Solicitors governing body: State bar associations
Competition authority: Federal Trade Commission
Financial regulators: Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Federal Reserve, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Securities Investor Protection Corporation
IFLR1000 ranking categories for this jurisdiction:
Banking, Capital markets: Debt, Capital markets: Derivatives, Capital markets: Equity, Capital markets: High-yield, Capital markets: Structured finance and securitisation, Financial services regulatory, Hedge Funds, Private equity funds, Registered funds, M&A, Private equity, Project development, Project finance, Restructuring and insolvency
The United States has a corporate legal industry of incomparable vastness and complexity. It includes everything from single-lawyer boutiques to global firms with thousands of lawyers. Law firms that began operating in the 1790s compete with new entrants and with the local offices of 'magic circle' and European firms eager to expand their US beachhead. Large law firms in the US may include both transactional and dispute (including contentious regulatory and trial litigation) practices. There is wide variety among firms with respect to structure. Many firms have associates, counsel, and partners, but not all partnerships follow the equity (shareholder) model, nor do all firms agree on the desirability of an “up-or-out” policy for associates.
With 203 law schools accredited by the American Bar Association, the US is blessed with an enormous pool of legal talent. It is common, to a greater extent than in countries like neighboring Canada, to meet lawyers devoted to a highly specialised sub-area within a field of corporate law, such as the high-yield debt capital markets, the real estate investment trust (or REIT) area of the funds and securities worlds, the shipping finance side of bank lending, or the renewable energy sector within project finance. There is corresponding variety in law firms. Some devote themselves entirely to hedge funds, some specialise in creditor-and/or debtor-side restructuring, some focus on financial services regulations, while still others are litigation shops protecting corporations from class actions.
Corporate law firms in the US have come in for criticism for their lawyers’ fees, which often exceed $1,000 an hour, and for tactics that some view as rapacious. Symbolic of the worst tendencies of US firms in some observers’ eyes was the law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, which collapsed in May 2012 after years of aggressively hiring partners to the point where the firm’s revenues fell short of its myriad obligations. Dewey’s dissolution flooded the legal market with experienced legal professionals in need of new platforms. The rebukes directed at Dewey, and at some firms still in operation, are reminiscent of criticisms leveled at banks and financial services corporations whose reckless behavior contributed to the financial crisis of 2008-9.
The meltdown of 2008-9 led to extensive consolidation within the banking industry, but had even greater ramifications at the regulatory level, as authorities grasped for ways to ensure economic and political stability and assuage a badly shaken public. Among the most significant developments were the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (commonly known as the Dodd-Frank Act), which President Barack Obama signed into law on July 21 2010, and one of its core provisions, the Volcker Rule. Today, banking regulations in the US are so extensive and complex that lawyers devote significant parts of their careers to keeping abreast of regulatory changes, representing banks before regulatory bodies, and educating clients through seminars, talks, articles, bulletins, and webcasts.
Symbolic of the Dodd-Frank Act’s general thrust is its requirement that banks prepare detailed reports enumerating all of their assets around the world and setting forth exactly what will happen in the event of a wind-down. These documents are known as “Living Wills” and typically run to thousands of pages. Assisting banks with the preparation and updating of their Living Wills, which must anticipate events unfolding under separate and often conflicting legal frameworks, has virtually given rise to a new field within bank regulatory work. But it is the Volcker Rule, named after former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, with its ban on somewhat vaguely defined “proprietary trading” by banks, that has proven the most contentious part of Dodd-Frank, and the hardest to enforce.
Arnold & Porter’s biggest strengths are its private equity, M&A and project finance practices. In addition, the firm is active in banking, capital markets, financial services regulatory and restructuring and insolvency.
M&A continued to be a core practice for the firm. One highlight transaction for the group saw the firm represent Astoria Financial on its merger with Sterling Bancorp. In addition, the firm advised Komatsu, the Japanese mining equipment and industrial machinery manufacturer, on its acquisition of Joy Global.
The firm also regularly represented private equity firms in LBOs and other acquisition transactions.In one highlight, the firm advised long-time client American Securities and its portfolio company Learning Care Group with regards to a significant equity investment.
In capital markets, the firm represented both issuers and underwriters. Some representative transactions came from advising the Republic of Panama and the Republic of Turkey.
In the leveraged finance space, the team advised Unifrax in the refinancing of its existing debt.
One highlight for the financial services regulatory was advising TIAA on a variety of issues, among others their banking operations.
Arnold & Porter’s distinguished practice in banking and finance attracted some of the world’s most prominent banks. On the borrower side, clients included Spirit AeroSystems, Celestica, Albemarle Corporation and Sonaca.
Bracewell stood out over the course of the research cycle for project development deals focused on oil and gas. The firm’s focus on the energy sector permeates every one of its practice areas, such as private equity, capital markets, M&A, banking and financial restructuring.
The project finance group worked on a number of sizeable deals for borrowers, lenders and sponsors in the energy sector. One highlight deal involved the Cross-Border Natural Gas Pipeline System in the US and Canada, which saw Bracewell advise a joint venture formed by two natural gas companies as project counsel.
Bracewell was also active in the private equity space, providing counsel in fund formation and fund-related transactions. The firm represented Bright Real Estate Development Fund on its fund formation.
In financial restructuring, one highlight deal was to represent the Greek owner of the shipping company Toisa, who filed for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Over the research period, the M&A team served as counsel on numerous transactions reaching into the billions of dollars. One such deal came from representing Great Plains Energy on its merger agreement with Westar Energy. The transaction is expected to close this year.
On the debt capital markets side, the firm represented Phillips66 in its public offering of senior notes.
The finance group advised both borrowers and lenders on significant deals, particularly on energy transactions. A standout deal for the team came from representing the oil and gas company Apache on obtaining a senior revolving credit facility provided by JPMorgan Chase Bank.
The firm’s projects development team added partner Fernando Rodriguez Marin from Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman.
Bracewell moved up one tier this year in three different practice areas: banking, M&A and project finance.
Bracewell’s key clients included many of the nation’s leading energy companies, such as Apache, Kinder Morgan, Great Plains Energy and Phillips 66. In private equity funds and investment, some key clients were Rockland Capital, Fundamental Advisors and Work America Capital.
“I am very satisfied with Bracewell's work. Very attentive to my requests, very knowledgeable and able to explain complex issues so that I understand them." - Banking
“Extremely competent and thoughtful attorneys. No weaknesses that I have seen.” - Investment funds
"Strong communication, quick to get other experts/partners involved, and good teamwork within firm." - Banking
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft is most highly recognised for its structured finance, derivatives and regulatory practices. The international firm also maintains an active M&A group, with particular expertise on shareholder activism cases.
The derivatives practice was busy working with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) in connection with new regulatory initiatives, including advising ISDA with regards to implementing new emendation protocols on previously existing derivatives deals.
Meanwhile, the firm’s structured finance attorneys were primarily busy representing financial institutions as structured products issuers.
The banking practice handled a number of financing and refinancing transactions over this past year, working for both borrowers and lenders. The team advised a number of commodities traders, including the administrative agent on Noble Americas $2 billion refinancing.
The M&A group worked on a bevy of deals in the insurance and financial services sectors. One of last year’s standout deals came from representing hedge fund management company Pershing Square’s $4 billion investment in ADP.
In the restructuring space, the firm advised debtors and creditors in connection with several large Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
Cadwalader added attorneys to a couple of its practices over the past year. The firm hired banking and finance partner Kurt Oosterhouse from Moore Van Allen, and the M&A team recruited partners Christopher Cox and David Teigman from The Medicines Company and Cravath Swaine & Moore, respectively.
Some of Cadwalader’s key clients included Genpact, Marcato Capital, BNP Paribas and MUFG Bank.
“Highly commercial, very responsive, communicate in business terms and expert in highly nuanced matters with regards to munis and public finance.” – Banking & finance
“CWT is knowledgeable, responsive and detail oriented. The partners are always available and the associates always deliver on time. Strengths would include broad subject matter expertise and ability to deliver on tight deadlines. No weaknesses come to mind.” - Regulatory
“Bright professionals.” – Restructuring & insolvency
The industry leader and lone tier-one selection for high-yield debt offerings, Cahill Gordon & Reindel also ranks in the top two tiers for investment grade debt capital markets and banking.
The debt capital markets team worked with underwriters and initial purchasers on a large number of offerings, and among these, several that provided financing for LBOs. One such LBO was Blackstone’s acquisition of Aon Hewitt’s benefits and human resources services platform, the financing for which Bank of America, Cahill’s client, was lead arranger on.
Although primarily known for its work on the debt side, Cahill also has an active equity capital markets practice. The equity team advised the underwriters – and occasionally the issuers – on a number of common stock offerings and some IPOs.
Meanwhile, the banking and finance group worked with lead arrangers and administrative agents on financings and acquisition financings in a range of sectors, including the healthcare, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, and technology and telecommunications industries. One such highlight came from representing the lead arrangers on a large credit facility for Netflix.
The M&A team also saw considerable work from the healthcare sector.
Some of the firm’s key clients in 2017/18 were JPMorgan Chase Bank, Citibank, Jefferies Finance and Merrill Lynch Pierce Fenner & Smith.
“Top notch work delivered by a team of high quality, knowledgeable attorneys. Have a good sense for the market and are business-oriented.” – M&A
A leading US firm with diverse and far-ranging capabilities, Cleary is a tier-one firm for debt capital markets, equity capital markets, derivatives and financial services regulatory work. The firm also places in the second tier for M&A, private equity and private equity funds.
Although Cleary’s banking practice does not place in the top two tiers, the firm’s banking and finance team consistently worked with lenders on high-profile acquisition financings. The technology and telecommunications sectors were big sources of recent work for the firm’s banking team, with the financing for client Tech Data’s acquisition of Avnet among its recent highlights.
The debt capital markets group represented both issuers and underwriters on a range of offerings, many in the banking and technology sectors. As would be expected, the firm’s tier one practice handled a variety of significant deals for market leading clients. In 2017 Cleary advised Citigroup Global Markets in connection with three different debt offerings. These offerings were the first by a global systemically important bank since the Federal Reserve’s Total Loss-Absorbing Capacity (TLAC) rule deadline in December 2016.
On the equity side, the capital markets team advised underwriters, initial purchasers and issuers in connection with quite a few sizeable offerings, many of them involving foreign issuers from places like Canada and Latin America.
Meanwhile, Cleary’s derivatives group spent considerable time advising trade organisations like ISDA and the Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (SIFMA) with regards to recent regulatory changes.
In the structured finance space, the firm advised clients on several notable securitisation and CLO transactions.
One highlight for the regulatory team came in connection with advising Paxos Trust on becoming the first US-chartered and regulated virtual currency exchange.
The project finance team saw a lot of business from Latin American clients, particularly from Brazil and Mexico. Cleary counts Mexican state-owned electric company CFE among its clients, and represented the Mexican company in connection with a large offering on the Taipei Exchange to finance electric power infrastructure projects.
Like the project finance team, Cleary’s restructuring group worked on a high number of cross border deals. However, the firm still took on plenty of work domestic, Chapter 11 work.
In the M&A space, the firm was especially active in the technology sector.
Staffing changes at the firm saw Katherine Mooney Carroll join as partner and Jack Murphy as counsel in the financial services regulatory practice.
The firm moved up to tier three in project finance on the strength of its consistent and innovative cross border work.
Cleary’s most significant clients included Alphabet, GrafTech International, BofA Merrill Lynch and Warburg Pincus.
Clifford Chance’s biggest strength is its project finance practice, which primarily focuses on energy, roads and rail. The US-based project finance was especially active in the Latin American market during the research period. In addition, Clifford Chance was active in banking and finance, restructuring and insolvency and M&A.
One highlight transaction in the banking area that the firm worked on was advising Avolon Holdings on the financing for itsacquisition of the CIT Group’s aircraft leasing business. In addition, Clifford Chance advised Sealed Air on financing matters related to the sale of Diversey Care to Bain Capital.
One financial restructuring highlight came from advising a committee of bondholders in connection with the global restructuring of the obligations of Abengoa, the international Spanish-owned renewable energy company.
The M&A practice took on a high volume of work and the firm was lead counsel on the National Titanium Dioxide Company's disposition of its global titanium dioxide business. The group also advised Hearst on its acquisition of CAMP Systems International.
A standout deal for the project finance team came from working on a multibillion-dollar deal involving 14 different projects for Colombia’s 4th generation road program financed by multi-currency loans and project bonds.
The firm bolstered its M&A team with the addition of partners Joseph Cosentino - who re-joined the firm from Greenberg Traurig - Kevin Lehpamer from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett and Celeste Koeleveld from the New York State Department of Financial Services.
This year saw Clifford Chance break into the fourth tier in both M&A and project finance.
The firm advised lenders and borrowers and represented many of the world’s most prominent banks, finance companies and other institutions. Some key clients were iStar, Morgan Stanley, Credit Agricole, Pfizer and Evercore.
With only two offices globally – New York and London – Cravath has one of the smallest geographical footprints out of the top US firms. However, in spite of its relative confinement geographically, the firm is one of the most recognisable and highly esteemed names in the entire US legal world. The firm boasts tier one banking, debt and equity capital markets and M&A practices, and a tier two high yield team.
This past year, the banking team guided arrangers and borrowers on an array of high-profile financing and refinancing transactions. The team was particularly busy with the food, technology and energy sectors. One such deal in the food industry was Kellogg Company’s obtainment of new credit facilities. Cravath’s client on the deal was arranger JPMorgan Chase Bank.
Cravath’s debt capital markets group was busy working with underwriters and issuers as clients, many of them in connection with deals in the banking industry. The firm advised on offerings by PNC Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Credit Suisse.
On the equity side, the firm worked with issuers and advisers on a number of stock offerings. One highlight was GrafTech’s IPO, which it advised the underwriters on.
True to its longstanding reputation, Cravath guided acquirers and sellers on a great number of high-profile deals. The firm’s M&A group received business from a lot of pharmaceuticals and manufacturing clients, including WestRock on its acquisition of KapStone Paper & Packaging.
The restructuring team handled an array of innovative deals, including Caesars bankruptcy reorganisation.
Cravath’s M&A group lost three partners this past year: Philip Gelston retired, and Joel Herold and Eric Schiele left the firm.
This year, Cravath’s restructuring group moved up to tier four.
The firm’s key clients include Johnson & Johnson, Crown Castle and Credit Suisse.
“Cravath are one of two or three go to firms in New York for M&A, capital markets and corporate finance work. We use them as a preference wherever we can. They are highly responsive and sophisticated in their lawyering and always pragmatic.” Banking & finance, capital markets, M&A
“Top quality service - first class response times and top quality advice.” – Capital markets
"He is a class act and a real star."
"He is a rising star in the New York legal firmament and a large part of the future of Cravath."
Few firms in the US can claim to have the range of top-level capabilities that Davis Polk & Wardwell has. The firm’s debt and equity capital markets, derivatives, regulatory, M&A and restructuring practices all rank in the first tier. In addition, Davis Polk’s banking, private equity funds and high yield groups place in the second tier.
The firm’s banking team advised the agents and bookrunners in connection with a number of financing and acquisition financing deals. The team worked on a very high number of technology sector deals, in addition to some high-profile financings in the retail sector. One highlight came from advising the arranger, bookrunner and administrator on the financing for Salesforce’s acquisition of MuleSoft.
The equity capital markets team was also kept busy with deals in the technology sector, in addition to the manufacturing and life sciences industries. Among the team’s recent standouts was PagSeguro’s NYSE IPO. The firm advised the bookrunners on the offering.
The debt capital markets team represented issuers and underwriters on offerings that consistently reached into the billions. The team saw a lot of work from the food, technology and automotive industries.
In the high yield space, the team advised underwriters and initial purchasers in connection with offerings from technology, food processing and natural resources companies, among others.
The structured finance team was kept particularly busy advising initial purchasers on convertible notes offerings.
The funds practice handled the formation of and investments in funds tied to big industry names, such as Blackstone and the Ontario Teachers Pension Fund.
In the M&A space, the pharmaceuticals, insurance and technology sectors provided Davis Polk with plenty of work. In one highlight, the firm advised Shire on its acquisition by Takeda.
Davis Polk added Highly Regarded rated attorney Michael Hong as partner and Scott Beal as counsel to its investment funds practice.
This year saw both Davis Polk’s banking and restructuring groups move into the first tier.
The firm’s key clients this year included Comcast, the Toyota Motor Credit Corporation and Aetna.
Debevoise & Plimpton is a standout in private equity funds, where the firm places in the first tier. The firm also comes in at the second tier for its banking, regulatory, private equity and M&A practices, giving it a well-rounded offering.
Debevoise’s banking team spent much of the past year advising borrowers on acquisition financing deals. One such highlight came from advising client Discovery Communications on the financing aspects of acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive.
The debt capital markets team was particularly busy this past year with transactions involving the insurance industry, working in connection with offerings by companies such as Guardian Life, the Teachers Insurance & Annuity Association of America and Liberty Mutual Finance Europe. The group also worked on a lot of deals related to the financial services sector.
Meanwhile, the equity capital markets group worked on a range of secondary offerings for companies in the industrial and chemical sectors. Interestingly, the group handled multiple deals for landscaping businesses, including three secondary offerings by client SiteOne Landscape Supply.
The funds team guided the formation of a number of fund types, including Oaktree Opportunities Fund X, a global distressed fund.
The firm’s private equity group advised acquirers on a number of large transactions, including CF Corporation and Blackstone on the acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life.
Debevoise’s banking team added partner Brian Liu from law firm Hughes Hubbard & Reed, and the private equity group hired partner Paul Rubin from Ropes & Gray.
Among the firm’s key clients were Clayton Dubilier & Rice, International Paper Company and Westpac Banking Corporation.
Philadelphia-headquartered Dechert is best known for its funds expertise, but the firm also stands out in other practice areas, including structured finance, M&A and private equity. Its structured finance group is especially prominent in the CLO market.
The banking team represented borrowers on a number of financing types. These borrowers spanned a range of industries, including healthcare, food and financial services. One highlight from the food industry came from advising B&G Foods on obtaining credit and term loan facilities.
In the M&A space, the firm represented both acquirers and targets on number of highly publicised deals, many connected to the private equity world. Perhaps the most written about transaction the team worked on was the acquisition of a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk business by a consortium led by private equity firm Blackstone. Dechert advised consortium member GIC on the transaction.
The firm’s vaunted funds group continued to demonstrate its quality this past year; however, many of the team’s recent deals remain confidential.
As previously mentioned, Dechert’s structured finance practice is widely known for its CLO market expertise. One recent highlight from the CLO space saw Dechert represent Octagon Credit Investors in connection with a notes issuance.
The banking team added partners Jeff Norton and Bruce Bloomingdale from Linklaters and Cadwalader, respectively. Meanwhile, the investment funds group hired partner Timothy Clark from O’Melveny & Myers.
Dechert had a strong 12 months, moving up to tier two in structured finance and tier three in private equity.
The firm’s key clients for the past year included Freddie Mac, Crown Holdings, Goldman Sachs and Franklin Square Holdings.
Dentons has strong capital markets and structured finance practices. In addition, the firm is active in M&A and restructuring.
A standout deal in the M&A practice area was to represent longstanding client Craig Wire Products, a leading supplier of magnet wire, on its acquisition of Vonroll Austral. The sizeable transaction represented the completion of a ten-year journey.
On the restructuring side, the firm had a range of clients including debtors, committees, creditors and trustees. One highlight deal came from advising Gardens Regional Hospital and Medical Center on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The bankruptcy comprised more than $6 billion in claims filed against the hospital.
Focused on the mortgage and real estate finance sectors, the structured finance team advised numerous issuers and underwriters over the research period. One highlight deal known as Mortgage Repurchase Agreement Financing Trust Notes involved US, Swiss and Cayman law. The firm was the deal counsel of issuer and underwriter.
In terms of moves, the restructuring and insolvency team lost partner Farrington Yates but added Gerald Bender from Lowenstein Sandler.
Among Dentons’ most significant clients were Bank of New York Mellon, Citizen’s Trust, Elevation Solar, Piper Jaffray and American Trailer Works.
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson excels in hedge funds and is also strong in M&A and private equity. In addition, the firm has maintained a robust capital markets team and is active in banking and restructuring.
The M&A team was occupied with a series of transactions in healthcare, media and transportation. One highlight deal came in connection with client Humana’s role in theacquisition of the Kindred at Home Division of Kindred Healthcare. Humana was part of the acquiring consortium, which also included TPG Capital and Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe.
In one private equity highlight, the firm guided Yellow Wood Partners on the sale of its portfolio company PDC Brands to CVC Capital Partners.
Both the debt capital markets and the equity capital markets practices advised issuers and underwriters on a number of offerings, including retirement services company Athene Holding’s secondary offering,
One highlight deal in banking came from advising fashion company Coach in connection with obtaining senior unsecured credit facilities for its acquisition of Kate Spade.
A standout deal in the restructuring and insolvency area was advising Fidelity Management & Research Company as the largest creditor in connection with Energy Future Holding’s Chapter 11 restructuring.
The firm’s private equity practice lost partner Ian Schwarts and added partner Jeremy Berry, who was hired from Akin Gump.
The firm broke into the derivatives rankings this year, placing in the fifth tier.
Some of the firm’s key clients were BofA Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, HPS Investment Partners, Alliance Bernstein Fortress Investment Group and West Street Energy Partner.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s top practice area is private equity funds, and the firm also has strengths in banking, private equity and M&A. In addition, the firm is active in capital markets and restructuring. The oil and gas industry was a consistent source of work for the firm throughout the research period.
A standout deal in the banking area came from representing the offshore drilling contractor Atwood Oceanicson its acquisition by London-based Ensco. The transaction merged two leading offshore drillers.
In private equity, Gibson Dunn & Crutcher worked on both the buy and sell side. One highlight deal came from representing CVC Capital Partners in connection with the sale of its interest in AlixPartners to a consortium of new investors.
One representative deal in the M&A space was client CalAtlantic Group’s merger with Lennar.
On the capital markets side, the firm was active in debt, equity and high-yield. On the equity capital markets side, the firm represented large-scale infrastructure provider The Williams Companies on apublicstock offering.
On the debt capital markets side, the firm represented General Electric on asenior notes offering.
In investment funds, the firm focused on raising significant capital across multiple asset classes, including buyout, growth capital, real estate, infrastructure, credit and oil & gas. One highlight deal in the private equity funds area was to represent infrastructure investor I Squared Capital in connection with the formation of ISQ Global Infrastructure Fund.
A standout deal in restructuring and insolvency came from representing SH 130 Concession Company in connection with its Chapter 11 case. The plan of reorganisation became effective last year.
In the financial services regulatory practice, one highlight deal was representing MetLife in connection with the first-ever legal challenge to the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC) designation of MetLife as a nonbank.
The firm bolstered the capital markets group with the addition of partners Hillary Homes, Doug Rayburn and Gerry Spedale from Baker Botts. In the banking area, Shalla Prichard left Baker Botts and joined the firm as a partner.
Some of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher’s most significant clients from the research period were Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, Chobani Global and Elliott Management.
Among Greenberg Traurig’s biggest strengths is its debt capital markets team, which has a high focus on Latin American markets. In addition, the firm is active in many categories such as banking, private equity and M&A.
A standout deal for the firm’s debt capital markets practice came from representing Citigroup Global Markets and RBI Group in connections with the inaugural international bond offering by the Republic of Tajikistan.
On the equity capital markets side, the firm represented underwriters and issuers and had a focus on real estate, transportation and healthcare. A standout deal was to represent J2 Acquisition on its listing on the LSE.
One highlight in project finance was representing Chilean power generation company Inversiones Latin America Power on a senior secured notes issuance. Inversiones intends to use the funds to improve the energy matrix for Chile and Peru.
The firm’s banking team worked on a high number of sizeable deals. A standout deal in this practice area was the representation of Nomad Foods Limited on its refinancing.
One highlight deal in the private equity space came from offering legal counsel to Medina Capital Partners on its joint venture with BC Partners. The new company -named Cyxtera - offers cybersecurity and information technology solutions in 57 data centres.
The M&A group took on a high volume of work in the technology sector, including multiple cross-border transactions involving Israel, Latin America, Europe and Asia. A standout deal for the team came from providing legal counsel to Boulevard Acquisition Corporation on its combination with Estre Ambiental, the largest waste management company in Brazil and all ofLatin America.
In term of moves, Greenberg Traurig’s banking team lost shareholders Douglas Atnipp who joined Winston & Strawn and Suzanne L’Hernault who joined Rimon. The firm made the addition of Louisa Brunenn, who left Winstead, and Matthew Frankle, who left Bank of America.
The firm bolstered its capital markets with the addition of shareholders Lee Ann Anderson hired from Ashurst, Kyle Fox hired from Miller Egan Molter & Nelson and Kevin Friedmann hired from Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp. The capital markets team lost David Gitlin.
During the research period the private equity team lost shareholders Ameer Ahmad, Meredith Beuchaw, John Boelter, Margaret Butler and Joe Cosentino. The firm added Oliver Olah as a shareholder from Vinson & Elkins.
Meanwhile, the M&A team added shareholders Benjamin Aguilera from Aguilera International Counsel and lost shareholders Stephen Dietrich, Vicky McPherson, Ivan Presant, Victor Semah and Daniel Serota.
Greenberg Traurig broke into the sixth tier this year in equity capital markets.
The firm’s key clients were Medina Capital, JPMorgan Chase Bank, Mednax, Gerdau and Citigroup Global Markets.
Hogan Lovells’ biggest strength is its project finance group, which has a special emphasis on energy and transportation projects. In addition, Hogan Lovells is active in debt capital markets, structured finance, derivatives practices and restructuring and insolvency.
The firm’s structured finance and securitisation group advised issuers and sellers, underwriters and investors. A standout deal in this space was to advise T-Mobile as issuer’s counsel in connection with handset receivables securitization facilities.
On the derivatives practice, the firm had a focus on Latin America and provided derivatives advice to sovereign counterparties.
A standout deal for the restructuring and insolvency practice area came from advising the Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by Abengoa’s US bioenergy business.
In terms of attorney moves, the firm lost partner Keith Larson from the project finance practicewhobecame general counsel at Venture Global.
The firm broke into the fifth tier this year in structured finance.
Important clients included Barclays Bank, Wells Fargo, International Finance Corporation, Bank of New York Mellon and Wacker Chemie.
"Excellent law firm. Great service at competitive prices." - M&A
King & Spalding stood out over the course of the research cycle for project development deals focused on the oil and gas sector. In particular, the firm advised on the development of petrochemical projects, gas processing and fractionation plants. The firm was also strong in several others practice areas, including capital markets, banking, project finance, private equity buyout, M&A and financial restructuring.
A standout deal in the project development space came in connection with the development of a compressed gas liquids production, transportation and delivery project in Gulfport, Mississippi. The firm represented SeaOneCarribean on the overall development of the project.
The firm’s project finance team was focused on the oil and gas sector. One important energy client was Anadarko Petroleum, a client that the firm advised on all aspects of its Mozambique LNG export project, including upstream agreements, shareholder agreements and construction contracts.
One highlight in the banking area was to represent Capital One, National Association as administrative agent in an upsize of existing cash flow term loan and asset- revolving senior secured credit facilities for Amneal Pharmaceutical.
On the equity capital markets side, a standout deal was representing selling shareholders of Athene Holding on Athene’s IPO. Athene Holding is backed by private equity firm Apollo Global Management.
On the debt capital markets side, one highlight was advising United Parcel Service (UPS) on a notes offering.
The M&A team worked on a range of sizeable deals. Among others, the firm advised Transocean in its transaction agreement to acquire 100 percent of the issued and outstanding shares of Songa Offshore. The deal was the largest off-shore oil and gas transaction since 2013.
The firm also advised on private equity deals in relation to a variety of sectors, including energy, food and drink, real estate and transportation. In one highlight, the firm advised HD Supply Holdings on the $2.5 billion sale of its Waterworks division.
One highlight in financial restructuring was to represent the transportation and logistics provider Jack Cooper Holding and its 12 subsidiaries in connection with a debt restructuring.
In terms of moves, the equity capital markets team made the addition of partner Jennifer DePalma, who previously was an executive at a financial technology company.
The firm moved up in a couple practice areas: the project finance group moved up into the fourth tier, while the project development team moved into the second tier for its oil and gas sector capabilities.
Some of the firm’s key clients were Chevron Corporation, Magnum Energy, Capital One, Jimmy John’s, Five Guys, Wells Fargo, Citibank, Roark Capital Group, Credit Suisse and General Motors.
A firm with unsurpassed capabilities in the private equity space, Kirkland’s immediate association with private equity can at times belie the range and overall depth that the firm offers. In addition to private equity, Kirkland places in the first tier for banking, M&A, private equity funds and restructuring, and places in the second tier for both debt and high yield debt capital markets.
The banking team handled a number of financing and acquisition financings for borrowers, many of them private equity firms. One standout financing deal that the team worked on was the financing for Blackstone’s acquisition of TeamHealth.
On the debt side, the capital markets group represented a significant number of issuers from the food, energy and technology sectors. Among the highlights from the food sector was Kirkland’s representation of Burger King on a notes offering.
Kirkland’s structured finance group advised issuers and underwriters on a significant number of large asset-backed notes offerings, including two offerings by client World Omni Financial backed by auto lease receivables.
The private equity funds team handled an array of fund formations reaching well into the billions, such as the Starwood Global Opportunity Fund XI.
Living up to its reputation, Kirkland’s private equity group worked on some of the largest and most interesting deals of the past year. Out of the team’s many highlights, Bain Capital’s carve-out of Sealed Air’s Diversey Care division was especially innovative.
The firm’s project finance team was primarily occupied with transactions in the domestic oil and gas sector.
One highlight for the firm’s restructuring group was representing multinational technology company Avaya on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
There were a raft of staffing changes at the firm in the research period. The banking group added two partners: Jason Serlenga from Ropes & Gray and Ranesh Ramanathan from Bain Capital. In addition, the project finance team hired partners Rohit Chaudhry and Brian Greene from Norton Rose Fulbright, and partner Roald Nashi from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. Finally, Kirkland’s M&A practice added partner Eric Schiele from Cravath.
Meanwhile, the capital markets team hired partner Julian Seiguer from Vinson & Elkins. The private equity team expanded with the additions of partners Jennifer Perkins from Latham & Watkins, Matthew Cohn from Weil Gotshal & Manges and Christian Atwood from Choate Hall & Stewart.
Kirkland’s structured finance group moved into the fourth tier this year.
The firm’s most important clients include Bain Capital, Blackstone, the Carlyle Group and GTCR.
In other firm developments, Kirkland opened a new office in Dallas in July of this year.
“K&E is attentive and does good work. They have put together an above-average energy team in a very short period of time.” – Capital markets
“They have the highest level of expertise in most areas of private equity fund formation and private equity corporate acquisitions and dispositions.” - Investment funds, private equity
“Kirkland is at the top of the game in private equity, both in M&A and fund work. Specifically on the funds side, their depth of knowledge and expertise has grown so significantly in the past few years, there is limited need to look elsewhere even on the most specialized of question - they have seen it all.” - Investment funds
“Excellent group of attorneys that cover a wide range of areas. Strong Houston office which is helpful in our industry.” – Project development
“Great firm for sophisticated transactional work. Great lawyers who have worked on a wide variety of deals.” –M&A
“Thorough, highly competent, professional, pragmatic.” – Private equity
“World class experience. Top tier law firm in every facet.” – Capital markets, M&A
Kleinberg Kaplan Wolff & Cohen’s biggest strength is its hedge funds practice. The firm advised emerging, mature and start-up funds and it provided international assistance, especially in the Cayman Islands.
One highlight deal for the hedge funds group came from was representing long-time client Elliott Management on its highly publicized, largest-ever capital commitment facility.
Last year the firm lost partner Max Karpel, who joined the Paul Singer Family Office.
Among Kleinberg Kaplan Wolff & Cohen’s significant clients were Elliott Management and Whitefort Capital Funds.
Headquartered in Los Angeles, Latham & Watkins is an exceptionally dynamic firm. Latham has key strengths in banking, debt capital markets, equity capital markets, high yield debt, M&A, private equity, project finance and project development.
The firm’s debt capital markets group advised issuers and underwriters on offerings connected to a diverse range of industries. One highlight from the debt side was WellCare Health Plans’ notes offering. Latham advised bookrunner JP Morgan Securities.
Meanwhile, the firm worked on a number of high yield offerings related to the chemical industry, including Nova Chemical’s senior notes offering. Latham advised bookrunner HSBC on the offering.
On the equity side, the clothing retail and technology sectors were big sources of activity for Latham. The firm received considerable attention for representing data centre designer Switch on its NYSE IPO.
The M&A group scored a recent highlight when it represented Energy Capital Partners on its acquisition of Calpine. In another oil and gas sector M&A deal standout, Latham advised Archrock on its acquisition of Archrock Partners.
New recruits by Latham’s M&A practice were partners Peter Harwich from Allen & Overy and Jane Greyf from Goodwin Procter. Meanwhile, the restructuring group hired partners Jeffrey Bjork and George Davis from Sidley Austin and O’Melveny & Myers, respectively.
The firm’s recent key clients included Canada Goose, Credit Suisse, Rabobank and JP Morgan Securities.
A well-balanced firm, Linklaters is strong in several areas. The firm is active in capital markets, banking and restructuring and insolvency.
One of the firm’s biggest standout deals from the research period came from the banking group, which advised Japanese company Takeda Pharmaceutical on the financing for its takeover of Shire.
On the capital markets side, the UK-based global firm represented issuers and arrangers. One highlight deal in the debt capital markets practice area came from assisting the Republic of the Philippines on its sovereign bondsissuance.
In the equity capital markets space, the firm advised Banco Macro in the registration of its shelf program with the US securities and exchange commission, as well as the follow-on offering of 74,000,000 of its Class B ordinary shares.
A standout deal in restructuring and insolvency was the firm’s involvement in the Toys “R” Us deal. The firm represented a group of noteholders that hold pre-petitions or post-petitions issued by the holding company of Toys “R” Us’ European, Asian and Australian operations in its Chapter 11 case.
In terms of moves, the banking sector lost three partners: Aaron Javian, Jeff Norton and Sabrena Silver left the firm and joined Reed Smith, Dechert and White & Case, respectively. Meanwhile, the banking group acquired partner Amy Edgyfrom Jones Day and the capital markets group hired Douglas Donahue from Mayer Brown.
Linklaters’ most significant clients were Bank of America, Citibank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Apollo.
"Always cooperative and provide excellent and timely work and advice." - Banking
"They are always available and their fees are very reasonable. They have sophisticated bilingual teams." - Banking
"Excellent restructuring practice with partners that offer insightful advice and great negotiation skills. Corporate finance team is also highly competent with significant experience. The two teams work seamlessly together." - Restructuring
"Highly professional bilingual services." - M&A
"Proactive, efficient and creative." - Capital markets
"They are always available with reasonable fee, and they have sophisticated bilingual teams." - Banking
Chicago-headquartered Mayer Brown is an industry leader in the structured finance world, and has high capabilities in project finance, project development, debt capital markets and equity capital markets.
The firm’s banking group represented lenders and borrowers on a range of financing deals, many of them related to the financial services industry.
Meanwhile, the firm’s debt capital markets group represented issuers and underwriters on a number of large offerings. Several of the group’s most interesting transactions involved Canadian entities, such as the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board’s (CPPIB) Rule 144A offering. Mayer Brown advised the CPPIB on the issuance.
On the equity side, the financial services and oil and gas sector were particularly big sources of work for the team.
The firm’s top tier structured finance team handled a high number of asset-backed notes offerings and securitisations. One highlight was an issuance of securities backed by non-qualified mortgage loans by client Western Asset Management Company.
The project finance team was active on a lot of energy and infrastructure projects. One standout deal was advising on the concession procurement and financing for client the California High-Speed Rail Authority on high-speed rail infrastructure development.
The restructuring group advised various clients in connection with a cross-border bankruptcy deals.
Mayer Brown grew considerably across a range of practice areas this past year. The banking practice added partner Bryan Barreras from Satisfi, partner Mae Rogers from Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, partner Scott Zemser from Allen & Overy, and partners Matt O’Meara and Jaime Gatenio from Jones Day.
The capital markets practice also made a number of additions, drawing headlines when it hired a capital markets team from Morrison & Foerster. The team consisted of partners Anna Pinedo and Jerry Marlatt, as well as attorneys Bradley Berman, Shouhua Yu and Brian Hirschberg, who will serve as counsel. The IFLR1000 rates Pinedo in the Market Leader category and Marlatt as Highly Regarded. Outside of debt and equity, Pinedo is active in the derivatives space, while Marlatt is also part of the firm’s structured finance practice.
In addition to Marlatt, Mayer Brown’s structured finance practice grew with the hires of partners Jim Antonopoulos and Ryan Suda from Kirkland & Ellis and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, respectively. Antonopoulos is an IFLR1000 Rising Star.
With Mayer Brown’s constant firm growth throughout the year and consistent work on large and creative transactions, the firm moved up to tier three for debt capital markets and equity capital markets, and moved up to tier four for derivatives.
Mayer Brown’s key clients included Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and the Panama Canal Authority.
“Mayer Brown demonstrated comprehensive capabilities and leaders in the industry in the areas I was seeking. Corporate finance, documentation and corporate organisational structural advice are areas where Mayer Brown is one of the most accomplished in our region.” - Banking
“Strong in the practice areas we use.” – Capital markets
“Mayer Brown did a fantastic job representing me in the asset sale and MSR servicing sale for my company.” – M&A
“Mayer Brown is a very knowledgeable and professional firm. They have provided important insights into the residential mortgage market and have strong contractual knowledge. They are timely in their responsiveness and very thorough. No areas of weakness have surfaced in the engagement we have had with them.” – M&A
“High levels of specialised expertise in infrastructure, PPP concessions. Leading market knowledge. Easy to work with.” – Project finance
“Very solid firm. Lawyers are responsive and have good expertise in their areas of competence.” – Restructuring
McDermott & Emery’s biggest strengths are M&A and restructuring and insolvency. The firm has a high focus on middle and upper-middle market M&A work, with an emphasis on the energy, manufacturing, chemicals, healthcare and food and beverage sectors. On the restructuring and insolvency side, the firm worked for a mix of debtors and creditors.
A standout deal in M&A practice area came from representing the German multinational chemicals company Evonik on its acquisition of the performance-materials unit from Air Product & Chemicals.
One highlight deal in restructuring and insolvency area was its role in the municipal insolvency situation in Chicago, which faces large pension liabilities. The firm represented Barclays, a major creditor that underwrote bonds issued by the Chicago public school board.
The firm’s M&A practice made the addition of partners Armando Ramirez and Jeffrey Meyers, who left Stroock & Stroock & Lavan. The same practice area also added partner Ivan Presant, who came from Greenberg Traurig.
Among McDermott & Emery’s most significant clients were Irving Oil, Credit Suisse, MasterCard and Omni Eye Services.
Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy is a leader in the project finance and project development areas. In addition, the firm maintains strong restructuring and insolvency and banking practices.
The banking practice worked on a number of lender-side financings across a wide range of industries. One highlight for the practice came from advising the lead arrangers and bookrunners on the term loan and credit facilities used to finance Internet Brands’ acquisition of WebMD.
The aviation and telecommunications industries were two main sources of work for Milbank’s debt capital markets group. The team also guided Export Development Canada (EDC) on multiple offerings.
On the equity side, the capital markets group worked on a high number of deals in the technology, oil and gas and shipping industries.
Milbank’s structured finance group was highly active in the CLO market this past year, including closing a large CLO for Credit Suisse Asset Management.
The retail, oil and gas and energy sectors were focuses for the firm’s restructuring team this past year. One highlight from the retail sector came in connection with representing the lenders on Ocean Rig UDW’s debt restructuring.
The capital markets group added Casey Fleck as partner from Latham & Watkins.
Milbank’s structured finance practice moved up into the tier five this year.
The firm’s key clients for the past year included KKR & Co, Verizon and Goldman Sachs.
"Pair technical expertise with excellent judgment. Very practical in their approach.”- Restructuring
“Excellent work.” – Structured finance
Morgan Lewis primarily stands out for its structured finance and project development practices. However, the firm also has strong private equity funds, hedge funds, M&A and private equity practices.
The debt capital markets team obtained a lot of work representing issuers from the utilities sector. One highlight was client Florida Power & Light’s bond offering.
The M&A team handled a high number of deals in the technology sector, including for household names such as Oracle.
Meanwhile, the private equity group scored a coup when it guided Platinum Equity on its offer to acquire LifeScan from Johnson & Johnson.
In the funds space, the team was occupied with forming and structuring a range of funds types. In one standout, the Morgan Lewis team advised Advocate Capital Management on the formation of two master-feeder funds.
Morgan Lewis’ structured finance group was highly active in the securitisation space, and also worked on a number of asset-backed notes issuances. In one highlight securitisation deal, the team represented the initial purchasers on the securitisation of the Lending Club’s marketplace loans.
The project development team worked on a variety of energy projects that included a diverse array of energy sources. As a further sign of the group’s extensive capabilities, many of these deals were cross-border and related to several different parts of the world.
The structured finance practice lost partner John Arnholz to retirement and partner Claudine Chen-Young to Katten Muchin Rosenman. However, the team added partner Keith Krasney from Locke Lord and John Rickenbacker as counsel from Redwood Trust.
Morgan Lewis moved up to tier two for structured finance this year.
Morgan Lewis’ key clients included GCM Grosvenor, Upstart, RWT Holdings and First Solar.
“Very strong team, from partners to associates, in the investment funds practice. They inspire confidence in their work product, are highly responsive to requests for assistance and are a good resource for questions that arise for our investment group.” – Investment funds
“Excellent firm, we are extremely happy with all the services they provide. We have found them to be knowledgeable in a diverse array of areas.” – Investment funds
“Morgan Lewis is extremely knowledgeable in the ABS field. Their senior partners/attorneys have a wide experience in all aspects of the market. They are very responsive and have been very creative in dealing with new and complex issues that have arisen.” – Structured finance
“Morgan Lewis is at the forefront of securitization developments with deep bench of practitioners specializing in all aspects of securitization. Their team is approachable, responsive and very practical in their provision of advice and guidance.” – Structured finance
“Morgan Lewis provides fantastic service. They have deep industry knowledge across the spectrum of US residential mortgage assets. They have strong tax and ERISA counsel. They are very responsive and can meet demanding timelines.” – Structured finance
Morrison & Foerster’s (MoFo) biggest strengths are its structured finance and derivatives practices. In addition, MoFo has active debt and equity capital markets teams and an accomplished M&A group.
The debt capital markets team worked with issuers and underwriters on a number of offerings, many connected to the financial services, utilities and healthcare industries. In one highlight the team advised Icelandic bank Íslandsbanki hf on a medium term notes offering.
On the equity side, the team handled a lot of deals in the real estate and life sciences industries, including client Menlo Therapeutics’ IPO.
In the M&A space, MoFo landed one of the most interesting technology sector deals of the year when it advised client SoftBank – in a consortium with Dragoneer Investment Group and Sequoia Capital – on an investment in Uber Technologies.
The structured finance team handled a range of deals, including securitisations and structured notes offerings. The practice benefited from its Canadian market expertise, giving the firm a significant amount of transactional work for Canadian entities over the past year.
The private equity group worked on a high number of funds and portfolios acquisitions, including UBS Infrastructure’s acquisition of a portfolio of natural gas-fired power generation facilities.
One highlight for the funds team was representing Campbell Global Timber Fund on its formation.
MoFo senior staffing changes included the funds team adding partner Yashuhide Watanabe from Nagashima Ohno & Tsunematsu and Ashley Arons as counsel from Weil Gotshal & Manges. The regulatory team added partner Susan Gault-Brown from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. Meanwhile the capital markets group lost partners Anna Pinedo and Jerry Marlatt and the funds practice lost partner Sara Terheggen.
Some of MoFo’s key clients for the past year were SoftBank, McKesson Corporation, the National Bank of Canada, and Axium Infrastructure.
“Strong group that leverages international lawyers to raise issues that may impact their clients. Thorough analysis of legal issues.” - Derivatives
"Practical and able to convey complex topics in a straight-forward manner."
Norton Rose Fulbright is an industry leader in the project finance and project development spaces. The firm places in the first tier for all three project development sub-categories – energy, infrastructure and oil and gas – and in the second tier for project finance.
True to the firm’s reputation, Norton Rose led on project finance deals in a range of sectors over the course of the research period. One highlight in the natural gas sector came from the team advising the lenders financing California’s Southland 1394MW repowering project. The plant is expected to begin meeting commercial needs in 2020.
Demonstrating the firm’s range in the energy realm, another of Norton Rose’s highlights came advising the Hattiesburg Solar project’s lenders with regards to the power purchase agreement (PPA). The Mississippi solar plant opened in September 2017.
Norton Rose’s project finance group lost a number of partners to Winston Strawn and Kirkland & Ellis. Partners Michael Pikiel and Patrick Groomes joined the former while partners Rohit Chaudhry and Brian Greene joined the latter.
Norton Rose’s key clients included Macquarie Infrastructure, Key Bank and CoBank.
O’Melveny & Myers’ biggest strength is its capital markets practice area. The firm represented issuers and underwriters in a variety of sectors over the research period, such as healthcare, real estate and technology. In addition, the firm also excels in restructuring and insolvency.
On the equity capital markets side, a highlight deal came from representing Healthcare Trust of America in connection with a public offering of 54,625,000 shares of common stock.
On the debt capital markets side, a standout deal was representing the aircraft leasing company Air Lease Corporation in the completion of a debt offering. The offering consisted of two tranches.
A standout deal in restructuring and insolvency came from representing the coal giant Peabody Energy. Peabody filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the Eastern District of Missouri in April 2016 and emerged from Chapter 11 this past April.
Capital markets partners Michael Schiavone and Daniel O’Shea left the firm and joined Sidley Austin. Partner George Davis left the restructuring and insolvency team and joined Latham & Watkins.
O’Melveny & Myers’ most important clients included AvalonBay Communities, Toyota Motor Credit, Pacific Service Group, Apollo Global Management, and banks such as BofA Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, Citi and Credit Suisse.
"We have used lawyers at O'Melveny to advise us on sophisticated litigation as well as financial instrument amendments and restructuring alternatives." - Restructuring
A standout firm in structured finance, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe is also strong in banking, structured finance and restructuring and insolvency. In addition, the firm maintains anotable derivatives practice.
One highlight structured finance transaction that the firm worked on was advising Barclays, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup, Credit Agricole Securities, HSBC, Mizuho Securities, MUFG, Royal Bank of Scotland, Société Générale, Lloyds Securities, Wells Fargo and SMBC Nikko as underwriters’ counsel in connection with Nissan’s auto lease and auto loan securitization program.
In the banking practice area, a standout deal came from representing NOVA in obtaining a senior unsecured bridge loan facility commitment from HSBC and Barclays to support the acquisition of Williams Partners’ 88.5% ownership interest in an olefins plant located in Geismar, Louisiana.
The restructuring and insolvency group worked on sizeable deals with an emphasis on the energy, transport and insurance industries. In one standout deal, the firm represented the Japanese automaker Toyota Motor and its subsidiaries in the global restructuring of Takata, a leading supplier of advanced automotive safety systems.
Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s restructuring team rose to tier 4 this year.
Among the firm’s most significant clients were Citigroup, Credit Suisse, BofA, Nova Chemicals and Williams-Sonoma.
"The partner who we worked with was extremely knowledgeable about bank debt financing and had a very good business acumen. He was always looking for a win-win while making sure we got the best deal." - Banking
Paul Weiss is a firm with strengths in a variety of practice areas. The firm’s private equity funds group is in the first tier, while the debt capital markets, hedge funds, private equity and restructuring teams all place in the second tier. In addition, Paul Weiss has highly active M&A and equity capital markets practices.
The firm’s banking practice advised on quite a few sizeable acquisition financings, many in connection with deals involving private equity firms. The team also received a lot of demand from the clothing industry, including the financing for client Michael Kors’ $1.2 billion acquisition of Jimmy Choo.
The debt capital markets team worked with both issuers and underwriters on significant deals related to a range of industries. The team also secured a lot of business connected to Canadian entities, such as client Canadian Natural Resources.
Meanwhile, the equity capital markets team worked on a significant number of deals related to the technology and real estate sectors.
The technology, telecommunications, food and financial services industries were all big sources of work for Paul Weiss’ M&A team. The firm handled some tremendously large transactions, including its client Agrium’s merger with the Potash Corporation.
As always, Paul Weiss’ private equity practice has been very active. The team worked on a number of significant deals in the private equity space, including many for long-time client Apollo Global Management.
The structured finance group secured lots of securitisation work, including multiple whole-business securitisations. On one such deal, Paul Weiss guided TGI Friday’s whole-business securitisations of its franchised restaurants’ royalties.
Meanwhile, the funds group turned heads when it guided Apollo Global Management’s on new fund Apollo Investment IX, which, at closing, was the largest private equity fund-raising ever.
Paul Weiss’ private equity funds practice moved up to the first tier this year.
The firm’s most important clients included Apollo Global Management, JP Morgan and Oak Hill Capital Partners.
Proskauer Rose excels in the banking and finance area, representing both borrower and lender clients. In particular, thefirm focuses its finance practice on transactions in connection with private credit lenders.
A standout deal in the banking space came from representing Barcelona-based healthcare company Grifols on a financing. The proceeds were used by Grifols to acquire the Nucleic Acid Testing blood donor screening unit for its commercial partner Hologic and to refinance its existing credit facilities.
The firm added partner Christopher Bell from Simpson Thacher.
The banking team broke into the rankings this year, placing in the fourth tier.
The firm’s most significant clients from the research period were Pacific Exploration & Production, Century 21 Department Stores, Ares Capital and Bain Capital Credit.
"Proskauer Rose is the clear leader in direct lending. It has no peers." - Banking, M&A
Reed Smith’s biggest strengths are its banking, capital markets and restructuring and insolvency practices. In addition, project development oil and gas deals continue to be a significant focus for the firm.
In the banking area, the firm worked on numerous sizeable transactions focused on the healthcare, manufacturing and food and beverage sectors.
On the debt capital markets side, the group had a high focus on life sciences, healthcare, technology and real estate finance.
The firm worked on many deals in the structured finance space. One highlight came from representing a multinational investment bank and financial services company, as sponsor, on a public CMBS securitization.
In the restructuring and insolvency area, one highlight deal came from representing the multinational engineering firm AECOM. The firm represented an affiliate of AECOM on a bankruptcy case pending in the Southern District of Texas regarding a construction dispute over a power plant in Illinois.
A standout deal for the project development group came from representing Citibank and Cititrust-Colombia Sociedad Fiduciaria in connection with the multisource financing for the construction of the 4G Antioquia-Bolivar highway in Colombia, also known as Ruta al Mar.
In terms of attorney moves, the restructuring and insolvency team added partner Aaron Javian from Linklaters, but lost Cory Falgowski to Burr & Forman.
Meanwhile, the banking team lost partner Lisa Kabnick - who returned to Pepper Hamilton - butadded partners William Veatch and Catherine Hagerty from Morrison & Foerster.
Reed Smith’s banking category made it into the rankings this year, earning recognition as an ‘other notable firm’.
Some of the firm’s key clients were The Bank of New York Mellon, United Bridge Capital, financial institution and investment firms.
"Strong client relationships and technical skills." - Restructuring and insolvency
"It’s an outstanding firm. Their corporate trust and insolvency lawyers are first-rate. They are knowledgeable and highly responsive. In addition, they show excellent judgment. They can always be relied on for excellent representation and advice." - Restructuring and insolvency
Boston-headquartered Ropes & Gray has top capabilities in the areas of private equity funds, registered funds, private equity and financial services regulatory. The firm also boasts very competitive hedge funds and M&A practices.
Ropes & Gray’s banking team worked with a range of clients on numerous significant acquisition financings. Among others, many of these deals were related to the technology and healthcare sectors, including private equity firm TPG Capital’s acquisition of a majority stake in McAfee from Intel. The firm advised TPG and McAfee on the deal’s financing.
In both debt and equity capital markets, the team handled a high number of offerings made by life sciences sector issuers.
The technology, healthcare, life sciences and energy industries were all important sources of work for Ropes & Gray’s M&A team recently. In one highlight from the healthcare sector, the team represented Surgery Partners on its $760 million acquisition of National Specialty Hospitals from Irving Place Capital.
The structured finance team was kept busy with a number of securitisation deals from the fast food industry, including Dunkin’ Brands whole-business securitisation refinancing.
Although the restructuring group handled an array of high-profile deals, none more so than client Gawker Media’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.
The banking practice added Patricia Teixeira as counsel from Debevoise & Plimpton, while Ropes & Gray’s restructuring practice hired senior associate Daniel Egan from DLA Piper.
Ropes & Gray’s key clients included Bain Capital, TPG Capital and Berkshire Partners.
Among the most versatile law firms in the US, Simpson Thacher is a leader in M&A, private equity, private equity funds, debt and equity capital markets, and banking. In addition, the firm comes in at the second tier for its high yield, financial services regulatory and hedge funds practices.
The Simpson Thacher banking team worked on the financings related to many of the most notable recent M&A transactions in the US. Of the many highlights, one that stands out is Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets, where the team guided the seller on financing the spin-off of its news, sports and broadcast businesses.
The debt capital markets team represented the underwriters on a large number of significant offerings by leading technology companies. The team also guided issuers on several interesting offerings, including TD Bank’s inaugural US green bond offering.
On the equity side, the firm represented both the issuers and underwriters on some of the biggest IPOs and other stock offerings from the past year. One highlight came from representing the underwriters on Dropbox’s IPO.
Like the firm’s banking group, Simpson Thacher’s M&A team worked on many of the largest and most notable transactions in the research period. Among the multiple standouts was CVS Health’s acquisition of Aetna, where the team represented the target’s board of directors.
The structured finance team handled numerous asset-backed note and CLO issuances.
Meanwhile, the project finance team was especially busy working on financing deals for solar energy projects.
Simpson Thacher’s M&A group hired partner Eli Hunt from Latham & Watkins.
Some of the firm’s key clients from over the past year were Hilton Worldwide, Goldman Sachs, KKR, and Blackstone.
“Very strong lawyers, excellent at M&A and debt financing.” – M&A
“The firm has great expertise and experience, and provides around-the-clock service focused on getting the transaction done. They are practical and business focused in delivering their advice, which aids significantly in the decision making process.” – M&A
“Great firm - great lawyers - significant expertise in areas of finance, M&A and public markets.” – M&A
“Excellent work, they understand the energy sector and project finance. Great at getting a transaction to close on time and on budget.” – Project finance
“Excellent knowledge and client service. We are a small client but always get first rate attention and advice. Excellent breadth of advice. Always commercial and practical, not theoretical.”
Skadden is a well-rounded law firm, with superior capabilities in many different practice areas. The firm ranks in the first tier for debt capital markets, structured finance, financial services regulatory, M&A, restructuring, and oil and gas project development. The firm also ranks in the second tier for its energy project development, project finance, private equity, hedge funds, equity capital markets, and banking practices.
The Skadden banking team guided borrowers on an array of acquisition financings. Many of the transactions the team worked on were cross-border, including the financing for client Key Safety Systems’ acquisition of Takata.
Like the banking team, Skadden’s capital markets group worked with issuers and underwriters in connection with a high number of foreign entities. One highlight was United Arab Emirates-based Shelf Drilling’s Rule 144A high yield offering, where the firm was issuer’s counsel.
An interesting cross-border offering on the equity side was Canadian e-commerce company Shopify’s stock offering, where the firm was issuer’s counsel.
The media, food and beverage and financial services sectors were big sources of work for Skadden’s M&A group. The team worked on many headline deals, with Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox assets a particular stand out from the past year. The firm is advising 21st Century Fox on the transaction.
Meanwhile, the investment funds group was kept occupied with the formation of several funds focused on the energy and infrastructure sectors.
A high percentage of the deals that the project finance team worked on were in the energy space. In one highlight, Skadden advisd the initial purchasers in connection with multiple project bond offerings to finance Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass LNG terminal. Recent offerings for the ongoing project have totalled more than $3 billion r.
The project development group was active on projects related to a wide range of energy sources, including solar, hydroelectric and hydrocarbon power.
Some of the firm’s key clients from 2017/18 were Coty, Citigroup Global Markets, HSBC Securities, 21st Century Fox, and ExxonMobil.
“Top caliber talent. Efficient teamwork.” – Restructuring
Squire Patton Boggs’ biggest strength is its M&A practice. The firm’s main industry sector focuses from the research period were chemicals, automotive, technology, government services and healthcare.
A standout deal in the M&A practice area came from advising Sterling Bancorp on its merger with Astoria Financial. Sterling National Bank, a principal subsidiary of Sterling Bancorp, provides banking and financial services to business owners and their families.
In terms of attorney moves, the M&A group made the addition of partner Edward Steiner, who left Keating Muething & Klekamp.
Some of Squire Patton Boggs’ most significant clients were Advanced Drainage System, Compass Group Diversified, Sterling Bancorp, Tunnel Hill, JBS USA Food Company and ITV.
A well-balanced firm, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan stood out over the course of the research cycle in many practice areas, including registered funds, derivatives, structured finance and private equity. In addition, the firm was also active in banking, restructuring and insolvency, project finance and M&A.
On the derivatives side, the firm was busy working in connection with several sectors, including energy, metal industries and financial services.
In the private equity funds space, the firm worked on many sizeable deals in real assets funds, including real estate and infrastructure, and was strong in the private wealth management space.
The M&A group focused on middle-market and upper middle-market transactions in aerospace and defence, chemicals, construction and financial services. One highlight deal came from representing the international chemical company Solvay on its acquisition of the US defence contractor Cytec.
In the banking practice area, one standout deal came from representing the owners of 10 Hudson Yards on the recapitalization of 10 Hudson Yards, a premiere skyscraper on Manhattan’s west side and the largest development in New York City since Rockefeller Center.
A standout deal in restructuring and insolvency came from representing the ad hoc crossover group in multinational telecommunications company Avaya’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.
One highlight deal in project finance came from representing MUFG Union Bank as lender in connection with the refinancing of a syndicated credit facility for a portfolio of gas-fired power plants in California.
In terms of attorney moves, the private equity funds practice bolstered its team by adding partners Michael Emanuel from Eagle Investment Solutions, André Nance from Torys and Eric Requenez from Morrison & Foerster.
The restructuring and insolvency team also acquired three new partners: Brian Kelly from Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCoy, Samantha Martin from Morrison & Foerster and Daniel Fliman from Kasowitz Benson Torres.
Stroock & Stroock & Lavan’s key clients included HSBC, PayPal, JPMorgan Chase, BMW, Atlas Merchant Capital, Solvay, Nomura Instinet and Toys “R” Us.
"Very strong, responsive and knowledgeable about the restructuring, bankruptcy and solvency world.”"- Restructuring and insolvency
"Highly intelligent, practical and efficient."
Unparalleled for regulatory work in the US, Sullivan & Cromwell also boasts top tier debt capital markets, M&A and project finance practices. In addition, the firm has private equity and equity capital markets practices that place in the second tier.
The banking practice was active guiding borrowers on a bevy of acquisition financings and recapitalisations. Many of the acquisition financings the team worked on involved private equity, including Rhône Capital’s financing deal for its acquisition of restaurant operator Fogo de Chão. Sullivan & Cromwell advised Rhône on the financing.
The banking, financial services and insurance sectors were the main sources of work for the debt capital markets team. In one highlight, the capital markets group represented the World Bank on its earthquake bonds issue, which protect against economic losses caused by earthquakes for multiple Latin American countries.
On the equity side, the team worked with issuers and underwriters in connection with some large secondary and common stock offerings. One standout was client First Hawaiian’s secondary offering.
The pharmaceutical, technology and oil and gas sectors were significant sources of work for the many massive M&A transactions that Sullivan & Cromwell led over the past year. One standout came from representing Amazon on its acquisition of Whole Foods.
Oil and gas projects were some of the main focuses for Sullivan & Cromwell’s project finance team from the past year.
The regulatory team advised on a number of M&A transactions connected to the banking and financial services industries, working with clients such as EverBank Financial, Scottrade Financial Services and First Horizon National Corporation.
Like the firm’s project finance team, Sullivan & Cromwell’s restructuring team was kept occupied with deals related to the oil and gas industry this past year. In one highlight, the team represented the steering committee for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Abengoa’s US business.
Among the firm’s key clients were AXA Equitable Holdings, Citizens Financial Group, AT&T and Ares Management.
Weil Gotshal & Manges ranks among the most versatile and multi-talented firms in the US. The firm’s M&A, private equity and restructuring practices make the first tier, while its banking, structured finance and private equity groups place in the second. The firm also has strengths in debt capital markets, equity capital markets, hedge funds and financial services regulatory.
Weil’s banking practice advised a number of borrowers and lenders in connection with a variety of significant acquisition financings. In one highlight, the team represented SoftBank Group on the financing for its $3.3 billion acquisition of alternative asset manager Fortress Investment Group.
Meanwhile, the capital markets group represented issuers and underwriters on a number of large offerings. The food and beverage and financial services sectors were important sources of work for the team.
On the equity side, one of the firm’s highlights was guiding Kinder Morgan Canada on its IPO.
The financial services, manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries were among the sectors that Weil’s M&A group worked in the most over this research period. One highlight was client Sanofi’s acquisition of Bioverativ.
The private equity group worked on several deals related to the Canadian market, including the acquisition of a 55% stake in Thomson Reuters’ financial and risk business by a consortium that included the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Blackstone and GIC. Weil advised CPPIB on the deal.
In the investment funds space, one standout deal for the team came from representing American Securities on the formation of American Securities Partners VIII.
The restructuring group was highly active in the energy and oil and gas industries over the course of the past year.
The firm’s capital markets team added partner Michael Hickey, while the M&A team hired partner Matt Stewart from King & Spalding. In addition, the restructuring team hired partner Ryan Dahl from Kirkland & Ellis.
Weil’s key clients included Oak Hill Capital Partners, JP Morgan, TPG Global, Sanofi and Brookfield Asset Management.
“Excellent work. All partners were very knowledgeable is all areas of deal that were called upon. World class!” – Restructuring
“Very thorough and up to date on all current market terms and conditions. Strengths include extensive knowledge of current market and small dedicated teams with high responsiveness.” – M&A
“Weil has been an excellent legal advisor to us on debt financings for our private equity investments. They have extensive knowledge of the financing markets, including an understanding of current terms and technology, which enables them to incorporate the best and most flexible market terms into our financing deals. They are also have very strong commercial and legal judgment when advising us in negotiations on terms with our financing sources, which has been invaluable.” – Banking
“Having worked with all of the large New York law firms, Weil is by far and away the best. The quality of the professionals and practice is unmatched. They are user friendly and commercial and are always able to come up with solutions to even the most complex issues.” - Banking
White & Case has a top tier project finance practice and places in the second tier for oil and gas project development. The firm also maintains competitive restructuring, banking, high yield and structured finance groups.
White & Case’s banking team worked on several acquisition financings related to deals in the energy sector. In one highlight, the firm advised Dynegy on the financing for its acquisitions of gas-fire powered facilities in Illinois, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia and two coal-fired facilities. One of the coal-fired facilities is in Texas and the other is in Pennsylvania.
Given the firm’s outstanding reputation for its project finance practice, it’s no surprise that White & Case led the development of a number of the most innovative and complicated projects over the past year. Among the highlights was the firm’s representation of the Freeport LNG project in connection with financing for the construction and development of the facility’s second liquefaction train.
The firm also guided a number of M&A transactions in the oil and gas and energy sectors, such as client Global Infrastructure Partners’ acquisition of Medallion.
White & Case’s project finance group added a new team at the expense of Allen & Overy. Partner Dolly Mirchandani and associates Claire Watson, MK Houston and Evelyn Balassiano all joined White & Case’s New York office from the magic circle firm.
The firm’s key clients include Saudi Aramco and the Bank of China.
In February, White & Case opened a Houston office, marking the firm’s first physical presence in Texas. The firm also added M&A and project development partner Jay Cuclis from Vinson & Elkins and M&A and project development partners Christopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner from Andrews Kurth Kenyon to staff the new office.
The Houston office later added M&A partner Steven Tredennick from Paul Hastings and project finance partner David Strickland from King & Spalding.
“High quality…services.” – Capital markets
Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s biggest strength is its registered funds practice. The firm also excels in M&A, private equity, restructuring, banking and hedge funds.
One highlight in M&A came from representing Perella Weinberg as financial advisor to AIG in connection with AIG’s agreement to acquire Validus. Validus is a reinsurance company based in Bermuda.
The restructuring team represented sponsors, independent directors, companies, agents, lenders and committees. A standout deal came from advising a steering committee of high yield bond holders on the financial restructuring of the international oil services company CGG.
The banking group represented the worldwide chemical company Tronox in connection with obtaining aterm loan facility and an asset-based revolving credit facility.
A standout deal for the private equity practice came from representing GoldenTree Asset Management. The German federal state owners of HSH Nordbank sold the bank to a consortium of private investors. The firm represented the private investor GoldenTree Asset Management.
In terms of moves, the restructuring team added partner Brian Lennon, who left Kirkland & Ellis. The private equity team made the addition of four partners: Steven Torello from DLA Piper; Kevin O’Mara from Morgan Lewis & Bockius; Kfir Abutbul from Kirkland & Ellis; Cody Carper from Kirkland & Ellis.
This year saw the firm’s banking practice break into the rankings, garnering recognition in the sixth tier.
The firm’s most significant clients included SquareTwo Financial Services, Lehman Brothers Holding, Allied World Assurance, Zurich Insurance Group, The Sterling Group, Metropolitan Life Insurance, New Mountain Capital and Warburg Pincus.