The Legal 500

United States

United States > Industry focus

Editorial

Overview

In a world where there are limited resources and lingering environmental fears, energy and the legal issues surrounding it are at the forefront of discussion. In a constantly volatile and changing sector, major trends have generally been driven by the availability of fuel and regulatory decisions and while this is still true, recent frenetic activity in certain energy spaces has given the legal market an active year. The shale gas boom took the US by storm and provided firms with a healthy supply of transactional and regulatory work. It has had a huge impact on the behaviour of all who are involved in the sector. The LNG export efforts and discussions continue, with political, economic and regulatory implications. An increase in oil pipeline work, and therefore Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) regulatory work, is attached to that. Within power, active areas include transmission developments and rights to build. There has been lots of FERC activity in the aftermath of the California power crisis, and more aggressive enforcement. In the renewable space, solar work has been big. There has also been an increase in Texas-based wind activity.

It is a busy time for environment lawyers in the US, with work stemming from a number of new areas. Hydraulic fracturing is fast becoming a potential mainstay for firms as the exploration of vast shale plays across the country continues apace. The resulting backlash among environmental groups and residents shows no sign of abating, and actions at state and local level have seen initial successes for those opposing the new technology.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) continues to utilize its mandate to regulate greenhouse gas emissions under the Clean Air Act, and has used the New Source Review and New Source Performance Standards to widen the net of potential emitters, which has met with considerable opposition. President Obama’s 2013 Climate Action Plan is the administration’s strongest statement to date on combatting carbon dioxide emissions, and issues surrounding climate change remain high on the agenda for firms in the environment area.

The 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has rolled into its fourth year of litigation, and environmental groups are seeking to curtail further exploration in the Gulf of Mexico on constitutional grounds. The past year also saw an increase in pipeline litigation and claims under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act, which enable private individuals to bring actions on behalf of the government.

The environment sections cover Clean Air Act, cleantech, climate change, groundwater, Superfund, radioactivity, public nuisance and endangered species matters. Firms recommended for litigation have the capability to handle high-level litigation and arbitration across the sector, or have outstanding niche capability. Firms listed in the transactional and regulatory ranking are noted for their depth and experience in areas such as M&A, capital markets, licenses and royalties, and compliance.

Reform and consolidation continues to shape the US healthcare market. The Supreme Court’s marginal upholding of the constitutionality in June 2012 led to a glut of M&A activity among hospitals, health maintenance organizations (HMOs) and managed care organizations (MCOs), which was sustained in 2013. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) with its provision for Medicare and Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchanges, two of the focal points of the reform, has required service providers and insurers to look to lawyers for new legal frameworks to manage the myriad of regulatory and compliance issues which come with offering healthcare to several million formerly uninsured Americans. Apart from sustained consolidation, other trends in 2013 included the continued buoyancy of private equity in the sector, reform with its associated streamlined services and use of information technology making healthcare providers ever more attractive investments – market leader McDermott Will & Emery LLP is among the firms offering targeted services to private equity houses entering the arena. False Claims Act litigation, driven by an increasingly belligerent FDA, as well as other government agencies, was a major factor for service providers, insurers and life sciences companies alike, and the trend is set to continue due to ongoing changes in how false claims are defined, and reform of whistleblower provisions, quite apart from more rigorous enforcement. The Supreme Court’s landmark September 2013 decision in FTC v Actavis will have far-reaching effects on antitrust law and Hatch-Waxman litigation. The outcome for generic and brand drug manufacturers remains to be seen, but the discouragement of settlement of Hatch-Waxman cases is just one of the predicted effects for both. Highlight life sciences deals included the $8.5bn acquisition of Warner Chilcott by Actavis, and AstraZeneca’s $4.1bn acquisition of all of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s interests in the companies’ diabetes alliance. Hogan Lovells, another key player in the sector, assisted Amplimmune on its sale to Medimmune, the R&D arm of AstraZeneca. As with last year, the healthcare rankings cover service providers, insurers and life sciences.

There has been a degree of convergence between service and coverage providers and such deals are addressed also. A firm’s high ranking reflects the depth and breadth of its offering, and particular weight is given to the size and experience of regulatory teams.

Law firms seeking detailed coverage of life sciences IP matters should refer to the intellectual property chapter.

Changing regulatory strictures spurred by the passage of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street and Consumer Protection Act continue to significantly affect the insurance sector. Firms have witnessed an increase in related work as insurers and reinsurers respond to the evolving regulatory landscape, which has introduced many new developments, including the need for greater capitalization and a movement from state to federal regulation of the insurance industry. Insurers with a significant presence outside the US are also facing compliance issues pertaining to international regulations such as Basel III and the European Union’s Solvency II Directive, providing another source of work for firms. Firms are experiencing plenty of activity in the reinsurance sector, directors’ and officers’ (D&O) cases, and insurance industry capital markets and M&A transactions. The latter trend is expected to continue if interest rates rise. Litigation involving property damage issues relating to Hurricane Sandy proliferates and is starting to reach its zenith. There is also a greater focus on the emerging area of cyber risk, with a significant number of liability and data breach issues being litigated in courts. Asbestos claims are not being seen with the same high level of frequency as in previous decades, but are still being commonly tried and/or settled out of court.

The sports industry’s rapid growth in recent years has led it to an estimated worth of as much as $620bn globally. As with any other, the industry requires a broad range of legal services. The Sport ranking identifies leading firms that are able to service their clients’ needs in the US, both in terms of sports regulatory issues and the wider legal needs of any modern industry, such as intellectual property expertise and corporate capability.


Energy: litigation

Index of tables

  1. Energy: litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Baker Botts L.L.P. is often instructed in the ‘highest-risk’ and ‘highest-stakes’ energy litigation, and has ‘substantial in-house resources, knowledge, and expertise’. In 2013 it continued to act in a range of significant cases for an impressive array of multinational clients. It is acting for Murphy Exploration in multiple proceedings relating to the oil and natural gas company’s $1bn-plus investment in the Eagle Ford shale play in southern Texas, covering lease disputes, drilling accidents, royalty disputes and regulatory enforcement actions. It also represented Great River Energy in its challenge to the EPA’s proposed plan to reduce haze in North Dakota under the CAA; the company operates the largest coal-fired plant in the state, and is arguing that the provision would be unduly burdensome for little improvement in visibility. In an ongoing international case, the firm is defending Canadian oil development company Ivanhoe Energy in several suits relating to its operations in the Pungarayacu oil field in Ecuador; the most recent case (GAR Energy v Ivanhoe Energy) was brought by a South American consultancy which claims it is owed $95m out of Ivanhoe’s interest and is now before an arbitration panel following successful dismissal from state and federal courts. Houston-based William Kroger co-chairs the energy litigation practice and John Anaipakos is a trial lawyer with strong utilities experience. Jay Ryan recently joined the firm in Washington DC from Van Ness Feldman LLP.

Covington & Burling LLP is rated ‘very highly’ for its energy litigation practice, and regularly acts in major cases for its international client base, acting in litigation and arbitration matters on both the defense and prosecution side. In 2013, Mike Brock was instructed by BP as lead trial counsel in multi-district litigation relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion of 2010, and led three trials for BP over 2013: the first addressed the question of gross negligence leading up to the accident; the second concerned the attempts to stop the spill, which was flowing unabated for three months; and the third was to determine the amount of oil ultimately spilled into the Gulf of Mexico. The firm also continues to represent certain subsidiaries of ExxonMobil in a multibillion-dollar ICSID arbitration against Venezuela relating to the country’s alleged uncompensated expropriation of the company’s investments in it; the case is currently awaiting decision from the tribunal. The practice also has a strong relationship with the American Petroleum Institute (API), and in 2013 won a case on appeal for the organization in North Carolina relating to state legislation which entitled gasoline wholesalers to blend ethanol into gasoline, the API having contended that the state law is pre-empted by federal law. Litigation veterans Thomas Cubbage and Steven Rosenbaum co-chair the practice from Washington DC, where William Massey heads the overall energy practice and is a former commissioner at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).

Gibbs & Bruns LLP maintains its status as one of the nation’s leading energy litigation practices. A boutique which has focused solely on litigation for decades, it is widely acknowledged as a very strong player in the field, and is able to draw on the expertise of a significant talent pool. Founding partner Robin Gibbs has spent 30 years at the helm, and in 2013 acted in D Bobbitt Noel Jr v Devon Energy Holdings, which saw a successful $196m judgment against Devon Energy for fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. Gibbs also led on a case for the Vantage Drilling Company, also involving claims of breach of fiduciary duty and fraud; the suit alleges that a former Vantage director defrauded the company through a series of major transactions aimed at his own enrichment. Among the firm’s 30 trial lawyers, Barrett Reasoner is noted for natural gas disputes, and recently acted for Kinder Morgan in claims brought by the unit holders of Copano Energy. Grant Harvey is also a leading name, and led on a title dispute for Matrix Petroleum, Talisman Energy USA and Statoil USA, relating to oil and gas property in the Eagle Ford shale formation in southern Texas; the three are assignees of over 7,000 acres of valuable land in the area. Both Reasoner and Harvey are based in Houston.

King & Spalding LLP is ‘excellent’, and has ‘in-depth expertise’ in the energy field. Its wide-ranging experience includes FERC regulatory matters, audits, climate change issues, qui tam claims, offshore property evaluations, and contract claims. In 2013 it continued its high-profile work for internationals, such as acting for Halliburton in connection with the company’s historic activities at an Oklahoma site and the alleged perchlorate contamination of groundwater; a multitude of personal injury claims are currently pending in four state courts. It is acting for Chevron in relation to a fire at one of the company’s refineries in the City of Richmond, California – the ensuing litigation involves thousands of plaintiffs citing physical injury and property damage as a result of the fire. In another highlight, the firm is acting as lead counsel to Gamesa in various actions relating to its wind farm operations in the US, currently acting in a dispute against Infigenn in which the latter is seeking damages of around $200m in relation to alleged design defects in wind turbines; the case is currently pending in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Shell is also a client. Robert Meadows is a renowned and well-respected trial lawyer, and heads the team from Houston. Washington DC-based Tim Engel and Charles Correll in Houston are also recommended.

Beck Redden is a litigation boutique which wins plaudits from peers for its impressive national practice. David Beck co-founded the firm over 20 years ago, and remains an active trial lawyer in the field. In the past year, he continued to act in a major international arbitration concerning a drilling contract in Libya. David Gunn has worked on appeals for the past two decades and, together with of counsel John Adcock, acted in a successful Supreme Court case for ExxonMobil involving a dispute over oil and gas operations at a ranch in southern Texas. The firm’s client base ranges from individuals and small companies to multinationals and included Cameron International. The lawyers named are all based in Houston.

Texas-based Bracewell & Giuliani LLP is a major player in energy litigation. Its recent work includes representing Kinder Morgan in suits relating to natural gas compression stations in Arkansas, involving allegations of nuisance and trespass relating to the operation of compressor stations near the plaintiffs’ homes. The practice is also representing Apache against landowners who are alleging soil contamination on land leased to a series of exploration companies; the contamination dates back to when the sites were first used, in the 1950s, raising the issue of liability on the part of the current operator for activities conducted by previous tenants on the land; a trial is set for 2014. Elsewhere, the firm is acting for major Canadian energy provider Powerex, a subsidiary of BC Hydro, in federal and administrative litigation for alleged manipulation of California’s energy market in 2000-2001, with the combined claims totaling $3bn; this involves negotiations with various regulators, the FERC and the Western Area Power Administration, and regulations such as the Federal Power Act and Columbia River Treaty. Stephen Crain is head of the energy litigation practice, and Glenn Ballard is also recommended; both are based in Houston.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP regularly acts in ‘high-stakes energy litigation’ for international clients such as the Calpine Corporation and ConocoPhillips, and is rated for its ‘very timely responsiveness’, ‘substantive knowledge’ and ‘keen business focus’. In 2013 it continued to act for Chesapeake Energy in a lease dispute in Ohio relating to payments to lessors to develop the Utica shale play in the state; the Sixth Circuit finally ruled that the lessors are not permitted to terminate the leases or require Chesapeake to make any additional payments. The firm is also acting for ExxonMobil in defending damages claims in two state court actions relating to a ruptured oil pipeline in Montana in 2011 which led to oil escaping into the Yellowstone River; and is lead counsel for BP in a class action relating to its distribution and subsequent recall of gasoline produced in a refinery in Indiana, involving allegations that the gasoline causes engine problems in certain vehicles – the initial four class actions were consolidated and remain in the Northern District of Illinois. Washington DC-based Daniel Donovan ‘ably leads his team’ and is ‘very creative’, and, in Chicago, Andrew Langan, Richard Godfrey and David Zott are also recommended.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP is a seasoned performer in energy litigation, and is well established as a go-to firm for mass torts, administrative agency proceedings and nuclear energy disputes, among other areas. It is acting as co-counsel for Motiva, the joint venture between Shell and Saudi Refining, in an insurance action seeking a determination of coverage under its $850m all-risk policy for losses to its Port Arthur refinery in Texas; the suit, originally filed in Delaware, has enjoining arbitration proceedings in London. The firm is also a leader in nuclear fuel-related litigation, especially in damages suits against the government for failures to deal with spent fuel for disposal; it acts for the majority of domestic players, including Exelon, the country’s largest nuclear utility company, and is active in a number of large, ongoing cases. In 2013 it represented Portland General Electric in Portland General Electric Company v United States: Portland alleged that the DOE violated a contract by refusing to handle spent fuel, and a two-week trial ruled in favor of the company, awarding $70m in compensation. The firm’s large energy litigation team covers both coasts, and has recently made inroads in the Texan market. Houston-based Hugh Tanner, Kenneth Komoroski in Pittsburgh, and Brad Fagg and Paul Bessette in Washington DC are recommended.

In the energy space, Norton Rose Fulbright has a number of ‘senior-level trial lawyers who are known as experts in complex litigation’. The firm is representing BP against a former contract worker claiming substantial damages under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act; Otway Denny has led through all phases of the litigation. The firm is also acting for Pecten Orient Company, a subsidiary of Shell, in a historical breach of contract suit relating to oil and gas production in Syria between 1982 and 1995; Syrian-American Oil Corp brought a series of claims, including a claim of fraud, and the trial is set for 2014. Elsewhere, the firm represented Anadarko in an arbitration against SM Energy relating to natural gas production in the Eagle Ford shale play in southern Texas; SM Energy claimed that Anadarko had breached the companies’ joint exploration agreement governing their activities in the area, but the arbitration panel ruled in favor of Anadarko and awarded the company full defense costs. William Wood heads the energy practice, and handles a wide range of disputes, covering areas such as well drilling obligations and contract termination provisions. Daniel McClure is ‘a very seasoned trial lawyer who is respected for his work on class actions and other forms of complex litigation’. Both Wood and McClure are based in Houston.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has extensive energy litigation expertise, and its international practice acts for clients ranging from oil and gas producers to alternative energy companies, including nuclear, wind, and solar clients. Among its recent work, it acted for Shell in a case brought by environmental groups challenging the EPA’s decision to issue to the company a permit to operate a drill in South Korea; the Ninth Circuit held that the EPA had reasonably interpreted the relevant provisions of the CAA. The firm also represented San Diego Gas & Electric Company in litigation resulting from three wildfires linked to its facilities, including defeating two proposed class action suits which sought to add 500,000 residents to the case and resolving $1.6bn of insurance claims across 2,300 cases. New York-based Kathleen Sullivan chairs the firm’s national appellate practice, and recently led in a precedent-setting case for Royal Dutch Petroleum at the Supreme Court relating to the centuries-old Alien Tort Statute; the court ruled unanimously in favor of Royal Dutch that a defendant cannot be sued in a US federal court under the statute. Los Angeles-based John Quinn is a national litigation player with strong experience in both domestic and international arbitration. William Adams, also in Los Angeles, has excellent courtroom experience at district and Supreme Court level.

Sidley Austin LLP’s expansion into the energy litigation market continues apace. Its Houston office has gone from strength to strength since opening in 2012, and the past year saw sustained growth for the practice. It is representing longstanding client ExxonMobil in relation to various pipeline issues, including proceedings before the FERC and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska regarding rates for transportation services in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS): the issues surround challenges by the state, and others, to the cost-saving plans to the pipeline initiated by its owners, with a decision expected in 2014. The past year also saw a decision in a long-running case for PG&E dating back to the 2000-2001 California energy crisis. At the time, the state saw an 800% increase in wholesale prices and PG&E was the largest purchaser of power, and has since sought to recover the overcharges from sellers; in 2013, a liability decision in favor of the company was issued on the $2bn of claims at stake. Other clients include American Electric Power, Kinder Morgan and the Clean Energy Trust. Eugene Elrod heads the team in Washington DC, which includes standout lawyers Marie Fiala, Mark Glasser and David Lewis.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP has a strong energy litigation and regulatory practice, typically acting in financial disputes for oil and gas clients. It handled several matters for Entergy Corporation over the past year, including multiple cases concerning the termination of the System Agreement between states; the practice won victories at the FERC and the DC Circuit Court of Appeals, which allowed Entergy Arkansas to terminate its participation in the agreement and rejected the compensation claims (running to hundreds of millions of dollars) from the Louisiana regulators. The firm also acted for FirstEnergy Corporation as intervenor in a case which challenged the FERC’s failure to rule that the Midcontinent Independent System Operator could not charge FirstEnergy $260m costs for a new class of transmission projects; and acted in a petition to the US Supreme Court challenging the right of the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission to stop the company from passing on $255m in transmission costs to customers. Other clients include Kansas City Power & Light, the New England Power Generators Association, and Exelon Corporation. Practice head Mike Naeve is highly respected, and John Moot and John Estes are also recommended; all three are based in Washington DC. William Scherman joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in March 2013.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP is ‘excellent value for money’ on the litigation side. In 2013 it was active in a range of TAPS-related work for ConocoPhillips, including assisting the company in securing FERC approval for an agreement between the owners of the pipeline regarding the sharing of annual running costs, which stand at over $1bn, and acting in an appeal against two parties who opposed the deal. The practice was also busy representing the Seaway Crude Pipeline Company in several matters before the FERC; the main case involves an application for authority to allow a change to the rates of transporting crude oil from the company’s base in Oklahoma to the Gulf coast. It was to be based on the market, which led to several parties filing a protest against the application, which was initially upheld by FERC, however the agency has since granted a rehearing of its order and Seaway’s appeal is on hold pending the decision. The firm handled other pipeline work for a variety of clients, such as Enbridge Pipelines and Sunoco, primarily on requests to the FERC for new and expanded lines in the US. Steve Brose heads the 14-partner team from Washington DC, where Steven Reed, David Raskin and Richard Roberts are also recommended.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is ‘very experienced in all aspects of the energy industry, particularly the upstream and midstream sectors’. The practice is currently representing Black Elk against claims by investors that the company improperly diluted shares and that mismanagement led to a platform explosion in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of which derailed a potential acquisition and downgraded the company. It is also busy on a royalty arbitration for Kinder Morgan before the American Arbitration Association, in which the claimants contend that it breached a previous settlement agreement and has committed fraud by underpaying royalties, seeking more than $30m in actual and punitive damages. The firm’s impressive client list also includes Antero Resources Corporation, Petrohawk and Midstates Petroleum Company. Houston-based James Thompson is ‘an excellent trial attorney who provides keen legal analysis’ and has ‘a deep understanding of the energy industry, which gives him an extra advantage in litigation’. Phillip Dye, also in Houston, is a ‘great strategist’, a ‘gifted intellectual’, and a ‘tactician’ with ‘extraordinary experience in litigation’.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is noted for its ‘good response times’ and ‘client-oriented service’ on the energy litigation side, providing a seamless service for energy clients facing litigation, arbitration, enforcement actions and regulatory proceedings. It acted for J.P. Morgan Ventures Energy Corp in an FERC enforcement matter relating to alleged manipulation of the electricity markets in California and the Midwest between 2010 and 2012, the result being a $410m civil penalty along with compliance measures. The firm has also represented the state of Alaska for over a decade in relation to the increase of rates for use of the Trans-Alaska Oil Pipeline; the increase relates to a change in hundreds of millions of dollars in running costs on the owners’ part, and has been challenged by the state, with the cases heard at the FERC and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska – this recently brought a victory for the state at the FERC, which produced lower rates and shipping refunds, and the decision was also won on appeal. Gregory Dresser is recommended for real estate disputes. Senior of counsel Robert Fleishman joined the Washington DC office in 2013 from Covington & Burling LLP, while Gordon Erspamer has recently left the firm.

Reynolds, Frizzell, Black, Doyle, Allen & Oldham LLP is a boutique litigation firm established by six former partners of Gibbs & Bruns LLP. Its Houston-based practice handles energy litigation as a significant component of its overall disputes service, handling cases in state and federal courts as well as domestic and international arbitration. Among its recent highlights, it represented Balli Steel in a contract dispute with Mid-Vol Coal Sales relating to the purchase of metallurgical coal; the company is seeking more than $30m in damages for the alleged failure to deliver the contractual amount of coal. It is also acting for the Seashore Investments Management Trust in a number of Texan cases in district and bankruptcy courts, recently obtaining an award against PBF Investments in a dispute over jointly owned oil and gas and real estate businesses; an arbitration panel awarded a combined total of $57m in favor of claims relating to breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Standout energy lawyers include Chris Reynolds, who has vast oil and natural gas experience; Jean Frizzell; and Mike Oldham.

Susman Godfrey LLP has close to three decades of experience representing energy companies in a range of disputes, and is often sought out on royalty and contract matters for both public and private owners; its past experience includes acting for TransCanada Keystone Pipeline LP in a case in which landowners challenged its eminent domain rights to construct a $12bn crude oil pipeline system. The firm is co-lead counsel for the New Mexico Commissioner of Public Lands in royalty litigation against ConocoPhillips for its operations under New Mexico statutory leases; the claims allege that ConocoPhilips and other natural gas producers have underpaid their royalty obligations for decades through improper deductions for post-production. The firm also won a favorable outcome for an electric power company in multimillion-dollar arbitration proceedings with a power purchaser concerning the attempted termination of a 30-year power agreement; and successfully represented Chevron Phillips Chemical against an international freight forwarding company in a multimillion-dollar breach of contract suit, arguing that the company failed to comply with a written contract by charging additional fees for the foreign exchange of shipments – the case was settled by Geoffrey Harrison and Alexander Kaplan. Stephen Susman is a well-respected and vastly experienced plaintiffs’ attorney. The lawyers named are all based in Houston.

Thompson & Knight LLP is a heavyweight Texan firm with particular experience representing oil and gas clients in energy disputes. It is regularly involved in cases concerning oil and gas leases, royalty disputes, antitrust matters, class action claims, and toxic tort, and is active in international arbitration proceedings. It is acting for Boots & Coots in relation to its merger transaction with Halliburton and related shareholder class action suits; the plaintiffs sought an injunction on the merger and damages if it went ahead, but attempts to certify the action were successfully defeated. In a separate case, the firm represented Petrobras America, a subsidiary of the Brazilian national oil company, in an arbitration relating to the ownership of an oil refinery in Texas as part of a joint venture; Petrobras alleged breach of contract relating to the management and operation of the refinery, while the opponent countered that Petrobras was required to purchase an ownership interest in the site and was liable for reimbursing costs incurred on behalf of the joint venture; the firm secured reduced costs for the company upon settlement. The firm was also instructed by an exploration company in relation to a suit for damages of over $3m relating to alleged negligent drilling activities and the resulting loss of a producing well. The firm’s 13-partner team is led by Craig Haynes, and Timothy McCormick, Rachelle Glazer and Greg Curry are also recommended. The lawyers named are all based in Dallas.

White & Case LLP handles energy litigation as part of its regulatory and transactions practice. It has considerable experience in high-profile energy arbitration, and regularly represents governments in investment treaty disputes. It recently acted in four such disputes for the Republic of Uzbekistan, mainly involving mining operations and agreements in the country. It also represented Canadian mining company Gold Reserve in a $2.5bn ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, relating to the nationalization of a large gold and copper mine in the country; the site is a key asset for the company and vital for its future operations. Among its ongoing work in Latin America, the firm is acting for the Republic of Peru and Peruvian State Petroleum Company in several cases before ICSID and other arbitration centers, recently winning a victory for the state in a Spanish-language arbitration concerning a Spanish investment in the Peruvian electricity sector; the tribunal ruled in favor of Peru, citing the country’s statute of limitations in preventing the claim. Washington DC-based Jonathan Hamilton leads on Latin America arbitration, and is recommended alongside Andrea Menaker.

The overall level of service is very good’ at Winston & Strawn LLP, and its energy litigation team is able to address issues ‘in a thorough manner, with excellent legal insights’. The firm was busy in 2013 acting for BP’s Alaskan operation in a suit brought by the Unocal Pipeline Company, which is withdrawing from ownership in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System and is challenging its responsibility for the costs incurred once the pipeline is taken out of service. The firm is also representing Ormat Nevada in a transmission dispute with NV Energy over the former’s proposed geothermal power station; the dispute centers around the tariff Ormat Energy would pay for using NV Energy’s transmission line on the new station, with the FERC ruling in favor of Ormat in stating that a new agreement was required for the use of the service. The nine-partner team is chaired by Jerry Bloom in Los Angeles. In Washington, Raymond Wuslich has ‘significant experience’ and ‘excellent legal knowledge’; and Elias Farrah provides ‘an excellent work product’. The firm’s Houston office was strengthened by the addition of Paula Hinton, John Strasburger, Melanie Gray and Jason Billeck.


Energy: regulatory

Index of tables

  1. Energy: regulatory
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

    • John Estes III Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
    • Margaret Moore Van Ness Feldman
    • Mike Naeve Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s global prestige and ‘unmatched knowledge’ keeps its market-leading reputation firmly intact. Particular areas of expertise include matters relating to power transmissions and enforcement as well as the financial aspects of oil and gas projects. The recent upsurge in FERC work in the market has been an advantage, as many of the team have previously worked for the Commission; Washington DC office head Mike Naeve is one such example, and is hailed for his ‘superb strategic advice’; his highlights from the past year included advising Florida Power & Light Company on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Vero Beach’s utility operations. John Estes dominates the enforcement field, and is acting for Barclays in FERC litigation in the Eastern District of California following alleged manipulation of electricity pricing on the Intercontinental Exchange. Estes also advised Deutsche Bank/DB Energy Trading LLC in an FERC enforcement action involving allegations of violations arising from trading activity in the California Independent System Operator (ISO) market. On the M&A side, Steven Sunshine and John Lyons assisted Exelon Corporation with a settlement with the DOJ relating to its $7.9bn acquisition of Constellation Energy. John Moot is advising Entergy Corporation in FERC and state regulatory proceedings to approve the spin-off and merger of its transmission system with ITC Holdings to create the largest independent transmission system in the US. All named attorneys are based in Washington DC.

Primarily based in Washington DC, Van Ness Feldman LLP provides ‘exceptional input’ when advising its broad international client base, and is valued for its ‘discrete approach to regulatory issues’ and for ‘keeping the commercial implications of its advice at the forefront’. It also has ‘excellent relationships’ with regulators and legislators. The group handled a number of transmission matters in the past year, including advising Columbia Gas Transmission LLC, a subsidiary of NiSource, on the negotiation of a settlement with the pipeline’s customers that allowed it to recover and earn a return on its capital investments to modernize the pipeline’s interstate natural gas transmission system. Hydroelectric practice head Mike Swiger, who provides ‘comprehensive support’, recently led a team in authoring an amicus brief for the hydroelectric industry in a Supreme Court case involving a decision holding that pre-polluted water originating from a river and passing through a manmade construction into the natural river below counts as a discharge of a pollutant, under the Clean Water Act. Paul Korman, who gives ‘commercially sensitive legal advice’, recently represented MoGas Pipeline before the FERC in a Natural Gas Act, Section 7 certificate matter, reversing an adverse decision regarding an acquisition adjustment that had a significant effect on the company’s rate base and return on capital. Margaret Moore and Jessica Friedman served as lead energy counsel to EDF Renewables North America on two major equity investments by international investors in its US wind projects. Amy Beizer provides ‘highly effective counsel across a broad spectrum of matters’ from litigation to regulatory; and Lawrence Acker and Brian O’Neill for natural gas regulatory work. Curt Moffatt and Vincenzo Franco both recently left to go in-house.

Andrews Kurth LLP has ‘outstanding utilities expertise’ as well as oil, gas and power, giving it a strong position in the market. Austin-based Phillip Oldham is known for his energy and manufacturing knowledge, and has recently worked with a number of the firm’s longstanding and high-profile clients for electric regulatory matters, and INEOS in a variety of electric and pipeline regulatory matters. In Washington DC, Kenneth Wiseman and Mark Sundback continue to represent TransCanada in multiple complaints brought to the FERC by the California Attorney General, PG&E and Southern California Edison, alleging market manipulation, tariff violations and unjust and unreasonable rates stemming from the California energy crisis of 2000-01. The team also advised on a number of high-value M&A deals including representing Quantum Utility Generation on its acquisition of a gas-fired combined-cycle plant in Mississippi, worth $270m. Washington DC partner Richard Drom specializes in wholesale electricity issues, and has represented Regional Transmission Organizations (RTOs) for a number of years. For longstanding client Midcontinent Independent System Operator (MISO), Drom and the team have been advising on a number of FERC proceedings, and helped it receive conditional FERC approval of the nation’s most advanced extended locational marginal pricing (ELMP) tools to enable emergency demand response and block-loaded Generation Resources to set energy and ancillary services market prices. Shemin Proctor, who has extensive knowledge on FERC-related issues, led advice to Cheniere Energy on the $3.6bn construction and term-loan financing of the first two liquefaction trains of the Sabine Pass Liquefaction project.

Advising from both a commercial and compliance perspective, Bracewell & Giuliani LLP is ‘insightful, and thinks beyond the usual confines’. A significant mandate for the firm was advising longstanding client Powerex in one of the most complex federal and administrative litigation matters in the electricity industry, relating to claims for refunds following the California energy crisis in 2000-01; the cross-office team involved Deanna King from the Austin office and Shelby Kelley from Washington DC, J Clifford Gunter from Houston and Paul Fox from Seattle. Head of the regulatory practice Rizzo is recommended for FERC electric work; she recently led a team advising Rockland Capital Energy on its affiliates’ planned acquisition of three generating facilities currently owned by an Ameren affiliate; the team has also been advising the client on a number of other acquisitions. David Poe is praised for his ‘tremendous’ hydroelectric expertise; he was retained by PPL Holtwood LLC to advise on its efforts to expand its so-called Holtwood project on the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania. Mark Lewis in Washington DC is ‘extremely valuable’ on account of his in-depth knowledge of the industry and regulators. Also in Washington DC, Kirk Morgan and Kirstin Gibbs are leading a team advising institutional firm client Kinder Morgan on regulatory and commercial issues around the conversion of FERC-regulated natural gas pipelines to oil services. The team also includes Houston-based David Perlman, who is ‘top notch’. Sandra Rizzo recently left to join Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington DC.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has ‘impressive’ CFTC and FERC experience. A substantial portion of work for the firm comes from advising clients on compliance issues in the aftermath of the Dodd-Frank Act, and it has also been providing regulatory advice in the wind and natural gas spaces, including acquisitions requiring regulatory approval. In Washington DC, Paul Pantano heads the energy and commodities practice that includes Greg Lawrence and Terence Healey; the latter two led a team advising Third Planet Windpower LLC on multiple wind generation projects, including advice on the development of a 40MW wind generation facility located in Petersburg, Nebraska. Lawrence also led a team advising DPL Inc on the regulatory approvals needed for its acquisition by AES Corporation, resulting in a successful merger valued at $4.7bn. Ken Irvin and Joseph Williams, along with Lawrence, led the team representing a group of clients including Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc, SCE&G, SCANA Energy Marketing and EDF Trading among others, in natural gas pipeline rate proceedings before the FERC; a number ended in successful settlements while others resulted in significant Commission rulings. The firm’s finance and tax expertise, and its international network of offices, are of additional benefit when it comes to project finance or cross-jurisdictional energy matters.

Covington & Burling LLP has an ‘excellent’ FERC and CFTC track record within the power, utility and renewable industries, with key clients including American Gas Association, Exelon Corporation and Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems. The firm’s ‘experienced partners with strong associate support are always delivering quality results’; these include former FERC Commissioner William Massey in Washington DC, who is a ‘true leader’ in the power industry with ‘tremendous knowledge and background’ in M&A, finance and power hedging. Massey was a key player in establishing the COMPETE Coalition, and since its inception has served as its legal counsel; 2013 highlights included advising the client on regulatory proceedings examining electricity competition and market structure issues in Arizona, Michigan, New York and Wisconsin. Steven Humenik recently joined the team from Eris Exchange LLC to replace Robert Fleishman, who moved to Morrison & Foerster LLP in July 2013; Humenik and Massey are currently advising Sempra Energy and its affiliates on a range of regulatory issues. Other highlights included advising a prominent virtual electricity trader in an ongoing non-public FERC investigation surrounding the fraud and manipulation of trading virtual electricity products and congestion revenue rights in the California ISO markets. Massey’s expertise is further reinforced by regulatory experts also based in Washington DC, such as Richard Meserve and Gerry Waldron, and, in New York, senior counsel George Frampton is recommended along with Jack Bodner, an ‘extremely strong’ and ‘calm and thoughtful negotiator’.

Renowned for its IPP, oil and gas regulatory work, King & Spalding LLP is described by a client as ‘one of the best firms with which to work’. In Washington DC, Neil Levy is ‘top of the class’ for FERC work due to his ‘pragmatic and results-oriented approach’; he recently led a team advising various subsidiaries of both LS Power and Calpine Corporation on reactive power compensation issues. James Bowe is ‘extremely knowledgeable’ and ‘has a strong relationship with the FERC’; his expertise lies in the regulation of oil and natural gas midstream and electric power industries, as well as energy-related transactional matters and energy project development and financing. Along with Grace Su, Bowe advised NOVA Chemicals on its cross-border ethane pipeline project. Power specialist David Tewksbury led a team advising the Electric Power Supply Association (EPSA) on a number of matters relating to the participation of demand response resources, including a major FERC ruling requiring ISOs and RTOs to pay the full locational marginal price, without any offset for avoided purchase costs, for electric energy deemed to be provided through demand response. Tim Engel is highly regarded in the oil and gas space, representing clients in matters ranging from upstream royalty disputes under the False Claims Act to downstream refined product pricing disputes under antitrust and market manipulation. He also advises clients embroiled in allegations of market manipulation by the FERC, the CTFC and state agencies. Other firm clients include Dynegy, Crestwood Midstream Partners and Independent Power Producers of New York, Inc.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP is renowned for its expanding nuclear practice, with one client describing it as the ‘best firm for this sort of work’; with projects emerging in the UK, Middle East, Asia and Eastern Europe, this continues to be the core focus of the firm and it is representing the utility owners of a large proportion of the installed nuclear capacity in the US. The ‘responsive’ team, which provides ‘high-quality support’, includes John Matthews, who recently led a team advising EnergySolutions on its acquisition by Energy Capital Partners. In the electric space, the firm has been advising Edison Electric Institute in the US Court of Appeals for the District of Colombia relating to the FERC’s final rule on transmission planning and cost allocation; Steve Spina, who is leading on the matter, has particular expertise in this area. John McGrane and Jonathan Morris led a team advising National Grid on its $40m equity investment in Clean Line Energy Partners, which will enable it to acquire a significant ownership stake in the other’s HVDC projects. On the oil and gas side, the firm advised Cameron LNG, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, on its LNG terminal in Louisiana; Brett Snyder and Mark Haskell led the team. Mark Haskell, George Billinson, and Brett Snyder have been retained by BP as lead counsel in relation to a market manipulation ‘show cause’ order from the FERC; it recently proposed a civil penalty of $28m and disgorgement of $8m, plus interest in unjust profits, and the team has filed an extensive written rebuttal and motions to dismiss. Lewis Csedrik and Stephen Burdick both made partner.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s transmission practice is widely renowned, and it has broad experience representing companies before Congress, the FERC and state agencies. The firm is advising Southern California Edison (SCE) in the fallout from the California energy crisis of 2000-01; a team led by Richard Roberts and Jane Ryan in Washington DC is assisting it in leading a coalition of California utilities and agencies to pursue the recovery (through litigation) and settlement of billions of dollars in overcharges suffered from other power sellers during the crisis and have so far obtained settlements for SCE of approximately $5bn. The firm has also been advising various oil pipeline companies on open seasons for new or expanded pipelines, including requesting and securing FERC declaratory orders approving innovative rate and service terms for those projects; Steven Brose, Steven Reed, Daniel Poyner and Joseph Hicks are all noted for their pipeline work and have been instrumental in advising Seaway Crude Pipeline Company LLC on various regulatory matters before the FERC. David Raskin and Caroline Gaudet are advising Tres Amigas, a proposed electric ‘superstation’ that will connect the three separate electric grids in the US at one location using new HVDC technology, as lead outside counsel for a number of regulatory matters, and in 2013, the firm represented it in litigation involving access to the transmission grid in New Mexico, successfully convincing the FERC to rule in the company’s favor.

Baker Botts L.L.P. advises on upstream, midstream and downstream oil and gas, electric power and LNG projects. It also houses a range of FERC experts and has recently expanded its ranks, welcoming Jay Ryan from Van Ness Feldman LLP in Washington DC. In the same office, Thomas Eastment leads the regulatory team that is deeply embroiled in the energy sector. Jay Ryan is leading a team advising Transmission Developers Inc on a cross-border, 1000MW underground/underwater HVDC line from the US-Canada border into New York City; it is representing the client before the FERC on all transmission rate and policy issues, the US Department of Energy regarding presidential permit matters, and the US Army Corps of Engineers regarding environmental matters. Ryan is also leading a team advising Exelon Corporation on FERC licensing for the Conowingo Dam and Muddy Run Pumped Storage Hydroelectric Facility.

Latham & Watkins LLP has a strong position in the market, representing utilities, owners and operators of generation, transmission and distribution assets, marketers and traders and investors. David Schwartz, Washington DC-based Mike Gergen and Natasha Gianvecchio led advice to CONSOL Energy in a first-of-its-kind coal supply agreement with a large coal-fired generation supplier that will give it greater ability to compete in the PJM Interconnection market. Another highlight was representing San Diego Gas & Electric in federal court litigation challenging the Bureau of Land Management’s and Forest Service’s respective decisions approving the Sunrise Powerlink project in Southern California. In the solar space, the firm has been advising Sempra Energy on regulatory matters regarding the financing of Copper Mountain Solar 2, a 150MW photovoltaic solar project in Nevada. Other clients include FirstEnergy Corporation and Duquesne Light.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has had an active year in the regulatory space, advising on a range of projects across the energy sector, including power transmission lines, solar power projects, pipelines, natural gas, storage and exportation. Transactional lawyer Blake Winburne, who heads the team globally from Houston, has significant expertise in electric power. In the Washington DC office, Jeffrey Watkiss and Robert Lamkin are providing regulatory advice to Credit Suisse Strategic Transactions on multimillion-dollar loans to develops of residential and commercial photovoltaic installation. Watkiss is also advising Manitoba Hydro on the regulatory aspects of structuring investment in the US in a high voltage transmission line and securing interconnection rights. Karol Lyn Newman in the same office is also recommended. New York-based James Pardo is leading advice to ExxonMobil and XTO Energy on all aspects of hydraulic fracturing, including regulatory compliance.

Morrison & Foerster LLP combines significant M&A and private equity expertise within the firm with federal and state regulation experts, as well as tax, projects and finance teams to provide comprehensive and in-depth advice. The firm had a number of new hires, including Robert Fleishman from Covington & Burling LLP as senior of counsel in Washington DC. A large team involving partners from the Tokyo, New York, Washington DC and San Francisco offices advised Mitsui & Co Limited in its agreement to acquire 30% of a Kinder Morgan affiliate company that is constructing a $200m pipeline in Arizona; Jeffery Bell led the team from New York. Fleishman led advice to JP Morgan and JP Morgan Ventures Energy Corp on an FERC proceeding alleging the company had manipulated electricity markets in California and the Midwest during 2010-12; the firm represented the client in two complex and contentious investigations reaching a settlement of $410m. Recent client wins included Comverge and Enerwise Global Technologies and Recurrent Energy. Other significant arrivals included Julian Hammar from Covington & Burling LLP and of counsel Zori Ferkin from White & Case LLP, who are both based in Washington DC.

Paul Hastings LLP has expertise in electricity transmission and interconnection issues, and its renewables practice is renowned in the market; it has been busy in both the solar and wind spaces. Head partner William DeGrandis, based in Washington DC, led a team advising Idaho Wind Partners on a range of FERC regulatory proceedings, such as securing FERC monetization of renewable energy credits (RECs) through a series of orders while enabling projects to remain eligible for benefits under the Public Utility Regulatory Policies Act, and ensuring that RECs from the projects were eligible for California RPS treatment in order to secure the developer’s investments. Chicago-based Timothy Callahan is advising Acciona Energy on the development of its electric wind farms and its power marketing activities; he has negotiated and documented various power purchase and REC agreements for the sale of clean energy from its electric wind farm projects. The firm also has a ‘strong solar reputation’, and is assisting a number of large solar facilities with obtaining permits; these include First Solar, SunPower, Abengoa and SunPeak Solar; Peter Weiner, and San Francisco partners Gordon Hart and Jill Yung were instrumental on these matters. Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse Securities are other examples of the firm’s high-profile clients. A team led by William DeGrandis, with corporate partners Michele Cohen, Michael Baker, Michael Chernick and Michael Michetti represented Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC as lead arranger and Credit Suisse AG, Cayman Islands Branch as administrative agent, in a refinancing of $1.775bn of Dynergy, Inc, a producer and distributor of electric energy capacity throughout the United States. The team also assisted Morgan Stanley and other initial purchasers with review of federal and state regulatory due diligence issues, and also on FERC approval, for the preparation of a $500m bond offering. Gislar Donnenberg joined the firm in April 2013 from Andrews Kurth LLP.

Sidley Austin LLP’s practice has grown rapidly since opening in Houston in 2012, through lateral hires from numerous top energy firms; the most recent addition is Tracy LeRoy from Baker Botts L.L.P.. The firm regularly features in major FERC and federal court disputes, particularly those relating to pipelines. Examples include advising longstanding client ExxonMobil on licensing and building the $45bn Alaska Pipeline Project with TransCanada; the diverse team includes partners from across the energy and environmental practices, including Gene Elrod, Bill Williams, David Lewis and Chris Lyons from energy regulatory; Peter Steenland and David Buente from environmental and Richard Klingler from litigation. The firm also continues to advise ExxonMobil on a range of FERC matters. Another highlight was representing PG&E following the California energy crisis of 2000-01, in a four-month trial at the FERC; in February 2013, the FERC issued a liability decision in favor of the client and its co-litigants in the $2bn claim. The team also includes Peter Keisler and Quin Sorenson.

The ‘outstanding’ team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP focuses its regulatory efforts on the facilitation of large-scale energy industry transactions for US and international companies, private equity firms, financial institutions and public utilities. Already commended for its ‘deep industry knowledge’ and ‘careful yet creative approach’, it is further extending its expertise in certain areas; for example, it is expanding into wind, solar, biofuels and waste-to-energy. The firm is also recommended for its ability to advise on all aspects of the Dodd Frank Act. In addition to power and oil and gas, the firm has a long track record of expertise in mining, advising on various domestic and cross-border joint ventures, disposals and mergers. Led by Kenneth Raisler, it is advising voluntary energy association NEPOOL on regulation and structuring of trading activity relating to the execution and settlements of power transactions under ISO/RTO FERC and CFTC regulations. Other highlights included providing energy and regulatory advice to Borealis Infrastructure, the infrastructure investment arm of the OMERS pension benefit plan, and the board of Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in its $1.49bn sale of the Express-Platte Pipeline System to Spectra Energy Corp; Tia Barancik, who led the team, has a ‘strong understanding of all aspects of project finance’. The firm also regularly provides specialised CFIUS advice on cross-border acquisitions of US energy assets. Other recommended attorneys include Washington DC-based Eric Kadel and Stephen Kotran; the latter is recommended for his ‘strong corporate and M&A expertise’. Attorneys are located in New York except where stated.

Vinson & Elkins LLP has a ‘very significant oil and gas regulatory practice’, with a particular focus on natural gas and liquids pipelines. Based in Washington DC, David Andril heads the team and has extensive knowledge of the LNG industry. David Andril and John Decker led a team advising Freeport-McMoRan Energy (FME) on an application filed with the US Department of Energy for long-term authorization to export up to 24 million tons per annum of LNG from its proposed Main Pass Energy Hub Deepwater Port, which would be the first offshore LNG production facility constructed in US waters. Further LNG highlights included advising BG LNG Services LLC and Trunkline LNG Company on a facility to be located adjacent to the latter’s existing one in Lake Charles, Louisiana; authorization has been sought from the US Department of Energy to export up to 15 million tons per annum of LNG. The firm is also assisting NRG Energy with a decommissioning funding rate application to the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT). Michael Tomsu, who heads the team, has considerable PUCT experience.

With more than 35 years of experience in the energy sector, Winston & Strawn LLP is engaged in most of the key regulatory issues facing the industry including fossil, nuclear, renewable and hydro generation, as well as electricity transmission and rate matters. Clients of the firm include investor-owned utilities, independent generation and transmission developers, oil and gas companies, and investors and lenders. Jerry Bloom leads the national energy practice from the Los Angeles office. A longstanding client of the firm is the California Cogeneration Council, which it has been advising since its inception in 1985. The firm is currently handling an array of implementation issues that have arisen as a result of the 2011 CHP program; Elias Farrah and Raymond Wuslich are advising Atlantic Grid Operations LLC on the development of the Atlantic Wind Connection backbone transmission project, in which Google plays a prominent investment role; the team has been giving strategic regulatory advice and assistance before the FERC. On the nuclear side, the firm advised Honeywell on various NRC regulatory and compliance issues involving its uranium conversion facility. David Repka and Tyson Smith are key contacts for nuclear matters. Attorneys are located in Washington DC except where stated.


Energy: renewable/alternative

Index of tables

  1. Energy: renewable/alternative
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Chadbourne & Parke LLP is best known for its project finance capabilities. It recently advised the US Department of Energy on the loan guarantees and financing by the Federal Financing Bank to construct Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle nuclear project, worth $14bn. Another highlight saw New York-based projects partner Todd Alexander lead advice to the lender, North American Development Bank, on the construction financing of the Los Vientos I and Los Vientos II wind farms, located in Texas near its border with Mexico worth $700m.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s transactional and finance expertise provides a strong foundation for its renewable practice, which has extensive experience advising project sponsors, developers and financial institutions. John Sachs, who represents a range of clients on the development, financing and acquisition of US and international projects, led a team representing Deustche Bank as joint lead arranger of a lending facility for the acquisition, design, development, construction and operation of a 36.5MW portfolio of distributed solar generating projects in Massachusetts. Washington DC-based Paul Hunt is overseeing ongoing advice to FutureGen Alliance on the development and financing of the FutureGen 2.0 project, which comprises a 168MW coal-fired oxy-combustion plant; the 90% carbon capture and sequestration is to be located in Illinois, as well as a 30-mile pipeline that is needed to transport clean Co2 to a permanent storage site. New York-based Stephen Amdur, San Francisco-based Melanie Blunschi, Costa Mesa-based David Lee and Los Angeles-based Duncan Moore have all been promoted to partner.

Benefiting from a ‘highly recommended project finance team’, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s Los Angeles-based group is considered a market leader for renewables. Karen Wong and Mark Regante advised Google on its $95m equity investment in six solar-power plants, which is expected to generate enough electricity to power some 17,000 homes. Vivant Solar is another key client in this space; a team led by Allan Marks and Mark Regante advised it as sponsor of a recent tax equity funding for a multi-state portfolio of residential projects. The firm is also active in the wind space, representing clients such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs, Union Bank and BNP Paribas, and again, Google, which William Bice advised on its $200m acquisition of Class A (tax equity) membership interests from EDF Renewable Energy in relation to the latter’s 161MW Spinning Spur wind project in Texas. Jonathan Green and Eric Silverman are also recommended.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s broad-ranging work in the renewables space keeps it at the top of the market, representing key players such as GE, SunEdison and EDF Renewable Energy. The firm recently advised Pattern Energy on a $1bn financing package for its 265MW Ocotillo Express wind farm; it involved a combined construction/term loan facility consisting of a seven-year hedged loan provided by a club of banks led by Deutsche Bank and RBC Capital Markets, and a 20-year facility from the North American Development Bank. Christopher Moore led a large team on the aforementioned deal, which included a wide range of partners with varying expertise. Torsten Marshall, Tara Higgins and Rafael Galvan advised Atlantic Power Corporation and Canadian Hills Wind LLC on the former’s acquisition of a 99% interest in the latter’s 298MW wind power project in Oklahoma. San Francisco-based Eric Stephens advised BrightSource Energy on a joint venture with Abengoa to develop a solar project in southern California.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP advises on complex energy-related financings and projects internationally, backed up by strong M&A, energy and infrastructure projects groups. Washington DC-based Paul Kraske and William Conway, along with Palo Alto-based Sean Shimamoto, advised BlackRock Financial Management on the acquisition of a 90% stake in CWS Wind Farm, LLC and on the sale of a tax equity stake in the same to a subsidiary of U.S. Bancorp. A recognized leader for regulatory and litigation matters, Washington DC-based John Estes represented FirstEnergy Corporation as a petitioner and intervenor in a Seventh Circuit case challenging the FERC’s failure to rule that the MISO may not allocate the costs of multi-value projects (MVPs), which are chiefly intended to connect remote wind farms. On the solar side, Paul Kraske, also based in Washington DC, advised SunEdison on a $212m non-recourse debt financing arrangement with the IFC and OPIC; the proceeds will be used to finance the construction of a 100MW solar power plant in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Marc Gerber, Michael Rogan and Houston-based Ann Hawkins advised Spectra Energy on its $1.5bn acquisition of the Express-Platte pipeline system from Kinder Morgan, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan and Borealis Infrastructure.

Houston-based Andrews Kurth LLP has a team of ‘first-class lawyers’ who are strong across all types of renewables work and with particular expertise in the financing and development of projects. The firm has seen an uptick in instructions from developer clients. David Runnels, Dahl Thompson and Giji John advised longstanding client Duke Energy on the development and project financing of the Los Vientos Wind power project, a two-phase, 400MW wind farm in Texas. Mark Thurber advised Quantum Utility Generation LLC on the development and subsequent sale of a 26MW solar project in Guam. Tim Unger, Dahl Thompson, George Humphrey and Giji John advised Blackrock and Eurus Energy Group in their acquisition of a portion of the cash equity in wind project Spearville 3, and Vera Rechsteiner is representing the sponsors of a 40MW biomass project in Honduras, and the financers of two hydro-generation projects in Guatemala.

The team at Foley & Lardner LLP is ‘wonderful to work with’ and, with its long track record for handling energy projects and financings in the energy space, has recently become one of the ‘best in the country for solar work’ and is acting for a number of high-profile clients from offices in California. China-based Jeffery Atkin chairs the solar practice that continues to represent Canadian Solar on a range of matters including the acquisition or joint ventures of over 25 solar projects with an estimated total value of approximately $500m; it also advised on the planning strategy for the ‘safe-harboring’ of 22MW of solar panels to be incorporated into projects so that the client would qualify for Section 1603 cash grant benefits. The team advised Goldwind International Holdings Limited on the sale of its 109.5MW Shady Oaks wind project in Illinois to Algonquin Power Fund (America) Inc for $240m. Besides Atkin, other key names include Milwaukee-based Jason Allen, Larry Bonney, David Clark and John Dunlap, California-based Jason Barglow and William Dufour and Washington DC-based John Eliason.

The ‘high-quality’ group at Hogan Lovells has a strong renewable development and financing practice that advises an impressive portfolio of sponsor and developer clients both in the US and internationally. The team’s members ‘complement each other excellently’, due to the range of expertise. Miami-based Jorge Diaz-Silveira, head of the infrastructure industry group, led a team advising NextEra Energy Resources on the development, construction and financing of the 250MW McCoy solar energy project in California, currently one of the largest being developed in the US with a total value exceeding $1bn. In Baltimore, James Gede led a team advising The Abell Foundation on both a $50m loan and a technology sale and licensing arrangement for a municipal solid waste-to-jet fuel project being developed in Nevada. Brian Chappell, head of renewable energy and climate change, led a team advising Exelon Corporation as borrower’s counsel in the financing, by Mizuho Corporate Bank, of $42m for a 14MW solar generating facility. On the wind side, James Gede, head of the power and infrastructure group, led advice to Edmison Mission Energy on the negotiation of turbine supply contracts for 20 wind turbines and associated maintenance agreements between Edison Mission Energy and Vestas.

Morrison & Foerster LLP already had considerable expertise in the renewables space, and has further expanded its practice and is lauded for its ‘thorough knowledge of US development and finance markets’. New recruits include Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Chester and of counsel Elizabeth Sluder, who joined from Kaye Scholer LLP; and in Washington DC, senior of counsel Robert Fleishman from Covington & Burling LLP and of counsel Zori Ferkin from White & Case LLP. New client wins included Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation, which New York-based Jonathan Melmed advised on its $200m investment in LS Power, as well as Fiera Axium Infrastructure and Kruger Energy. Melmed also advised, alongside Ven Tan in Hong Kong, BMO Nestbitt Burns Inc as financial adviser to CNOOC Limited in relation to the latter’s agreement to acquire Nexen for $15.1bn. Melmed and Zori Ferkin advised TDI-USA Holdings Corporation on developing assets for three transmission projects financed by Blackstone for over $2.2bn. EDF Renewables remains an important client, and the firm has recently advised it on a variety of wind project acquisitions, such as the Longhorn wind project and the Hereford wind project; it also advised on the associated regulatory issues. In San Francisco, Susan Mac Cormac is recommended for her M&A expertise within this space, and Jeff Kayes, Michael Ginsburg and Larry Engel are also recommended.

An ‘expert in energy project structuring and finance’, Winston & Strawn LLP has ‘a number of top-of-the-class attorneys’ with ‘expertise that is essential for managing high-risk elements’. The firm’s experience covers all the major renewable energy sources including wind, solar, hydroelectric, geothermal, and biomass, for a broad range of clients. A team led by Elias Farrah and Raymond Wuslich in Washington DC is acting as lead counsel for Atlantic Grid Operations on its Atlantic Wind Connection backbone transmission project, providing regulatory, corporate, environmental, permitting, tax, IP, and project finance advice. The firm has also been advising on a number of solar projects; it is advising CleanPath Ventures on its Somers Solar Center Project, and SoCore Energy on its solar installations project for Walgreens. Edward Kayukov and Laurae Rossi recently joined the Los Angeles office from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP and Chris Ferazzi and Richard Wynne joined the Houston office from Porter Hedges LLP. Jerry Bloom, the Los Angeles-based chair of energy, project development and finance, is also highly recommended.

Led by Thomas Hoffmann, the team at Ballard Spahr LLP has a solid reputation due to its ‘impressive responsiveness’ and ‘in-depth knowledge of the industry’. The firm is representing NRG Energy as borrower’s counsel on its Alpine solar project; Hoffmann led the team with the support of Jeffrey Chappelle in Philadelphia, Jeffrey Pitcher and David Armstrong in Phoenix, and Daniel Simon in Washington DC. On the solar side, Amy McClain led a team advising the Denver Housing Authority on power purchase agreements and site control agreements for a 2.5MW project that placed solar panels on the rooftops of more than 600 homes; valued at $10m, it is the largest consolidated rooftop solar project for a housing authority in the US. Other highlights included advising the Center for Climate Stategies and the City of Philadelphia on developing a financial structure and procuring a private owner to develop and own a biogas combined heat and power generation system for the City’s wastewater treatment facility. Patrick Gillard and David Prior from the Philadelphia office, and Charles Henck from Washington DC, were on the team.

Cooley LLP’s ‘excellent’ work in the clean energy and technology space makes it a stand-out in the market. Practice head Tom Amis attracts praise for his strong belief in the clean energy sector; he is ‘able to think outside of the box and is a solid negotiator’. Highlights from the past year included advising Green Planet on the development and financing of agricultural waste-to-energy projects in Marland, Oklahoma. The firm is lead counsel for BrightFarms on the development, financing and construction of a nationwide network of hydroponic greenhouses. EDF Renewables is another client, which the firm advised on the acquisition of wind turbines for a project in Canada.

Hunton & Williams LLP offers a ‘first-rate’ service to developers and investors involved in wind, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, biomass, landfill gas and other projects in the US and abroad. The Richmond-based practice is particularly praised for its complementary financing and tax expertise. The firm has a range of clients across the renewables space including Everpower Wind Holdings, SolarCity and Standard Solar, and continues to increase its portfolio with new clients and investors, most of which are financial institutions. The team is currently advising Bank of America on two credit facilities in connection with the IPO of Hannon Armstrong, a REIT specializing in energy investments in the renewables space; the facilities will be secured by government energy contracts and project finance loans. Practice head David Lowman is known for his tax expertise in the renewables space, as is Laura Ellen Jones; Ken Alcott, who has corporate and M&A energy expertise, and Jeffrey Schroeder, co-head of the project finance team, are also recommended.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP has recently been very busy with wind and solar-related work, and it continues to evolve its practice in order to support companies and investors driving the nascent alternative energy space. Clients include major industry financiers, developers, and producers as well as start-ups and investors, and these call upon for the firm for its expertise relating to project finance, tax, environmental, real estate, public policy, and regulatory work. A significant highlight for the team was representing Bloom Energy and its subsidiaries on debt and tax-equity financing for a portfolio of base-load fuel cell electricity generators to be located in California and Connecticut; New York-based Junaid Chida, Mark Caterini and Arthur Hazlitt, and Los Angeles-based Greg Thorpe, were on the team. Chida and Caterini also advised J.P. Morgan, Wells Fargo, MetLife and State Street Corporation on an agreement to acquire preferred equity interests in the approximately 250MW Buffalo Dunes wind project being developed by Enel Green Power North America Inc. The team also advised Macquarie Infrastructure Company LLC and its subsidiaries on the acquisition of the Acacia solar project in Texas from Sun Edison LLC.

Sidley Austin LLP represents developers and financial institutions on various renewable electric generation projects, advising on all aspects including tax, from its recently opened and growing office in Houston. The firm has also represented parties involved with the development of biofuel facilities. The team has experience advising industry participants in public offerings and private placements, M&A, and project finance. Having expanded the office with seven lateral hires, the firm is now in a strong position to build on its renewable expertise. Sergio Pozzerle advised Genneia on the development of over 300MW of wind and solar energy projects in Argentina, and also led a team advising Sempra Energy on the wind turbine and energy storage system procurement and construction of a 24MW project in Hawaii. Head of the project finance and infrastructure practice Irving Rotter advised Exelon Corporation on the acquisition of a 51% stake in several Californian solar energy farms totalling 69MW.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLPprovides access to partner-level experience, providing a very high overall level of service’. With a strong foothold in the wind industry and a reputation for advising private equity firms, the firm remains a popular choice for complex projects. Its energy and infrastructure team has represented clients on all sides of major project finance transactions, including natural resource financings worldwide and other non-recourse financings of power plants, solar facilities, wind facilities, pipelines, gas storage facilities, oil and gas and liquefaction. ‘Strong and reasonable negotiator’ Ken Wyman led a team that included senior counsel Amy Beller and Andrew Smith in advising a group of purchasers including RBS, Barclays and Citigroup, on a $613m offering made by Continental Wind. Another highlight for the group was advising Stonepeak Infrastructure Partners and Stonepeak Infrastructure Fund (Orion Aiv) on its equity investment in Orion Water Partners, LLC’s Poseidon desalination project involving The San Diego County Water Authority; department head David Lieberman and Amy Beller led the team. Other notable clients include Blackstone, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Limited. All above-named attorneys are based in New York.


Energy: transactions

Index of tables

  1. Energy: transactions
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Latham & Watkins LLP’s practice is ‘excellent from start to finish’ and the ‘outstanding team’ is particularly praised for its solid understanding of clients’ businesses and objectives. It operates globally, and has recently grown through a number of partner promotions. From its core in Houston, oil and gas chair Michael Darden and Jeffrey Muñoz recently led advice to longstanding client Plains Exploration & Production Company on the acquisition of interests in certain deepwater Gulf of Mexico oil and gas properties from BP to the value of some $5.55bn. M&A expert David Kurzweil in New York, alongside Jeffrey Greenberg in Los Angeles, advised Energy Capital Partners on a re-pricing amendment and new term loan financing for the EquiPower portfolio of five power plants; the $1.47bn deal was one of the largest seen in the US of late. Another highlight saw ‘outstanding lawyer’ Christopher Cross (New York) and Catherine Ozdogan leading advice to NET Mexico Pipeline Partners LLC and ArcLight Capital Partners on the development and project financing of the $700m Agua Dulce natural gas pipeline in Texas, which will extend 124 miles to the US/Mexico border. Darden, Michael King and Stephen Szalkowski are advising Sumitomo Corporation on its acquisition of a $1.4bn interest in both Cline Shale and Wolfcamp Shale, the Permian Basin oil and gas assets controlled by Devon Corporation. In Washington DC, Paul Hunt is leading advice to Summit Power Group as sponsor and developer of the $3bn Texas Clean Energy Project, a 400MW coal-fired, integrated gasification and combined-cycle (IGCC) plant. Other recommended attorneys include Michael Dillard, who ‘gives strategic advice from the very start’ and New York-based Matthew Henegar, who has extensive knowledge of financing structures and complex inter-company asset sharing agreements. The power industry group’s key figures include Sean Wheeler, Jonathan Rod and David Schwartz; the latter two sit in New York and Washington DC respectively.

World-renowned oil and gas player Baker Botts L.L.P. maintains its solid reputation advising on upstream, midstream and downstream transactions as well as representing sponsors and developers seeking project financing, primarily from its Houston headquarters and in Washington DC. Recently it has advised on several billions of dollars’ worth of projects relating to oil and gas, LNG, power, transmission, carbon capture, renewable and mining. A key highlight saw corporate chair David Kirkland leading advice to CenterPoint Energy on a $10-12bn joint venture with OGE Energy Corp and ArcLight Capital Partners LLC. Elaine Walsh, who is ‘thoughtful, pragmatic, and responsive’, led a team advising NRG Energy on its $3.6bn acquisition of Edison Mission Energy; the mandate involved a vast cross-office team of partners with various different areas of expertise. Jim Barkley led the team in serving as Texas counsel to the lenders on the financing of two natural gas-fueled, combined-cycle, 758MW electric power generation projects by subsidiaries of Panda Power Funds, valued at $700m each. Thomas Moore is leading advice to Excelerate Energy, which is planning to build, own and operate floating liquefaction, storage and offloading units that will produce LNG for export and a pipeline header system to transport natural gas from existing pipeline systems to the LNG terminal facilities. The firm also advised NRG Energy on its $244m acquisition of Gregory Power Partners. Other key names to note are Steven Miles, who chairs the energy sector and LNG groups, Hugh Tucker, who heads oil and gas, and James Baker, chair of the global projects department.

Houston-based Bracewell & Giuliani LLP specializes in high-value oil and gas M&A transactions, under the leadership of Alan Rafte and working closely with other departments including environmental, tax and litigation. Rafte recently advised Apache Corporation on the high-profile sale of its Gulf of Mexico shelf operations and properties to Fieldwood Energy LLC for $3.75bn; he was assisted by a large cross-office team. Gregory Bopp and W Cleland Dade advised key client Kinder Morgan on its acquisition of Copano Energy, a midstream natural gas company with operations primarily in Texas, Oklahoma and Wyoming; it acquired all of the outstanding units for a total of approximately $5bn, including the assumption of debt. Rafte, Gray Muzzy and Michael Telle led a cross-jurisdictional team advising Chesapeake Energy on the sale of its limited partner units and its general partner interests in Chesapeake Midstream Partners LP to Global Infrastructure Partners for $2bn. Elizabeth McGinley and Daniel Hemli were involved from the New York office, Connie Stamets in Dallas, Timothy Wilkins in Austin, and Bruce Jocz in Houston. For Spectra Energy, the firm is advising on the liability management and financing elements of the company’s MLP drop-down transactions, which involve Spectra Energy Partners LP buying its US natural gas transmission, storage and liquids assets for $12.3bn; Telle led on the deal along with Robin Miles and Jonathan Wry in New York. The ‘unflappable’ Ryan Holcomb is a ‘talented, reliable resource’ to his clients. Other clients include ConocoPhillips and Three Rivers Operating Company.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s group is globally recognized in this space, with the key US attorneys strategically located in Washington DC, Houston, Palo Alto. A recent highlight saw Pankaj Sinha, Katherine Ashley and tax specialist Sean Shimamoto advising USEC Inc on the $45m sale of NAC International to Hitz Holdings U.S.A. Inc. Michael Rogan, Frank Bayouth and Ann Hawkins assisted GenOn Energy Inc with its $6bn stock-for-stock merger with NRG Energy, which resulted in the creation of the largest competitive generator in the US. Energy regulatory expert Mike Naeve led a team advising NorthWestern Corporation on its $900m acquisition of 11 hydroelectric facilities and related assets from PPL Montana; the team pulled in a range of resources for the matter including Lance Brasher, head of the energy and infrastructure projects group, banking and infrastructure partner Julia Czarniak, antitrust and trade regulation partner John Lyons, as well as David Schwartz, Charles Schwartz, Don Frost, Pankaj Sinha and Andre LeDuc. A team is currently advising EQT Corporation on its transaction with PNG Companies LLC, which involves the transfer of the client’s local gas distribution company in exchange for $720m; M&A specialist Michael Rogan and Katherine Ashley led the team. Other clients include Shelf Drilling Holdings, Occidental Petroleum Corporation and Forestar Group.

Operating out of Houston and New York, Vinson & Elkins LLP is ‘highly recommended for transactional work’ and counts some of the largest oil and gas and private equity players as key clients. Highlights included assisting Pioneer Natural Resources with an agreement with Sinochem Petroleum USA LLC, a subsidiary of the Sinochem Group, to sell 40% of the client’s interest in approximately 207,000 net acres in the horizontal Wolfcamp Shale play for $1.7bn; ‘excellent negotiator’ David Cohen led the team. On the M&A side, co-head of the transactions and projects group John Connally, who is based in Houston, led advice to Devon Energy Corporation in a joint venture with Sumitomo, where the latter agreed to invest $1.4bn in exchange for 30% of the client’s interest in approximately 650,000 net acres in the Cline shale and the Wolfcamp shale. Connally also led advice to QEP Resources Inc on its acquisition of crude oil development properties in the Williston Basin for $1.38bn from multiple sellers, including Helis Oil and Gas Co LLC, Unit Corporation, Black Hills Exploration & Production and Sundance Energy Australia Limited. Further highlights for the firm included advising The Carlyle Group on acquiring the North American power generation assets of Cogentrix Energy, which include five coal and solar power projects and a development pipeline of gas and renewable projects, from Goldman Sachs; Keith Fullenweider and Maritza Okata both played a key role in the matter. Other instructions came from Silver Creek Oil & Gas and Concho Resources. Douglas Bland led advice to Summit Midstream Partners on an agreement with affiliates of GSO Capital Partners and Bear Tracker Investments LLC to acquire 100% of the equity interests of Bear Tracker Energy; the transaction has been valued at $513m.

King & Spalding LLP is ‘one of the most accomplished firms in the LNG industry’ and has built longstanding relationships with major players in the sector, advising on commercial, project development and construction matters. The Houston office is expanding, having recently welcomed three new partners: Philip Weems, who has spent five years abroad opening the firm’s offices in the Middle East and Singapore, John Keffer, who returns having opened the London office, and Kathryn Marietta, who joined from Apache Corporation where she was assistant general counsel. Weems and Scott Greer are advising Freeport LNG on the development and construction of its LNG export terminal in Texas, which will be one of the first LNG export projects in the US and is valued at billions of dollars. The firm is also advising Anadarko Petroleum Corporation on all aspects of its Mozambique LNG export project; valued at more than $50bn, the mandate involved over 20 lawyers covering a range of issues. Noble Energy recently called upon the group for advice on all aspects of a potential LNG export project in Cyprus, which would be the first of its kind in the EU and would involve transporting the company’s entitlement to gas produced from offshore Israel to the proposed Cyprus facility. Kenneth Culotta leads the firm’s global transactions group and has extensive experience within the energy sphere.

Recently merged firm Norton Rose Fulbright is taking advantage of an increased global platform to expand the capabilities of the energy practice, which was already strong under the legacy Fulbright and Jaworski name. Houston-based Michael Irvin heads the transactional practice and has particular expertise when it comes to the acquisition and disposition of oil and gas projects; he recently led advice to key client Anadarko Petroleum Corporation on negotiating the sale and purchase of a 10% interest in Mozambique’s offshore ‘Area 1’ to ONGC Videsh Limited for $2.64bn; the block is thought to contain natural gas complexes holding an estimated 35 to 65 trillion cubic feet of recoverable natural gas resources. The team also assisted Anadarko Petroleum Corporation with developing multiple oil and gas discoveries in deep water off the coast of Ghana. Oil and gas M&A expert Deborah Gitomer led a team advising independent oil and gas company Petro-Hunt LLC on the sale of oil and gas assets in North Dakota worth $1.45bn to Halcón; she was assisted by John Allender in Houston, Glen Hettinger in Dallas, L Poe Leggette in Denver and Nancy Pell in Washington DC. Other key clients include ExxonMobil, Mitsui & Co and Black Stone Minerals Company LP.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has a strong power practice, with an impressive portfolio of clients ranging from generation and transmission companies to private equity firms and financial institutions. Much of the ‘knowledgeable and responsive’ team is based in New York, including David Lieberman, head of the energy and infrastructure group, who ‘focuses on the key business risks associated with identified legal issues’. Lieberman recently led a team advising PPL Montana on an agreement to sell its hydroelectric facilities to NorthWestern Corporation for $900m; Brian Chisling assisted on the M&A side. Another highlight for the team was James Knight’s work for JPMorgan Chase on a $1.25bn revolving credit facility for Edison International, and a $2.75bn revolving credit facility for Southern California Edison. On the oil and gas side, Bill Curbow led a team advising Crestwood Midstream Partners LP on its merger with Inergy Midstream LP, which created a fully integrated midstream partnership with a total value of approximately $8bn. In Houston, Andrew Calder is leading a team representing GeoSouthern Eagle Ford Development LLC, a privately held exploration and production company, on the sale of subsidiaries to Devon Energy Corporation for $6bn; Christopher May is also on the team, as are New York attorneys Alden Millard and Edward Tolley. Calder and Robert Rabalais led advice to Blackstone Energy Partners on the formation of a long-term strategic partnership with LLOG Exploration Company to invest over $1.2bn to expand the latter’s offshore operations in the Gulf of Mexico. The firm also has an experienced mining team, led by Marissa Wesely; it advised Peabody Energy on a new senior secured credit facility from a group of banks that includes names such as Merrill Lynch; the new facility includes a $1.65bn revolver and a $1.2bn term loan and replaced the client’s existing credit facilities.

Established oil and gas specialist Andrews Kurth LLP advises a mix of independent producers, multinational oil companies, energy services companies and financial institutions from its Houston headquarters. Led by M&A and corporate securities expert Michael O’Leary, the broad range of experience within the group means it is well-equipped to advise on a range of transactional issues. It recently advised Energy Transfer Partners on the sale of Southern Union Gathering Company – which it jointly owned with Energy Transfer Equity – to Regency Energy Partners LP for $1.5bn. David Buck, a co-chair of the securities corporate group, and David Denechaud, advised Post Oak Energy Capital and Ridgemont Equity Partners on a $100m capital commitment to Titan River Energy. Buck also worked alongside Cheryl Phillips to assist Harbinger Group Inc in its joint venture with EXCO Resources Inc to create a private oil and gas limited partnership that will purchase and operate the latter’s oil and gas assets, which are worth $725m. Tom Bateman has extensive experience in foreign and domestic upstream, midstream and downstream work; he recently advised Nucor Energy Holdings Inc on an onshore natural gas well-drilling and development program worth $3bn. Hal Haltom drafted and negotiated commercial contracts for Access Mainstream Partners for its acquisition of all Chesapeake’s midstream assets in the US.

Chadbourne & Parke LLP has impressive capabilities when it comes to project finance, LNG and gasification, as oil and gas has long been an integral part of the firm’s project practice. Recent highlights include advising a syndicate of 41 financial institutions on the $12bn project financing for trains three and four of phase II of the Cheniere Sabine Pass LNG liquefactions project; it was the first Korean ECA energy infrastructure transaction without a sponsor completion guarantee, and the first North American transaction for many of the Korean banks involved; Cheniere was also the first company to be granted an FERC license to export gas without restriction to companies from countries with which the US has trade agreements. Washington DC-based Noam Ayali and New York-based Benjamin Koenigsberg led the cross-departmental team on the aforementioned matter. Ayali also worked with New York-based corporate partner Marc Rossel to advise GeoPark Holdings Limited on the issuance by its wholly owned subsidiary GeoPark Latin America Limited Agencia en Chile of $300m 7.50% senior secured notes. New York partner Todd Alexander is recommended for his gasification work.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s energy client base is varied, taking in traditional oil and gas as well as renewable energy. Much of the firm’s transactional work involves the investment of long-term capital across borders and in emerging economies, and it acts for a number of high-profile clients. The teams are led by Peter Hanlon, William Campbell, Steven Buffone and Nicholas Politan in New York, and by William Scherman in Washington DC. MidAmerican is an active client of the firm: it called upon the group for its acquisition of NV Energy, which was valued at approximately $10.5bn, and also for its acquisition of the 579MW Antelope Valley solar projects in California from from SunPower Corporation; the two combined projects will form the largest permitted solar photovoltaic power development in the world. The group also advised Tres Amigas LLC on the development of a three-way, high-voltage direct current transmission superstation in New Mexico; the project is projected to be worth approximately $3bn.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s expertise in project development, finance, tax and M&A form the basis for a solid transactional practice. It has been very active of late, advising on projects relating to oil and gas infrastructure, conventional power, renewable energy and mining. As global head of the energy advisory practice, Houston-based Blake Winburne counts leading energy private equity funds and and multinational energy companies as clients; examples include Energy Investors Funds, LS Power, GDF SUEZ and BP. A recent instruction came from ArcLight Capital Partners, for its acquisition of a majority interest in, and related joint venture arrangements for, an approximately 700MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle power generation facility under construction in New Jersey; the mandate included closing on $842m of non-recourse financing. The firm also advised the same client on a range of other matters, including a term loan B financing of approximately $430m for its investment in Bronco Midstream Partners. For Chevron and Macquarie Infrastructure Company, the team advised on the acquisition, due diligence and $140m project financing of a 25MW solar project in Arizona and a 12MW facility in Texas; besides Winburne, the team included Bradford Gathright, Alex Choinski (Washington DC) and Phil Tingle (Miami). Gathright also advised BP Wind Energy North America on the acquisition of the 75MW Broken Bow II wind project in Nebraska from Midwest Wind Energy and Edison Mission Midwest II Inc, and on the subsequent sale of the project to an affiliate of Sempra Energy.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has a strong project finance practice in New York that represents a variety of clients in the power sector. The ‘extremely responsive’ team also advises on energy-related restructurings, bankruptcies and asset dispositions and, with over 100 lawyers, it has an effective mix of experience. It recently advised the lenders on a $665m facility that will fund the construction of a new natural gas pipeline system that will carry natural gas from the Agua Dulce hub in Texas to the US/Mexico border; the lender group included Union Bank, BBVA Compass, Crédit Agricole, ING Group, Natixis, Nord/LB, Royal Bank of Canada and Santander. Dan Michalchuk and Dan Bartfeld led on the aforementioned matter. Jonathan Green advised the lenders including Citigroup, Barclays, Morgan Stanley and RBC Capital Markets as lead arrangers, on the $850m financing for Highstar Capital’s Star West Generation power portfolio, which consists of five gas-fired power plants in California and Arizona and includes the 570MW Griffith and 579MW Arlington Valley combined-cycle power plants in Arizona.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP has ‘genuine oil and gas expertise’ that combines extensive transactional and regulatory capabilities. In Houston, David Asmus, a ‘true market leader in his field’, heads the transactional team and focuses on oil and gas development, acquisitions, divestitures and energy-based financings. Asmus is leading advice to Sempra Energy on the development and construction of the $6.5bn liquefaction terminal at the Cameron LNG Terminal in Louisiana and Texas, using existing regasification techniques; Brian Bradshaw, who has ‘extremely good experience and is good at getting deals over the line’, also has a key role in the matter. Philadelphia-based Barbara Shander led a team advising Exelon Corporation on the sale of its three Maryland coal-fired power plants to Raven Power Holdings for approximately $400m, plus over $200m in cash tax benefits. Los Angeles-based Richard Shortz is ‘one of the very top attorneys in the market and is patient and practical’; he led a team alongside Richard Aldridge in Philadelphia advising Contango Oil and Gas Company on a merger agreement with Crimson Exploration Inc for an all-stock transaction in which the latter would become a wholly owned subsidiary of the client. In Boston, Mitchell Carroll advised Maxim Power Corp on the sale of its US power generation business to Patriot Power Holdings LLC for $112m, including the assumption of $22mn of debt. For Atlantic Power Corporation, Carroll and Richard Filosa are assisting with the closing of the previously announced sale of its equity interests in three natural gas-fired electric generation projects.

Thompson & Knight LLP’s ‘pro-active’ group has ‘extensive industry expertise and market knowledge’, gives ‘“real world” advice’ and has ‘the ability to contribute to negotiations in a timely and useful manner’. The firm’s specialist oil and gas department includes Hunter White, Roger Aksamit and Andrew Flint in Houston, who represented Halcón Resources Corporation in the negotiation of a definitive agreement with Petro-Hunt LLC and an affiliated entity, to acquire oil and gas assets in the Williston Basin for an aggregate purchase price of approximately $1.45bn, ($700m in cash and $750m in equity). Another key client for the firm is Samsung C&T Corporation, which the firm advised on its approximately $800m purchase, along with Korea National Oil Corporation, of Parallel Petroleum LLC; it was one of the largest deals ever by an affiliate of Samsung in the US, and the firm has since been retained by the client for operational, corporate, and finance matters. In Dallas, ‘top-class’ international energy group leader Andrew Derman is a key name to note, as is Debra Villarreal, and oil and gas leader Arthur Wright, who has ‘deep expertise’. Wright led advice to Chief Gathering on its $1bn sale to PVR Partners, which was to enable the acquiring company to expand its operations in the natural gas-producing Marcellus shale.

White & Case LLP’s energy and regulatory group handles such matters as project finance, M&A, restructurings and litigation, and advises on various significant conventional power, renewable power, oil and gas and LNG matters throughout the US, Latin America and Canada. In Washington DC, Victor DeSantis led a team advising the initial purchasers and co-managers in an offering of $1.7bn of 6.75% senior secured notes by Odebrecht Offshore Drilling Finance Limited, the oil and gas division of Odebrecht; the proceeds were used to refinance offshore oil drillships and Norbe VI, a semi-submersible drilling rig. Arthur Scavone, global head of energy, infrastructure and project finance, led a team advising Goldman Sachs Lending Partners LLC, Credit Suisse Securities, Ares Capital Corporation and Union Bank as joint lead arrangers on the financing of Moxie Energy’s planned 829MW natural gas-fired, combined-cycle Liberty project in Pennsylvania; both the New York and Washington DC offices were involved in the matter. Lawrence Gannon led advice to Bank of America Merrill Lynch, as structuring agent, together with J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley as joint book running managers, on the $360m offering of 3.846% secured notes issued for the lease purchase of the 774MW Southaven combined-cycle plant in Mississippi. Marius Griskonis, who was recently promoted to partner, is ‘always ready to do whatever it takes to keep the client happy’. New York partner Jason Webber is ‘professional, experienced, and creative in finding structural solutions’.


Environment: litigation

Index of tables

  1. Environment: litigation
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Arnold & Porter LLP is a clear heavyweight in environmental litigation, covering climate change and sustainability as well as more traditional areas such as contaminated land, toxic tort and hazardous waste. The firm acts as overall environmental counsel to Honeywell International, and in 2013 handled a range of work for the manufacturer relating to legacy operations, federal and state litigation, and transactional issues. It continues to act as primary environmental counsel to BP in the Deepwater Horizon litigation, defending CWA enforcement actions and Natural Resource Damages claims. In other work for BP, it is lead counsel in a civil enforcement action in California brought by the Attorney General concerning hazardous waste storage and the operation of underground tanks across 41 sites in the state. The firm also serves as national counsel to The Mosaic Company, and recently won a challenge to new federal regulations concerning nutrient standards in Florida’s water. The highly rated Lester Sotsky heads the environmental group. Thomas Milch is known for Natural Resource Damages work, and Joel Gross is an accomplished CWA specialist. All three are based in Washington DC.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘top notch for the resolution of complex environmental matters’, and is ‘at the cutting edge’ of the area. It provides ‘an exceptional level of service’, is ‘extremely efficient’, and ‘has paid attention to keeping down overall costs of projects’. Its representation of BP on issues surrounding the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion entered its fourth year, and it has been acting in the first related civil trial, concerning causation and fault allocation for the accident including questions of possible gross negligence. In a separate, precedent-setting case, the practice successfully acted for Dow AgroSciences on appeal against the National Marine Fisheries Service’s Biological Opinion to protect salmon populations against pesticide use in the Pacific Northwest. It was also added to ExxonMobil’s team handling the defense of two state court actions relating to an oil spill in the Yellowstone River in 2011. The ‘expert’ team, in Washington DC, includes Granta Nakayama, who is ‘excellent, and extremely knowledgeable’; Stuart Drake, who has ‘a masterly understanding of the law’; and Robert Gasaway, who is ‘an expert on the Clean Air Act’.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘superior’ and ‘strategic’ environmental practice is known for its deep bench of experienced lawyers, who cover the domestic market from coast to coast. The firm remains one of the premier firms in the field, and handles a wide range of complex litigation. Its highlights included defense work for The Monsanto Company relating to the cultivation of genetically engineered crops across the US; the year saw three victories for the client in both the Ninth Court and District Court for the District of Columbia, including the rebuffal of Endangered Species Act (ESA) and National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) claims. In a separate case, the practice represented CropLife America in litigation on the relation between pesticide registrations and the ESA; the plaintiffs alleged that the EPA failed to consult the relevant agencies to prevent the impact of pesticides on thousands of endangered species across the country, claims which were dismissed by the Northern District of California. The litigation practice is co-led by Chicago-based Mary Rose Alexander, and the well-regarded Robert Wyman in Los Angeles. Julie Hatcher in Washington DC and Gary Gengel in New York are ‘terrific lawyers’.

The ‘top-notchSidley Austin LLP is ‘at the top of the list in the environmental litigation area’, and its service is ‘uniformly excellent’; the firm is noted for its ‘in-depth knowledge’, ‘strategic thinking’ and ‘deep bench of quality lawyers’. 2013 saw it continue its high-profile work across an assortment of areas, including representing ExxonMobil in relation to the rupture of the Pegasus pipeline, spilling 3,500 barrels of crude oil in Mayflower, Arkansas; legal action was brought by the state and the EPA under the CWA and the Oil Pollution Act. The firm was also active challenging California’s cap-and-trade system, acting for the National Association of Manufacturers in claims that the auction was an unconstitutional tax under California law. The practice is also noted for its expertise in CAA matters, including the New Source Review and New Source Performance Standards. David Buente heads the environmental group, and is noted for his ‘legal acumen’ and ‘expertise on criminal defense investigations’. Peter Steenland has ‘top-level skills in both counseling and litigation’, with ‘many years of experience in government and industry’. Pesticides expert Keith Matthews recently joined from the EPA. The lawyers named are all based in Washington DC.

Boutique practice Beveridge & Diamond, P.C., headquartered in Washington DC, has a nationwide reputation for its environmental law capabilities, with its highly topical and varied caseload running across the country in both federal and state courts. The firm led the joint defense group for Unisys Corporation in a case brought by the Orange County Water District, which sued the company (along with 50 others) as an operator of industrial facilities in relation to the alleged release of solvents and perchlorate into groundwater within the Orange County area; the firm helped avoid a trial through obtaining rulings which disposed of all causes of action. The practice is also national counsel to petroleum and petrochemical company Sunoco in ongoing product liability litigation relating to alleged groundwater contamination caused by the use of the gasoline additive MTBE; the plaintiffs include the state of New Jersey and the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, with trials pending over the coming year. Principal Harold Segall chairs the litigation practice group, which was recently bolstered by the addition of Scott Fulton, formerly general counsel to the EPA.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP is a major name in the environment field, and has a diverse litigation practice covering areas such as Proposition 65, nuclear enforcement actions and CWA investigations. Its standout case in 2013 was the successful opposition, for the NGO Climate Action Reserve, of a writ challenging California’s burgeoning cap-and-trade program. In other work, it assisted in securing a preliminary injunction and removal of bisphenol-A from the Proposition 65 list of reproductive toxicants, raising a complaint on behalf of the American Chemistry Council that the evidence for the chemical’s toxicity to humans was not conclusive; the issue is still pending resolution. The firm also closed a long-running criminal investigation against real estate developer Rodney Pilot and his company Hancock County Land LLP in relation to alleged CWA violations on protected wetlands in Mississippi; the case against Mr Pilot, brought by the EPA and the DOJ, was eventually dropped. The practice has four co-chairs, covering both coasts: Alan Bick and Jeffrey Dintzer in Orange County; Patrick Dennis in Los Angeles; and Peter Seley in Washington DC.

Hogan Lovells maintains its strong reputation in the area. It acted for coal company BHP Billiton in litigation against multiple NGOs relating to permitting laws under environmental statutes such as the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, the Endangered Species Act and the National Environmental Policy Act; the proceedings are being heard in the Tenth Circuit and District of Colorado. The firm also served as lead counsel in the defense of Antero Resources in a class action toxic tort suit in Colorado, in which plaintiff residents alleged personal injury and property damage due to Antero’s natural gas operations. Other clients include Bostik, Lockheed Martin Corporation, Occidental Petroleum Corporation, Daimler Trucks North America, and NV Energy. The practice is co-led from Washington DC and Denver by James Banks and Scott Reisch. Former DOJ lawyer Justin Savage joined the Washington office in 2013.

Hunton & Williams LLP is a ‘strong firm’ in environmental litigation, praised by peers and clients alike for its market-leading presence. It is representing the Utility Air Regulatory Group before the Supreme Court, challenging the EPA rules aimed at cutting emissions of six greenhouse gases from factories and power plants, in a case running alongside a separate Supreme Court judicial review of the EPA’s Cross-State Air Pollution Rule; the rule requires states to improve air quality by reducing power plant emissions which contribute to pollution across other states, and the firm is arguing on behalf of the industry that it violates the CAA. In addition to its expertise in air issues, the practice is noted for its CWA and Endangered Species Act experience. Washington DC-based Bill Brownell heads the practice, and is often sought out to handle complex environmental matters.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s environmental practice is valued for its ‘ability to craft practical, cost-effective solutions in difficult situations’. It handles work for facility owners, waste generators and transporters in both state and federal proceedings and cost recovery cases, and has a history of involvement in major remediation and long-haul Superfund work. It is currently representing the Coalition for Responsible Regulation in the Supreme Court challenges to the EPA’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases under the CAA; the litigation brings full circle the initial 2007 Supreme Court Massachusetts v EPA ruling, which first allowed the agency to regulate GHGs under the CAA. The firm also acts for Antero Resources Corporation and White Stallion Energy Center. Houston-based Carol Dinkins heads the environmental team, and Kevin Gaynor in Washington DC has a well-established record in environmental criminal matters, civil enforcement and Superfund work. Michael Wigmore joined the Washington DC office from Bingham McCutchen LLP.

Texas-based heavyweight Baker Botts L.L.P. gives ‘excellent advice’ on the environmental side, and has ‘substantial in-house resources, knowledge, and expertise’, with resources across Washington DC, Austin and Houston. The practice is lauded for its energy-related work, acting for large power companies on midstream, upstream and generation issues, such as defending CAA citizen suits and permitting claims. It recently represented the National Chamber Litigation Center and the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, which participated as amici curiae in an appeal to Maryland’s highest court relating to compensatory damages awarded to plaintiffs against ExxonMobil following a gasoline spill in 2006; the Court of Appeal’s decision came out in agreement with the amicus briefs submitted in support of ExxonMobil. The practice is also assisting a number of companies facing EPA enforcement suits under the CAA’s New Source Review program, which requires power plants to install pollution control equipment if significant changes have been made to sites. Washington DC-based Steve Leifer leads a group of 14 partners. William Bumpers does an ‘excellent job’, and is also based in Washington DC.

Bingham McCutchen LLP is a stalwart of the environmental landscape, having handled domestic litigation for decades. It is currently involved in one of the largest environmental bankruptcies in history, defending Anadarko and Kerr-McGee in two proceedings filed by the US and various Tronox entities relating to the spin-off of Tronox from Kerr-McGee and Anadarko’s acquisition of Kerr-McGee; it is alleged that the spin-off was a fraudulent transfer to escape environmental legacy liabilities, and plaintiffs are seeking $18bn in compensation. Elsewhere, the firm acted for the Imperial County Air Pollution Control District in its efforts to defend new regulations which seek to address the control of particulate matter sources; the EPA rejected some of the rules, and the matter was taken to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and to mediation proceedings, leading to a successful settlement approved by the EPA. The practice acts for an array of renewable energy developers, oil and gas companies, real estate developers, and potentially responsible parties; other active clients in 2013 included Cogentrix Energy, SolarReserve and Celanese Corporation. San Francisco-based Ella Foley Gannon and Jim Dragna in Los Angeles co-lead the team. Michael Wigmore is now with Vinson & Elkins LLP.

The team at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP continues to handle litigation for the firm’s myriad energy clients, including Chesapeake Energy and Baker Hughes. It is acting as strategic counsel to Halliburton in the federal criminal and administrative investigations arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion; and also serves as counsel to Range Resources, for which the team’s recent work includes responding to allegations that the company contaminated four domestic water wells in Pennsylvania. The firm was also active representing Cabot Oil & Gas Corporation in a host of environmental matters, such as defending water contamination claims relating to hydraulic fracturing exploration; advising on an internal investigation regarding allegations of non-compliance with environmental laws and company policies; and acting in an administrative enforcement action arising from alleged misreporting of production information to the Department of Interior’s Office of Natural Resources Revenue. Austin-based Tim Wilkins heads the firm-wide environment practice, and is acknowledged for his experience in environmental auditing. Jason Hutt in Washington DC regularly works on shale gas matters. Compliance expert Heather Corken Palmer recently joined the Houston office from Norton Rose Fulbright.

Mayer Brown is the ‘first and last stop when it comes to environmental law’, and has proven itself able to obtain ‘extremely favorable results’ for clients. Its recent work includes representing the United States Sugar Corporation in two cases concerning CWA permits; in the first case, the company intervened in a Florida suit brought by the environmental group Friends of the Everglades in a bid to ensure that water transfers require permits, and the second, related case also involves a challenge to the EPA’s water transfer rule, which does not require permits of water transfers across states even if pollutants are introduced – the firm successfully won on appeal against introducing new permit restrictions. Other clients include Caterpillar Inc, DowAgrosciences LLC and Dow Chemical Company. Mark Ter Molen is ‘extremely collaborative’, and is valued for his ‘intellect’, ‘diplomacy’ and ‘superior level of knowledge’ in the environmental arena. Richard Bulger co-heads the environmental action group with Ter Molen, and is particularly experienced in toxic tort matters. Both are based in Chicago.

The ‘accessible’, ‘responsive’ and ‘proactive’ team at Morrison & Foerster LLP is ‘excellent in all areas’, handling a stream of high-profile Proposition 65 work, natural resources litigation, and cases relating to air quality. In a recent highlight, it represented a group of leading baby food manufacturers in litigation in California which sought to compel businesses to include health warnings on their products; the firm was able to prove that the level of lead exposure in question was below the required level for labeling concerns. The firm also continues to act for the Great Basin Unified Air Pollution Control District in various proceedings against the City of Los Angeles relating to pollution caused by the Owens Lake bed, under air pollution and natural resources regulations; the firm has been involved in 11 lawsuits brought by the city seeking to reject control measures on the lake’s usage. It also defended EDF Renewable Energy against a California Environmental Quality Act lawsuit brought by Windstar Energy to stop the French company’s proposed wind project in southern California; the petition was brought on economic rather than environmental grounds, and was dismissed with prejudice. Chris Carr heads a team of ‘extremely knowledgeable’ lawyers, including Michèle Corash and ‘Proposition 65 expert’ Robert Falk; all three are based in San Francisco.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP’s ‘service is excellent in both quality and timeliness’, and the practice has ‘a sophisticated understanding’ of complex industries. Its large team acts for an extensive client base, ranging from trade associations and oil companies to real estate developers, and managed a heavy caseload throughout 2013. It was retained by MOEX Offshore to develop a strategy to handle all the liabilities relating to the company’s 10% use of the lease block located in the area in which the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion occurred. The firm is also representing the City of Rialto in California in litigation to obtain compensation and remediation for historical contamination of its municipal groundwater supply by numerous responsible parties; the extensive litigation involves negotiations across local, state and federal agencies. The firm also acts as principal outside counsel for Chevron on a multitude of matters relating to potential environmental liabilities across its portfolio of energy operations. Houston and Los Angeles-based Christopher McNevin was recently appointed national head of the firm’s environmental group, which has ‘a deep bench of expertise’. Jerry Ross in Houston is recommended for mediations, and John Hansen in San Francisco is ‘exceptionally strong on California environmental law’.

White & Case LLP has for some years represented seafood company Pescanova USA in relation to criminal proceedings relating to the illegal importation of Patagonian toothfish into the country; in 2013 it defended the company against a threatened DOJ criminal action, which the firm negotiated into a civil penalty. The practice also remains busy for major client Pfizer in relation to multiple contamination sites in the North East of the country, including the extensive Superfund site in the Lower Passaic River, New Jersey. Other active clients include the Conservation Law Foundation, real estate developer Rosal Westview, and the City of Dania Beach, Florida. Douglas Halsey leads a group of attorneys who ‘exhibit the highest qualities you could possibly want for environmental issues, including associated litigation’. Neal McAliley is ‘extremely intelligent’, ‘very personable’ and a ‘skilled litigator’. Both Halsey and McAliley are based in Miami.

Baker & McKenzie LLP has a ‘top-quality’, ‘excellent’ environmental litigation team, with experience across industry sectors such as heavy equipment manufacturing, petrochemicals, mining, transportation, pharmaceuticals, and renewable energy. It recently represented an international airline in a major EPA-related matter involving an investigation into possible violations of the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) in San Francisco. It is also assisting an international oil corporation on the resolution of environmental matters relating to the decommissioning of an old floating vessel in Thailand. Its diverse client base expanded to include Wildlife Works Carbon, Althelia Climate Fund, Renewable Biofuels Inc, and BP Alternative Energy, among others. John Watson heads the practice, and David Hackett is also recommended; both are based in Chicago.

Covington & Burling LLP continues to invest in its environmental practice, and wins accolades from peers for its range of expertise. It has a longstanding relationship with American Petroleum Institute, and in 2013 it assisted in obtaining a complete dismissal of a lawsuit brought by multiple environmental organizations challenging the EPA on its National Contingency Plan, which details the government’s plans for responding to oil spills; the groups challenged the EPA on its failure to specify waters or quantities in the event of a spill. The firm is also among those acting for BP in litigation following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, and recently won $750m in recovery costs relating to pollution liabilities. The firm’s expert team of lawyers is co-chaired by Lawrence Hobel in San Francisco and Corinne Goldstein in Washington DC. Also in Washington DC, Steven Rosenbaum is an active, go-to trial lawyer; and senior of counsel E Donald Elliott was recently recruited from the EPA, where he was assistant administrator and general counsel.

Greenberg Traurig LLP is ‘always on top of every issue’, delivering ‘high value for money’ and a ‘very responsive’ service on the environmental side. It is representing Mosaic Fertilizer in litigation filed by environmental groups including the Sierra Club and the People for Protecting Peace River, challenging a CWA permit issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers which allowed the company to extract phosphate ore from a basin property in Florida; the plaintiffs alleged that the Corps violated its duties under the CWA and other statutes when issuing the permit – after three years, the district court ruled in 2013 that the groups had not demonstrated the violation, and the permit was reinstated. The firm also continues to represent a responsible party in relation to a large sediment Superfund site in the Lower Fox River. Tampa-based David Weinstein chairs the nationwide environment and toxic tort practice, and the sizeable team also includes the ‘thorough’ and ‘accurate’ Chris Neumann in Denver; Philadelphia-based David Mandelbaum, who is a ‘great tactician’ and ‘extremely knowledgeable’; and Chicago-based Frank Citera, who is ‘disarmingly bright and insightful’.

Jones Day’s ‘invaluable’ environmental team has ‘in-depth knowledge of the field’, and excellent ‘negotiating skills’. It successfully defended EME Homer City Generation in federal and class action suits which alleged that the electricity company violated the CAA’s New Source Review standards when it operated two power plants without a new permit relating to modifications a previous owner had undertaken. In a separate case, the firm is acting as counsel to Chevron Brazil in a series of civil, criminal and regulatory proceedings relating to oil leaks and ensuing environmental damage caused to the Frade Reservoir off the Brazilian coast between 2011 and 2012; the subsidiary is facing billions of dollars in claims. The firm also acted for Fluor in a Californian CWA and RCRA suit, and successfully defended Midwest Generation in two CAA suits. Kevin Holewinski in Washington DC is ‘very professional’ and ‘knowledgeable’, and is ‘excellent value’. San Francisco-based Thomas Donnelly has 25 years’ experience in the field.

King & Spalding LLP has particular strength representing energy clients, from oil and gas producers and LNG operators to alternative energy companies. The firm has recently acted in an impressive array of litigation, such as representing POWER4Georgians in a successful challenge to the EPA’s new Mercury and Air Toxics Standards rule, which regulates emission standards for pollutants from electric generating units; a petition for reconsideration was filed by the firm, which argued that the EPA’s reliance on flawed data and analysis led it to establish unachievable limits, and the EPA accepted the petition, with a revised rule adopted in 2013. The firm also remains active for Chevron, including handling an action brought by the City of Richmond, California and 15,000 individual claimants relating to an explosion and fire at the company’s refinery in the city. The ‘entire team is very strong from bottom to top’; ‘although it has high hourly rates, it is good value for money’, and ‘the response time is always excellent’. Clients also note its strong business acumen and industry knowledge. Atlanta-based Patricia Barmeyer heads the environmental practice. Tracie Renfroe in Houston is ‘hardworking’, ‘intelligent’ and ‘a team player’.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s environmental lawyers provide an ‘impeccable service’, and are ‘always available’ and ‘extremely responsive to needs’, and its ‘excellent team of environmental litigators have great experience’. Chicago-based Todd Wiener, in particular, is ‘an excellent advocate’ who ‘gets results in a very efficient and timely manner’. New York-based James Pardo is a trial lawyer with standout experience in toxic tort and Superfund cases. The practice continues to act as national trial counsel to ExxonMobil in the multitude of tort cases relating to the industry’s use of methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) in gasoline and ensuing groundwater contamination. It is also representing Monsanto in mass tort actions in various venues relating to the sale and use of polychlorinated biphenyl (PCB) by the company; and is defending Syngenta in two class actions brought by community water systems, with the plaintiffs alleging that the company is liable for the presence of the organic compound atrazine in water supplies.

Noted for its ‘immediate response times’, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s environmental practice covers high-profile Superfund matters, mass toxic torts, insurance recovery disputes, appeals, and the defense of citizen and government actions. Among its ongoing work, it is representing Litgo in claims under the RCRA and CERCLA against various defendants, including the Department of Defense, in an attempt to recover costs relating to contamination at a New Jersey development site; after it was ruled that Litgo was able to seek costs, the firm negotiated a settlement against future liabilities, and the case is now on appeal in the Third Circuit. The large team is co-led by Ronald Tenpas in Washington DC and Christopher Amandes in Houston. Glen Stuart in Philadelphia is also recommended. John McAleese recently left the firm.

Thompson & Knight LLP provides a ‘very good level of service’, and is ‘knowledgeable about the petroleum business and the environmental implications’ as well as having ‘enough bench depth to ensure timely and appropriate services’. It is acting for Pasadena Refining System in an enforcement action by the State of Texas alleging violation of federal and state air quality regulations; the practice assisted in negotiating a settlement involving a reduced administrative penalty. The team also acted for Dow Chemical Company in a Superfund action in Pasadena, Texas, with the EPA seeking remediation action from Dow and other responsible parties. Austin-based James Morriss leads the practice, and has ‘good contacts at the relevant governmental agencies’.


Environment: transactional and regulatory

Index of tables

  1. Environment: transactional and regulatory
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Latham & Watkins LLP is committed to covering the full range of environmental transactional and regulatory work. It recently acted for Poseidon Resources in securing all federal, state and regional land use approvals for a desalination facility in Huntington Beach, California; the project is valued at $500m and dovetails with its sister facility, for which the firm helped secure similar approvals in 2008. It also advised The Carlyle Group on its $4.9bn acquisition of DuPont’s Performance Coatings business, which was a major undertaking and involved environmental due diligence, the assessment of remediation liabilities, the transfer of hundreds of environmental permits, and the management of environmental counsel across foreign jurisdictions. In a further highlight, the team acted for Iberdrola on the development of the Tule Wind Project, a 200MW wind generation facility located in McCain Valley, southern California; this required negotiating various regulatory requirements, such as NEPA and CEQA issues, as well as gaining agency approvals for the project, which is located on federal, tribal, private and state lands. The large team covers both coasts, with Robert Wyman in Los Angeles and Mary Rose Alexander in Chicago co-leading the global practice. James Barrett in Washington DC is often sought out by The Carlyle Group for environmental advice.

Sidley Austin LLP fields an ‘impressive’ environmental team which is particularly noted for its ability to keep pace with developments in the regulatory field. On the transactional side, it advises on due diligence matters, the negotiation of environmental provisions for credit agreements, remediation matters, and compliance issues subsequent to acquisitions. Recent highlights include acting for a lender on the financing of an oil pipeline and rail terminal in the Midwest, and assisting Dynegy Holdings in relation to its bankruptcy proceedings and the related legacy liabilities of its generating facilities. On the regulatory side, it is well versed in Superfund regulation, the NEPA, the CAA and Proposition 65, which is unusual for a firm headquartered outside of California. It was particularly busy in 2013 on climate change matters, including in relation to the EPA’s continued attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources, and advises trade associations such as the American Chemistry Counsel and multinationals such as ExxonMobil on the regulations. It is also advising several clients on permitting issues relating to the EPA’s decision to take over authority from the State of Texas to issue greenhouse gas permits; this includes new permit requests and challenges to the EPA’s decision. The team includes a number of well-known figures in the field, notably David Buente and Roger Martella in Washington DC, Judith Praitis in Los Angeles, and Robert Olian in Chicago.

Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. retains its position as one of the best environmental boutiques in the US, and is particularly noted for its regulatory expertise. A ‘very professional’ and ‘knowledgeable’ practice, it prides itself on being able to handle all elements of environmental law, from CAA and CWA matters to pesticides and pipeline work. Its recent highlights include representing San Antonio Water System in United States and State of Texas v San Antonio Water System; this involved a $1.1bn negotiated settlement under the CWA, with San Antonio pledging to spend over 12 years on clean-up measures such as focused inspections and sewage cleaning – the consent order was brought by the EPA, the DOJ and the State of Texas to resolve ongoing sewer-related claims against the company. Elsewhere, the practice acts as common counsel to the main potentially responsible party (PRP) at the Yosemite Slough Superfund site, currently estimated at between $30m and $150m; the firm’s involvement includes leading on the response to the EPA’s investigation, and negotiations with other PRPs. The tight-knit group is mainly located on the East Coast, and includes department chair Donald Patterson and Stephen Richmond, who is ‘very knowledgeable regarding EPA regulations’, ‘responsive’ and ‘available when needed’; both are based in Washington DC.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s ‘environmental knowledge is very deep, and it has a mastery over all environmental issues that may arise’. Its recent work includes the assessment of toxic tort liabilities in southern states; nuclear power relicensing proceedings in the North East; and advice relating to potential regulatory developments in connection with hydraulic fracturing operations across the US. Its sector expertise is wide-ranging, taking in petrochemicals, energy generation, mining, alternative energy, real estate development and telecoms, among other areas. Its regulatory expertise also includes CWA, CAA, Oil Pollution Act, RCRA, and the Toxic Substances Control Act matters. On the transactional side, it acted for The Washington Post Company on the $250m sale of its newspaper business to Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos; advised major chemical company Ashland Inc on its $2.3bn high-yield debt offering; and assisted IBM on deals including the acquisition of Dublin-based software company The Now Factory. Matthew Morreale is a ‘superb, seasoned lawyer who sees all of the angles, and takes a realistic, common-sense approach to complex issues’. Annmarie Terraciano has ‘an excellent grasp of the material, explains it well, and is very prompt in responding to inquiries’. Both Morreale and Terraciano are based in New York.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is ‘superior to almost all other firms’ in this area; it is ‘incredibly knowledgeable’, ‘extremely responsive’, ‘business focused’, gives ‘practical advice’, and its ‘business acumen is very high’. It is also ‘known for its understanding of business perspectives’. The practice covers the gamut of transactional support work, from capital markets and M&A deals to insolvency and real estate matters. It is acting for Patriot Coal in its Chapter 11 filing for bankruptcy; the environmental issues include negotiations with government stakeholders on the extent of liabilities, and a consent decree with regulators on the treatment of contaminated mine water. In a separate matter, it advised Heinz on its $28bn acquisition by an investment consortium; the deal, the largest of its kind in the food industry, required extensive due diligence within a short timeframe. It also advised Merrill Lynch on the $2.12bn financing for a proposed acquisition of bed manufacturer Sealy, requiring the environmental auditing of various manufacturing facilities across many jurisdictions. Betty Moy Huber and Loyti Cheng are both recommended, and counsel Hayden Baker is also an experienced transactional practitioner; all three are based in New York.

Hunton & Williams LLP has a very well-respected environmental practice, with particular expertise in the utility sector and air-related regulatory matters. It is also well versed in RCRA, hazardous waste management, Endangered Species Act and wetland work. On the transactional side it focuses on advising investors and underwriters, and can call on the firm’s tax energy experience; it has an established renewable energy practice advising developers and investors on wind, hydroelectric, solar, geothermal, and biomass matters. It recently advised a major investment bank on an investment in residential solar projects across several states; and assisted another financial institution on its investment in three wind farms totalling 400 MW located in Illinois, Pennsylvania and Texas. Other active clients include SolarCity, Uriel Renewables and Xzerta Energy Group. Bill Brownell in Washington DC and Kevin Finto in Richmond are recommended.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides ‘top-quality advice and service’ on environmental matters, and has ‘a deep bench of talent across many disciplines’. Its wide-ranging practice covers M&A and restructuring transactions, and real estate development and private equity deals; the firm’s strong list of private equity clients helps maintain a healthy line of work for the team, which in 2013 advised multiple firms on the environmental aspects of acquisitions and divestitures. These include Bain Capital on its acquisition of BMC Software for $6.9bn, and GSE Environmental on its acquisition of drainage and soil company SynTec. It also acted for Taminco Corporation, an international producer of alkylamine, on its IPO, advising on the environmental due diligence and disclosure aspects of the transaction. It also provided the extensive environmental due diligence required in connection with 3G Capital’s $28bn acquisition of Heinz, the largest-ever transaction of its kind in the food industry. The team is led by the venerable Walter Lohmann, and Brian Land and Jeanne Cohn-Connor are also recommended; all three are based in Washington DC.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP has a well-established Washington DC practice and a strong footprint in New York, and covers the environmental aspects of transactions including M&A deals, financings, restructurings, and real estate development projects. It advised longstanding client GE Capital on the lease of a coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania to operator EME Homer City Generation after the owner filed for bankruptcy, involving the negotiation of environmental liabilities and the transfer of dozens of environmental permits. It also advised GE on its $3.3bn acquisition of Lufkin Industries, a Texas-based manufacturer in the oil and gas industry, including all due diligence relating to compliance and contamination issues at the company’s US and Canadian facilities. The firm also has a booming private equity practice, with active clients including American Securities Capital Partners, Lindsay Goldberg and Thomas H. Lee Partners. David Berz heads the overall environment practice, with Annemargaret Connolly leading on environmental transactions and climate change matters. Both are based in Washington DC.

Bingham McCutchen LLP in California has a strong record handling high-level environmental work. It recently acted for power producer Cogentrix Energy on the acquisition of five gas-fired plants throughout California, in relation to which the firm provided the full environmental due diligence service and handled negotiations for the purchase and sale agreement; and also assisted the company in obtaining clearance for a 150MW solar farm, and on the project’s subsequent sale to First Solar. The practice also acted for Imperial Irrigation District, the publicly owned electric utility company, in negotiations relating to a number of wind and solar projects, including advising on the minimization of environmental impact and transmission line issues. The team is led by Jim Dragna in Los Angeles and Ella Foley Gannon in San Francisco. Duke McCall and Clara Poffenberger in Washington DC were promoted to partner.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is ‘excellent’ for transactional and regulatory advice. The team is led in California by Chris Carr, and includes Zane Gresham, who is active on the development and sale of both public and private facilities, and CAA expert Michael Steel. It advised Toshiba on its acquisition of Bridgelux Inc, a manufacturer of LED lighting technology, and advised First Solar on regulatory matters including land use, zoning law, NEPA, CEQA, and federal and state ESA regulations. It also advised the latter company on the potential acquisition of a 60MW site in Fresno County, and the nascent 40MW Cuyama Solar Array Project in Santa Barbara County. Other clients include the California Forestry Association, EDF Renewable Energy and Union Pacific Railroad. The lawyers named are all based in San Francisco.

Paul Hastings LLP has ‘very good expertise and knowledge on environmental issues’, and ‘a superlative environmental transactional and regulatory practice’, with ‘a national capability along with a very deep bench for California’. The firm has carved out a strong practice acting in relation to brownfield transactions, the siting of solar energy plants, climate change related regulatory matters, and the defense of environmental enforcement actions. In 2013 it advised Boeing on remediation efforts at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory; an agreement was reached between Boeing and NASA, the Department of Energy and the State of California to fund the remediation project, and the team also assisted in negotiations with the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and other agencies. Elsewhere, the firm continued to advise Tesoro on regulatory and commercial issues relating to California’s cap-and-trade program, including preparing contracts for carbon credits, and advising on registration and compliance matters and the reporting of crude oils under the state’s related Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Deborah Schmall is ‘among the most knowledgeable environmental regulatory practitioners available’, and ‘knows the ins and outs of negotiating with enforcement agencies and prosecutors’. Also in San Francisco, Robert Hoffman is ‘an expert on technical issues concerning standards and characterizations’.

Van Ness Feldman LLP is a Washington DC-headquartered firm that is very active in compliance matters and policy advocacy. It represents clients in a range of industries, including utilities, natural gas, renewable energy, manufacturing, finance and clean tech, and is known for its extensive expertise in the regulation of air pollution, land use, water, wetlands and hazardous waste. It has particular strength in hydropower matters, and represents around half of the hydropower projects in the country. It is acting for the Alaska Energy Authority on the early stages of a proposed multibillion-dollar hydroelectric project in the state, which will be the largest of its kind for the past 50 years; the work involves wide-ranging licensing and permitting issues, and compliance with NEPA, ESA, CWA and Coastal Zone Management Act regulations. In another significant matter, it is advising Clean Line Energy on the company’s transmission line project, predicted to span 800 miles from Oklahoma to Tennessee; this groundbreaking project will connect significant wind resources to the region, and requires environmental impact assessment, permitting and endangered species negotiation. The firm’s regulatory and compliance team is led by Stephen Fotis, and includes 32 dedicated partners. The well-respected Kyle Danish heads the firm’s climate change practice, while Mike Swiger leads on hydroelectricity matters; both are based in Washington DC.

Vinson & Elkins LLP has a ‘top-notch’ environmental practice which provides ‘the highest level of legal expertise’ and stands out for its ‘ability to craft practical, cost-effective solutions in difficult situations’. The team is active in relation to air and water compliance matters, land use rights, the sale of water rights, real estate transactions, and environmental impact assessments. It recently advised Dyno Nobel Inc on the environmental aspects of the development of an $850m chemical plant in Louisiana, situated on a brownfield site; and acted for major clients in relation to EPA investigations into hydraulic fracturing and the development of compliance programs for the EPA’s Mandatory Reporting rule, which requires certain carbon-intensive power facilities to report greenhouse gas emissions. The firm also has a long track record in CERCLA matters, and continues to assist clients such as facility operators and waste generators in relation to major remediation sites around the country. Larry Nettles and Carol Dinkins are both recommended, and Michael Wigmore joined from Bingham McCutchen LLP in late 2013; all three are based in Houston.

Allen & Overy LLP is a strong choice for environmental work; it provides ‘good and reliable legal support’ and is regularly instructed on large international deals. In 2013, the firm remained very active for GE, handling upwards of 90 international transactions across industry sectors such as renewable energy, mining and aviation, with the environment team providing a wide range of input. In other highlights, it advised electronics manufacturer Jabil Circuit on the full spectrum of environmental compliance, including product regulation, supply chain management, and cleantech issues; and advised the Bank of China on its complex $456m financing to an Indian joint venture to purchase two major New York hotels, advising on due diligence, the negotiation of environmental indemnity agreements and the assessment of environmental insurance. New York-based head of department Kenneth Rivlin is ‘an excellent lawyer who brings the right balance of legal risk counseling and prudent business judgment to complex transactions and regulatory matters’.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP prides itself on its corporate support work, advising an impressive client base on the amelioration of environmental liabilities and the management of environmental risks in the context of major transactions. In recent years it has also grown its climate change and renewable energy practice, advising on greenhouse gas emissions and disclosure matters. Recent work includes advising AssuraMed on its $2bn sale to Cardinal Health; advising Mitsui on its joint venture agreement with technology company Celanese Corporation to manufacture methanol in Texas (at a shared cost of approximately $800m); and acting for private equity firm Kelso on its acquisition of PowerTeam Services, a company which provides infrastructure services to the utilities industry. The experienced Stuart Hammer heads the department from New York and led on these matters.

Norton Rose Fulbright handles real estate and business transactions, enforcement actions, permitting requirements, and environmental auditing for a range of high-profile clients. It recently assisted in ensuring that a compliance program was in place for the federally regulated Safety and Environmental Management System in the Gulf of Mexico; and also acted for a natural gas company in relation to alleged violations of air quality regulations. Active clients include Anadarko Petroleum Corporation, JPMorgan Chase and Union Pacific Railroad Company. Eva Fromm O’Brien heads the environment team from Houston. Edward Lewis, also in Houston, co-chairs the climate change group with Jeffrey Margulies, who is based in Los Angeles and is also head of the Californian practice.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP has an ‘elite environmental practice’ in New York, providing support to the firm’s corporate practice on everything from bankruptcy matters to capital markets deals. Senior counsel Michael Isby was part of a team advising Silver Lake Partners on its $24.4bn acquisition of Dell, while other transactions for the firm included Microsoft’s $7.2bn acquisition of Nokia’s phone business, including its entire devices and services business, and Smithfield Foods’ merger with Shuanghui International. In recent years, the practice has also expanded its work in the energy sector, in renewable energy and natural gas as well as coal and oil. It acted for Texas-based Crestwood Midstream Partners on its merger with propane supplier Inergy Midstream, creating a $7bn business. Other active clients in 2013 included Eastman Kodak, which the firm advised on its bankruptcy exit financing. Senior counsel Adeeb Fadil in New York is a well-known and well-respected practitioner.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s environmental practice includes the evaluation of liabilities, the development of risk allocation strategies, the negotiation of contracts, and advice on post-deal issues. The team is primarily involved in providing support on M&A deals, asset sales, joint ventures and financings for domestic and international clients, and is also experienced in handling complex projects worldwide. It assisted Energy Answers International in securing an air quality permit under the CAA for a planned renewable energy project in Puerto Rico; and also acted for DuPont on the $4.9bn sale of its Performance Coatings business to The Carlyle Group, managing post-completion environmental indemnification claims and other issues. On the bankruptcy side, it is acting for Exide Technologies in the company’s voluntary Chapter 11 filing, assisting on potential environmental issues in connection with 100 sites across the country; and for wastewater company Synagro Technologies in its bankruptcy filing, involving the handling of more than 500 environmental permits. Washington DC-based Don Frost heads the practice, supported by four counsels including Elizabeth Malone.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s transactional practice continues to perform at a high level, advising on complex environmental matters particularly in the manufacturing, chemicals, petroleum and mining sectors. In 2013, it assisted Eastman Kodak in its ongoing Chapter 11 restructuring, including advising on its compliance obligations and the negotiation of various claims and liabilities with the DOJ, the EPA, state environmental departments and private parties. It also advised AT&T on a complex sale and lease agreement with telecommunications company Crown Castle, which involves AT&T’s transfer of 9,700 wireless communications sites to the company for $4.85bn and an agreement to sublease capacity back for a minimum of ten years. The firm also acted for a number of clients, including Borealis Infrastructure Management Inc and the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, on the sale to Spectra Energy of their combined interest in two crude oil pipelines extending from Canada to the northern US, valued at $1.49bn. Special counsel Matthew Brennan is well regarded. Mark Rosenberg, also in New York, coordinates the firm’s environmental practice group, and is an expert in matters involving toxic and hazardous substances.


Healthcare: health insurers

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: health insurers
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

    • Michael Barnes Dentons
    • Robert Belfort Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP
    • Steven Epstein Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.
    • Joel Michaels McDermott Will & Emery LLP
    • Linda Tiano Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.

Dentons’ wide-ranging coverage for Managed Care Organisations (MCOs), health plan and insurer clients spans Medicare and Medicaid compliance; accountable care organisation (ACO) strategy; and benefit design structure. The firm acts as outside counsel to two major state health benefit exchanges, providing ongoing advice on IP, privacy and administrative issues. Kansas City-based Bruce Baty, a co-head of the insurance regulatory group, has been assisting Cambia/Regence BlueCross with its participation in both the insurance exchange program and the Medicare-Medicaid ‘dual eligibles’ pilot program. With a strong track record defending insurers in high-stakes litigation, the firm recently secured the dismissal with prejudice of a $2bn class action against a major insurer client alleging the withholding of benefits from injured workers. Despite the departure of three former CMS executives, including Thomas Hutchinson, to Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. in October 2013, the firm’s capacity remains impressive, with Washington DC-based Bruce Merlin Fried, San Francisco-based investigative and market conduct expert Kara Baysinger and Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) specialist Janice Ziegler, also based in the capital, all highly regarded for their expertise in the space.

Healthcare specialist Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s longstanding expertise in the insurance sector spans over forty years, with firm co-founder Steven Epstein a noted thought leader in the space having played an active role in the acceptance of managed care as a major form of health delivery. Representative clients include Universal American, which the firm advised on its ACO strategy, and Capital BlueCross. The group was significantly bolstered, especially on the insurance exchange and ACO side, with the hire of three former CMS executives from Dentons in October 2013: Mark Hamelburg and Lawrence Kocot to the firm’s Washington DC office and Thomas Hutchinson to the Baltimore office, which opened in February 2014. Linda Tiano, formerly a general counsel at Health Net, and Katherine Lofft, both based in the capital, are key contacts.

Hogan Lovells continues to assist several MCOs after successfully challenging a state agency’s attempt to recoup millions of dollars in premiums paid for Medicaid coverage on a technicality. It also acts for many of the largest insurers, including UnitedHealth Group, which the firm is defending in a qui tam action alleging violation of Medicare Advantage Plan regulations and the anti-kickback statutes. Key contacts include Miami-based litigator Craig Smith, false claims specialist Michael Theis, and Washington DC-based CMS expert Melissa Bianchi.

Clients praise Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s ‘extremely high level of service’, and the firm’s health insurance credentials are demonstrated by a client roster which includes several of the major Californian players in the industry, with expertise spanning policy issues, Medicare and Medicaid, and healthcare reform. In addition to longstanding client Blue Shield of California, it continues to work with UnitedHealth Group and has expanded its relationships with Kaiser Foundation Health Plans and Health Net of California. A team including Los Angeles-based Greg Pimstone, assisted Health Net in securing an important victory in a high-profile lawsuit filed by three plan members in relation to the definition of ‘medical necessity’, with the Los Angeles superior Court ruling that the plan’s definition did not violate Californian law. Washington DC-based transactional lawyer Bruce Wolff also has an impressive track record for healthcare insurer work, and Robert Belfort has notable experience advising insurers and MCOs on reform issues.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s team attracts praise for its responsiveness and ‘business application of the law’. The group includes a separate practice unit that advises clients on risk funding and professional liability. With notable expertise in captive insurance, recent work in the area includes advising a state university on the formation and design on a non-profit, no-member captive structure; Chicago-based Thomas Jones has been leading the advice. Joel Michaels, based in Washington DC, leads the health industry advisory practice and also co-chairs its insurance and payor group. He, along with Anne Hance, also based in the capital, has been advising several insurers on the development of the ACO model under the Affordable Care Act. Chicago-based Joan Polacheck is another key contact. Representative clients include Allianz, MedStar Health and University of Arizona Health Network.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP leverages its well-known dispute resolution capabilities to also act on major cases for large-cap insurers. In a high-profile recent example, Richard Doren and Geoffrey Sigler, based in Los Angleles and Washington DC respectively, acted for Aetna to defeat a motion for certification of two putative classes of plaintiffs challenging the company’s methodology of coverage determinations regarding mental health benefits. Sigler and constitutional expert Miguel Estrada, also based in the capital, secured a preliminary injunction for America’s Health Insurance Plans, blocking the enforcement of a new law in the State of Georgia which would have required health plans to pay claims within 15 days or face fines.

Greenberg Traurig LLPknows the industry, understands the business context, and provides top-notch advice in a timely fashion’. Thomas Bond, based in Austin, has been assisting the Texas Association of Health Plans representing the industry before the Texas Department of Insurance and the Texas Health & Human Services Commission, while Harold Iselin advised Amerigroup on its managed long-term care contract with a health maintenance organization (HMO). Albany-based Iselin is ‘an exceptional lawyer with both breadth and depth of knowledge, which he delivers with full understanding of the business and regulatory contexts’; and Tricia Asaro, also based in Albany, is ‘an excellent lawyer – an “A-Class” problem solver dedicated to her clients’.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP has an impressive track record in litigation for large-cap insurer clients, with representative experience including acting for Health Net in the defense of various class actions brought by service providers regarding calculation of recoupment. Recent cases have included acting for Blue Cross of California, a subsidiary of WellPoint, in an action alleging that the company violated various statutes setting premium rate limits for individual Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) policies. The Court of Appeal affirmed summary judgment in favor of the client, with Thomas Peterson and Molly Lane, both based in San Francisco, and Los Angeles-based Brian Jazaeri securing the favorable outcome.

Reed Smith LLP’s practice focuses on high-stakes litigation in managed care, consumer class actions and government investigations, particularly for key client Blue Cross/WellPoint. Kurt Peterson and Ken Smersfelt, both based in Los Angeles, led a team acting for Anthem Blue Cross in settling a class action, through the creation of an opt-out clause, on behalf of 6,000 Californian plan members in relation to the purchase and delivery of HIV prescriptions. Further cementing its credentials in the space, a Chicago-based team led by Dan Hofmeister acted for WellPoint on its action for recovery from several professional liability insurers for its defense and settlement of a nationwide class action brought by doctors against every significant MCO in the country. The team successfully argued against the insurers’ attempts to use arbitration rather than litigation to settle the case.

Covington & Burling LLP regularly advises clients on Medicaid reimbursement issues, and is widely recognized for representing corporate policy holders in coverage disputes with their insurers. The firm’s impressive client roster in the field includes UnitedHealth Group, Health Net and Cardinal Health, as well as a number of major pharmaceutical companies. David Goodwin has strong experience in both insurance-related litigation and arbitration, and litigator Anna Engh has also acted for some notable clients.

Employee benefits specialist Groom Law Group focuses on niche areas such as captive insurance, defined contribution arrangements, and medical loss ratios. Its track record includes acting on the first transaction involving the use of a captive insurer as part of the funding arrangements for a retiree health plan, including obtaining a prohibited transaction exemption from the Department of Labor. The firm has also been active in lobbying Congress and government agencies on behalf of insurers regarding the implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act. Key contacts include health group leader Jon Breyfogle, Christy Tinnes, an expert on HIPAA, and litigator Mark Nielsen, all based in the firm’s sole Washington DC office. Clients include CIGNA, Unum, and Blue Cross & Blue Shield Association.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s representative clients include Molina Healthcare and Humana. Recent litigation successes include acting for Mid-West National Life and its former agent in defeating a high-profile and potentially precedent-setting action alleging bad faith in the selling of an insurance policy. The firm has also been assisting a wide range of insurers and health maintenance organizations in regulatory and transactional matters, in particular, the acquisition of Medicare and Medicaid health plans. Los Angeles-based healthcare group head Eric Klein has strong transactional experience for insurer clients.


Healthcare: life sciences

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: life sciences
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Covington & Burling LLP’s renowned regulatory capabilities are complemented by its strong reputation in complex partnering, licensing and technology transfer transactions, as well as an international capacity which has seen it advise the Chinese government on the drafting of its life sciences regulatory framework. The firm’s track record is demonstrative of its capacity for big-ticket, high-profile work, including advising AstraZeneca on its ground-breaking deal with Moderna Therapeutics to develop and commercialize its pioneering messenger RNA therapeutics. No less a force in M&A, a large cross-office, cross-practice team advised the same client on its $4.1bn aggregate value acquisition of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s interests in the companies’ diabetes alliance, with associated global IP and development rights for a wide variety of diabetes drugs. Co-chairs John Hurvitz and Peter Safir have highly regarded regulatory capabilities; Hurvitz also vice-chairs the firm’s corporate group and Safir is notable for his work in the research-based pharmaceutical industry. Fellow co-chair Gerald Masoudi is a former chief counsel at the FDA. Other key figures in the group include enforcement defense specialist Richard Kingham, Silicon Valley-based vice-chair Emily Leonard, who has expertise spanning strategic agreements, licensing and early stage ventures; and transactional lawyers Edward Dixon and Catherine Dargan. All lawyers named except Leonard are based in Washington DC.

Hogan Lovells handles the full array of issues for major life sciences players, and is particularly notable for the deep bench strength of its regulatory group. In 2013 this already significant regulatory capacity, which includes David Fox, a former assistant chief counsel for enforcement at the FDA, was bolstered by the hire of Gary Veron from Sidley Austin LLP. The firm leverages this capability on both corporate transactions and government enforcement defense, a recent example of the latter being its successful defense at first instance of a major pharmaceutical company in a qui tam action. Particularly active in capital markets, Silicon Valley-based biotech specialist Laura Berezin led a team which advised Five Prime Therapeutics on its $71.8m IPO, and Hyperion Therapeutics on its $64.5m offering. Baltimore-based Asher Rubin, who heads the group, advised TESARO on its $75m public offering of common stock, which included the exercise of an over-allotment option granted to the underwriters a transaction which also included pharmaceutical and biotechnology practice group head Philip Katz. Headline deals on the corporate side included assisting Amplimmune on its $225m sale to MedImmune, the R&D arm of AstraZeneca. Other key figures include Janice Hogan, who co-chairs the FDA and medical device practice, and Steven Datlof, (both based in Philadelphia), Washington DC-based compliance expert Meredith Manning, and medical device enforcement-related specialist Edward Wilson. The group added to its corporate capacity in February 2014 with the addition of Adam Golden to its New York office, a lateral hire from Kaye Scholer LLP.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s highly regarded group represents several major players in the industry, including longstanding clients such as Pfizer, Biogen, Becton Dickinson and Johnson & Johnson, as well as taking advantage of the many biotech start-ups and middle-market pharmaceuticals based near the firm’s Boston head office. A stalwart presence in M&A and capital markets, the group is a market leader on the transactional side. Michael Sexton led a team advising Johnson & Johnson on its $650m acquisition of Aragon Pharmaceuticals, including up to $350m in contingent payments, allowing Aragon’s remaining assets to be spun out into a new biotechnology company. Further demonstrating its corporate capability, Paul Kinsella and Christopher Comeau led advice to Cubist Pharmaceuticals on its $1.6bn combined acquisition of Optimer Pharmaceuticals and Trius Therapeutics. Michael Beauvais is advising Oxford Immunotec on its $75m IPO with a view to expansion of R&D on its immunology-related diagnostics business. Washington DC-based Gregory Levine and Marc Rubenstein co-head the practice. All lawyers named except Levine are based in Boston.

Sidley Austin LLP’s market-leading group advised major clients on the full array of corporate and regulatory issues, including enforcement issues throughout the product life cycle. Demonstrating the firm’s international capabilities, a cross-office team that included lawyers from the firm’s Beijing and Hong Kong offices, and Chicago-based David Zampa, advised Medtronic on its multi-faceted strategic alliance with Chinese medical device company LifeTech, which included its acquisition of a 19% stake in the company. Washington DC-based Coleen Klasmeier leads the food, drug and medical device regulatory team, focusing on strategy and risk management, as well as FDA-related litigation. David Pritikin, also based in Chicago, chairs the firm’s national IP practice and has been acting on several high-profile Hatch-Waxman cases over the past year, including for Forest Laboratories on its action against seven generic manufacturers. In another example of its broad transactional capabilities, Zampa and Palo Alto-based Deborah Marshall advised GE Healthcare on its investment in NanoString Technologies and its subsequent IPO. Scott Bass and James Stansel co-head the team.

The highly regarded Barbara Kosacz, based in Palo Alto, leads Cooley LLP’s group and is well regarded for advising investors on spin-outs and public offerings, with particular expertise in M&A and complex strategic partnering. The firm’s impressive track record includes advising XOMA on its collaboration with Servier for the development and commercialization of the former's anti-inflammatory antibody drug candidate. It has also advised Reata Pharmaceuticals on the development and commercialization of bardoxolone, a first-in-class antioxidant inflammation modulator. More recently, it advised NextWave on its high-profile $700m acquisition by Pfizer; and Jazz Pharmaceuticals on its $125m acquisition of the worldwide development, manufacturing and commercial rights to ADX-N05 from Aerial BioPharma. Prevalent in public offerings for start-ups and clinical stage biotechs, recent clients for which the firm has acted on IPOs include Aquinox Pharmaceuticals, Cara Therapeutics and Trevena. Boston-based Marc Recht handles a significant proportion of this capital markets work. A group of six recently joined from Mintz Levin in Boston and New York.

King & Spalding LLP’s broad range of expertise includes regulatory, compliance, policy, and litigation. With notable regulatory and enforcement capabilities, Mark Brown’s track record includes representing GlaxoSmithKline in relation to all FDA-related issues in the Paxil product liability litigation, which included a landmark summary judgment dismissing the plaintiffs’ claims under state law. Senior partner Edward Basile is well regarded for his medical device expertise, his representative work including advising Terumo Cardiovascular Systems on the negotiation of a favorable settlement with the FDA and the DOJ. Other key figures in the sizeable team include fraud and abuse specialist Gina Cavalier, medical device expert Laurie Clarke, and Michael Petty, former vice-president of development and regulatory law at Amgen. All lawyers named are based in Washington DC.

Latham & Watkins LLP is well regarded for both its corporate and regulatory expertise, leveraging the firm’s market-leading capital markets capabilities to act on some of the highest-profile offerings in the life sciences market. Recent examples include advising KYTHERA Biopharmaceuticals on its IPO and follow-on offering, Aratana Therapeutics on its IPO of 5.75 million shares of common stock, and Prothena Corporation on its first public offering. Silicon Valley-based co-head Alan Mendelsen was part of a team advising Complete Genomics on its acquisition by BGI-Shenzhen, in what was the first purchase of a US-based public company by a Chinese company. Boston-based co-head Peter Handrinos assisted Israel-based Chiasma on its US licensing and collaboration agreement with Roche to develop Octreolin. Washington DC-based co-head John Manthei is assisting several clients with regulatory matters, including AcqueSys in its negotiations with the FDA to obtain approval for a treatment for glaucoma, and Boston Scientific and the Medical Device Manufacturers Association in their negotiations with the FDA regarding the medical device user fee program. Start-up specialist Cheston Larson also co-heads from the firm’s San Diego office.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has notable capabilities in antitrust and in China, where the firm has a longstanding association with MWE China Law Offices in Shanghai; this has seen it act on both inbound and outbound transactions for US and Chinese clients. Washington DC-based Jeffrey Brennan, formerly head of the Federal Trade Commission’s healthcare division, has been assisting a variety of pharmaceutical companies with antitrust matters in relation to patent settlement agreements and transactions. Orange County-based William Diaz is also notable for his antitrust expertise in life sciences. Highly active in Hatch-Waxman and Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) litigation, the firm is acting for Sandoz in ANDA-related litigation regarding generics for the treatment of acne and psoriasis. Transactional highlights for Boston-based Byron Kalogerou’s team included advising a leading medical device manufacturer on its first significant acquisition in China, and advising Veloxis Pharmaceuticals on the completion of its exclusive distribution agreement with Chiesi Farmaceutici. Other key figures in the large group include Washington DC-based vice-chair Glen Engelmann and biotech start-up specialist Paul DeStefano, based in Silicon Valley. Clients for which the group provides ongoing regulatory advice include Allergan, AbbVie and the University of New Mexico.

In a highlight transaction, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP advised H Lundbeck on its $825m collaboration with Otsuka Pharmaceutical to develop an experimental treatment for Alzheimer’s; as well as GlaxoSmithKline on its research collaboration and license agreement with The University of Texas – both teams led by Princeton-based practice vice-chair and noted licensing expert Randall Sunberg. Other highlight transactions included advising AmerisourceBergen on the $308m sale of its subsidiary AndersonBrecon to Frazier Healthcare. Spanning transactional, contentious IP and regulatory work, highlights on the litigation side included gaining favorable judgment for Cornerstone Therapeutics at the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in ONY Inc v Cornerstone Therapeutics, a landmark decision for false advertising and defamation in relation to life sciences. Also active in False Claims Act litigation, recent cases include successfully defending C.R. Bard in a qui tam action. Key contacts in Washington DC-based Stephen Mahinka’s team include regulatory expert Donna Lee Yesner and enforcement defense specialist Kathleen McDermott, both of whom are also based in the capital.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s client roster spans the full range of life sciences companies from emerging biotechs to large-cap pharmaceuticals, with capacity on both the East and West Coasts, as well as the Midwest. Key client Pfizer has recently instructed it in a number of big-ticket matters, including the $13bn spin-off of its remaining 80% interest in Zoetis; and the $11.9bn divestiture of Pfizer Nutrition to Nestlé. Among various other transactional highlights, the firm advised ViroPharma on its $4.2bn acquisition by Shire, and Tranzyme on its merger with Ocera Therapeutics and related $20m PIPE financing. Its large team and full-service offering allows the firm to act for large clients in several areas – its assistance to Actavis in ongoing M&A, Hatch-Waxman litigation and antitrust matters being good examples. Jennifer Bragg and John Bentivoglio, both based in Washington DC, are key regulatory contacts.

In August 2013, Arnold & Porter LLP bolstered its already significant enforcement capabilities with the hire of counsel Marilyn May from the United States Attorneys’ Office, where she headed a branch of its healthcare fraud division. The group’s credentials are demonstrated by its filing of several Amicus briefs on behalf of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) – including Kaiser Foundation Health Plan v Pfizer where it argued that the test for whether client Pfizer’s promotional claims for clinical trial tests should rest on whether they were in fact false or fraudulent, and should not rely on the FDA’s benchmark. It has also achieved numerous successful summary judgments for a range of major pharmaceutical companies, including three within four years for Boston Scientific. Daniel Kracov heads the team, which includes Diane Bieri, formerly general counsel at PhRMA, IP litigator Matthew Wolf and Vernessa Pollard, a former associate chief counsel at the FDA. All lawyers named are based in Washington DC.

Clients praise Dechert LLP’s ‘interactive service’ and ‘highly experienced lawyers.’ The firm has life sciences capacity across the country in both established centers, such as New York and Washington DC, and research and academic bases such as Princeton and Silicon Valley. Internationally the group has lawyers in London, Moscow, Munich and Hong Kong. In a demonstration of these multi-jurisdictional capabilities, a joint Silicon Valley and London team assisted ProFibrix, on its proposed product partnership and eventual sale to The Medicines Company. Prominent in life sciences-related litigation, the firm is currently handling cases for Pfizer in its ongoing hormone therapy litigation, is defending Actelion Pharmaceuticals against a high-profile antitrust action brought by Apotex, and defending Baxter Healthcare in a multi-class product liability action regarding the drug Heparin, obtaining a summary judgment and voluntary dismissal with prejudice in two actions. Corporate highlights included assisting Celgene on its cross-border strategic alliance with MorphoSys and, among several other capital markets transactions, Onconova Therapeutics and Novadaq Technologies on their respective IPOs. George Gordon and David Schulman, based in Philadelphia and Washington DC respectively, co-head the group.

Dentons has a deep bench of regulatory lawyers, several of whom have notable in-house experience at state agencies such as the Department of Health and Human Services and the DOJ. The firm serves as principal outside regulatory counsel for both Abbott Laboratories and KV Pharmaceutical, also handling high-stakes litigation for the latter. It has the capacity to handle work in a wide variety of practice areas for large-cap clients, such as Merck & Co, Monsanto and GlaxoSmithKline; notably, its work for ANI Pharmaceuticals has recently included assisting with its reverse merger with BioSante Pharmaceuticals, as well as representing it in ongoing litigation. Corporate highlights included advising ADMA Biologics on three separate transactions, including its proposed $30m IPO, and revenue merger into a public company. Peg Donahue Hall and Robert Hanson, both based in Dallas, co-head the group with Jeffrey Baumel and Gadi Weinreich, based in Washington DC and New Jersey respectively.

Goodwin Procter LLP has a particularly strong reputation in venture capital and is a popular choice for biotech clients. In one of the largest biotech deals of the year, Stuart Cable and Danielle Lauzon were part of a team assisting Onyx Pharmaceuticals with its $10.4bn sale to Amgen. Further demonstrating its prominent position in the space, it acted for the underwriters, including J.P. Morgan, on the high-profile IPO of Intrexon, one of the largest biotech IPOs of recent years. In other big-ticket corporate work, Kingsley Taft advised Royalty Pharma on its $485m purchase royalty rights for commercialization of the drug candidate ibrutinib from Quest Diagnostics, which upon completion was the largest royalty rights purchase of 2013. Taft and Mitchell Bloom co-head the group, other key contacts including San Francisco-based start-up specialist Maggie Wong, and Mark Heller, based in Washington DC, who chairs the firm’s FDA group. All lawyers named are based in Boston unless otherwise stated.

Kaye Scholer LLP’s well-known contentious capabilities have seen the firm continue to act for a range of clients in high-profile product liability, antitrust, and qui tam actions. In an example of its strength in the latter, the firm is defending Novartis in three separate pending actions alleging violation of anti-kickback and off-label marketing statutes. It is representing the same client in a variety of other matters spanning product liability, patent litigation and M&A. Similarly, the group is acting for Pfizer, another longstanding client, on a range of matters; New York-based co-head Andres Liivak is advising it on its licensing agreement with Repligen for the development of a drug targeting spinal muscular atrophy, and fellow co-head William Hoffman is acting as national counsel in the Reglan product liability litigation in which he won several notable trial and appellate decisions for the client. Corporate partner Adam Golden left to join the New York office of Hogan Lovells in February 2014.

Leveraging its Boston location – one of the main US centres for the industry – and its 30-year history in the space, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. acts for clients such as Boston Biomedical, Rosetta Genomics and ImmunoGen on the full range of issues, including litigation. Its impressive client roster is particularly notable for the numerous Massachusetts-based biotechs it features; the firm assists them primarily with financings, especially public offerings, and M&A. Key corporate contacts include William Whelan, Scott Samuels. Former IP co-head Ivor Elrifi left to join Cooley, along with five others.

Reed Smith LLP’s group, headed by Carol Loepere, is well regarded for its corporate work; in 2013 it handled licensing and M&A deals for DUSA, Ocera Therapeutics, and Nuron Biotech, advising the latter on its purchase of Meningtec, a subsidiary of Pfizer. In an impressive demonstration of the practice’s breadth and capacity for international work, Princeton-based Diane Frenier advised Oncobiologics on three simultaneous collaborations with Zhejiang Huahai Pharmaceutical to develop biosimilars in both China and the US. Other key contacts include Nanette Mantell, also based in Princeton, on the corporate side, and Los Angeles-based emerging biotech specialist Michael Sanders. The group also has notable regulatory capabilities.

A major player both in Boston and nationwide, WilmerHale’s practice encompasses all stages of growth from emerging biotechs to large-cap pharmaceuticals, with an impressive recent track record on public offerings for start-ups and mid-market companies. Clients for which the firm has recently advised on IPOs include Agios and Epizyme, with group co-heads Steve Singer, based in New York, and David Redlick leading the advice, respectively. Redlick was also part of a team assisting Thermo Fisher Scientific with its $2.54bn offering of common stock. On the contentious side, the firm is acting for Novartis in its enforcement of three patents against 16 companies attempting to market generic versions of two of its products. Other key contacts include emerging company specialists Rosemary Reilly and Brian Johnson, the latter based in New York. All lawyers are Boston-based unless otherwise stated.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati broad-ranging practice acts for more than 500 companies in the biotechnology, biopharmaceuticals and drug discovery technology sectors, among others, with a notably strong presence around its West Coast base. Palo Alto-based department head Casey McGlynn is highly regarded for his start-up and growth technology-focused practice, with other key contacts including medical device specialist James Heslin, also based in Palo Alto. Representative clients include Mylan Pharmaceuticals and China Biologic Products.

Alston & Bird LLP has partner-level resources in life sciences centers such as Washington DC, where the bulk of its regulatory team is based, and Silicon Valley, as well as in Atlanta and Raleigh – the latter office based in the city’s Research Triangle – co-headed by Michelle Williams and W Murray Spruill respectively. Alongside its robust corporate, finance and regulatory strength, the firm has a highly regarded litigation function, which includes patent litigation – in keeping with the firm’s well-known strength in IP – as well as general commercial cases for life sciences clients. Representative experience includes acting for a pharmaceutical defendant accused of misappropriation of trade secrets (winning at bench trial for the client), and representing a specialist in cardiac ultrasound imaging in patent litigation at federal court.

Choate, Hall & Stewart’s life sciences group ‘is very strong, displaying a high degree of industry knowledge’, representing an impressive roster of clients consisting primarily of established players such as Eisai and Celgene, from its sole office in Boston. The group’s notable IP capabilities came to the fore when representing Momenta in a series of patent infringement cases against Amphastar Pharmaceuticals and Teva; Eric Marandett, who co-heads the IP litigation function with Michael Bunis, was part of the large team assisting with the actions. Within life sciences-related IP, the firm has particular strength in relation to biosimilars, vaccines and complex syntheses, advising clients on commercialization and licensing as well as contentious matters. Corporate highlights included advising the selling shareholders of Cypress Pharmaceuticals on the $102m sale of all outstanding stock to Pernix Therapeutics Holdings; William Asher led the team. Brenda Jarrell and Gerald Quirk, IP and licensing specialists respectively, are the other main contacts.

Although better known for its longstanding experience in the service provider space, Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. also advises life sciences clients such as the Combination Products Coalition, Becton, Dickinson and Company and Shionogi on FDA compliance and regulatory issues, with particularly strong expertise on the medical device side. Bradley Merrill Thompson and Amy Dow, based in Washington DC and Chicago respectively, are key contacts. Kim Tyrrell-Knott divides her time between the capital and San Diego.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s ‘overall level of service is excellent, with a team which utilizes a broad range of experience from personnel across many disciplines’. Representing a healthy mix of start-ups and established players such as Takeda and United Therapeutics Corporation, the firm has recently become a recognized leader in the development of personalized medicine; Silicon Valley-based Antoinette Konski is among a number of partners with expertise in this developing field. The firm has deep roots in patent licensing and patent prosecution, with recent deal highlights in the latter including advising OxOnc on its collaboration with Pfizer for the development of XALKORI, a lung cancer treatment, in China, Korea and Japan. San Diego-based licensing expert Richard Kaufman, Boston-based start-up and venture capital specialist Gabor Garai and David Rosen, formerly of the FDA and based in Washington DC, co-head the group along with Chicago-based special counsel Monica Chmielewski. Patent attorney Marc Morley was a lateral hire from Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear LLP in July 2013.

Michael Jacobs chairs Morrison & Foerster LLP’s group, which has notable Californian capacity with key partners in San Francisco (where Jacobs is based), Silicon Valley and San Diego. In a notable litigation highlight, a seven-partner team, including David Doyle and Eric Acker, acted for Sandoz in securing a high-profile appellate victory at the federal circuit in Teva v Sandoz, potentially paving the way for its client to launch a generic version of COPAXONE, Teva’s ‘blockbuster’ multiple sclerosis treatment, in May 2014. Stephen Thau and Van Ellis, both based in Washington DC and with notable emerging companies expertise, advised longstanding client Astellas Pharma on its collaboration, potentially worth $730m, with Boston start-up Mitokyne – also assisting the client with its purchase of $45m of Series A preferred stock. Genentech and Gilead Sciences are among several clients the firm advises on patent strategies, the latter on its trophy HIV patent portfolio.

Nixon Peabody LLP’s life sciences group has offices in the major US life sciences centers of Boston, Southern California and Washington DC, as well as international capacity in Shanghai. Michele Masucci’s group spans regulatory, licensing and enforcement defense, with notable recent work in the latter including obtaining settlement for a major pharmaceutical client in three separate investigations alleging off-label promotion, anti-kickback violations and improper price reporting. Illustrative of its broad-ranging capabilities, the firm is advising a start-up on its licensing and R&D strategy, and assisting an established academic medical center with the prosecution and licensing of its patent portfolio. Los Angeles-based strategic IP expert Seth Levy is a key figure, as are Brian French and Mark Seltzer, both based in Boston, who were part of the team in the three investigations mentioned above. Washington DC-based Areta Kupchyk is a former associate chief counsel and assistant general counsel for litigation at the FDA.

Norton Rose Fulbright absorbed the robust life sciences capabilities of Fulbright & Jaworski following the firms’ high-profile merger in June 2013. Led by Washington DC-based false claims and enforcement litigator Frederick Robinson, the group augments its well-known capacity for high-stakes litigation with equally well-regarded corporate and IP expertise. A notable highlight saw key corporate contact Mara Rogers, based in New York, assist Life Technologies with its acquisition of Compendia Biosciences, a leader in bioinformatics. Another saw Robinson act for the pharmaceutical subsidiary of retailer SuperValu in the successful dismissal with prejudice of several federal and state qui tam actions. Houston-based of counsel Thomas Paul has longstanding transactional IP expertise; his recent work includes assisting two major pharmaceuticals with the licensing and collaboration aspects of major deals.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP has a track record for handling first-of-a-kind deals and is highly regarded for its international expertise; it combined both when representing BGI-Shenzhen on its acquisition of Complete Genomics – the first acquisition of a US-based publicly traded company by a Chinese acquirer. In a further illustration of its strong reputation for China-related deals, a cross-office team including partners from Shanghai and Hong Kong assisted LifeTech Scientific, a leading Chinese medical device manufacturer, on its strategic alliance with Medtronic. Key figures include Silicon Valley-based team head Sam Zucker, New York-based M&A group co-head Paul Scrivano and Jennifer DePalma, also based in Silicon Valley.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s New York-based team has enviable corporate credentials in the life sciences space, focusing on the interplay between IP and transactions. In 2013, group head Daryn Grossman led a team assisting Grifols with its $1.7bn all-cash purchase of the diagnostic arm of Novartis. Grossman also led advice to Regenerex on its licence and research collaboration agreement with Novartis’ research arm. Robert Cantone has been assisting Celgene in two global collaborations with VentiRx and Acetylon Pharmaceuticals respectively – the latter in relation to the developing field of epigenetics. In other notable work, Grossman has also been assisting Sanofi Pasteur with its joint venture with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop and distribute vaccines, such as those for inactivated polio, in developing countries. Antitrust lawyer Helene Jaffe and IP litigator Mary Consalvi are two other key contacts.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s impressive offering spans strategic IP regulatory approval, litigation, venture capital and FDA issues. Showcasing its transactional credentials, a large cross-practice team including San Diego-based co-head Kirt Shuldberg, advised Elcelyx Therapeutics on its spin-off to form NaZura Biohealth Inc for the development of a weight management supplement. Fellow co-heads Don Pelto and Peter Reichertz, both based in Washington DC, focus on patent and FDA approval respectively, while New York-based co-head Blaine Templeman focuses on the commercialization of IP portfolios.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is a ‘super firm in all areas’, with especially strong credentials in big-ticket M&A and high-stakes litigation for major pharmaceuticals. Notable representative transactions include advising Medicis Pharmaceutical Corporation on its high-profile $2.6bn sale to Valeant Pharmaceuticals and, in 2013, assisting Merz Pharma with its acquisition of Neocutis, a Swiss pharmaceutical. A cross-office team including lawyers from the firm’s New York, London and Paris offices, is assisting Sanofi with the restructuring of its 15-year collaboration agreement with Bristol-Myers Squibb, including the settlement of an ongoing related arbitration. Elizabeth Weiswasser and Matthew Gilroy, both based in New York and focusing on IP and M&A respectively, are key contacts.

White & Case LLP has been highly active in big-ticket litigation, particularly in relation to antitrust. A Washington DC-based team, with assistance from the firm’s Brussels office, has been representing the co-defendants in the high-profile cases FTC v Actavis and Upsher-Smith Laboratories v Louisiana Wholesale Drug Company concerning so-called ‘reverse payment’ patent litigation settlements. The firm successfully argued for a review of appellate court decisions regarding the presumed invalidity of such settlements at the Supreme Court. Transactional highlights included advising Warner Chilcott on its $8.5bn acquisition by Actavis. Mark Gidley and Eric Grannon, both based in the capital, are key antitrust contacts; with New York-based Jeffrey Oelke highly regarded for his Hatch-Waxman expertise.


Healthcare: service providers

Index of tables

  1. Healthcare: service providers
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s market-leading group is ‘responsive, knowledgeable and applies the law commercially’. It advises clients across the full spectrum of transactional, contentious and regulatory matters, including notable fraud and abuse and government investigations capability. Its recent work includes securing the early dismissal with prejudice of a putative class action against DaVita HealthCare Partners and HealthCare Partners Medical Group (MGI), attacking the $4.4bn merger between the companies, which formed DaVita HealthCare Partners, and MGI’s core operations. In a nationwide team, Chicago-based Kerrin Slattery focuses on hospitals, health systems and other providers, while Miami-based Gary Davis’ practice focuses on managed care, strategic restructurings and reorganizations. Bernadette Broccolo, also based in Chicago, has been advising providers for over 33 years on cutting-edge relationship formation and realignment matters. Chris Jedrey is ‘highly responsive and able to address the full spectrum of complex healthcare matters’, and Stephen Bernstein is highly regarded for his e-health and electronic health record expertise and also heads the group. Both Jedrey and Bernstein are based in Boston.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s ‘expertise in healthcare is beyond reproach’, and the firm, founded to service the healthcare industry in 1973, is ‘very well connected to the CMS and the overall payor community – it knows what will work and what will not’. Douglas Hastings has been advising Northwestern Medical Faculty Foundation on the reorganization of a major academic medical center, and David Matyas led a team advising Tenet Healthcare on the health regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Vanguard Health System. Mark Lutes advised New York and Presbyterian Health System on the regulatory side of its merger with New York Downtown Hospital, including all non-profit compliance issues, and Lynn Shapiro Snyder advised KKR on the acquisition of Sunrise Senior Living’s management company business. George Breen heads the team. All lawyers named are based in Washington DC, though the firm has healthcare capacity across the US, including in New York, Chicago and California.

Hogan Lovells has ‘extraordinary depth of knowledge in healthcare, litigation, and fraud and abuse matters’, with a 70-lawyer team focusing on regulatory issues alone. Practice head Sheree Kanner and Jonathan Diesenhaus, both based in Washington DC, have been acting for the American Hospital Association in a range of matters, including filing a suit challenging a Medicare policy denial of payment under Part B; filing amicus briefs in the US Supreme Court on the Affordable Care Act; and handling high-level fraud and abuse regulatory matters. The highly regarded Clifford Stromberg, also based in the capital, has been handling the establishment of new healthcare facilities and the creation of research institutes, provider networks, and integrated health systems. Other key contacts in the nationwide group include Miami-based Craig Smith, formerly general counsel at Florida’s Agency for Healthcare Administration, Denver-based fraud and abuse litigator Michael Theis, and Michael Maddigan, who bolstered the Los Angeles office’s fraud and abuse capacity after his hire from O'Melveny & Myers LLP in January 2014. Market-leading regulatory expert Thomas Bulleit was hired by Ropes & Gray LLP in December 2013, while policy specialist Charles Clapton left for an in-house position in March 2014.

King & Spalding LLP’s practice is composed of practice units covering reimbursement, healthcare technology and product research, government investigations, product liability, and tax, finance and antitrust issues. Its capacity spans the US with especially strong capabilities in Georgia and Texas – as well as in the regulatory center of Washington DC. In highlight matters, Dennis Barry, based in the capital, recently represented several providers in numerous cases before the Provider Reimbursement Review Board and the federal courts, and group chair Glen Reed and Thomas Hawk assisted Piedmont Healthcare with the formation and licensure of a new health insurance company to offer products in the Atlanta metropolitan area. Jay Harris, Richard Shackelford, Andrew Bayman and Houston-based Gary Eiland are all key figures. All lawyers named are based in Atlanta unless otherwise stated.

Ropes & Gray LLP’s recent work includes acting as lead transaction counsel in relation to West Penn Allegheny Health System’s affiliation with the largest Blue Cross Blue Shield insurer in several states, resulting in the creation of a ground-breaking insurer/provider healthcare delivery and financing system. Nancy Forbes has handled numerous healthcare mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures, and the highly regarded Stephen Warnke, based in New York, advises clients on state and federal regulatory, enforcement and compliance matters. The practice’s regulatory expertise was significantly bolstered by the arrival to its Washington DC office of the distinguished Thomas Bulleit; hired from Hogan Lovells in December 2013, he has longstanding expertise in complex regulatory matters relating to academic medical centers, health maintenance organizations and payors, among other clients. Timothy McCrystal and Anne Ogilby co-chair the healthcare practice group. All lawyers named are based in Boston unless otherwise stated.

DLA Piper’s clients include major systems such as Sutter Health and Hospital Corporation of America. Recent highlights include advising West Penn Allegheny Health System on the restructuring of its debt and related high-profile $750m merger with Highmark in what was one of the largest mergers of a provider and an insurer to date. Regulatory highlights include defending Sutter Health in a false claims action at the Sacramento Superior Court brought by the California Insurance Commissioner, and acting for the State of Florida in a Medicare-related class action litigation. Joshua Kaye and Stephen Goff co-head the group from Miami and Sacramento respectively. HIPAA privacy expert Marcia Augsburger is ‘an exceptional attorney of the highest caliber’.

Delivering an ‘excellent overall level of service’, Dentons’ team is ‘extremely responsive’, and has ‘regulatory and operational knowledge’, with ‘a deep bench’. The practice represents leading national and global healthcare providers, with its recent work including acting as external regulatory counsel for HCA Holdings across a broad range of issues. The team is led by Medicare and Medicaid specialist Holley Thames Lutz, who is ‘beyond exceptional’, and fraud and abuse expert Gadi Weinreich. Also recommended are Bruce Merlin Fried, a former director of the CMS Office of Health Plans and Providers, and Thomas Hyatt, a leader in advice to tax-exempt healthcare organizations. Weinreich and New York-based Charles Luband continue to advise Parkland Health and Hospital System on its participation in Texas’ new Medicaid Section 1115 waiver demonstration program. All lawyers named are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

In 2013 Foley & Lardner LLP expanded its healthcare team with the recruitment of highly regarded regulatory lawyers Lisa Estrada in New York, and Jan Murray in Boston; they joined from Arent Fox LLP and K&L Gates respectively. With an impressive client roster that includes major providers such as John Hopkins Health System and Hospital Corporation of America, highlights in 2013 included advising Trinity Health on its $10bn affiliation with Catholic Health East to create one of the largest US Catholic health systems covering 21 states. Boston-based Lawrence Vernaglia chairs a substantial group, in which the key contacts include transactional lawyers Michael Blau and Christopher Donovan, and senior living team co-chairs Brian Cohen (New York) and Russell Ryba (Milwaukee). All lawyers named are based in Boston except where stated.

Hooper, Lundy & Bookman, PC assists providers and suppliers across regulatory, transactional and dispute resolution matters, as well as handling advocacy and public policy work. It is one of the few firms focused on representing service provider clients, with a Washington DC office in addition to its three Californian locations. Lloyd Bookman is particularly renowned for his expertise in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement; representative experience includes acting as lead counsel in leading cases such as Alvarado Community Hospital v Shalala and County of Los Angeles v Shalala, in which the Ninth and DC Circuits held that Medicare outlier payments were unlawfully set in cases involving 300 hospitals. Patric Hooper regularly advises both nonprofit and for-profit healthcare organizations on reimbursement, certification and licensure issues. Robert Lundy is recommended for transactions. All partners mentioned are based in Los Angeles.

With a ‘deep, experienced team’, Latham & Watkins LLP has ‘great healthcare industry insights and knowledge, and provides solid advice’; ‘the overall level of service is excellent’. It recently advised DaVita on regulatory matters and structuring of its high-profile $4.4bn acquisition of HealthCare Partners, which manages medical groups and physician networks in California, Nevada and Florida. Other recent mandates include advising UnitedHealth Group on its acquisition of Medica and three subsidiaries, with Washington DC-based Stuart Kurlander leading the advice. In enforcement-related contentious work, the firm is representing Tenet and several of its hospitals in a qui tam action pending in the Southern District of Florida. San Diego-based enforcement partner Katherine Lauer, Washington DC-based Daniel Meron, formerly general counsel at the Department of Health and Human Services, and compliance expert Daniel Settelmayer, based in Los Angeles, co-lead the practice.

Focused on healthcare reform and transactional work, Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP is strong in representing federal and state agencies, particularly in implementation of the ACA. Demonstrative of its reputation for reform-related advice, the firm continues to advise the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on its technical assistance programme to 11 state agencies, including the Washington State Health Care Authority and the California Health Benefit Exchange, in their ACA programmes. Highlight transactions included advising Connecticut-based Yale-New Haven Health System on its $160m acquisition of Saint Raphael Hospital in New Haven. William Bernstein chairs the group, with other key contacts including Deborah Bachrach, San Francisco-based transactional lawyer Daniel Higgins, and Melinda Dutton, notable for her state health reform expertise. Bachrach is noted for her ‘knowledge, judgment, and ability to work with disparate and sometimes conflicted parties’. All lawyers named are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Karen Lovitch leads Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.’s practice, and handles regulatory, transactional, and operational matters, including Medicare coverage and licensure issues. Boston-based Ellen Janos has been advising longstanding client American Well, a specialist in telehealth technology, on its strategic relationships with WellPoint and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota to manage the nationwide network of physicians who deliver care on the platform. Susan Berson assisted Catamaran on the negotiation of a complex, high-stakes pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) services agreement with Cigna. Other key partners include antitrust litigator Christi Braun and false claims specialist Thomas Crane, based in Boston. All lawyers named are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Norton Rose Fulbright’s team acts for clients including hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers and long-term care providers, with a strong reputation for transactions and enforcement defense. A team from the firm’s St Louis office, led by James Wiehl, assisted the City of Colorado Springs, which owned and operated Memorial Health System, with its $1.8bn affiliation with the University of Colorado Health. Austin-based Jerry Bell, who heads the transactional healthcare practice, has been assisting Seton Health Alliance with the formation of an ACO between the Seton Healthcare Family and the Austin Regional Clinic. Washington DC-based regulatory expert and litigator Frederick Robinson co-heads the global healthcare group; with litigators Yvonne Puig and Gerry Lowry, based in Austin and Houston, respectively, also key contacts.

Ober Kaler has an enviable pedigree in the service provider arena, with a 35-year history in the space, and several former in-house state agency counsel among its partners’ ranks. In January 2014 the firm recruited three new associates, all with previous in-house government experience, as well as Emily Wein, who re-joined the firm as partner having previously been counsel at a large health system. Sanford Teplitzky, who co-chairs the group, exemplifies its reputation in regulatory matters, and is renowned among peers for his expertise in governmental investigations arising from whistleblower actions. Howard Sollins, who co-chairs with Teplitzky, has notable niche expertise in the regulation of air ambulance reimbursement. All lawyers named are based in Baltimore, though the firm also has substantial healthcare capacity in Washington DC.

Polsinelli PC continued the long-term expansion of its healthcare group which saw the firm recruit a seven-lawyer team from Bryan Cave HRO in May 2012. John Shire and Brian Bewley, both specializing in compliance, were recruited from Nelson Levine de Luca & Horst, LLC and Husch Blackwell Sanders LLP respectively, in February 2014. Chicago-based Matthew Murer’s group has capacity across the US, including in Washington DC and Kansas City (where Shire and Bewley are based), Denver and St Louis.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s team ‘understands all areas of healthcare law and transactions; the creativity, expertise and professionalism of their attorneys cannot be matched.’ The firm advised Jersey City Medical Center, part of Liberty Health System, on the negotiation of its agreement to become part of Barnabas Health. It also acted for New York Downtown Hospital on its merger with New York-Presbyterian Hospital. Prevalent in healthcare transactions, other recent clients in the space have included Rotech Healthcare and alternative asset manager Ares Management. New York-based Richard Zall heads the group, and attracts praise as ‘an outstandingly creative transactional attorney’. Other key figures include Edward Kornreich, also based in New York, and Chicago-based Monte Dube.

Reed Smith LLP has a strong track record advising nursing homes, with notable Medicare-related regulatory expertise. Recent enforcement successes include acting for MedCath Corporation in a federal False Claims Act investigation relating to the implantation of cardiac defibrillators and Medicare coverage requirements at six of its former hospitals; a team led by San Francisco-based Daniel Cody obtained a favorable settlement for the client. Gail Daubert assisted Second Sight in achieving Medicare ‘new technology’ and diagnosis-related group (DRG) add-on reimbursement status for one of the company’s major products, which restores partial vision to the blind. In yet another high-profile Medicare matter, Scot Hasselman is leading a team assisting Life Care Centers of America in defense of a False Claims Act case brought by the DOJ regarding therapy practices at skilled nursing facilities. The highly regarded Carol Loepere chairs the group. All lawyers named are based in Washington DC, except where stated otherwise.

Arent Fox LLP’s healthcare capacity spans its New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. Michael Anderson, based in the capital, has been assisting longstanding client Sunrise Senior Living on various state-by-state regulatory issues, and assisted the same client in its $844m acquisition by Healthcare REIT in 2012. Further demonstrating its credentials in long-term care, Michael Blass and Jill Steinberg, both based in New York, have been assisting Fundamental Long Term Care on its joint venture with a Nevada-based hospital system. The firm continues to assist Broward Health with ongoing False Claims Act and Stark Law-related government investigations, where Linda Baumann is leading the advice. Los Angeles-based Lowell Brown heads the department, with all other lawyers named based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP’s broad-ranging practice spans regulatory and transactional matters, as well as including expertise in niche areas such as health information technology and accountable care. Chicago-based group chair Douglas Swill’s representative experience includes advising a multi-state Catholic system on the sale of a New Jersey hospital and long-term care facility to a for-profit company. The remainder of the senior partnership comprises vice-chairs Jennifer Breuer, also based in Chicago; New Jersey-based George Kendall and John D’Andrea, based in Albany.

Michele Masucci’s team at Nixon Peabody LLP has impressive regulatory and contentious credentials, acting for providers nationwide, with a large number based in the firm’s base of New York State. Highlight matters include advising Providence Health System on its $100m affiliation with Facey Medical Foundation and Facey Medical Group, with Los Angeles-based Jill Gordon leading the advice, and Albany-based Peter Millock assisting Sunrise Senior Living in obtaining all 15 of its licenses for assisted living residences in New York State. Peter Egan and James Fabian are two other key contacts who, along with Masucci, divide their time between the firm’s New York and Long Island offices.

James Owens chairs Paul Hastings LLP’s healthcare group, which recently acted for Children’s Hospital & Research Center Oakland in its negotiations with the University of California to jointly operate BayChildren’s Physicians, a paediatric multi-specialty medical foundation. Other highlights for the transactions-focused practice included advising private equity firm GI Partners and Plum Healthcare Group on the sale of the latter to Bay Bridge Capital Partners. Atlanta-based Phillip Street is ‘good at managing the politics of medical practice’, and of counsel Craig Smith, also based in Atlanta, is also recommended.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP’s representative experience includes advising Texas Gulf Coast Medical Group on the establishment of five entities earmarked to become part of a regional ACO; and Northwest Community Hospital on the development of its clinical integration strategy with physicians. Notable for representing Texas and Chicago-based clients, as well as for its significant employment practice tailored to service providers, the team is co-headed by Chicago-based partners Joan Casciari and Deborah Gordon. Houston-based compliance and e-health specialist Sheryl Dacso is another key contact.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has expertise in niche areas such as healthcare information technology and ACOs, as well as notable transactional credentials for service provider clients. Group head Eric Klein recently advised Greater Houston Anesthesiology, and its two affiliated management companies, on its sale to private equity fund Welsh Carson Anderson & Stowe; and assisted Martin Luther King Jr Community Hospital on its purchase of a large-scale electronic health record system from Cerner Corporation. Rooted on the West Coast, key contacts include Ken Yood, notable for his combination of transactional and regulatory expertise, and Michael Moore, a San Diego-based affiliation and M&A specialist. Both Klein and Yood are based in the firm’s Los Angeles office.


Insurance: advice to insurers

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: advice to insurers
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is the ‘go-to firm’ for some of the largest and most complex insurance and reinsurance coverage disputes in the US. The ‘truly innovative and fearless’ practice stands ‘head and shoulders’ above many other law firms specializing in insurance coverage. ‘Excellent litigators’ Barry Ostrager and Mary Kay Vyskocil co-lead the ‘experienced’ insurance practice, which is noted for its nous in high-stakes litigation for major clients such as Travelers, AIG affiliates and Berkshire Hathaway. Vyskocil and Los Angeles-based Chet Kronenberg recently won a major New York appellate court ruling which upheld a lower court’s summary judgment for Travelers affiliate USF&G, holding that the follow-the-fortunes doctrine applies to a cedent’s post-settlement allocation decisions. The firm is currently representing Travelers in its dispute with Northrop Grumman over pollution-related losses dating back to the 1980s; and defending The Standard Fire Insurance Company in a qui tam fraud action brought on behalf of the US government. In 2013, the practice successfully appealed a $95m judgment against American Nuclear Insurers (ANI) in the Superior Court of Pennsylvania relating to the extent of ANI’s coverage obligation for hundreds of radiation injury claims brought against the insured companies, Babcock & Wilcox and ARCO. Bryce Friedman is also recommended. All attorneys mentioned above are based in New York, except where noted.

Dentons is ‘an outstanding firm with the resources and expertise to meet difficult challenges and tight deadlines’. The lawyers in its global insurance practice are ‘among the profession’s best’ and provide ‘excellent service, comprehensive analysis, timely advice and valuable insights’. The practice’s broad experience spans reinsurance, D&O, professional liability and health insurance, with particular strength in property and casualty, bad faith and financial products. Key clients include AIG, Genworth and Royal Indemnity. New York-based department co-head Michael Barr is currently representing Financial Structures in a dispute alleging fraudulent misconduct of major investment banks. The group also secured a significant appellate victory for NOLHGA, which won approval of a liquidation plan for ELNY. Other recent matters include litigation for Marsh USA relating to the operations of a self-insured trust arrangement for workers’ compensation; and acting for Travelers in a number of coverage disputes concerning construction, environmental contamination and workers’ compensation. The ‘strategic thinking’ Reid Ashinoff maintains a ‘creative’ and ‘tenacious’ approach, and clients value Sandra Hauser’s ‘effective advocacy and business sensibility’. All attorneys mentioned above are based in New York.

Duane Morris LLP is ‘one of the top international law firms for insurance coverage disputes’, providing ‘a first-rate service with extensive specialist knowledge’ across all lines of insurance and reinsurance, including property and casualty, financial guaranty, life and health. The group has particular strength in commercial liability insurance and catastrophic property loss, and has seen high activity levels in matters relating to the construction and petrochemical industries. San Francisco-based practice head Max Stern is leading the firm’s representation of Indian Harbor in its dispute with the city of San Diego. The team, which included Sheila Wiggins and Jessica La Londe, obtained a precedent-setting summary judgment ruling that Indian Harbor has no duty to defend or indemnify San Diego for lawsuits relating to gas leaks from the city’s sewage system, as the city’s policy was issued and delivered outside New York and is not covered by a 2009 late notice state law. Other matters included securing a dismissal of a bad faith claim brought against Travelers and representing Greenwich Insurance in a contribution/subrogation case against American Home. Richard Seabolt is also recommended.

O'Melveny & Myers LLPbelongs on any list of top insurance firms’ and is ‘always willing to go above and beyond to get the job done’. The firm handles matters including insurance and reinsurance disputes, regulatory issues, mutual funds and securities. Notably, mass tort and catastrophic coverage cases are areas of expertise. Los Angeles-based practice chair Richard Goetz is ‘level-headed, practical and handles litigation efficiently’, while Tancred Schiavoni is ‘very smart and an excellent strategist’. Schiavoni represented longstanding clients Century Indemnity and INA in Eastman Kodak’s bankruptcy proceedings and secured cancelation of both insurers’ coverage obligations to Kodak after the latter filed a plan of reorganization. The firm also represented 150 defendants in a $35m settlement with New Jersey as part of the state’s claims for $500m in clean-up costs relating to the contamination of the Passaic River and Newark Bay area by DDT and Agent Orange products. Other key clients include CIGNA, AIG and Arrowood. Gary Svirsky is ‘highly intelligent’ and ‘very knowledgeable of insurance and bankruptcy’. Allen Burton is also recommended.

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘extremely strong team’ provides ‘excellent counsel’ across a range of complex coverage cases including asbestos, environmental and mass tort matters, as well as property, casualty and bankruptcy. The group is noted for its reinsurance and appellate capabilities, and represents clients in white-collar criminal defense, investigations, enforcement actions and congressional hearings. Co-chair of the global insurance and financial services practice group Susan Stone divides time between New York and Chicago, and also chairs the reinsurance disputes practice area. Joel Feldman is ‘an exceptional attorney and sets the benchmark for responsiveness and service to his clients’. Alongside the ‘approachable, grounded and focused’ Eric Mattson, Feldman successfully represented Bankers Life in a case alleging that the company participated in the fraudulent sale of equity indexed annuities to senior citizens. Showcasing its strength in defending insurers against class actions, the practice successfully defended ING against a class action complaint alleging that it participated in ‘additional compensation’ payments to Morgan Stanley for the latter’s brokerage services. The group also obtained a favorable ruling for Chartis, securing a judgment that premiums cannot be deemed unlawful if they were determined in accordance with approved rating systems. Daniel Neppl is ‘extremely efficient in dispute matters’ and William Sneed is praised for his ‘amazing recall of key documents’.

Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s insurance and reinsurance practice is ‘outstanding in all categories’, including personal injury, finance, asbestos and environmental claims, and notably specializes in commercial insurance coverage litigation. The group has proven itself to be ‘very proficient in complex high-value coverage disputes’, such as Hudson’s $100m dispute with New Jersey Transit, which made a claim for losses incurred in 2012 by Hurricane Sandy. Practice head Harry Lee is ‘very strong’ and is representing USF&G (now a subsidiary of Travelers) as co-defendant against a fraud action filed by over 10,000 asbestos claimants against a number of McCormick Asbestos’ insurers. The practice is handling a rising number of fraud cases, with another example including Phoenix-based Floyd Bienstock and Bruce Converse’s representation of Travelers in one of a series of putative class actions wherein automobile insurers are accused of using a software system to underpay by 20% bodily injury insurance claims. The group continues to defend Hartford and New England Reinsurance Corporation in concussion-related mass torts filed against insurers by over 3,000 former NFL players. Ruth Kochenderfer was promoted to the partnership in January 2013 and Frank Winston and Antonia Ianello are also recommended; all three are based in Washington DC.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP is appreciated for its ‘speedy, comprehensive and appropriate responses’, as well as its lawyers’ ‘enormous experience and knowledge of the field’. The practice covers regulatory, advisory work, litigation and arbitration, and has particular strengths in reinsurance, trade credit and political risk. New York-based Edward Krugman is representing AIG Trade & Political Risk and Atradius in a dispute with Dutch bank Rabobank over alleged fraudulent claims; and acting for National Union Fire Insurance in its reinsurance coverage dispute with Everest Re. The latter case is back before trial court following the successful reversal of a previous Supreme Court of the State of New York ruling in favor of Everest Re. In another matter, New York-based Thorn Rosenthal led the team in successfully obtaining dismissal of a series of antitrust class actions against XL Capital in litigation involving over 40 defendants; actions continue against several other defendants. Other clients include Global Reinsurance, Ironshore and various AIG affiliates.

New York-based boutique Chaffetz Lindsey LLP provides clients with direct access to ‘key people’. Led by ‘experienced’ practice head Peter Chaffetz, the firm handles insurance and reinsurance arbitration as well as commercial litigation. Under Charles Scibetta, coverage disputes have become a greater focus recently, where the practice has been representing clients such as AIG, Travelers, Zurich North America, CNA and Chubb. Cecilia Moss is ‘very strong in reinsurance arbitration’ and successfully obtained a judgment for over $5m in damages for client Aioi as part of its reinsurance dispute with ProSight over losses relating to the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Clients also recommend senior associate Ted DeBonis. Andreas Frischknecht was promoted to the partnership.

Choate, Hall & Stewart’s ‘outstanding’ Boston-based practice acts for insurers and reinsurers in complex litigation, arbitration and bankruptcy proceedings both nationally and internationally. Clients single out insurance and reinsurance practice co-chair David Attisani, who has ‘particularly strong relationships with other attorneys, insurers, reinsurers, arbitrators and judges’, and is ‘often sought after for the most complex and significant matters’. Among other matters, Attisani represented Travelers in a coverage dispute relating to the ‘Big Dig’ construction project in Boston. The firm is also representing Travelers in two environmental insurance coverage actions in Rhode Island, as well as in a nationwide asbestos-related bodily injury dispute in Ohio state court. Hugh Scott is defending Progressive Insurance against a class action suit alleging unfair practices in the sale of automobile insurance policies; and represented Liberty Mutual in various nationwide cases involving Chinese drywall claims. Practice co-chair Robert Kole is acting for American Family in a dispute relating to the application of a catastrophe bond. Other key active clients include The Hartford, Swiss Re and John Hancock.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s established insurance and reinsurance practice is experienced in a broad range of matters, including environmental claims, toxic tort, D&O, property, and catastrophe coverage. That said, class action defense forms the core of the practice – including workers’ compensation, health, life and disability insurance cases – with such matters being led by Adam Offenhartz in New York. Richard Doren in Los Angeles is defending Aetna against employment malpractice allegations relating to its in-network physicians and, alongside Washington DC-based Geoffrey Sigler, recently defeated a motion for certification of two putative nationwide classes against the healthcare company. The firm also secured victory for Travelers in its CAFA jurisdiction appeal, with the US Supreme Court ruling that putative class representatives cannot evade federal jurisdiction under CAFA by seeking less than $5m in damages. Other ongoing matters include representing Aetna in its dispute with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan over the latter’s anti-competitive most favored nations contracts; and challenging the state of Georgia’s proposed ‘prompt pay’ law on behalf of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

Troutman Sanders’ insurance coverage expertise spans general liability, property, bad faith, professional liability coverage and defense, with environmental coverage, mass tort and D&O being particular strengths. Terrence McInnis is representing Axis in coverage litigation with Telekenex, which is seeking $21m in damages pursuant to a dispute over a D&O insurance policy. Charles Jones, who was promoted to head of the insurance section, has handled over 100 matters for Allied World involving wide-ranging issues including D&O, general liability and employment practices liability. The practice also successfully represented Indian Harbor in its dispute with Colonial Oil, which sought $10m in coverage for PCB clean-up costs; and is acting on behalf of Continental in a coverage dispute with National Surety relating to a fire in 2003 at an administration building owned by Cook County, Illinois. Other clients include XL, Allstate and Resolute. Chicago-based Rebecca Ross was appointed litigation department chair and Clarence Lee and Meredith Werner in Washington DC were elected to the partnership.

Cozen O'Connor’s Philadelphia-based global insurance practice has a strong focus on complex insurance coverage matters, and has expertise in various areas including commercial general liability, professional liability and financial guaranty. The group has seen an increase in coverage and healthcare litigation as more cases go to trial. It has also witnessed a rise in the number of property, environmental, cyber and bad faith claims. The practice is chaired by Houston-based Joseph Ziemianski and maintains a national presence. The group is representing Westchester in a coverage action filed by SCI California Funeral Services, and is also defending the company in its coverage dispute with Peninsula II, which is seeking coverage for underlying Chinese drywall claims. The firm is also acting as lead counsel to ACE American in its dispute with Trident Seafoods over the interpretation of ‘watercraft exclusion’ in a liability policy. The firm has expanded its work for Berkshire Hathaway, Maxim and Star, and continues to represent longstanding client Chubb in a coverage case related to Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

Crowell & Moring LLP has ‘great depth and experience’, and its lawyers are ‘very responsive, hands-on and easy to work with’. The practice operates from offices in Irvine, Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York, as well as Washington DC, where practice heads Clifford Hendler, Paul Kalish and William O’Neill are based. Life, health, property and casualty, D&O and financial lines are among the practice’s areas of focus, with bankruptcy being a particular strength. Key clients include Everest Re, Great American and American Express Assurance. The firm defended American Express in two publicized lawsuits involving a multimillion-dollar accidental death and disability claim by Gary Giordano. Deirdre Johnson and senior counsel Stuart Levene are representing Transatlantic Re in a dispute concerning more than $10m in reinsurance billings by Chartis affiliates. Mark Plevin successfully defended Great American in a suit filed by the US Department of Justice alleging that the insurer failed to pay sums owed under customs bonds issued to secure antidumping duties. Jennifer Devery is recommended.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s insurance and reinsurance practice provides ‘excellent value for money’ and its ‘overall service is superior’. Clients praise the group’s ‘responsive’ insurance team, which ‘knows the business well’. Gordon Davenport heads the practice, which has particular capability in insurance and regulatory litigation. Industry team vice-chair Gail Goering specializes in reinsurance disputes and practice vice-chair Neal Moglin regularly represents clients variously in life, health, property and casualty matters – all of which are areas of focus for the practice. Eric Haab negotiated a favorable settlement for Armour Risk in its dispute with the Workers’ Compensation Reinsurance Bureau, and is representing Resolute in the company’s $4m reinsurance dispute with Sirius American. The practice is also representing Pennsylvania Life in litigation relating to the defection of three of its senior sales managers and acting for Liberty Mutual in its dispute with Eli Lilly, which is seeking coverage for costs related to claims made against the company by the Brazilian government and individual claimants. Brett Ludwig and Robert Leventhal are recommended.

Hogan Lovells’ global insurance practice handles wide-ranging matters including bad faith, E&O, environmental liability, financial products and regulatory issues. The practice has particular strength in litigating D&O and class action matters, with a particular focus on healthcare. In an example of the practice’s strength in class actions, Peter Bisio and Michelle Kisloff assisted Chubb in reaching a favorable settlement with class plaintiffs in an action alleging that Chubb engaged in anti-competitive conspiracies throughout the insurance industry. Washington DC-based David Hensler, who is co-head of the global insurance litigation practice, is representing Federal Insurance in an action seeking to confirm rescission of crime policies issued to Banyon. The practice is also acting for Argonaut in an asbestos-related reinsurance dispute with the Insurance Company of the State of Pennsylvania; and successfully assisted ProSight during a multimillion-dollar subrogation dispute with JP Mascaro. Ongoing matters include litigation on behalf of Costa Rican state-owned insurer INS in a $300m reinsurance dispute with the company’s brokers.

Mayer Brown’s global insurance practice has litigation expertise in a number of areas, including property and casualty, reinsurance, professional liability, appellate proceedings and international investigations. The practice represents both insurers and reinsurers in arbitrations, and also handles cross-border disputes. The global insurance industry group is led by James Woods and Stephen Rooney in New York, while Washington DC-based Fred Reinke and David Chadwick in London chair the insurance dispute resolution practice. Reinke and Alex Lakatos are representing AXA in an action against ING alleging a breach of a stock purchase agreement under which AXA acquired several Mexican companies from ING. The practice is representing Ally Insurance against allegations of bad faith and breaches of a motors inventory coverage policy in connection to a Hurricane Sandy claim. Other clients include PartnerRe.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP’s insurance and reinsurance litigation group provides ‘excellent analysis, timely feedback and good industry knowledge’. As well as undertaking coverage cases, the practice also handles litigation and arbitration related to complex financial products for clients including Prudential, AIG and Allstate. Recommended lawyers include Jane Byrne, co-chair of the insurance and reinsurance litigation group, and Michael Carlinsky, co-chair of the insurance practice. Byrne is defending United Guaranty in numerous class actions alleging violations of the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA)’s anti-kickback provisions; and acting for Berkshire Hathaway affiliate National Indemnity in its dispute with Ford, which alleges tortious interference with contract and violation of Virginia’s conspiracy statute. Acting on behalf of the Excess Casualty Reinsurance Association and OneBeacon, the group obtained a 5-0 win in the New York Court of Appeals in USF&G v American Reinsurance Company et al; and has been retained by MBIA in fraud actions against various companies and financial institutions.

Always responsive, reliable and professional’, Wiley Rein LLP is noted by clients for its ‘good value, great expertise and deep bench’. It has strong capabilities in general and professional liability, including D&O cases, but its expertise also extends to appellate matters, reinsurance, healthcare, policy drafting and product development. Washington DC-based practice chair Daniel Standish is ‘a strong D&O tactician’, who draws praise for his ‘excellent industry knowledge’. ‘Excellent appellate and trial court advocate’ Richard Simpson secured summary judgment for Navigators in its dispute with Coats Rose. Simpson also obtained a favorable ruling for CNA in a rescission action relating to accountants’ professional liability insurance; and is currently representing Hanover in its coverage dispute with Collier Halpern regarding the latter’s representation of heiress Huguette Clark, deceased daughter of former US senator William Clark. The firm also represented several amicus curiae in a Virginia Supreme Court case, which culminated in a ruling that TravCo has no coverage obligation for Chinese drywall claims. Kimberly Melvin is also recommended.


Insurance: advice to policyholders

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: advice to policyholders
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Covington & Burling LLP’s well-regarded exclusive policyholder practice continues to attract praise for providing service of the ‘highest caliber’. The group’s 100-strong team represents clients in wide-ranging coverage disputes across the US and internationally, with a particular strength in mass tort, property damage and business interruption, environmental liability, D&O, E&O and multimedia liability exposures. The group is currently handling a number of headline cases including BP America’s coverage dispute with various marine and general liability insurers in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; ExxonMobil’s pursuit of coverage for asbestos claims; and insurance coverage claims for concussion-related tort lawsuits brought by thousands of retired NFL players. Washington DC-based group chair Mitchell Dolin and Benjamin Duke are jointly leading representation of Bristol-Myers Squibb in its $10m coverage dispute with Lloyd’s Underwriters in the New York state court. Group vice-chair Benedict Lenhart and Anna Engh are pursuing coverage for Lincoln Electric in relation to costs pertaining to welding fume claims. Other clients include UnitedHealth Group, Northrop Grumman and Goodyear. Donald Brown in San Francisco is praised for his legal knowledge, dedication and his ‘ability to get results whether through negotiation, arbitration, mediation or trial’. Washington DC-based Ralph Muoio shows ‘high intellect’ and is recommended, as are David Goodwin in San Francisco and Washington DC-based Allan Moore, who are described as ‘two of the best attorneys’ at the firm.

Anderson Kill’s longstanding exclusive policyholder practice has considerable breadth, with its 65 lawyers dealing with wide-ranging issues including environmental and toxic tort liability, class actions, D&O, product liability, commercial crime insurance and governmental investigations and prosecutions. The practice is chaired by New York-based Robert Horkovich, who assisted the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey in securing a favorable partial summary judgment relating to coverage for numerous asbestos claims dating back to the construction of the original World Trade Center. Other matters included assisting the state of California in obtaining coverage from Continental Insurance for the state’s $99.4m payment to the EPA for clean-up of the Stringfellow Acid Pits; and successfully arguing that three AIG subsidiaries had a duty to provide coverage for over 200,000 asbestos suits filed against Coca-Cola subsidiary Cleaver-Brooks. William Passannante assisted industrial manufacturer Alfa Laval in obtaining complete coverage from Travelers for liabilities related to underlying asbestos lawsuits which stretch back decades.

Jenner & Block LLP’s Chicago-based policyholder practice has expertise spanning a broad range of insurance-related matters, including general liability, business interruption, property damage and D&O, as well as environmental, asbestos and other toxic tort coverage claims. The firm continues to provide high-quality representation for a range of clients including HSBC, United Conveyor and Motorola Mobility. The group succeeded in recovering over $80m in property damage and business interruption claims for American Electric Power in relation to a 2008 turbine failure accident at the DC Cook Nuclear Plant in Bridgman, Michigan. Chicago-based practice chair John Mathias has handled a number of significant matters, including representing Andrew Boron, the Illinois director of insurance, in the rehabilitation/liquidation proceedings of Lumbermens Mutual, American Manufacturers Mutual and American Motorist. The group is currently acting for Tyson Foods in its pursuit of coverage from Allstate in relation to environmental contamination allegations; and successfully represented ProBuild in its dispute with insurers over underlying Chinese drywall liabilities. Mary Craig Calkins moved to Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton, with Linda Kornfeld and Jerold Oshinsky joining Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP.

Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP’s ‘excellent’ insurance recovery practice is ‘among the best’ in the market, fielding experienced trial lawyers that handle wide-ranging coverage litigation and arbitration exclusively for corporate policyholders. The firm has particular depth in asbestos, D&O, privacy, environmental and financial fraud coverage matters. The firm recently expanded its presence to Los Angeles with the arrival of renowned insurance litigators Linda Kornfeld and Jerold Oshinsky from Jenner & Block LLP. Robin Cohen is ‘knowledgeable, tenacious, well prepared and very effective’, and heads the insurance recovery group from New York. In one of the firm’s most important cases in recent years, Cohen secured hundreds of millions of dollars in coverage for Warren Pumps in relation to thousands of asbestos-related bodily injury suits filed against the company. Alongside Adam Ziffer, Cohen also secured a favorable summary judgment for Convergys, which won coverage from its insurer for two underlying class actions related to alleged unlawful recording under the California Privacy Act. The group is currently representing Syracuse University and Pennsylvania State University in insurance coverage matters relating to allegations of sexual misconduct. Other clients include Duke University, Verizon, Philips, AT&T and QBE Americas.

Proskauer Rose LLP is ‘an excellent resource for policyholders’ and represents clients in all areas of insurance, including property damage, business interruption, D&O, fiduciary, media and e-risk liability. The ‘thorough and excellent’ group continues to litigate major property cases for clients such as Cargill, which Paul Langer and Marc Rosenthal are representing against dozens of insurers in a case relating to property damage and bodily injury claims allegedly arising from Cargill’s poultry operations. Practice co-head Steven Gilford is among ‘the most sophisticated insurance coverage lawyers’ in the industry and, alongside Rosenthal, is representing Union Carbide in coverage litigation against over 30 insurers in relation to tens of thousands of asbestos bodily injury claims. Los Angeles-based practice co-head Nancy Sher Cohen is ‘a skilled lawyer and excellent communicator’, and is currently serving as national counsel to defense and global aerospace company Aerojet in all its insurance issues and toxic tort cases. Other key clients include JPMorgan Chase, Dow Chemical and Yum! Brands. In New York, Seth Schafler, John Failla, and senior counsel Francis Landrey are all recommended.

Reed Smith LLP’s insurance recovery practice has a ‘strong team’ of policyholder lawyers that are ‘very responsive’ and have ‘good industry and legal knowledge’. Led by Pittsburgh-based Douglas Cameron, the practice has a particular specialism in D&O and E&O liability insurance and broad strength in first-party property insurance, fidelity bond coverage, legacy, financial services, mortgage and energy insurance. In the same office, John Shugrue is ‘a true expert in the field who aggressively pursues insurance recoveries’. He continues to represent Anadarko Petroleum, which is seeking over $100m in defense costs related to hundreds of injury and damage claims arising from the 2010 Macondo Well blowout and the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Washington DC-based Gary Thompson, whose expertise includes business interruption and fidelity bond insurance, is ‘very adept in his specialized field’ and able to give clients ‘honest assessments of coverage and cases’. In a case that highlights the group’s expertise in legacy claims, Paul Breene is serving as lead counsel for Rockwell and Invensys as successors to the liabilities and insurance coverage of Rockwell International. Other recent highlights for the practice include pursuing approximately $200m in coverage for a Japanese subsidiary of Lehman Brothers; and securing over $11m in damages for Citadel Broadcasting Corporation in its insurance dispute with Axis. John Schryber and Andrew Weiner joined the Washington DC office from Dickstein Shapiro. Cristina Shea and Courtney Horrigan were both promoted to the partnership.

Dickstein Shapiro’s ‘excellent’ insurance practice exclusively represents policyholders across the US and internationally in both core specialism and niche areas, including bad faith, bankruptcy, intellectual property and private equity insurance. The group has particular depth in sports-related and entertainment coverage matters, where it represents leading clients such as NBCUniversal, Lions Gate Entertainment and Tom Hanks. Its strength in trial litigation was exemplified through James Murray’s success in obtaining a multimillion-dollar damages award for Primary Health in relation to insurers Hudson and TIG’s failure to settle an underlying wrongful death action. Practice head John Heintz, who is based in Washington DC, is currently representing 23 former directors and officers of Lyondell Chemical Company in a D&O case relating to the company’s merger with Basell. Catherine Serafin and Andrew Reidy, who ‘absolutely puts the client’s interests first’ and is ‘always thinking three steps ahead’, represented the Regence Group in its dispute with TIG over denial of coverage for RICO claims. In another prominent matter, Los Angeles-based Kirk Pasich was retained by Northrop Grumman to obtain coverage from excess insurer Factory Mutual for losses incurred at Northrop’s shipyards during Hurricane Katrina. Mark Kolman retired.

Jones Day’s ‘consistently excellent’ insurance recovery practice provides ‘a superior level of service’. The firm’s ‘highly qualified’ and ‘deeply knowledgeable’ lawyers represent policyholders in complex insurance coverage matters relating to D&O and professional liability, data breach, catastrophic property loss, construction, nuclear and entertainment. The firm attracts praise for its ability to ‘break down the complexities of an issue and the law’. Los Angeles-based practice head Tyrone Childress is recommended for his ‘insightful advice’ and ‘knowledge of insurance coverage issues’. Alongside the ‘stellar and engaged’ David Steuber, Childress is representing World Trade Center Properties in the allocation of subrogation proceeds obtained by insurers from various tortfeasors in relation to the 9/11 attacks. Pittsburgh-based John Iole is acting for General Motors in a business interruption claim against multiple insurers in relation to the 2011 Japanese tsunami and earthquake. The group is also representing Transocean in a dispute relating to the Deepwater Horizon disaster; and providing counsel to Union Pacific Railroad Company on a wide range of insurance matters relating to major weather events and accidents. Tara Kowalski and Brian McDonald were promoted to the partnership.

K&L Gates’ policyholder practice fields approximately 100 lawyers that provide ‘very good service’ nationwide and are ‘extremely knowledgeable and responsive’. Clients instruct the firm on a wide range of insurance coverage matters including property damage, business interruption, clinical trials and political risk, with D&O, cyber risks, financial services and toxic torts being particular strengths. Pittsburgh-based Thomas Birsic heads the litigation and dispute resolution practice, and has a primary focus on insurance coverage. ‘Excellent’ coverage litigation specialist John Sylvester is ‘knowledgeable, thorough and very responsive’. Sylvester is currently pursuing damages from NICO and Resolute on behalf of Ashland and Hercules for tortious interference with contract; and continues to serve as lead counsel in Northwest Natural’s coverage dispute with dozens of insurers. The practice has picked up a number of asbestos engagements, an area in which it has deep experience and specialism, and is representing Ampco in its pursuit of insurance coverage for asbestos-related bodily injury claims as well as serving as lead counsel to PPG in relation to a proposed multibillion-dollar asbestos-related bankruptcy settlement. Other active clients include Deutsche Bank, Guess? and Honeywell. Newly promoted partner Andrew Stanton in Pittsburgh is recommended.

Latham & Watkins LLP provides ‘very efficient’ services across a broad range of high-stakes insurance matters, including business interruption and property loss, D&O, product liability, IP, and its core practice area of environmental coverage. Peter Rosen chairs the global insurance coverage litigation practice in Los Angeles, where the firm maintains a strong presence. ‘Leading expert’ Andrew Lundberg advised Imperial Holdings on criminal and civil proceedings arising from the company’s life insurance premium financing business; and is currently representing Meritor in pursuing coverage for tens of thousands of asbestos bodily injury claims arising from the company’s acquisition of the former Rockwell International’s automotive business. Brook Roberts and John Wilson successfully obtained a California Supreme Court review of Fluor Corp v Superior Court, as part of Fluor’s ongoing dispute with Hartford over the insurer’s right to enforce anti-assignment provisions over Fluor’s ability to transfer coverage benefits between its various businesses. The group is also representing Allergan in connection with product liability insurance issues arising out of the company’s Botox product line. Other clients include Westfield, Western Digital and The Advertiser Company.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, LLP’s insurance recovery practice ‘stands out positively’ in the market and its lawyers provide ‘excellent client service’, demonstrating ‘strong knowledge of law and industry’. The firm focuses on a wide range of areas, including D&O, product liability, securities-related losses, bankruptcy and restructurings. The practice has a particular strength in captive insurance matters, with clients praising the group’s capabilities in this area as ‘unique and unparalleled’. The practice, which is led by the ‘experienced’ Paul Zevnik and Michel Horton, also has a strong presence in the oil, gas and nuclear industries. Southern California Edison currently retains the firm for insurance advice relating to outages at its San Onofre Nuclear Generating Stations. The practice is acting for Motiva in a construction coverage dispute relating to substantial losses incurred at its Port Arthur Refinery. Other recent highlights include negotiating settlements with 21 of Thorpe Insulation’s insurers as part of the company’s bankruptcy; securing $50m in coverage from Travelers for Goulds Pumps’ asbestos suits; and successfully pursuing ITT’s coverage rights under policies issued by Home Insurance. Daniel Chefitz in Washington DC provides ‘cost-effective resolutions to complex problems’, and Los Angeles-based Charles Malaret is ‘thoughtful and pragmatic’, and ‘delivers excellent results’.


Insurance: non-contentious

Index of tables

  1. Insurance: non-contentious
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s leading insurance practice covers a broad range of corporate and regulatory issues across several disciplines, including capital markets, corporate governance, investments, bankruptcy and restructuring, executive compensation and tax. The firm is particularly strong in its core area of M&A; and continues to develop the capabilities of its newly created insurance capital practice, which advises the insurance industry on a range of capital management issues, such as accessing capital, complex insurance organizations spanning multiple jurisdictions and investing in insurance risk. The insurance capital practice is led by New York-based lawyers Ethan James, Marilyn Lion, Craig Bowman and Seth Rosen. In keeping with its increasingly global capabilities, the firm has also recently established a Latin American insurance M&A practice headed by New York-based John Vasily and David Grosgold to provide specialized counsel to global clients such as AIG, AXA, Prudential and New York Life. Co-chair of the financial institutions group Nicholas Potter led the team’s advice to Goldman Sachs on the formation, separation and disposition of Global Atlantic Financial Group; and advised Markel Corporation on its $3.13bn acquisition of listed Bermuda reinsurer Alterra Capital Holdings. The group also acted for AXA Financial regarding the sale of MONY Life; and Sun Life in the sale of some of its US subsidiaries.

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘among the best insurance firms in the US’ and demonstrates ‘strong insurance industry knowledge and acumen’ across a wide range of areas including M&A, reinsurance, captive funds, insurance-linked securities and industry regulation. Matters relating to capital markets are among the firm’s core strengths, and it is recognized as one of the market leaders in catastrophe bonds. Co-heads of the insurance practice Michael Goldman and Perry Shwachman lead ‘a strong global team with quality lawyers’ in Chicago, while ‘exceptionally qualified transactional lawyer’ Jeff Liebmann heads the New York insurance practice. Shwachman, whom clients single out for his ‘extraordinary transactional ability’, led a team of over 130 lawyers in representing Athene Holding in its high-profile $2.6bn acquisition of one of the largest life insurance and annuity operations in the US from Aviva; and in the sale of Aviva USA’s life insurance business to Global Atlantic Financial Group. Alongside New York-based Andrew Holland and Nigel Montgomery in London, Goldman assisted TransRe with the restructuring of its UK operations to be compliant with the EU’s imminent Solvency II directive. Michael Pinsel is regarded as ‘a leader in his field’, and co-head of the firm’s tax practice Laura Barzilai is ‘extremely knowledgeable’.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s in-depth insurance expertise extends across a wide range of areas, including capital markets, corporate, M&A, regulatory advice and tax. The firm also advises on reinsurance transactions, demutualizations and restructurings. Andrew Rowen coordinates the insurance group and is advising Aviva USA on its sale to Athene Holding. He also advised Lightyear Capital on its purchase of a majority interest in Cooper Gay Swett & Crawford. New York-based Marion Leydier and Robert Buckholz advised AIG on two billion-dollar SEC-registered senior notes offerings in 2013, as well as in an Exxon Capital exchange offering of registered dollar, sterling and euro notes. Stephen Kotran and Andrew Dietderich are advising Eastman Kodak on its settlement agreement with the UK Kodak Pension Plan; and Sergio Galvis is representing BBVA in the sale of its pension and annuities businesses in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Other clients include Aetna, Prudential and ING.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s comprehensive practice provides advice to insurers, reinsurers and financial institutions on a wide array of corporate transactions, including M&A, recapitalizations, public and private financings and restructurings. The firm also gives clients regulatory compliance advice and expertise in transactions involving property and casualty, health, life, disability and workers’ compensation insurance. New York-based Robert Sullivan co-leads the firm’s financial institutions group and primarily focuses on corporate transactions and insurance regulatory matters. In 2013, he advised the largest US life insurer, MetLife, on its acquisition of Chilean pension manager AFP Provida from Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria. The group also represented Massachusetts Mutual in its $400m acquisition of The Hartford’s retirement plans business and acted for State Farm on the sale of certain of its Canadian businesses. Key partners include Todd Freed in New York, who specializes in M&A, private equity and corporate finance; and Timothy Reynolds, who has successfully represented policyholders in coverage disputes under Bermuda Form policies. Stephanie Nam left the firm.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s transactional and regulatory practice has expertise in a wide range of insurance-related matters including reinsurance, structured finance and governance, with particular focus on capital markets and M&A. The group’s most significant recent M&A deals include the $2.5bn sale of Aviva’s US life operations to Athene; Allstate’s $1.7bn sale of its Lincoln Benefit Life subsidiary to Resolution Life; and Protective Life’s $1.06bn acquisition of MONY Life. Highly regarded practice co-leader Alexander Dye advised Morgan Stanley as dealer/manager in Radian’s senior notes exchange offer. Practice co-head John Schwolsky has extensive experience in demutualizations, restructurings and M&A. Alongside New York-based Vladimir Nicenko, Schwolsky recently represented MetLife in the remarketing of approximately $1.0bn worth of series D senior debentures. Other clients include Berkshire Hathaway, Goldman Sachs and Torus. Rajab Abbassi was promoted to partner in New York.

Mayer Brown’s insurance group offers expertise in a wide range of transactional matters including capital markets and corporate finance, and has a strong focus on insurance-linked securities, insurance regulation and M&A. The global insurance industry practice, which is co-led by James Woods and Stephen Rooney in New York and David Chadwick in London, continues to work on major transactional and regulatory matters for high-profile clients including AXA, Tokio Marine and Catalina Holdings. The group acted as counsel to issuer MetroCat Re in a first-of-its-kind catastrophe bond offering covering storm-related losses. The transaction provided New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) with insurance coverage otherwise unavailable to the authority in traditional insurance markets, and marked the first time the MTA accessed the capital markets to manage its property damage risks. M&A specialist Reb Wheeler represented Arch Capital in its $300m acquisition of CMG Mortgage Insurance Company and CMG Mortgage Assurance Company from PMI. The firm’s highlights in 2013 also included handling ACE’s $865m acquisition of Mexico’s sixth largest P&C insurer, ABA Seguros, from Ally Financial; and representing Aurigen during its purchase of Brokers National Life Assurance Company.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP has expertise in multiple insurance-related transactional and regulatory matters, including financial restructurings, insolvency, demutualizations and market conduct. M&A is a notable focus for the multidisciplinary practice, which experienced an increase in capital markets and reinsurance-related matters in 2013. New York-based Bernhardt Nadell is currently advising Deutsche Bank on reinsurance-related capital market matters; and advised Bank of America Merrill Lynch on a reinsurance securitization transaction in collaboration with the firm’s structured finance department. Nadell and practice head William Latza are currently representing Reservoir and its subsidiary Prosperity Life in the acquisition of SBLI USA through a sponsored demutualization. The group is also advising Goldman Sachs on reinsurance-related matters; providing counsel to an industrial client on credit life and credit property programs; and has been retained by the private mortgage insurance industry to represent it before the National Association of Insurance Commissioners in relation to the development of new capital requirement regulations for mortgage insurers.

Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s insurance practice delivers ‘consistently solid advice’ and its ‘business acumen and industry knowledge are of the highest caliber’. Clients praise the firm’s ‘client-focused’ lawyers, who provide ‘excellent value for money’. The practice historically focused on life insurance, but has expanded its core life, tax and M&A practice to deepen its capabilities in a broader range of matters, including regulatory issues, restructurings and financings. Property and casualty, captives and transactional matters are particular strengths. The practice’s expansion has also been driven by the recruitment of several former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP attorneys, including New York-based practice co-head Cynthia Shoss, who is ‘the consummate professional’, and John Pruitt; the pair had co-chaired the defunct firm’s insurance regulatory practice. The firm advised Prudential on the Financial Stability Oversight Council’s designation of Systematically Important Financial Institutions; and also advised Verizon on the insurance aspects of the company’s $7.5bn transfer of pension obligations to The Prudential Insurance Company of America. Atlanta-based Scott Burton, Bert Adams in New York and the ‘very timely and accurate’ Ling Ling in Washington DC represented The Hartford in the $615m sale of its individual life insurance business to Prudential Financial. Active clients include ING, Lloyd’s of London and Guardian Life. Stephen Roth and Bruce Wright are also recommended.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s ‘exceptional’ insurance practice draws praise from clients for providing a ‘highly competent’ service that is ‘at the highest level of intellectual ability’. The ‘very responsive and creative’ practice places a strong focus on M&A and capital markets transactions, but it also advises on regulatory matters including the Dodd-Frank Act. Nationally, the firm has represented clients in major transactions, such as Aetna’s $2bn SEC-registered senior notes offering and the same company’s $7.3bn acquisition of Coventry Health Care, as well as the IPO by ING US – one of the largest of its kind in 2013. Internationally, the practice advised Japan’s third largest life insurer Dai-ichi on its strategic alliance with Janus Capital. The firm has also advised J.P. Morgan, Travelers, PartnerRe and Health Insurance Innovations on a range of finance-related matters. Ongoing engagements include advising Morgan Stanley as selling shareholder in American Family’s $616m acquisition of Homesite; and advising Corsair on its investment portfolio in relation to Torus’ $692m sale to Enstar. New York-based Richard Sandler leads the firm’s global capital markets practice, and is ‘very creative and rigorous analytically’. M&A practice co-head David Caplan has ‘great judgment’.

Dentons scores ‘high marks’ for its regulatory and transactional practice, which has broad experience across M&A, capital markets, risk management and reorganizations. Bruce Baty in the Kansas City office has ‘excellent instincts, skills and judgment’, and co-heads the practice with Kara Baysinger, who is based in San Francisco. Baysinger recently represented Aegon in its nationwide negotiations and settlement with state insurance regulators in relation to unclaimed property. The group is currently acting for SCOR Re on the regulatory aspects of its acquisition of Generali; and represented a Fortune 100 insurance company in relation to a high-stakes California market conduct examination. Other clients include Chubb, Zurich and Aetna.

Clifford Chance’s New York-based regulatory and transactional insurance group represents clients in a wide range of areas, including M&A, capital markets, reinsurance, demutualizations and captive insurer formations. The firm has experienced an increase in transactional work, due in part to the recruitment of a number of former Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP partners, including Gary Boss and Joseph Cosentino. Boss and Cosentino are working with a number of the practice’s other partners in representing Jardine Lloyd Thompson in its $250m acquisition of Towers Watson’s reinsurance brokerage division. The group is also advising MasterCard Worldwide on a proposed restructuring of its global insurance operations; representing Keefe, Bruyette & Woods in connection with Eastern Insurance Holdings’ sale to ProAssurance; and advising a large financial services company on its settlement with the New York Attorney General’s office. The group also advised Assurant on its acquisition of Field Asset Services. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan and Citigroup.

Foley & Lardner LLPprovides exceptional advice and service’. The group handles M&A, regulatory compliance, taxation, insolvency and intellectual property; and has a particularly strong presence in the life, health and property and casualty sectors. The team is chaired by Thomas Hrdlick in Milwaukee. The practice also has a Florida base, which comprises a number of key partners including Thomas Maida in Tallahassee, who has ‘an unparalleled commitment to providing quality, timely advice and counsel to clients’. The firm represented Dean Health Systems in its $300m merger with a subsidiary of SSM Health Care and acted for the Florida Sheriffs Risk Management Fund regarding its merger with the Florida Sheriffs Workers’ Compensation Self-Insurance Fund. Maida is currently providing regulatory counsel to Florida Blue in relation to the company’s conversion to stock insurer status and restructuring under a mutual insurance holding company. The firm continues to advise American Family on a number of transactional matters and is serving as counsel to the Wisconsin Office of the Commissioner of Insurance regarding the restructuring of Ambac Assurance Corporation’s parent company Ambac Financial Group.

Clients award ‘high marks’ to Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s insurance team, which is ‘extremely knowledgeable of the marketplace’ and ‘always spot on’. The group’s core strengths lie in M&A, private equity and capital markets transactions both nationally and on a global level. The firm also handles demutualizations and provides D&O and regulatory advice. The group represented Hellman & Friedman during its acquisition of Hub International and advised AXA on its purchase of a 51% stake in Mercantil Colpatria. Gary Horowitz led the firm’s representation of Aetna in its $7.3bn acquisition of Coventry Health Care, which made Aetna the third largest health insurer in the US. The firm also represented Alliant and affiliates of Blackstone in relation to Alliant’s sale to affiliates of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts; and represented underwriters, led by J.P. Morgan Securities, in a public offering by American Equity Investment Life. Other clients include Navigators, Travelers and Axis.


Sport

Hailed as ‘a superior law firm in all respects’, Covington & Burling LLP provides a comprehensive service to clients in the sports industry. The practice – which is ‘excellent in all categories’ – has 28 partners and counsel with experience in matters ranging from the purchase or sale of sports franchises to major financings to antitrust challenges. Bruce Wilson, Douglas Gibson and Peter Zern have been busy with a number of corporate matters and often work alongside the firm’s media and communications team. For example, Gibson recently assisted Time Warner Cable during negotiations with Guggenheim Partners concerning the launch of a regional sports television network for the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise. Gibson and the ‘intelligent, professional and business-savvy’ Zern continue to advise the US Olympic Committee on negotiations with the International Olympic Committee regarding media rights and corporate governance, among other matters. The pair also advised the National Hockey League (NHL) on its C$5.23bn, 12-year agreement with Rogers Communications for nationwide broadcast in Canada and multimedia rights to NHL games. On the litigation side, Gregg Levy and the ‘skilled and strategic’ Benjamin Block had a successful year representing longstanding client the National Football League (NFL), which regularly instructs the firm on high-profile work. The pair recently defended the NFL against challenges by the NFL Players Association to punitive decisions made concerning the so-called ‘bounty program’, as well as in a salary-cap dispute. Senior of counsel Paul Tagliabue brings to bear his enormous experience as a former NFL commissioner and former chair of the US Olympic Committee’s Independent Advisory Committee. In the tax sphere, Jeremy Spector and special counsel Jeffrey White often advise sports leagues and various franchises on complex domestic and international tax planning and tax controversy matters. Other clients include the National Basketball Association (NBA), the American Athletic Conference and the United States Tennis Association (USTA). All the individuals named are based in Washington DC.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s sports practice has ‘unique expertise and depth of talent in this area’; it is able to handle the full range of contentious and non-contentious legal matters in professional sports – including high-profile disputes, complex financings, contract negotiations and deals to buy or sell sports franchises – and is widely acknowledged to be ‘one of the best teams for sports-related labor work’. Clients praise the practice’s ‘excellent knowledge of the industry’, ‘broad spectrum of contacts’ and ‘insightful advice’, and peers unfailingly acknowledge its top-end status nationwide. The ‘excellent’ Joseph Leccese, ‘consummate professional’ Howard Ganz and litigator Bradley Ruskin serve as co-heads of the practice group, and all three are based in New York, as is ‘top sports lawyer’ Wayne Katz. The team’s impressive client roster features some of the world’s major sports leagues and it is increasingly active in the US college sports space. Ruskin successfully represented the NFL in a $1.87bn trademark counterfeiting and cybersquatting proceeding against rogue websites operators. Ongoing matters include defending MLB against the grievance filed by Alex Rodriguez challenging his 211-game suspension for alleged use of performance-enhancing drugs; and acting for the NFL in a $1.5m claim for damages against music artist M.I.A. Leccese and Robert Freeman are highly rated on the transactional side. The pair advised NASCAR on a media rights agreement with NBCUniversal and an extension of its deal with Fox Sports, and represented Pac-12 Networks in its agreement with AT&T for the carriage of three Pac-12 television networks. The team also recently acted for Levi Strauss & Co during the acquisition of the naming rights to the San Francisco 49ers’ new stadium, which is currently under construction in Santa Clara, California, as well as in regard to a sponsorship agreement with the 49ers. The NBA, New York Yankees and JPMorgan Chase are other key clients.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s sports practice, which has 12 partners and two counsels, has strong and deeply entrenched links with many sports leagues and regularly serves as outside counsel to both the NBA and the NHL. Expertise covers the gamut of activities from high-stakes litigation to corporate and project finance. Former chief legal officer of the NBA Jeffrey Mishkin, a renowned litigator, is leading the practice’s representation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), NBA, the NFL, the NHL and MLB in a high-profile lawsuit brought against the New Jersey governor challenging the authorization and licensing of gambling on the sports leagues’ athletic events. Mishkin and antitrust expert Karen Hoffman are also acting for the NBA and four NBA franchises in seeking to dismiss breach of contract claims filed in the Supreme Court of the State of New York by the Spirits of St Louis, a former member team of the American Basketball Association. Shepard Goldfein and Thomas Gowan lead on mandates for the NHL, which include recently advising on the collective bargaining agreement with its Players’ Association; the sale of the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Club to investor group IceArizona Acquisition; and a class action lawsuit alleging violations of federal antitrust laws in connection with the distribution of men’s hockey games on live television and over the internet. Commercial litigator and IP specialist Anthony Dreyer is representing PGA TOUR in an action filed by golfer Vijay Singh in relation to the tour’s anti-doping policy following an investigation into Singh’s use of deer-antler spray. Paul Eckles and James Keyte are also recommended. All lawyers mentioned are based in New York.

DLA Piper’s ‘extraordinary and creative’ seven-partner practice has the talent to be one of the ‘go-to teams for all sport issues’, with clients highlighting its ‘constant availability’ and ability to ‘foresee problems before they crop up’. Its involvement in complex and noteworthy transactions is illustrative of its growing reputation both in the US and internationally, particularly in the context of M&A and stadium finance. New York-based Peter White, a renowned ‘industry leader’, co-heads the ‘powerful and solution-oriented team’ with the ‘talented’ Mark Whitaker, who is based in Reston. Both are ‘innovative, particularly good at structuring complex financings with multiple liens and tiers’ and ‘never daunted by impossible odds’. They recently advised the San Francisco 49ers on the $1.05bn refinancing of the construction of Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, which involved capital from the NFL, the lending bank and private placement markets; and acted for Goldman Sachs and US Bank on the $975m construction financing of the Minnesota Vikings’ new stadium. On the M&A side, the ‘awesome’ Charles Baker recently assisted Abu Dhabi United Group with its $100m acquisition of New York City Football Club. Deputy chair of the practice Frank Ryan specializes in IP; he recently advised Al Jazeera Media Network on the launch of beIN Sports – its dedicated sports network in the US – and US distribution deals with DirecTV, Comcast, and Time Warner, among others.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘tremendous sports law practice’ continues to make headway in the dispute resolution space, thanks in part to the high profile of the firm’s IP, media and entertainment litigation team. Much of the practice, which has deep resources in both New York and Washington DC, centers on IP issues in the digital space and media distribution. Head of IP litigation Bruce Keller also heads the sports practice, and is an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The team also features a number of prominent individuals including corporate IT head Jeffrey Cunard, who is managing partner of the Washington DC office, and the New York-based Jeremy Feigelson, Michael Schaper and David Rivkin. The impressive list of clients includes sports franchises, sports associations and major professional sport leagues such as the NFL, the NBA and the New York Giants. The firm has been representing broadcast television networks ABC, CBS and NBC in a high-stakes dispute with internet start-up Aereo before the Supreme Court regarding Aereo’s streaming of live television programs via the internet. Other recent matters include representing the NFL in a class action lawsuit over the its alleged breach of retired players’ publicity rights, which led to a $42m settlement being approved in November 2013; and acting for the NFL and NFL Properties in a copyright action to protect its rights regarding the design of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The team also excels at traditional labor work and handled aspects of collective bargaining agreement negotiations for the NFL, NBA and NHL.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s broad-ranging sports practice has long enjoyed a strong reputation under the direction of Mary Braza in Milwaukee and Irwin Raij in New York. The group handles an extensive workload on behalf of MLB and is a regular in big-ticket media transactions, licensing and other IP matters, antitrust litigation, financing and in the sale or acquisition of sports franchises. Corporate highlights included advising Guggenheim Baseball Management on its acquisition of the Los Angeles Dodgers for over $2bn, the largest amount paid to date for a sports franchise. The team subsequently assisted the Los Angeles Dodgers’ ownership group with the creation of American Media Productions as a vehicle through which to launch regional sports network SportsNet LA. On the IP side, Braza and Washington DC-based George Beck regularly advise MLB’s subsidiary MLBAM on obtaining patents to protect the league’s innovations, particularly in the new media technology space. Recently it defended MLBAM against Baseball Quick’s patent infringement claim in relation to the client’s condensed game footage service, successfully moving to stay the litigation pending a US Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) re-examination of Baseball Quick’s patent. In another matter of note, Raij assisted the State of New York with its efforts to keep the NFL’s Buffalo Bills franchise in Buffalo, which involved negotiating a ten-year stadium lease extension, a $130m stadium renovation project and a $400m non-relocation agreement.

Arent Fox LLP’s group is led by Richard Brand, who is singled out for his ‘wealth of knowledge and experience’ in sports matters and who, in May 2013, relocated to the firm’s new office in San Francisco. That new office has drawn the practice closer to its existing West Coast clients, which include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and AEG. Television media deals, media rights and sponsorship agreements generate a significant stream of instructions for the 34-strong group, which has also developed a leading practice in professional sports franchise acquisitions. It represented the San Francisco 49ers in a high-value naming rights and sponsorship transaction with Levi Strauss & Co. It also advised the NHL’s New York Islanders on the franchise’s relocation to the Barclays Center; and acted for Tennis Channel on rights agreements with the USTA. New York-based Matthew Pace is another name to note.

Arnold & Porter LLP’s Washington DC-based sports practice exclusively focuses on issues pertaining to copyright or media and communications, whether contentious or non-contentious. The client roster is largely drawn from professional and collegiate sports leagues but also includes motion picture studios, broadcast and cable networks as well as other companies in the entertainment industry. For example, the practice is representing Joint Sports Claimants, a consortium comprising leading sports leagues and associations, in multiple copyright royalty proceedings against cable operators and satellite carriers before the Copyright Royalty Board. The team attracts a substantial flow of work from anchor client MLB, which it continues to assist with various issues pertaining to the telecasting of games via traditional and new media. Recent highlights include representing MLB in a high-profile copyright litigation involving internet broadcasting. Practice head Robert Garrett has a strong background in copyright and telecoms matters. Counsel Stephen Marsh is another name to note.

At Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, Chicago-based Adam Klein represents his clients ‘extremely well’; he has ‘sports team and league expertise in relation to ownership and investment’ and ‘good knowledge of sponsorship agreements’. The firm is skilled in acting for professional leagues and franchises, stadium developers, regional sports networks, financial institutions and sponsors across the full landscape of sports business, and is rated by clients as being ‘excellent in all areas’. In 2013, the firm advised Sacramento Basketball Holdings on its $534m acquisition of a controlling interest in the entities that own the Sacramento Kings NBA franchise and operate Sleep Train Arena, which involved a debt refinancing. Other highlights included advising Time Warner Cable on a rights agreement for the broadcast of The University of Kansas games; The Denver Post on the potential sale of its interest in the Colorado Rockies; and Keystone Sports and Entertainment on equity financing and employment issues. Michael Jacobson is also recommended.

Joseph Calabrese’s team at O'Melveny & Myers LLP has a strong record acting in acquisitions and disposals of professional sports franchises as evidenced by its recent advice to San Diego Padres on the $800m sale of the franchise to the O’Malley/Seidler family, including an interest in a regional sports network. Other clients have included DC United, Philadelphia 76ers and Memphis Grizzlies. The transaction-focused practice also regularly handles television and media deals, tax, project development and infrastructure work, licensing matters and a diverse mix of other IP issues. The team notably advises the International Olympic Committee, a longstanding client, on the licensing of its media rights worldwide, and has recently acted for it during the renegotiation of its financial arrangement with the US Olympic Committee. Christopher Brearton, Robert Haymer and counsel Adam Sullins are all highly rated.


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  • MD: Finally! Liquidating a Company is Now a Mission Possible

    On 29 May 2014, the Moldovan Parliament passed the Act No. 90/2014 on amending and supplementing of certain legislative acts (Act No. 90). Act No.90, which entered into force on 27 June 2014, implements simplified rules on the liquidation of companies in Moldova (in particular, at the decision of their shareholders), namely by inter alia amending the Civil Code of Moldova, Act No. 845/1992 on Entrepreneurship and Enterprises, Act No. 220/2007 on State Registration of Companies and Individual Entrepreneurs.  read more...
  • How to Hire and Fire: A Global Guide 2014

    Multilaw's Labour & Employment practice group has produced a new 2014 edition of "How to Hire and Fire: A Global Guide." With content contributed by experienced employment lawyers from Multilaw member firms, the eBook provides a simple way for HR practitioners and clients to get a quick, uncomplicated overview of basic employment law information from jurisdictions around the world. The book reflects the law in each jurisdiction as of January 1, 2014. Jurisdictions covered by the 2014 edition include Argentina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Cyprus, Ecuador, European Union, Germany, Honduras, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Netherlands, Oman, Paraguay, and Philippines, among others. The Philippine chapter was written by SyCipLaw partner  Leslie C. Dy . Visit the Multilaw website to access and download the file:  www.multilaw.com/hire-and-fire/#2-3 .
  • How Can Turkish Banking Cope with the Changing Global Banking Dynamics?

    2008 global economic meltdown had served as an important wake up call for the global banking industry. The complicated web of interrelated financial instruments created by investment banking gurus, accompanied by a lax regulatory regime came to create one of the biggest financial disasters after the Great Depression and itself termed by many as the Great Recession costing millions of people their savings, jobs and houses.
  • American Defense Industry: Does the Legal Regime Hamstring the Business?

    The United States is still by far the leading country in defense spending, allocating a sizable portion of its GDP to produce cutting edge military technologies. However recent reports indicate a decline in American exports in military hardware. There are not only reports that point to an under-funding of procurement around USD$ 50 billion on an annual basis but also a general complaint on the part of the key players of the industry regarding the restrictive export regime that impedes the sale of military equipment to the non-American parties.
  • GSK Advises EnBW AG on Acquisition of Eni’s Joint Venture Holdings in Gas Business

    EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG (EnBW) is acquiring the 50%  holdings of Eni Gruppe, Rome, in EnBW Eni Verwaltungsgesellschaft mbH, Stuttgart, thereby increasing its holdings to 100 %. This makes EnBW indirectly the sole shareholder of Gasversorgung Süddeutschland GmbH (GVS) and terranets bw GmbH. GSK Stockmann + Kollegen provided comprehensive legal advice to EnBW in connection with this transaction.
  • Transition to electronic meal vouchers - Paper meal vouchers disappear on 1 January 2016

    Aware of the advantages of meal vouchers in electronic form, the Government has decided to definitively replace the paper form by electronic form, with effect from 1 January 2016.
  • CSSF issues circular on investor notification of material changes to open-ended UCITS funds

    Luxembourg's Financial Sector Supervisory Authority According has published Circular 14/591 on July 22, addressed to all open-ended UCITS funds governed by the grand duchy's legislation of December 17, 2010, regarding the protection of investors in the event of a material change to an open-ended undertaking for collective investment. The CSSF says that according to well-established supervisory practice, in the event of such a material change to investors' interests in an open-ended fund under the 2010 law, the regulator requires that they be given sufficient time to take an informed decision, and that if they do not wish to accept the proposed change, they should be able to redeem or convert their shares or units free of charges.
  • Newsflash -Restrictive measures recently adopted against the Russian Federation

    In response to the downing of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in Donetsk and in view of the gravity of the overall situation, the Council of the European Union has adopted new restrictive measures targeting cooperation and exchanges with the Russian Federation. 2014.08.05_-_russian_sanctions_newsflash
  • TTIP: The Issue of Investor to State Dispute Settlements

    The benefits that will the TTIP bring in to the table for both of the signatories across the Atlantic are well documented by the Atlantic Community. Generation of a volume trade that amounts a USD$ 1.2 billion and the expansion of the already existing transatlantic trade accompanied by the removal of non-tariff barriers as well as cheaper prices for the consumers and common standards for the producers that would give a leeway for them in fierce global competition by declining production costs. However the other side of the coin points to possible pitfalls for the TTIP like a requirement for a painstaking process of harmonization of two different legal systems and possible discords regarding the inclusion and exclusion of some specific sectors in to the agreement. However one of those prospective challenges has increasingly coming to the fore and lately being discussed among the pundits as one of the most troublesome among the others. This is the point concerning the investor to state dispute settlements ( ISDS )
  • GSK Advises PAMERA Real Estate Group on the Sale of the PAMERA Companies to Cornerstone Group

    GSK Stockmann + Kollegen advised the shareholder of the PAMERA Asset Management GmbH, the PAMERA Retail GmbH and the PAMERA Development GmbH on the sale of these companies to the European Cornerstone subsidiary of US-American Cornerstone Estate Advisers LLC.

Press Releases worldwide

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