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United States > Industry focus > Environment: transactional > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


Index of tables

  1. Environment: transactional
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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP’s New York team advises clients on the full range of environmental matters arising from business transactions, including gaining access to capital markets, the day-to-day management of their operations, and dispute resolution. Matthew Morreale is in charge of the environmental practice; he led advice to Crown Castle International on its $7.1bn acquisition of LTS Group Holdings, which owns or has rights to approximately 32,000 route miles of fiber, from Berkshire Partners, Pamlico Capital and other investors. The practice also provided IBM with environmental advice during its acquisition of Agile 3 Solutions, a developer of software used by senior executives to manage risks associated with the protection of sensitive data. Other notable clients include AngloGold Ashanti, Honeywell, Johnson & Johnson, and Unilever. Senior attorney Annmarie Terraciano is also highly rated.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘attorneys are responsive, knowledgeable, and detail-oriented’. The practice assists with environmental due diligence, pre-deal counseling, environmental risk allocation and mitigation, analysis of the environmental regulatory environment, negotiation of environmental insurance policies, and indemnity claims. Houston-based leader of the West Coast and Texas practices Paul Tanaka is ‘experienced, knowledgeable and commercial’; he advised Swift Transportation on its merger with Knight Transportation, which involved environmental due diligence, reciprocal representation and warranties, and potential contamination-related and off-site waste disposal liabilities. San Francisco’s Stephanie Gitler is ‘very good with environmental insurance policies’. Brian Land leads the East Coast practice; Jonathan Kidwell, Sara Michaelchuck Webber, Alexandra Farmer, Christian Semonsen, Jeanne Cohn-Connor and Toby Chun are other key names based in Washington DC.

Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘a pro-active, value-for-money firm that has very good in-depth knowledge, which it conveys in an understandable way’. The team acts for global financial institutions, private equity businesses, and corporations in the full range of high-level environmental transactional issues, including transactional diligence, permitting and compliance, as well as agency rule making and legislation, enforcement actions, and litigation. The environmental law team acted for private equity and venture capital firm ArcLight Capital, which, together with Blackstone, acquired four power plants from American Electric Power for $2.2bn. Other clients include Cogentrix Power, Siemens, Goldman Sachs and Castleton Commodities. The key names are New York’s Gary Gengel and Jean-Phillipe Brisson; Washington DC’s James Barrett and Claudia O’Brien; and Houston-based Joel Mack.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLPoffers a sophisticated but practical approach to the environmental aspects of transactions’. The environmental team is highly rated for its assistance with M&A deals, divestitures, financing, and capital markets. It acted for General Electric (GE) in the divestiture of its Water & Process Technologies business to SUEZ Environnement. Leading the environmental practice from Washington DC, Annemargaret Connelly is ‘known to be a leading practitioner in the field; she is very experienced, practical, straightforward and good to deal with’. Thomas Goslin, Matthew Morton and John O’Loughlin are recommended counsels.

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Allen & Overy LLP is best known for managing environmental issues during transactions and handling deal-related indemnity disputes, as well as its multi-jurisdictional advice. The practice fields lawyers with expertise in product responsibility, chemicals’ regulations, and climate change and emissions trading, along with energy, contaminated land, and shipping. Head of the global environmental and regulatory law group, Kenneth Rivlin is GE’s lead outside transactional environmental lawyer. The team advised the Carlyle Group on environment and regulatory issues, regarding the disposal of the Zodiac Pool Group, a swimming pool and spa cleaning product manufacturer, to Rhône Capital. Felise Cooper and recently promoted Maria Christopher-Bell are key senior counsels. All named advisers are in New York.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s areas of expertise include M&A, capital markets, credit, insolvency and restructuring, and project finance. Other areas of strength are regulatory issues and corporate governance, climate change and alternative energy, and real estate. The team advised SUEZ Environnement on the $3.42bn acquisition of GE’s Water & Process Technologies; the deal involved a complex analysis of hazardous materials exposure litigation risk, as well as valuing a portfolio of environmental, health and safety liabilities. New York counsels Loyti Cheng and Betty Moy Huber are the co-environmental group heads.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP advises on transactions involving environmental risk; developments regarding environmental matters, including climate change and sustainability; liabilities arising out of environmental conditions; and compliance with statutory and regulatory obligations. The team assisted Vistra Energy with its announced combination with Dynegy, which is expected to produce the leading integrated power company across key US power markets. New York-based senior counsel Adeeb Fadil, who focuses on environmental aspects of transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, loans, securities offerings, and bankruptcies and restructurings, is recommended. Senior counsel Michael Isby, whose practice concentrates on the environmental aspects of M&A deals, securities offerings, and lending, is another key name.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s transactional advice includes evaluating environmental liabilities and compliance; developing environmental risk allocation strategies; preparing and negotiating contracts; and providing post-closing advice. The team acted for a contract development and commercial manufacturing company in the environmental due diligence surrounding the acquisition of manufacturing assets. Washington DC’s Don Frost Jr heads the environmental and climate change practices; Elizabeth Malone is also highly rated.

Bracewell LLP is highly regarded for its advice to strategic buyers, financial institutions, hedge funds, and private equity investors on transactions that require due diligence investigations, negotiation of environmental indemnities, environmental disclosures to shareholders, and public policy considerations. The team advised Great Plains Energy on the environmental due diligence surrounding an amended and restated merger agreement with Kansas’ Westar Energy. The key contacts are Timothy Wilkins in Austin; Washington DC-based Jason Hutt, who chairs the firm’s environmental practice; and Jeffrey Holmstead.

Paul Hastings LLP regularly assists buyers from China, Hong Kong and Japan with the environmental liability concerns surrounding inbound acquisitions. Washington DC-based Lisa Rushton advised Eli Lilly and Company on the environmental aspects of a subsidiary’s acquisition of Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica’s US feline, canine and rabies vaccines portfolio, along with a manufacturing and research and development site, and pipeline assets. The key names are Peter Weiner, who divides time between San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento; San Francisco’s Gordon Hart and Deborah Schmall; and Washington DC-based Tom Mounteer.

Proskauer Rose LLP’s ‘team is excellent; it has deep knowledge of federal and local environmental issues and it brings a commercial perspective to deals’. The practice provides environmental transactional counseling in industries such as chemical, industrial, manufacturing and pharmaceuticals. New York-based environmental group head Gail Port and special environmental counsel Aliza Cinamon, who is ‘a great transactional lawyer’, advised longstanding client Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on the environmental aspects of its $40.5bn acquisition of Actavis Generics. Special counsel Yelena Simonyuk is also highly regarded.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP regularly acts for global companies from the manufacturing, chemicals, petroleum and mining sectors, for whom it manages significant environmental issues during multi-jurisdictional and transformational commercial transactions. In cross-border, mega-deal highlights, the team advised German multinational Bayer on its acquisition of Monsanto Company, a publicly traded agrochemical and agricultural biotech corporation; the transaction required intensive investigation, analysis and negotiation of complex and significant environmental liabilities. New York-based Mark Rosenberg coordinates the firm’s environmental law and insurance groups; and Matthew Brennan is a key special counsel.

Vinson & Elkins LLP stands out for assisting clients with complex matters that involve multiple stakeholders, including federal and state governments, Congressional committees, investigative boards, NGOs, and private parties. The team advised Sunoco on the sale of more than 1,100 of its convenience stores to 7-Eleven, which involved potential environmental liability arising from the outlets’ past operation. Larry Nettles in Houston is the firm’s environmental and natural resources practice group leader. In Austin, Carrick Brooke-Davidson joined as counsel from Guida, Slavich & Flores, PC, while Susan Snyder left for Enviro Water Minerals Company.

Effective 2 April 2018, Hunton & Williams LLP and Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP have combined to become Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. Lisa Montgomery Shelton in Austin has extensive experience handling environmental, health and safety issues associated with corporate and transactional matters, including brownfield redevelopment. The practice assists with managing legacy environmental liabilities for refineries; protecting the interests of the world’s largest big box retailers; assessing environmental risks associated with public offerings; and defending clients from liability associated with contamination.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP regularly acts for private equity firms, industrial companies and other businesses in domestic and international transactions. New York counsel Stuart Hammer advised private equity investment firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on the environmental due diligence and environmental provisions of its acquisition of SunSource, a distributor of hydraulic and pneumatic fluid power products. Harry Zirlin in New York is a highly rated associate.

Dentons fields lawyers with expertise in environmental impact assessments, chemical and product regulation, and climate change. The practice’s clients include Topgolf USA, which it assists with the environmental aspects of acquisitions, as well as development and operational issues. San Francisco-based Matthew Adams chairs the firm’s US environment and natural resources practice.

Hogan Lovells US LLP has expertise in Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, hazardous waste, contamination, and methane issues. Transactional highlights include acting for Ecosystems Investment Partners in the development of environmental mitigation banks nationwide. Washington DC-based Adam Kushner and Denver’s Scott Reisch are names to note.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s New York-based Eric Rothenberg leads the firm’s environmental practice. The team provided environmental diligence to an ad hoc group of Homer City noteholders in relation to the recapitalization of coal-fired power assets. Kelly McTigue is the key name in Los Angeles.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP is ‘extremely responsive and professional’. The practice’s scope of work includes negotiating tailored contractual protection, structuring transactions to minimize environmental exposure, obtaining customized environmental insurance, and environmental due diligence investigations. The recommended names in Washington DC are Jeffrey Karp and Jerome Muys Jr; Victor Baltera in Boston is ‘very knowledgeable and provides reliable information to his clients’.

White & Case LLP is ‘a strong performer’. The practice acted as environmental counsel to Hovensa in the sale of its US Virgin Islands petroleum terminal and refining assets. New York-based counsel and group head Seth Kerschner ‘combines an in-depth knowledge of environmental and climate change law with a savvy business sense’; associate Laura Mulry ‘spots the deal issues that require client focus’. Former practic head Douglas Halsey left to start his own firm.

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