Christopher S. Schell
  1. Partner

Mr. Schell is a partner in Davis Polk’s Corporate Department, practicing in the Derivatives & Structured Products Group. He regularly advises financial institutions on numerous types of domestic and international debt and equity capital markets transactions. He represents issuers and investment banks. His practice includes advising financial institutions in connection with offerings of structured products, including numerous types of synthetic exchangeable securities and other equity, commodity and currency linked products. He has extensive experience developing new financial products, including innovative offerings of units, warrants, exchange traded notes and proprietary indexes, for both retail and institutional investors.

He routinely advises on SEC, FINRA and other regulatory and transactional matters related to structured products, such as SEC comment letters, compliance projects and the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act.

Work Highlights

  • Regularly advises financial institutions in capital raising transactions, including NYSE-listed preferred stock issuances, senior and subordinated debt offerings and international offerings
  • Morgan Stanley on the first ever SEC-registered bond offering primarily offered in Taiwan and listed on the Gre Tai Securities Market
  • Morgan Stanley on Canadian dollar and Australian dollar denominated debt offerings
  • Offering of Japanese yen denominated debt offerings in Japan
  • Regularly advises the issuers and structurers of structured products on SEC-registered, Rule 144A/Regulation S, Regulation D and Section 3(a)(2) structured note issuance programs
  • Regularly advises the New York Stock Exchange on their index business and IOSCO Benchmark Regulation
  • Advises a variety of fintech companies on cryptocurrency investment products
  • Morgan Stanley on the issuance of numerous structured products on equities, commodities, currencies, credit and other underlying assets
  • Regularly advises a major U.S. financial institution on numerous exchange-traded notes, structured notes and market-linked certificates of deposit
  • Regularly advises two major Asian and European financial institutions on the creation and administration of innovative investment strategies, including indexes, and the offer and sale of securities using those strategies for a wide range of market participants
  • Morgan Stanley on its investment, as part of a investment consortium, in the convertible preferred stock of Carver Bancorp, Inc., a regional commercial bank
  • Morgan Stanley Wealth Management on the distribution of securities linked to equities, commodities, currencies and rates
  • Morgan Stanley on the U.S. Government’s $10 billion investment in the preferred stock and warrants of Morgan Stanley under the Troubled Asset Relief Program
  • Morgan Stanley on the repayment of the $10 billion preferred securities and the repurchase of the related warrants issued under the Troubled Asset Relief Program, including the equity and debt capital raising transactions designed to satisfy the government’s conditions for repayment
  • Morgan Stanley on the issuance of an aggregate of over $23 billion of notes guaranteed under the FDIC’s Temporary Liquidity Guarantee Program
  • Burger King Holdings, Inc. and Greenhill & Co. in their initial public offerings
  • The arrangers of the €5 billion bridge loan and related high-yield financing of the purchase of the semiconductors business of Royal Philips Electronics by a private equity consortium led by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co., Silver Lake Partners, Bain Capital, Apax and Alpinvest

From 2000 to 2002, Mr. Schell worked in the London office and advised on numerous capital markets transactions, including the $3 billion privatization of Statoil, the Norwegian state-owned oil and gas company, and several M&A advisory assignments.


Mr. Schell is recognized as a leading capital markets lawyer in the legal industry:

  • Chambers USA (Band 1)
  • IFLR1000
  • Member of Davis Polk’s team that won “Debt and Equity-Linked Deal of the Year” Award from IFLR Americas Awards in 2020
  • Member of Davis Polk’s structured products team that won the “Law Firm of the Year – Americas” Award from Structured Products magazine in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2015

Of Note

  • Center for Banking and Finance Practitioner in Residence at the University of North Carolina School of Law
  • Guest lecturer at Seton Hall School of Law
  • Moderated a panel of industry leaders at the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Annual North American Structured Products Conferences
  • Moderated Euromoney’s inaugural and subsequent Leadership Roundtable of heads of major U.S. structured product businesses
  • Addressed the 8th Annual Conference of the Structured Products Association on legal and regulatory developments
  • Addressed the New York State Bar Association Derivatives and Structured Products Law Committee on regulatory developments

Professional History

  • Partner, 2010-present
  • Counsel, 2006-2010
  • Associate, 1999-2006
  • London office, 2000-2002
  • Law Clerk, Hon. Charles P. Sifton, U.S. District Court, E.D. New York, 1998-1999

Bar Admissions

  • State of New York


  • B.A., Yale University, 1993
  • J.D., Yale Law School, 1998
    • Articles Editor, Yale Journal of International Law