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United States > Industry focus > Energy transactions: conventional power > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Energy transactions: conventional power
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

David Kurzweil and David Schwartz lead Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘proactive’, ‘solution-minded’, ‘responsive’ practice, which consists of ‘true experts in their field’, including project finance specialist Jeffrey Greenberg. In a transactional highlight, the practice advised Energy Capital Partners on its $3.45bn sale of EquiPower and Brayton Point to Dynegy. Other clients include Deepwater Wind Holdings, JPMorgan, Moelis & Company and Terra-Gen Power. Since publication, Washington DC-based Eugene Elrod has joined from Sidley Austin LLP.

The ‘reliable’ Elaine Walsh heads the practice at Baker Botts L.L.P., which is praised for its ‘excellent service’ and for the depth of its understanding of energy markets, asset transactions and associated project finance issues. William Lamb advised Morgan Stanley as financial advisor to UIL Holdings on the latter’s acquisition by Iberdrola USA. Other clients include Barclays Capital, SunPower and Prudential Insurance Company of America.

Bracewell LLP’s transactional energy department has a dedicated conventional power team led by John Klauberg and Stuart Zisman, who are based in New York and Houston respectively. Klauberg assisted Duke Energy with its $2.8bn sale of Midwest Commercial Generation Business to Dynergy, and worked alongside Charles Vandenburgh to advise Optim Energy and its subsidiary debtors on Optim Energy’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which included the Section 363 sale of the Twin Oaks coal-fired power station. In another highlight, Ryan Holcomb acted for Entergy Corporation on its $948m acquisition of Arkansas’ 1,980MW Union power station.

Peter Hanlon and Nicholas Politan head the energy and infrastructure practice at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, which advised Energisa as investor on the Chapter 15-approved reorganisation of Rede Energia S.A.’s 11.75% perpetual notes, the subsequent assignment of beneficial interests in the notes from the existing noteholders to Energisa as sole beneficial holder, and the cancellation and reissuance of the notes into two payment-in-kind securities. Hanlon and Alan Bannister assisted MidAmerican Energy Company on its sale of mortgage bonds worth $850m in total. Hanlon also acted for BHE Transmission on its $3.1bn acquisition of AltaLink from SNC-Lavalin.

In an illustration of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s presence on large-scale energy deals, the practice advised Exelon Corporation on its proposed acquisition of Pepco Holdings for $6.8bn; and Mark Director and Christopher Thomas acted for Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets as part of the consortium which acquired Cleco Corporation for $4.7bn. Other clients include Talen Energy Corporation, Energy Future Holdings and Blackstone Energy Partners. Hans Dyke joined Arnold & Porter LLP’s Washington DC office in 2015.

Irving Rotter, Kenneth Irwin, Cliff Vrielink and James Rice head Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘savvy’ team, which is praised for its business acumen and strong bench strength. The ‘responsive’, ‘knowledgeable’, ‘personableGlenn Pinkerton is also recommended. Clients include Duke Energy Corporation, Comisión Federal de Electricidad, Exelon Corporation and Competitive Power Venture Holdings. Since publication, Washington DC-based Eugene Elrod has moved to Latham & Watkins LLP.

David Lieberman leads the team at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, with strong support from Robert Rabalais and Matthew Einbinder who was promoted to partner in January 2015. The team advised Entenergy Corporation on the $490m sale of the 583MW Rhode Island State Energy Center to Carlyle Power Partners, and acted for JPMorgan Securities as lead arranger on a bridge facility for Emera Incorporated to fund its $10.4bn purchase of TECO Energy.

Highlights for Lance Brasher’s team at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP included advising Hawaiian Electric Industries on its $4.3bn acquisition by NextEra Energy; acting for Noble Energy on its $3.7bn purchase of Rosetta Resources; and assisting AES Corporation with its $244m sale of a 15% stake in AES US Investments to Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec. These deals were led by Michael Rogan, Frank Bayouth and Pankaj Sinha respectively.

The team at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP acted on several very large energy transactions throughout 2015, including Joseph Frumkin, Scott Crofton and special counsel Tia Barancik’s advice to UIL Holdings Corporation on its $3bn acquisition by Iberdrola USA. In other highlights, Frumkin, Barancik and Audra Cohen advised Pepco Holdings on its proposed $6.8bn acquisition by Exelon Corporation, and the team assisted Repsol with its $12.9bn purchase of Talisman Energy.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s energy transactions team is headed by Houston-based partners Trina Chandler, Keith Fullenweider and John Connally, and includes Bryan Loocke, who joined from Bracewell LLP. Chandler advised Riverstone Holdings on the formation of Talen Energy Corporation through a $9.5bn Reverse Morris Trust transaction; the corporation is now one of the US’ largest independent power producers. Other clients include Quantum Utility Generation and Duke Energy.

White & Case LLP’s ‘very capable’, ‘commercial’ practice is headed by Arthur Scavone, Christian Hansen, John Reiss, Gregory Pryor and the London-based Kirsti Massie. The team assisted Dynergy with its $2.8bn acquisition of 11 power plants with a total capacity of 6,089MW from Duke Energy Corporation. Other clients include Calpine Corporation, LS Power Development and Global Infrastructure Partners. Michael Shenberg in New York is another key figure. Jeannine Acevedo made partner in January 2016.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s practice is headed by Brian Chappell in Baltimore and includes Mark Mazo and Carine Stoick, who assisted Alstom on the sale of its $13.2bn energy business to General Electric. Chappell and Evan Koster acted for Exelon Corporation on its purchase from Barclays of an electricity and gas trading book. Contour Global, SunEdison and NRG Energy are also clients.

Jones Day’s practice is headed by Peter Clarke, Todd Johnson and Jeffrey Schlegel. Highlights included advising NRG Energy on the sale of five power plants to NRG Yield for $1.2bn. That deal was led by Gerald Farano, who also acted for DTE Electric Company on its $240m acquisition of the Renaissance power plant from LS Power Group. Other clients include Oklahoma Gas & Electric and Lakeside Energy.

McGuireWoods LLP’s practice is led by Joanne Katsantonis, who advised Dominion Resources on its $500m acquisition of Carolina Gas Transmission from SCANA Corporation. Katsantonis and Michael Woodard also advised Morgan Stanley on Exelon Corporation’s proposed acquisition of Pepco Holdings for $6.8bn, while Brian Kelly advised Direct Energy on its partnership with SmartThings to offer energy management technology to its customers in Texas.

The team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is led by Houston-based David Asmus, and was strengthened by the arrival of Marc Reardon, Stephen Miklus and Nancy Persechino to the Boston office in 2015. New York-based partner Jonathan Morris advised Highstar Capital IV on the acquisition and financing of the 700MW Salem Harbor power station project, while Philadelphia-based Barbara Shander assisted Exelon Corporation with the sale of its ownership interest in Pennsylvania’s Keystone and Conemaugh power plants to ArcLight Capital Partners.

Mark Weitzel in San Francisco and Tara Higgins in New York head Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s practice. Washington DC-based Kyle Drefke and New York-based Carl Lyon advised Big Rivers Electric Corporation and Kenergy Corporation - a generation/transmission co-operative and a distribution co-operative respectively - on the power supply arrangements concerning 865MW of power for two large industrial customers. Other clients include General Electric, BlackRock and the Tennessee Valley Authority. Blake Winburne joined the Houston office from McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

Led by Herbert Short, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP’s practice recently added Energy Power Partners and Target to its client roster. Ram Sunkara advised the Carlyle Group on the purchase of 75% of the outstanding interests of a 2815MW portfolio of six Georgia-based power plants. Dorothy Franzoni acted for Northern Tier Energy Group on the joint ownership arrangements for a new 600MW power plant in Wisconsin.

Based in Chicago, James O’Brien heads Baker McKenzie LLP’s global energy, mining and infrastructure group, which welcomed Mark Tibberts to its New York office from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP in 2015. As well as advising several sponsors on the development of large power projects across the US, the team acted for a large wholesale power producer on its acquisition of an important energy project on the East Coast. Natalie Regoli is a name to note.

Headed in Washington DC by Keith Martin and Rohit Chaudhry, Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s department delivers ‘top-notch’ service. Todd Alexander advised a syndicate of lenders on the secured bank financing of an $899m 700MW gas-fired power generation project in north-eastern Ohio. Other clients include Santander Bank and the US Department of Energy. Paul Kaufman left to join Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

DLA Piper LLP (US)’s practice is led by New York-based partners Andrianne Payson and Joseph Tato, who is praised for his ‘acute legal analysis’ and ‘practical solutions’. The team is noted for its ability to handle Africa-based power matters as well as domestic electricity transactions. Highlights for the team included advising Exelon Corporation on its $530m sale of the Fore River generating plant to Calpine Corporation. Other clients include EDF Trading North America, Covanta Energy and General Electric.

Led by Clinton Vince, the practice at Dentons expanded significantly following its merger with McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP in July 2015, welcoming Steven Bender and Gordon Giffin to its Atlanta office. Carl Steen also joined the team from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP. Rudolf Beese advised KCP&L Greater Missouri Operations Company on the transfer of its interests in the $400m Midwest Transmission Project to Transource Missouri.

Mayer Brown’s practice is headed by Thomas Moore in Houston and advised Starwood Energy Group Global on its purchase of Quail Run Energy Center, an electric power generation facility in Odessa, Texas. Jeff Dobbs and Robert Goldberg assisted the same client with its acquisition of several other power generation facilities. Andrew Young recently joined the team from K&L Gates.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s department advised ArcLight Capital Partners on the financing and purchase of a 625MW Arizona-based electric generation facility from Sempra Energy, and assisted the same client with the sale of the 125MW Michigan Power Generating Facility. It also acted for LS Power on the sale of two Illinois power plants, with a total capacity of 530MW, to Rockland Capital Partners.

Greg Nelson leads the ‘very strong’, ‘responsive’ practice at Paul Hastings LLP, which was joined by Robert Kartheiser and Cathleen McLaughlin from Allen & Overy LLP in March 2015. The team advised Vanguard Natural Resources on its $614m acquisition of Eagle Rock Energy Partners and its $539m purchase of LRR Energy. Key figures include the ‘knowledgeable and effective’ Timothy Callahan, and William DeGrandis, who has ‘excellent industry knowledge’ and is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

The team at Reed Smith LLP recently added California Clean Power to its client base, which includes NRG, Montauk Energy Capital, American Public Power Association and National Rural Electric Cooperative Association. Headed by Nicolle Bagnell in the Pittsburgh office and Craig Enochs in Houston, the department welcomed Peter Malyshev to its Washington DC office from Latham & Watkins LLP in 2015, while Phillip Lookadoo left to join Haynes and Boone, L.L.P..

Jeffrey Meyers heads the ‘very capable’ department at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, which recently welcomed Salka LLC as a new addition to its client roster, which includes PBF Energy, NRG Energy, BPZ Resources and GE Energy Financial Services. Richard Madris and special counsel Armando Ramirez are also recommended, as is special counsel Daniel Simon, who joined from Ballard Spahr LLP in May 2015.

Elias Hinckley leads Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s practice and acted alongside Lewis Segall and Benjamin Armour to advise Locus Energy on its acquisition by a multinational conglomerate. Hayden Baker, who joined the team from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP in September 2015, advised I Squared Capital on its equity partnership with Energy Investors Funds to construct an 869MW power generation facility in Ohio. Other clients include Ogin Energy, Saturn Power and Commonwealth Bay.

Joseph Karp leads the ‘very knowledgeable’ department at Winston & Strawn LLP, which is praised for its ‘excellent service’ and ‘good business solutions’. Jerry Bloom (who is ‘well known in the energy sector’) assisted Graphic Packaging with negotiating a new power purchase agreement with Silicon Valley Power. The practice also counts NRG Energy, AIG and John Hancock Life Insurance Company among its clients. The ‘responsive’ Lisa Cottle is ‘a pleasure to work with’.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP’s team is notably strong on Latin America-based matters; Richard Cooper, Adam Brenneman and Sean O’Neal acted for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on negotiating several potential independent power projects. In another highlight, the team recently advised BHP Billiton on the creation of South32, a new global metals and mining company with an initial market capitalization of $9.1bn.

Strong on project finance matters and praised for its ‘excellent service’, Clifford Chance’s team is led by Washington DC-based partners David Evans, Christopher McIsaac, Fabricio Longhin, Lori Bean and Catherine McCarthy, as well as Gianluca Bacchiocchi, who recently joined the New York office from DLA Piper LLP (US). The team recently assisted the Matelec Group with the financing of the €134m Tobene power project, a 96MW power plant in Senegal.

The ‘client-oriented’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is praised for its ‘responsive, pragmatic, in-depth’ advice. Practice head Sarah Fitts acted alongside counsel Armando Rivera Jacobo advising Footprint Power on the financing of the Salem Harbor Power Station development project. Other clients include Oaktree Capital Management and Syncora Holdings.

Douglas Atnipp and Kenneth Minesinger lead Greenberg Traurig, LLP’s practice, which was strengthened by the arrival of several partners including Gregory Lawrence, Iskender Catto and Allan Reiss, who joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, Adams and Reese LLP and McDermott Will & Emery LLP respectively. Clients include Sunstreet Energy Group, Sempra Energy and Harper Energy.

Highly active in the conventional power sector, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP’s practice is led by Daniel Bartfeld and includes project finance experts Carlos Albarracín, Eric Silverman and William Bice. Albarracín advised Empresas Públicas de Medellín on a $1bn loan to finance Colombia’s largest hydropower plant. Timothy Wendling was promoted to partner in January 2015.

Highlights for Porter Hedges LLP’s department, which is split between the firm’s Houston and Oklahoma offices, included acting for American Energy - Utica on its $407m sale of leasehold interests and gathering assets to Gulfport Energy Corporation. Oklahoma-based Ray Lees led on that deal and assisted American Energy Partners with its acquisition of Double Eagle Energy Holdings for $251m. Other clients include Chesapeake Energy Corporation and Noble Energy. Other key figures include practice heads Robert Thomas and Randy King, and McCaleb Marshall, who was promoted to partner in 2015.

David Raskin leads Steptoe & Johnson LLP’s Washington DC-based team, which includes Caroline Gaudet and is strong on energy transmission matters. Highlights included advising a large energy client on a joint venture to construct a transmission line to deliver 600MW of energy into New England. Other clients include American Electric Power, Duke Energy, Southern California Edison, and Public Service Electric and Gas Company.

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