Sara Couling

Sara Couling


Sara is a derivatives and structured finance specialist. She has extensive experience of the full range of English law derivatives transactions, together with experience in bank finance, structured finance and debt capital markets.

Her practice includes advising borrowers and lenders on fixed income and FX derivatives in connection with leveraged, acquisition, infrastructure and project financing transactions, equity-linked derivatives (including strategic positions, TRSs, prepaid variable forwards, funded collar structures and structured share buybacks), ISDA Master Agreements and collateral and security arrangements, credit default swaps, stock lending and repos, margin lending involving a wide range of institutions, corporates and sponsors and jurisdictions, secured borrowing base facilities and investment structures and securitisations, clearing documentation, clearing house documentation and associated liquidity arrangements, prime brokerage arrangements, debt trading and regulatory requirements relating to over-the-counter and exchange-traded derivatives transactions.

Sara advises corporates, financial institutions, funds, a clearing house, asset managers, private equity firms, sovereigns and hedge fund investors in Europe and the Middle East.


Representative matters

A consortium of international and local banks, as lenders, on the $3 billion Facility D Independent Water and Power project in Qatar, on its related hedging arrangements. The project involved the construction of a 2,520 MW gas-fired power plant and a 136.5 million gallons per day associated desalination plant near the Qatar Economic Zone, south of Doha. 

Mubadala Capital, the financial investment arm of Mubadala Investment Company, a sovereign investor owned by the Government of Abu Dhabi, in connection with the establishment of an evergreen origination platform with Barings, one of the world’s leading financial services firms, to provide financing solutions to European middle-market businesses, demonstrating the continuing evolution of Mubadala's investment strategy. 

The note purchasers, lenders and various agents and account banks and hedging banks on a tiered refinancing comprising a project financing to Shuaibah Two Water Development Project Company (STPC) and a private placement notes issuance by a DIFC issuer at a different level in the corporate structure.

Ziggo N.V. on its refinancing and related hedging arrangements, comprising new €3.3 billion term loan facilities and a new €650 million revolving credit facility in connection with the acquisition of the Ziggo Group by Liberty Global, as well as a tender offer and consent solicitation, and separately an exchange offer, relating to certain of Ziggo’s Notes.

Pro bono

Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) and Lawyers Without Borders on a ground-breaking multimedia campaign to maximise public awareness of the rights and obligations of Kenyans under the Kenya Sexual Offences Act, providing pro bono guidance.

Leadership Positions And Professional Affiliations

Member, Advisory Board of the Women in Law Empowerment Forum
Sara Couling is delightful to work with and a great problem solver.
Legal 500 UK, 2024
Sara Couling knew the structure of the facility and the issues we were facing when comments came back from the borrower. [She] made good suggestions on how to work around certain issues. […] Amazing to work with and explained the consequences […] of the inserts included in the documents.
Legal 500 UK, 2022


  • Next Generation Partner for Derivatives and Structured Products, Legal 500 UK, 2023 - 2024 
  • Rising Star for Derivatives (including Commodities), Legal 500 UK, 2022



England & Wales, 2011


LL.B., Law, Exeter University, 2007
LPC (Distinction), The College of Law, Guildford, 2008


A&O Shearman was formed on May 1, 2024 by the combination of Shearman & Sterling LLP and Allen & Overy LLP and their respective affiliates (the legacy firms). Any matters referred to above may include matters undertaken by one or more of the legacy firms rather than A&O Shearman.