The Legal 500

United States > Industry focus

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The US energy market boom continues apace, with 2014 having been one of its busiest years so far; in legal market terms this led to financings, M&A, renewables-related work and litigation. The recent plummet in oil prices has raised questions over the future of the market as companies experience the knock-on effects and look towards some tough times ahead. Shale gas activity continues, and has led to a number of different high-point projects. Firms with oil and gas expertise have been busy advising on new pipelines for the movement of shale and projects designed to expand and modify existing pipelines. The drive to move the industry away from coal and towards natural gas and electric power is set to become a huge focus as a result of the aforementioned dramatic drop in oil prices.

On the regulatory side, the market seems to be increasingly driven by the FERC and less by the Government and Department of Energy. With ever-tightening regulations and restrictions, the FERC has been focused on enforcement issues and continues to have a very active compliance and enforcement program investigating claims of market manipulation.

The renewables sector remains a hot topic, with the solar space being a particular focus for investors. A significant amount of capital has been created through Yieldco structures, which have taken off in a very big way of late. However, projects are still motivated by tax credits, following the extension of the deadline to the end of 2016. Wind projects continue to pop up and provide a healthy source of work for firms.

As usual, dispute resolution has been keeping firms with such expertise very busy. Class actions concerning royalty disputes appear to be on the increase, as do horizontal drilling and fracking disputes involving trespassing, while pipeline and contractor disputes remain as active as ever. There has also been increased activity in Texas brought by environmental groups and lawsuits by local regulatory authorities.

The changing energy market - particularly the continued increase in hydraulic fracturing - also keeps environment lawyers busy. Climate change is a perennial issue, now met by the Clean Power Plan, which aims at cutting carbon pollution from existing power plants. Both regulation and enforcement have increased in recent years and many firms challenge the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s regulations, particularly the New Source Review permitting program under the Clean Air Act.

The environment sections cover National Environmental Policy Act, Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, Endangered Species Act, as well as Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act matters. Firms ranked in the transactional and regulatory ranking have strong experience in areas such as M&A, private equity, capital markets, or provide permitting, licensing and compliance advice. Firms listed for litigation handle high-level litigation and arbitration across the sector, or have outstanding niche capability.

The expansion of Medicare and Medicaid coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) is the key driver for the healthcare industry. Consequently, it is those with outstanding regulatory offerings which form the bulk of both the insurer and service provider rankings, chief among them the powerhouse teams at top tier firms such as McDermott Will & Emery LLP, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. and King & Spalding LLP. (‘Regulatory’ is used to cover myriad legal issues, but in the editorial is used primarily to describe the healthcare regulatory component of transactions and a firm’s strength in government enforcement defense which, for service providers and insurers, comes overwhelmingly in the form of qui tam whistleblower actions under the False Claims Act and associated statutes such as the Stark law and related anti-kickback legislation.)

Those with an innovative approach to reform, exemplified by the healthcare groups at firms such as Ropes & Gray LLP, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP and Dentons, are well placed to handle the ever-growing pipeline of consolidation shaping the market. In a typically active year, headline deals included Cadence Health’s $6bn merger with Northwestern Medicine which saw McDermott Will & Emery LLP in the unusual position of acting for both parties, Sheridan Healthcare’s $2.35bn sale to AmSurg, with Latham & Watkins LLP acting as regulatory counsel to the seller, and Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. assisting private equity firm Starr Investment Holdings with its $4.4bn acquisition of MultiPlan.

Health insurers were less active in big-ticket transactions, although firms were kept busy by interesting mid-market transactions such as Healthfirst’s development of an affiliated insurer, and a glut of Medicare and Medicaid enforcement litigation, which included the first Medicaid Advantage action under the PPACA, with Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. acting for multiple defendants.

The life sciences table is similarly dominated by firms with powerhouse regulatory departments, exemplified by the practices at Covington & Burling LLP and Sidley Austin LLP, although more emphasis has been placed this year on capabilities in product liability defense and IP litigation which, while covered in other tables, are essential components for any firm’s life sciences offering. The announcement of Allergan’s agreement to acquire Actavis for $66bn - where Latham & Watkins LLP advised the purchaser - in December 2014 dwarfed other deals in a year in which bulge-bracket mergers and licensing transactions were ubiquitous; among them were the $14.2bn sale of Merck & Co’s OTC division to Bayer, with Covington & Burling LLP serving as seller’s transaction and regulatory counsel. In a keynote licensing deal, Cooley LLP, renowned for its emerging companies practice, advised NewLink Genetics’ on its collaboration with Merck & Co to develop an Ebola vaccine candidate.

While the legal insurance market overall remains stable, regulatory changes continue to direct activity, with the passage of Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Protection Act continuing to have a significant impact, and the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) dramatically influencing the health insurance sector. Cyber liability continues to grow in importance, with recent high-profile hacks shining a light onto this expanding area. Firms are having to adapt to the new laws and products surrounding online protection and data breach as more and more issues are litigated in court and discrepancies in this emerging area are clarified. It is felt by many that this area may become the ‘next asbestos’. However while new asbestos claims are few and far between, long-running matters are still commonplace throughout the sector.

Activity in the directors’ and officers’ (D&O) area is also prevalent, with cases enduring from the fallout of the financial crisis - however signs of financial recovery can be seen in the increased M&A activity for non-contentious practices. Additionally, in recent years there has been a significant increase in the participation of private equity firms in the M&A sphere as well as an increase in alternative risk management methods including captive insurance, hedge funds and catastrophe bonds.

Sports law remains an extremely busy area for firms, with 2014’s off-court drama rivalling proceedings on it. Work for the major professional sports leagues has dominated instructions, with high-profile player conduct cases in the NFL, owner discipline issues in the NBA and a surge of work across all sports in relation to broadcasting and media rights. There has been a noted drive to secure long-term, locked-in broadcasting rights for sports coverage, while at the same time concerted efforts have been made to clamp down on the illegal screening of games. The standout franchise acquisition was Steve Ballmer’s purchase of the LA Clippers for $2bn, prompted by the NBA’s decision to remove former owner Donald Sterling from his position following racist comments made in a leaked private recording. Collegiate sport has become an increasingly important source of work for firms; the issue of compensation for student-athletes has risen to the fore in an antitrust class action threatening the existence of the collegiate sports model. It promises to be an exciting year ahead for firms.

Energy: litigation

Index of tables

  1. Energy: litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Baker Botts L.L.P.’s ‘very capable team’ has oil and gas litigation and regulation at its core. It has unparalleled expertise on disputes arising from offshore oil and gas drilling and development, and handles a large share of the most significant cases across the industry. A diverse and high-caliber client base includes BASF and Shell, both of which instructed the firm in lawsuits brought by the production and exploration subsidiary of Mexico’s Pemex, which claimed that both companies had purchased hundreds of millions of dollars in hydrocarbons allegedly stolen by Mexican cartels and smuggled across the US-Mexican border. The team is also representing Texas Oil and Gas Association in its opposition to the first-ever hydraulic fracturing ban in Texas. William Kroger co-chairs the firm’s energy litigation practice from Houston with Michael Calhoon, who is based in Washington DC. Jason Newman and Brooke McNabb in the Houston office were both promoted to partner.

Boutique Beck Redden’s strong team of trial attorneys has impressive international reach. With energy as a core focus for the firm, recent work has involved oil and gas disputes concerning royalty owners and energy companies, disputes arising from acquisitions, and disputes involving energy transmission. Eric Nichols in Austin, and Fields Alexander and Jeff Golub in Houston, are acting for Exxon Mobil Corporation, ExxonMobil Chemical and ExxonMobil Refining and Supply in an action under the citizen suit provision of the Clean Air Act concerning the defendants’ operations of a refinery, olefins plant and chemical plant in Texas; the plaintiffs allege that the company violated federal operating permits. Name partner David Beck, based in Houston, has years of experience as a trial lawyer in the energy field and his experience spans small disputes and large international arbitrations.

Acting for an impressive list of clients, Covington & Burling LLP has niche expertise in crisis management and related legal support. The firm frequently represents oil and gas businesses as plaintiffs prosecuting claims in litigation and arbitration, as well as on the defense side. TL Cubbage and ‘rising talentMiguel Lopez Forastier are representing subsidiaries of ExxonMobil as claimants in an ICSID investor-state arbitration against Venezuela arising out of the uncompensated expropriation of the claimants’ entire investments in the country; the tribunal issued an award determining that the claimants were entitled to $1.6bn of compensation from Venezuela. Both aforementioned attorneys are based in the Washington DC office. The firm continues its long-term involvement with BP in almost all aspects of ongoing litigation arising from Deepwater Horizon. Steven Rosenbaum co-chairs the practice with Cubbage. Mike Brock left to join Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Operating out of a single office in Houston, Gibbs & Bruns LLP’s comparatively small team of 30 trial lawyers punches well above its weight, enjoying a dominant position for litigation on both the plaintiff and defense sides. Name partner Robin Gibbs, who has years of experience handling complex energy litigation, led the team acting for Vantage Drilling, pursuing a breach of fiduciary duty, fraud and other claims against a former director of the company. Barrett Reasoner has a strong track record in oil and gas disputes and led advice to Venoco and TexCal Energy South Texas on a contract dispute with Denbury Onshore regarding Venoco’s reversionary interest in a Texas oilfield; the team obtained a unanimous award of approximately $100m in favor of the client with respect to all three contractual interpretation declarations sought. Other high-profile client names include Chevron and Kinder Morgan.

King & Spalding LLP’s extensive team of trial lawyers collectively has a diverse range of expertise, and acts for many of the most prominent energy companies. The firm also has a globally recognized international arbitration practice that handles cases such as foreign investment issues centered on oil and gas exploration, as well as environmental and regulatory disputes. Head of the global disputes practice Reggie Smith is acting for key client Chevron Pipe Line Company as lead counsel in a shareholder derivative suit against Sunoco Logistics in an action to determine whether Sunoco and its appointed directors breached their duty of loyalty to West Texas Gulf Pipe Line Company; the allegations by Chevron involve Sunoco breaching loyalty by approving a related party transaction with West Texas Gulf. Bobby Meadows and Charles Correll from the Houston office, and Tim Engel from Washington DC, are heading advice to Chevron on a class action of all past and present royalty owners on private oil and gas leases in California in which the company paid royalties; plaintiffs allege a vast array of breaches of lease terms, from understating prices used for royalty valuations to deductions taken, as well as fraudulent concealment, seeking to recover royalties past a limitations date and punitive damages, and the case is believed to be the first oil and gas royalty class action filed in California.

A large proportion of the ‘excellent’ lawyers at Bracewell LLP dedicate much of their time to energy litigation, making it one of the more prominent Texas-based firms. Department head Stephen Crain is leading advice from the Houston office to GDF Suez Energy North America in a case involving claims that the client used its bidding strategy to inappropriately impact an energy futures derivatives market traded in the United States; the plaintiffs allege that they are participants in the futures market and have therefore been negatively impacted by the client’s bidding strategies. Houston-based Bradley Benoit successfully represented ASARCO, an American smelting and refining company, in a breach of contract claim against Sesa Sterlite and Sterlite Incorporated for backing out of a purchase agreement following the economic collapse of 2008. Another interesting highlight saw Benoit lead advice to Statoil on arbitration arising from an offshore drilling rig day-rate contract with Maersk Drilling, involving three separate disputes. On the natural gas side, John Barr serves as national counsel for Baker Hughes in natural gas well fracturing litigation with cases pending in the Federal and State courts across several jurisdictions.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s litigation work for oil and gas companies is the cornerstone of its energy practice. David Zott recently led a team from the Chicago office acting as lead counsel for key client BP in a putative consumer class action that stems from the production, distribution and recall of gasoline from its Whiting refinery in 2012 that contained polymeric gum levels in excess of internal specifications. Mark Lillie leads ongoing representation of ExxonMobil in a dispute over the ruptured crude oil pipeline that led to a temporary escape of oil into the Yellowstone River; a number of property owners affected by the spill sued the client in three state court actions in Montana. In January 2014, Washington DC-based Daniel Donovan and Greg Skidmore obtained a victory on behalf of Chesapeake Energy, when the US court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed an earlier federal district court ruling in the case, which involved a lease dispute with an Ohio oil and gas lessor relating to payments to lessors to develop the Utica shale play.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s renowned nuclear practice gives it an edge when it comes to related litigation, however the firm is by no means limited to this and also represents clients across the entire industry, from utilities to oil and gas companies. Houston-based Hugh Tanner led the team in achieving a significant victory for M-I Swaco, a Schlumberger subsidiary, in high-profile litigation that followed Deepwater Horizon; judgment was entered in favor of the client, finding that it was not liable for the blowout, explosion or subsequent oil spill and all claims, counter-claims, cross-claims and third-party claims were subsequently dismissed. Washington DC-based practice head Brad Fagg represented Duke Energy in a damages lawsuit against the US Government for the Government’s failure to accept spent nuclear fuel for disposal, and received a $104m award; indeed the firm has secured recoveries and judgments of well over a billion dollars for its clients in cases of this kind. Los Angeles-based David Schrader co-heads the group.

Norton Rose Fulbright is widely recognized for its domestic and international dispute resolution and litigation expertise, representing clients throughout the entire energy lifecycle. Houston partner William Wood is leading ongoing representation of indirect Shell subsidiary Pecten Orient Company in a number of breach of contract suits relating to oil and gas production by the client and its partners in Syria from 1982 to 1995. Wood also defended EOG Resources in a class action filed by residents of Johnson County, Texas alleging that fracking activities in the area were causing earthquakes and property damage. ‘Seasoned trial lawyerDaniel McClure led a Houston team representing Shell Exploration & Production Company in a whistle-blower suit brought by two MMS auditors alleging false reporting and underpayment of federal oil royalties to the United States Minerals Management Service. Otway Denny is a name to note. L Poe Leggette left to join Baker & Hostetler LLP.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP recently opened an office in Houston to complement its already-national reach, taking on David Gerger and merging with his litigation boutique. Widely known as a litigation powerhouse, the firm has a specialism in pre-emption arguments and arbitration. New York partners Kathleen Sullivan and Sanford Weisburst acquired a victory for key client Entergy Corporation in a Second Circuit appeal case affirming the US District Court for Vermont’s declaration that two statues requiring the shutdown of the client’s Yankee nuclear power plant were invalid. Sullivan also obtained the firm’s fourth consecutive victory in the US court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, acting for Shell concerning its offshore exploration on the Alaska Outer Continental Shelf and issues over Clean Air Act permits. New York partners Sanford Weisburst, Christopher Kercher and Washington DC partner Michael Lyle co-head the department. Karl Stern was a significant lateral hire, joining the Houston office from Vinson & Elkins LLP.

Following two years of sustained expansion of its energy offering, Sidley Austin LLP now represents clients across the whole gamut of federal and state litigation proceedings and has five partners dedicated solely to energy litigation. Having developed a relationship over some 35 years with ExxonMobil Pipeline Company, the firm is representing the client before the FERC on a range of matters including litigation regarding the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS) Quality Bank, which makes monetary adjustments among TAPS shippers for difference in the qualities of crude oil they tender to the pipeline. A team also represented BASF in alternative dispute resolution in the landmark FERC proceedings involving the application filed by American Midstream to abandon the facilities providing natural gas service to one of the client’s plants. Other key clients include American Electric Power and ExxonMobil. Eugene Elrod heads the team from Washington DC, and other prominent names include Marie Fiala in San Francisco and Bill Williams, also in the capital. Anna Ha was recently elected to the partnership.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s team combines litigation and regulatory expertise giving it the scope to handle a wide range of complex energy disputes, including high-profile FERC enforcement cases and issues related to the natural gas industry. Washington DC partner John Estes led representation of Barclays in the first FERC enforcement action brought in the Federal District Court regarding alleged violations arising from trading activity in Western US energy markets. Department head John Moot, also based in Washington DC, acted for key client Entergy Corporation in a number of matters, including representing its Southeastern utilities in FERC proceedings necessary to integrate into the MISO Regional Transmission Organization and representation of Entergy Nuclear Power Marketing in litigation regarding the design of electricity markets in New York. Other recent instructions came from Exelon Corporation and FirstEnergy Corporation.

Considered among the ‘market leaders’, Steptoe & Johnson LLP has ‘great lawyers and is responsive and highly respected’. In 2014 the firm represented Colonial Pipeline Company in several matters, including a complaint filed by United Airlines and Southwest Airlines alleging overcharges in the pipeline’s present and past rates, seeking to overturn its existing market-based rate authority and challenging certain operational practices. Washington DC partners Doug Green and Jennifer Quinn-Barabanov led the team retained by Entergy Corporation to defend it in litigation brought in the federal district court in Louisiana by Occidental Chemical Corporation, which is suing the client’s operating utility company subsidiary Entergy Louisiana and Louisiana Public Service Commission for developing a method with MISO for treating qualifying facilities in the market place that violates the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act (PURPA), as well as breach of contract, duty and fair dealing. David Raskin heads the team from Washington DC, where key partner Lon Bouknight recently returned following a five-year stint as general counsel at Edison International. Steve Brose, Steve Reed and Rick Roberts are also recommended.

Thompson & Knight LLP acts for clients across the spectrum of energy, including those involved with the exploration, development, production, storage, transportation and processing of resources. The firm represented Sintana Energy in an ICC arbitration involving breach of contract claims associated with a farmout agreement furthering the exploration and development of the Talora Block located in Columbia. Craig Haynes heads the team from the Dallas office.

Vinson & Elkins LLP impresses with its extensive and diverse client base and has a particularly strong oil and gas practice, with a bias towards midstream and upstream activities. It has also seen a significant uptick in royalty litigation of late. A team led by Houston partners Jim Thompson and Phillip Dye represented Plains All American Pipeline and Plains Marketing in two lawsuits filed by Pemex Exploración y Producción (PEP), involving the alleged theft of natural gas condensate from gas fields in Northern Mexico; the recent litigation followed a series of lawsuits filed by PEP in 2010 alleging that numerous US oil companies had purchased vast quantities of condensate stolen by drug cartels. Recent team changes included Michael Charlson from Hogan Lovells and Mortimer Hartwell from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP joining the San Francisco office, and Robert Schick and Morgan Copeland leaving to set up spin-off Schick & Copeland. The team also lost longstanding partner Karl Stern to Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP.

The team at Winston & Strawn LLP is rated for its extensive courtroom experience, in-depth knowledge of the entire energy industry and its impressive FERC enforcement practice. The firm continues to increase the amount of high-profile, complex litigation it handles in both the oil and gas and electric power markets. Chicago partner Tim Carey led representation of Arcadia Petroleum, Parnon Energy and other defendants in an action in the Southern District of New York alleging manipulation of the spread between prices of NYMEX sweet crude futures contracts on 13 occasions in 2008. Paula Hinton from the Houston office is representing BP Alaska in a Texas state court action brought by Unocal Pipeline Company, which is withdrawing ownership in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and challenging its responsibility for paying its percentage of costs. Los Angeles-based Jerry Bloom heads the team which also has litigation partners in Houston, Chicago, New York, Washington DC, San Francisco and Charlotte.

Litigation makes up a significant part of Andrews Kurth LLP’s offering, and the firm is noted for its in-depth, industry-wide expertise and breadth of personnel. Particular strengths lie in the upstream and midstream segment. In 2014 the firm acted for Apache Corporation in a dispute concerning the alleged failure to properly conduct shallow water flood operations. The firm has also been representing Burlington Resources, a ConocoPhillips affiliate, in a number of royalty disputes. On the arbitration side the firm advised Peregrine Midstream Partners on the claims and counterclaims of $30.8-$43m for the alleged breach of a contract for the construction of surface facilities related to a natural gas storage unit. Stuart Hollimon and Craig Stahl co-head the team from Houston.

Baker & Hostetler LLP increased its bench strength over the past year, adding L Poe Leggette from Norton Rose Fulbright to the Denver office and Sashe D Dimitroff from Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. to Houston. The firm’s strong litigation team has been responding to an uptick in royalty class actions and fracking disputes involving trespassing; in one such case Leggette led a team representing ENTEK against Stull Ranches involving the effects of the federal unitization statute on access to surface when the Government has partially patented it to private citizens. A Denver-based team is representing Rockies Express Pipeline on a $180m case involving US Government breaches of long-term contracts to procure interstate transportation of gas. Richard Stilwell of the Houston office led advice to Cameron International Corporation, the manufacturer of a wellhead involved in a blowout at a Pumpco Energy Services-owned and Chesapeake Appalachia-operated well; the firm acted as lead counsel for Cameron, advising on product liability claims against the wellhead, the environmental claims following the clean-up and insurance claims arising out of the master service agreements governing the parties at the well site.

The broad scope of DLA Piper’s practice includes a great deal of litigation arising from regulatory issues. New York partner Bob Alessi is representing NextEra Energy in a high-profile, multi-party adjudicatory proceeding before the New York State Public Service Commission; the case will determine which company receives the public or private partnership rights to upgrade and own the major Central-East and UPNY/SENY electric transmission interfaces grid, an estimated $500m-$1bn undertaking. On the natural gas side, the firm represented Marathon Petroleum in two proceedings at the FERC and in an appeal at the DC Circuit involving Colonial’s rate structure for form transportation of natural gas. Ileana Blanco led advice from Houston to Pemex Exploración y Producción in a $44m lawsuit against transporters of condensate initially stolen by Mexican drug cartels and illegally smuggled into the US. Bob Gruendel heads the practice from New York.

Dentons handles the full range of energy disputes. Karl Zobrist, based in Kansas City, led a team representing Kansas City Power & Light Company in the successful defense of its compliance tariffs approved by the Missouri Public Service Commission after a fully litigated rate case. Washington DC-based global energy co-chair Clinton Vince, New York partner Stuart Caplan and Washington DC counsel Jessica Lynch represented Navopache Electric Cooperative in litigation before the FERC in response to Public Service Company of New Mexico’s proposed transmission formula rate and annual transmission losses rate. On the oil and gas side, Houston partner Barry Cannaday is representing Torch Energy Advisors Incorporated as co-counsel in an appeal to the Texas Supreme Court involving a dispute relating to the client’s claims under a 1996 purchase and sale agreement.

Clients rate Goodwin Procter LLP’s ‘great team’ ‘overall very highly’ owing to its ‘exceptional business acumen. The firm has a strong nuclear practice, and provides comprehensive litigation advice to national and international companies acquiring, expanding, developing and operating power-generating projects. Boston-based department head Elise Zoli - is very intelligent and well versed in the details of nuclear energy’; she led representation of Entergy Corporation subsidiaries in an adjudicatory proceeding before a panel of administrative judges of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, challenging a requirement that Entergy install cooling towers at the Indian Point nuclear power plant at an estimated social cost of upwards of $2bn. Timothy Shuba led advice to Newmont Mining Corporation in a case against Sierra Pacific Power Corporation, which installed equipment on its transmission system that threatened to destroy Newmont’s interconnected generator; the firm secured a preliminary injunction and then an FERC ruling that Sierra Pacific was liable for costs amounting to $12m.

McGuireWoods LLP has rapidly grown its national FERC practice since it was established a few years ago. Working closely with the litigation team, it represents approximately 20% of the nation’s utilities in a huge range of regulatory and related litigation and disputes. Richmond-based regulatory and compliance chair Joseph Reid led a team representing Dominion Resources and Virginia Electric and Power Company in a complex, multi-party proceeding tried before the Virginia State Corporation Commission concerning the review of rates for electric generation and distribution services. Washington DC partner and utilities co-chair Noel Symons represented Duke Energy in a first-of-its-kind litigation involving whether a regional transmission organization (RTO) should compensate a generator for gas that the RTO directed the generator to purchase, even though it was not used to produce power. Washington DC partner and energy enforcement chair Todd Mullins is representing several former energy traders of Barclays in the FERC investigation of manipulation of Western US energy markets.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s multi-disciplinary team of attorneys represents clients in complex litigation before federal and state courts, administrations and arbitral tribunals. The firm has considerable industry expertise spanning more than 30 years. It acted for EDF Renewable Energy in litigation brought by a downwind wind farm alleging that the ‘wind wake’ from the client’s 300MW Avalon Wind Project caused significant impact that should have been analyzed in the environmental impact report prepared for the project pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act. On the oil and gas side, a team of Washington DC lawyers represented long-term client the State of Alaska in challenging the prudence of increasing the rates of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline to cover the cost and schedule overruns of the strategic reconfiguration program.

Reed Smith LLP has deep experience in oil and gas litigation and has recently seen an uptick in natural gas work; as well as high-stakes litigation in these areas the team advises on large lease claims and class actions involving the continuation of leases. Kevin Abbott and Nicolle Snyder Bagnell, co-heads of the Pittsburgh-based team, represented Chesapeake Appalachia in class actions to void oil and gas leases on the basis that the client had impermissibly extended them. The team also represented Energy Corporation of America in a class action alleging underpayment of royalties allegedly due to Pennsylvania lessors of natural gas. Justin Werner was promoted to partner.

For boutique Reynolds Frizzell LLP, energy makes up a significant part its litigation practice. The Houston-based team is home to several renowned trial lawyers. Brandon Allen and Jean Frizzell represented Energy Transfer Fuel in a case against Enterprise Texas Pipeline involving alleged damages in excess of $500m. The firm was also retained to defend Mustang Engineering in a lawsuit alleging over $40m in damages arising out of alleged failures to detect critical defects in ten pipelines in Texas. Another recent mandate was representing Tsakos Energy Navigation and its subsidiaries in a case against plaintiff Houston Refining, who alleged that the client’s entities participated in a multi-year kickback scheme with Houston Refining’s marine chartering manager, involving contracts to ship fuel from Venezuela to the plaintiff’ facility in Texas. It recently obtained wins on behalf of Cetan Energy, Chevron and DCP Midstream. Chris Reynolds is also recommended.

Susman Godfrey LLP has a longstanding reputation among energy companies, royalty owners and midstream companies, having acted in a variety of litigation matters. It has been particularly active in climate change and environmental issues. Among recent highlights, it won a federal court jury trial for Apache Corporation and defeated multimillion-dollar breach of contract allegations brought by W&T Offshore, and was retained by Apache to file a $31.5m lawsuit against W&T Offshore. The firm successfully acted for Enterprise Products as co-defendant with City of Mont Belvieu in a case against Cernosek Enterprises, which alleged violations involving the issuance of drilling permits and zoning for hydrocarbon storage well operations. ConocoPhillips is also a client. Geoffrey Harrison and Alexander Kaplan are recommended.

White & Case LLP’s litigation work is closely linked to its regulatory practice and the firm is also known for its track record in high-profile energy arbitration. Washington DC-based Daniel Hagan led a team representing Occidental Chemical Corporation, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, in litigation before the FERC with MISO, Entergy, Louisiana Public Service Commission, Arkansas Public Service Commission, Mississippi Public Service Commission, Public Utility Commission of Texas and Council of the City of New Orleans over MISO’s qualifying facility integration plan. Andrea Menaker is the name to note for international arbitration.

Energy: regulatory

Index of tables

  1. Energy: regulatory
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP maintains its ‘unmatched’ reputation in power transmissions and enforcement with a strong bench of lawyers, most of whom have previous experience working at the FERC. As well as its power expertise, the firm also advises on the regulations involved in the financing of oil and gas projects. An impressive client base includes names such as Entergy Corporation, which the firm recently represented in FERC proceedings necessary to integrate into the MISO regional transmission organization (RTO), the largest RTO integration to date; Washington DC-based department head John Moot led the team. The widely praised Mike Naeve, Washington DC office head, acted for Exelon Corporation and Pepco Holdings to secure federal regulatory approvals for Exelon’s acquisition of Pepco to create the largest combination gas and electric utility in the US. On the enforcement side John Estes is the name to note; he recently represented Barclays in the first FERC enforcement action brought in Federal District Court regarding alleged violations arising from trading activity in Western US energy markets. Estes is also representing FirstEnergy Corporation in multiple federal court cases in the US Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal regarding federal preemption claims and the allocation of transmission costs.

The team at Van Ness Feldman LLPis creative and delivers better-reasoned and written product than most other firms in the market’. With ‘politically savvy and strategically astute lawyers’, the firm is well placed to understand the role of various regulations and the statutes under which assets are developed and operated in both federal and state systems. By leveraging its strong relationships with regulators and legislators, the firm attracts a wide range of electric and gas utilities and often advises on renewable energy projects and oil and gas products pipelines. It also has a premier hydropower practice. Partners Michael Swiger, Charles Sensiba, Tom Roberts and Jonathan Simon represented key client Alaska Energy Authority as FERC licensing and environmental permitting counsel for the development of the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric Project, the largest new dam project undertaken in the US in more than 40 years. Margaret Moore and Jessica Friedman represented Clean Energy Partners in obtaining a key regulatory approval from the FERC to charge negotiated rates for transmission service rights on its proposed transmission line. Curt Moffatt left the firm to join Kinder Morgan as deputy general counsel. All the aforementioned lawyers are based in Washington DC.

Excellent in all areas’, Andrews Kurth LLP has a more than three decades of industry experience and is thus well-equipped to guide clients through the regulatory framework. Clients include energy producers, developers and pipeline, transmission and marketing companies in the renewable, electric, natural gas, oil and gas and LNG sectors. Washington DC-based Shemin Proctor advised Cheniere Energy on the regulatory aspects of the $3.6bn construction and term-loan financing of the first two export liquefaction trains of the Sabine Pass LNG Liquefaction project. Kenneth Wiseman and Mark Sundback, who ‘compare very favorably to the very best in this area’, recently represented TransCanada Energy in multiple complaint proceedings at the FERC brought by the California Attorney General, Pacific Gas & Electric Company and Southern California Edison alleging market manipulation, tariff violations and charging unjust and unreasonable rates. Lino Mendiola in the Austin office handles regulatory issues with an emphasis on the Texas electric energy and natural gas markets.

Bracewell LLPunderstands the client’s business and industry’ and provides a ‘top-notch legal service’. Washington DC-based Kirk Morgan and managing partner Mark Lewisstand out in a class by themselves, and their ability to translate regulatory issues into creative commercial solutions is unbeatable. The pair recently advised - along with Kirstin Gibbs - Kinder Morgan and its subsidiaries on the regulatory, jurisdictional and commercial issues associated with several pipeline projects including a reorganization that involves the multibillion-dollar acquisition of publicly traded Kinder Morgan master limited partnerships. The team is also representing Kinder Morgan in ongoing regulatory and commercial issues associated with the operation of its gas pipeline network throughout the US. Lewis also led a team representing EnergyTransfer in the development of the Dakota Access crude oil pipeline project to move crude oil from North Dakota to various destination points. On the LNG side, the firm is negotiating the termination of LNG import and regasification agreements and participating in export proceedings to review tariff changes that impact remaining import services contracts for various clients, including GDF Suez, Shell LNG and Statoil Natural Gas. Sunoco Logistics, Crestwood Midstream Partners and Spectra Energy are other key clients.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP advises financial institutions, energy companies, commodity trading businesses and trade associations in the power, oil and gas, renewables and agricultural sectors. A particular area of expertise is regulatory diligence and compliance, and it has handled a number of domestic and international investigations. Special counsel Terence Healey and colleagues have been advising Third Planet Windpower on multiple wind generation projects, including advice related to assets in Texas and the development of a wind generation facility in Nebraska. The team also represented Exelon Corporation, Equipower Resources Management, Essential Power, Dynegy Marketing and Trade and Casco Bay Energy Company regarding the market operator’s ground-breaking and controversial proposal to apply performance incentives to generation companies. Paul Pantano heads the department and Kenneth Irvin is also recommended. All attorneys mentioned are based in Washington DC. Gregory Lawrence recently joined Greenberg Traurig LLP.

Covington & Burling LLP is adept at navigating complex regulatory and legislative challenges within the power utility and renewable industries. ‘True leaderWilliam Massey has led advice to key client COMPETE Coalition since he played a key role in its organization in 2005. Key members of COMPETE are some of the largest and most prominent electric utilities in the US, including Exelon, PSEG, Texas Utilities and IPPs such as Calpine and BP Energy, as well as large electricity customers such as Wal-Mart and Costco. Massey also acted as expert testimony for six plaintiff companies in two high-profile cases challenging the Maryland and New Jersey programs to build ratepayer-subsidized generating plants and bid them into the wholesale electricity market to lower prices. Gary Guzy joined the firm following five years as deputy director and general counsel to the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

King & Spalding LLP is a popular choice for IPPs, and its strong FERC practice gives clients ‘excellent quality work for reasonable rates. As well as power, the firm has a strong oil and gas practice advising clients on pipelines, royalty matters, offshore and onshore operations and reliability compliance and enforcement. Washington DC partner David Tewksbury attractss high praise; he recently led the firm’s representation of Electric Power Supply Associated (EPSA), the national trade association for IPPs, on several matters relating to the participation of demand response resources, including representing EPSA in the context of a major FERC rulemaking on compensation of demand response. Tewksbury also led advice to NRG on regulatory matters relating to various transactions, including its acquisition of substantially all of Edison Mission Energy’s assets for $2.64bn and its implementation of a yieldco arrangement. Co-chair of the global energy practice Neil Levy led a team advising LS Power on the regulatory issues relating to various transactions, including its acquisition of 11 hydroelectric power stations in Pennsylvania from FirstEnergy Corporation for $395m. On the natural gas side, the ‘extremely knowledgeableJames Bowe advised Arlington Storage Company on seeking FERC authorization for the expansion of its recently acquired Seneca Lake natural gas storage project. Charles Engel and Bruce Richardson are also recommended. All aforementioned partners are based in Washington DC.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘regulatory partners are all best in class - extremely hard working and responsive to clients. The firm has a leading energy regulatory practice across the gamut of power and oil and gas matters, the latter of which has seen a significant uptick, particularly regarding investment and financing matters. Ken Simon, who is ‘very knowledgeable and current on what’s happening in Washington DC’, recently led advice to Howard Energy Midstream Partners on the preparation of applications for a Presidential Permit and FERC authorization for two pipelines to transport gas from Texas to Mexico. Simon also advised Global Infrastructure Partners, a private equity purchaser of interest in the owner of the Freeport LNG Export project, on all regulatory issues affecting the project. On the power side, Washington DC-based global chair of energy regulatory and markets David Schwartz and Natasha Gianvecchio led advice to GE Energy Financial Services on multiple FERC proceedings regarding PJM’s allocation of over $100m in regional transmission upgrade costs to merchant transmission facility Linden VFT. Gianvecchio also led advice to Energy Capital Partners, EquiPower Resources and Brayton Point Energy on the regulatory aspects of acquiring Wheelabrator Technologies from Waste Management for $1.94bn.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLPhas a deep bench of practitioners, adept at FERC and CFTC advice’. It is known for its nuclear expertise, but is also strong in both oil and gas and electricity. Don Silverman and Anna Jones, both based in Washington DC, represented CB&I AREVA MOX Services in an NRC licensing proceeding for the construction and operation of a Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility. Washington DC partners Steve Frantz, John Matthews and Stephen Burdick represented Nuclear Innovation North America in an application to the NRC to construct and operate two new nuclear power plants. On the electric power side, Mark Williams and Heather Feingold represented Northern Star Generation (NSG) and its regulated subsidiaries before the FERC, seeking authorization of the sale of 50% of the ownership interests in NSG. Mark Haskellis stellar and has experience across energy commodities and regulators as well as litigation and transactional work’; he recently led a team representing Cameron LNG, the project sponsor and operator of a joint venture, in obtaining contested regulatory approvals for an LNG export terminal facility in Louisiana, including obtaining FERC, DOE and other federal authorizations. Brett Snyder was promoted to partner in October 2014.

Paul Hastings LLP is often involved in cutting-edge regulatory issues, particularly within the renewable sector, and has a solid track record of assisting clients through the development, financing, acquisition and disposition of infrastructure facilities. Head of energy regulatory William DeGrandis led a team with Tom Mounteer representing Idaho Wind Partners 1 in securing FERC monetization of Renewable Energy Credits by obtaining another order to secure the developer’s investments. Chicago-based Timothy Callahan represents Acciona on an ongoing basis in the development of its electric wind farms, particularly with respect to its power marketing activities. Yahoo! is a key client, which the firm advised on all regulatory aspects of its investments into the renewables market. San Francisco partner Peter Weiner leads the California energy regulatory team, representing a large share of the solar industry in utility scale siting. Charles Patrizia is another key name in Washington DC.

Sidley Austin LLP continues to grow since opening a Houston office in 2012, and currently has a team of more than 30 energy lawyers with years of collective industry expertise. Washington DC senior counsel David Lewis and Gene Elrod and Paul Zidlicky represented key client ExxonMobil in proceedings before the FERC and the Regulatory Commission regarding rates for transportation services over TAPS, involving challenges by the State of Alaska and other parties to over $700m spent by the TAPS owners to reconfigure the pipeline’s operations. Elrod also led representation of Kinder Morgan in several matters before the Department of State pertaining to the Department’s exercise of delegated powers to issue permits to pipelines that cross the US border with Canada and Mexico. Lorrie Marcil, also based in Washington DC, led advice to Magellan Midstream Partners on the start-up of the BridgeTex Pipeline, a joint venture with Oxy Midstream.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP has a substantial roster of clients which call upon its broad expertise in both pipeline and electric regulatory matters. Energy head David Raskin and Doug Green led a team that was retained by Duke Energy to conduct an investigation into an anonymous letter alleging misrepresentations made to the FERC in the competitive analysis submitted by merging parties Duke Energy and Florida Progress. Green also leads advice to Entergy Corporation in the DOJ’s antitrust monopolization investigation of the client’s electric power operations within its transmission footprint in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Steve Brose and Daniel Poynor represented Enterprise Products-owned pipelines in several matters, including defending Mid-America Pipeline against a challenge by Chevron Products company to the capacity allocation rules in a proposed tariff. Steve Reed, who is praised for his ‘excellent knowledge of the law, excellent advocacy and strategic thinking’, recently handled a number of FERC regulatory matters alongside Biz Scott for Enbridge, including obtaining a declaratory order approving the rate and tariff terms for the $2.65bn Flanagan South pipeline. All partners mentioned are based in Washington DC.

Winston & Strawn LLP continues to be involved in almost all of the key regulatory issues facing the electric power industry - ‘providing a top-notch service’, it is ‘one of a handful of firms competent in the US nuclear regulatory area. Washington DC partner David Repka and San Francisco-based Tyson Smith represented DTE Energy Company in an application for a combined operating license for the proposed Fermi 3 nuclear power plant. Eli Farrah and Ray Wuslich, both based in Washington DC, represented private utilities in New York with regard to the formation of an independent transmission entity that will build approximately $3bn of new transmission projects designed to address State public policy requirements. John Whittaker, also in Washington DC, represented FirstEnergy Generation before the FERC in the relicensing of its 452MW Seneca Pumped Storage Project. Jerry Bloom heads the team from Los Angeles, specializing in the representation of IPPs and developers of conventional fossil fuel and renewable power plant projects in regulatory proceedings.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has expertise across the board, receiving instructions from upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas, electric power and LNG companies. The team is well versed in issues ranging from federal and state tariffs and rate cases to enforcement matters before FERC, NERC and CFTC. Washington DC partner Jay Ryan led representation of Transmission Developers Incorporated, a Blackstone portfolio company, before the FERC on all transmission rate and policy issues and also the US Department of Energy regarding Presidential Permit matters. Head of energy regulatory Thomas Eastment led a team from Washington DC representing ExxonMobil, BP, HollyFrontier Corporation and Western Refining in complaint proceedings before the FERC and the United States Court of Appeals challenging pipeline rates of SFPP for the transportation of refined petroleum products from Texas and California to Arizona. The ‘very responsive and pragmatic’ Houston-based Jim Barkley gives clients ‘extremely valuable support’; he recently led representation of Westlake Ethylene Pipeline Corporation in a complaint filed at the Texas Railroad Commission by Eastman Chemical Company, alleging that certain changes made by the client to its tariff were discriminatory. Greg Wagner is another name to note in Washington DC.

DLA Piper’s litigation and regulatory teams work closely together and have an impressive breadth of expertise and resources. In the past year the firm has seen an uptick in FERC compliance work - a core focus area for the practice - and matters concerning LNG terminals. It was retained by Exelon to conduct a compliance audit of its natural gas activities and to make a presentation to its natural gas traders regarding FERC compliance issues; Washington DC partner Lee Alexander led the team and was responsible for establishing FERC policy on interstate gas and oil transportation issues during his time working at the Commission. New York-based Bob Alessi led advice to Inergy as outside project development and environmental counsel and its subsidiary Finger Lakes LPG Storage on a proposal to construct and operate an underground LPG storage facility in New York. Michael Hornstein joined the Washington DC office from Day Pitney LLP and has a background in FERC work involving the electric utility industry.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is particularly known for its representation of energy trading companies, assessing the regulatory implications of decisions from clients in the power, oil and natural gas markets. ‘Excellent’ head of enforcement Daniel Mullenis among the best FERC and CFTC enforcement lawyers in the business’ and receives plaudits from peers: ‘if I did not compete against him, I would refer many FERC enforcement matters to him. Mullen led the representation of TallGrass Energy Partners’ Interstate Gas Transmission, in various compliance matters before the FERC. Before joining the firm in 2013, Mullen was branch chief of the Division of Investigations at the FERC. Glenwood Energy Partners and Lone Star Energy Partners were also clients the firm advised on the cancelation of market-based rate authorization for Glenwood before FERC. Michael Yuffee left to join Reed Smith LLP in May 2014.

Greenberg Traurig LLP advises a wide range of clients in the natural gas, oil and power industries on regulatory issues before the FERC, state public utility commissions and appellate courts. Energy co-chair Kenneth Minesinger, Howard Nelson and Patrick Pope, all based in Washington DC, are representing El Paso Natural Gas in an ongoing rate case under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act at the FERC, proposing an increase in its base tariff rates. Minesinger and Nelson also represented ANR Pipeline Company in a filing to recover the cost of off-system capacity through an account tracker. Douglas Atnipp co-heads the energy and natural resources practice from Houston. Gregory Lawrence recently joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

The team at Hogan Lovells draws on a wealth of global regulatory experience and advises both regulated entities and their customers which brings a somewhat unique perspective. Acting on behalf of clients from every sector in the industry, the firm advises on rate and tariff matters, administrative hearings and enforcement and compliance actions among others, and has been involved in the regulatory aspects of some of the biggest projects in the US. Washington DC partner Patrick Nevins was lead project counsel to Dominion Cove Point LNG on the $3-4bn export project, including negotiating terminal use agreements, approvals from the Department of Energy and the FERC, among others. Daniel Stenger led advice to Exelon Corporation, Exelon Generation and Constellation Energy Nuclear Group (CENG) on NRC regulatory matters, including support for various licensing actions for CENG’s five nuclear power units, decommissioning funding issues and nuclear export control issues. Stefan Krantz represented TransCanada Corporation subsidiary TC Offshore in a rates appeal of FERC orders to the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Mary Anne Sullivan heads the team from Washington DC. Former general counsel for Constellation Energy Steven Miller and former senior adviser for policy and outreach for the office of politician Eric Cantor Aaron Cutler, recently joined the Washington DC office.

K&L Gates has a comprehensive, nationally recognized regulatory and litigation practice that acts as both a complement to its transactional practice and a standalone. Many of the lawyers come from strong FERC, NERC and environmental backgrounds. Washington DC partner Donald Kaplan led a team representing PPL Montana in successfully obtaining the necessary approvals from the FERC and clearance from the DOJ and FTC for a $900m sale of 11 hydroelectric generating plants. Harrisburg-based Craig Wilson led advice to Calpine Corporation on the permitting and development of the second phase of the York Energy Center, a natural gas combined-cycle electric generation unit. The group has expanded of late, welcoming partners from Stoel Rives LLP to the Seattle and Portland offices, as well as Paul Lacourciere from Greenbridge Corporate Counsel to the San Francisco office.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP advises on regulatory issues across a broad spectrum of projects. The team also represents clients in the documentation of purchase and sale agreements for Renewable Energy Certificates and other environmental products under a number of state and federal programs. Washington DC partners Jeffrey Watkiss and Robert Lamkin advised Manitoba Hydro on the regulatory aspects of structuring investment in the US in a high voltage transmission line and securing interconnection rights. On the oil and gas side, Karol Lyn Newman advised Energy Investors Funds on regulatory issues relating to the potential acquisition of offshore natural gas assets. Nuclear highlights included Martha Groves Pugh, also based in Washington DC, leading advice to Duke Energy on the tax implications of special transfers and contributions to qualified nuclear decommissioning trust funds. Pugh also advised Southern California Edison on the tax and regulatory implications of shutting down a nuclear power plant. New York partner James Pardo is recommended.

The team at McGuireWoods LLPhas a particularly good understanding of regulatory trends and insider issues in the energy sector’, owing to attorneys’ prior in-house experience in utility companies. Key areas of work include rate cases at federal level, organized market design and compliance. The firm has positioned itself at the forefront of shaping energy regulation, working on producing a ground-breaking FERC research tool. Chair of energy enforcement, Washington DC-based Todd Mullins, is ‘very good on the energy regulatory side with a strong understanding of how the regulators are likely to view an issue’; he led representation of several former Barclays energy traders in the FERC investigation of manipulation of Western US energy markets by traders, involving $16m in FERC penalties. Andrea Kells, based in the Raleigh office, represented Duke Energy Corporation and, via cost sharing, American Electric Power, Dayton Power & Light and FirstEnergy Corporation, in a series of high-profile PJM Interconnection filings intending to reform PJM’s multibillion-dollar capacity market. Noel Symons is also recommended.

Morrison & Foerster LLP represents clients in both state and federal regulatory matters and the team is active before the FERC, CFTC and NERC, advising on compliance standards, transmission and interconnection issues, enforcement investigations and administrative and appellate litigation. Washington DC senior of counsel Robert Fleishman represented JP Morgan and JPMorgan Ventures Energy Corporation in two high-profile, complex and contentious investigations at the FERC as well as in settlement negotiations. A team in San Francisco including partners Christopher Carr and David Gold advised EDF Renewable Energy on a variety of regulatory, environmental and land use aspects of wind and solar development, including obtaining approvals for the 300MW Avalon Wind Project in Kern County, California. Further highlights on the renewables side saw Michael Ginsburg representing Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in master power purchase and site agreements for onsite distributed generation solar projects in Hawaii and Colorado.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is praised for its ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and assists a diverse client base of prominent industry players with navigating complex regulatory regimes and schemes relating to IPPs, transmission system operators, power marketers and natural gas pipelines, among others. Adam Wenner represented LS Power in obtaining FERC approval for an agreement by the Wyoming-Colorado Intertie, a 180-mile transmission project to provide all of its capacity to Wyoming Wind & Power. Wenner, along with San Francisco partner Les Sherman, also led representation of Silverado Power in an FERC proceeding challenging the proposed assessment of millions of dollars of hook-up charges based on a proposed reclassification of the utility’s system.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP stands out for its extensive and lengthy representation both of sources of capital for energy companies and also the oil, gas and power companies themselves. Michael Hindus led a team successfully representing Valero Energy before the California Public Utilities Commission as intervener in an application of San Pablo Bay Pipeline Company for its approval of tariffs, and won refunds in excess of $35m as a result of overcharges by the San Joaquin Valley Crude Oil Pipeline. Washington DC-based David Lewis, along with Jay Silberg, led advice to PPL Corporation in preparing an application for a construction permit and operating license for a new nuclear plant. Washington DC partner John O’Neill led a team advising Florida Power & Light Company on the preparation of the combined construction permit and operating license application for a multibillion-dollar nuclear plant, including representing the client in the NERC licensing processing and negotiation of the EPC contract.

Reed Smith LLP provides ‘excellent practical advice’ and has a notable presence in many high-profile matters in the regulatory space, involving compliance, enforcement and litigation before the FERC, CFTC and in the courts. Chicago-based Patricia Dondanville has been working with the Electric Utility Coalition and a number of other electric and natural gas trade associations and companies ever since Congressional hearings began on the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation in 2009. Michael Yuffee, who recently joined the Washington DC office from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, is a favorite with clients for his ‘witty, personable nature; he is advising Repsol on the regulatory implications of participation in the RTO power markets. On the natural gas side, Houston-based Paul Turner led advice to Gazprom Marketing and Trading on the acquisition of natural gas supply contracts and related transportation agreements with an interstate natural gas pipeline in the US and a large pipeline in Mexico to supply US gas-fired plants there.

The ‘strong and thoughtful’ team at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLPrelays complex issues in understandable terms and in clear logical order, advising a broad range of clients on FERC, CFRC, NERC, EPA and DOE and has been particularly active in representing clients in CFTC enforcement matters stemming from The Dodd-Frank Act. Daniel Frank is representing Iowa Consumers Coalition in negotiating a rate settlement on behalf of industrial consumers of electricity. James Bushee, and Austin-based Richard Noland and James Guy, led a team advising Sharyland Utilities on the preparation and litigation of its 2013 base rate case, a proceeding to establish the utility’s rates to be implemented on the initiation of retail competition. Catherine Krupka ‘educates her clients to make them more literate in a particular issue’. Michael Sweeney and Susan Lafferty are also recommended. Attorneys are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Thompson & Knight LLP has represented clients before federal, state and local entities for more than 50 years, assisting with the scope of applicable regulations, seeking agency guidance and obtaining permits. Austin-based practice head James Morriss, Ashley Phillips and Christopher Smith are ‘very responsive and ahead of the competition and highly respected even by the opposition. Morriss, along with Paul Sarahan, led advice to Texas Oil & Gas Association on preparing and submitting a testimony in response to the EPA’s proposed refinery rules. Dallas partner James Harris represented a landowner in proceedings before the Texas Public Utility Commission to select a route for high-voltage transmission lines. Phillip Oldham is ‘exceptional - very knowledgeable about electricity policy and where issues are going well ahead of competitors’. The firm significantly expanded its energy offering in the past year: Oldham and Rex VanMiddlesworth joined the Austin office in August 2014 from Andrews Kurth LLP and Smith was promoted to partner in February 2014.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is known for tackling the most complex of regulatory issues and has an impressive client list, particularly in the natural gas and LNG space. Houston partner James Olson led a team representing Antero Resources in a negotiation started by Columbia Gas Transmission to recover approximately $1.5bn in capital expenditures to modernize its system. Practice co-head David Andril and John Decker, both based in Washington DC, led advice to Freeport-McMoRan Energy on its filing of an application with the DOE for long-term authorization to export up to 24 million tons per annum of LNG from the client’s proposed Main Pass Energy Hub Deepwater Port. On the power side Dallas-based practice head Matthew Henry is leading a team advising Oncor Electric Delivery Company, an independent transmission and distribution utility and the largest in Texas, on a range of issues regarding its construction of part of the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone transmission project.

White & Case LLP sees ever-increasing demand for its services in this space, demonstrated through its panel appointment by Exelon Corporation for regulatory and antitrust matters. The firm is also on panels for BNP Paribas, Ecopetrol and The Export Import Bank of Korea, among others. Washington DC partner Daniel Hagan led a team representing Occidental Chemical Corporation, a subsidiary of Occidental Petroleum, in litigation with the MISO and other entities over MISO’s qualifying facility requirements. Hagan, along with Washington DC counsel Jane Rueger advised DTE Electric Company on energy-related services nationwide, including its procurement of renewable generation in Michigan through power purchase agreements. In Washington DC, Earle O’Donnell is recommended on the power side. Amiko Sudo was promoted to counsel in New York and Marius Griskonis to partner in New York.

WilmerHale has extensive knowledge of the public policy, political and regulatory aspects of its clients’ legal challenges, and has strong connections with federal and state regulators. Jamie Gorelick led a team representing Arctic Slope Regional Corporation in federal legislative and policy issues relating to the development of oil and gas resources on the North Slope of Alaska. Boston partner Rob Kirsch, and Heather Zachary from Washington DC, are leading advice to Apache Corporation on a number of matters relating to a coordinated effort seeking tens of billions of dollars in damages from the energy industry based on allegations that oil and gas development work over many decades has damaged coastal property in Louisiana. Ken Salazar joined the team from the Department of the Interior.

Energy: renewable/alternative

Index of tables

  1. Energy: renewable/alternative
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Chadbourne & Parke LLP brings deep project finance and tax equity expertise to the renewables market and maintains its dominant position in this space. Projects partner Peter Fitzgerald led a cross-departmental team from the Washington DC and New York offices advising the DOE on the loan guarantees and financing by its financing arm and the US Federal Financing Bank to construct Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle Nuclear Project. Department head Keith Martin and New York-based corporate partner Andrew Coronios led advice to SolarCity on the first securitization of distributed rooftop solar energy assets. Co-head Rohit Chaudhry is also recommended. Attorneys are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Latham & Watkins LLPcontinues to impress’. Advising both developers and lenders, the firm has been at the forefront of the recent yieldco activity in the market, with New York partner Kirk Davenport and Chicago-based Brad Kotler advising the capital providers to TerraForm Power Incorporated, one of only five existing energy yieldco-structured IPOs. New York partners David Kurzweil and Matthew Henegar and Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Greenberg led a cross-departmental, inter-office team advising Energy Capital Partners on its $1.94bn acquisition of Wheelabrator Technologies, a company that converts municipal solid waste and other renewable waste fuels into clean energy. David Kurzweil and David Schwartz head the energy practice from New York and Washington DC respectively. Kelley Michael Gale chairs the global project development and finance group from San Diego.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s renewable team handles all aspects of the development, financing, acquisition and disposition of renewable energy projects and has been particularly active in wind matters. William Bice in New York led advice to Morgan Stanley and Banco Santander as the construction lenders on the 150MW Route 66 wind project in Texas. Los Angeles partner Allan Marks led advice to Pattern Energy on its acquisition of the 200MW Logan’s Gap wind project in Texas. Project finance co-chair Eric Silverman led advice to Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, Mizuho Bank and Sumitomo Corporation on the project financing for the Mesquite Creek wind project in Texas. Daniel Bartfeld in New York and Karen Wong in Los Angeles are also recommended.

Clients ‘have a lot of respect’ for the team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP and the firm is praised for its breadth across the renewables spectrum. Eric Stephens, who ‘has an excellent approach and a willingness to be very creative’, led advice to Recurrent Energy on ten agreements to build and operate approximately 500MW of solar facilities, one of the largest solar investments in the US. Renewables co-head Mark Weitzel ‘is something of a legend in the field and is outstanding at making a client feel like they are his only client. Weitzel, along with partners Tom Glascock and Les Sherman led advice to SunEdison on the construction loan, term-loan and tax equity financing for a $340m solar photovoltaic generating facility in California. All aforementioned lawyers are based in San Francisco. Tara Higgins co-heads the practice from New York, which also has partners based in San Francisco and Washington DC.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s strong M&A and transactions expertise serves as a solid basis for its renewables offering. Pankaj Sinha and William Conway led advice to AES Corporation on an agreement to sell its ownership in wind energy projects with a total output of 231MW to a subsidiary of ALLETE Incorporated. On the development side, Lance Brasher and Martin Klepper advised First Solar Incorporated on the development, engineering and construction contract and sale of the 250MW Silver State South solar photovoltaic project in Nevada, as well as the proposed development, construction and $289m financing by OPIC and the IFC of the Luz del Norte solar power plant in Chile.

Houston firm Andrews Kurth LLP is well versed in assisting clients with the complexities of renewable energy projects, including related tax, financial and environmental advice. George Humphrey led advice to developer Cim TexCo on the sale of development rights of an up to 2000MW wind project in Oklahoma. Vera Rechsteiner and Mark Thurber advised the sponsors on the development and financing of a 40MW biomass project in Honduras. Giji John represented Renewable Energy Systems in the negotiation of a power purchase agreement with Arkansas Electric Cooperative Corporation for its wind project in Oklahoma and for the sale of this project to Enel Green Power.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s renewables practice is at the forefront of the solar energy market, representing several of the top solar companies in the world and it has very much kept in step with the solar boom in the market. A team including Jeffery Atkin in Los Angeles, Jason Allen in Milwaukee, Jason Barglow, William DuFour and David Markey, also in Los Angeles, led advice to Goal Zero, a leading manufacturer of portable solar power products, on its acquisition by NRG Energy. Allen, along with Milwaukee partners Edward Hammond, Kathleen Wegrzyn and David Clark, advised Greenleaf Power Consolidated, a biomass portfolio company, in raising $100m of mezzanine debt financing. David Markey joined the Los Angeles office from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. The firm lost James Tynion, Elizabeth Hanigan and Evelyn Kim to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP.

Hogan Lovells has worked on some of the largest and most innovative energy projects in the US, employing its broad experience in the development and financing of renewable energy projects in the solar, wind and biomass space. Baltimore-based Brian Chappell, renewable energy and climate change head, led advice from the Baltimore office to Exelon Corporation, as borrower’s counsel, on a $42m financing by Mizuho Corporate Bank of a solar generating facility. Infrastructure head Jorge Diaz-Silveira, of the Miami office, led advice to Grupo Onyx on the development, construction and financing of a photovoltaic solar project in Honduras. James Gede, also from the Baltimore office, is head of power and infrastructure.

Hunton & Williams LLP’s widely recognized practice represents developers, investors and lender clients in acquiring, developing and financing renewable energy and clean power projects, including wind, solar, nuclear, clean-coal and biomass. The firm has a strong tax equity offering to support its renewables capabilities. It recently acted as counsel to ArcLight Capital Partners on the sale of interests in a 100MW hydroelectric facility in Maine. The firm also advised Invenergy on the arranged debt and equity financing for its 207MW Rattlesnake Wind Energy Center, currently under construction in Texas. Jeff Schroeder heads the energy and infrastructure team from Washington DC.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s strengths in finance, real estate and environmental work contribute directly to its innovative clean technology and renewables practice. San Francisco partners Jordan Eth, Judson Lobdell and Craig Martin are defending SunPower, its board of directors, its CEO and CFO in a federal securities class action and six related shareholder derivative actions following a drop in stock. Head of department Christopher Carr, David Gold and Miles Imwalle advised First Solar on a variety of aspects of its acquisition of a 40MW site in Fresno County. Susan Mac Cormac and Jeffrey Chester (Los Angeles) also head the practice. EDF Energy Renewables and Apex Clean Energy were also recent clients.

Attorneys at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLPalways make themselves available and are thought leaders for key work. The firm regularly handles complex project financings in the field, utilizing its deep expertise across the energy spectrum - including the wind industry - and its close ties with the private equity world. New York-based Ken Wyman led advice to Barclays Capital on the $300m holdco facility for Exgen Renewables, a subsidiary of Exelon Generation. David Lieberman led advice to Union Bank as lead arranger on the $217.702m project financing of Bicent Power. New York partner Brian Steinhardt ‘is extremely knowledgeable about acquisition debt financing and a strong advocate for his client’s interests. He maintains up-to-date knowledge of the latest market developments and advises on structures that reflect these’.

Winston & Strawn LLP has ‘a number of top-class attorneys’. The strong practice focuses on the development and financing of renewable and alternative energy projects, serving industry and financial clients across the United States and internationally. Key members of the team include Los Angeles partner Jerry Bloom, who recently led advice, along with Katherine McAvoy Gillespie, to SunRun Incorporated on a variety of tax equity investments by a number of entities, including Credit Suisse, JPMorgan Capital and Antrim Corporation. Also on the West Coast is Joseph Karp in the San Francisco office, who assists on the project development side and in the past year represented clients in numerous successful power purchase agreement negotiations involving renewable projects, among them Prologis, SolarReserve and First Solar. On the East Coast, Jonathan Birenbaum in New York focuses on acquisitions and dispositions in the energy and infrastructure sectors. In Washington DC Elias Farrah and Ray Wuslich are recommended. Dirk Mueller left to join Farella Braun & Martel LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s project finance expertise includes the former board chairman of the American Wind Energy Association, the former CEO of a large wind energy developer, the chair of the Project Finance Subcommittee of the IBA, and an industry-leading renewable energy tax adviser to mention a few. Los Angeles-based head of department Edward Zaelke led advice to Hannon Armstrong Sustainable Infrastructure Capital on the acquisition of a $107m portfolio of over 60 assets consisting of land and payments from land leases underlying wind and solar projects. Dino Barajas led a team advising OCI Solar Power on the development of 400MW of solar power projects in Texas. Washington DC partner Thomas Trimble advised Mars on its agreement with Sumitomo Corporation of America for a new Mesquite Creek Wind Farm.

Baker & McKenzie LLP has a strong offering on both the development and financing side of renewables projects and, aided by its extensive geographic network, assists clients with negotiating and structuring all phases of projects. New York-based chair of the global renewable energy practice Clyde ‘Skip’ Rankin led a team advising EDF Renewable Energy on the tax equity investment by GE Financial for a wind energy project in Texas, the second phase of potentially three wind energy developments by the client in the area. Chicago partner Mona Dajani led advice to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners on the acquisition of the outstanding capital stock of Upper Peninsula Power Company from Integrys Energy Group for $300m.

Clients find Ballard Spahr LLP’s ‘responsiveness and timely and thoughtful assistance invaluable’. The firm has been acting as lead counsel for lenders on renewables transactions as well as representing some of the largest developers in the market. A team including Washington DC-based practice head Thomas Hoffmann, Phoenix-based Jeffrey Pitcher and David Armstrong and Daniel Simon, also in the capital, are providing ongoing advice to NRG Energy on a range of matters including the Alpine Solar Project for which the company is the borrower. Other recent instructions came from the Denver Housing Authority and the Center for Climate Strategies. Molly Bryson joined the Washington DC office as head of the tax credits team from Nixon Peabody LLP.

Covington & Burling LLP’s renewable practice is distinguished by its breadth in transactional, dispute resolution, regulatory and policy expertise across the energy industry. The firm advises leading participants in the solar, wind, biofuels and technology industries, using cross-disciplinary and cross-office resources. Gary Guzy, who recently joined the Washington DC office from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, led a team advising Financing America’s Investment in Renewables Coalition on advocating that Congress extend the availability of Master Limited Partnerships to renewable energy assets. Redwood Shores partner Scott Anthony led advice to Talesun Solar USA on a variety of matters, including the negotiation of several sales agreements, including those with Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Suniva and Origis Energy. George Frampton left the firm to set up Frampton Advisors and The Partnership of Responsible Growth.

Dentons represents both developers and financial institutions on utility scale and commercial renewable energy projects, employing extensive expertise in project finance. A team across the New York, Chicago, St Louis, Washington DC and Dallas offices acted as project counsel to Mesquite Creek Wind, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Corporation of America, on the development and financing of a 200MW wind farm in Texas. Washington DC partner James Costan, Matthew Adams in San Francisco and Thomas Vandiver in Los Angeles, advised Algonquin Power & Utilities Corporation, which owns and operates a $3.2bn portfolio of utilities in North America, on compliance with CAISO Intermittent Resource Protocols and related PPA provisions and on federal and state environmental compliance. Clinton Vince heads the team from Washington DC.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s team combines lawyers with background in project development, finance, M&A, securitizations and tax equity in the renewables context and advises clients from the solar, wind, biomass and fuel cell industries. Houston partner Brad Gathright led advice to BP Wind Energy North America Incorporated on the sale of four development-stage wind energy projects to three separate buyers. Miami partner Philip Tingle and Joel Hugenberger, David Mathus and Madeline Chiampou Tully from New York, advised Credit Suisse’s Strategic Transactions Group on a ground-breaking securitization involving solar power systems. Tingle also led a team including Washington DC partner Debra Harrison and Houston-based Matt Archer advising Morgan Stanley’s solar development group on the financing and development of numerous solar installations around the US. Former legal head at private equity firm Zaff Capital Daniel Chavez joined the Houston office in January 2014.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP has had a watershed year, adding three partners to its leading wind and solar practice. Los Angeles-based Wayne Song led advice to First Wind, an independent wind power company, on the $369m development and financing of the 148MW Oakfield wind energy project being constructed in Maine. James Tynion led a team from New York advising SunEdison on its acquisition from Samsung of a 20MW solar power facility in California. Other recent clients included ALLETE Incorporated, Edison Mission Energy and Exelon. Tynion, Elizabeth Hanigan and Evelyn Kim joined from Foley & Lardner LLP.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP represents the full gamut of private and public project participants, from lenders and sponsors to developers, producers and investors, with particular expertise in tax equity work. New York partner Junaid Chida led a team advising JP Morgan, Wells Fargo, MetLife and State Street on their investment of long-term capital via equity agreements in the Buffalo Dunes wind power project development in Kansas. Chida and Dev Sen, also from the New York office, advised Bloom Energy and its subsidiaries on the equity and non-recourse debt financing of a portfolio of fuel cell electricity generators across the US. Los Angeles partners Kelly McTigue and Denise Raytis are recommended for project development and environmental work.

Paul Hastings LLP’s renewables team is often involved in cutting-edge, complex regulatory, contractual and legal issues and risk mitigation. It is particularly active in the solar space. Washington DC partners William DeGrandis and Thomas Mounteer led advice to Idaho Wind Partners 1 on securing FERC monetization of their renewable tax credits by obtaining another critical order helping to secure the developer’s investments. DeGrandis also led the defense of Midland Power Cooperative in actions raised before the FERC and federal district court with regards to obligations under the Public Utilities Regulatory Policies Act. Chicago partner Timothy Callahan represents Acciona on an ongoing basis in relation to the development of its electric wind farms.

Shearman & Sterling LLP works primarily on the financing side of renewable projects for an enviable list of clients. New York co-head of sustainable development Robert Freedman led a team advising Mitsubishi-UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation as mandated lead arrangers and Union Bank as administrative agent on the $435m financing for Sempra’s Copper Mountain Solar III project. Co-head of sustainable development Patricia Hammes advised Union Bank from Washington DC as administrative and collateral agent on a senior secured acquisition financing for LS Power’s acquisition of hydro assets from First Energy Corporation. Other key clients include Bank of America Merill Lynch and Barclays Capital.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP represents clients involved in nearly every facet of renewable energy development and finance, including equipment manufacture, environmental permitting, site development and tax structuring and finance. San Francisco-based practice head Tony Toranto led a team of lawyers advising Bridge Bank on the financing of multiple portfolios of over 40 solar energy projects across the US. Toranto also led advice to NRG Energy and its affiliates on the real estate and financing aspects of the 66MW Alpine Solar project, one of the largest operating photovoltaic facilities in California. A team including Jeffrey Rector and Los Angeles special counsel Andrea Wang-Lucan advised ET Solar and the project company on the development and construction of the Halifax County Airport Solar Project in North Carolina.

Sidley Austin LLP has been very active in the energy renewable transactions space of late, acting for clients in upstream oil and gas, oilfield services, natural gas pipelines and electric utilities, among others. New York partner Irving Rotter advised MAP Royalty and Bordas Wind Energy on the sale to NextEra Energy Resources of the development rights for a 250MW wind farm in Texas. Houston partners Sergio Pozzerle and Glenn Pinkerton advised Grupo Terra on the development and financing of the 50MW San Marcos wind energy generation project in Honduras.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s ‘overall level of service has been and continues to be better than exceptional’. Its renewables practice handles project development, financing and infrastructure across all sectors of the market, including production, transportation, distribution and marketing. Houston-based Ram Sunkara led a team advising Microsoft on its very first line-secured hedge in ERCOT with RES Americas to buy the output of a new wind facility in Texas. Atlanta-based Dorothy Franzoni ‘takes a personal interest in deeply learning each client’s business and its drivers, as well as being a very good lawyer’, and Washington DC partner Amish Shah is also popular with clients. The group recently advised Kauai Island Utility Cooperative on the development of a solar generating facility; advice included federal tax incentives, EPC contracting and securities matters.

Vinson & Elkins LLPsurpasses expectations’ with a ‘level of service that is excellent both in terms of expertise and responsiveness’. The firm is best known for its strengths in energy and infrastructure projects in the wind, hydroelectric, solar, biofuels and clean air technology sectors. Washington DC partner and global head of project finance Mark Spivakdemonstrates a strong background in project finance and power generation and is extremely knowledgeable and hardworking. Spivak led a team advising Alto Maipo SpA on the development and financing of the Alto Maipo hydroelectric project in Chile. Dallas partner Matthew Henry led a team advising Oncor Electric Delivery Company on its part in the Competitive Renewable Energy Zone project, including the award docket, interconnections and litigation. AES Corporation and Riverstone Holdings were also clients. Katy Gottsponer of the Washington DC office was promoted to partner in January 2014.

Energy: transactions

Index of tables

  1. Energy: transactions
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Latham & Watkins LLP is the ‘go-to counsel, especially for complex, highly structured transactions’. The firm handles a broad range of M&A, secured lending, corporate finance and project development in the oil and gas and power sectors. Ryan Maierson in Houston and Eli Hunt and Edward Sonnenschein in New York advised Access Midstream Partners on its $50bn merger with Willams Partners. New York-based power co-chair David Kurzweil and Paul Kukish advised Energy Capital Partners on the sale of ten US power plants to Dynegy Incorporated for $3.45bn. Co-chair of the oil and gas practice Sean Wheeler led a team from Houston acting as target’s counsel on the sale of Athlon Energy to Encana. Washington DC partner David Schwartz is recommended for power work, and Christopher Cross in New York and Michael Darden in Houston are names to note for oil and gas.

Baker Botts L.L.P. provides an ‘exceptional level of service across the board’ and the ‘excellent team has a great deal of applicable experience’ in the LNG, power and in particular the oil and gas space, a hallmark for the firm. A Houston team including Kelly Rose, Hillary Holmes and AJ Ericksen advised Shell Midstream Partners on its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange. Austin partner Mollie Duckworth led advice to The Energy & Minerals Group on its equity investments into American Energy-Permian Basin and Utica shale play projects. Washington DC partners Steven Miles, Thomas Holmberg and Jessica Fore ‘provide particularly good advice on LNG projects’, and Houston’s Joe Poffis strong in pipeline purchase transactions. In New York, Michael Didriksenis an exceptional lawyer who brings thoughtful and practical guidance, hard work, responsiveness and creative thinking to the table.

For preeminent player Bracewell LLP, energy is the life blood of the firm, placing it in ‘a class with few members’. The firm covers the full spectrum of sectors including coal, oil and gas and renewables. Houston-based department head Alan Rafte led a cross-office team advising Apache Corporation on the sale of its non-operated interests in the Lucius and Heidelberg deepwater Gulf of Mexico developments for $1.4bn. Rafte also led a team with fellow Houston partners William Anderson and Heather Palmer and Elizabeth McGinley from New York, advising Phillips 66 on the exchange of its flow improver business to Berkshire Hathaway for $1.35bn. Stuart Zisman, based in Houston, ‘is one of the smartest lawyers around, and his ability to distil complex legal points into approachable solutions is second to none. Michael Telle left to join Vinson & Elkins LLP.

King & Spalding LLP stands out for its project development and construction expertise in the LNG sector, and has also recently had a number of instructions from private equity companies. Houston partners Philip Weems, Scott Greer, Dan Rogers and Singapore-based Merrick White are advising Anadarko on all aspects of its $50bn Mozambique LNG export project, including upstream and shareholder agreements, construction contracts and LNG sales agreements. Greer and co-head of the global energy practice Philip Weems also advised Freeport LNG on the drafting and negotiation of the EPC agreement for the LNG export trains 1, 2 and 3 to be built as an expansion to the existing export terminal in Texas. Ken Culotta heads the global transactions practice. Dan Rogers moved back to the Houston office after four years in Singapore.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has an impressive array of clients across the electric power and oil and gas sectors and has a particularly strong finance practice. New York-based David Lieberman is ‘strong in framing business issues associated with particular legal considerations’; he recently led advice to Union Bank as the lead arranger on the approximately $218.7m project financing of Bicent Power. Kenneth Wyman, Amy Beller and Andrew Smith advised KKR on its acquisition of six solar photovoltaic facilities currently being developed by Redcurrant Energy. In terms of oil and gas work, Andrew Smith, Ed Tolley and Joshua Bonnie, also in New York, advised key client First Reserve Corporation on the sale of all its interests in SES Holdings to Schlumberger Limited. A team across the New York and Houston offices, including Art Robinson and Robert Rabalais, led advice to initial purchasers Merrill Lynch, Pierce and Fenner & Smith Incorporated on the $8bn financing for California Resources Corporation’s spin-off from Occidental Petroleum Corporation.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is a recognized leader in high-profile energy M&A, project finance and development transactions across all fuel types. A recent highlight saw Washington DC partners Michael Rogan and Katherine Ashley advise Dynegy on its acquisition of Ameren Energy Resource Company and its subsidiaries from Ameren Corporation. Allison Land in Wilmington and Tom Logan in New York advised NextEra Energy on its joint venture with Spectra Energy to construct a $3bn natural gas pipeline from Alabama to Florida. Washington DC-based Jeremy London advised JPMorgan Chase as financial adviser to Energen Corporation on its sale of Alabama Gas Corporation. Michael Rogan and Pankaj Sinha head the transactions team from the capital.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s integrated network of offices around the globe offers clients extensive cross-border expertise across the board in oil and gas, including sale and purchase, development and financing and the regulatory complexities and technical issues that affect projects round the world. In Houston John Connally and Jeff Floyd led a team of partners across three offices advising Devon Energy Corporation on the $8.84bn contribution of all of its US midstream business to Crosstex Energy Incorporated to form a consolidated midstream business controlled by the client. Doug Bland led a team of Houston and Dallas partners advising Summit Midstream Partners on acquiring the equity interest of Blackhawk Midstream in Utica Shale gathering system. Michael Saslaw recently joined the Dallas office from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Michael Telle joined the Houston office from Bracewell LLP. Matt Pacey left in September 2014 to join Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP has deep roots in the energy industry, from exploration through to distribution, and also in the renewables space. The firm’s international experience and its strong public law and policy groups mean it is well placed to advise on both inbound and outbound energy investment. Steven Otillar led a team advising EP Energy on its divestiture of almost $1.4bn of natural gas and oil and gas assets throughout the US. Christine LaFollette advised Laredo Petroleum Holdings on the sale of its interests in properties and assets in the Anadarko Basin to affiliates of EnerVest for $438m. Stephen Davis led advice to SK Gas on a binding 20-year liquefaction tolling agreement with Freeport LNG Expansion. Michael Byrd joined the team from Baker & McKenzie LLP in March 2014. All aforementioned lawyers are based in Houston.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has strategically expanded its already strong energy offering in the past few years, adding a considerable number of partners to the team. It has been particularly active across the oil and gas and power sectors. Steven Talley in Denver and Eduardo Gallardo in New York advised Williams Partners on its $50bn merger with Access Midstream Partners. Key client Evercore Partners retained New York partners Peter Hanlon and Barbara Becker to advise on a number of matters, including the acquisition of three major wind farm projects by Pattern Energy, the second-largest yieldco in the US. New York-based practice co-chair Nick Politan, and Bill Hollaway in Washington DC, are advising the Tres Amigas SuperStation, which plans to unite three major power grids, the Eastern, Western and Texas Interconnection to allow electricity to pass through separate regional zones. New York energy and infrastructure co-chair Steven Buffone is recommended.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has seen substantial activity in transactions involving a variety of energy assets, including natural gas-fired power plants, transmission lines, energy retailers and on and offshore pipelines. The arrival of Daniel Chavez in January 2014 from private equity firm Zaff Capital boosted the firm’s Houston offering with his expertise in mergers, acquisitions, debt restructurings and corporate reorganization. On the power side, global energy advisory head Blake Winburne, along with Brad Gathright with Joel Hugenberger in New York, led advice to ArcLight Capital Partners on the acquisition and project financing of a 625MW, state-of-the-art combined-cycle power plant in Arizona from Sempra Energy. In oil and gas, Winburne and Gathright advised Energy Investors Funds on the acquisition of a 100% membership stake in Starfish Pipeline Company from Enbridge Offshore. Matt Archer is known for power and renewables work, and Philip Tingle in Miami advises on the tax aspects of energy matters. Attorneys are based in Houston except where stated otherwise.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP combines broad regulatory and transactional expertise with global reach and industry knowledge to provide a ‘market-leading’ service to clients across the oil and gas, coal, nuclear and renewables sectors. Houston-based practice head David Asmus and Brian Bradshaw advised Sempra Energy and its affiliate Cameron LNG on the development of a natural gas liquefaction export facility at the site of the Cameron LNG terminal in Hackberry, Louisiana. Asmus and Joe Roger, also based in Houston, co-led a team advising Newfield Exploration Company on the $898m sale of its Malaysian exploration and production business. In Boston, Richard Filosa acted as lead counsel to Energy Investors Funds on the development, construction and financing of a gas-fired power plant for Pio Pico Energy Center.

Norton Rose Fulbright has been at the forefront of the recent uptick in LNG projects in the US. Head of the energy transactional practice Michael Irvin, who is in the Houston office, recently led advice to Anadarko Petroleum on the development of multiple oil and gas discoveries in deep water off the coast of the Republic of Ghana. Irvin also led a team including Houston partner Josh Agrons advising Baytex Energy Corporation on its $2.6bn acquisition of 100% of the shares of Australian company Aurora Oil and Gas Limited. George Crady, also in Houston, advises energy companies and strategic investors on M&A and project development, and Deborah Gitomer focuses on oil and gas transactions from Houston. Daniel Mark, also Houston, and Mark Wasem in Dallas are other names to note.

Thompson & Knight LLP’s ‘attorneys are very attentive to client needs and eager to help. Advice is always strong and is based on significant experience in the energy industry. Arthur Wright led a team advising EnerVest on the $1.95bn acquisition of oil and gas assets in the Granite Wash and Cleveland fields of Texas from LINN Energy. Andrew Derman and John Cohn led advice from Dallas to Pertamina on the $1.75bn acquisition of ConocoPhillips’ subsidiary ConocoPhillips Algeria Limited. Houston partner Tim Samson ‘is very experienced and diligent. In Dallas, David Wheat’s ‘knowledge of tax law affecting energy transactions is extremely broad’. Jolisa Dobbs is another name to note in Dallas.

Andrews Kurth LLP uses deep experience in all facets of the oil and gas industry to advise a range of domestic and international independent producers, royalty trusts and oil companies. Houston-based Mike O’Leary and Mark Young advised Evercore Partners, the financial adviser to the conflicts committee of Phillips 66 Partners, on the dropdown of its Gold Product pipeline system. O’Leary also advised American Energy-Woodford, an affiliate of American Energy Partners, on the raising of $500m in equity commitments from The Energy & Minerals Group and a $180m loan to acquire energy assets. David Buck, who has extensive corporate and securities law experience, led advice to Post Oak Energy Capital on its equity commitment Oryx Midstream Services. David Denechaud left to join Sidley Austin LLP.

Baker & McKenzie LLPhas the experience, expertise and depth of knowledge to greatly facilitate the client’s goals’ and stands out for its great depth in oil and gas work, drawing on substantial global resources. Houston-based Louis Davis ‘is an excellent oil and gas lawyer, extremely hard working and responsive to clients, with a common-sense approach. Davis recently led a team advising West 17th Resources on the negotiation and preparation of transactions with ConocoPhillips for the development of approximately 11,100 acres in the Eagle Ford Shale Play. Head of project development Natalie Regoli excels at advising owners and developers in major transactions. Michael Byrd left to join Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP, well known for its considerable oil and gas practice, has recently been active in advising the lenders, sponsors and owners on several of the major LNG transactions in the US. Noam Ayali in Washington DC and Ben Koenigsberg in New York led a team advising approximately 40 commercial bank lenders and other financial institutions on the debt facilities for the $5.9bn financing of Trains 3 and 4 of the Sabine Pass Liquefaction project. The partners also led a team advising Société Générale and the lender syndicate in the Cheniere-owned Corpus Christi $12bn financing of three LNG Trains, three storage tanks, two marine berths and gas treatment and processing facilities, as well as a bi-directional gas pipeline. Other clients included Macquarie and The AES Corporation.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP advises on a range of complex transactional projects in the energy and natural resources space, including oil and gas exploration and production ventures, off-take agreements and a variety of project financings. It recently advised the DOE on the $1.25bn senior secured financing of the $1.6bn Mojave Solar Power Project in California. The firm also advised Kelso & Company on its acquisition of PowerTeam Services, a provider of infrastructure services to the gas and electric utility industry from CIVC Partners and True North Equity. Ezra Borut and Sarah Fitts co-chair the energy and natural resources group from New York.

Greenberg Traurig LLP continues to further enhance its bench strength in the oil and gas industry in addition to its shale gas, wind, solar and other renewables expertise. The highly experienced William Garner, based in Houston, led advice to Texas LNG as project counsel on the $1bn liquefied natural gas export project being developed in Texas. Frank Bradley, also in Houston, led a team advising Liberty Energy on its investment in Laredo Energy V to finance the development of various oil and gas prospects worth $140m. Other clients include JPMorgan Chase. Houston-based Douglas Atnipp is co-chair of the energy and natural resources practice and has a busy transactional practice.

Jones Day has an extensive network of offices and works across departments to service an impressive array of clients including upstream, midstream and downstream companies in the oil and gas space, and local, regional and multinational power companies. Houston-based co-head of the global energy practice Jeffrey Schlegel and Jason Leif led a team advising Alaska Gasline Development Corporation on the planned equity investment in and development of the Alaska LNG Project, one of the largest LNG export projects in the world. Schlegel and Omar Samji advised American Energy Partners on the formation of a $500m joint venture with Regency Energy Partners to construct and operate a gas gathering pipeline in the Utica shale play. Co-heads Peter Clarke and Todd Johnson are based in Chicago and Silicon Valley respectively.

K&L Gates’ national and international energy experience spans transactions such as M&A, joint ventures, debt and equity offerings, project development and finance. Practice co-head Eric Freedman in Seattle led advice to Canada’s TransAlta Corporation on the sale of its 50% interest in CE Generation and other interests to a subsidiary of MidAmerican Renewables for $193.5m. Los Angeles partner Dirk Michels ‘is an excellent negotiator, sharp and quick with good business acumen’; he recently led advice to Foresight Group on the tax equity financing for a 1.9MW solar project in Jamestown, California.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has a leading team of cross-border project finance and development lawyers focused on power and energy projects in the oil and gas, mining, metals and natural resources, as well as infrastructure sectors. New York-based Charles Conroy led a team advising Nabors on the $4.56bn merger of its completion and production services unit with C&J Energy Services. William Bice, also in New York, advised NATGEN Southeast Power on financing the acquisition of six gas-fired generation facilities from Calpine Corporation, involving three separate project financings. Practice head Daniel Bartfeld is recommended and Roland Estevez was promoted to partner.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is a key player in the energy industry, spanning both traditional and renewable and representing companies across the spectrum in financings, project development and M&A. A San Francisco-based group including practice co-head Mark Weitzel, Tom Glascock and Les Sherman advised SunEdison on the $340m construction loan, term loan and tax equity financing for a grid-connected, ground-mounted solar photovoltaic generating facility in California. Kyle Drefke in Washington DC and Carl Lyon in New York advised Big Rivers Electric Corporation and Kenergy Corporation on negotiating and finalizing a transaction to provide innovative power supply arrangements of 865MW for two large industrial customers. Practice co-head Tara Higgins is based in New York.

Paul Hastings LLP has an active national and international energy transactions practice spanning oil and gas and fossil fuels as well as the power and clean energy spaces. A New York team, including Richard Farley, Leslie Plaskon, Michael Baker and Jeffrey Pellegrino, advised the joint book runners and lead arrangers on the financing for Apollo’s $2bn acquisition of Encana’s Bighorn assets. Chicago partner Timothy Callahan led advice to Acciona on the development of its electric wind farms, particularly in respect to its power marketing activities. Yahoo! is another key client for the firm and Washington DC partner William DeGrandis has advised it on a number of matters including the acquisition of solar generation facilities for use at the company’s headquarters. Doug Getten joined the Houston office in April 2014 from Vinson & Elkins LLP.

Porter Hedges LLP has been known for its upstream and midstream expertise for approximately 30 years, and recently responded to client demand by opening a further office in Oklahoma. Ray Lees in the new office and Houston partners Jeremy Mouton and Ragna Henrichs led advice to Chesapeake Energy on the $5.3bn sale of Marcellus and Utica shale assets to Southwestern Energy. Rees and Mouton also advised affiliates of American Energy Partners on the acquisition of shale acreage in the Marcellus, Utica and Permian Basin in three separate transactions with a combined price of $4.25bn. Bob Thomas and Randy King head the team from Houston.

Reed Smith LLP recently expanded its highly skilled energy team with a number of significant lateral hires, as well as the opening of a Houston office. Gary Johnson led advice to the Seacon Group on the negotiation of an agreement to sell the group to TE Connectivity for $490m. Michael Yuffee joined the Washington DC office from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Gary Johnson joined in Houston from Burleson LLP, and counsel Melissa McGoogan, also in Houston, joined from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP.

Sidley Austin LLP’s transactions practice advises across the gamut of energy sectors. It has been particularly active in M&A work of late, and also handles matters such as financing and capital markets securities offerings. In the upstream space, Houston partner James Rice advised Anadarko Petroleum Corporation on the formation of a joint venture with KKR to develop the client’s acreage in the Eaglebine shale play. Herschel Hamner led a team from Houston advising JPMorgan Chase as administrative agent on a $2bn revolving credit facility for Southwestern Energy. On the power side, Cliff Vrielink led advice to Dynegy on the sale out of bankruptcy of Roseton fuel oil and natural gas electric generation facilities to a subsidiary of Castleton Commodities International.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP has a broad electrical power practice that focuses on transactions involving power sales, transmission, asset restructuring and mergers. The firm is also known for its significant pipeline practice and ability to construct a multi-disciplinary team to cover a whole range of issues for clients. Caroline Gaudet led a team from Washington DC advising key client Sunoco Logistics on an open season to secure shipper volume commitments to support an ethane pipeline, batched propane and butane pipeline that will provide in excess of 200,000 barrels per day of new capacity. David Raskin heads the team from the capital.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP is a ‘top-notch firm with a very strong partnership bench’. It has a broad energy offering that includes M&A, project finance, restructuring and dealing with commodities. New York partner Andrea Satty led advice to GDF SUEZ Energy North America on its investment in and the $1.5bn construction club financing and refinancing of two natural gas-fired power stations in New York. A team advised GE Energy Financial Services on the sale of 50% of its membership interest in the Linden cogeneration plant in New Jersey to Highstar Capital. Clients are ‘very impressed’ by Jeffrey Meyers, who heads the practice from New York.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP is particularly strong in M&A and project development work and associated structured deals in the physical commodities space. Atlanta partner Thomas Warren and Washington DC partner Paul Forshay led a team advising Oglethorpe Power Corporation on negotiating a precedent agreement with Transcontinental Gas Pipeline Company for the development and construction of the Dalton Expansion Project. Warren also led a team with Washington DC partner Amish Shah, Atlanta partner Michael Kerman and Houston-based Daniella Landers, advising Enbridge Incorporated on its acquisition of a 100% interest in a 110 MW pre-commercial wind project in Texas for $200m. Herbert Short heads the team from Atlanta.

White & Case LLP’s energy transactional practice is centered on both US and multi-jurisdictional project financings and has been particularly active in the LNG space and in advising IPPs. New York-based Jason Webber, Michael Shenberg and Hazem Derhalli advised Freeport LNG Development as sponsor on the debt and equity financings of the first three liquefaction trains of Freeport LNG’s multi-train natural gas liquefaction facility. A team including Michael Shenberg and Carolyn Vardi advised Calpine Corporation on its $1.57bn sale of six power plants across the US to NATGEN Southeast Power. Arthur Scavone heads the team from New York.

Winston & Strawn LLP has deep oil and gas and power expertise and is widely recognized for representing both strategic and financial clients on a full range of transactions. New York partner Jonathan Birenbaum led advice to Highstar Capital (now Oaktree Capital) on its acquisition of a 50% interest in the Linden Cogeneration Plant from GE Energy Financial Services. NRG Energy and its subsidiaries are key clients for the firm, and San Francisco partner Lisa Cottle led advice to the client on the negotiation of agreements with Southern California Edison. Jerry Bloom heads the practice from Los Angeles. Denmon Sigler joined the Houston office from Baker Botts L.L.P., Craig Vogelsang joined from Norton Rose Fulbright and Laurae Rossi joined the Los Angeles office from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP.

Environment: litigation

Index of tables

  1. Environment: litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Arnold & Porter LLP is praised by clients and peers alike for its broad environmental litigation expertise, covering climate change, land use, mining and energy, endangered species, and California environmental laws - such as the state’s toxic tort law and the Green Chemistry Initiative. It has recently been selected as national environmental counsel for Whirlpool and also acts in this role for The Mosaic Company and Honeywell. In a recent highlight case, the team secured a win for Arco, defending it against public nuisance claims made by cities and counties in California seeking abatement of all property containing lead paint. A team led by Thomas Milch and Michael Daneker continues to act for BP in the context of Deepwater Horizon: it negotiated with the government to resolve the debarment of the company, constructed a class action settlement facility of hundreds of thousands of claims, and represented the company in the phase two trial, which determined the amount of oil spilled. Lester Sotsky heads the practice from the DC office, which also includes ‘great litigatorJoel Gross. The Denver office was enhanced through the addition of senior counsel Harris Sherman, who joined from the US Department of Agriculture.

As a full-service firm with a strong focus on litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP has considerable clout in the environmental area. It continues to represent BP in numerous civil cases pertaining to Deepwater Horizon, and secured a win in a multibillion-dollar appeal brought by 11 Louisiana parishes. In other work for BP, it successfully defended the client against a class action brought by the City of Neodesha and others concerning the contamination of a former oil refinery. The team also represented Dow Chemical and Rockwell International in a nuclear contamination case in the Tenth Circuit, obtaining the reversal of a $926m judgment in favour of the plaintiff class. In other recent matters, it covered air and groundwater contamination, remediation and clean-up, and asbestos-related litigation for clients such as Kia Motors and BASF Catalysts. Clients ‘can always count on an exceptional job being done’. Stuart Drake is ‘a Clean Air Act expert with an encyclopedic knowledge of EPA rulemakings and related case law’; Granta Nakayama left the firm for King & Spalding LLP.

Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘a top-notch firm when it comes to environmental litigation’ and has handled high-profile work in a wide range of areas. It has particular expertise in regulatory litigation in the climate change field, product defense, policyholder litigation, and toxic tort and class actions concerning contaminated properties. In the last-mentioned area, recent cases include representing Buckeye Partners in a mass tort related to an accidental release of gasoline from a pipeline with over 400 individual plaintiffs, and the Riverside Cement Company in a mass tort related to the alleged exposure to hexavalent chromium from two cement manufacturing facilities. The team is also representing NASSCO in a large sediment contamination clean-up in San Diego and related federal cost recovery litigation. Mary Rose Alexander in Chicago has a ‘deep understanding of potential problems’ and leads the environment, land and resources team together with the ‘very visibleRobert Wyman in Los Angeles. Another name to note is New York-based Gary Gengel.

Sidley Austin LLP has gained a reputation as a leading environmental litigation specialist, with the team including a number of well-known figures in the field. Notably, the team handled two cases in front of the US Supreme Court in 2014: It challenged the EPA New Source Review permitting program under the CAA, representing an industry coalition, and also challenged the EPA Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, representing a coalition of approximately 15 utilities. It also filed two certiorari petitions before the Supreme Court. The team has substantial CAA, CWA, CERCLA and RCRA (including citizen suits) litigation experience, and also handled Proposition 65 and California regulation cases. The filing of pre-construction and operating permits for new, GHG emitting facilities under the CAA and related litigation constitutes an increasingly significant portion of the practice. In this area, it defended ExxonMobil Chemical’s expansion of the Baytown Olefins plant in an appeal to the Environmental Appeals Board. The ‘sharp and experiencedRoger Martella is a ‘phenomenal lawyer and an expert on air and energy issues’ and David Buente is ‘one of the most brilliant guys in the environmental field’. Other recommended partners include Samuel Gutter and Robert Olian.

Environment boutique Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. has an ‘outstanding and well-established presence in the market’ and excels when it comes to technical questions. 2014 has seen the team acting on some precedent-setting cases regarding biosolids: It gained a favorable decision from the Washington Court of Appeals disallowing a county ban on the application of biosolids to farmland, representing the amicus curiae in support of the Washington State Department of Ecology. In other matters, it also successfully defended a power plant cooling water discharge permit against new NPDES regulations for existing facilities, and represented Sunoco in product liability litigation concerning MTBE and its alleged prevalence as a groundwater contaminant. James Slaughter leads the ‘expert team’, which includes a number of former EPA or DOJ members; it was recently enhanced by the addition of two of counsel and partner Fred Wagner, former chief counsel of the Federal Highway Administration. Harold Segall is another key name to note. However, three partners left the team and Cynthia Lewis retired. All lawyers named work in Washington DC, though the team is spread over six offices across the country.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a ‘phenomenal litigation firm’ with significant expertise in toxic tort, and clean air and climate change cases. In a highlight matter, it acted in a lawsuit initiated by environmental organizations against the California Department of Conservation seeking an injunction to halt all hydraulic fracturing in California by questioning new legislation regulating the activity; as lead counsel for three petroleum industry groups, the team obtained the dismissal of the lawsuit. It frequently represents industry groups such as the Association of Global Automakers and major corporations such as Chevron, Intel and GE. It is currently representing Lockheed Martin in a five-year, ongoing trial against the United States concerning remediation costs emerging from soil and groundwater contamination of a rocket motor manufacturing facility operating between the 1950s and 1970s. The firm has a ‘great mass torts practice’, is experienced in handling CERCLA matters and is also noted for frequently challenging regulation and defending against government civil and criminal enforcement actions. The environmental litigation and mass tort practice is co-led by Los Angeles-based Patrick Dennis and Washington DC-based Peter Seley.

Hogan Lovells is highly respected in the environmental area and exhibits particular strength in mass tort actions. It acted in numerous investigations, as well as related settlements and litigation. A 2014 highlight was reaching a settlement for Hyundai in an EPA investigation under the Clean Air Act concerning underestimated greenhouse gas emissions. Next to a ‘deep understanding of CAA issues’, the team’s expertise spans CWA, ESA and NEPA matters. Other clients include Dakota Oil Processing, Golden Aluminium and Marathon Petroleum Corporation. The well-esteemed team includes former DOJ and EPA lawyers. It is led by Washington DC-based James Banks, who ‘knows the CWA like the back of his hand’, and Denver-based Scott Reisch.

A major name in the environment arena, Hunton & Williams LLP represents industry leaders in CAA, CWA, NEPA and CERCLA cases. It frequently challenges EPA greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA, notably securing a favorable decision for the Utility Air Regulatory Group, with the Supreme Court declaring EPA regulation invalid and sending the case back for further proceedings. Other related cases include Coalition for Responsible Regulation v EPA, Texas v EPA and Center for Biological Diversity v EPA. In a separate matter, the team served as defense counsel for Duke Energy against claims from the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources and from citizen plaintiffs concerning the coal ash residue from the company’s coal-fired utility plants; overall, six cases are pending in state and federal court in a matter that has attracted significant media attention. It also acted for Dominion Voltage, Koch Ag & Energy Solutions, the National Coal Council and Rockwood Lithium. William Wehrum leads the highly rated, 37-partner-strong team and William Brownell is ‘extremely knowledgeable about all clean air and climate change issues’; both are based in Washington DC.

Baker Botts L.L.P. boasts extensive CAA expertise and represents numerous energy clients, with a particular focus on power generation companies. It frequently acts in defense of citizen suit claims and toxic torts, and is currently defending Grain Processing Corporation against a toxic tort class action concerning alleged damages from exposure to airborne substances. Other recent cases involved product liability lawsuits, CERCLA litigation and matters concerning the New Source Review permitting program under the CAA. The team serves as national counsel to Hess, Marathon and Ashland, and acts for BP Products North America, Marathon Oil Corporation and NRG Energy. Daniel Steinway is well-known for contaminated property recovery work and William Bumpers is experienced in air quality matters. The firm is based in Texas (with offices in Austin and Houston), but also has a strong presence in Washington DC, where Steinway and Bumpers are based, and from where Tynon Buthod heads the toxic tort group. Steven Leifer is the firmwide environmental chair.

Bracewell LLP has great expertise in alternative dispute resolution and manages to reach favorable settlement agreements for its clients. As such, it is frequently called upon for pre-litigation advice such as information requests and compliance issues, but also in defense of criminal and administrative enforcement actions, such as alleged contamination of rivers and land. It represented Chesapeake Energy Corporation in an investigation and enforcement action alleging civil violations of the CWA through well pads, pond sites and a compressor station designed to conduct hydraulic fracturing and natural gas production. A first-of-its-kind consent decree with EPA was issued characterizing the penalty as $3.2m and prohibiting the discharge of dredged and fill material, with the firm achieving its main settlement objectives. In another highlight matter, a team led by Washington DC-based Jason Hutt succeeded in resolving the federal criminal investigation by the Deepwater Horizon Task Force against its client, Halliburton, without allegations or penalty. Austin-based practice head Tim Wilkins is also recommended.

Greenberg Traurig LLP covers regulatory, civil and criminal litigation, and has a ‘strong expertise in alternative dispute resolution strategies’. The team covers large CERCLA cases and has handled an increased number of mixed claims. It is currently defending Coronet Industries in mass tort claims over alleged wrongful death, personal injury, medical monitoring, and property damage through water, soil and air contamination in the vicinity of a former manufacturing facility, involving over 1100 plaintiffs. David Weinstein, based in Tampa, chairs the global environmental litigation and toxic tort group, which entails a number of well-known experts: David Mandelbaum (Philadelphia) is an ‘impressive lawyer’ and experienced in superfund litigation, John Voorhees (Denver) is ‘very approachable and experienced’, and Frank Citera (Chicago) is renowned for his toxic tort and product liability work. It has recently added three partners: Christopher Bell joined the Houston and Washington DC offices from Sidley Austin LLP, Nicholas Secco joined the Tampa and Chicago offices from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Craig Richardson joined the Denver office as former GC of El Paso’s pipeline group.

King & Spalding LLP’s lawyers have a ‘deep understanding of technical environmental issues’ and represent numerous energy sector clients including GE, Shell and Chevron. The firm is defending the latter as lead trial counsel in a lawsuit brought by Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East against a number of oil and gas companies, alleging that their operations had indirectly - by loss of wetlands around New Orleans through the dredging of canals - created an area more susceptible to flooding and hurricane damage. In litigation relating to solvents contamination and exposure, as well as personal injury matters, the team is representing Dow Chemical against plaintiffs. In other matters, the team acted on MTBE contamination, and CWA and CAA litigation. Patricia Barmeyer heads the environmental practice from the Atlanta office and Carol Wood leads the tort and environmental litigation team from Houston. The team was enlarged by Washington DC new-joiners Granta Nakayama and Ilana Saltzbart, who formerly served at the EPA. Matthew Blaschke, based in San Francisco, was promoted to the partnership in January 2014 and is highly recommended along with Houston-based Tracie Renfroe.

The team at Mayer Brown is spread across offices in Chicago, New York and Washington DC, and covers all environmental litigation matters. It has represented Arkema in a case against the EPA concerning the cap-and-trade system for HCFC production in 2010 and is continuously representing the client and others on the same matter, while the allowance system is refined. In another case, it is defending CSX as part-owner of Conrail against numerous class and individual claims alleging personal injury and property damage through a train derailment and the release of vinyl chloride from a breached tank car. The team also represented Dow Chemical in public nuisance claims brought by Mississippi property owners harmed by Hurricane Katrina, alleging that greenhouse gas emissions caused ocean warming, which in turn reinforced the hurricane. After the district court dismissed the suit, the plaintiffs filed a petition for mandamus in the Supreme Court and re-filed the action in the district court, but both were dismissed. Other recent cases involved CWA, CAA and CERCLA litigation. The group is co-led by Rich Bulger and Mark Ter Molen, who are both based in Chicago.

Professional and superior law firmMorgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP has significantly increased its environmental capabilities when taking over a number of lawyers from dissolved law firm Bingham McCutchen. In recent matters, the team defended a client against alleged RCRA and CAA violations, acted on wildlife protection matters, and handled one of the first cases of alleged groundwater contamination as a result of hydraulic fracturing, representing Range Resources. It has strong expertise in contamination lawsuits and toxic tort cases; it defended Pepsi Cola Metropolitan Bottling Company against toxic tort cases brought by residents of Willits, California after an alleged hexavalent chromium, dioxins, and volatile organic compounds exposure from a chrome plating facility. In the 14-year litigation, the team has succeeded in reducing the number of plaintiffs from over 1000 to two, through dismissal of plaintiffs and mediation sessions. The practice is headed by Los Angeles-based James Dragna, and deputy head is Princeton-based John McGahren. Philadelphia-based Glen Stuart has an ‘outstanding memory’ coupled with the ‘ability to understand the multiple nuances of any subject or situation that requires his input and expertise’. Other recommended partners include Ronald Tenpas (Washington DC), who handles environmental criminal litigation, and Ella Foley Gannon (San Francisco), who, like Dragna, is a former Bingham McCutchen lawyer.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s environmental litigators show ‘great strategic capabilities’. Example clients include KFC, Sierra Pacific Industries and Union Pacific Railroad. Christopher Carr heads the environment and energy group and led a team representing The Newhall Land and Farming Company in claims brought by environmental and Native American groups against a planned residential community development before the California Court of Appeal; the plaintiffs claimed the project would threaten protected animal habitats, plant life, and Native American artefacts, but the court disagreed on every issue. With its strong California presence, it was involved in several water-related cases during the historic drought, has deep expertise in Proposition 65 matters and CEQA litigation. As such, it also represented the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in lawsuits brought against the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in an effort to control air pollution caused by Owens Valley water diversions. Robert Falk is recommended along with Michèle Corash, who is an ‘expert in toxic exposure’. In 2014, Miles Imwalle was promoted to partner and Joseph Palmore joined from the Office of the Solicitor General. All partners named work in San Francisco, apart from Palmore who is based in Washington DC.

Led by Los Angeles-based Christopher McNevin, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has recently launched an environmental enforcement strategies group which aims at avoiding enforcement actions. The team has ‘in-depth knowledge of federal regulatory programs’ such as the ESA; in this matter it advised Duke Energy concerning two sturgeon species allegedly endangered through dams in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin, an issue that could have been questioned in litigation during the dam relicensing process. It successfully challenged CAA regulations concerning solid waste incineration at publicly owned treatment works on behalf of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, arguing that the standards lacked technical support. The firm has a longstanding client relationship with Chevron and a number of energy, particularly oil and gas, companies on its roster. Washington DC-based Sheila Harvey ‘has considerable knowledge and expertise in regulatory and litigation matters’ and is a ‘trusted adviser’, San Francisco-based John Hansen is a ‘true CAA specialist’, and Houston-based Jerry Ross is highly recommended. Matthew Morrison joined the Washington DC office from his post as deputy director of the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training at the EPA.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s team, led by Houston-based Carol Dinkins, is particularly active in the energy sector with ‘great knowledge of all oil & gas issues’. It is currently representing Anadarko Petroleum Corporation against the State of Montana in claims before the Supreme Court concerning its coalbed methane activity, which allegedly violates the Yellowstone River Compact. The team challenged EPA regulation on numerous occasions: it filed petitions seeking the EPA to reconsider the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule for its client the White Stallion Energy Center concerning its planned development of a new coal-fired power plant, and filed a petition for certiorari challenging the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation under the CAA, representing the Coalition for Responsible Regulation. The group also handled environmental investigations, and ESA and CWA litigation. In Washington DC, the team was enhanced by the addition of Michael Wigmore, who came from Bingham McCutchen LLP in October 2013. Kevin Gaynor is particularly noted for criminal matters, civil enforcement and superfund work.

Covington & Burling LLP’s environmental group has experience of a broad range of issues such as CAA, CWA and RCRA compliance, civil and criminal enforcement proceedings, as well as challenging regulation. The team defended four oil and gas associations in a lawsuit brought by environmental organizations, challenging the first two oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico conducted after Deepwater Horizon; the District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit, rejecting all claims concerning the alleged failure to examine environmental impacts and to insure against jeopardy to endangered and threatened species. Other recent highlight matters include a natural resource damages proceeding and Proposition 65 cases. Clients include American Petroleum Institute, Intalco Aluminum and Compañía Cervecera de Puerto Rico. San Francisco-based Lawrence Hobel and Washington DC-based senior of counsel Donald Elliott lead the environmental group. Other recommended partners include trial lawyer Steven Rosenbaum and the ‘experiencedCorinne Goldstein, both based in Washington DC.

The team at Goodwin Procter LLP has ‘wonderful knowledge of the environmental arena’, specializing particularly in hard rock mining, natural resource damage claims, contaminated sediment sites and Proposition 65 litigation. It serves as outside environmental counsel for Newmont Mining Corporation and is currently representing it in administrative proceedings before the EPA concerning exemptions under the RCRA for mining waste. In another, precedent-setting case, the team advised Entergy Corporation in an adjudicatory proceeding, challenging the NYSDEC requirement to retrofit the Indian Point nuclear power plant with cooling towers. Other clients include the American Petroleum Institute, Dow Chemical, GE, Mitsubishi and a number of food manufacturers. Washington DC-based Laurence Kirsch, who displays a ‘high level of strategic thinking and legal analysis’, leads the ‘excellent’ team.

Jones Day handles litigation and alternative dispute resolution, and negotiates a high number of settlement agreements concerning a broad range of environmental issues. The team recently advised Affiliates United on a citizen suit notice concerning CWA violation through alleged discharge of selenium of a former coal mine located on land owned by the client. In other recent cases, it defended clients such as Gould Electronics and PCS Nitrogen in CERCLA litigation, and secured a win in a chemical workplace exposure case. Washington DC-based trial lawyer and practice head Kevin Holewinski is ‘very professional, timely, and knowledgeable about the topic matter as well as the players with whom he negotiates’. Also recommended is Thomas Donnelly, in San Francisco, while Tom Skinner left the firm in December 2014 to serve as general counsel of Louisiana State University.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP has carved out a strong practice acting in relation to clean air matters, and handles civil and criminal environmental enforcement defence, as well as appellate environmental litigation. An example for the latter is the team’s representation of the Renewable Fuels Association in challenging California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard program in federal court; the team is arguing that the attempt to regulate carbon emissions outside of California’s borders is a constitutional breach of the dormant commerce clause. In other carbon pollution matters, the firm acts for GE, and it secured a win for three Texas trade associations before the Supreme Court in Utility Air Regulatory Group v EPA. Key lawyers include Charles Knauss and Steven Solow, both based in Washington DC. Nadira Clarke and Lily Chinn joined from Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., based in Washington DC and San Francisco respectively. Houston-based Mark Farleyis co-head of the environmental practice, with a practice that focuses on internal investigations and crisis response.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has strong expertise in toxic tort litigation, with an excellent niche in asbestos cases, in which it recently represented clients such as Honeywell. Covering a broad range of environmental matters, it also handled natural resource damages, product liability and groundwater contamination matters. The team continues to represent Monsanto in mass tort actions concerning the manufacture, sale and distribution of PCB, and regularly acts for longstanding client ExxonMobil, recently advising it on mass tort product liability matters. Other clients include the American Petroleum Association, Syngenta Crop Protection and Varian Medical Systems. Craig Zimmerman and Todd Wiener in Chicago, and James Pardo in New York are the key lawyers.

White & Case LLP’s team displays deep knowledge of environmental land use matters, clean air issues, and hazardous and solid waste management; in the latter matter it represented Waste Management in a class action lawsuit regarding landfill odors, In another recent case, the team successfully defended Collier entities in a trial alleging violations of the CWA and of state regulation through improper pumping of farmland, dismissing the case for formal reasons. New York-based of counsel Paul Milmed handles CERCLA litigation and led a team representing Pfizer in lawsuits arising from the Lower Passaic River superfund site. Neal McAliley is ‘intelligent, personable, principled, ethical and very experienced in a variety of environmental issues’ and Douglas Halsey, also based in Miami, heads the group.

Environment: transactional and regulatory

Index of tables

  1. Environment: transactional and regulatory
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Environmental boutique Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. is widely recognized for its ‘outstanding regulatory capabilities’ and ‘quick and concise advice’. Recent regulatory work includes advising a coalition of natural gas industry interests on obtaining an ESA incidental take authorization for certain species under a habitat conservation plan, interim conservation plan or programmatic consultation agreement. In a 2014 highlight, the team assisted Caithness Energy with all environmental review, permitting, land use and zoning issues concerning a planned 750MW power plant in Long Island, New York. The firm continues to advise the Information Technology Industry Council (ITI) on used and end-of-life electronic equipment management, collection and trans-boundary movement in negotiations under the Basel Convention. It has also acted on toxic substances, brownfield regeneration and electronic waste matters, as well as CWA and CAA enforcement, settlement negotiations and permitting. Key figures include Donald Patterson in Washington DC, and the ‘professional and dependable’ Stephen Richmond in Wellesley. Austin-based Karen Hansen heads the large environmental group.

With offices on both coasts and Chicago, Latham & Watkins LLP has a strong domestic presence and an outstanding reputation for both transactional and regulatory work. Rulemaking and legislative work constitutes a significant part of the practice: it acted in water quality rulemaking, and provided input on the EPA’s regulation of greenhouse gases under the CAA through the National Climate Coalition. In other work, the team is advising SCS Energy on obtaining the approval to construct and operate an integrated gasification combined-cycle power plant, the first of its kind in utilizing carbon capture and sequestration technology. It assisted long-term client The Carlyle Group with numerous transactions, assessing potential environmental issues, developing risk transfer strategies and negotiating contract terms; recent examples include the client’s acquisition of Johnson & Johnson’s Ortho Clinical Diagnostics unit, and its sale of its Veyance Technologies subsidiary to Continental. The practice’s global chair is Los Angeles-based Robert Wyman and global vice-chair is Chicago-based Mary Rose Alexander, who is ‘one of the smartest and most effective environmental lawyers’. Also recommended is Houston-based Joel Mack, who leads the environmental transactional support practice. Jean-Philippe Brisson joined the New York office from Linklaters LLP and is particularly rated for his work on carbon transactions.

Well-known for regulatory matters, Sidley Austin LLP’s expertise spans renewable energy projects, hydraulic fracturing, brownfield redevelopment and CERCLA sites. In a recent highlight, the team advised GE on the clean-up of the Hudson River PCBs superfund site - including the implementation of the long-term dredging project and the ongoing study of floodplains - and on other sediment remediation matters. It acted for the lenders and investors of the offshore wind farm Cape Wind, covering questions concerning the ESA and NEPA. Advice on CAA matters constitutes a significant portion of the practice, and the team counsels a number of trade organizations and companies on New Source Performance Standards (NSPS). The ‘excellent’ Los Angeles based Judith Praitis has vast experience in California laws and advised clients on complying with air emissions, water discharges, solid and hazardous waste management, and climate change legislation. Chicago-based Laura Leonard is particularly active on the transactional side; she advised Wanxiang America on the acquisition out of bankruptcy of Fisker Automotive assets, including a brownfield property, and AES Solar regarding the environmental permitting and land use siting in potential solar project investments and divestitures. Other recommended lawyers include David Buente and Roger Martella in Washington DC, and Robert Olian in Chicago.

Although it has a lower headcount than some peers, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP covers all environmental matters in business transactions and has recently handled issues such as toxic tort claims, groundwater contamination, and workplace exposure. In one sophisticated deal, senior attorney Annmarie Terraciano represented new client Martin Marietta Materials in its acquisition of Texas Industries. The firm advised IBM on numerous acquisitions and divestures, such as the $2.3bn sale of the x86 server business to Lenovo and the acquisition of Aspera, Cloudant and Silverpop Systems. It recently assisted the initial purchasers (led by Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JP Morgan) regarding the high-yield secured senior debt offering of Chrysler Group. The environmental team is based in New York and comprises practice head Matthew Morreale - a ‘terrific negotiator’ who is ‘very commercial and pragmatic’ and a ‘trusted and reliable source for environmental issues in acquisitions and divestitures’ - and Terraciano, who is ‘thoughtful, detailed and focused’.

Highly respected outfit Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP handles the full spectrum of environmental issues in support of M&A and private equity transactions, as well as capital markets, real estate and project finance work. The environmental team has recent experience in sectors such as energy, oil and gas, mining, manufacturing and construction. It advised Tyson Foods on its offer to acquire all outstanding shares of The Hillshire Brands Company, and First Wind Capital on a senior secured notes offering due 2018, handling all emerging environmental issues. In another matter, it assisted Credit Suisse regarding a senior bridge term-loan credit facility for AK Steel Corporation’s acquisition of Severstal, for which the team analysed anticipated environmental requirements and compliance costs. Co-chairs Betty Moy Huber and Loyti Cheng ‘always keep up with new regulations’ and provide a ‘simply brilliant’ service. Also based in New York, counsel Hayden Baker is another name to note.

Hunton & Williams LLP is noted for its strength in compliance work and has deep expertise in CAA, energy and climate change matters. For example, it recently advised a number of companies on the disclosure of climate-related risks in compliance with SEC guidance and Sarbanes-Oxley rules. However, the sizeable team is able to handle work across the board, also covering CWA, natural resources, waste, chemical and climate change issues. On the transactional side, it frequently advises investors and underwriters. The team includes a number of well-known figures in the field, notably Richmond-based Kevin Finto and Washington DC-based William Brownell. William Wehrum, also in Washington DC, is a renowned and experienced figure for air quality matters, and heads the environmental team.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a strong transactional focus, advising all parties in large corporate, real estate, energy and private equity transactions. It assisted Hess Corporation with the sale of its retail business to Marathon Petroleum’s subsidiary Speedway, negotiating the environmental terms of the purchase agreement. In another 2014 highlight, the team advised The Carlyle Group on its acquisition of the Industrial Packaging Group from Illinois Tool Works, whereby it assessed known and potential liabilities, and negotiated the environmental provisions of the transaction. Other private equity clients include Oaktree Capital Management, Blackstone and KKR. The firm has an excellent niche in restructuring-related environmental issues; recent instructions in this area include evaluating environmental liabilities in connection with Energy Future Holdings’ Chapter 11 filing, GSE Environmental’s emergence from Chapter 11, and Edison Mission Energy’s bankruptcy filings. Walter Lohmann is ‘responsive, knowledgeable and has a balanced business/legal approach’. Other recommended partners include Brian Land and Jeanne Cohn-Connor; all are based in Washington DC.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s environmental practice has grown significantly with the incorporation of Bingham McCutchen LLP’s ‘strong team of environmental attorneys’. The new leadership team comprises James Dragna (Los Angeles) and ‘practical and business-focused’ deputy head John McGahren (Princeton). The firm has niche expertise in nuclear matters: it assisted Stepan Company with a FUSRAP clean-up of radiological contamination on a manufacturing facility, and negotiated licensing and decommissioning issues with the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. This matter also involves the remediation of a chemically contaminated superfund site. Another area of particular expertise is the energy sector, where the team assists energy producers and project developers with environmental permitting (recently for Moxie Energy’s sale of a gas-fired combined cycle-power plant), environmental remediation (recently concerning the discharge of wastewater for Vantage Energy) and obtaining regulatory approvals (recently for Maxim Power Corporation’s proposed sale of its US-based subsidiary). Showcasing its ability to handle a broad range of environmental issues, the team also advised on climate change, endangered species, CAA and CWA matters. Harrisburg-based of counsel Maxine Woelfling is ‘very knowledgeable on environmental regulations’, ‘a superstar in addressing some permitting issues’ and ‘able to “see around corners” to anticipate problems’. New York-based Judith Walkoff is ‘always up to date on regulatory issues’ and San Francisco-based Edward Strohbehn is also held in high esteem.

Transactional work is the central pillar of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s practice; the firm is experienced in M&A transactions, financings and restructurings across industries, with particular strength in real estate, energy and infrastructure. It advised CCMP Capital Advisors on a number of transactions, such as its acquisition of sulphuric acid producer Solvay’s Eco Services business, assisting with environmental regulatory consents and permitting transfers, and the acquisition of a controlling interest in hardware and home improvement company Hillman, where it analyzed the potential environmental risks of a company with substantial manufacturing history. Clients include a number of private equity firms: on the regulatory side it advised Lindsay Goldberg on its acquisition of MBI Energy Services, assessing regulation concerning the controversial underground disposal of fracturing fluid in injection wells. In another matter, the team examined the applicability of an environmental property transfer statute for Tecomet’s acquisition of 3D Medical Manufacturing. Washington DC-based Annemargaret Connolly took over the leadership of the environmental transactions practice after David Berz retired in 2014.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is well known for its deep regulatory expertise, particularly concerning climate change. A 2014 highlight was advising a coalition of property owners and investors on proposed California state legislation in response to sea-level rise concerning development close to the shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The team advised long-term client First Solar in regards to a number of solar generation facility developments, such as conducting an entitlement assessment of a utility-scale solar project in Kings County. In other work, the firm handled instructions concerning hazardous waste, crude oil transportation, and health issues through chemical exposure; the latter is another key area of focus for the firm, which is renowned for its Proposition 65 experience. An expert on land development issues, Miles Imwalle was promoted to the partnership in 2014. Zane Gresham and Michael Steel are also recommended, alongside practice head Christopher Carr. The attorneys mentioned are based in San Francisco, but the environment and energy group also features teams in Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington DC.

Paul Hastings LLP’s scope spans both transactional and regulatory work, with the team handling regulatory permitting for renewable energy facilities, hazardous materials, hazardous waste, and water and air pollution, as well as cross-border transactions and financings. The firm has carved out a strong practice acting in relation to brownfield transactions and assisted Lennar with securing the EPA approval to delete 2000 fully remediated acres of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro from The National Priorities List. Other recent work showcases the breadth of the practice: it advised Calpine concerning the California Air Resources Board’s implementation of AB 32 and greenhouse gas regulation, which included obtaining amendments to the Cap-and-Trade Program. In other matters, the firm obtained permits for large solar facilities, representing clients such as First Solar, SunPower and Palen Solar Holdings, evaluated bids for seven coal-fired power plants, representing potential lenders, and assisted H.I.G. Capital with the sale of a portfolio manufacturing company. Next to the ‘extremely good’ practice head Peter Weiner, Deborah Schmall and Robert Hoffman are recommended; all are based in San Francisco.

Boutique Van Ness Feldman LLP is particularly rated for its deep expertise in hydropower matters, advising clients such as Alaska Energy Authority concerning the development of the proposed Susitna-Watana Hydroelectric project and advising Snohomish County PUD concerning the proposed Sunset Fish Passage and Energy project. In other energy work, it filed a Natural Gas Act Section 7 certificate and Presidential Permit application for Sierrita Gas Pipeline. It is also experienced in GHG, ESA, CWA, NEPA and CAA issues and has a large climate change and emissions trading practice. Next to regulatory and compliance work, the team is also noted for its policy advocacy work: it assisted the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity with the preparation of policy proposals concerning federal and state greenhouse gas emission regulation. Michael Swiger, Kyle Danish and Stephen Fotis are recommended; all are based in Washington DC.

Houston-based Vinson & Elkins LLP frequently works on compliance, permitting and auditing issues, representing clients including power generation and transmission companies, petrochemicals facilities, manufacturers and governmental entities. In an environmental advocacy highlight, Houston-based Larry Nettles led a team advising the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association on the Federal Reserve’s proposed prohibition of ownership of physical commodities by financial institutions, evaluating a physical commodity’s owner’s liability and safeguards in environmental disasters. It assisted Alto Maipo with the financing and development of two run-of-river hydropower facilities in Chile. In separate matters, the firm worked on hydraulic fracturing and endangered species matters, and obtained a number of energy project permits. It also covers both real estate and business transactions, recently acting for long-term client Huntsman in its acquisition of Rockwood Holdings’ titanium dioxide, color pigments, and timber treatment business. Carol Dinkins, also based in Houston, heads the ten-partner team.

Allen & Overy LLP’s ‘international expertise and cross-border knowledge is unparalleled’ and it frequently provides cross-jurisdictional advice by teaming up with its international colleagues. It is particularly rated for its product responsibility advice, climate change and emissions trading practice, and energy, shipping and transportation sector expertise. The team is ‘outstanding concerning environmental aspects of M&A transactions’ and recently advised GE on its energy and transport alliance with Alstom and assisted GE Capital Aviation Services with its acquisition of Milestone Aviation Group. In separate work, it advised Jabil Circuit on environmental compliance issues, and Varian Medical Systems on complying with the European RoHS directive, WEEE directive and REACH regulation. Other clients include AES Solar, Cisco, Honeywell and Imperial Tobacco. The level of service is ‘top notch in every category’ and New York-based practice head Kenneth Rivlin is a ‘spectacular environmental lawyer’.

With a strong international presence, Baker & McKenzie LLP is experienced handling risk and liability assessments in multi-jurisdictional transactions. On the regulatory side, it has niche expertise in sustainability reporting, and recently advised on a brownfield site remediation, a toxic substances and a NEPA matter. A team led by David Hackett is assisting the Gypsum Association with environmental issues arising from coal combustion by-product FGD gypsum and with the recent EPA risk evaluation of coal ash waste. Other clients include large industry corporations and renewable and conventional energy producers, for which it acts as primary outside environmental counsel. John Watson heads the team, which also includes climate change expert Richard Saines; all are based in Chicago.

Dentons has significant experience in risk assessment and due diligence matters and is frequently involved in cross-border transactions. It recently advised Meidu Holding on the acquisition of oil and gas assets, conducting due diligence, Phase I ESA and negotiating contracts for multiple sites and properties. The team assessed carbon credits generated by its client Natural Capital Wealth, through a project avoiding deforestation in Brazil, and assisted THF Realty with the redevelopment of the Maplewood site, a potential hazardous waste site, into a major commercial development. Led by the highly regarded San Francisco-based Nicholas Yost, the team covers air, water, chemicals, waste, natural resources, and climate change issues. Two team members were promoted to counsel and two additional counsel were hired laterally, while John Harris left for Locke Lord LLP.

Perkins Coie LLP works for a number of energy clients, securing environmental permits for projects, ensuring compliance with environmental regulation (CWA, CAA, CEQA, NEPA), or covering all environmental work as outside counsel. It advised BrightSource Energy on the Ivanpah Solar Electric Generating System project, securing permits and ensuring compliance with ESA requirements regarding a desert tortoise population and protected bird species onsite. In another matter, the team assisted the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency with the securing of permitting, and CEQA and NEPA compliance of a desalination plant and a groundwater replenishment project. Tom Lindley leads the environment, energy and resources group from Portland. In the Seattle office, Kelly Moser and Michael Dunning were promoted to the partnership and John Pierce joined from DLA Piper. Additionally, Laura Zagar joined the San Diego office from Latham & Watkins LLP.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York based environmental practice provides strong corporate, M&A and private equity support, and acts for strategic buyers and sellers in the capital markets area. It advised Rockwood Holdings on its merger with Albemarle, Lorillard on its proposed sale to Reynolds American, and Blackstone on its acquisition of Gates Corporation. The group assisted GeoSouthern with all environmental matters concerning the sale of its Eagle Ford subsidiaries to Devon Energy. It has a reputation for its quality and breadth of experience in the energy sector and also handles natural gas and petroleum work referred from the Houston office. The team comprises four attorneys, including senior counsels Michael Isby and the ‘outstanding’ Adeeb Fadil, who are highly recommended.

The key figure of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s environmental team is Washington DC-based practice head Don Frost, who is ‘particularly good on regulatory issues’. It regularly handles bankruptcy cases and transactions. Recent work includes advising Exide Technologies on its voluntary Chapter 11 filing, where the team assisted with potential environmental issues at over 100 sites and with compliance issues at operating facilities. On the transactional side, it acted for CF Industries Holdings concerning the sale of its phosphate business to The Mosaic Company; for Dynergy concerning its acquisition of coal and gas generation assets from Energy Capital Partners; and for InterGen concerning its acquisition of a 50% stake in the Mexican Energía Sierra Juárez wind project from IEnova. One of four counsel, Elizabeth Malone is recommended.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP boasts expertise advising on environmental issues in transactions and has ‘impressive cross-border experience’. It is also particularly rated for compliance, risk assessment and liability matters, and acts for clients in a large range of sectors. In recent work examples, it assisted American Energy Partners with the acquisition of unconventional upstream and midstream oil and gas assets, Bayer with its stock and asset purchase of Merck’s consumer care business, and United Rentals with its acquisition of specialty pump and industrial equipment rental business assets. Mark Rosenberg leads the group and ‘great negotiatorMatthew Brennan is strongly experienced in addressing a wide range of environmental law issues in commercial transactions; both are based in New York.

Healthcare: health insurers

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: health insurers
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Dentons leverages the excellent reputation of its standalone insurance practice to advise health insurers, managed care organizations (MCOs) and third-party administrators on the full remit of health insurance matters. With the capacity to advise clients on non-contentious issues and represent them in high-stakes litigation, the firm’s track record in 2014 was impressive. It acted for PacifiCare Health Systems in its long running and ultimately successful defense of enforcement actions by the State of California regarding claims-handling procedures initiated after the company’s headline merger with UnitedHealthcare. Also in California, the firm is assisting LA Care Health Plan, a health maintenance organization (HMO) aimed at low income families, with its $10m claim for emergency and inpatient services provided to Medi-Cal beneficiaries. On the advisory side, leading insurance regulatory attorneys such as Washington DC-based Bruce Fried and Kansas City-based Bruce Baty have been assisting high-profile clients, including Big Five health insurers and state governments, with cutting-edge issues such as the implementation of health insurance exchanges and compliance with Medical Services Plan (MSP) laws. Spread nationwide, with core centers in Washington DC, California and Illinois, the other key individuals are San Francisco-based Kara Baysinger, who heads the firm’s insurance regulation practice, and MSP specialist Janice Ziegler, based in the capital. The group added senior adviser and Medicare Advantage expert Sidney Lindenberg to its Washington DC office in October 2014, hired from his previous technical role at the Centers for Medicaid & Medicaid Services (CMS).

A ‘go-to’ firm for health insurance clients, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. is ‘exceptional in all areas’ with ‘superb business acumen’, and is singled out for its ability to handle complex state-level regulatory issues. The firm has a deserved reputation as a thought leader, due in part to a longstanding history in the space, which has seen it assist with the formation of landmark legislation such as the federal HMO Act of 1973 and many of the provisions of current managed care statutes. With an office adjacent to the CMS headquarters in Baltimore, it is especially well-known for its expertise in federal and state reimbursement issues; it recently demonstrated this ability with its defense of three insurers including Capital BlueCross, against some of the first Medicare Advantage enforcement actions subsequent to the PPACA. This reputation was bolstered further by the hire of Robert Atlas to its Washington DC office from a role assisting the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services with reform of that state’s Medicaid program. Atlas heads EBG Advisors, one of the first healthcare consulting law firm affiliations, which adds significant policy analysis capabilities to the group. Steve Epstein, who has a reputation as a pioneer in managed care having assisted with the formation of its legislative framework, and Jesse Caplan led the advice to Fallon Health on its joint venture with Weinberg Campus to provide coverage for elderly dual-eligible plan members in New York State. In California, ‘go-to attorneys’ Linda Tiano and Daly Temchine led a team which assisted DentaQuest on all corporate and regulatory aspects of its acquisition of the Knox-Keene dental plan. Although rooted on the East Coast (all lawyers named are based in the capital) the practice and its clients have a broad geographical footprint which spans the country.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP handles Medicare and Medicaid matters but is best known for its leading reputation in the nexus of health insurance and IT, cementing this further in 2014 with the hire of Deven McGraw to its Washington DC office from her role as director of the Health Privacy Project at the Center for Democracy & Technology. A major player in healthcare reform, the firm is assisting several clients with their efforts to streamline services and reduce risk under the PPACA: New York-based Robert Belfort is currently advising Healthfirst, a non-profit MCO, with its development of an affiliated insurer, and Helen Pfister, also in New York, is assisting Taconic Health Information Network and Community (THINC) with the CMS-backed Comprehensive Primary Care initiative to foster collaboration between public and private health plans in the Hudson Valley. Equally prominent on the West Coast, key mandates there have included advising insurers on partnerships with service providers and other insurers; the firm is currently representing Blue Shield of California in its joint venture with WellPoint to fund the California Integrated Data Exchange. Especially active in California litigation, Los Angeles-based Greg Pimstone is defending Blue Shield of California against three class actions challenging the way it operates its health exchanges. The hire of John LeBlanc from Barger & Wolen has further boosted its Los Angeles litigation and regulatory capabilities.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP covers the full spectrum of health insurance matters, leveraging the outstanding strength of its service provider practice to play a leading role in key areas under the ACA, such as Medicare Advantage plans and consolidation between providers and insurers. The group fields leading individuals in the space nationwide: in Florida, Miami-based managed care expert Gary Davis has forged a reputation as a thought leader in that field at both state and federal level, Washington DC-based Joel Michaels co-chairs the firm’s insurance and payers group and is a leading expert in federal Medicare and Medicaid regulation as well as payment disputes between payors and providers, and fellow co-chair Anne Hance - also based in the capital - has a broad practice encompassing insurance market reform under the ACA, Medicare Advantage, and privacy as defined by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Demonstrating its prowess in provider partnerships, Davis advised Health First Health Plans on its joint venture with Florida Hospital to bring new Medicare Advantage plans to residents of Central Florida, while Davis and Michaels assisted Florida Blue with its joint venture with Crucial Care to develop ambulatory treatment facilities. Michaels was also part of a team which obtained dismissal of a class action emergency motion seeking to delay a corporate restructuring against client Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida. Other key individuals are Los Angeles-based Peter Rich and transaction specialist Lisa Kaderabek, based in Chicago.

Truly nationwide in character, Greenberg Traurig LLP has deep knowledge of state-level regulatory and reimbursement issues and strong experience in healthcare reform. The firm is advising EmblemHealth on the consolidation of four affiliated physician practice groups in New York City and Long Island, while in Hawaii (the first state to file a declaration initiating the process) it is advising Hawaii Health Connector on federal and state issues regarding the implementation of the state’s health insurance exchange. In Texas, it is assisting the Texas Association of Health Plans with the implementation and analysis of the PPACA, and advising a Big Five insurer on its opening of service provider facilities; the firm also counts another Big Five client among its roster. In a further demonstration of cutting-edge work, the firm assisted a nascent insurer with the licensing to sell insurance on the New York health exchanges. Key figures in a sizeable group are Tricia Asaro and Harold Iselin from the firm’s highly regarded Albany office; Washington DC-based Nancy Taylor, Michael Cherniga in Tallahassee; and Thomas Bond and Michael Malone in Austin and Dallas respectively.

Jones Day is ‘one of the most dependable firms for strategic structuring and transactional matters’, with well-regarded capabilities for managed care contracting and health insurance antitrust. Demonstrative of its reputation in strategic alliances, it is assisting Premier Health Partners with establishing provider-owned Medicare Advantage health plans, and Educational Testing Service (ETS) with outsourcing negotiations with Aetna for the latter to provide health plan administration services for ETS employees. San Francisco-based James Dutro has ‘excellent healthcare industry knowledge, thinks strategically and provides practical advice’; he leads a group which was strengthened in 2014 by the hire to its Columbus office of transaction specialist David Grauer and Lisa Han from Squire Patton Boggs; their expertise spans insurance exchanges, integrated care and the structuring of joint ventures.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s core litigation strength, which saw it act for major health insurers on a wide range of cases in 2014, is augmented by robust corporate and regulatory capabilities. In a headline matter, Los Angeles-based Kathleen Waters defended ABQ Health Partners against claims that it persuaded members of Lovelace Health Systems’ plans to switch in violation of a contract; the case was ultimately settled out of court. Waters and San Francisco-based Molly Lane are representing WellPoint in two class actions alleging improper denial of reimbursement for treatment of mental health issues, while the firm’s Philadelphia office won summary judgment for a major insurer against two class actions, once more regarding reimbursement. In non-contentious work, the firm has been active in corporate restructuring and national contractual negotiations between insurers.

Reed Smith LLP’s longstanding experience in health insurance spans 20 years, with its California and Chicago offices in particular having forged strong reputations in the field. The firm’s relationship with Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans is the core driver of the practice. Kenneth Smersfelt and Kurt Peterson, both based in Los Angeles, have been defending Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Cross of California in multiple class actions and suits, currently representing the former (together with numerous co-defendants) in a case concerning liability for reimbursement, where it was delegated to insolvent physician associations, winning at first instance but reversed on appeal and currently being discussed at the Supreme Court. The firm’s Chicago office, where Dan Hofmeister and David Goodsir are key contacts, has been assisting a number of Blue Cross Blue Shield plans on various issues including procurement regulations, licensing and payment recovery.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP owes much of its reputation to its excellent track record handling big-ticket litigation for key client Aetna; major recent cases have included obtaining dismissal of a nationwide putative class action challenging its coverage for residential treatment centers in the Northern District of California, and representing the insurer in its $350m antitrust suit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Highly regarded insurance litigators Richard Doren and Geoffrey Sigler, based in Los Angeles and Washington DC respectively, led on both aforementioned matters. In a high-profile success for trade association client America’s Health Insurance Plans, Sigler and noted appellate lawyer Miguel Estrada obtained a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of a Georgia state ‘prompt pay’ law at first instance and on appeal.

Groom Law Group’s ‘great’ team leverages its well-known presence and longstanding relationships in the capital, where it has its sole office, to assist major insurer clients including CIGNA, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and UnitedHealth, on the impact of healthcare reform. Expert on the implications of federal statutes such as the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and HIPAA, the firm’s market-leading employee benefits practice also makes it a natural choice to advise on compliance with ERISA. Jon Breyfogle and Seth Perretta jointly lead the practice, the latter hired, along with his team, from Crowell & Moring LLP in April 2014. Policy group co-chairs William Sweetnam and Brigen Winters are also recommended.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP has a leading managed care government enforcement defense practice led primarily out of Washington DC but with significant capacity in California. Highlights have included two notable wins for client Humana: obtaining the dismissal with prejudice of a False Claims Act qui tam complaint alleging conspiracy in failure to comply with Medicare Advantage reimbursement regulations, and securing the same outcome without leave to appeal for WellPoint in another qui tam action alleging breach of California Medicare and Medicaid rules. Team head David Deaton and David Leviss, both based in the capital, and Los Angeles-based Stephen Sullivan, are the key figures.

Though national in scope, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s group is rooted on the West Coast where Eric Klein has a highly regarded practice advising payors and MCOs on complex consolidation issues, with a strong focus on vertical integration between insurers and service providers. Demonstrative of this expertise, Klein led a team which assisted a subsidiary of Molina Healthcare, a Medicaid and Medicare Advantage plan, on its negotiation of a long-term hospital management agreement, also leading the advice to Dignity Health on its sale of two affiliated health plans in Nevada and California. Kenneth Yood and Aytan Dahukey, who specialize in regulatory and transaction matters respectively, are two other key contacts. All attorneys named are based in Los Angeles.

Squire Patton Boggs is highly active in transactions through the Columbus-based practice of Patrick Dugan. Dugan, who rejoined the firm in 2014 from his previous role as chief legal officer at Medical Mutual, has been assisting a number of companies with joint ventures and strategic mergers nationwide, and advised one major insurer on its acquisition of a distressed physician-owned entity in South Carolina. Gary Timin and senior associate Kimberly Donovan, both based in Miami, have been assisting Humana with both a major putative class action regarding Florida’s prompt payment statute and with the licensing and registration of its pharmacy benefit subsidiary. The firm’s Washington DC office has been advising UnitedHealth and America’s Health Insurance Plans on antitrust issues.

Healthcare: life sciences

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: life sciences
  2. Leading lawyers

Covington & Burling LLP is ‘exceptional in all respects’ and, according to one client, ‘outperforms its competitors’. A regulatory powerhouse which assists a broad swathe of the world’s largest life sciences companies with all issues in the Food and Drug Administration’s purview, the firm’s Washington DC office houses lawyers of the caliber of Richard Kingham, Gerald Masoudi, Ellen Flannery and Peter Safir, who are the backbone of perhaps the most comprehensive regulatory offering in the market. Its expertise reaches beyond the United States to Beijing where Shaoyu Chen, a former in-house counsel at Amgen and the FDA, heads a China food and drug practice. John Hurvitz, also based in the capital, has a strong reputation assisting both emerging and established players on the nexus of IP, transactions and technology; advising AbbVie on the structure and negotiation of its collaboration with Google-backed Calico for therapies to cure age-related illnesses is one notable example of his recent work. Hurvitz and Safir, the latter acting as regulatory counsel, advised Merck & Co on the headline $14.2bn sale of its consumer care business to Bayer. The firm’s market-leading life sciences coverage is completed by its leading mass tort, product liability defense, and IP litigation practices - Hatch-Waxman specialist George Pappas is a key figure in the latter. Although all those named are based in the capital, the group has a national and global footprint of 250 lawyers in this space.

Sidley Austin LLP's renowned regulatory capabilities extend globally from the United States and are allied with the firm’s exceptional product liability defense and IP litigation practices. Among its heavy-hitting regulatory lawyers (all based in Washington DC) are Paul Kalb, Ray Bonner, who leads the 12-lawyer good manufacturing practice (GMP) team, Coleen Klasmeier, and James Stansel, formerly an acting general counsel at the United States Department of Health & Human Services. Able to leverage this market-leading regulatory capability to act on the biggest deals, recent transaction highlights including advising GlaxoSmithKline on its collaboration with Avalon Ventures to launch up to ten early-stage life sciences companies in San Diego, and assisting London-based Smith & Nephew with its $782m acquisition of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics’ wound care business, with Pran Jha and Jeffrey Rothstein leading this deal out of Chicago. Among numerous successful defenses of government enforcement actions, a cross-office team led by Chicago-based Richard Raskin obtained the dismissal of two False Claims Act suits against Quest Diagnostics; the firm also obtained a dismissal for AstraZeneca in a precedent-setting False Claims Act qui tam suit at the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Notable litigation cases include representing Johnson & Johnson as both defendant and plaintiff in three patent infringement suits, and Synthes as plaintiff in two patent infringement suits against Spinal Kinetics. Sam Zucker, hired from O’Melveny & Myers LLP in May 2014, is ‘deeply knowledgeable on Delaware corporate and securities law’ and has added substantial emerging company expertise to the firm’s already strong presence in California.

In two key 2014 deals, a New York led cross-office team from Hogan Lovells advised Novartis on both its $16bn acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s oncology business and the $5.4bn sale of its animal health business to Eli Lilly. The firm augments its 72-lawyer regulatory capacity with robust IP litigation and product liability practices, and is able to advise its life sciences clients on all strategic aspects of a transaction, such as potential FDA approval for an ensuing product. With a broad reach spanning the country, the bulk of its lawyers are based in the capital with other key attorneys in California and New York, as well as very strong presences in non-traditional life sciences bases: Baltimore, where group head Asher Rubin is based, Philadelphia, which houses FDA group co-head Janice Hogan, and Colorado. Rubin has been advising Immune Design on a licensing agreement with Sanofi to commercialize products to treat food allergies and herpes (Silicon Valley based Laura Berezin is assisting the company with its $60m IPO), and Washington DC based Philip Katz assisted Jazz Pharmaceuticals with regulatory issues regarding its $1bn acquisition of Gentium (including the target’s key product). New York-based transaction lawyer Adam Golden, who led on the Novartis deals, was hired from Kaye Scholer LLP, and Heidi Gartner, based in the capital, was recruited from her role as senior counsel at the FDA.

While still able to handle a significant number of FDA enforcement matters, a substantial proportion of Ropes & Gray LLP’s regulatory capacity is harnessed to support a prolific deal flow which makes it one of the leading life sciences transactions groups in the country. In 2014 the firm assisted Takeda with obtaining exclusive rights to develop Natrogen’s leading product and an option to acquire the company, and advised Civitas Therapeutics on its $525m sale to Acorda Therapeutics. AbbVie called upon the firm in its $275m (with potential $530 in milestones) global collaboration agreement with Infinity Pharmaceuticals to commercialize a treatment for cancer, and for Alexion, the group advised on its $100m strategic license agreement with Moderna Therapeutics to commercialize treatments utilizing the latter’s mRNA Therapeutics platform. The firm’s handling of IPOs for five late-stage and clinical-stage biotechs, including for Genocea Biosciences, was indicative of its ability to advise clients at all stages of development. The group is centered on the innovation heartlands of Massachusetts and California, with its core regulatory capacity in the capital. Key figures in Boston are practice co-head Marc Rubinstein and Steven Wilcox, who led on the Takeda deal. Emerging companies specialists Lowell Segal and David Saul are based in Silicon Valley, while in Washington DC, key individuals include practice co-head Gregory Levine, Joy Liu and senior counsel Alan Bennett, formerly an appellate lawyer at the FDA.

Arnold & Porter LLP’s highly regarded regulatory, product liability defense and patent litigation groups are the cornerstones of its practice. Outside regulatory counsel to a number of the largest global pharmaceuticals, its appointment to represent the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA in its high-profile, and ultimately successful, challenge to a Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program to charge price controls for orphan drugs, was testament to its standing in the market. In IP, it has been assisting Monsanto with patent prosecution for transgenic plants, in addition to litigation wins for clients such as Boston Scientific and Hologic. Daniel Kracov and Alison Shuren co-lead the FDA group, with IP litigators Matthew Wolf and David Marsh among the other key contacts. The hire of Blaine Templeman from Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP added significant IP transactional capability to its New York office.

Cooley LLP’s reputation rests on its outstanding emerging companies and venture capital capabilities, and its involvement in cutting-edge matters such as client NewLink Genetics’ collaboration with Merck & Co to develop and commercialize the former’s Ebola vaccine candidate. In a typically prolific year on the early and clinical-stage front, 2014 highlights included advising medical device company CardioKinetix on its $50m financing led by Edwards Lifesciences Corporation, Canadian player Xenon Pharmaceuticals on its $50m IPO, and Israeli clinical-stage company Vascular Biogenic on its $65m offering. Not limited to smaller transactions, the firm’s M&A record included advising Ambit Biosciences on its $315m merger agreement with Daiichi Sankyo Company, and OnCore Biopharma on its $750m proposed merger with Tekmira Pharmaceuticals. Barbara Kosacz, based in California where the bulk of the practice is located, is an exceptionally highly regarded figure in the emerging companies space in a group which also includes Boston-based capital markets specialist Marc Recht, Washington DC-based regulatory and e-health expert Andrew Gantt, and strategic IP and licensing specialist Erich Veitenheimer, also based in the capital.

The ‘excellentKing & Spalding LLP’s ‘nuanced, comprehensive and pragmatic’ group is best known for its regulatory and government enforcement practices, with Atlanta-based litigation partners Andrew Bayman (‘a fine trial strategist’) and Chilton Varner (‘one of the finest defense trial attorneys in the country’) singled out for their excellent record in product liability and mass tort defense for clients such as Merck & Co and GlaxoSmithKline. Its reputation in the regulatory field is demonstrated by its establishment of the Transparency and Disclosure Coalition of large-cap players such as Pfizer and AstraZeneca, which is negotiating the impact of the so-called ‘Sunshine law’ provisions with the US Congress and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. On the transactional front, Jon Harris, also based in Atlanta, advised iHealth Technologies on its $1.2bn sale to Connolly. Other key lawyers (all based in Washington DC) include Mark Brown, Edward Basile (both previously employed in senior in-house roles at the FDA) and medical device expert Seth Lundy.

Latham & Watkins LLP has ‘unparalleled knowledge’ and ‘quality across the spectrum of patent litigation, CMS reimbursement, regulatory law and antitrust’. Best known for its powerhouse capital markets and M&A practices, the firm nevertheless fields a robust regulatory team led by John Manthei, Stuart Kurlander and Benneville Haas, which supports the transactions teams and handles investigations and FDA approvals on a standalone basis. Signature deals included advising Allergan on its $66bn merger agreement with Actavis, and the latter on its $28bn acquisition of Forest Laboratories. The firm also assisted Boston Scientific on its expansive merger policy which in 2014 saw its acquisition of three companies for a $755m aggregate value. In licensing, key Silicon Valley partners Alan Mendelson, Judith Hasko and Mark Roeder advised OncoMed Pharmaceuticals on its agreement with Celgene to jointly develop six anti-cancer stem cell candidates from OncoMed’s pipeline. Daniel Brown, based in New York, is a main contact for IP litigation and Peter Handrinos and Cheston Larson, based in Boston and San Diego respectively, have notable expertise in early-stage finance.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s ‘exceptional’ group ‘includes both technical and legal expertise and has a client-friendly, streamlined team structure’. A leader in both large-cap M&A and big-ticket litigation, the firm advised Merck & Co on its collaboration with Bayer to market a portfolio of the latter’s products subsequent to the client’s $14.2bn sale of its OTC business; the highly regarded Princeton-based Randall Sunberg was part of the team which advised on that deal. Other examples include acting for both Cephalon and Teva on a range of litigation related to off-label marketing practices. Demonstrating its ability to advise on the complete life-cycle of a product from approval to market, the firm’s prolific licensing practice assisted Eli Lilly with its negotiation of an agreement with Sanofi for rights to the former’s high-profile Cialis product; Sunberg and San Francisco-based Benjamin Pensak advised on the deal. Washington DC-based Stephen Mahinka leads a very large department which includes fellow FDA experts Ann Begley and Kathleen Sanzo (both based in the capital), and Philadelphia-based fraud and abuse litigator John Dodds.

Litigation is the core focus of DLA Piper’s life sciences practice. Combining an excellent patent group with its trophy product liability department, the firm has been active across the spectrum of contentious matters for clients such as Pfizer and Novo Nordisk, and gained a favourable judgment on the patentability of stem cells for client International Stem Cell Corporation at the European Court of Justice. This is allied with very strong patent licensing and transactional teams. Less prominent in M&A, the firm nevertheless advised Emergent BioSolutions on its $222m acquisition of Cangene Corporation, its robust emerging company team assisting Australian veterinary player Parnell with its $50m IPO. San Diego-based Lisa Haile, who led in the stem cells case, and Baltimore-based litigator John Dougherty, head a large nationwide group with life sciences hubs in New York, Washington DC and Boston, and an exceptionally strong California group.

Dechert LLP’s strength is centered on its corporate and litigation practices, with an ancillary strategic IP counselling team. Co-led by Philadelphia-based antitrust expert George Gordon and Washington DC-based corporate lynchpin David Schulman, notable mandates included assisting Danish pharmaceutical Forward Pharma with its headline $220m IPO, and advising Celgene on its follow-on strategic collaboration with Sutro Biopharma. Among numerous major mandates, its powerful mass tort defense practice is representing Pfizer in multiple pending actions across the country, including the Reglan, Zoloft and Hormone Therapy cases.

Handling a large caseload of litigation from Texas and a steady pipeline of deals from its Short Hills, New Jersey office, Dentons also has a robust Washington DC regulatory function spearheaded by Gadi Weinreich and Holley Lutz. Dallas-based Peg Hall and Mike Moore represented Bristol-Myers Squibb in the first average wholesale price case tried in Pennsylvania, while transactional highlights included assisting Innocoll and ADMA Biologics with their respective IPOs - Short Hills-based Jeffrey Baumel, who co-leads the practice with Hall, led the advice. The firm’s Dallas and Chicago offices are defending GlaxoSmithKline, Lumara Health and Merck & Co in multiple product liability actions.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s sizeable group covers the major commercial life sciences bases of strategic IP counseling, patent protection and regulatory issues. The firm advised Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma on its alliance with Edison Pharmaceuticals, valued up to $4.3bn, for the co-development of drugs targeting cellular energy metabolism, while IP highlights included obtaining a first-of-its-kind continuation patent for Supernus Pharmaceuticals against three reviews filed by a generic company. Its broad geographical footprint spans the country: key figures include Boston-based growth company specialist Gabor Garai, San Diego-based strategic partnership expert Richard Kaufman, Hatch-Waxman litigator Stephen Maebius in the capital, and Antoinette Konski in Palo Alto who has notable personalized medicine and strategic IP skills. The regulatory group includes senior lawyer David Rosen and Nathan Beaver, both also based in Washington DC.

Goodwin Procter LLP is best known for its high-end, Boston-based licensing and transactional practice which in 2014 advised Alnylam Pharmaceuticals on its $700m alliance with Genzyme to expand the former’s genetic medicine pipeline, Moderna Therapeutics on its strategic agreement with Alexion Pharmaceuticals to treat rare diseases, and Voyager Therapeutics on its launch and $45m Series A financing. Mitchell Bloom and Kingsley Taft lead a group which includes Stuart Cable, FDA practice chair Marc Heller, and early-stage and IPO specialist Maggie Wong, based in San Francisco.

Leveraging its market-leading service provider and IP litigation practices, McDermott Will & Emery LLP is a natural choice for reimbursement and compliance issues, shown by its longstanding regulatory advice to Allergan. In 2014 the group assisted Baxter International with a number of transactions including its $70m acquisition, with potential $700m in milestones, of Chatham Therapeutics, and its $100m investment in Merrimack Pharmaceuticals. Byron Kalogerou chairs the practice from Boston supported by key figures such as vice-chair and senior counsel Glenn Engelmann, based in the capital, and Silicon Valley-based IP litigator William Gaede.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. covers an impressively broad swathe of corporate mandates with particularly strong early-stage, IPO and strategic licensing capabilities. Among an impressive deal list, the group advised a US pharmaceutical on its joint venture to commercialize a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Jeffrey Weisen played a role in the formation of some of the earliest biotechs, and he and William Whelan and Jonathan Kravetz are the key figures in the firm’s flagship Boston life sciences group.

Reed Smith LLP’s transaction-led practice is supported by substantial regulatory capacity, with its life sciences capabilities bolstered further by a leading product liability defense group. In M&A, a Chicago-led team assisted Prestige Brand with the closing of two deals, including its $750m acquisition of Insight Pharmaceuticals from Swander Pace Capital, while Princeton-based Diane Frenier advised Sofie Biosciences on its commercialization agreement with PerkinElmer Health Sciences to develop the former’s pre-clinical imaging systems. In Washington DC, lawyers such as Elizabeth Carder-Thompson and Joe Metro are assisting clients with a range of regulatory matters including government investigations and internal compliance reviews, and in California Michael Sanders has senior statesman status in the early-stage and emerging company sectors.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is well known for the corporate and litigation capabilities emanating from its New York office, but has augmented this in recent years via the addition of lawyers such as Jennifer Bragg, John Bentovoglio and Jennifer Spaziano in Washington DC who form the backbone of its lesser-known but well-regarded regulatory team; indeed it is one of few Wall Street firms with significant regulatory capacity. In the large-cap pharmaceuticals space, the firm advised Merck & Co on its $17bn acquisition of Sigma-Aldrich, and Becton Dickinson on its $12.2bn acquisition of CareFusion. Another highlight was advising Gentium on its $1bn sale to Jazz Pharmaceuticals. The firm’s signature product liability defense group has also been highly active for clients such as Johnson & Johnson (in the first bellwether trial regarding the Pinnacle hip implant device) and Pfizer.

WilmerHale has a well-deserved reputation as a go-to firm for high-end corporate work for life sciences companies at all stages of growth, as well as investment banks, venture capital firms and underwriters. Its standing is augmented by a market-leading patent litigation group. Highlights included advising Thermo Fisher Scientific on its $3.2bn senior notes offering, Ikaria on its the spin-out of its R&D arm prior to the $1.6bn sale of its commercial business to Madison Dearborn Partners, and Ophthotech on its ex-US $1bn commercialization agreement with Novartis for the treatment of age-related macular degeneration. Lia Der Marderosian, Stuart Falber, senior counsel David Redlick and Steven Singer are key figures for transactions. All lawyers named are based in Boston except the highly regarded New York-based Singer.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s West Coast practice has a leading track record in raising venture capital finance for emerging companies and is much-praised by peer firms for this and its collaboration and IP capabilities. Casey McGlynn is well known for his expertise in the early-stage space, with other key contacts including Hatch-Waxman litigator Douglas Carsten and highly experienced medical device expert James Heslin. All attorneys named are based in California.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is known for advising on matters at the nexus of technology and life sciences, befitting a firm with trophy IP litigation and licensing practices. Amply demonstrating its reputation, the firm is advising Alcon, the eye care division of Novartis, on its agreement with Google to in-license Alcon’s smart lens technology for ocular medical uses. In litigation, the firm continues to represent Sandoz in multiple ANDA actions, including the headline Copaxone case against Teva. Michael Jacobs heads a group which includes Van Ellis, Michael O’Donnell and Stephen Thau. All lawyers named are based in California, with Ellis and Thau partly based in the capital.

Norton Rose Fulbright combines its strong IP litigation capability with a significant Washington DC-based government investigation group, which was bolstered in 2014 by the hire of Michael Koon and Carol Poindexter from Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP. Frederick Robinson is representing Boston Scientific in a False Claims Act qui tam action, and Austin-based Jeffrey Lane is assisting a Texas-based pharmaceutical with its handling of a government pricing investigation. On the transactional front, the firm advised Bayer HealthCare on its collaboration with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals for the treatment of ocular diseases, and Bone Innovations on its $375m asset sale to Stryker Corporation. Yvonne Puig, also based in Austin, heads the group.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s reputation rests on big-ticket litigation and an impressive record of groundbreaking deals and licensing partnerships. Notable achievements in 2014 included obtaining a victory for Novartis in its ANDA litigation against Watson Laboratories, and assisting start-up Xitogen with its sale to Beckman Coulter Life Sciences (involving complex cross-border structuring issues due to the seller’s separately held Chinese R&D assets). Lisa Pensabene heads a practice split equally between New York and California, including Los Angeles-based product liability litigator Richard Goetz and New York-based senior counsel Stanton Lovenworth. Highly regarded transactional lawyer Sam Zucker left to join Sidley Austin LLP in May 2014.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s transaction and litigation-driven practice leverages the outstanding reputations of its patent litigation and product liability defense groups, and in 2014 represented clients such as Eli Lily, Jazz Pharmaceuticals and ATMI in major bulge-bracket deals. In New York the firm is defending Sanofi against multiple securities class actions, while in California the firm successfully argued for the stay of a preliminary injunction blocking the sale of client Medtronic’s CoreValve product. Other highlights included advising Sanofi on its licensing agreement with MannKind Corporation to commercialize a treatment for diabetes. Key figures include New York-based IP litigator Elizabeth Weiswasser and transactional attorney Matthew Gilroy, both based in New York.

Healthcare: service providers

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: service providers
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

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McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s ‘unsurpassed’ service providers group is, according to one client, ‘the best by orders of magnitude’. With key hubs in the Midwest, Washington DC, Boston, California and Florida and standout lawyers across all practice areas, the firm can handle every aspect of a transaction for both provider and non-provider clients. It has a leading practice advising private equity firms on their healthcare investments and its exceptionally deep regulatory bench also makes it a popular choice as partner for firms without sufficient expertise in major healthcare deals. Boston-based group head Stephen Bernstein, Miami-based managed care expert Gary Davis, Bernadette Broccolo and Charles Buck (both based in Chicago) have exceptional reputations in the nexus of regulatory and transactional law, which has been made a priority for service providers under the PPACA. This was amply demonstrated when the firm was chosen to jointly represent both parties in Cadence Health’s $6bn merger with Northwestern Medicine - Broccolo, John Callahan and Christopher Jedrey led the advice. Equally able in government enforcement defense, the group includes healthcare litigators such as Charles Weir and Tom Ryan, both based in Los Angeles, who were part of a team which obtained dismissal of a claim against Universal Health Services in False Claims Act litigation filed in the Boston District Court. Other notable mandates included advising healthcare fund Beecken Petty O’Keefe on its sale of Genoa Healthcare Holdings, Main Line Health in the dissolution of Jefferson Health System in Philadelphia, and Prime Healthcare Services on its acquisition of St Mary’s Hospital in Passaic, New Jersey. Boston-based Jerome Tichner, Los Angeles based Ira Rappeport, and Chicago-based antitrust litigator Stephen Wu are among the other names recommended by clients.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s position at the forefront of Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement was exemplified in February 2014 when the firm opened an office close to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) headquarters in Baltimore. Justifiably regarded as a leader in the area, the firm’s recent experience spans the whole gamut of CMS issues, representing Alliance Rehabilitation and Active Physical Therapy Services in multi-state qui tam False Claims Act investigations, and a myriad of other provider and insurer clients in enrolment, billing and compliance issues, as well as advising on Medicare Advantage and drug benefit (part D) plans. This expertise makes the firm an obvious choice as partner for the regulatory side of a transaction, though it is more than capable of acting alone; standout deals included acting as regulatory counsel to Starr Investment Holdings in its $4.4bn acquisition of preferred provider organization network contractor MultiPlan (which also highlights the firm’s ability to assist non-healthcare clients with healthcare investments). Names such as Douglas Hastings, Jeffrey Becker and Mark Lutes have go-to reputations in areas as diverse as accountable care, cost efficiency, private equity, and strategic consolidation. They are supported by prominent attorneys such as healthcare litigator George Breen, transactions lawyer Katherin Lofft, and fraud and abuse expert David Matyas. All those named are based in the capital but the firm’s ten other offices all have notable healthcare capacity.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s much-lauded healthcare group is praised for the ‘outstanding strength and deep benches of its Boston and Chicago offices’, its broad geographical footprint spanning the country. Though singled out mainly for its regulatory capabilities, the firm’s recent deal list includes assisting South Shore Hospital with its proposed merger with Partners HealthCare, and advising Revera Health Systems on its acquisition and recapitalization of Sunrise Senior Living. Further cementing its reputation, it advised Value Care Alliance on its formation through innovative partnership structures between hospitals and physicians. In a prominent enforcement success, the highly regarded Lawrence Vernaglia was part of a team which substantially reduced the amount payable by settlement in a $500m Stark Law claim against Alabama-based client Infirmary Health System. Practice head Vernaglia is ‘a star, combining deep knowledge of the industry with effective leadership which has built such a strong team in Boston’ and his expertise ranges from reimbursement claims to M&A and state licensing issues. Los Angeles-based Richard Rifenbark (‘invaluable in contractual matters’) and Don Romano (‘well respected and a very nice guy’) are also singled out. Michael Blau (Boston), who was lead transaction counsel on the South Shore Hospital deal, false claims litigator Lisa Estrada (Washington DC) and fraud and abuse expert Judith Waltz (San Francisco) are among the other key figures in a substantial team.

The bulk of Hogan Lovells’ formidably large healthcare group is based in Washington DC, befitting its incredibly strong reputation for regulatory work, with other key teams in New York, Colorado and Florida. The firm’s representative client list includes American Hospital Association (which it has advised on myriad issues including challenges to Medicare payment denials and other fraud and abuse matters), GE Healthcare and State University of New York. The group has significant cross-border experience, having advised Saudi Aramco on the formation of its joint venture with Johns Hopkins Medicine International for the delivery of healthcare services in Saudi Arabia. Other experience includes acting for GE Healthcare in healthcare litigation and assisting major providers in Florida in multiple transactions and regulatory matters. In the capital, key figures include fraud and abuse expert Jonathan Diesenhaus, noted health antitrust litigator Robert Liebenluft, and practice head Sheree Kanner, formerly a general counsel for the CMS in the HHS. In Miami, Craig Smith, whose broad remit spans litigation and transactions, is a main contact, while corporate lawyer Jeffrey Schneider and litigator Michael Theis based in New York and Denver respectively, are also recommended.

A broad geographical footprint that spans all the major healthcare hubs makes King & Spalding LLP one of the largest service provider groups in the country. Especially strong in the South, with focal offices in Georgia and Texas, the firm is able to handle the full remit of matters from reimbursement litigation to the structuring of managed care joint ventures and healthcare privacy under the PPACA and HIPAA. In keynote matters the firm advised Community Health Systems on its $7.6bn acquisition of Health Management Associates (the firm’s very strong Washington DC offering representing the same client before the Provider Reimbursement Review Board (PRRB) on an annual basis), and The University of Texas in the implementation of its new Dell Medical School, with Houston-based Gary Eiland leading the advice on the latter. In a major litigation win, the firm obtained summary judgment for client Erlanger Health System in a False Claims Act action which was then appealed; Sara Wheeler was part of that team. Jon Harris heads a group which includes highly rated individuals such as fellow transactions specialist Andrew Bayman, litigator James Boswell and Medicare experts Donna Thiel and Mark Polston (both based in Washington DC). All attorneys named are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated. *Since publication, Stephen Goff has joined from DLA Piper.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s renowned capabilities for institute-focused corporate and clinical research make it a natural choice in innovative, complex joint ventures, particularly in its main service provider centers on the East Coast and the Midwest. It demonstrated this amply in 2014 by assisting North Shore-LIJ Health System in negotiating a long-term, multi-center partnership with DaVita Healthcare Partners, and advising the Montefiore Medical Center on its collaboration, including associated spin-offs and licensing agreements, with the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. Displaying its nationwide reach, Chicago-based Deborah Gersh is assisting several Californian and Southern systems with high-end corporate issues, and advised Dallas-based Parkland Health & Hospital System on the preparation of its Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA). San Francisco-based John Chesley advised Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego on its development of a genomics research institute to create personalized treatments using patients’ DNA. Less well known than its peers for its Washington DC regulatory capacity, the presence of such highly regarded figures as Stark Law and anti-kickback expert Tom Bulleit and New York-based fraud and abuse specialist Stephen Warnke nevertheless provides potent support on the enforcement side. Key individuals in Boston include Timothy McCrystal (who co-heads the group with Gersh), R&D expert Mark Barnes, M&A and Medicare specialist Nancy Forbes, and Anne Ogilby, an expert in tax-exempt public finance.

Dentons is singled out for its ‘incredible service and response times’ and ‘deep understanding of its client base’. In Washington DC, figures such as Bruce Fried (a former director of the CMS Office of Health Plans and Providers), Catherine Hess (a former counsel to the Office of Inspector General at the HHS), and senior counsel McCarty Thornton (previously chief legal officer at the HHS) provide additional high-level in-house experience to an extremely strong capital-based regulatory team which also includes lawyers of the caliber of Gadi Weinreich, Holley Lutz and Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) authority Janice Ziegler. The firm has taken a leading role in the industry’s response to the ACA, having founded the National Association of Accountable Care Associations, and being chosen to assist with the development of the California and District of Columbia health benefit exchanges (Fried leading the advice on both of these matters). Its client list includes both large private systems, most prominently HCA, a diverse range of academic medical centers, and leading regional players such as Florida-based Memorial Health System and Mid-Atlantic provider MedStar Health. Mary Wilson and Kathryn Ashton, both based in Chicago, are ‘best in their field’ of advising underwriting banks such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Global Markets, on tax-exempt financing for healthcare entities.

DLA Piper is ‘excellent for contentious regulatory matters’, fielding some of the ‘best attorneys’ in the space. Singled out for its ‘exceptional’ fraud and abuse capabilities, highlights for the team included representing Sutter Health in defense of a claim alleging improper billing for anaesthesia services by the California Insurance Commission; acting for the University of California Davis Medical Center in its $100m claim for unpaid services against Sacramento County; and advising a large health system client on a federal audit of three of its hospitals. Similarly well-regarded for big-ticket litigation, a joint Sacramento and Washington DC team is acting as trial counsel for leading provider Prime Healthcare Services in its action against Kaiser Foundation Health Plan concerning the transfer of hospitalized plan members and complex issues of state and federal law. Joshua Kaye and Stephen Goff co-chair the practice from its main hubs of Miami and Sacramento respectively, and other key individuals include Dallas-based enforcement defense litigator Frank Sheeder, New York-based restructuring partner Thomas Califano and litigator Michael Austin, a Miami-based government investigations specialist. *Since publication, Stephen Goff has moved to King & Spalding LLP.

Jones Day’s excellent reputation is based partly on its involvement in cutting-edge spheres such as physician integration, telehealth, and privacy under HIPAA. The firm advised Northeast Medical Group on its acquisition of PriMed, and on related professional service agreements, as well as assisting Specialists On Call, a telemedicine provider, on its $32m investment by Warburg Pincus. Highly active on the transaction front, other deals included advising the University of Michigan on its proposed affiliation with Allegiance Health, and Redwood Regional Medical Group on its sale to St Jude Heritage Medical Group. Notable successes in contentious work included negotiating a multimillion-dollar settlement with the HHS for an academic medical center client. San Francisco-based clinical integration specialist James Dutro leads a group with focal hubs in Ohio (where key figures such as Thomas Dutton and Kevin Lyles are based) and Washington DC (home to heavy-hitting regulatory attorneys such as Alexis Gilroy). The firm hired three partners, including practice head David Grauer, from the Columbus office of Squire Patton Boggs in June 2014, with Scott Edelstein joining in Washington DC from the same firm.

Latham & Watkins LLP combines a leading government enforcement litigation practice in the capital with considerable West Coast regulatory capacity. In Washington DC, highly regarded attorneys such as Daniel Meron and Stuart Kurlander have been representing a range of clients subject to investigations, including HCA and UnitedHealth Group. A cross-office team including San Diego-based Katherine Lauer is representing Tenet Healthcare in a False Claims Act qui tam matter involving allegations of violations of the federal anti-kickback statutes, while Lauer and Los Angeles-based Daniel Settelmayer are advising Sheridan Healthcare as lead regulatory counsel on its $2.35bn sale to AmSurg in a signature deal.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s leading reputation in healthcare reform stems from its status as a go-to firm for representative bodies such as the American Hospital Association and its leading health insurance practice. A noted thought leader, practice head William Bernstein and Deborah Bacharach have been assisting National Opinion Research Center with its initiative to develop a CMS-funded State Healthcare Innovation Plan for 16 states. Bachrach and Melinda Dutton continue to act for The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s State Health Reform Assistance Network. The highly regarded Robert Belfort has been advising a diverse range of clients on innovative joint ventures and structuring, including Greater Rochester Independent Practice Association on the re-evaluation of its physician network and corporate structure. With robust litigation and transaction capabilities, other highlights on the latter front included advising the University of California on its affiliation agreement with Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland; Daniel Higgins (San Francisco) and Francis LaPallo (Palo Alto) were part of the team which led on that deal. The firm has also been active in the recent efforts of retailers to develop their own primary care clinics. All attorneys named are based in New York except where otherwise stated.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.’s core regulatory and government enforcement group includes lawyers of the caliber of practice head Karen Lovitch and Laurence Freedman in the capital, and Boston-based attorneys such as Thomas Crane, Ellen Janos and Stephen Weiner. The firm has been active in a variety of transactions for major providers, including affiliations with academic medical centers involving complex structuring and licensing issues, and, on the enforcement front, is assisting multiple clinical laboratories with qui tam predicated False Claims Act investigations.

Norton Rose Fulbright continues to focus on the core centers of its legacy Fulbright & Jaworski practice, namely Texas and the Midwest, led by Austin-based Yvonne Puig. Signature deals in an extremely active year included advising the University of Arizona Health Network on its $1bn merger with Banner Health, with Jerry Bell, also based in Austin, leading the advice, and assisting CHRISTUS Health with its joint venture with Houston Methodist Hospital. The St Louis office has been a ubiquitous presence in Midwest transactions, with James Wiehl leading the advice in multiple big-ticket deals. Wiehl and Dallas-based Lisa Genecov, who was hired from Locke Lord LLP in October 2014, jointly lead the healthcare transaction team. Government enforcement litigator Frederick Robinson and compliance expert Lesley Reynolds are the key regulatory contacts in the capital.

Reed Smith LLP has ‘unrivalled expertise’ in post-acute care, being ‘best-in-class’ for clients in the space such as long-term care facilities, hospital chains and hospice providers. The firm has been longstanding outside counsel to post-acute trade body American Healthcare Association, and is further cementing its credentials in the space by representing Life Care Centers of America in a high-profile False Claims Act action brought by the DOJ; its highly regarded Washington DC based white-collar litigation group is handling the case, led by Scot Hasselman. The ‘unflappable, highly experienced’ Carol Loepere leads a group which includes Philadelphia-based Karl Thallner (Philadelphia) and Daniel Cody (San Francisco). Thallner advised Virtua Health Group on the structuring and organization of its accountable care organization (ACO) and associated application to the CMS.

Arent Fox LLP is lead healthcare counsel to Sunrise Senior Living, demonstrating its prominent position in long-term care. Highlights in the space included advising MedEquity Capital on its $250m acquisition of a Californian provider, and assisting Fundamental Long Term Care on collaborative arrangements with nursing homes and physicians. In another key mandate, Los Angeles-based practice head Lowell Brown filed an amicus brief at the California Supreme Court for the California Hospital Association challenging the medical peer review decisions process in whistleblower applications. Strong on both coasts, key group members include Michael Blass and Connie Raffa in New York and Washington DC-based David Greenberg, who made partner in 2014.

Greenberg Traurig LLP fields ‘a broad, deep and geographically dispersed team of experts’, with one client describing it as ‘the most cost-effective firm (of any size) we have used’. Its Texas group attracts considerable praise with the ‘very knowledgeableMichael Malone (Dallas), the ‘exceptional’ Joseph Coniglio (Austin), and the ‘superbWilliam Sultemeier (Houston) singled out. Truly national in nature, other key individuals include Nancy Taylor (Washington DC), Michael Cherniga (Tallahassee) and Frank Serbaroli (New York). Highlights included advising Gentiva Health Services on its $1.8bn merger agreement with Kindred Healthcare and representing CityMD in its acquisition of Premier Care. Taylor and Cherniga co-head the group.

Healthcare boutique Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC’s ‘excellent’ group is a leading presence on the West Coast, its three California offices augmented by a compact team in Washington DC. Despite sourcing the bulk of its instructions from its California hubs, the firm’s client base is national, demonstrated by mandates such as representing Alabama Medicaid Agency in its appeal of a $73m disallowance issued by the CMS, and assisting the Federation of American Hospitals with the drafting of its comment to the CMS in relation to a proposed, and ultimately abandoned, 2015 reimbursement reform. It has recently obtained favorable outcomes for clients such as the California Association of Health Facilities and California Clinical Laboratory Association in high-profile litigation, the latter in a case with wide-reaching implications concerning Medicare Local Coverage Determinations (MLCDs). Name partners Patric Hooper and Robert Lundy lead a group which includes Bradley Tulley, San Francisco-based litigator Mark Reagan, and William Eck and Robert Roth, both based in the capital.

Ober Kaler’s outstanding regulatory credentials were exemplified by its appointment as an Independent Monitor under a CIA with DaVita Healthcare Partners, in what was the first occasion the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services has appointed a law firm in a case alleging violations of the anti-kickback statute. Justifiably renowned in the space and covering all areas from Medicaid reform to accountable care organizations, its team includes lawyers of the caliber of Sanford Teplitzky and practice co-chairs Julie Kass and Howard Sollins, all of whom are authorities in their respective regulatory fields. Named lawyers are based in Baltimore.

Insurance: advice to insurers

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: advice to insurers
  2. Leading lawyers: insurance: advice to insurers: coverage
  3. Leading lawyers: insurance: advice to insurers: reinsurance

Leading lawyers: insurance: advice to insurers: coverage

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Leading lawyers: insurance: advice to insurers: reinsurance

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Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s expertise in coverage and reinsurance disputes ‘is unparalleled in the insurance space’ and places it as ‘the go-to firm for significant and complex matters’. The practice’s broad experience ‘puts it top of the leader board’ and covers issues including bad faith, excess insurance, data breach and crime coverage with expertise in high-stakes litigation. Recent client wins include Nuclear Electric Insurance Limited and Syncora Guarantee, adding to an already impressive client list which features Berkshire Hathaway, Travelers and AIG affiliates. The practice is co-led by ‘one of the finest, preeminent trial lawyers’ Barry Ostrager and the ‘strong and capable’ Mary Kay Vyskocil alongside the ‘talented’ Mary Beth Forshaw, who ‘exemplifies the firm’s best qualities’ and continues to represent Travelers in a pollution-related dispute against Northrop, winning six summary judgments in 2014 alone. Further strides were made in other long-running matters including successfully defending The Standard Fire Insurance Company in a qui tam fraud action and ensuring the client’s dismissal. The firm also represented Beazley, with Bryce Friedman winning a summary judgment in a claim related to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Andrew Frankel is recommended for ‘managing high-profile matters to successful conclusions’. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York. Since publication, Barry Ostrager has been appointed a judge of the New York Court of Claims.

Leader in the areaCahill Gordon & Reindel LLPis among the best’, placing it as ‘one of the premier law firms in the insurance sphere’. The practice covers a range of litigation and arbitration with expertise in reinsurance, bad faith and political risk. Reinsurance specialist and ‘one of the most talented insurance lawyersEdward Krugman, who is ‘exceptionally smart, effective and has outstanding judgment’, continues to represent National Union Fire Insurance in a reinsurance dispute against Everest Re Group relating to an environmental clean-up reimbursement after the latter refused payment; the matter is on appeal following a successful reversal of a Supreme Court ruling in 2010. Krugman, who is based in New York, is also representing Chartis Speciality Insurance Company in a matter relating to alleged losses under a political risk policy. Clients recommend the ‘invaluableThorn Rosenthal, also based in New York, who obtained a dismissal for XL Insurance Limited in an action relating to coverage for Amtrak’s long-tail liabilities, and continues to represent XL Capital Limited in several antitrust class actions. Other clients include AIG affiliates, Ironshore Insurance and reinsurance companies.

Dentons’ global insurance practice, co-headed by Keith Moskowitz in Chicago, spans a variety of sectors including D&O, property and casualty, bad faith and professional liability, with clients including Allstate, Prudential and AIG. The firm is currently representing First American as lead trial counsel in a class action for alleged wrongful escrow charging fees. Other work includes representing Genworth in a federal securities fraud action. Reid Ashinoff and Sandra Hauser, both based in New York, led the matter and successfully defeated the class certification as well as getting the plaintiff’s petition to appeal denied. Chicago-based Robert Johnson is currently representing a Travelers subsidiary in a pollution coverage claim brought by The Doe Run Company as well as representing an AIG subsidiary in an action relating to professional liability policies. New York’s Michael Barr is a name to note.

Duane Morris LLPis very responsive, providing concrete timely advice’ and ‘is certainly top of the list in life insurance and reinsurance matters’. Other areas of expertise include commercial liability, bankruptcy, property loss and asbestos-related matters. Max Stern of San Francisco, who heads the team, continues to represent Indian Harbor in a case against the City of San Diego, successfully obtaining an order affirming summary judgment in the insurer’s favor. San Francisco-based vice-chair Brian Kelly is representing London Market Insurers in a coverage action for asbestos liabilities alongside ‘master coverage professional’ Philip Matthews and Paul Killion, both also based in San Francisco. Other matters include assisting several clients with claims for coverage of alleged NFL concussion injuries, and representing Great American Insurance Group in an environmental coverage case, obtaining a favorable outcome with a judgment that the client has no duty to defend or indemnify the insured. Clients recommend New York’s Hugh McCormick who is ‘professional and approachable’ with ‘deep life insurance knowledge, experience and expertise’ as well as New York-based reinsurance expert, and ‘the most reliable attorney you will come across’, Thomas Newman.

O’Melveny & Myers LLP’s practice is considered ‘the very best’ and ‘is at the top of the list’, handling a range of insurance and reinsurance disputes. Particular areas of expertise include bankruptcy, antitrust litigation and mass torts, alongside work with the firm’s appellate practice. Recent highlights include representing ACE in a lengthy coverage action against Plant Insulation Company in an asbestos-related matter, as well as representing ACE in a mass tort bankruptcy case. Both matters were led by New York-based ‘leader in bankruptcy matters’ Tancred Schiavoni. Head of the team Richard Goetz, based in Los Angeles, is currently advising Century Indemnity Company in several coverage disputes with Montrose Chemical Corporation of California arising from Montrose’s manufacture and distribution of DDT as well as claims linked to the Los Angeles Harbor contamination. The firm recently settled several of these matters relating to breach of contract and bad faith. Other clients include AIG, CIGNA and Starr Indemnity. New York’s Gary Svirsky, Washington DC-based appellate expert Jonathan Hacker and New York associate John McDonald are recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP’s insurance department is ‘preeminent in handling cutting-edge cases’, with areas of expertise including reinsurance, appellate capabilities and complex coverage cases such as environmental, mass torts and asbestos-related matters. Co-chair of the global insurance and financial services practice group and co-head of the reinsurance disputes practice Susan Stone heads the team alongside Joel Feldman who is head of the insurance class action defense practice. Stone, who splits her time between Chicago and New York, recently represented Amerisure Mutual in a reinsurance dispute and successfully collected reinsurance billings worth over $14m. Eric Mattson represented The American Council of Life Insurers in an ERISA class action relating to service provider fees, and William Sneed is representing ACE in a high-value reinsurance contract dispute in the New York Supreme Court. Other key clients include Hartford, Liberty Mutual and Validus Re. All mentioned attorneys from the ‘highly knowledgeable and responsive team’ are based in Chicago.

Steptoe & Johnson LLPcommands topics quickly, works well with clients, and the attorneys are excellent strategists’ with a ‘top-notch service’. The firm’s wide-ranging coverage of disputes includes finance, asbestos, pharmaceutical and environmental claims with recent examples including the continued representation of Hudson in a dispute with New Jersey Transit regarding a claim for Superstorm Sandy losses. ‘Smart, analytical and detail-oriented’ Harry Lee leads the practice from Washington DC and continues to serve as counsel for USF&G in a fraud action filed by more than 10,000 asbestos claimants that is currently on appeal. Other asbestos-related matters included representing Zurich in a high-value multi-party asbestos litigation for tens of thousands of claims seeking coverage, led by Washington DC-based Antonia Ianniello. The firm also continues to represent Hartford and New England Reinsurance Corporation with James Rocap of Washington DC and the ‘very dedicated and focused’ Jon Neumann of Phoenix leading the team working on the high-profile concussion-related mass torts filed by former NFL players. Clients recommend Roger Warin who ‘always keeps his head and understands the issues’ as well as ‘exceptional attorney’ John Jacobus, both based in Washington DC.

Excellent firmChaffetz Lindsey LLP is at ‘a high level’, with the New York-based practice handling insurance and reinsurance disputes. The team is led by Peter Chaffetz who has ‘a deep and sophisticated understanding of insurance’ and recently filed a complaint for an AIG subsidiary seeking reinsurance recovery from EIL. The firm also represented Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in multiple pieces of litigation seeking reinsurance coverage related to asbestos claims. Charles Scibetta brings a greater focus on coverage disputes serving clients such as Travelers, Zurich North America and CNA. Steven Schwartz, who joined the firm in 2014 from Locke Lord LLP, is recommended, as is ‘excellent lawyer’ Cecilia Moss. Steven Reisberg also joined the firm from Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and Jennifer Permesly was promoted to the partnership.

Boston-based Choate, Hall & Stewart covers complex litigation, arbitration and bankruptcy proceedings for insurers, reinsurers and intermediaries on a national and international scale. The group is co-chaired by David Attisani alongside Robert Kole who continues to represent American Family Insurance in a catastrophe bond application-related dispute that is currently on appeal after the client was granted motion to dismiss. The firm also continues to represent The Progressive Corporation in a class action alleging unfair sales practices in the sale of automobile insurance policies. The case is led by Hugh Scott who also represents Liberty Mutual in a bankruptcy and multi-district litigation involving mass tort liability. Travelers also hired the firm to defend a case seeking coverage for asbestos bodily injury liabilities in an Ohio court. Other clients include Swiss Re, RLI Insurance and Liberty International.

Clyde & Co LLPprovides an all-round experience and has a good resource in the team’s depth and expertise’ with ‘exemplary service’ and ‘extensive knowledge in all areas’. The firm covers all insurance elements including reinsurance, environmental, aviation, cyber liability and healthcare at a national and international level. The firm is currently representing certain underwriters at Lloyd’s of London against JP Morgan, which is seeking reimbursement for a $214m market timing allegation settlement. A ‘bright and responsive attorney who understands complex issues’, Kevin Haas in New Jersey is currently representing ACE subsidiary Illinois Union Insurance Company in a coverage action relating to a New York construction defect. The practice includes Michael Knoerzer and Stephen Kennedy as well as Robert Fisher in the new Atlanta office. Paul Koepff is also recommended, alongside the ‘highly knowledgeable’ Edward Kirk and Owen Carragher who ‘is extremely adept in the Fine Arts and specie arena’ and ‘is good at seeing case practicalities’. All mentioned lawyers are based in New York unless otherwise specified.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s expertise in class action defense is at the center of the practice, supported by experience in matters ranging from environmental issues, toxic tort claims and D&O liability to catastrophe coverage and health insurance. Richard Doren in Los Angeles and Washington DC-based Geoffrey Sigler are leading representation of a major carrier in a nationwide class action by several defense contractor employees relating to workers’ compensation benefits; the case is on appeal after a motion to dismiss was granted in the client’s favor. Doren also continues representing Aetna in an antitrust lawsuit against Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. Other matters included advising America’s Health Insurance Plans on its challenge of the ‘prompt pay’ law in the state of Georgia; the firm successfully blocked the law’s enforcement by obtaining a preliminary injunction as well as Washington DC-based Miguel Estrada prevailing for the client in the appellate court.

Fantastic, top-notch firmWiley Rein LLP has expertise spanning general and professional liability, healthcare and appellate matters alongside policy drafting and product development, providing ‘insightful advice at an extremely high level’. Daniel Standish leads the practice and is currently representing XL Speciality in connection with several suits and investigations relating to CVS’ merger with Caremark. Other recent highlights include representing Liberty Mutual Fire Insurance Company in an appeal relating to the ‘pill mill’ suits in West Virginia alleging that pharmaceutical distributors violated controlled substance laws; the ‘extremely responsive and highly collaborative’ Laura Foggan is leading the matter. The firm also obtained a summary judgment motion for Starr Indemnity & Liability Company allowing recoupment of defense costs previously paid to a policyholder. ‘Great analyst’ Richard Simpson is recommended for his ‘ability to comprehensively understand businesses’, and the ‘extremely responsive’ Kimberly Melvin is also recommended. Kimberly Ashmore made partner in 2014. All lawyers mentioned are Washington DC based.

Crowell & Moring LLP’s areas of focus include D&O, life, health, property and casualty, and reinsurance, and its strength in bankruptcy enhances the practice. Co-chairs Clifford Hendler, Paul Kalish and William O’Neill work out of Washington DC, one of five offices in the US alongside San Francisco, Los Angeles, Irvine and New York. The firm continues to represent Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company in coverage litigation relating to concussion claims filed against the NFL by former players. Washington DC-based Deirdre Johnson and Stuart Levene of New York also continue representing Transatlantic Re in a dispute relating to more than $10m in reinsurance billings by Chartis affiliates. Other clients include Great American, Everest Re and Allianz. New York-based Harry Cohen and head of the group’s San Francisco insurance and reinsurance practice Mark Plevin are also recommended.

DLA Piper provides ‘a breadth of industry knowledge’ and ‘a truly international service’ on a range of contentious issues. Strengths of the ‘sophisticated practice’ include property and casualty, reinsurance and D&O with further work coming from close collaboration with the non-contentious team. Global head of the insurance and reinsurance practice Michael Murphy is currently representing Swiss Re in several multi-jurisdictional disputes including a facultative reinsurance dispute with Murphy Oil Company relating to Hurricane Katrina, and an arbitration arising out of alleged property loss at Motiva Energy’s Texas refinery. The firm also represents Chubb in several disputes including a coverage litigation arising from the financial crisis relating to excess D&O insurance, led by Joseph Finnerty III and Richard Hans. Other clients include AIG, Munich Re, Aon, SCOR and MetLife. The firm has also recently been named to BNP Paribas’ US panel and to Marsh’s global panel. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York with Aidan McCormack, chair of New York insurance, also recommended. Mark Deckman made the partnership in 2015.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s ‘excellent’ insurance group has a strong reputation in the reinsurance sphere, further supported by litigation experience in property and casualty, life and health insurance matters. Madison-based Gordon Davenport is chair of the practice and is currently defending CMFG Life Insurance Company in a claim brought by a subrogation recovery firm seeking $30m in damages; the firm was successfully granted motion to dismiss and the case is now on appeal. The team also includes vice-chair Neal Moglin alongside reinsurance experts Eric Haab and Gail Goering, all based in Chicago. Current matters include representing Health Care Service Corporation in a portfolio of disputes including coverage and ERISA issues, as well as representing Liberty in a declaratory judgment action relating to asbestos bodily injury claims. Further highlights include representing Anthem in several health insurance disputes on issues ranging from denial of coverage and misrepresentation to ERISA-related matters. Brett Ludwig of Milwaukee and Los Angeles-based Robert Leventhal are also recommended.

The global insurance practice at Hogan Lovells covers a range of matters including environmental, D&O and crime coverage with emphasis on the principal areas of healthcare, bad faith and reinsurance alongside the non-contentious practice. In an example of the firm’s bad faith expertise, practice co-heads David Newmann in Philadelphia and David Hensler in Washington DC, along with Los Angeles-based Michael Maddigan, who joined the firm in 2014 from O’Melveny & Myers LLP, are currently representing Federal Insurance Company in a coverage and bad faith suit against Del Webb arising from thousands of residential construction defect claims; the firm is also representing the same client in a Scott Rothstein Ponzi scheme-related case in which it is seeking the confirmed rescission of crime policies issued to Banyon. The team’s healthcare expertise can be seen through its representation of WellPoint in a multi-district litigation involving antitrust and RICO claims as well as defensive class actions in which the firm secured two significant victories in 2014. Other active clients include Travelers, Chubb and the American Insurance Association.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLPis incredibly responsive and extraordinarily helpful in high-profile matters, whether that means challenging a legal issue or developing strategic plans’. The insurance and reinsurance litigation group handles litigation and arbitration for clients including Great American Insurance Group, Mass Mutual and AIG. Jane Byrne, who is ‘the consummate reinsurance specialist with terrific knowledge’, co-heads the department with Michael Carlinsky, who is also chair of complex litigation. Byrne recently represented HDI-Gerling in an arbitration against Ford in which the client was granted a declaratory judgment denying Ford’s demand for coverage relating to product liability losses. A recent highlight for Carlinsky was representing AIG in a common law fraud claim, settling for the client with a payment of $650m. Kathleen Sullivan also recently represented AIG subsidiary Chartis in the appellate court against Hess Oil Company, successfully reversing a bad faith judgment relating to environmental remediation insurance. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

Troutman Sanders’ work in the D&O arena alongside general liability matters are core strengths of the coverage practice, which includes issues ranging from environmental coverage to bad faith. The firm’s D&O expertise can be seen in work conducted by Gary Dixon in Washington DC and Leslie Ahari in Tysons Corner, who have represented D&O insurance clients in a variety of high-stakes lawsuits and regulatory investigations. Washington DC-based Charles Jones is leader of the insurance section and heads the department along with litigation department chair Rebecca Ross in Chicago. The firm has recently represented Continental Casualty Company in litigation, led by Washington DC’s John Gerstein against The Fresh Market regarding coverage issues relating to underlying lawsuits surrounding a faulty product sold by the insured. Gerstein is also representing Medical Protective in a medical malpractice case that has been remanded for a fourth trial after a successful appeal. Other clients include XL Group, Chubb and the Beazley Group.

Insurance: advice to policyholders

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: advice to policyholders
  2. Leading lawyers

Covington & Burling LLP’s ‘gold standard’ dedicated policyholder practice ‘leads the pack’, fielding a 100-strong team with national and international presence. The group’s wide-ranging expertise includes mass tort, D&O, fiduciary claims, catastrophic losses and property damage issues. Washington DC-based co-chair Benedict Lenhart is working alongside San-Francisco’s Donald Brown and Benjamin Duke in New York representing ExxonMobil in a coverage action against approximately 300 insurers seeking asbestos coverage. The firm also continued to represent Lincoln Electric seeking coverage for costs related to welding fume claims, successfully settling the matter in 2014. Co-chair Mitchell Dolin in Washington DC continues to lead on the tort lawsuits brought against the NFL by thousands of retired players relating to concussion coverage. Other highlight cases include continuing to represent BP in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and representing National Grid affiliates in environmental coverage lawsuits. Seth Tucker is recommended alongside William Greaney, William Skinner and Saul Goodman, all based in Washington DC.

Anderson Kill’s ‘excellent’ wide-ranging practice, known for ‘its knowledge base and common sense approach’, exclusively represents policyholders in environmental claims, asbestos and toxic tort liability, D&O matters, data breaches, commercial crime and property losses among others. The practice is co-chaired by William Passannante, who ‘has the skill to solve any problem’, and Robert Horkovich, who continues to represent the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in litigation relating to asbestos coverage claims dating back to the original World Trade Center construction. The firm successfully obtained attorney fees from insurer, American Home, in 2014. Horkovich also continues to represent the state of California against insurance companies seeking coverage for the clean-up of The Stringfellow Acid Pits as well as continuing to assist Coca-Cola subsidiary Cleaver-Brooks in multiple asbestos suits. The ‘superior’ Joshua Gold is assisting a nationwide retailer in a claim against AIG subsidiary National Union Fire Insurance of Pittsburgh, after a substantial data breach led to stolen customer account details. Finley Harckham is also recommended. All attorneys mentioned are in New York.

Jenner & Block LLP’s coverage practice represents policyholders on a national and global scale undertaking matters from all industry areas including cyber coverage, environmental issues, asbestos, and corporate and financial disputes. Clients include General Dynamics, CSX Transportation and Southern California Edison; the latter is currently being assisted by the firm in pursuit of business interruption and property damage coverage after the closure of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station in 2013. Chair of the insurance recovery and counseling practice John Mathias is leading the aforementioned matter, and has also handled several other significant matters, including providing insurance counseling to Blue Cross Blue Shield Association on an ongoing multi-district litigation consolidating several antitrust lawsuits. Other matters for the firm include representing McGuireWoods LLP in a professional liability coverage claim against Brit Insurance in which the firm collected the full amount of damages sought. Key clients include Hertz, Kellogg’s and Revlon. All attorneys mentioned above work out of the Chicago office, and Matthew Jacobs of Washington DC is also recommended.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP’s ‘highly experienced’ practice ‘never misses a deadline’ and ‘provides a very good service’ exclusively for corporate policyholders. Robin Cohen runs the practice from New York and has recently won an appellate decision for IMO Industries Inc in a coverage case for thousands of underlying asbestos claims. Cohen also assisted MBIA in a coverage action against insurers for defense costs relating to its corporate restructuring. Other highlights include representing Jacobson Family Investments in a coverage litigation against AIG concerning Madoff-related losses. Financial fraud is a particular strength for the firm, alongside environmental claims, D&O matters and representing educational institutions such as Pennsylvania State University and Syracuse University. Clients recommend ‘experienced litigatorJerold Oshinsky and the ‘engaging and analyticalLinda Kornfeld, both based in Los Angeles. Kenneth Frenchman, Keith McKenna and Adam Ziffer of New York are also recommended.

Proskauer Rose LLP represents policyholder clients in all insurance areas ranging from property damage and asbestos to media and D&O coverage. Clients include United Airlines, Yum! Brands and JPMorgan Chase, with the firm representing the latter in a market timing coverage suit against insurers that is currently on appeal. The insurance recovery and counseling group is co-headed by Chicago’s Steven Gilford and Nancy Sher Cohen, based in Los Angeles, who serves as national counsel to Aerojet on all insurance and toxic tort cases. Gilford continues to represent Union Carbide, alongside Chicago’s Marc Rosenthal, in coverage litigation against more than 30 insurers for recovery related to thousands of asbestos bodily injury claims. Seth Schafler in New York is also providing advice to Tully Construction relating to property damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. New York-based John Failla is recommended for life insurance matters.

Led by Douglas Cameron in Pittsburgh, the insurance recovery group at ‘good firmReed Smith LLP exclusively represents policyholders from a range of sectors with particular specialities in financial services, property, energy and D&O liabilities. Several matters continue for the firm with Paul Breene representing Rockwell Automation in an asbestos coverage case arising from products manufactured by former Rockwell International entities. John Shugrue, based in Chicago, also continues to represent Anadarko Petroleum in connection with bodily injury and property damage claims arising from the Macondo Well oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; the client was granted summary judgment for coverage of defense expenses in 2014. Further matters include representing American Capital and Scientific Protein Laboratories - led by Washington DC’s John Schryber - in a coverage dispute for bodily injury claims from tainted Chinese Heparin. Other active clients include AT&T, PNC Bank and Lehman Brothers Holdings. Philadelphia-based John Ellison, David Halbreich in Los Angeles and Chicago’s John Vishneski are also recommended.

Jones Dayconsistently provides superior legal counsel’ and ‘is a go-to firm in the insurance realm’. Led by ‘highly rated, honest and superior’ Tyrone Childress in the Los Angeles office, the wide-ranging practice covers areas including D&O matters, professional liability and data breach with particular expertise in catastrophic loss. Examples include the work Childress continues to conduct for World Trade Center Properties in the allocation of subrogation proceeds relating to the 9/11 attacks; this matter is currently on appeal. Childress also remains national coverage counsel for Union Pacific Railroad Company on multiple matters including coverage claims relating to natural disasters and railroad accidents; and represents Sammons Financial Group in a bad faith claim seeking coverage for defense costs. Clients recommend John Iole, who works out of Pittsburgh, for his ‘vast experience and superior knowledge’. Iole is currently representing Transocean on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster; and recently won a jury verdict for Schnitzer Steel Industries in a matter relating to breach of contract. Los Angeles-based of counsel David Steuber and Edward Joyce in New York are also recommended. Since publication, Richard DeNatale has joined from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

K&L Gates’ ‘level of service is outstanding in terms of expertise and response times’ with the policyholder practice fielding approximately 100 lawyers led by David McGonigle, who is based in Pittsburgh. Recent work for McGonigle includes representing PPG in a proposed asbestos-related bankruptcy settlement valued at over $3bn. The firm also settled a case for Northwest Natural in a declaratory judgment and breach of contract suit seeking coverage for investigation and remediation costs led by Pittsburgh’s Michael Lynch. ‘Excellent adviser and litigator’ John Sylvester is currently pursuing damages for Ashland and Hercules against NICO and Resolute for tortious interference with contract. Other matters include representing Nine Thirty FEF Investments and Nine Thirty VC Investments in Madoff-related losses, led by Gerald Novack and Peter Flocos, both based in New York. Other clients include Ingersoll-Rand, Alcoa and Honeywell. Co-leader of the global litigation and dispute resolution group, Pittsburgh-based Thomas Birsic, is also recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP covers matters across the board including business interruption, property loss, professional liability, D&O, product liability and sport-related matters with a particular strength in environmental coverage. The Los Angeles office is the hub for environmental work and is also where global practice chair Peter Rosen is based. Several long-running matters continue with Brook Roberts and John Wilson of San Diego continuing to represent Fluor Corporation in its ongoing dispute with Hartford over the enforcement of anti-assignment provisions and the policyholder’s right to freely assign coverage benefits. Andrew Lundberg of Los Angeles also continues his work with Meritor, seeking coverage for thousands of asbestos bodily injury claims arising from the acquisition of Rockwell International’s automotive business. Further matters include assisting former directors and officers of PCNB in coverage litigation against a Travelers subsidiary, as well as representing the NFLPA in a putative class action alleging the client’s liability for concussion-related injuries sustained by former NFL players. Other clients include Allergan, Wynn Resorts and URS Corporation.

Perkins Coie LLP’s exclusive policyholder practice represents clients across a range of sectors with coverage experience including data breach matters, bankruptcy and asbestos-related liabilities as well as providing insurance counseling and ‘outstanding experience and expertise’. Client representations include Northwestern Energy, Residential Capital and the Tennessee Valley Authority as well as representing several AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company policyholders. The firm filed a class action against the insurer for the policyholders relating to life insurance fraud and AXA’s use of ‘shadow insurance’ practices. The firm recently defeated AXA’s motion to dismiss. Further highlights include representing Motors Liquidation Company DIP Lenders Trust against 30 excess insurance companies in seeking coverage for historical asbestos and environmental liabilities. Selena Linde and Michael Sharkey, who are leading the matter, are ‘very good to work with’ and have ‘tremendous attention to detail with significant strategic leadership’. Donald Friedman chairs the practice, which in 2014 saw the arrival of highly regarded coverage litigator Lorelie Masters from Jenner & Block LLP. Madison-based Timothy Burns is also recommended. All attorneys mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise specified.

The coverage practice at Dickstein Shapiro exclusively represents policyholders nationally and globally in specialized areas including bad faith, bankruptcy, D&O, entertainment insurance, property and business interruption matters. Clients include NBC Universal, Blackstone International and NRG Energy; the firm is currently representing the latter in litigation concerning defense and indemnification coverage in a suit filed under the Clean Air Act. Washington DC-based practice head John Heintz leads the matter that involves issues of first impression with the firm recently prevailing on its motion to recover all defense costs. Heintz also continues to represent former directors and officers of Lyondell Chemical Company in a matter relating to the company’s merger with Basell. Kirk Pasich in Los Angeles recently served as lead counsel for Alexandria Real Estate Equities in a lawsuit asserting claims for breach of contract and bad faith regarding Superstorm Sandy losses, winning a favorable decision for the client. Washington DC-based James Murray is recommended for trial work.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s insurance group practices out of the firm’s 16 US offices with practice heads Paul Zevnik and Michel Horton working out of Washington DC and Los Angeles respectively. The firm focuses on a range of disputes including asbestos and environmental mass torts, bankruptcy matters and restructuring issues alongside expertise in captive insurance. The firm is currently lead insurance coverage and legacy liability counsel for PepsiCo on several long-running asbestos claims relating to discontinued operations at PepsiCo subsidiaries; Zevnik and Washington DC-based Daniel Chefitz are leading on the matter and recently negotiated settlements with multiple insurers. The firm also concluded final settlements for Thorpe Insulation in recovery litigation and bankruptcy proceedings arising from thousands of asbestos bodily injury claims. Other highlights include continued representation of Goulds Pumps in a coverage dispute against Travelers that is on appeal after the firm secured $50m in coverage. Trial lawyer David Luttinger of New York and Los Angeles-based Charles Malaret are recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP is ‘very knowledgeable with a practical approach and excellent customer service’. Strengths include financial services claims, life settlements and environmental matters, and it has particular expertise in data breach liability. This can be best seen through the firm’s work for Sony following a 2011 cyber-attack; the firm is representing the company in litigation against Zurich and other insurers to determine coverage for the data breach claims that arose from the hack. The firm has also been retained by Sony Pictures to handle matters relating to the highly publicized cyber-attack in late 2014, a supposed retaliation to the release of parody film The Interview; the matter is led by Richard DeNatale and Russell Cohen along with ‘top-notch’ Darren Teshima who made the partnership in 2014, all based in San Francisco. Washington DC-based practice head Mark Plumer recently represented CITGO in a lawsuit against Lloyd’s of London to recover under roughly 150 policies for alleged environmental damage at an oil refinery. Other clients include Credit Suisse, Nooter Corporation and Amtrak. San Francisco’s Barry Levin along with Washington DC’s David Klein and David Elkind, are also recommended. Since publication, Richard DeNatale has moved to Jones Day. Since publication, Mark Plumer and David Klein have moved to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw.

Insurance: non-contentious

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: non-contentious
  2. Leading lawyers

Among the ‘best firms in the sector’, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice covers the industry comprehensively, incorporating every element of transactional and regulatory matters including M&A, capital markets, bankruptcy, restructuring and corporate governance on a national and global scale. The practice is co-led by Nicholas Potter, who recently advised Protective Life on its $5.7bn sale to Dai-ichi Life; and John Vasily who assisted AXA in acquiring 51% of Mercantil Colpatria’s Colombia operations for $348m. The firm also advised Prudential on pension buyouts in transactions with Motorola Solutions and Bristol-Myers Squibb. Further matters led by Vasily include advising Zurich in the disposition of its Russian retail insurance business and the restructuring of its remaining Russian businesses. Other clients include The Blackstone Group, Sun Life Financial and Fidelity & Guaranty Life. Thomas Kelly is recommended for regulatory matters. Alexander Cochran made the partnership in 2014. All attorneys are based in New York.

Sidley Austin LLP’s broad practice extends across multiple areas including M&A, regulatory advice and capital market issues. The firm is a leader in catastrophe bonds - recent matters for the property and casualty alternative risk transfer practice, led by New York’s Michael Madigan and Michael Pinsel in Chicago, including representing Citigroup Global Markets on a catastrophe bond issuance and assisting Chubb in the reinsurance of $270m catastrophe risk through a catastrophe bond. Practice co-head Michael Goldman, based in New York, advised Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Michigan on its conversion to a mutual disability insurer due to federal health care reform. The practice is also co-headed by ‘top-shelf, fabulous attorneyJeff Liebmann in New York, and Chicago’s Perry Shwachman, whose recent work includes advising The Hartford on the divestiture of life insurance and retirement plans operating units.

Excellent, top-drawer firmSullivan & Cromwell LLP’s expertise covers matters ranging from M&A, capital markets and private equity to risk transfer and regulatory advice. Highly regarded William Torchiana is global coordinator of the practice and splits his time between New York and Paris, assisted by deputy coordinator Marion Leydier who recently advised Goldman Sachs as selling shareholder in Essent Group’s $361m common stock IPO and NYSE listing. Leydier, alongside Robert Reeder, also advised AIG in an aggregate of $5.3bn in senior note offerings. Recent M&A matters include ‘excellent lawyerAndrew Rowen and Stephen Kotran assisting Swiss Re in the sale of its life insurance subsidiary, Aurora National Life Assurance, to Reinsurance Group of America, as well as Kotran and Joseph Frumkin advising Western World Insurance Group on its acquisition by Validus Holdings for $690m. Associate Roderick Gilman and special counsel Cheryl Bunevich are also recommended. All attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Top firmSkadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s in-depth insurance practice covers a variety of transactional matters including M&A and corporate restructuring providing advice to insurers, reinsurers and financial institutions. Particular strengths lie in the property and casualty, life and health sectors. Todd Freed heads the department from New York and recently advised State Farm on the $1.5bn sale of several Canadian businesses as well as assisting Wilton Re on its acquisition by the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board. Further matters include advising Credit Suisse as exclusive financial adviser to PartnerRe in its $11bn merger with AXIS Capital Holdings. Expert in corporate transactions, Robert Sullivan, assisted Liberty Mutual in purchasing a $6bn reinsurance cover for asbestos, pollution and environmental liability from Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary, National Indemnity Company. Jon Hlafter made the partnership in 2014. All mentioned lawyers are New York-based.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s ‘highly active and competitive’ New York-based transactional and regulatory practice is ‘the cream of the crop’ with experience across a range of sectors including structured finance, tax, reinsurance and regulatory matters with particular expertise in M&A and capital markets. The practice is co-chaired by John Schwolsky and ‘top attorney’ Alexander Dye who recently represented Dai-ichi Life in its $5.7bn acquisition of Protective Life. Dye was assisted by Leah Campbell and of counsel Donald Henderson Jr, who also advised ING subsidiary ReliaStar Life on a reinsurance transaction in which Global Atlantic acquired $900m of annuity business from ReliaStar. The firm also advised Prudential on a $27bn longevity risk transfer transaction with BT, led by Vladimir Nicenko. Other clients include SPARTA, The Wright Insurance Group and Berkshire Hathaway. ‘Excellent lawyer’ Michael Groll is recommended.

Mayer Brown’s transaction practice provides ‘a high-quality service as well as exceptional knowledge’ and represents insurers, reinsurers, banks, private equity firms and other investors in a range of matters with particular focus on M&A, insurance-linked securities, capital markets and corporate finance. The team is led from New York by James Woods and Stephen Rooney, with Rooney recently representing Everglades Re in a $1.5bn hurricane catastrophe bond offering to Citizens Property Insurance Company. Top clients include Hellman & Friedman, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America, which the firm recently represented in its $800m syndicated credit facility. Chicago-based Edward Best recently represented Certas Home & Auto Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Desjardins Group, in its acquisition of State Farm’s Canadian businesses. David Alberts of New York and Chicago-based tax expert George Craven are names to note.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP is ‘terrific’ and ‘recommended by clients without any hesitation’ for its ‘technical expertise, market understanding and business acumen’. The New York firm’s experience in transactional and regulatory corporate insurance covers M&A, capital market issues and risk securitization with special counsel and catastrophe bond expert Matthew Feig representing Willis Capital Markets as underwriter’s counsel on a catastrophe bond for Florida tropical storms and hurricanes. Department co-head Bernhardt Nadell recently represented ORIX and its subsidiary ORIX Life Insurance in the acquisition of the shares of Hartford Life Insurance from The Hartford Financial Services Group for $963m. Nadell also continued working alongside fellow co-head William Latza, who is ‘the best at what he does’, assisting Reservoir and its subsidiary Prosperity Life in the merger with SBLI USA through a sponsored demutualization, finalizing the transaction in 2014. Other clients include Allianz, Deutsche Bank and Goldman Sachs.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLPhas some of the best client service’ and ‘is the finest group of attorneys in terms of substantive legal counsel, responsiveness and ability to balance risk and business priorities’. The firm comprehensively covers all non-contentious matters including M&A, regulatory advice, captive insurance, capital markets, products and reinsurance. Active clients include Voya, Munich Re and Prudential, for which the firm is currently lead regulatory adviser to on a matter relating to the designation of SIFI’s by the Financial Stability Oversight Council; the matter is led by New York-based practice co-head Cynthia Shoss who is also working with New York’s ‘meticulous’ James Dwyer advising Wilton Re on its acquisition of the capital stock of Conseco Life from CNO Financial Group. Other highlights include advising Motorola Solutions on the insurance elements of the transfer of $3.1bn in pension liabilities to Prudential via a group annuity contract. Co-head Stephen Roth of Washington DC is prominent in the regulatory field. Clients recommend ‘incredibly knowledgeable attorney’ Ling Ling and David Massey for his ‘real world experience and outstanding dedication’, both in Washington DC, and ‘razor sharp intellectual’ Scott Burton in Atlanta.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP provides strategic non-contentious advice to insurers, reinsurers and underwriters on M&A, capital markets and tax, alongside Dodd-Frank regulatory advice. Richard Sandler and Phillip Mills lead the team, with Sandler working alongside head of the corporate governance practice Joseph Hall representing Voya as underwriter’s counsel in multiple equity offerings; this includes representing underwriters in the $865m block trade of Voya’s common stock, and advising initial purchasers in two separate secondary offerings of ING common stock, valued at $1.07bn and $1.12bn. The firm has also represented Aetna in a debt offering of $750m notes as well as advising the client on the $400m acquisition of bswift. Further transactional matters include advising Lightyear Capital on the sale of its investment in HIIG to The Westaim Corporation, a matter led by Michael Davis, and advising PartnerRe on its $11bn merger with AXIS Capital. All mentioned attorneys are based in New York.

Dentons’ global insurance regulatory and transactional practice is prominent in the space, with expertise covering M&A, risk management, captive insurance and regulatory advice. Group co-head Kara Baysinger, based in San Francisco, recently represented Genworth Life and RiverSource in a regulatory administrative hearing against the California Department of Insurance following a market conduct examination. Kansas City-based co-head Bruce Baty represented FMC in a collaboration with Aetna to present a coordinated care model designed to improve the care quality and lowering healthcare costs of the company’s renal disease patients. Further matters include advising the TZP Group on the regulatory elements of its acquisition of a health club franchisor, led by Chicago-based Michael Kasdin, who also represented Confie Seguros in the acquisition of Affirmative Insurance. Kasdin joined the firm in 2014 from DLA Piper, and the firm also gained a new partner in New York, Matthew Gaul, who joined from Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Clifford Chance focuses its ‘extremely responsive and exceptionally knowledgeable’ practice on high-value M&A deals, insurance start-ups, joint ventures, restructurings and regulatory advice with its ‘exceptional track record’ attracting clients including Assurant, Swiss Re, JP Morgan and MetLife. The New York office includes Gary Boss, whose ‘knowledge of capital-related transactions is unparalleled’ and Nicholas Williams who heads the practice. Boss led the team involved in the high-profile formation of Bermuda-based reinsurer Watford Re; the team is currently working on seven other transactions inspired by this structure. The firm also continues to advise Jardine Lloyd Thompson on its acquisition of Towers Watson’s reinsurance brokerage, valued at $250m. New clients include Axis, Providence and the Bank of Luxembourg.

DLA Piper’s ‘unparalleled’ knowledge of the industry covers a wide range of issues including capital markets, M&A, alternative risk transfer and regulatory advice. The firm recently advised Fosun International, a Chinese private conglomerate, on its acquisition of the majority of the share capital and voting rights of Fidelidade, that is a subsidiary of Caixa Seguros e Saúde, valued at $1bn; Paul Chen in San Francisco and Silicon Valley led the matter. Recent alternative risk work can be seen through New York-based David Luce and his representation of Guy Carpenter Securities as initial purchaser of catastrophe bonds issued by Alamo Re valued at $400m. ‘Excellent advocate and highly experienced lawyerWilliam Marcoux, based in New York, is global head of the insurance transaction and regulation department which was strengthened in 2014 by the arrival of Mark Roppel who joined the New York office from Allen & Overy LLP. Chicago-based Stephen Schwab is ‘creative, responsive and a true professional’, and Steven Phillips in Washington DC ‘is very well connected and understands how to advance objectives’. David Mendelsohn, managing partner of the Chicago office, is also noted.

The team at Foley & Lardner LLP provides ‘excellent service and always responds quickly’, and clients appreciate the ‘high level of partner involvement’. The firm covers a range of industries including life insurance, property and casualty and monoline insurers with a particular expertise in health-related regulatory matters. The firm’s strength in health insurance can be seen through its work representing Beacon Health Strategies. The firm is currently advising the client as regulatory counsel on its pending merger with ValueOptions. Transactional matters for the team include representing American Family Insurance in its acquisition of Homesite Group and its eight insurance subsidiaries; this matter was led by Milwaukee-based practice head Thomas Hrdlick and Anne Ross, who is based in the Madison office. Other clients include Kemper Corporation, Florida Blue and Lloyds America. Key names are ‘uber-responsive, pragmatic and bright attorneyKevin Fitzgerald who is based in Milwaukee, as well as Tallahassee-based Austin Neal - ‘the only person you would want representing you’.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s main strengths lie in M&A, capital markets transactions and private equity matters, complemented by a ‘highly regarded’ regulatory practice. The firm represents insurers, private equity firms, brokers and intermediaries on a national and global scale with clients including Travelers, Axis and CNO Financial Group. The firm recently represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Goldman Sachs and Wells Fargo as underwriters in the public offerings of $750m of debt securities of Berkshire Hathaway Finance Corporation as well as $750m of senior notes of Berkshire Hathaway. The matter was led by Andrew Keller of the capital markets team and senior counsel Steven DeLott who specializes in regulatory issues. Gary Horowitz recently led the team representing KKR in its investment in WMI Holdings, as well as being involved in The Navigators Group’s $265m senior note offering.


Index of tables

  1. Sport
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Covington & Burling LLP’s renowned sports practice remains at the forefront of high-profile team ownership transactions and ground-breaking litigation. An enviable list of clients includes former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who called upon the firm for his $2bn acquisition of NBA franchise the Los Angeles Clippers, which was not only strongly contested by the former owner but also attracted a range of competing bids. Its transactional expertise is further demonstrated through its work for the NFL; it advised the league on the sale of the Buffalo Bills franchise. The team is currently advising the American Athletic Conference on the high-profile issue of financial restrictions on student-athletes, which is currently dominating college sport. Jeremy Spector remains a go-to name for tax matters and represents clients including MLB, NHL, and MLS, as well sports franchises. Douglas Gibson, Gregg Levy, Peter Zern, Benjamin Block, Bruce Wilson, Derek Ludwin and of counsel Paul Tagliabue are standout names in the team. All individuals mentioned are based in the firm’s Washington DC office.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s pre-eminence in this area stems in part from its 50-year association with the NBA, which remains a marquee client of the practice, but also from its reputation as the first choice for leagues, teams, owners and executives across an array of sports. Its commitment to this area is further reinforced by its work in the field of college sports, which it has developed in recent years. The team’s expertise in antitrust cases is highlighted through its representation of the Pac-12 Conference in a putative class action alleging that student-athletes’ compensation was unreasonably restrained. It continues to play a leading role on corporate transactions; it advised the Buffalo Bills on its $1.4bn sale to the Pegula family, and acted for MLS on its acquisition and shut-down of Chivas USA. It also assisted Soccer United Marketing with its eight-year media rights agreement with ESPN, Fox and Univision. It maintains its position as a leading team for financing transactions and, among other instructions, advised the Washington Nationals on refinancing its $292m bank debt. Joseph Leccese, Howard Ganz and Bradley Ruskin co-lead the ‘prestigious’ team, which also includes Wayne Katz and IP transactional specialist Robert Freeman. Named attorneys are based in the firm’s New York office.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s reputation for advising on high-stakes litigation has been further bolstered by its recent instructions in this area. Litigation specialist Jeffrey Mishkin, along with Anthony Dreyer and Karen Hoffman Lent, are advising the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver on litigation initiated by Donald Sterling, former owner of the LA Clippers; the NBA imposed a lifetime ban against Sterling as part of its disciplinary process. The trio are also defending the NFL in copyright infringement and restraint of trade proceedings commenced by seven photographers. The team is advising new client the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) on federal antitrust actions challenging compensation restrictions placed on student-athletes. Shepard Goldfein maintains a close association with the NHL and has been instructed on a range of matters; Goldfein and James Keyte are advising the client on concussion litigation filed by former players. Thomas Gowan, a banking specialist, provides ongoing advice to the same client on financing issues and in 2014 the team was influential in securing financing for six franchises. Antitrust expert Paul Eckles is also recommended. All lawyers mentioned are based in the firm’s New York office.

Arent Fox LLP’s burgeoning sports practice was bolstered this year with the addition of The Miami Heat to its already impressive client list, continuing the firm’s long association with NBA franchises. It is providing contractual advice to the client on the advertising agreements, sponsorship agreements and the client’s stadium, the AmericanAirlines Arena. It remains prominent in advising on rights agreements; it represented supermarket chain Albertsons on its corporate sponsorship of the Boise State football stadium, which included a naming rights deal and on-pitch logo. It continues to advise longstanding client the Brooklyn Nets and, following previous mandates to assist with sponsorship agreements, naming rights and IP matters, led the development of the team’s training facility. Other clients include USA Cycling, New York Jets, Los Angeles Galaxy, Fox Broadcasting and James Grant Sports. Richard Brand, who leads the practice from the firm’s San Francisco office, and New York-based Matthew Pace, a key name for cycling and fringe sports, are recommended.

DLA Piper’s global presence has enabled the firm to further develop its international client base. The group continues to advise beIN SPORTS, previously AL JAZEERA SPORT, on a range of matters; it handled the client’s rights protection program for coverage of the FIFA World Cup, and is managing the media rights program. The practice has an increasing portfolio of soccer clients and, in conjunction with its Italian partners, is advising AS Roma and Raptor Group on the construction of a new stadium and the client’s corporate refinancing. It completed a number of M&A transactions involving soccer franchises; it advised AMB Group and Arthur Blank on the acquisition of an MLS franchise in Atlanta, and assisted two private equity backers with their minority investment in a new MLS franchise in Los Angeles. It is advising the Atlanta Braves on the construction of a new ballpark and a related entertainment district surrounding the stadium. Frank Ryan, Peter White and Charles Baker are key names in the firm’s New York office. Reston-based Mark Whitaker is also recommended.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s sports offering is closely linked with its IP practice, with Bruce Keller as the practice group leader for both areas. The firm continues to receive headline instructions relating to IP disputes and handled rights of publicity, trademark, content protection and defamation matters. The firm’s recent success in high-stakes rights of publicity cases has ended a run of successive wins for the plaintiffs across a range of sports. It represented the NFL in an action brought by former players who had opted out of an earlier class action settlement; the court granted summary judgment in favor of the client and rejected the players’ argument that they should be compensated for the NFL’s use of historical game footage. It secured a motion to dismiss for the NFL in a separate IP dispute related to the online publication of the plaintiff’s photo and biographical information. Jeremy Feigelson, David Rivkin, a member of the arbitration panel for the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Michael Schaper, who are all based in New York, are other names to note.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s accomplished team has an impressive track record across a wide range of sports and continues to excel in the area of stadium development. It is currently advising Syracuse University on the development of a potential multi-use stadium, together with the related naming rights, licensing and ticketing agreements. It remains a popular choice among baseball clients, traditionally a key area for the firm, and recently represented the Texas Rangers in negotiating a media rights deal with Fox. Other standout matters include advising Senator Herbert Kohl on the sale of the Milwaukee Bucks for $550m; the deal was complicated, in part, by Kohl’s stipulation that the team remain in Milwaukee. Co-chairs Mary Braza and Irwin Raij lead the team from the firm’s Milwaukee and New York offices respectively. Milwaukee-based M&A specialist Kevin Schulz is another notable name within the sizeable team. Although traditionally strong in baseball the firm has also made a concerted, and successful, effort to expand its client base and other marquee names include the Detroit Pistons, New York Jets, NASCAR and the WWE.

Winston & Strawn LLP’s longstanding relationship with player associations has seen it play a leading role in the issues dominating the sports headlines of late. It represented the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and NBA players in high-profile proceedings to remove Donald Sterling from his position as owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. It is also advising a class of college-athletes in an antitrust action against the NCAA and the five NCAA conferences; the action alleges that the defendants restrained competition and curbed the compensation available to student-athletes. The firm maintains close links with the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) and represented the client in arbitration proceedings appealing the indefinite suspension imposed on player Ray Rice; it is defending the same client in concussion litigation brought by former players. In addition to its excellent player association practice, the team is experienced in advising on corporate transactions, licensing and IP rights. The ‘outstandingJeffrey Kessler and David Feher co-head the team which also includes David Greenspan and Adam Kaiser. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Arnold & Porter LLP works closely with its media and entertainment departments to advise on copyright and telecoms-related matters, with practice head Robert Garrett, in the Washington DC office a recognized IP and TMT expert. It continues to advise a consortium of sports leagues on copyright royalty litigation, and is assisting the MLB with a range of copyright proceedings before the FCC, Congress and the Copyright Office. It plays a key role in lobbying for policy changes and is petitioning the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), on behalf of the Coalition of Sports Organizations (CSO) for the introduction of an international treaty to prohibit the unlicensed streaming of television content. It receives high-profile employment mandates and defended the Oakland Raiders in a wage-and-hour class action brought by the Raiderettes, the team’s cheerleaders, which has now settled; the firm is representing the same client in copycat proceedings also initiated by the Raiderettes. David Reis, who is based in San Francisco, is a key contact for labor and employment. Matthew Keiser joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP in January 2015.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s ‘excellent’ practice head Adam Klein is the figurehead for the firm’s sports department and is ‘very well known in the market’. The team continues to act for the Sacramento Kings on a range of issues; it advised on negotiating a local broadcast agreement and is assisting on the construction of a new arena and a mixed-use development. The firm, which is well known for his work on financing, is advising GSW Sports on raising equity and developing the proposed new arena for the Golden State Warriors. Other key highlights included assisting Silver Chalice Ventures on its joint venture, 120 Sports, and acting for the Philadelphia Phillies in negotiations with the MLB for the approval of a series of broadcast rights agreements. Commercial finance specialist Michael Jacobson, who, like Klein is based in the firm’s Chicago office, is a key name in the team.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP enters the ranking based on its proven track record in handling sports disputes. It benefits from the presence of leading litigators Theodore Wells Jr and Brad Karp, who are both involved in the group’s work for the NFL and FIFA. The team is representing the NFL in the high-profile concussion litigation filed by former players, and acted for the same client in a workplace conduct investigation into the Miami Dolphins. It is defending FIFA in class action proceedings seeking injunctive relief for the cognitive risks associated with playing soccer. Its sports expertise extends to corporate transactions and the firm advised investors Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry on their $550m acquisition of the Milwaukee Bucks. Ariel Deckelbaum and Bruce Birenboim are standout names in the sizeable team. Named attorneys are based in the firm’s New York office.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s impressive group has historically advised player associations, and in 2014 it was instructed by both the NBPA and the National Hockey League Players Association (NHLPA). It is representing the NBPA in breach of contract claims filed by its previous director and is acting for the NHLPA on a salary cap and revenue dispute with the league. It is defending CBS in putative class actions filed by student-athletes in proceedings centering on the use of athletes’ names and images in television broadcasts and on partner websites. James Quinn, Bruce Meyer and specialist employment litigator Jeffrey Klein, who are all based in the firm’s New York office, are notable names.

Client Intelligence Report

The Legal 500 United States - Events

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Summer 2015

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United States

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