From its beginnings as a Dallas firm, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld has grown to operating 20 offices around the world. The firm has US offices in cities such as Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington DC.
Since opening for business in New York in the early 1990s, Akin Gump has established itself as a strong middle market player in the banking, capital markets and M&A spaces.
The technology and manufacturing industries were among the biggest sources of work for the office’s banking practice over the research period.
Meanwhile, Akin Gump’s capital markets group advised issuers on several notable offerings. One highlight was client CEVA Logistics’ $50 million notes offering.
The energy and real estate sectors were focuses for the office’s M&A team over the research period. In one highlight, the firm advised WMIH on its $3.8 billion acquisition of Nationstar Mortgage.
UK-based international firm Ashurst has its only US office in New York. The firm stands out in the area’s crowded legal field for its banking and finance practice, including its financing focus on infrastructure projects.
In one recent highlight for the banking practice, the New York team advised Standard Motor Products in connection with the amendment of its $250 million revolving credit facility.
The firm added Matthew Haist to the banking team in New York as counsel from Linklaters.
“High quality. Competitive pricing. Fast turnarounds. Good partner engagement.” – Banking
“Consistently provides top quality work while always being available. They are also able to clearly explain answers to inquiries, especially to those that are more complex. They also have a quick turnaround time, which is always appreciated, especially with tight timeframes.” - Banking
“Strong partner engagement. Very reactive.”
Founded in Houston in 1945, Bracewell has established itself as a trusted Texas firm, well known for its expertise and experience in the energy and financial services sectors. The firm has grown from its Houston roots into being a nationally recognised name, with offices outside of Texas in hubs such as Hartford, Seattle, Washington DC and New York.
Bracewell’s New York office is recognized for its exceptional restructuring and insolvency group.
The restructuring group was busy with cases tied to a wide range of industries over the research period. In one highlight, the firm advised the ad hoc group of equity holders in RMS Titanic in connection with RMS Titanic’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy. RMS Titanic holds a collection of artifacts recovered from the wreck of the Titanic.
Brown Rudnick has an active restructuring team in New York. The restructuring group worked on restructuring cases in several industries over the research period, including energy and retail.
In one highlight for the restructuring team, the firm guided the official creditors’ committee in connection with Rex Energy’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
“Better to be on same team with them than an adversary; they vigorously defend their client position.” – Restructuring & insolvency
“Highly skilled and capable. If looking for a fighter he's it.”
Although best known as a member of the United Kingdom’s illustrious “Magic Circle” of firms, Clifford Chance also maintains a strong US presence with offices in New York and Washington DC. The firm’s US team focuses on M&A, capital markets, real estate, banking and restructuring work.
Clifford Chance’s New York office counts real estate and M&A as leading focuses.
The firm’s M&A team spent considerable amounts of time working in the aviation, energy and media industries over the research period. One of its highlights came from advising Euromoney Institutional Investor on its $87 million acquisition of The Deal and BoardEx from The Street (full disclosure: IFLR1000 is a property of Eurmoney).
The firm was busy advising on real estate financings and acquisitions over the research period, among them a number of joint ventures. In one highlight, the firm guided Almanac Realty Investors on its $376 million investment in a joint venture company with PECO Real Estate Partners. The joint venture acquires and develops retail properties.
One of the most recognizable corporate law firms in the entire United States, Cravath Swaine & Moore is a national leader in the banking, M&A and capital markets areas and a state-level leader in restructuring. Despite only having one US office – New York – Cravath handles such a wide array of transactions both domestically and across the globe that it can’t truly be regarded as a single-state firm.
Cravath’s baking group worked with lenders on some of the highest-profile financings of the research period, including a number of acquisition finance transactions and general corporate finance deals. In one highlight, the firm advised JPMorgan Chase as arranger on $7.55 billion of credit facilities provided to business services company ADP.
The capital markets group represented both underwriters and issuers on a bevy of significant transactions over the research period, particularly on the debt side. One standout came in connection with a $3 billion notes offering by Kraft Heinz. Cravath advised the underwriters on the issuance.
Media, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals were among the biggest sources of work for Cravath over the research period. In one highlight, the firm advised Time Warner in connection with its $109 billion acquisition by AT&T.
Meanwhile, one headline case for the restructuring team came from client PG&E’s voluntary Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
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.
Duane Morris’ New York offices has specialties in M&A, securities, restructuring and real estate work. In addition to real estate, the office focuses on the healthcare and technology sectors.
In one highlight deal for the firm’s New York M&A team, Duane Morris advised healthcare information technology company on its sale to private equity firm Arsenal Capital Partners.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher was founded in 1872 in Los Angeles. The firm has international offices and within the US and also has offices in Texas, DC, Colorado and New York.
The firm’s New York office excels in a variety of practice areas, including M&A and capital markets.
Over the research period, the M&A team advised on deals in industries such as food and beverage, energy, technology and healthcare. In one highlight, Gibson Dunn advised PepsiCo on its $3.2 billion acquisition of SodaStream.
In another standout M&A deal, the firm advised pharmaceutical company Merck on its $8.5 billion joint development deal with AstraZeneca. The two companies are collaborating on cancer medications.
Miami-headquartered Greenberg Traurig is a national leader in the middle and upper-middle and market spaces. The firm has 30 different offices in the US, with locations that include New York, Chicago, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Silicon Valley, Denver and Houston. Greenberg Traurig has continued to expand its already impressive national reach, opening a Minneapolis office in February 2019 with the addition of three attorneys from DLA Piper.
Greenberg Traurig’s New York office counts its M&A practice as a main strength, in addition to accomplished banking and capital markets teams. Among the industries that the firm focused on over the research period, technology, natural resources and healthcare were key sources of work.
In one highlight, the team represented the Campbell Group in connection with the $1.39 billion sale of 1.1 million acres of East Texas timberlands.
The New York M&A team made a number of additions over the research period, adding Michael Aluko and Jared Hershberg as partners from SECOR Asset Management and Reed Smith, respectively. The team also hired Maya Mitchell as counsel from King & Spalding.
A multinational law firm with global headquarters in London and Washington DC, Hogan Lovells has 15 US offices. In addition to international business hubs such as New York, Houston and San Francisco, Hogan Lovells has offices in smaller US metropolitan centers, including Baltimore, Colorado Springs and Minneapolis.
The oil and gas, pharmaceutical and financial services sectors were big sources of work for the firm’s New York restructuring group over the research period.
In one highlight, the firm advised Orexigen Therapeutics on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Part of the proceedings included the sale of Orexigen assets.
Hogan Lovells’ restructuring team also grew over the research period, with the firm hiring Douglas Taber as partner. Taber joined from GE Capital, where he served as lead executive counsel.
Founded in 1989, Luskin Stern & Eisler operates impressive banking and restructuring practices out of its New York office. Although the firm only has eight total attorneys, the quality of their practitioners makes up for their small size relative to New York’s neighboring mega-firms, exhibited by the number of noteworthy transactions the firm leads.
The firm continued to demonstrate its quality in the banking space over the research period, handling numerous significant deals that placed them across the table from some of New York’s biggest and most vaunted firms. In one highlight, the firm advised Scotiabank Panama in connection with a $450 million CPP purchase agreement. Scotiabank acted as administrative agent on the deal.
The restructuring group was also busy over the research period, advising clients on a number of Chapter 11 cases. The team counted Société Générale and Rabobank among its key clients over the research period. In one highlight, the firm advised a group of lenders – that included Rabobank – in connection with Republic Metals’ Chapter 11 case.
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.
McDermott Will & Emery’s New York office counts the real estate sector as a primary focus, and the industry provided the firm with plenty of work over the course of the research period.
Natixis Real Estate Capital was a key client for the firm. In one highlight, McDermott advised Natixis in connection with its $1.9 billion financing for the acquisition of 20 Times Square.
In another highlight for a different client, the firm represented investment manager Benefit Street Partners on the $100 million acquisition of a portion of the $900 million project at Central Park Tower.
The firm gave a huge boost to its real estate credentials last year by adding five partners to its New York practice from DLA Piper. McDermott added Jeffrey Steiner, Scott Weinberg, Dino Fazlibegu and Robert Unger in March, followed only a few months later by real estate partners David Broderick and Brian Donnelly.
Headquartered in Philadelphia – where the firm was founded in 1873 – Morgan Lewis & Bockius is a leading national firm. In addition to its headquarters, the firm operates 16 other US offices, including in New York, San Francisco, Dallas and Los Angeles. Morgan Lewis has a particularly extensive reach in the Northeast, with offices dotting smaller cities such as Hartford, Connecticut, Wilmington, Delaware and Princeton, New Jersey.
Morgan Lewis has competitive banking, restructuring and capital markets practices in New York.
The team’s banking practice advised lenders and agents on a range of significant deals throughout the research period. In one highlight, the firm represented Wells Fargo in connection with a $1.5 billion revolving credit facility obtained by Textainer. Wells Fargo acted as administrative agent and lead arranger on the facility.
Meanwhile, the capital markets group worked with issuers and underwriters on various high-profile debt and equity offerings. One standout from the equity side came from advising Entergy on its $1.14 billion common stock offering.
One of the restructuring team’s highlights came in connection with Seadrill’s $1.4 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The firm advised Deutsche Bank Trust Company Americas as indentured trustee in relation to the restructuring.
The firm added three partners to its banking team over the research period: Craig Wolfe, Scott Fischer and Richard Denhup. Wolfe joined from Sheppard Mullin Richter & Hampton, while Fischer was hired from the New York State department of financial services and Denhup came from Reimer Braunstein.
“Great expertise in the field and resources - there is always a specialist who is able to give deep knowledge where needed. Good to work with on fixed fee engagements. Competitive fees.” – Banking
“Great professional team with tremendous capabilities and skills. A pleasure working with them.” – Restructuring & insolvency
“Patty provides excellent business guidance and has the ability to distill complex legal issues into non-legal terms. She cuts to the heart of a matter and can be aggressive when needed.”
“Great skills and knowledge of the cross-border issues.”
Paul Weiss is headquartered in New York and has offices in Washington DC and Wilmington, Delaware. The firm is best known for its leading M&A, capital markets and restructuring practices, and its M&A practice is extremely active in the private equity space. Private equity firm Apollo Global Management is one of the firm’s most important clients.
The firm’s banking team focused on a significant number of notable acquisition financings throughout the year. One such transaction was the $2 billion financing for client Michael Kors’ acquisition of British clothing brand Jimmy Choo. The financing consisted of senior secured credit facilities.
The capital markets team represented issuers and underwriters on an array of large debt offerings, including guiding automotive dealer software company CDK Global on a $600 million notes issue.
On the equity capital markets side, one of Paul Weiss’ most significant deals of the year came from advising technology company NCR on a $548 million stock offering.
The technology, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries were among the biggest sources of work for Paul Weiss’ M&A practice. One highlight was representing biopharmaceutical company Bioverativ on its $11.6 billion acquisition by France-based Sanofi.
The manufacturing and energy sectors were industry focuses for the firm’s restructuring group. A stand-out deal from the energy sector was a $1.3 billion refinancing for client Foresight Energy. The refinancing was related to an earlier out-of-court restructuring by Foresight.
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, Philadelphia, San Francisco and New York.
Reed Smith hold its own in the extraordinarily competitive New York legal market. The firm has strong middle-market credentials in capital markets, M&A and restructuring.
The capital markets team saw work across a number of industries, but most of its largest deals remain confidential.
In M&A, Reed Smith demonstrated its private equity capabilities. The team also worked in a range of industries, most notably healthcare and real estate. One highlight came from advising EW Healthcare Partners on its $60 million investment in pSivida.
The restructuring group led trustees and lenders in connection with several bankruptcies.
The restructuring team also added restructuring partner Aaron Javian from Linklaters.
Founded in Philadelphia in the 1930s, Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis has offices spread across the Northeast, with locations in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Melville, New York, New York City, Wilmington, Delaware and Washington DC. However, Schnader is more than simply a regional player: the firm also operates offices in Pittsburgh and San Francisco and has an association with Indonesian law firm Yang & Co to represent Indonesian clients with legal needs in the US.
Many of the firm’s recent deals contain confidential details. However, from its base of operations in the Northeast, the firm’s middle market M&A practice handled transactions across the US. Energy, waste, pharmaceuticals and technology were among the sectors that kept the firm’s M&A group busy over the past year.
“Richard is the best lawyer I've ever worked with. He is the ultimate professional.”
One of the most well-known firms in the English-speaking world, Skadden is a top 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 has leading banking, capital markets, M&A restructuring and real estate practices in New York.
The firm’s banking group worked with lenders and borrowers on several headline financing deals. In one highlight, the firm advised United Natural Foods on the acquisition financing for its $2.9 billion acquisition of SuperValu.
Skadden’s capital markets group worked with issuers and underwriters on significant debt and equity offerings. One standout for the team from the equity side came in connection with GreenSky’s $1.01 billion IPO. Skadden advised the underwriters on the offering.
Skadden’s New York-based M&A team features some of the best M&A attorneys in the entire country. The firm worked on significant transactions in sectors such as entertainment, technology and food and beverage. Many of the team’s key clients from the research period were private equity firms. One highlight from the gaming industry was client Las Vegas Sands’ $1.3 billion sale of Sands Bethlehem to Wind Creek Hospitality.
The firm’s restructuring group worked with debtors on several high-profile cases over the research period. One of the standout cases from the firm came from client Talen Energy Supply’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Skadden’s real estate group handled financing, acquisition and development transactions. In one highlight, the team advised arts center Shed NYC on its development and financing.
Headquartered in New York where it was founded in 1876, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan also has offices in Los Angeles, Miami and Washington DC. Stroock is a firm with strengths in capital markets, banking, real estate and restructuring.
The banking team advised lenders in connection with multiple standout financings. One headline deal for the team came in connection with financing for PG&E. Stroock represented lender JPMorgan Chase on the transaction.
The technology sector was one key source of work for the firm’s M&A team over the course of the research period. In one highlight, the firm advised Ultimate Software on its $300 million acquisition of PeopleDoc.
In another important M&A deal, the firm represented Super Service on its acquisition by J&R Schugel.
“Stroock was excellent in an inordinately complex transaction. They brought to bear deep expertise across M&A, insurance, reinsurance, funds management and broker-dealer domains.” – M&A
From its lone office and headquarters in New York City, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz maintains one of the top financial and corporate firms in New York’s incomparably deep and talented legal market. The firm’s biggest strengths include its banking, capital markets, restructuring and M&A practices, the latter of which has particular expertise in the private equity space.
Wachtell’s banking team represented borrowers in connection with some of the most notable acquisition financings from the entire span of the research period. One standout deal came from client Cigna’s $67 billion acquisition of Express Scripts. The team guided Cigna on a combination of bridge, permanent bank and bond financing to fund the deal, which closed in December 2018.
In another banking highlight, the firm represented Broadcom on the financing for its $18.9 billion acquisition of CA Technologies, which consisted of $18 billion in term loans and $5 billion in revolving credit facilities.
The capital markets group also led a number of significant acquisition financing deals. In one highlight, the team worked with T-Mobile on obtaining $38 billion in financing for its acquisition of telecommunications competitor Sprint.
Among the most easily recognisable and highly regarded law firms in the country, international law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges operates its headquarters out of New York. Unlike many powerhouse New York firms, Weil has an extensive reach into several US regions; in addition to its New York location, the firm has offices in Boston, Dallas, Houston, Miami, Princeton, New Jersey, Silicon Valley and Washington DC. Weil’s top US practice areas are its M&A and restructuring and insolvency groups. A significant amount of the firm’s M&A work comes in the private equity space.
Weil added restructuring and insolvency partner Ryan Dahl and capital markets partner Michael Hickey to its New York office in January 2018.
The firm maintains one office in California in Silicon Valley. Through California the firm continues to advise private equity firms both in acquisitions and in financings. Prominent private equity clients include California-based firms like Genstar Capital, Silver Lake and Sumeru Equity Fund, as well as firms based outside of California like Providence Equity, which is based in Rhode Island. The firm also advises the portfolio companies of these private equity funds.
In banking, the firm focuses on advising private equity firms and their portfolio companies on obtaining financing, often to finance their acquisitions. For example, the firm advised Velocity Technology Solutions, a portfolio company of Silver Lake Sumeru, in the $235 million financing of its acquisition of Mercury Technology Group. The firm also advised Oak Hill Capital Partners on credit facilities to finance its acquisition of Edgewood Partners Insurance Center. Additionally, the firm advised Infinite Electronics in a first lien incremental term facility to finance its acquisition of Smiths Interconnect’s Microwave Telecoms business and helped Genstar Capital obtain $393 million to finance its acquisition of Power Products. That being said, the firm also will help private equity firms and their portfolio companies obtain financing for other purposes. For example, the firm advised Pretium Packaging, a portfolio company of Genstar Capital, in obtaining $390 million in credit facilities to refinance its debt.
The firm continues to advise on high profile M&A transactions through its Silicon Valley office. For example, the firm advised Chewy on its sale to PetSmart. A couple of the firm’s highlight transactions saw the partners advise SPACs (special purpose acquisition companies.) The firm advised Gores Holdings, a SPAC, in acquiring Hostess Brands in a transaction valued at $2.3 billion. The firm also advised Pace Holdings Corp, a SPAC, in its $1.75 billion combination with Playa Hotels & Resorts. In the healthcare space, the firm advised CSL Behring on its $416 million acquisition of Calimmune.
Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Boston practice is a vital part of the firm’s global practice, and continues to represent clients in an array of local, domestic, and global transactions. The team in Massachusetts has handled a number of significant transaction in the last year, including representing Thomas H Lee Partners as selling shareholder of CompuCom Systems in the company’s $1 billion sale to Office Depot; as well as representing Sanofi in its $750 million acquisition of Protein Sciences Corporation.
Weil’s banking team worked with the joint lead arrangers and administrators in connection with a high number of significant financing deals, including several highly publicised acquisition financings. Some of the New York practice’s key clients were household finance names like JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs and Barclays. In one highlight deal that saw Weil guide the borrower, the firm advised SoftBank Group in connection with a $1.5 billion acquisition financing for SoftBank’s purchase of Fortress Investment Group.
Weil’s versatile capital markets practice handles meaningful deals in the debt and equity spaces, and represents issuers and underwriters in both areas. Two of the capital markets group’s key clients were private equity firms Thomas H Lee Partners and Advent International. One highlight deal from the debt side came in relation to client Johnson & Johnson’s $4.5 billion notes offering. On the equity side, among the highlights was a $566.5 million private offering by client J Crew Group.
The financial services and pharmaceuticals industries were two large sources of work for Weil’s New York M&A group this past year. One highlight from the financial services sector was client Synchrony Financial’s $5.8 billion acquisition of PayPal. An M&A highlight with a private equity component was the $3.85 billion sale of Husky IMS to Platinum Equity by clients OMERS Private Equity and Berkshire Partners.
Weil’s accomplished restructuring group advised on a number of deals in the retail and oil and gas sectors this past year. One highlight from retail was Gymboree’s $1.1 billion Chapter 11 restructuring. Weil advised private equity sponsor Bain Capital on the Chapter 11 proceedings, which ended in September 2017.
The firm’s Dallas banking and finance practice plays an integral part in the firm’s global practice, with extensive experience in representing top tier acquisition finance for private equity sponsors and corporate borrowers, subordinated debt financings, mezzanine financings and restructurings.
Weil Gotshal & Manges’ robust banking and finance experience can be seen in the firm’s representation of inventive Health, a provider of value-added services to the pharmaceutical and life sciences industries, in their development of new drug products and medical devices, as well as INC Research Holdings, a global contract research organization in the $3.1 billion refinancing of their existing secured credit facilities in connection with their $4.6 billion merger of equals and the resulting combined company’s entry into new $3.1 billion term loan and revolving credit facilities.
As one of the largest players in the world for M&A transactions, Weil Gotshal’s well established Dallas M&A practice has built on reputation on representing public, as well as private companies on many transactions exceeding a billion dollars.
The team’s restructuring and bankruptcy practice remains involved in many of the largest bankruptcies happening in the US. The firm’s experience in Texas as well as the rest of the country can be seen in its representation of Tidewater and certain subsidiaries in its $2 billion Chapter 11 case, filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court in the District of Delaware.
White & Case is based in New York but has offices in other top legal markets such as Boston Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston and Miami. The firm has continued to grow and expand, with its Chicago office opening in June 2018. White & Case stands out nationally for its banking and M&A capabilities, as well as a recently expanding real estate focus.
The firm stands among the stratosphere of New York City’s unparalleled law firms. The New York team’s main strength is its banking and finance practice.
The banking team advised lenders on numerous financing and acquisition financing transactions over the course of the research period. Energy, agribusiness and real estate were among the sectors from which the firm saw its most significant work.
In one highlight, the banking group advised the lead arrangers in connection with the financing for Brookfield Property Partners’ $15 billion acquisition of commercial real estate company GGP. The financing included a $1.5 billion revolving loan credit facility, a $2.9 billion term loan a credit facility and a $2 billion term loan b credit facility.
In another standout banking deal, the group represented the arrangers on Vistra Operations’ $3.7 billion financing. The arrangers included Credit Suisse, Citibank and Barclays Bank.
The New York banking team added partner Nick Palumbo from Goodwin Procter over the research period.
Founded in 1888, Willkie Farr & Gallagher is an international firm with headquarters in New York. Domestically, Willkie also has offices in Washington DC and Houston. The firm expanded to the West Coast over the research period, opening an office in Silicon Valley’s Palo Alto in December 2018. Willkie is best known nationally for its M&A and restructuring practices, including its private equity expertise.
Willkie’s New York office has accomplished banking, M&A and real estate practices.
The banking team advised both borrowers and lenders in connection with a variety of financing transactions over the research period. The team worked with clients in industries such as retail, technology and energy. In one highlight, the firm handled the financing for Interpublic Group’s $2.3 billion acquisition of Acxiom Marketing Solutions.
The firm’s M&A group was very active over the research period with clients from a range of industries, including quite a few private equity firms. Among the standout deals the team worked on was client Victory Capital’s $850 million acquisition of USAA Asset Management Company. Victory Capital is an Ohio-based investment management firm.
The firm’s real estate team worked on several headline financing, acquisition and development deals over the research period. One highlight came from client Jiaming Investment Group’s joint venture with Tishman Speyer to develop ‘The Spiral’ office tower in New York’s Hudson Yards neighbourhood.
Willkie’s M&A and private equity group in New York added partners Matthew Rizzo and Jessica Sheridan from Sidley Austin. Sheridan also splits time between New York and Willkie’s Houston office.
Winston & Strawn, founded in 1853, is based in Chicago. The firm also has offices in North Carolina, California, Texas, Washington DC and New York.
Winston & Strawn’s second-largest office is located in New York, where the firm is known for its banking and M&A practices.
Many of the firm’s biggest transactions in the banking space remain confidential, but the team’s activity level was continually high throughout the research period in a mix of different sectors.
Meanwhile, the M&A team worked on transactions in industries such as insurance technology. In one highlight, the team advised Brightstar Capital Partners on its acquisition of QualTek USA. QualTek is a telecommunications service provider.
Winston & Strawn broke into the tier of “Other notable” in M&A in New York this year.