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Saluting the legal eagles

Fund formation and transaction lawyers are crucial to the private equity industry; the cream of the crop was recently given top honours by peers in the PEI Awards.

The shifting relationships between fund managers and their investors, the revival of M&A activity and continued regulatory pressure were among the “stories of the year” last year in private equity. As were the rise of rise of RMB funds in China and impressive momentum in emerging markets across the board.

Helping investors make heads or tails of many of those developments were a core group of legal professionals. This week, Private Equity International revealed which fund formation and transaction teams stood out from the crowd last year with the publication of its annual readers poll results.

Thousands of industry participants from more than 50 countries voted in the PEI Awards, which included more than 80 categories.

Taking top honours in the law firm of the year categories was O’Melveny & Myers, voted fund formation firm of the year in Asia. SJ Berwin, meanwhile, won the fund formation honours in Europe, while Debevoise & Plimpton was given the title in North America.

Debevoise & Plimpton also won readers’ votes for its transaction-focused work in Asia. In Europe, Clifford Chance’s team won kudos for its work on private equity deals, while in North America Simpson Thacher & Bartlett was given the honours.

Click here to read in more detail about each of these winners, as well as other industry participants that peers deemed top notch in 2010.