Market-Leading Derivatives Team Further Expands Crowell & Moring’s Financial Services Practice


Crowell & Moring is expanding its financial services capabilities in London with the arrival of a highly-regarded derivatives team. The team is recognized for their deep experience advising global investment banks and private equity funds on a range of complex structured finance and derivatives transactions in the U.S., UK, and European markets.

The diverse team consists of partners Jennifer Kafcas and Charles Wakiwaka, and counsel Alvino S. van Schalkwyk and Lauren Blaber.

“The team’s reputation and experience in the London and New York markets are of the highest caliber,” said Philip T. Inglima, chair of Crowell & Moring. “These lawyers have accomplished an impressive array of successes for clients we share, and in areas that directly parallel our current offerings. Their arrival significantly enhances the range of services we can offer our clients and is an important part of the continued expansion of our financial services practice and our London office.”

Kafcas and Wakiwaka have more than two decades of combined experience representing major investment banks, corporations, and private equity funds. They focus on a broad range of derivative products that include fixed income, commodities and power hedging, and derivatives that form an integral part of a leveraged finance, securitization, or infrastructure project. They also advise financial institutions on complex transactions such as deal contingent trades, Holdco and fund-level hedging strategies, credit derivatives, strategic equity transactions, and bespoke collateral arrangements. Kafcas and Wakiwaka have broad capital markets capabilities in the context of repackagings and structured note issuances. They bring strong market intelligence and structuring experience, having handled a considerable volume of deals in the U.S., UK, and European markets.

“The team’s excellent derivatives and structured finance experience is an important addition for our firm and, in particular, the London office, and complements the work that our colleagues who joined us from Kibbe & Orbe are doing in both New York and London,” said Robert Weekes, managing partner of the firm’s London office, which has more than tripled in size over the past three years under Weekes’ leadership.

“This is an exciting opportunity to partner with a dynamic derivatives team in London to address the evolving needs of our global clients as they navigate the growing complexity of investment strategies and structures, and the rapid adoption of new technologies developed for the financial markets,” said Jennifer Grady, co-chair of the firm’s Corporate Group and former managing partner of Kibbe & Orbe.

“This team significantly expands the services that we can offer global financial institutions from both sides of the Atlantic,” said Carlton Greene, chair of the firm’s Financial Services Group. “With these exciting new additions to the firm, we can better serve global investment banks on their complex transactional work and provide UK legal advice on the fast-paced and innovative derivatives market.”

“We are so pleased to be joining forces with a firm that is truly committed to collegiality, professionalism, and diversity,” Kafcas said. “The needs of our clients are our first priority, and providing customer service and value are paramount. We believe that Crowell & Moring offers the ideal platform for us to continue to achieve these objectives given the firm’s broad spectrum of complementary practices such as corporate, infrastructure, finance, competition, insolvency, and litigation. And we are impressed by Crowell’s demonstrated commitment to growth and the firm’s entrepreneurial attitude.”

Wakiwaka added that he was drawn to Crowell & Moring because of the “strong synergies we have with the lawyers who joined the firm from Kibbe & Orbe, so moving the team to Crowell & Moring was a logical choice.”

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