IFLR1000 Reviews

Financial and corporate

Dentons is a massive global law firm with a considerable US presence. In addition to large cities like New York and Washington DC, Dentons operates in smaller urban centers such as Denver, Kansas City, Honolulu, Miami and New Orleans. The firm’s 24 US offices give it an exceptionally wide national reach in all five practice areas covered in the IFLR1000 US Guide. 

Within Illinois, the firm advises on restructurings and insolvency matters and M&A deals.  

The firm’s M&A team worked on deals in a range of sectors. The firm advised Kingswood Capital Management on its acquisition of the assets of AutoAnything. The firm also advised Blackstone Group and its portfolio company Schenck Process on the acquisition of the Raymond Bartlett Snow business, the stock of Arvos Brazil Equipamentos and the assets of Arvos Energy India. 

Additionally, Dentons has an active restructuring and insolvency team. Over the research period the firm advised USA Gymnastics on its Chapter 11, Mammoet-Starneth on its Chapter 11 and Quantum Capital Partners on the acquisition of assets from Hobbico as part of Hobbico’s Chapter 11.

Duane Morris

Founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1904, Duane Morris operates 21 offices across the US, including in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York. The firm has robust M&A, capital markets, banking and restructuring practices that handle clients across the country. Among Duane Morris’s industry focuses are healthcare, pharmaceuticals and banking and financial services. 

Within Illinois, the firm is recognized by IFLR1000 for its work in banking.  

In Chicago, Duane Morris primarily advises lenders on middle market banking transactions. The firm’s transactions are generally either syndicated financings, acquisition financings or healthcare financings. The firm can be seen advising big names like Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), but also advises more regional and local financial institutions like Monroe Capital, a provider of financings to middle-market companies, and Lake Forest Bank. CIBC was a particularly active client, which the firm advised on a syndicated line of credit financing to Jackson Hewitt Tax Service, on a $125 million syndicated secured financing to Treliant and on a $30 million financing for the construction of nursing home facilities. 

Client feedback 

“Duane Morris does an excellent job for me. The attorneys are incredibly responsive. They listen closely to my feedback and successfully apply the concepts to the relevant project. Ideally, with regard to financial transactions, I could get contract and regulatory advice from the same lawyer, but Duane Morris certainly has plenty of attorneys on its team who can step in and advise when I need it.” – Banking  

Michael Witt 

“Very knowledgeable. Immediately responsive to my company's needs. Great problem solver to capture complex aspects of a deal in a readily understood contract. Quickly delivers accurate work. Hires super smart associates with great personalities.” 

Kirkland & Ellis

Founded in 1909 in Chicago, Kirkland & Ellis is well-known as a top firm at the national level. The firm is also recognized as a leading firm in individual states, such as New York, California, Illinois and Texas. M&A and private equity are key practice areas for the firm, though the firm does well across the board.  

The firm has a strong banking team that often works on the financing aspects of acquisitions. Deals include work on the financing aspects of Bain Capital Private Equity's investment in Dealer Tire and Madison Dearborn Partners’ acquisition of Alcami. 

The M&A team has advised clients on high-value deals such as Option Care Enterprises' merger with BioScrip, Civitas Solutions’ $1.4 billion acquisition by Centerbridge Partners and Madison Dearborn Partners’ acquisition of Alcami 

Kirkland is also a leader in the restructuring and insolvency space. In one prominent matter, the firm advised Toys R’ Us on its Chapter 11.  

Latham & Watkins

Latham & Watkins is a top firm in the market, both nationally and at the state level, for finance and M&A work. The firm is based in Los Angeles and is recognized by IFLR1000 in several states, including New York, Illinois, Texas and Massachusetts.  

Within Illinois, the firm has a leading banking practice and strong M&A and restructuring and insolvency practices. 

One example of the firm’s banking work is its advice to JPMorgan Chase Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation and MUFG Bank as joint lead arrangers and joint bookrunners on $30.85 billion in bridge credit facilities to finance Takeda Pharmaceutical Company’s acquisition of Shire, an Ireland-based pharmaceutical company.  

In M&A, the firm advised ZF Friedrichshafen, an automotive manufacturer, on its $7 billion acquisition of WABCO, a supplier of braking technologies, and advised Precision Flow Systems, a fluid management systems provider, on its $1.45 billion acquisition by Ingersoll-Rand, an industrial manufacturing company.

Mayer Brown

Mayer Brown, founded in Chicago, is known nationally for its highly regarded structured finance practice. Within the US, the firm also has offices in New York, Charlotte, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Houston and San Francisco. Within Chicago, the firm has a strong banking and M&A practice. 

In one banking deal, the firm advised Global Banking Corporation on a $163 million syndicated credit facility, which was arranged by Citigroup Global Markets, JPMorgan Chase Bank and Mizuho.  

In M&A, the firm advised Hartford Financial Services Group on its $2.1 billion acquisition of The Navigators Group, an insurance company, and advised Nationwide on its acquisition of E-Risk Services, an underwriting services provider.

McDermott Will & Emery

McDermott Will & Emery was founded in Chicago in 1934. Now, the firm also has offices in Massachusetts, New York, Texas, California, DC and Florida. Although the firm works across a range of sectors, it has established itself as a strong firm when it comes to healthcare transactional work. 

The firm’s banking team often advises clients on financings related to M&A and private equity transactions. For example, the firm helped Comvest Partners obtain senior secured credit facilities worth $117 million to fund its acquisition of Engage2Excel, helped PTSH Solutions Holdings with $95 million in credit facilities in connection with Lindsay Goldberg’s acquisition of PTSH Holdings and advised on a $100 million credit facility in connection with Gemspring Capital Management’s acquisition of TMP Worldwide Advertising & Communications.  

The firm’s M&A team is active on middle-market and upper middle-market transactions. Many of the firm’s M&A clients are either private equity firms or portfolio companies of private equity companies. For example, the firm advised LaSalle Capital Group on the sale of United American Security and on the acquisition of Brown & Joseph, a debt collection agency. The firm also advised a portfolio company of HCI Equity Partners on its acquisition of Premier Steel Doors & Frames, advised a portfolio company of Clearwell Group on its acquisition of Equipco Manufacturing and advised NexPhase Capital on its acquisition of Gulf Coast Pain Institute.  

Reed Smith

Reed Smith is a middle-market leader with headquarters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The international law firm has 16 total US offices, having opened an Austin, Texas location in May 2018. Some of the firm’s other locations include Chicago, Houston, New York, Philadelphia and San Francisco.  

The firm’s Chicago office has active M&A and banking practices and breaks into tier 3 of the banking rankings this year.  

The firm’s banking team represents a mix of borrowers and lenders. Most lender clients are confidential but include large international banks. In one publishable lenders’ side deal the firm advised Squadron Capital on a $35 million secured revolving and term loan facility to OrthoPediatrics. On the borrowers’ side the firm advised Adtalem Global Education on a $600 million credit facility and Jaguar Health on obtaining financing.  

The firm runs an active M&A team which advises clients on both private equity and strategic M&A. On the private equity side, the firm advised New Harbor Capital on the sale of its portfolio company PT Solutions to private equity fund Lindsay Goldberg, advised Wind Point Partners on its acquisition of Ox Engineered Product and advised New Harbor Capital oits acquisition of two test preparation companies. The firm also advised Land O'Frost in the acquisition of the assets of Wellshire Farms and its affiliates. 

The firm also has an active restructuring and insolvency team. In one highlight matter, the firm advised LDR Industries, a manufacturer and supplier of storage solutions for the heavy transportation industry, on its chapter 11.

Sidley Austin

Sidley Austin, based in Chicago, was founded in 1866. The firm also has offices in Boston, Century City, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Washington DC. The firm is recognized by IFLR1000 for its work in New York, Texas and Illinois. 

Several lateral hires over the research period strengthened the firm’s practice. James Snyder has joined the firm in Chicago as a partner in its global finance practice from Winston & Strawn. Andrew Cardonick, former co-chair of the finance practice at Greenberg Traurig also joined the global finance practice in Chicago.  The firm also strengthened its global finance practice in Houston where partner Brian Minyard who focuses on financings within the oil and gas sectors joined the firm.  

Additionally, the firm added four partners (David Buck, Jon Daly, Angela Richards and George Vlahakos) to its Houston office and one partner, Bill Cooper, who will spend time in both Houston and Washington DC. Also in Texas, the firm added Marc Rose, an energy M&A partner, to its Dallas office. 

In New York, capital markets partners Michael Schiavone, Daniel O’Shea and David Ni joined the firm from O’Melveny & Myers. In Boston, the firm added Alexander Temel and William Schwab from Latham & Watkins to its private equity practice. M&A partner Rob Carlson joined the firm’s Palo Alto office.  


Sidley is a very well-known Chicago firm that is very big on the financing side,” one lawyer says. One example of the financing team’s work is its advice to Livongo Health, a consumer digital health company, on its $105 million Series E funding round.  The firm also has an active restructuring and insolvency practice.  

In M&A, the firm advised International Game Technology (IGT) on its $4.7 billion acquisition by Italy-based GTECH.  The firm also advised Landauer on its $770 million acquisition by Fortive and advised Fortress Investment Group on the $2.1 billion sale of Florida East Coast Railway Holdings to GMéxico Transportes. 

New York 

In capital markets, the firm advised the underwriters on Morgan Stanley’s $7 billion notes issue and advised the underwriters on Morgan Stanley’s $1 billion share issue and advised the underwriters on the $833.5 million IPO of Americold Realty Trust. 

In M&A, the firm advised Cigna on its $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts. 

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

One of the most well-known firms in the English-speaking world, Skadden is a powerhouse financial and corporate firm. The firm is headquartered in New York with offices in most of the US’ largest legal markets, including Houston, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Boston, Chicago and Washington DC. 

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom operates leading M&A, banking and restructuring practices out of its Chicago office. The firm also has an active real estate practice. 

The firm’s team advises both borrowers and lenders. One active lender client was Bank of America which the firm advised on a $1.83 billion debtor in possession financing for Sears Holding, a $300 million ABL revolving facility for VER Technologies and a $193 million revolving facility in connection to Remington Outdoor’s Chapter 11. On the borrower’s side, the firm advised Genesis Healthcare on a $555 million asset based lending facility and helped CME Group with its £1.58 billion credit facility to finance its acquisition of NEX Group.  

Skadden advises a mix of sellers and acquirers on high value M&A transactions. The firm advised Rockwell Collins on its $30 billion acquisition by United Technologies, CME Group on its $5.5 billion acquisition of NEX Group and Stryker Corporation on its $1.4 billion acquisition of K2M Group Holdings. 

The firm’s real estate team has been particularly active on joint ventures this research period. Most real estate clients were confidential, but the firm advised Brookdale Senior Living on restructuring its portfolio of 128 communities (10,567 units) leased from Ventas.  

In restructuring and insolvency, the firm has worked on a mix of chapter 11s and out of court restructurings. Recent matters include helping a distressed mobile diagnostics health care provider with restructuring its senior secured credit facilities, advising EMAS Chiyoda Subsea Limited and its affiliates on a chapter 11 and representing Synergy Pharmaceuticals on the $200 million sale of its assets to Bausch Health Companies as part of its chapter 11.  

Taft Stettinius & Hollister

Taft Stettinius & Hollister is based in Cincinati and within Ohio also has offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Dayton. Outside of the state, the firm can be seen in Illinois, Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky and Arizona. Taft is a member of the Bridge Group, a network of 11 regional law firms in the U.S. and Europe, the Interlex Group, an association of 47 firms, across 155 cities in 61 countries and Lexwork International, a network of mid-sized independent law firms.  

The firm’s Illinois M&A team is active and has a good footprint in the gaming space. For example, the firm advised Majestic Star Casino and Majestic Mississippi on the sale of the membership interests of Majestic Mississippi to Foundation Gaming & Entertainment. Additionally, Steel Warehouse Company was an active client of the firm, which the firm advised on its acquisition of Siegal Steel Company, on its acquisition of assets of Chicago Masonry Construction and on its acquisition of a 50% stake in the sign post division of MS Tube.  

Winston & Strawn

Winston & Strawn, founded in 1853, is based in Chicago. The firm also has offices in North Carolina, California, Texas and Washington DC. 

Within Illinois, the firm is considered a top firm in banking and also has strong capital markets and M&A practices.  

The firm’s banking team has advised international banks like Citibank and Wells Fargo. Barrings, a Charlotte-based global investment management firm, was an active client of the firm, which the firm has advised on a $90 million refinancing facility to Image International Intermediate Holdco, a $229.55 million credit facility to Accruent and a $112.34 million credit facility to finance the acquisition of Excentus by PDI TA Holdings.  

The firm’s capital markets team works on a mix of equity securities, debt securities as well as structured finance and asset-backed securities. CLOs have been an active area for the firm and over the research period it helped Angelo Gordon, Crestline Denali Capital and THL Credit advisors with their CLOs. The firm is active in the mortage bond space and has represented the underwriters on Commonwealth Edison Company’s $550 million 3.7% mortage bond issue and PECO Energy Company’s $325 million 3.9% mortage bond issue. On debt capital markets transactions, the firm tends to represent the underwriters.  

M&A is also active for the firm, a space where it advises acquirers, merger parties and sellers. The firm’s M&A practice also has a private equity component where it advises the likes of Ares Management, Atlas Holdings and Century Park Capital Partners. Over the research period, the firm advised Motorola Solutions on its $237 million acquisition of Plant Holdings and advised Intertek Group on its $480 million acquisition of Alchemy Investment Holdings 

Over the research period, the firm added seven partners to its corporate and tax practice from Jenner & Block. The firm also added venture capital lawyer Richard Ginsberg, investment management lawyer Joseph Nesler and rehired M&A lawyer Jeffrey Dobosh as partner.