food industry for policing IP, including the low monetary stakes that would make the cost of enforcement prohibitive relative to the benefit — for all but the biggest companies, at least. In fact, Chang points out how megabrands like Twinkies and Coca-Cola are able to trademark their names and protect their recipes, while also retaining the ability to copy the innovations of others at scale. While those pathways may be open to the big players, Chang also laments the popular notion that food should be cheap, which in his view serves as a potent roadblock to innovators getting proper credit for their contributions in the food industry. Ultimately, while the debate ends up rambling a bit — and the precision of IP nomenclature in use is lacking — it is always interesting to listen to accomplished business people debate the proper balance of IP protection in their industry. As someone with a history of innovation in a sometimes staid industry, it is not a surprise that Chang leans toward a position of rewarding IP owners. Chang’s frustration at the lack of respect for IP in the food industry is palpable, especially when he sees innovators in other industries rewarded through workable mechanisms for balancing access to IP protected material and the need to foster additional innovation. Still, he recognizes the presence of a public domain, as well as the powerful sociological forces that surround food culture and cut against robust IP protection in the industry. At a minimum, the discussion is both interesting for its content, as well as a potent reminder that we all benefit as a society from increased IP literacy. The more robust debates we can have around IP issues the better, but we must also recognize that the more informed the debaters are on proper IP terminology and scope, the higher the quality of the discourse. It is always a treat to hear IP discussed by nonprofessionals. But the treat is also sweeter when the proper IP literacy ingredients are present. The jury has spoken, but it is a near certainty that they won’t have the last word. Please feel free to send comments or questions to me at or via Twitter: @gkroub. Any topic suggestions or thoughts are most welcome. Gaston Kroub lives in Brooklyn and is a founding partner of Kroub, Silbersher & Kolmykov PLLC, an intellectual property litigation boutique, and Markman Advisors LLC, a leading consultancy on patent issues for the investment community. Gaston’s practice focuses on intellectual property litigation and related counseling, with a strong focus on patent matters. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter: @gkroub.