Winners 2012

Excellence in Commodities: Legal

Winner: Reed Smith

The last few years have seen continual and increasing complexity for legal firms involved in the natural resource sector. For companies buying and selling commodities (as well as processors, utilities, distributors, banks, funds, and trade associations) legal practices now have to give commodities based advice covering everything from trade finance, derivatives and project work (perhaps sitting alongside complementary capabilities such as shipping and insurance) as well as typical contract negotiation and dispute resolution services required by commodity businesses.

This requires a deep understanding of commodity markets in order to give expert advice and offer decisive action to clients. The commodity complex is, by its very nature, a global and fragmented one which require a ‘world view’ of legal requirements and practices. This is what this year’s winner for Excellence in Commodities: Legal offers – Reed Smith.

The Reed Smith commodities team is the market leader and one of the largest teams devoted to commodities law. Its expertise and geographic coverage enables it to provide services to almost every sector of the commodity complex. The range and quality of its experience is unsurpassed. The Team advises on deals and disputes arising from commodity origination, financing, processing, trading, transportation, storage and regulation.

However, Reed Smith’s contribution to the commodity sector goes beyond advising on ground-breaking projects and the impact of legal and regulatory change. It has also lead sector policy by its involvement in sector committees, such as EFET, the EIC and IECA. Reed Smith also recently initiated and advised on a project with the Energy Institute to create a set of standard industry terms for FOB crude sales – expected to be the first in a menu of Standard Terms offered to the market place by the EI which will now proceed to prepare a set of similar terms for the CIF and CFR sale of physical crude oil. It is also envisaged that the Committee will, in the near future, seek to develop similar standard terms for the trading of petroleum products. Having identified a clear and widespread appetite in the market for standardised terms and conditions, Reed Smith’s Team have been instrumental in bringing these initiatives to fruition, recognising that commodity markets, whether physical or financial, best thrive where contractual documentation is standardised to the maximum extent possible.

>Reed Smith is a global relationship law firm with nearly 1,600 lawyers in 22 offices throughout the United States, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. Its lawyers provide litigation and other dispute resolution services in multi-jurisdictional and other high-stakes matters; deliver regulatory counsel; and execute the full range of strategic domestic and cross-border transactions. Reed Smith is a preeminent advisor to the shipping, energy trade and commodities.

>Reed Smith’s extensive presence across a range of hard, soft, and liquid commodities has brought it major instructions from banking and trader clients such as Bunge, Glencore Grain, Morgan Stanley, Noble, Trafigura, and Vertical UK LLP. Displaying ‘strength in depth’, the team includes Richard Swinburn, Diane Galloway, Paul Dillon, Suzanne Bainbridge and practice head Kyri Evagora.

The voters and Awards Panel were highly impressed in this extremely competitive commodity business category, making Reed Smith this year’s deserved recipient of the Award for Excellence in Commodities: Legal.

The Award for Excellence in Commodities: Legal 2010 was presented to Paul Dillon (right), Partner, Reed Smith by Gyles Brandreth, celebrated British author, broadcaster, actor and former Conservative Member of Parliament.