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The Legal 500 Hall of Fame highlights individuals who have received constant praise by their clients for continued excellence. The Hall of Fame highlights, to clients, the law firm partners who are at the pinnacle of the profession. In the United States, the criteria for entry is to have been recognised by The Legal 500 as one of the elite leading lawyers for six consecutive years. These partners are highlighted below and throughout the editorial.

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United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Overview

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Overview clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Although North America generally accounts for more than 40% of global M&A volume and the year ended with several blockbuster acquisitions (including CVS’s $67.8bn acquisition of Aetna and Disney’s $52.4bn acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s entertainment assets), the US market mostly distanced itself from large M&A deals in 2017. The total number of transactions was almost equal to 2016, but the approximately $1.3tn-worth of deals announced in 2017 marks a 14.9% decrease from the previous year (figures from Mergermarket).

This relative conservatism was partly due to high company valuations, driven in part by rocketing stock market performance, and partly due to uncertainty over the direction of the new administration, with many businesses waiting to see what the regulatory and enforcement regime would look like under President Trump and whether the administration would overhaul the tax code as promised. Subsequently, in December 2017, the Senate approved a $1.5tn tax bill including permanent tax breaks for corporations and temporary cuts for individuals. Increasing confidence in the market, in part brought about by the tax changes, showed itself in the M&A market, with deal activity accelerating hugely in the final quarter.

Hot industries for M&A in 2017 included healthcare - as illustrated by CVS’s acquisition of Aetna - and technology, with tech transactions hitting record levels according to Mergermarket; consumer goods deals also looked to be on the rise. One notable decline was in tax inversion transactions, following new rules imposed by the US Treasury. Notable lateral moves included Eric Schiele joining Kirkland & Ellis LLP from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

Looking ahead, many regard the M&A outlook in 2018 as positive; global corporates regard deal activity as a significant opportunity for growth, with acquisitions of technology and digital assets remaining a key driver of M&A, along with robust private equity activity and the continued knock-on effect of the tax reform. In the middle market, both technology and healthcare are expected to remain busy areas. China outbound deal flows are also expected to be an important part of US M&A, as is outbound M&A activity from the US to Mexico and Canada; inbound deals by non-Chinese companies can also be expected, particularly in financial services and consumer products.

A number of mergers also took place in the US legal market. Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP merged with Chadbourne & Parke LLP; the combination brought experienced advisers to the team in New York, including William Greason, Kessar Nashat and Charles Hord III. The merger also brought about notable exits from the Chadbourne & Parke LLP side; its former Latin America group joint chairs Allen Miller, who is experienced in power, infrastructure and renewable energy sector deals, and corporate and investment funds expert Talbert Navia, along with private equity attorney Kevin Smith and Morton Grosz, who acts for multinational corporate clients and investment funds, joined international outfit Winston & Strawn LLP, which also recruited public and private company M&A specialist Thomas Hughes in Dallas from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP.

Elsewhere, DLA Piper LLP (US) combined with Liner LLP, a Los Angeles-based boutique law firm that focuses on litigation, restructuring and business transactions practices, and sectors such as media and entertainment, real estate, new media and private equity. Other significant middle-market activity included Ballard Spahr LLP’s 2018 merger with Minneapolis-based firm Lindquist & Vennum, which is expected to enhance the firm’s capabilities in M&A transactions and extend its national footprint into the Midwest, adding offices in Minneapolis and Sioux Falls and expanding its presence in Denver. The combined firm has over 650 lawyers - and more than 110 M&A lawyers - in 15 offices nationwide. Another notable development in 2017 was Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP opening a Santa Monica office following demand from California-headquartered technology companies and start-ups.

The private equity sector in 2017 was once again dominated by middle-market transactions, with high company valuations providing a barrier to large-cap deals. Impressive fundraisings and an enthusiasm for private equity among institutional investors, have meant that the industry has plenty of pent-up capital to invest. A period of relative calm following Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017 has buoyed deal activity, especially with the incoming tax reforms. As private equity houses seek greater returns, they continued to target high-growth areas such as technology and previously less-tapped markets such as energy. While New York continues to be the hub for private equity in the US, there are many other centers across the country, including in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Houston. Private equity leader Kirkland & Ellis LLP launched a Boston office in 2017 and hired private equity specialists Matthew Cohn and Christian Atwood from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Choate, Hall & Stewart respectively.

It was a banner year for the venture capital and emerging companies sector in 2017. Venture capital financings totaled $148bn, according to PitchBook, driven in part by higher company valuations and the greater availability of funding. PitchBook indicates that over 40 VC-backed companies have achieved billion-dollar valuations; such companies are widely known as unicorns. The increasingly global nature of the venture capital community has also led to a series of marquee financings, such as SoftBank’s $4.25bn investment into WeWork. The importance of the emerging company sector to the global economy and its impact on transactional activity means it remains an especially attractive segment for the legal profession. Major international firms such as Latham & Watkins LLP enthusiastically operate in this space with the intention of building a client base that can be serviced by multiple departments and numerous offices over the long term.

Lawyers operating in the field of corporate governance continued to report on the increasing prominence of shareholder activism work. In response to this, the corporate governance section now explicitly incorporates this type of work and, as a result, has expanded, with the likes of Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP and Goodwin entering for the first time. In addition to shareholder activism work - which includes the representation of existing boards as well as activist shareholders - the section covers work relating to leadership changes, public company securities disclosures, and good governance issues. It does not include white-collar criminal matters, which are covered separately within the dispute resolution chapter of this guide.


Commercial deals and contracts

Who Represents Who

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The strategic sourcing and commercial transactions team at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has experience acting for clients across a wide range of sectors, including media and entertainment, technology and retail. Los Angeles-based co-head William Peters has been assisting Marriott International with a number of transactions, including outsourcing agreements. In New York, co-head Stephen Nordahl was engaged by Helly Hansen on a merchandise sales agreement with Waypoint Outdoor. In Palo Alto, Shaalu Mehra led advice to Ford on the client’s high-profile $1bn investment in and collaboration with Argo AI. The team is also led by Daniel Mummery in Palo Alto. Other clients include 21st Century Fox, CBS Corporation and Universal Pictures.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘consistently excellent’ and ‘valuable’ group specializes in technology transactions. Judith Hasko, who chairs the life sciences licensing team, advised CytomX Therapuetics on a strategic collaboration with Amgen valued at over $1.5bn. Technology transactions chair Anthony Klein, capital markets partner Anthony Richmond, M&A partner Josh Dubofsky and New York-based Graeme Smyth assisted American Airlines with an equity investment in China Southern Airlines. In Boston, Sarah Gagan was engaged by Measure on a strategic agreement with AES Corporation. The group includes Tad Freese, as well as New York-based of counsel Alan Tamarelli, who joined from Merck, and Ghaith Mahmood, who was promoted to counsel in the firm’s Los Angeles office. Clients also recommend associate Arielle Singh. Attorneys are based in Silicon Valley unless otherwise stated.

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, the technology, outsourcing and commercial transactions team has experience acting for clients across a broad range of sectors, including consumer goods, retail and automotive. Co-head Barbara Melby, who splits her time between Philadelphia and New York, led advice to Eli Lilly in various domestic and international transactions, including IT service and cross-licensing agreements. In New York, Vito Petretti has been assisting Colgate-Palmolive with a number of commercial matters, including technology transactions and distribution agreements. Michael Pillion also leads the team from the firm’s Philadelphia office. In Boston, Doneld Shelkey is a name to note.

Known for its life sciences expertise, Ropes & Gray LLP’s practice handles a wide range of licensing and commercial agreements. Practice head Edward Black led advice to Tudor Investment Corporation on various IP transactions, including drafting agreements regarding a collaboration with an engineering firm. The group acted for Bain Capital Private Equity in all aspects arising from its acquisition of Innocor from a Sun Capital Partners affiliate. Mark Bellomy was engaged by Sarepta Therapuetics on the company’s sponsored research and option agreement with Généthon. David McIntosh and Silicon Valley-based Megan Baca are key names. All other partners are based in Boston. Other clients include Akebia Therapuetics, Pfizer and Juno Therapeutics.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

WilmerHale’s technology transactions and licensing group assists clients with complex agreements, often with an international element. Boston-based co-head Steven Barrett and New York-based Steven Singer acted for Agios Pharmaceuticals on a $287m global license agreement with Aurigene Discovery Technologies arising from the research, development, and commercialization of a cancer drug. Also in Boston, co-head Belinda Juran was engaged by Visterra on a licensing and collaboration agreement with Vir Biotechnology regarding the development of various early-stage infectious disease programs. In New York, Robert Finkel has been leading advice to Blue Apron on various intercompany technology and service agreements, including its recent IPO. In Boston, Jeffrey Johnson has been acting for the Museum of Science in a number of international distribution arrangements regarding a Pixar exhibition. Michael Bevilacqua is also a name to note.

Part of the firm’s wider IP and technology department, DLA Piper LLP (US)’s ‘excellent’ and ‘incredibly responsive’ practice covers commercial contracts, as well as franchising and distribution matters. In Atlanta, franchising and distribution group chair Richard Greenstein led advice to CircusTrix in its acquisition of Rockin’ Jump. In San Diego, commercial contracts group head Mark Lehberg and Jeff Baglio acted for Qualcomm in its $3bn joint venture with TDK. Silicon Valley-based Jeffrey Aronson and Atlanta-based Joseph Silver were engaged by Endgame regarding various strategic agreements with Accenture. Other clients include Catalina, Roark Capital Group and EagleView Technologies.

Considered by clients to have ‘strong business acumen’ and ‘practical advice’, Goodwin’s ‘very reliable and trustworthy’ team excels in transactions in the pharmaceutical and technology sectors. In New York, Jeffrey Klein advised Elysium Health on negotiations regarding a service agreement with a media company. In Boston, Robert Puopolo acted for Ginkgo Bioworks in a $100m agreement with Bayer regarding the development of a new company. The team is jointly headed by Joseph Johnson and Mark Macenka in Boston.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s corporate and M&A group acts for public and private companies across a broad range of transactions. In Boston, practice head Lewis Segall primarily assists with financings and joint ventures, as well as domestic and international M&A. Also in Boston, tax partner Steven Eichel has particular strength in cross-border transactions. Elias Hinckley is now at K&L Gates.


Corporate governance

Index of tables

  1. Corporate governance
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which Corporate governance clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

CLICK HERE TO VISIT THE WHO REPRESENTS WHO SITE

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP advises a range of well-known companies on shareholder engagement campaigns and public company disclosure requirements. Pamela Marcogliese, Nicolas Grabar and Ethan Klingsberg advised Tiffany & Co on a shareholder activism campaign, and Sandra Flow, Mary Alcock and Victor Lewkow also act for household-name companies in this space. Non-activism work included Marcogliese and Klingsberg advising Alphabet Inc, Google’s holding company, on ongoing matters related to the reorganization from which it was formed, and Marcogliese and David Lopez assisting Sabre Corporation with its mandatory disclosures. Other clients include Petrobras, which Graba is advising on US securities matters regarding the Lava Jato scandal; Arthur Kohn and Jeffrey Karpf are also key contacts and advised Verizon on producing its proxy statements. All named lawyers are located in New York.

Hogan Lovells US LLP provides an ‘excellent level of service - the team is always available and responsive, has significant expertise and provides practical advice on complicated and challenging legal issues’, including in relation to public company disclosures and leadership changes. Practice head Alan Dye has ‘strong subject matter expertise and does a good job of providing practical and actionable solutions’; he assisted The Coca-Cola Company with the appointment of James Quincey as CEO following the retirement of Muhtar Kent. Amy Bowerman Freed, who also works with Lockheed Martin, continues to advise 21st Century Fox on the US securities law elements of its plans to purchase the 61% it does not own of Sky plc. Richard Parrino, who advises Dell Technologies on disclosures and dealings with the SEC, is ‘quick to resolve any issues and greatly values client relationships - he also brings incredible subject matter expertise to the table’. John Beckman, who continues to advise Brown-Forman Corporation, and Alex Bahn, who handles sensitive CEO transitions, are also key contacts. Above-mentioned lawyers are located in Washington DC, but in McLean Kevin Greenslade is ‘a great lawyer who excels at problem solving’.

Latham & Watkins LLP advises company-side clients in shareholder activism campaigns, as well as assisting with public company regulatory and hostile takeover defense matters. Keith Halverstam, Thomas Malone and Orange County-based Charles Ruck advised Cognizant Technology Solutions on a campaign by Elliott Management, which ended with the addition of three directors to the board, one of whom was nominated by Elliott. Chicago-based Bradley Faris led a team advising Accuride Corporation, which obtained shareholder approval for its sale to funds managed by Crestview Advisors despite the objection of a 19% owner. Thomas Christopher represented NRG Energy in its battle with both Elliott Management and Bluescape Energy Partners. In Los Angeles, Steven Stokdyk and Paul Tosetti advised Motorcar Parts of America on defending an activist campaign, while in San Diego Craig Garner advised ViaSat Inc on its subjection to an alleged ‘bear raid’. Joel Trotter in Washington DC is a key name of note for governance and securities reviews - he advised VEON, formerly known as VimpelCom, on issues regarding its status as a Nasdaq-listed foreign private issuer. Other clients for general public company securities and governance matters include Energy Transfer Partners, Allergan, Caesars Entertainment and Advanced Micro Devices. Unless indicated otherwise, named attorneys are based in New York.

Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP handles activist campaigns for a range of leading hedge funds. Marc Weingarten and Aneliya Crawford (a new hire from Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP) advised Trian Fund Management on, among other matters, its proxy fight with Procter & Gamble, securing the appointment of the manager’s co-founder Nelson Peltz to P&G’s board. Weingarten and Eleazer Klein continue to advise Elliott Management on its engagement with the management of Marathon Petroleum. In addition, Klein advised Blue Harbour on its successful campaign at WebMD, securing the company’s sale to KKR. Other clients include JANA Partners (for which the firm secured seats on Bristol-Meyers Squibb’s and Tiffany & Co.’s boards), Cevian Capital and Saba Capital Management.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP handles a range of work around corporate transactions, as well as work concerning leadership changes and proxy contests. Francis Aquila, Marc Treviño and litigator Julia Jordan advised Cheniere Energy on a proxy contest and change of leadership, while Joseph Frumkin and Krishna Veeraraghavan advised a target of Elliot Management. Keith Pagnani spearheaded a team advising The Priceline Group on installing a new chairman and CEO. Treviño, who has executive compensation expertise, heads the practice. All named partners are based in New York.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s public company advisory group handles a range of work regarding public company securities, leadership changes and activist battles. Adé Heyliger, Michael Aiello and Sachin Kohli advised Procter & Gamble on a proxy contest instigated by Trian Partners. Ellen Odoner’s advice to public companies included advising Westinghouse Electric on the securities aspects of its Chapter 11 insolvency. P.J. Himelfarb advised Signet Jewelers on several governance issues, including welcoming a new CEO. Howard Dicker continues to advise Dow Chemical on governance and securities issues relating to its merger with DuPont. Lyuba Goltser is also a key contact. Heyliger and Himelfarb are based in Washington DC, but other named lawyers are located in New York.

Arnold & Porter handles a range of special committee representations and high-level issues relating to disclosures requirements and directors’ duties. Michael L. Bernstein’s work spans D&O insurance litigation defense and he recently defended the former CEO of Essar Steel Minnesota in Delaware litigation following the company’s bankruptcy; he is also representing private equity house American Capital and several of its directors in a case brought by the trustees in the bankruptcy of a failed portfolio company. Litigation partner John Massaro handles claimant cases against boards. The firm has a presence in the nonprofit governance space - James Joseph advised Wounded Warrior Project on a governance project running alongside a restructuring, amid allegations of administrative overspending. Andrew Varner represents companies subject to shareholder campaigns. The aforementioned lawyers are located in Washington DC, however Nicholas O’Keefe in Silicon Valley also handles shareholder activism matters.

According to one respondent, Baker & Hostetler LLP provides ‘unmatched expertise - it’s head and shoulders above other law firms, clients are never disappointed’. The firm handles a range of work regarding public company governance, including leadership changes, securities issues and conflict-of-interest issues. Janet Spreen, who handles work concerning governance structure reviews and senior management transitions, is ‘excellent at issue-spotting and gives reasonable, usable advice - she understands the specific nuances of each situation and responds accordingly’. Suzanne Hanselman advised Barnes & Noble Education on conflict-of-interest issues regarding a proposed change of financial adviser. Jeffrey Decker in Orlando, who advises Chesapeake Utilities Corporation, and Robert Weible are also key contacts. Unless stated otherwise, named lawyers are located in Cleveland.

Jones Day has ‘a team of talented and knowledgeable lawyers that, without fail, respond to clients’ needs with the same urgency they are experiencing themselves’. The firm handles a range of governance matters, including the warding off of leading activist hedge funds. Lizanne Thomas in Atlanta has an ‘extraordinary ability to manage boards through complex and unusual governance issues’ - she and Robert Profusek in New York represented Procter & Gamble in its proxy fight with Trian Fund Management. Thomas also advised comScore on its settlement with Starboard Value. In Cleveland, Peter Izanec and George Hunter advised Wayne Savings Bancshares on its successful defense against a campaign by Stilwell Activist Investments. Other clients include Reynolds American and Marathon Petroleum.

King & Spalding LLP handles a range of matters concerning hedge fund shareholder engagement and structural governance matters. Jim Woolery in New York, who joined in May 2017 from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, handles a range of shareholder activism work, including advising a special committee of the independent directors of comScore on engagement by Starboard Value - four new independent directors were added to the board. Rob Leclerc is also a key contact in New York, with Cal Smith and Jeff Stein key contacts in the firm’s Atlanta office. Other clients include Equifax, Energizer and Under Armour.

Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP advises leading activist hedge funds on their campaigns. Steve Wolosky and Andrew Freedman advised Elliott Management on its contest at Arconic, securing three seats on the board and the replacement of the CEO; the pair also advised the client on an agreement with CDK Global, securing two independent directors. Another client is Starboard Value, which Wolosky and Freedman advised on its agreement with Yahoo! regarding the sale of Yahoo!’s core business to Verizon and its re-establishment as Altaba, a ’40 Act investment company. Other hedge fund clients include Harvest Capital Strategies and Stilwell Value.

Wilmington’s Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. handles key Delaware law matters on issues regarding conflicts committees and other technical company law matters. Catherine Dearlove, Mark Gentile and Stephen Bigler advise Fortune 500 companies on issues regarding D&O insurance, while Srinivas Raju has expertise on advising conflict committees in the energy sector - he advised Sunoco Logistics Partners’ conflicts committee on the company’s acquisition of Energy Transfer Partners. Michael Allen is also a key contact, and Gregory Varallo heads the practice.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP’s Joseph Hall, a former managing executive for policy in the SEC, advises corporates from various sectors on public company law, including disclosures, leadership changes and shareholder activism matters.

Goodwin handles shareholder activism matters for existing management. Joseph Johnson in Boston is a key contact - he advised Cognizant Technology Solutions on a co-operation agreement with Elliot Management. Anthony McCusker in Menlo Park handles third-party tender offer defense campaigns.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘excellent in the field - not only do clients get sound advice, the team is able to provide a regulator’s perspective as well as that of what others in the market are doing’. The firm handles a number of special committee representations - Thomas Cerabino led a team advising the special committee of National Interstate Corporation’s board on a merger with another insurer. In the shareholder activism space, the firm frequently acts for hedge funds - Russell Leaf, Michael Brandt and Michael Schwartz advised Twin Haven Capital Partners on a successful campaign to secure three new board seats on Hawaiian Telcom Holdco; Tariq Mundiya and Steven Gartner, who handle work for Third Point Management, and Maurice Lefkort are also key contacts for shareholder engagement work. The named lawyers are located in New York.

WilmerHale is ‘a great firm - the level of knowledge and experience is first rate and the team is very responsive and easy to work with’. According to one client, the team ‘exceeds the service level of any other firm for securities compliance and corporate governance’. Meredith Cross, ‘having served as Director of the Division of Corporate Finance, has significant experience from the SEC and private practice’; she and Lillian Brown are names to note in the Washington DC office, with Knute Salhus and Jonathan Wolfman sharing leadership of the practice from New York and Boston respectively. Clients include Hasbro, State Street, Activision Blizzard and Red Hat.


M&A: large deals ($1bn+)

Index of tables

  1. M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
  2. Hall of Fame
  3. Leading lawyers
  4. Next generation lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Who Represents Who

Find out which law firms are representing which M&A: large deals ($1bn+) clients in United States using The Legal 500's new comprehensive database of law firm/client relationships. Instantly search over 925,000 relationships, including over 83,000 Fortune 500, 46,000 FTSE350 and 13,000 DAX 30 relationships globally. Access is free for in-house lawyers, and by subscription for law firms. For more information, contact david.burgess@legal500.com.

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Despite its relatively small size compared to its tier one competitors, Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a tremendous record in high-profile and complex deals, including transactions for existing and new clients. The M&A practice attracts an impressive number of deals, both at a domestic and international level, and across a variety of industries. Despite not having an extensive international network (its only offices are in New York and London), it continues to work on a multitude of cross-border deals. In 2017, it advised Johnson & Johnson on its $30bn acquisition of Switzerland-based Actelion, a deal which involved Actelion spinning-off its drug discovery operations and early-stage clinical development assets into Idorsia, a newly created Swiss biopharmaceutical company; this was the largest transaction in Johnson & Johnson’s history. The firm continued to advise British American Tobacco on its landmark $97bn merger with Reynolds American, through the acquisition of the remaining 58% stake in the company. In other headline matters, it advised Unilever on the $143bn unsolicited offer from The Kraft Heinz Company to acquire the company; the proposal was subsequently withdrawn. It was also engaged by The Linde Group to advise on its pending $70bn merger of equals with Praxair. The firm’s ‘level of service is exceptional’ and it is ‘a cut above the rest’, according to one client. It ‘tailors guidance appropriately towards lawyers, executives and boards’ and ‘knows the law and business and how the two interact better than anyone’. The firm is awash with senior-level talent, including ‘phenomenal lawyer’ and presiding partner Faiza Saeed, Mark Greene, Richard Hall, Robert Townsend and Damien Zoubek, who ‘commands respect from a room’ and is ‘a real force in driving outcomes both legally and commercially’. George Schoen is an emerging name, having impressed with deals for major clients such as IBM. Thomas Dunn has ‘exceptional judgment’ and Erik Tavzel is also increasingly prominent, and Ting Chen, Aaron Gruber and Keith Hallam are among the next generation of top talent. Eric Schiele moved to Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

A member of Wall Street’s elite law firms, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP is routinely engaged in large-cap, headline-grabbing transactions. The firm consistently makes the upper ranks of US and global M&A league tables by value, and the firm estimates that its market share of US M&A since 2012 is over 20%. The team has ‘great lawyers’ that are ‘really smart’. It remains notable for its record in Asia-related transactions, having advised Syngenta on its $43bn acquisition by ChemChina, the Chinese state-owned chemical company, which completed in 2017. Inbound deals are a real forte of the firm, which leverages its expertise in finance, tax, executive compensation, antitrust and regulatory issues, including Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) matters. In another headline deal to close in 2017, it represented Baker Hughes in its $25bn combination with GE’s oil and gas business, a transaction that involved a partnership structure that enabled the two businesses to pool their operating assets into a new publicly listed partnership. In other large-cap transactions, it advised Emerson on its $29bn unsolicited proposal to acquire all the outstanding shares of Rockwell Automation, the industrial automation and information company. Moreover, it represented Reckitt Benckiser in its $17.9bn acquisition of Mead Johnson Nutrition. Other clients include Aetna, AstraZeneca, Comcast, ExxonMobil, Heineken, Lockheed Martin, MasterCard, PepsiCo, Roche and Shire. Global chairman of the M&A group George Bason earns the respect of peers and clients alike; William Aaronson and Louis Goldberg are global co-heads of the practice and the latter has a notable record in financial services M&A transactions. John Bick, Leonard Kreynin, Michael Davis, Oliver Smith and private equity expert John Amorosi are also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP maintained strong levels of activity in both strategic M&A and private equity buyouts in 2017. The firm sets the benchmark in private equity, thanks to key relationships with the likes of Blackstone and KKR, and it frequently leans on private equity deal technology and related expertise in its wider M&A practice. Operating across all industries, it has particular strength in financial services, utilities, industrials and manufacturing, retail, real estate, healthcare and technology. Clients highlight the team for its ‘first-rate’ expertise in ‘large M&A and strategic investment transactions with public companies’, and it continues to advise Microsoft on many of its major transactions. The department is also praised for its ‘great analytical skills, practical advice and timely delivery’, and ‘combination of skill and efficiency’. The firm’s strength in lender and borrower finance is a key asset, as is its abilities in tax, antitrust and employee benefits. Other clients include Best Buy, Hilton Worldwide, L-3 Communications, Mars, Melrose Industries and Walgreens Boots Alliance. In 2017, it advised ChemChina on its $43bn acquisition of Syngenta, the Swiss agrochemical and seeds company; this was the largest foreign acquisition by a Chinese company. The transaction involved in-depth CFIUS issues, antitrust filings in multiple jurisdictions and debt financings from London and Hong Kong. The firm also represented Invitation Homes in its $20bn merger of equals with Starwood Waypoint Homes; it had advised Invitation Homes ever since it was formed by Blackstone in 2012. Key partners include Alan Klein, who has ‘invaluable experience’ stemming from ‘a long career of advising on complex M&A transactions, particularly with international components’. Mario Ponce is another pivotal member of the team and Lee Meyerson is recommended for financial services sector transactions. Eric Swedenburg has ‘a great client base’ and ‘a solid backbone of experience’ and young partner Anthony Vernace ‘brings very strong project management skills, great judgment and a practicality to solving thorny issues’. Brian Stadler is the key name for real estate and REIT deals and William Curbow is one of the team’s more experienced members. Above-named attorneys are based in New York.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is a giant in US and global M&A, leveraging its strength in New York, Chicago, Boston, Houston, California and other offices around the US and the world. While being a major player in New York, it is also one of the dominant forces on the West Coast, with an immense record in large-cap M&A involving tech and other California-based companies. Like many of its Wall Street competitors, the firm typically has a high proportion of $1bn-plus deals that involve US corporations or US assets. It is also highly reputed for its expertise in takeover and activist defense work. Among a series of headline M&A deals in 2017, it advised Rockwell Collins on its $30bn acquisition by United Technologies. It also represented Gilead Sciences in its $11.9bn acquisition of Kite Pharma and assisted Intel with its $15.3bn acquisition of Mobileye. Further illustrating its expertise in cross-border deals, it advised WeWork Companies on its $4.4bn investment from SoftBank Group (Japan) and SoftBank Vision Fund (United Kingdom). Key partners include Stephen Arcano, Eileen Nugent, Howard Ellin, Peter Atkins, of counsel Lou Kling, who continues to impress in public M&A, and Chicago-based Charles Mulaney. Richard Grossman is a market leader in takeover and activist defense work, while Paul Schnell is recommended by clients for cross-border deals, including those involving Latin America. Palo Alto-based Kenton King is a dominant force on the West Coast, especially in the technology sector. Allison Schneirov is recommended for strategic M&A and private equity buyouts. Individuals are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a hugely impressive market share of marquee and transformational deals, and has a large number of senior dealmakers as well as an impressive pipeline of younger talent. The firm delivers ‘unsurpassed responsiveness, first-class advice and a deep bench on high judgment issues’. Eschewing growth through lateral hires, it has nurtured a cohesive group that has the benefit of decades of shared experience. For many clients, this makes the firm ‘top of class’ and ‘extraordinary’, with an ‘unrivalled depth of expertise in cross-border transactions’. With a large proportion of clients based outside of the US, the firm is consistently at the forefront of cross-border and multi-jurisdictional deals. It advised Praxair on its $73bn pending merger of equals with Linde, a deal involving US and German law and an all-stock merger leading to the creation of a new holding company incorporated in Ireland. In another headline deal, it advised Amazon.com on its $13.7bn acquisition of Whole Foods Market. Other clients include AT&T, Enbridge, Philips, United Rentals, Diageo, Delta Airlines and Nike. Managing partner of the M&A group Joseph Frumkin continues to be at the forefront of the market, including in energy and utilities, along with Francis Aquila and the ‘razor sharpAlison Ressler in Los Angeles. Keith Pagnani has made a big impression on the market thanks to a series of headline engagements, including the Praxair transaction; one client says he ‘brings demonstrable leadership to the negotiating table by combining business acumen and understanding of our industry with a very pragmatic, results-oriented approach’. Matthew Hurd is a major force in healthcare and life sciences deals, and George Sampas is noted for natural resources transactions. Eric Krautheimer is ‘a real M&A pro’, a ‘go-to lawyer’ who is ‘smart’ and ‘gets the deal done quickly’. Melissa Sawyer is another emerging talent along with Krishna Veeraraghavan, who is ‘one of the most intelligent attorneys’, ‘practical’ and ‘savvy’ according to one client. Named partners are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Universally acclaimed as a domestic and global leader in M&A, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz remains at the forefront of $1bn-plus transactions from its sole office in New York. The firm, which is ‘in a class of its own’ in M&A, continues to attract a sizable market share of large-cap deals, takeover and activist defense work, proxy contests and special committee engagements. In 2017, it advised United Technologies on its $30.3bn acquisition of Rockwell Collins and represented Whole Foods Market in its $13.7bn acquisition by Amazon.com. Founding partner Martin Lipton continues to be at the forefront of technically challenging and transformational deals involving US corporations. The ‘standoutAdam Emmerich is a ‘fantastic lawyer’, as are David Katz, Steven Rosenblum and Andrew Nussbaum. Edward Herlihy, Daniel Neff, Andrew Brownstein and Igor Kirman are also formidable practitioners.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP is building market share in the $1bn-plus deal segment. The firm has ‘great lawyers’ and is consistently praised for ‘entrenching itself in cross-border deals’, but it also has a fast-growing profile in domestic transactions. Now active across all key industries, it is especially notable for its market share of financial services and technology deals, and for a firm with no West Coast office it has a huge market share of deals on behalf of Silicon Valley tech firms, such as Google/Alphabet. Moreover, the firm’s unparalleled global standing in antitrust makes it a preferred firm for corporates that have an especially strong or dominant market share. Clients include Clariant, Henkel, Verizon Communications, Vale, General Motors, Stanley Black & Decker and 3M. The firm recently advised Google on its $1.1bn acquisition of part of HTC’s mobile division, which involved the transfer of thousands of HTC employees to Google and a non-exclusive license for HTC intellectual property. The firm’s record in technology M&A has helped it build formidable experience in employee retention and tax structuring. In another headline deal, it advised Clariant on its proposed $20bn merger of equals with Huntsman Corporation. Ethan Klingsberg has impressed in a string of deals for Alphabet/Google as well as other tech clients, and assisted Keysight Technologies with its $1.6bn all-cash takeover of Ixia. Glenn McGrory is building his profile in both domestic and cross-border deals, while senior name Victor Lewkow provides further gravitas and experience in complex transactions. Benet O’Reilly, Matthew Salerno, Neil Whoriskey, Christopher Austin and Paul Shim are also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has invested heavily in its M&A practice over the last decade and recently welcomed Eric Schiele from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Clients now point to the ‘extremely high availability and deep bench’ at a firm that has ‘expanded its presence’ in key locations such as Houston, where ‘very strong lawyerAndrew Calder is at the forefront of energy M&A and private equity. Calder led the team that advised Energy Future Holdings on its $18.8bn sale to a newly formed subsidiary of Sempra Energy, which included its 80% indirect interest in Oncor Electric Delivery. The firm has a consistent pipeline of significant strategic M&A deals as well as takeover and activist defense engagements. In 2017, it advised Amsterdam-based AkzoNobel on its successful takeover defense against PPG’s $29.5bn merger proposal; this work included the successful defense against Elliott Management’s attempt to remove Antony Burgmans as chairman of AkzoNobel. In another marquee matter, it advised Huntsman Corporation on its $20bn all-stock merger of equals with Clariant. The firm’s ambitious lateral recruitment strategy continues to pay dividends with Jonathan Davis, a 2016 hire from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, advising Mead Johnson Nutrition on its $17.9bn acquisition by UK-headquartered Reckitt Benckiser Group, one of the largest UK to US transactions in history. David Fox operates at the top of the market, as do Daniel Wolf, Sarkis Jebejian, David Feirstein, Peter Martelli and William Sorabella. Chicago-based Scott Falk is ‘a truly effective advocate’ who is ‘very effective at guiding the deal to meet the greater corporate goal’. Dean Shulman provides tax advice on M&A transactions and Washington DC’s Mario Mancuso is a formidable CFIUS specialist. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

For a firm that did not originate in New York, Latham & Watkins LLP has an incredibly impressive profile in what is the key deal hub for the US and in many ways the world. It also has considerable M&A strength in other major US cities and across its impressive international network. Domestically, its strength on the West Coast is especially notable, particularly in semiconductor and life science industry deals, and it also has considerable strength in Chicago and in Houston. Internationally, it has invested heavily in building up its strength in Europe and Asia. This has positioned the firm as a go to for large-cap domestic and cross-border deals, and clients include the likes of Siemens, Broadcom, Virgin America, Emerson Electric, Anadarko Petroleum, Energy Transfer Partners and ICU Medical. The firm advised Siemens on its $4.5bn acquisition of Mentor Graphics and represented Virgin America in its $4.43bn reverse triangular merger with Alaska Air Group. The Silicon Valley office continued to lead the advice to Broadcom on its $5.9bn acquisition of Brocade Communications Systems, the fiber channel storage area network switching and IP networking company. And a multi-jurisdictional team continued to advise FMC Technologies on its $13bn cross-border merger of equals with French company Technip. New York’s David Allinson leads the M&A department along with Chicago-based ‘great M&A attorneyBradley Faris and Luke Bergstrom in Silicon Valley. Orange County’s Charles Ruck is a leader in big-ticket pharmaceuticals and life sciences deals. New York’s Mark Gerstein is another class act, as are fellow New York partners Adel Aslani-Far and Ted Sonnenschein, and William Finnegan in Houston, who recently advised Energy Transfer Partners on its $21.3bn sale to Sunoco Logistics Partners. Peter Harwich joined from Allen & Overy LLP in September 2017.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP continues to increase its market share of large-cap, headline-making transactions and has steadily transitioned from a ‘sometimes player to a consistent player’. The team provides ‘a really excellent service’ and ‘keeps the transaction smooth even with all of the complications that inevitably creep in’. The firm is ‘a strong performer’ that delivers ‘very good business acumen and pragmatism’. The arrival of ‘great lawyerScott Barshay from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in 2016 has propelled the firm to greater heights, and the celebrated dealmaker was sought out by The Kraft Heinz Company to advise on its proposed $143bn acquisition of UK-based global consumer goods company Unilever. Barshay also led the team that advised Qualcomm on the $130bn takeover offer from Broadcom, the Singapore-based developer and global supplier of digital and analog semiconductor connectivity products. Another major player is Robert Schumer, who is ‘still one of the best M&A lawyers out there’ and continues to impress in large-cap deals; he advised Canadian fertilizer giant Agrium on its $36bn merger of equals with Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan, the world’s largest crop nutrient company. The firm’s leading litigation practice provides additional firepower in contested deals and shareholder activism. Its high-quality finance practice also provides the M&A group with additional connections to leading banks. Moreover, the private equity buyouts side of the practice continues to grow considerably, most notably with Taurie Zeitzer leading the firm’s relationship with Apollo Global Management, which has created yet another pipeline of large-cap deals. In public M&A, Jeffrey Marell has made an impression working alongside Barshay and in acting as lead partner on deals. The up-and-coming Justin Hamill is a big name in entertainment deals and Steven Williamsknows how to manage a transaction’ and ‘remove much of the stress from the client’s perspective’. David Klein has ‘strong business sense’ and Ariel Deckelbaum is also recommended.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is experienced handling large-cap and transformative deals as well as hostile takeovers, takeover defense and activism defense work. The team operates at ‘a very high level’, is ‘time efficient’ and ‘has an ability learn from past experiences’. ‘Billings are reasonable for the high level of service and expertise’, according to one client. The firm has one of the world’s leading restructuring and bankruptcy practices and, as a result, has a leading presence in distressed M&A deals and transactions linked to bankruptcies. In 2017, the firm advised Reynolds American’s transaction committee of the board of directors on the company’s $60.6bn sale to British American Tobacco, and assisted Scripps Networks Interactive with its $14.6bn merger with Discovery Communications. It also advised Procter & Gamble on a recent proxy contest with an activist investor. Corporate department chairman Michael Aiello is ‘practical’, ‘pragmatic’ and ‘has earned an enormous amount of respect’. Frederick Greenbrings level-headedness and business savvy that multiplies his legal expertise’, with one client suggesting that his attributes were integral to keeping an especially tense and vulnerable transaction on course. Howard Chatzinoff and Michael Lubowitz are also key names, and Jackie Cohen is ‘responsive, available, always calm with a very high level knowledge and experience’, and is ‘open minded and able to work on international transactions with an ability to manage all sorts of cultural expectations’. Matthew Gilroy is another emerging talent, and Marc Silberberg and Paul Wessel are praised by clients for their expertise in M&A-related tax and executive compensation respectively. All named partners are based in New York.

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a relatively compact M&A department compared to some of its competitors, yet it maintains an impressive market share of headline and complex deals. The firm has a particularly strong profile in certain industry segments, notably technology, telecoms, media, healthcare, financial services and private equity. Its longstanding private equity expertise has helped it bring innovative forms of deal technology to the strategic M&A segment and align itself with novel forms of financing. In 2017, the firm made a big splash in the media sector, advising Tribune Media on its $6.6bn sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group and Time Inc on its $2.8bn sale to Meredith Corporation. Moreover, the firm advised Discovery Communications on its $14.6bn acquisition of Scripps Networks Interactive and Verizon Communications on its $3.1bn all-stock acquisition of Straight Path Communications, beating off AT&T in an especially intense bidding war. The firm continues to represent biopharmaceutical giant Allergan on a regular basis, and advised it on its $2.47bn acquisition of medical technology company Zeltiq. The ‘great team’ has ‘broad expertise from deal strategy to SEC/regulatory, board advice and tax’. The department is ‘very collegial’, ‘always accessible’ and ‘worth every penny’. The firm is recommended for ‘more complex and public company M&A deals’ and clients believe that it provides ‘a leg up over counterparties in deals’ and ‘is more user-friendly than others’. Chair of the corporate department, Jeffrey Rosen is ‘strong on big, complex deal negotiations and on tax-related matters’. Paul Bird straddles strategic M&A and private equity buyouts, is ‘a trusted voice at board meetings’ and is ‘always thoughtful and calm under pressure’. Co-head of the M&A group William Regner is a ‘phenomenal lawyer’, is ‘business savvy and practical’, ‘relates well to C-suite and board members’ and ‘gives highly sophisticated advice in a way that is easy to understand and act on’. Fellow co-head of the M&A group Gregory Gooding is a leader in financial services deals. Technology, telecoms and media expert and regular adviser to Verizon Michael Diz is ‘good on M&A and complex negotiations’. Andrew Bab and Kevin Rinker are noted for healthcare deals, with the latter also recognized for private equity buyouts expertise. Jonathan Levitsky is active in the media sector and was the lead partner on the previously mentioned Discovery Communications transaction.

In 2017, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP launched a new Houston office, providing the firm with even greater credibility in energy M&A. As part of the development of the office, the firm hired energy M&A specialist Tull Florey from Baker Botts L.L.P.. The firm has an especially strong record in domestic M&A and is a growing force in cross-border deals, including those involving Europe, Asia and Latin America. It is also widely recognized for its expertise in corporate governance, proxy contests, takeover defense and activist defense. In 2017, the team advised CalAtlantic Group on its $9.3bn merger with Lennar Group. It also represented Lazard Frères & Co as financial adviser to Johnson & Johnson in its $30bn acquisition of Actelion, the Swiss rare drug maker. In the energy sector, it advised energy infrastructure client The Williams Companies on a $11.4bn financial repositioning transaction with Williams Partners to improve Williams Partners’ cost of capital and to simplify its capital structure. Washington DC’s Stephen Glover is an ‘all-round great practitioner’ who inspires confidence in peers and clients. New York partner Barbara Becker is a ‘great lawyer’, known for her expertise in large-cap M&A, hostile takeovers and activist defense work. Dallas-based Jeffrey Chapman is another prominent figure, along with Palo Alto partner Joseph Barbeau, New York’s Dennis Friedman and Jonathan Layne in Los Angeles.

Jones Day’s geographic coverage across the US and overseas provides a virtually unrivalled platform for corporate client relationships and a high volume of deals. Detroit, Minneapolis and Miami are all relatively new domestic offices that have helped the firm expand its client portfolio still further. Its full-service approach is also a draw to many corporates, with its strong teams in intellectual property, labor law, government regulatory matters and many others contributing to the success of the M&A group. Clients regard the team as ‘outstanding’, ‘first rate in its responsiveness’, with one hailing it ‘the best’. Clients also highlight its ability to understand industry drivers and operate a ‘partnering’ approach, while knowing when to allow in-house teams to run the transaction or ‘assume the lead if warranted by the deal dynamics or subject matter’. The firm has impressed in real estate, life sciences and technology transactions, and continues to be at the forefront of financial institutions and chemical sector deals. Energy is another growing area for the team. In 2017, it continued to advise regular client Reynolds American on its $49bn sale to British American Tobacco and represented Linear Technology in its $14.8bn sale to Analog Devices. Moreover, the firm advised private equity firm Carlyle on its $4bn sale of Signode Industrial Group to Crown Holdings. Global chair of M&A Robert Profusek has immense experience and is frequently engaged on big-ticket deals. Cleveland’s Lyle Ganske is noted for takeovers and shareholder activism defense, while James Dougherty has fine record in real estate and chemicals deals and takeover defense work. Randi Lesnick has tremendous big-ticket deal experience in the consumer and retail and technology sectors, and Silicon Valley’s Daniel Mitz is a leader in tech deals. Houston partner Jeffrey Schlegel is ‘consistently outstanding’ in energy transactions and newly promoted partner Benjamin Stulberg is ‘outstanding’ in public M&A. Attorneys are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Shearman & Sterling LLP does not have the size of team of some of its competitors but nevertheless maintains a significant market share of marquee domestic and cross-border deals. In 2017, it advised CVS on its $69bn acquisition of Aetna, an industry transforming transaction for the healthcare sector. Demonstrating its expertise in cross-border deals, it also advised Swiss pharmaceuticals company Novartis on its $3.9bn acquisition of Advanced Accelerator Applications, the Nasdaq-listed French cancer specialist company. Moreover, it continued to represent General Electric in its $32bn acquisition of Baker Hughes, which was combined with GE Oil & Gas to create a new public company listed on the NYSE. The firm also continues to impress in complex spin-offs and carve-out transactions. Other notable clients include Altice USA, Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, Dow, ExxonMobil, Fairfax Financial Holdings, Nokia, Temasek and WebMD Health. Head of the global M&A group George Casey is an outstanding practitioner in large-cap cross-border and domestic deals, and in headline carve-outs and spin-offs. Scott Petepiece, the head of the firm’s New York M&A group, has a fine record in M&A, private equity buyouts and transactions involving sovereign wealth funds. Senior partner Creighton Condon led the team that advised CVS on its landmark acquisition of Aetna and continues to work on many of the firm’s marquee transactions. John Marzulli led the team working on General Electric’s acquisition of Baker Hughes. Robert Katz is another key partner, and Brien Wassner joined from Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP. All named partners are based in New York.

White & Case LLP impresses with its domestic and global credentials and is engaged in a high volume of large-cap M&A transactions. Clients highlight the firm’s ‘solid counsel in many jurisdictions due to its global presence’ making it ‘head and shoulders above’ many others on cross-border deals and ‘a powerhouse among M&A law firms’. Clients also praise the ‘innovative approach’, ‘depth and breadth of the M&A practice’, ‘outstanding judgment with a thorough understanding of relevant market and industries’ and ‘seamless and outstanding client service’. It is ‘more responsive, creative and practical than many other firms’, according to one client. In addition, the team’s experience in private equity, makes it especially adept in competitive auction situations. In 2017, the firm advised power generation company Calpine Corporation on its $17bn sale to Energy Capital Partners and a consortium of investors. It continued to advise health benefits giant Anthem on its landmark $54.2bn acquisition of global health insurance service company Cigna Corporation; the firm’s work involved headline disputes with Cigna in the Delaware Court of Chancery over payment of a $1.85bn reverse termination fee and other claims relating to alleged breaches of the merger agreement. Further demonstrating the firm’s experience in energy and infrastructure, it advised Sempra Energy on its $18.8bn acquisition of Energy Future Holdings, which indirectly owns 80% of Oncor Electric Delivery. John Reiss is global head of M&A and ‘ensures that the firm works seamlessly across multiple offices, jurisdictions and practice areas’. Global co-head of the private equity practice Oliver Brahmst and head of the Americas corporate and M&A practice Gregory Pryor are also high-profile names. Dan Dufner is ‘extremely responsive, creative and flexible’, ‘an extraordinary counselor’ with ‘skill, sound judgment, loyalty and dedication’. Morton Pierce brings further senior level gravitas and Michael Shenberg is recommended for power sector deals. Silicon Valley’s global head of technology M&A William Choe is ‘top notch’, ‘invests time into understanding clients’ businesses and strategy’, ‘is commercially savvy’ and ‘provides effective communication’. Denise Cerasani is ‘second to none’ and has ‘best-in-class judgment’; she is noted for her experience with financial advisers. Clients also praise the strength of the firm’s tax team in M&A transactions. Named partners are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is ‘one of the premier New York M&A shops’, is ‘one of the top M&A firms in the country’ and is ‘involved in some of the most significant deals around’, according to clients. It is praised for its ‘tremendous service’ and ‘unfailingly excellent, always-responsive, thoughtful and creative, and business-sensitive legal advice’, and for is ‘deep bench of experts’ who ‘understand clients’ businesses’. It continues to underline its credentials in the pharmaceutical, healthcare, real estate and media sectors, and looks after clients such as Aleris Corporation, Ascential, Ctalent, Coach, Genesys Telecommunications Laboratories, Humana, Koch Industries and Morgans Hotel Group. It advised Sinclair Broadcast Group on its $6.89bn acquisition of Tribune Media Company, and represented Knight Transportation in its $6bn all-stock merger with Swift Transportation Company. The firm has ‘tremendous partners’, including Philip Richter, who is ‘a very knowledgeable M&A lawyer’ and ‘the best I have used’, according to one client. Robert Schwenkel is another leader in M&A and private equity, and Christopher Ewan, Steven Steinman and Washington DC’s Brian Mangino are other pivotal members of the practice. Steven Epstein and Matthew Soran are ‘extremely responsive, deeply knowledgeable about M&A, are willing to work through difficult subjects and are creative in addressing problems’.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s national coverage was greatly enhanced by the arrival of a prominent team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, led by Richard Climan, Keith Flaum and Jane Ross, to its Silicon Valley office in 2017. The team brings a wealth of technology sector experience, having advised on many of the largest transactions involving West Coast-based tech companies. Before joining the firm, Flaum advised Oracle on a series of transactions, including its $9.3bn acquisition of NetSuite. The firm is also strong in real estate deals, especially those involving REITs, as well as in aerospace, defense and government-related transactions. The automotive, healthcare and life sciences sectors are also key for the firm, and it is looking to grow its presence in relation to energy, natural resources and infrastructure; to this end it hired energy sector specialist Greg Hill into its Houston office from Locke Lord LLP in 2017. Major clients include Oracle, Dell Technologies, Lockheed Martin, Novartis, Honeywell, Allergan, Daimler and General Electric. The firm advised JBG Companies on its $8.4bn merger with Vornado Realty Trust to create JBG Smith Properties, the largest public real estate company in Washington DC. It also represented Orbital ATK, an aerospace and defense technologies company, in its $9.2bn sale to global security company Northrop Grumman. Clients praise the team for its expertise in ‘complex cross-border deals’, its ‘sterling and unmatched service’, its ability to act as ‘true collaborators and counselors’ and for ‘never letting the legal cart drive the business horse’. New York and Washington DC based global head of the M&A practice William Curtingets impossible deals done’ and is commended for his ‘experience, creativity, availability and business understanding’. Joseph Gilligan is co-chair of the US M&A committee and New York’s Alex Johnson is a key name in media and private equity transactions. New York partner Adam Golden is recommended for healthcare and life sciences deals, and Glenn Campbell (Baltimore) and Elizabeth Donley are also pivotal members of the team. David Bonser is a leader in real estate and REIT transactions. Attorneys are Washington DC based unless stated otherwise.

Mayer Brown takes on a considerable volume of large-cap domestic and cross-border M&A. The firm has an especially strong presence in Chicago, but also has key M&A practitioners in New York, Houston and elsewhere. Life sciences, financial institutions, energy, technology and gaming are among its most active industries. Recent work includes advising CIBC on its $3.8bn cash and stock acquisition of PrivateBancorp and its subsidiary The PrivateBank, a middle-market commercial bank with $17.7bn in assets, and representing TransCanada in the $2.2bn sale of its power business assets in the northeast of the US. It also advised The Hartford Financial Services Group on its $1.45bn acquisition of Aetna’s US group life and disability business. Other clients include Ally Financial, AT&T, Caesars Entertainment, Cargill, Caterpillar, Dow, ExxonMobil, Macquarie, Wells Fargo and Yum! Brands. William Kucera and Jodi Simala are chairs of the M&A practice, which also includes Frederick Thomas and Marc Sperber. Andrew Noreuil is another frequent adviser on large-cap M&A transactions, as are New York-based David Alberts and Philip Brandes. Attorneys are Chicago based unless stated otherwise.

Morrison & Foerster LLP is at the forefront of technology, telecoms and media deals, thanks partly to its Tokyo presence and its relationships with the hugely acquisitive SoftBank and several other blue-chip Japan-listed companies. The US team, led by San Francisco partner and co-chair of the global M&A practice Robert Townsend, has worked on a series of acquisitions and investments for SoftBank, including advising OneWeb and SoftBank on OneWeb’s proposed $13bn merger with Intelsat, which also involved SoftBank’s agreement to invest $1.7bn into the combined entity. Much of the firm’s senior M&A talent is concentrated in Northern California, but its other US offices - including New York and Washington DC - have notable strength. The firm recently advised Israel-based Mobileye on its $15.3bn acquisition by Intel. In another significant transaction, the firm advised Global Logistics Properties on the proposed $11.64bn privatization of GLP by way of scheme of arrangement, with Nesta Investment Holdings acquiring all the issued and paid-up ordinary shares. Energy, life sciences and healthcare, hospitality and real estate are other active sectors for the M&A team. Other key clients include Axalta Coating Systems, Axium Infrastructure, DST Systems, ON Semiconductor, Sprint, Unilever, Visa and VMware. The team is ‘extremely helpful in M&A’ and is praised for its ‘excellent response times’, ‘business acumen’ and ‘team depth’. It has ‘a wide range of experiences in M&A’ and ‘knows how to wear a business hat and a legal hat’. Other key partners in the team include New York’s Spencer Klein, known for his expertise in life sciences and healthcare, and government industry-related M&A specialist Lawrence Yanowitch in Northern Virginia. San Francisco-based chair of the global corporate department Jackie Liu is ‘highly efficient, practical and business minded’. Eric McCrath in San Francisco is ‘a skillful negotiator who understands client service’, and Washington DC’s David Slotkin is recommended for real estate M&A.

Bracewell LLP impresses in energy M&A, most notably in relation to master limited partnerships (MLPs). The firm has a hugely impressive record in upstream and midstream oil and gas deals. In 2017, it continued to advise Great Plains Energy on its $14bn stock-for-stock merger of equals with Midwest utility company Westar Energy. It also represented DCP Midstream LLC, a 50/50 joint venture between Phillips 66 and Spectra Energy, in the combination of all its assets and debt with DCP Midstream Partners LP, creating the largest gathering and processing MLP in the US. Other clients include Apache, Chevron, Evercore, HPS Investment Partners, Kinder Morgan and Pembina Pipeline. Managing partner Gregory Bopp, William Anderson, Cleland Dade, Jason Jean, Troy Harder, Gary Orloff, Alan Rafte and Charles Still are all key members of the M&A practice and all are based in Houston.

Dechert LLP has continued to expand its team in the US and globally. In 2017, partners Nazim Zilkha, Gareth Clark and Jeff Norton joined the New York office from White & Case LLP, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP and Linklaters LLP respectively. London, Hong Kong and Singapore have also recently benefited from lateral hires. The firm advised GMéxico Transportes, a subsidiary of Grupo México, on its acquisition of the Florida East Coast Railway from Fortress Investment Group and individual shareholders. It also advised H&E Equipment Services on its proposed $1.2bn acquisition of Neff Corporation. The firm continues to make an impression in financial services and healthcare deals and is a growing force in technology. Other clients include ECN Capital, MSD Partners, Select Medical Corporation, Lazada, Lexmark, Ipsen and GIC. Mark Thierfelder is chair of the firm's corporate and securities group, while experienced Philadelphia partner Henry Nassau has ‘spectacular judgment’ and is recommended for board and company representation. Jonathan Kim, Derek Winokur, Christian Matarese and Markus Bolsinger are also key members of the team, along with Latin America expert Howard Kleinman. Former chairman of the firm Barton Winokur is a ‘brilliant lawyer and negotiator’. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise. Former partner Carmen Romano has retired.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP has increased and diversified its presence in the large-cap M&A space. Dean Sattler was promoted to partner in 2017 and adds greater weight to the firm’s standing in public company transactions, including the representation of financial advisers. The firm ‘has assembled a leading team in power and energy’, ‘shows unparalleled service and dedication to clients’ needs’ and its ‘value for money is extremely high’. Advising financial advisers has become a key forte of the practice, in part thanks to the firm’s longstanding relationships with bank clients. In 2017, Sattler led the team that advised Raymond James & Association as financial adviser to Mobileye on its $15.3bn acquisition by Cyclops Holdings, a subsidiary of Intel. The firm also continued to advise Eldorado Resorts on its $2bn acquisition of Isle of Capri Casinos. It remains active in cross-border deals, especially involving Latin America. The firm provides ‘a top-notch service’, ‘super-fast responses’, ‘fantastic advice’ and ‘A-list industry knowledge’. Los Angeles-based Kenneth Baronsky is ‘extremely knowledgeable, very well connected, super responsive and thinks out of the box’. New York partner John Franchini is ‘a clear leader and trusted M&A adviser in the power and energy sector’ and is ‘extremely thoughtful, creative and strategic’. New York’s Scott Golenbock is also recommended, as are Los Angeles-based Adam Moses and Casey Fleck, the latter having joined from Latham & Watkins LLP in 2017.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP’s further international expansion, most notably in Asia, has positioned the US M&A team for additional growth in cross-border deals. The team benefitted from a buoyant strategic M&A and private equity buyouts market in 2017 and its strong focus on financial services, technology, life sciences, healthcare, energy, and media and entertainment. One of the largest law firms in the US by headcount, it has a good record in domestic deals and is frequently sought out by non-US based multinationals for inbound acquisitions. Furthermore, the firm’s breadth, which includes strong intellectual property, employment, employee benefits and regulatory teams, is a significant draw to clients. It recently advised Iron Mountain on its $1.32bn agreement to acquire the US operation of IO Data Centers; this was the firm’s first M&A engagement from Iron Mountain. It also advised Harron Communications on its $1.4bn sale of the Metrocast cable systems brand to Atlantic Broadband, a subsidiary of Cogeco Communications. The firm has especially strong M&A teams in New York, Philadelphia and Boston, backed up by further talent in California and Texas. The team is ‘incredibly responsive’, ‘deeply knowledgeable’, ‘hugely value for money’ with the firm providing ‘well-reasoned and practical advice’. Philadelphia’s Richard Aldridge and Boston partner Laurie Cerveny lead the team and the latter is praised for being ‘very practical, smart and responsive’. Charles Engros is a ‘first-rate M&A specialist and outstanding relationship partner who always goes the extra mile’. Robert Dickey is ‘outstanding in his technical competence and service-oriented nature’. Boston partner Steven Browne is ‘a terrific lawyer’, ‘an excellent communicator and negotiator’ with ‘in-depth knowledge’ and ‘business acumen’. Steven Navarro and Orange County-based James Loss are also recommended. Partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Proskauer Rose LLP has an impressive standing on both the East and West coasts, with Los Angeles managing partner and co-head of the global M&A group Michael Woronoff being one of the most prominent M&A lawyers in California. The firm continues to impress in large-cap transactions, including those in the healthcare and life sciences, leisure and hospitality, technology, consumer products, real estate and sports sectors. It recently advised long-time client Celgene on its $9bn acquisition of Juno Therapeutics, and assisted Morgan Stanley as the financial adviser to Starwood Waypoint regarding its $20bn merger of equals with Invitation Homes. The firm has a fine record in cross-border deals, especially those involving Latin America; in this regard Carlos Martinez is a key partner. Other key clients include Accor, Ascena Retail Group, Arkema, Discovery Communications, Grifols and a series of prominent private equity houses. The ‘top-notch’ team provides ‘a service and advice that is consistently outstanding’. Ron Papa is co-head of the global M&A group and Robert Cantone is praised for his ‘knowledge, demeanor and professionalism’, with one client saying he is ‘one of the finest lawyers in the United States’. Jeffrey Horwitz has an outstanding record in real estate, leisure and hospitality deals, and Daniel Ganitsky is another prominent member of the team, especially in cross-border deals. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Ropes & Gray LLP is gaining further ground on its rivals, particularly through the build-out of its New York office and its growing presence on the West Coast. In 2017, the firm hired Bay Area giant Paul Scrivano as global head of the M&A practice. He brings considerable experience in technology sector deals, most notably in the semiconductors space. Nationwide the firm remains a leader in life sciences and healthcare, and in the asset management sector. It has also made considerable headway in representing financial advisers to M&A transactions, particularly following the recruitment of John Sorkin in 2015. He and his team have cemented stronger relationships to key investment banks, enabling the firm to increase its market share of financial adviser roles, but also gain recommendations and referrals from influential bankers. It continues to be recognized as a leader in private equity, which frequently leads to prime strategic M&A engagements, and is able to provide support in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) matters, tax, data privacy, intellectual property and executive compensation. It advised cornerstone client Bain Capital on a Bain-led consortium’s $18bn acquisition of Toshiba Memory from Toshiba Corporation, reported to be the largest Japanese deal since 2011 and the largest private equity and leveraged finance deal ever in Asia. A team led by Scrivano advised Mentor Graphics on its $4.5bn acquisition by Siemens Industry. In another major deal, the firm advised Multi Packaging Solutions on its $2.28bn acquisition by WestRock, one of the world’s leading paper and packaging providers. Other clients include Bright Horizons, Covidien, Dunkin’ Brands Group, Habit Restaurants, Marquee Brands, Pfizer, Planet Fitness and Reebok International. Other key partners include New York and Boston based Jane Goldstein, who is co-head of the M&A group, Christopher Comeau, who is recommended for large-cap life sciences deals, and chair-elect Julie Jones, who covers both private equity buyouts and strategic M&A. Paul Kinsella is also recommended for life sciences, pharmaceuticals and biotech transactions. New York-based Othon Prounis and Carl Marcellino are also noted for their mix of strategic M&A and private equity. Named partners are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.

For large-cap energy sector deals, Vinson & Elkins LLP virtually stands alone. It has the client base and extensive senior resources to handle multiple deals at any one time. Primarily split between Houston and New York, the team is praised for its ‘commercial approach’ and ‘ability to drive a process forward’. It is ‘always incredibly responsive and flexible to meet the client’s needs’, ‘shows dedication to getting things over the finish line’ and ‘has a pool of top-quality lawyers to draw from, including at the associate level’. It has particular expertise in the exploration and production space, and has made an additional impression in representing special purpose acquisition companies. Clients include AltaGas, Chisholm Energy, Devon Energy, Huntsman, Jonah Energy, MORSCO, Rice Energy, Southwest Airlines and a number of big-name private equity houses. It advised Sunoco Logistics Partners on its $20bn merger with Transfer Partners, creating one of the largest MLPs in the world. It also advised Rice Energy on its $8.2bn merger with EQT Corporation, creating the largest domestic natural gas producer in the US. Key partners in the team include senior name Keith Fullenweider, Matthew Strock and New York-based James Fox. Stephen Gill and Lande Spottswood are up-and-coming names. Jeffrey Floyd provides ‘sage guidance’ and ‘focuses on the issues that really matter’. Attorneys are based in Houston unless stated otherwise.

Allen & Overy LLP remained active in large-cap M&A in 2017 and continues to impress in cross-border deals, especially those in the TMT, life sciences, energy and financial institutions sectors. Software is an especially strong industry for the New York office, which recently advised SAP on its $2.4bn acquisition of Callidus Software, the Dublin-headquartered and Nasdaq-listed cloud-based solutions company. The New York team also had a key role advising Worldpay Group on its $9bn merger with New York-listed payments company Vantiv. Moreover, the firm represented global healthcare company Fresenius Kabi in its $4.3bn acquisition of Akorn, a Nasdaq-listed manufacturer of prescription and over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. Other clients include Associated British Foods, GlaxoSmithKline, Total, Thomson Reuters, Thai Union and Exponent. Key New York partner Eric Shube is head of the US corporate practice. Peter Harwich moved to Latham & Watkins LLP in September 2017.

Baker Botts L.L.P. has a notable record in large-cap M&A, thanks in part to its illustrious client base of Texas-based companies and its position as a global leader in the energy and oil and gas space. Clients give the firm ‘high marks for its level of service’ and praise its ‘industry knowledge, business acumen, responsiveness, appropriateness of advice and value’. In addition to energy deals, the firm has seen a notable uptick in private equity-driven M&A and also TMT deals. Clients include Liberty Media, Mediacom Communications, AES Corporation, AT&T, Delta Topco, Chesapeake Energy, Halliburton, Hunt Oil, Shell Midstream Partners, Williams Partners and SunPower. It advised Liberty Interactive on its $1.12bn acquisition of General Communication, and assisted Starz with its $4.4bn sale to Lions Gate Entertainment, one of the largest entertainment sector deals in recent years. Co-chair of the firm-wide corporate department David Kirkland is a big name in Houston, especially in the oilfield services sector, while New York-based fellow co-chair Mike Bengston ‘brings a dynamic blend of experience, service, knowledge of the industry and value’. Renee Wilm is another key figure in New York, especially in the technology, telecoms and media space. A team including energy M&A specialist Tull Florey joined Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in May 2017.

Baker McKenzie LLP has an extensive international network, making it a prime candidate for major cross-border deals, most notably within the pharmaceuticals, healthcare, manufacturing, technology and consumer goods sectors. Clients include Abbott Laboratories, Accenture, Bayer, Cardtronics, FedEx, McDonald’s, Motorola Solutions, Quest Diagnostics, Sika, Symantec, Unilever and Walgreens Boots Alliance. The firm advised Abbott Laboratories on the $1.12bn sale of its medical products to Japanese healthcare company Terumo. It also represented Konica Minolta in its $1bn acquisition of Ambry Genetics. Matthew Gemello is chair of the North America corporate and securities practice and has a fine record in technology deals. Chair of the global M&A practice Michael DeFranco has worked on a range of cross-border deals, including for FedEx. Olivia Tyrrell, David Malliband, and New York partner Alan Zoccolillo are also recommended. Partners are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP has an impressive record in public company M&A, shareholder activism, hostile transactions, proxy contests and corporate governance engagements. The firm has an especially strong standing in pharmaceuticals, medical devices and healthcare deals, and in financial services transactions. Clients include Mantle Ridge, Pershing Square Capital Management, The Howard Hughes Corporation, Ashford Hospitality Trust, Marcato Capital Management, AngioDynamics, The Medicines Company and The Renco Group. It advised investment firm Mantle Ridge on its investment in transportation company CSX, represented hedge fund Pershing Square in its $4bn investment into Automatic Data Processing, and advised Ashford Hospitality Trust on its $1.27bn unsolicited proposal to acquire FelCor Lodging Trust. Richard Brand is co-chairman of the firm’s corporate group and has an excellent record in public M&A and shareholder activism matters. William Mills is recommended for healthcare deals. Both partners are based in New York.

Clifford Chance stands out for its work on cross-border deals, particularly involving Latin America. The firm is ‘a very good one-stop shop and among the best’, according to clients. In a matter involving Asia and Latin America, a team led by David Brinton advised China-based CITIC Agri Fund Management on its $1.1bn acquisition of Dow AgroSciences’ corn feed business in Brazil. Sarah Jones, a leader in consumer goods and retail, led a team that advised The Coca-Cola Company and Coca-Cola FEMSA on their $580m acquisition of AdeS Alimentos de Soja, a South American soy-based beverage business, from Unilever. In other headline deals, the firm represented The National Titanium Dioxide Company (Cristal) in its $1.67bn disposition of its global titanium dioxide business to US-listed Australian company Tronox. It also advised Hearst Business Media on its acquisition of CAMP Systems International from private equity firm GTCR. The firm continues to build its profile in private equity, in part thanks to the presence of Kevin Lehpamer, who is ‘very measured, knowledgeable and understands clients’ requirements’. Key sectors for the practice include energy and infrastructure, consumer and retail, healthcare, and media and technology. Another key partner is Benjamin Sibbett, known for his healthcare and media sector expertise; he led the team on the previously mentioned Hearst Business Media transaction. Joseph Cosentino re-joined the New York office from Greenberg Traurig LLP in 2017, further boosting the team’s public company deal expertise. John Healy is also recommended. All named partners are based in New York.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP continues to make an impression in inbound and outbound transactions, thanks in part to its high level of M&A expertise in multiple jurisdictions, especially in Europe and Asia. In the US, it has ‘very high quality across the board’, with one client saying it delivers ‘advice and expertise to rival any other firm’. This helps it to deliver ‘raw legal ability and commercial and strategic advice in equal measure’, which is reinforced by its ‘international strength’. It advised BASF, the German chemical company, on its $7bn acquisition of Bayer’s seed and non-selective herbicide business. It also advised Henderson Group on its $6bn all-stock merger of equals with Janus Capital Group. Peter Lyons, US regional managing partner, is ‘an extremely impressive heavy hitter’ and has ‘an ability to see the bigger picture’, allowing him to provide ‘strategic and tactical advice’. Matthew Herman and Mitchell Presser are also highly regarded, and Aly El Hamamsy’s ‘experience, ability and straightforward style make him a very good go-to lawyer for US M&A’. Omar Pringle was elevated to the partnership in 2017, and Doug Bacon joined Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Houston office.

Greenberg Traurig LLP has a sizable department, with senior M&A practitioners operating from many of its 29 US offices. This geographic reach helps the firm service a diverse client base spanning a wide range of industries. On top of this, it is also noted for its expertise in cross-border M&A, particularly involving Latin America. In this regard, Miami-based vice chair of the firm Patricia Menéndez-Cambó has an outstanding reputation. The firm has developed an especially strong record in technology, healthcare, life sciences and pharmaceuticals transactions, and clients include the likes of AstraZeneca, Hard Rock International, Ryder System, Arlington Capital Partners, Macquarie Bank, TerraForm Power, Ocelot Partners and The Stars Group. Dennis Block, the New York-based senior chairman of the global M&A practice, recently led a team that advised the corporate governance and conflicts committee of the board of directors of TerraForm Power on the committee’s review of strategic options and the proposed $1.7bn merger and sponsorship transaction with Brookfield Asset Management. The firm’s growing presence in private equity saw it advise Medina Capital on its $2.8bn joint venture with international private equity house BC Partners. Alan Annex in New York, Chicago-based Peter Lieberman and Fort Lauderdale partner Bruce March are joint chairs of the corporate practice.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP is noted for growth company and tech M&A, especially involving West Coast-based companies. The firm also has a great deal of experience in US-Asia transactions. In 2017, it advised DigitalGlobe, a global provider of high-resolution Earth-imagery products and services, on its $3.6bn acquisition by MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates. It also represented Healthcare Trust of America in its $2.75bn acquisition of Duke Realty Corporation’s medical office building assets and medical development platform. In another large-cap transaction, it advised Sabra Healthcare Reit on its $7.4bn all-stock merger with Care Capital Properties. Silicon Valley’s Warren Lazarow is co-chairman of the global corporate department and Newport Beach-based Jay Herron is head of the global M&A and private equity practice. Paul Sieben is another senior name in Silicon Valley, while New York’s Tobias Knapp is a key figure on the East Coast, particularly in the technology sector. Paul Scrivano has joined Ropes & Gray LLP.

Paul Hastings LLP has an impressive record in domestic and cross-border M&A, including US-Asia deals. It has an especially strong M&A practice in media, entertainment, technology and life sciences, and is gaining greater prominence in representing financial advisers to M&A transactions. With strength in California, Chicago, New York, Houston and other key centers, the firm is able to capture a significant market share of large-cap M&A involving North American parties. The New York team was recently augmented by the arrival of Robert Leung, Mike Huang and Stefan dePozsgay from Boies Schiller Flexner LLP. Clients include Goldman Sachs, CDH Investment Partners, Eli Lilly, as well as Samsung, which the team advised on its $8bn acquisition of Harman International Industries, the largest Korean outbound M&A transaction on record. San Diego-based global chair of the M&A group Carl Sanchez, Los Angeles partners David Hernand and Robert Miller, head of the New York M&A practice David Shine and New York partner Samuel Waxman are also names to note. San Francisco’s Steve Camahort recently advised Goldman Sachs as financial adviser to Amazon on its $13.7bn acquisition of Whole Foods.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP reinforced its already strong M&A practice with a series of lateral hires, including Cody Carper and Kfir Abutbul who joined in Houston from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Kevin O’Mara who joined in New York from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The firm has well-established reputation in energy sector deals but also continues to impress in financial services, technology, telecoms and media. In 2017, the firm continued to advise Level 3 Communications on its headline $34bn sale to CenturyLink and represented Allied World Assurance in its $4.9bn merger with Fairfax Financial Holdings. It also advised Assurant on its acquisition of The Warranty Group. Clients praise the firm’s insurance M&A expertise, its ‘flexibility’, ‘excellent response times and excellent industry knowledge’. Other clients include Endurance Specialty Holdings, Jay Alix, Zurich Insurance, The Sterling Group, The Allstate Corporation and a number of prominent private equity houses. Notable partners include heads of department David Boston and Steven Seidman and chairman of the firm Thomas Cerabino. Gregory Astrachan is recommended for domestic and cross-border insurance deals, bringing ‘an exceptionally responsive service, experience, clear guidance and a sense of humor to the most difficult situations’. Houston partner Michael De Voe Piazza is another leader in energy deals. Named attorneys are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati’s investment in representing start-ups and technology companies has enabled it to work on a multitude of large-cap deals in the emerging growth company sector. The firm advised AppDynamics, an application intelligence software company, on its $3.7bn acquisition by Cisco. It also represented traffic visibility solutions provider Gigamon on its $1.6bn sale to Elliott Management. Michael Ringler has emerged as a leading dealmaker in Silicon Valley and the Bay Area. Larry Sonsini is a towering figure in Silicon Valley.


M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m)

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DLA Piper LLP (US)’s corporate and securities group handles stock-for-stock mergers, management buyouts, tender offers, proxy contests, cross-border acquisitions, and divisional purchases and sales; it also represents special committees of boards and advises in hostile bids and proxy contests. In New York, Daniel Eisner led advice to Arsenal Capital Partners in the sale of its portfolio company Certara, known globally for model-informed drug development technology; and Marjorie Adams assisted Datatec, a South African ICT, with the sale of its North and Latin American businesses to US-based Synnex Corporation. Buy-side highlights included the team acting for CyrusOne in its acquisition of Sentinel Data Centers, a company that designs, builds, owns and operates turn-key and multi-tenant data center facilities for large enterprises; while in the large deal space, it assisted The Coca-Cola Company with its acquisition of a majority interest in Coca-Cola Beverages Africa from Anheuser-Busch InBev. The team also acted for Chicago-based private equity firm Wind Point Partners in its sale of plastic packaging manufacturer and distributor Novolex to The Carlyle Group; and assisted alternative investment firm Kayne Anderson Capital Advisors with its sale of Silver Hill Energy Partners and Silver Hill E&P II. Additional key advisers include New York-based US M&A chair Jonathan Klein; regional managing partner of the firm’s Texas offices and US corporate co-chair John Gilluly III, who advised Cheddar’s Casual Cafe on its sale to Darden Restaurants; managing partner of the San Diego offices Jeff Baglio, who ‘has strong negotiating skills’ and advises mature and emerging technology, life sciences and consumer products companies; and Silicon Valley- and San Francisco-based Eric Wang, who serves as co-chair of the Northern California corporate and finance practice.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Focused on company-side work, K&L Gates also maintains a robust practice representing private equity firms, financial services firms, and other capital market participants. The team has particular strength in fintech and financial services, technology, healthcare and life sciences, advanced manufacturing, and energy. Key hires included former Quantum Global Group senior legal counsel David Dueno - who acts on domestic and cross-border transactions in emerging markets - joining the Chicago office, and private equity specialist James Lee arriving in New York from Goodwin. Recent matters included advising Singapore Technologies Kinetics on its cross-border acquisition of Pennsylvania-based robotics company Aethon; assisting Australia-based Mayne Pharma with its acquisition of a portfolio of branded dermatology products from UK-based GlaxoSmithKline; and acting for Florida-based FTE Networks in its acquisition of Benchmark Builders, a New York-based provider of construction management services. On the sell-side, Rick Giovannelli in Charlotte advised Wells Fargo & Company on the sale of its fund administration business; and Chicago’s Mark McMillan assisted II-VI Incorporated, known for engineered materials and optoelectronic components, with the acquisition of semiconductor company Anadigics. New York’s Robert Zinn is co-leader of the global corporate and transactional practice; Calvina Bostick advises public and private companies across a broad range of industries, including healthcare, financial services, technology, media and insurance; and Sandy Feldman’s practice is largely international, including extensive experience in Europe, South America, Canada (particularly Quebec) and the US. Seattle-based Annette Becker serves as practice area leader of the firm’s corporate and transactional practice; she is focused on public and private companies, primarily in the technology, healthcare and energy industries.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s ‘team is very quick and extremely responsive; it is also very commercially focused, understands clients’ priorities as a business and is flexible in how it staffs to suit budget and transaction type’. The firm’s Miami office was boosted by the hire of Roy Larson, formerly the Miami managing partner of Baker McKenzie LLP; and the California-based team was strengthened through the recruitment of Silicon Valley-based technology deal lawyer David Lipkin from Morrison & Foerster LLP. The New York practice regularly leads on large public company deals and cross-border matters; the Chicago corporate practice handles a mixture of public and private equity deals; the Texas transactional team is well known for deals with a telecoms and technology angle; and the Massachusetts group is noted for handling high-value life sciences deals. The practice advised Motorola Solutions on its acquisition of Spillman Technologies, a company that provides public safety software to agencies throughout the US; acted for Steward Health Care System in its acquisition of IASIS Healthcare; and assisted Amazon with specific Texas corporate issues regarding its $13.7bn acquisition of Whole Foods. Miami-based Harris Siskind, who is highly regarded for advising clients on private equity transactions, M&A deals and general corporate matters, is the firm-wide corporate chair; and ‘strong negotiator’ Thomas Conaghan leads the Washington DC corporate practice, which is noted for deals in the alcohol beverage and renewable energy industries. The recommended New York practitioners include Thomas Sauermilch (a former chair of the firm’s global M&A practice whose transactional experience extends to over 30 countries); and Timothy Alvino, whose sector experience includes avionics, energy, manufacturing, media, retail, staffing and software, and who ‘always amazes for the level of service he is prepared to give his clients as a matter of course’. In Washington DC, Samuel Wales is particularly focused on M&A deals, divestitures, recapitalization, joint ventures and the related financing required to fund such transactions. Other key advisers include Dallas’ Wilson Chu, who is ‘a great relationship manager’, Gregory Hidalgo, who is ‘very smart, does not miss the details and is a great advocate’, as well as Silicon Valley-based Mark Mihanovic, and Michael Sartor and Byron Kalogerou in Boston.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP merged with Chadbourne & Parke LLP, an international law firm with deep New York and Washington DC roots; the combination strengthened the practice’s offering in the energy, infrastructure and finance sectors. It also expanded the combined firm’s reach in the New York market, bringing in highly rated New York advisers such as Kessar Nashat, whose work covers a range of industries, including energy (particularly renewable energy), manufacturing, aerospace and defense, software, and technology; corporate and finance law specialist Charles Hord III; and William Greason, who advises public and private companies on a wide range of corporate matters. The team’s client base includes major oil and gas companies, energy and power companies, and US financial institutions, for whom it assists with public and private M&A, disposals, shareholder activism, and general commercial and corporate advisory issues. New York partner-in-charge Steve Suzzan acted for Dentsply Sirona, a manufacturer and marketer of products for the dental market, in the $375m acquisition of Israel-based dental implant manufacturer MIS Implants Technologies; Sheldon Nussbaum advised ROFIN-SINAR Technologies, a global developer and manufacturer of high-performance industrial laser sources, on its sale to Coherent, in a merger transaction valued at approximately $1bn; and David Barrett assisted Carillon Tower Advisers, a unit of Raymond James Financial (a global asset-management firm supporting autonomous boutiques), with the $172.5m acquisition of Scout Investments, along with its Reams Asset Management division. US business practice chair Gene Lewis divides his time between Denver and Houston; Dallas-based Glen Hettinger is US corporate, M&A and securities head; and Houston partner-in-charge is Brian Fenske. Efren Acosta and Edward Rhyne joined Baker Botts L.L.P.’s Houston office, and Thomas Hughes exited for Winston & Strawn’s office in Dallas.

WilmerHale grew the group through the hires of technology specialist David Haber in New York from Lowenstein Sandler LLP and Keith Trammell in Denver from Hogan Lovells US LLP. The team is highly rated for its assistance to technology, life sciences, financial services and defense industry clients, including public and private companies, investment banks, venture capital and growth equity firms, and individual entrepreneurs. It is best known for its work on middle-market transactions, but also advises on deals outside of this segment. The practice acted for aesthetic treatment manufacturer Cynosure in its sale to medical imaging and surgical products manufacturer Hologic; and advised CIRCOR International, a provider of flow control solutions, on its pending $855m acquisition of Colfax Fluid Handling. Jay Bothwick handles complex mid-market and large-cap deals, and chairs the M&A practice alongside Hal Leibowitz, whose practice focuses on corporate and securities law matters for companies in the technology, life sciences and services industries. Mick Bain, whose clients are mainly drawn from the technology and life sciences industries, co-chairs the corporate practice group; and Joseph Conahan is also highly rated. Other notable advisers include Mark Borden, who focuses on the representation of companies in the technology and finance sectors; Palo Alto’s technology and biotech expert Joseph Wyatt; Eric Hwang, who acts for technology and life sciences clients; Stephanie Evans in Washington DC, who advised industrial growth company Fortive on its acquisition of Industrial Scientific Corporation, a provider of portable gas detection equipment; and Los Angeles-based Christopher Rose. Named attorneys are based in Boston, unless otherwise stated.

Winston & Strawn LLP grew the New York practice with the hires of Chadbourne & Parke LLP’s former Latin American group chairs Allen Miller - who has extensive experience in power, infrastructure and renewable energy deals - and corporate and investment funds expert Talbert Navia, as well as private equity attorney Kevin Smith and Morton Grosz, who acts for multinational corporate clients and investment funds. Other key hires included public and private company M&A specialist Thomas Hughes in Dallas from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, and Jared Manes in New York from Jenner & Block LLP. The practice fields lawyers with deal expertise in highly regulated industries, such as energy and financial services, and its scope of work includes cross-border transactions, take-private transactions, carve-outs, and distressed acquisitions. In New York, Joel Rubinstein advised special purpose acquisition company CF Corporation on its announced acquisition of insurance company Fidelity & Guaranty Life; and Robert Rawn acted for Silgan Holdings in its acquisition of the dispensing systems business of WestRock Company. Matthew Bergmann in Chicago and Washington DC-based Christopher Zochowski lead the M&A practice; Zochowski advised Weinberg Partners on the sale of Northpoint Commercial Finance. The team also includes Chicago-based former corporate practice chair Steven Gavin, whose clients include Groupon, Morningstar and Luxottica, Robert Wall, who acts for corporations, successful entrepreneurs, investment banking firms and special board committees, and James Junewicz, who divides time between Chicago and New York and is a former assistant general counsel of the SEC. Other highly rated Chicago practitioners are former M&A, securities and corporate governance practice chair Oscar David; Gregory Bynan, whose clients include Norwest Equity Partners, Guggenheim Partners and Wynnchurch Capital; Matthew Costigan, who is recommended for M&A, joint ventures and advice to private equity and venture capital funds; Bruce Toth; and Brian Schafer. Richard Wynne is a key Houston contact.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP’s team represents public and private companies, prominent investment funds, boards of directors and special committees, investors, senior management, and shareholders in complex M&A deals, dispositions, joint ventures, partnerships and other strategic transactions. New York-based Kerry Berchem heads the corporate practice, for which recent matters included John Goodgame in Houston advising Columbia Pipeline Partners Conflicts Committee on a merger with Columbia Pipeline Group, for an aggregate transaction value of $915m. Large deal highlights included Frank Reddick in Los Angeles leading advice to pet healthcare services company VCA on its sale to Mars, and Daniel Fisher in Washington DC acting for the special committee of the board of directors of Neff Corporation in its proposed sale to United Rentals for approximately $1.3bn. Other recommended practitioners include New York’s Jeffrey Kochian, who advised an NYSE-listed provider of loyalty and marketing solutions on its acquisition of a Nasdaq-listed digital marketing company; and Adam Weinstein, who for over 20 years has served as lead counsel to a mega-cap private equity fund as well as its affiliates and portfolio companies in complex, global LBO carve-out transactions and public company acquisitions. In Dallas, Thomas Yang acts for public and private companies in mergers for cash and stock, forward and reverse triangular mergers, asset and stock sales, and joint ventures. Growth in the practice included the hiring of Irvine-based Terrence Allen - who is experienced in representing private equity funds, public and private companies and leading entrepreneurs in their most important transactions - from Pepper Hamilton LLP and Dallas-based Courtney York - who is noted for advising public and private corporate clients primarily in the technology, telecoms, media and consulting industries - from Baker Botts L.L.P..

Baker & Hostetler LLP recruited Goodarz Agahi in Costa Mesa from Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth; Agahi has acted for clients in a range of industries, such as apparel, technology, consumer products, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. The corporate and transactions practice regularly works alongside colleagues from the firm’s tax, IP, litigation, antitrust and employment groups, and it fields lawyers with deal expertise in the automotive, aerospace and chemical sectors, as well as in matters involving hospital groups and medical device manufacturers, media and technology companies, oil and gas and energy businesses, and private equity firms. The team acted for longstanding client TransDigm Group in the acquisition of an aircraft manufacturer and an electronic components manufacturer. It also advised a Canadian commercial financing company on the acquisition of the oldest manufactured housing finance company in the US. Other longstanding clients include Barnes & Noble Education, Cardinal Health, Cyprium Investment Partners, Dow Jones and FTI Consulting. Cleveland-based John Gherlein is a highly rated adviser to public and private companies; Ronald Stepanovic has particular experience in the acquisition and disposition of privately held companies by private equity funds; and Steven Goldberg is the business group coordinator for the New York office and practices primarily in public M&A and private equity deals, joint ventures and strategic investments. Goldberg’s experience includes advising media and internet company IAC on the sale of price comparison site PriceRunner to NS Intressenter.

Traditionally focused on the middle-market, Dentons has a growing track record in large-cap transactions. The ‘highly impressive and reliable M&A team’ has extensive experience advising Fortune 500 and middle-market companies, private equity investors, bidders and targets, financiers, and independent board committees, and it has particular skill in highly regulated sectors such as financial services, healthcare, life sciences, energy and technology. The team acted for family-owned global dairy products group Lactalis in its purchase of organic yogurt-maker Stonyfield Farm; and advised Intercontinental Exchange on its acquisition of global extranet and wireless services business TMX Atrium. Other highlights included the Kansas City team advising DiversiTech Corporation (DTC) - North America’s largest manufacturer of air conditioning condenser pads - and the DiversiTech management team on the sale of DTC to Permira funds; and acting for Shapiro Capital Management Company in its sale of a controlling interest of its registered investment adviser subsidiary, Shapiro Capital Management, to the parent company of American Beacon Advisors, Resolute Investment Managers. Michael Cochran is the US corporate practice group leader and divides his time between Atlanta and New York; Michael Froy in Chicago co-chairs the global corporate practice and global manufacturing sector; and New York-based Stephan Mallenbaum is noted for multi-party, multi-disciplinary transactions for global financial services, private equity and technology-driven companies. Jeremy Silverman joined Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta.

Fenwick & West LLP’s ‘team is incredibly expeditious and thorough, and should be recommended for any client looking for legal solutions during M&A deals’. The practice serves as lead corporate and M&A counsel for many of the world’s top technology companies. The M&A co-chairs are San Francisco-based Douglas Cogen, whose transactional experience includes over $100bn of completed domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, and David Healy in Mountain View, who represents a wide range of high-tech companies in M&A, joint ventures, strategic partnerships and spin-offs. Cogen acted for Cisco in one of the largest technology deals in 2017, the $3.7bn acquisition of AppDynamics; and Healy advised Hewlett Packard Enterprise on its acquisition of SimpliVity. Additional matters included Kris Withrow advising Intacct Corporation, a provider of cloud financial management solutions, on its $850m sale to The Sage Group. Other notable Mountain View advisers include Scott Joachim, who advises private equity, growth capital and venture capital investors, public and emerging companies, and entrepreneurs on technology sector deals; Gregory Roussel, who has extensive experience with clients in the social networking, software, electronic gaming, and mobile application sectors, and ‘has deep knowledge and deal-making expertise’; and David Michaels. Elsewhere, the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Mark Stevens, who ‘drives M&A deals forward’, divides his time between Mountain View and New York, while in San Francisco, Ralph Pais has worked on numerous Dropbox acquisitions and over 50 Facebook acquisitions; Stephen Gillespie and Lynda Twomey are also highly rated. Stephen Graham and Alan Smith in Seattle and New York-based Ethan Skerry are additional key contacts.

King & Spalding LLP is highly rated for middle-market M&A deals and private equity transactions, but it also handles large-cap transactions. The firm has offices in Atlanta, Houston, New York, San Francisco, Palo Alto and Washington DC, and fields lawyers with sector expertise in energy, healthcare and life sciences, real estate, and IT, among others. Middle-market highlights included acting for GE Digital in a $915m agreement to acquire ServiceMax; and advising an affiliate of Atkins Nutritionals, a portfolio company of Roark Capital Group, on its $730m combination with The Simply Good Foods Company. Recent large deal matters included advising Carmike Cinemas on a merger agreement with AMC Entertainment Holdings, which created the largest theater exhibitor in the world; and assisting restaurant chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen with its $1.8bn sale to Restaurant Brands International, which owns brands including Burger King and Tim Horton’s. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s former chair James Woolery recently joined in New York as head of the firm’s M&A and corporate governance practices; Atlanta-based Rahul Patel is focused on M&A deals, joint ventures and strategic corporate transactions; and global corporate practice group leader Keith Townsend is also highly rated. Other key advisers include Atlanta-based Raymond Baltz Jr and Justin King; Jack Capers Jr, who divides time between Atlanta and Silicon Valley; and New York’s Robert Leclerc. Since publication, Matthew Jacobson has moved to Ropes & Gray LLP.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s ‘M&A practice provides incredible service at great value - the team is singularly focused on transactions and its advice is practical and appropriate’ and its ‘deal teams are also staffed appropriately’. Recent developments include the opening of a Santa Monica office. The firm is particularly well known for tech deals, especially on the sell side, and it is also very active in the renewable energy and infrastructure sectors. In addition, its Northern California and New York offices have significant cross-border experience. Key matters included advising Yelp on the $287.5m sale of its online food-ordering business, Eat24, to Grubhub; acting for used construction equipment provider IronPlanet Holdings in its $758m merger with Ritchie Bros, the world’s largest seller of heavy machinery; and advising Marubeni Corporation, one of the largest Japanese general trading companies, on its acquisition of Creekstone Farms Premium Beef. In large deals, the team advised Canadian firm NOVA Chemicals Corp on the acquisition of Williams Partners LP’s interest in the Geismar olefins plant and its interest in the largest refining and petrochemical production hub in North America; and acted for Silver Bay Realty Trust Corp, an owner and operator of single-family rental homes, in its sale to Tricon Capital Group. New York-based King Milling is the global corporate business unit leader; Hiroshi Sarumida is US chair of its global Japan transactional practice; and Ed Batts is global M&A and private equity head. Also in New York, Peter Rooney and Tal Hacohen are experienced attorneys, as are Mark Seneca and Pete Lamb in Silicon Valley, and John Cook, who heads the corporate group in the San Francisco office.

Reed Smith LLP’s middle-market corporate practice is highly rated for its experience in public and private M&A transactions, cross-border deals, LBOs and carve-outs; and the private equity practice regularly assists with portfolio and bolt-on acquisitions, and exit strategies. The group has particularly strong sector experience in manufacturing, technology, life sciences, automotive and healthcare. Other industry strengths include financial services, food and beverage, energy, entertainment and media, business services and consumer products. The team’s recent experience includes advising a technology innovator on the sale of a satellite, terrestrial and wireless communications business; acting for a generic pharmaceuticals company on the sale of generic drug products and related assets; and advising an over-the-counter healthcare and household cleaning products company on a high-profile acquisition. In other matters, it advised a global brand on its acquisition of a well-known start-up, which links freelance workers with jobs; and assisted a global beauty products company with its acquisition of a number of hair care brands and key assets from a wholesale distributor. Chicago-based Michael Lee is US M&A head; corporate and transactional advisory group head Matthew Petersen’s experience includes advising a manufacturer of plastic thermo-formed packaging on its sale; New York-based Jennifer Cheng is focused on public and private companies in the healthcare, life sciences and finance sectors; and Jared Hershberg is experienced in cross-border transactions, including matters involving European and Canadian companies, and US companies with operations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Acting for many of the world’s largest private equity funds, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP’s New York and Washington DC offices regularly advise portfolio companies on their investments and dispositions, including private equity M&A and investment manager M&A deals. The ‘lawyers deliver an excellent service and are very knowledgeable, responsive and comprehensive’. Michael Gilligan, who is ‘a simply brilliant attorney’, has extensive experience in proxy and other control contests, as well as spin-off transactions; Gilligan acted for Cerberus Capital Management LP in its affiliate’s acquisition of assets of Club Exploria and Club Exploria Resorts. Other highlights included the ‘impressiveRichard Presutti, who practices primarily in the areas of private equity, M&A, LBOs and alternative asset management transactions, advising global investment firm Marlin Equity Partners on its $201m sale of OnX Enterprise Solutions; and Stuart Freedman, whose practice includes a range of global equity investments and significant experience in cross-border transactions, assisting Keane Group with its acquisition of RockPile Energy Services. Freedman is ‘an excellent all-round corporate lawyer who always keeps the client’s best interests in mind’. Marc Weingarten, who focuses on M&A deals, LBOs, shareholder activism, corporate governance and investment partnerships is also a key adviser, as are Robert Loper and Peter Jonathan Halasz. All the attorneys listed above are in New York.

Often acting in buy-side M&A for high-growth public and mature private companies, Cooley LLP also assists with sell-side work, and the practice is highly rated for its sector expertise in technology and media, life sciences, medical device and healthcare, consumer goods, education, and defense. Highlights included advising BroadSoft, a global communication software and service provider, on its sale to Cisco; and acting for RBmedia, known for spoken audio content and digital media distribution technology, on its acquisition of audiobook publishing company Gildan Media. Large deal matters include advising Zeltiq Aesthetics on its approximately $2.5bn all-cash sale to Allergan. Key names include Reston-based business department chair Mike Lincoln, who focuses on emerging companies, venture capital and M&A; San Diego-based M&A co-chair Barbara Borden, who advises strategic and financial buyers and sellers on public and private acquisitions, and who has significant experience in counseling boards of directors on M&A and related governance and anti-takeover matters; and San Francisco-based M&A co-chair Jamie Leigh, who acts for clients such as Uber, Tableau, AOL, Medivation, and Morgan Stanley. Other highly rated advisers include San Francisco-based Garth Osterman; Rama Padmanabhan in San Diego; Palo Alto-based Craig Menden and Steven Tonsfeldt; Alfred Browne in Boston; and Colorado-based Kevin Mills and Laura Medina.

Focused on middle-market transactions, Faegre Baker Daniels’ ‘widely respected practice’ has expertise in various industries, including manufacturing, construction, food and agriculture, banking and financial services, insurance, life sciences, and health services. The team acted for Polaris Industries in its acquisition of Transamerican Auto Parts Company, a privately-held manufacturer, distributor, retailer and installer of off-road Jeep and truck accessories. It also advised Hormel Foods Corporation on its $425m purchase of Chicago-based Fontanini Italian Meats from Capitol Wholesale Meats; acted for Alimentation Couche-Tard (the US’ largest independent convenience store operator in terms of number of company-operated stores) and its US subsidiary, Circle K Stores, in the acquisition of CST Brands; and assisted CoLucid Pharmaceuticals with its sale to global pharmaceutical company Eli Lilly and Company. In addition, a multi-disciplinary team advised logistics support services company Vectrus on its acquisition of SENTEL Corporation. Minneapolis’ M&A practice leader Bruce Engler is recommended for his assistance to buyers, sellers and institutional investors in a range of public and private M&A transactions; and corporate group leader Chris Hofstad’s practice includes acting for buyers, sellers, private equity firms, investors and lenders.

Goodwin advises both buyers and sellers in transactions, including asset deals, stock deals, mergers, joint ventures and bankruptcy deals, and has longstanding experience in the technology, life sciences, business services, real estate, financial services and healthcare sectors. The firm also has a robust private equity practice. It advised EPR Properties on its acquisition of CNL Lifestyle Properties, together with co-buyer Och-Ziff Real Estate; and acted for biotechnology company Delinia in its sale to Celgene Corporation, which planned to expand its inflammation and immunology pipeline with Delinia’s preclinical-stage regulatory T cell therapy. Large deal matters included acting for biopharmaceutical services company PAREXEL International in its sale to Pamplona Capital Management; and assisting Albany Molecular Research with its sale to affiliates of The Carlyle Group and GTCR. Boston-based Mark Bettencourt advises private and public companies in the software, internet, digital media, robotics, communications, and networking equipment and information services industries; and Stuart Cable currently serves as chair of the M&A and corporate finance practices for the firm’s technology and life science business units. Other highly rated Boston practitioners include Joseph Johnson III, John Egan III, John Haggerty and John LeClaire. Silicon Valley-based Lawrence Chu, Joshua Klatzkin in Washington DC, Andrew Weidhaas, who divides his time between Los Angeles and New York, and Los Angeles-based Stephen Lee are also experienced practitioners.

Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP’s ‘service is extraordinary; the firm’s lawyers are extremely attentive, smart, knowledgeable, diligent, and responsive’. The practice’s experience covers a broad range of industries, including media, pharma, airlines, utilities, consumer products and financial services. The firm’s lawyers also have extensive experience in international transactions, including advising clients on the US legal aspects of cross-border tender offers, as well as managing the international aspects of M&A deals. The team acted for comic book publisher Millarworld in its sale to Netflix, marking the global streaming giant’s first-ever acquisition; co-M&A practice chair James Modlin led advice to contract research organization Chiltern in its all-cash $1.2bn sale to life sciences company LabCorp; and co-corporate group chair Kenneth Lefkowitz, who ‘epitomizes client service and whose knowledge is broad’, advised Madison Square Garden on its $181m acquisition of a majority stake in nightclub operator Tao Group. In other matters, Charles Samuelson, who is ‘a hardworking machine who excels at contract drafting’, assisted India-based IT company Wipro Enterprises with its $500m acquisition of Appirio, a US-based cloud services company; while Avner Ben-Gera’s M&A experience spans pharma, transportation, technology, media, consumer products and apparel, and David Schwartz regularly advises on private and public deals, domestic and cross-border transactions, and buy-side and sell-side representations.

Jenner & Block LLP’s M&A lawyers regularly act for public and private companies, private equity investors, special committees and financial advisers in US and cross-border M&A matters, including acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, MBOs, LBOs, going-private transactions and reorganizations. The team advised NES Rentals on its $965m sale to United Rentals; and large deal highlights included acting for Lonza Group in its approximately $5.5bn acquisition of Capsugel from investment firm KKR. Thomas Monson and Kurt von Moltke chair the M&A practice from Chicago, where Michael Wolf and George Pain joined from Aon and Olin Corporation respectively. Other key Chicago advisers include Joseph Gromacki, who oversees the firm’s transactional practices; private equity chair Mark Harris, who is well known for his work in the healthcare industry; Jeffrey Shuman; and Mercedes Hill. New York-based Martin Glass co-chairs the cross-border transactions practice, and Kevin Collins is co-chair of the healthcare practice. Also in New York, Edward Prokop is a highly regarded attorney. Elsewhere, Los Angeles’ Thomas Stromberg has broad experience handling cross-border transactions involving parties across North America, Europe, Australia and Asia; and Carissa Coze focuses on M&A, joint ventures and strategic partnerships and investments for media and technology companies. Jared Manes joined Winston & Strawn LLP.

Highly regarded for cross-border M&A work, Linklaters LLP regularly leads high-profile matters for both foreign and domestic corporations. Alongside the Antwerp, Brussels, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt and Luxembourg offices, Peter Cohen-Millstein - who is noted for public and private M&A deals, LBOs, equity and asset sales, tender offers and joint ventures - advised the Belgian Post Group on its pending $820m acquisition of Radial Holdings and Radial III GP; Alberto Luzárraga, who co-heads the firm’s Latin America practice, acted for the shareholders of Ritmo Investimentos (Ritmo) in the sale of their shares in Ritmo to Kellogg Company (Kellogg), which marked Kellogg’s largest acquisition in Latin America to date; and Scott Sonnenblick - who has an emphasis on cross-border transactions and complex joint ventures - advised European Energy Exchange, a subsidiary of Deutsche Börse which operates market platforms for energy and commodity products in Europe, on its acquisition of Nodal Exchange Holdings.

Locke Lord LLP acts in public and private transactions for both domestic and foreign clients, and the practice includes all types of M&A transactions, divestitures and other strategic transactions, including stock and asset acquisitions, joint ventures, going-private deals, LBOs, spin-offs, and tender and exchange offers. The lawyers also assist with issues involving antitrust, employee benefits, finance, environmental, IP, labor and employment, and regulatory matters, and they are experienced in sectors such as energy and energy infrastructure, banking and financial services, insurance, consumer products, gaming and healthcare, among numerous others. Representative experience includes the Houston team’s advice to Symrise, a major producer of flavors and fragrances, on its acquisition of Flavor Infusion, a California-based company that develops and supplies natural beverage flavors. Office managing partner of the Providence, Rhode Island office Christopher Graham serves as co-chair to the firm’s corporate and transactional department.


M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)

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  1. M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)
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Arnold & Porter is recommended for domestic and cross-border transactions, life sciences M&A and advice to private equity firms, and the team regularly works closely with the firm’s highly rated regulatory practices. The practice advised a special committee of the board of directors of American Realty Capital - Retail Centers of America on its merger agreement with American Finance Trust; and acted for longstanding private equity client American Securities in its acquisition of Mortgage Contracting Services, a national provider of outsourced solutions for mortgage services. Other key work included advising the parent company of longstanding client Cain Brothers & Company (CBC), a boutique healthcare-focused investment banking firm, on the sale of CBC to KeyBanc Capital Markets; assisting Carestream Health, an independent subsidiary of Canada’s Onex Corporation, with the sale of its digital dental imaging business to funds managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and CareCapital Advisors; and acting for private equity group EQT Mid Market US in its acquisition of Dorner Holding Corporation from Incline Equity Partners. San Francisco-based Edward Deibert, whose sector experience includes financial services, semiconductors, technology, consumer products and hospitality, and New York’s Derek Stoldt head the M&A practice; and the co-corporate and finance group chairs are New York-based Emanuel Cherney, who assists private equity firms and other buyers and sellers of public and private companies, and Washington DC’s Kevin Lavin, who is experienced in the government contracting and IT sectors. New York’s Stephen Koval and Washington DC-based Andrew Varner co-head the private equity practice; other key advisers include Steven Kaplan and Matthew Owens in Washington DC; and New York-based financial institutions M&A head Robert Azarow. Ronald Levine II, who has longstanding experience in corporate finance, private equity and M&A transactions, was hired in Denver from Davis Graham & Stubbs LLP, while Joshua Berick joined Jones Day; and Hans Dyke moved to Bracewell LLP.

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Following its 2017 merger with Gross Cutler Seiler Dupont LLC, Ballard Spahr LLP’s Colorado group expanded through incoming Boulder-based partners; the firm also recently merged with Minneapolis-based firm Lindquist & Vennum, extending its national footprint into the Midwest. The practice has deal experience in the life sciences, technology, aerospace, chemicals, manufacturing, and telecoms sectors. Other areas of strength include gaming, consumer products, retail, healthcare, financial services, waste management, and energy. M&A practice group leader Craig Circosta leads the Philadelphia team; he advised longstanding client Teleflex, a global provider of medical technologies, on its acquisition of CarTika Medical; and New York’s David Landau advised PVH Corp on its agreement to acquire online lingerie retailer True&Co. The team also assisted private equity firm Alliance Holdings with multiple matters, including an asset sale of one of its portfolio companies; and served as corporate counsel to Silver Bay Realty Trust, a Maryland corporation organized as a real estate investment trust, in Maryland corporation law matters regarding its sale to an affiliate of Tricon Capital Group. M&A and private equity investment transactions expert Karen McConnell heads the Phoenix team; Philadelphia-based Gregory Seltzer is co-practice leader of the emerging growth and private capital group; Brian Doerner is leader of the life sciences and technology group; and Michele Rowland, Damon Barry and Stephen Donelson are recommended Denver advisers. Amit Kakkar in Philadelphia is a key senior associate.

With a client base including public and private companies across a variety of industries, Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP advises buyers, sellers, boards of directors and committees, as well as directors and officers, on M&A transactions, dispositions, joint ventures, spin-offs and other significant strategic transactions. The firm’s deal attorneys regularly work alongside its tax, antitrust, real estate, environmental, IP, and executive compensation and employee benefits practices. Department head William Hartnett, who advises public and private companies and commercial and investment banking firms, and M&A specialist Kimberly Petillo-Décossard advised 1-800-flowers.com on the $115m sale of its Fannie May Confections Brands’ business, including its subsidiaries Fannie May Confections and Harry London Candies, to Italy-based Ferrero International; and in the large deal market, John Schuster and Susanna Suh acted for Bermuda-based specialty insurance company Arch Capital Group in its $3.26bn acquisition of United Guaranty Corporation and AIG United Guaranty Insurance (Asia) from American International Group; while Michael Sherman led advice to The Empire District Electric Company on its sale to a subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. Other key deals included assisting Envigo International Holdings with its proposed merger with Avista Healthcare Public Acquisition Corp, and acting for clinical science-driven data services company MedAvante in its sale to WIRB-Copernicus Group, the world’s largest provider of regulatory and ethical review services for human research. Helene Banks has extensive experience practicing in the food, beverage, entertainment, media, healthcare, and insurance industries. All named advisers are based in New York.

Choate, Hall & Stewart’s ‘excellent, trustworthy team’ is highly rated for its advice to acquirers, targets, financing sources and investment bankers in public and private M&A, at both domestic and international level; and the firm fields lawyers with significant experience advising private equity firms on buyouts. The team’s sector expertise includes consumer products, financial services, healthcare and life sciences; other areas of strength include manufacturing, retail, and technology, media and telecoms. The department heads are Boston-based John Pitfield and the ‘brilliant and reliable’ Brian Goldstein; Pitfield advised alternative financing company Capital Resource Partners on its exit from Investment Metrics. He also acted for ABRY Partners through its portfolio company Oliver Street Dermatology Management in multiple purchases of dermatology practices in Texas, while Goldstein and Christian Atwood recently acted for growth capital private equity firm Leerink Transformation Partners in a number of investments, including in health technology company PatientPing and in San Diego-based Scientist.com. T J Murphy led advice to Thinklogical Holdings on its $160m sale to Belden, an American manufacturer of networking, connectivity and cable products. Other notable deals included Sarah Camougis’s assistance to PRWireless, a Puerto Rico wireless operator doing business as Open Mobile, with its sale to Sprint; and Christopher Nelson’s advice to Southern Anesthesia & Surgical in its sale to healthcare products and services provider Henry Schein. The partners listed above are all based in the Boston office.

In early 2017, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP merged with British multinational law firm Eversheds LLP, creating Eversheds Sutherland, which expanded its corporate and M&A team in Atlanta with the addition of partner David Phillips, the former deputy general counsel and corporate secretary at Axiall. The practice, which is ‘business oriented, responsive, dedicated and time efficient’, has sector strength in timber, energy and natural resources, private equity, media and financial services (including fintech). Robert Pile and Brian Murphy in Atlanta advised payment technology solutions company First Data Corporation (FDC) on structuring issues and due diligence regarding its acquisition of CardConnect; practice head Wade Stribling and Michael Voynich advised USA Television, a portfolio company of MSouth Equity Partners, on its acquisition of several television stations; and Edward Kallal is ‘a very reliable, dedicated, responsive and competent counsel with high ethical standards’. Thomas Herman, Marc Rawls, Michael Gurion, David Zimmerman are also key Atlanta advisers. Additional highlights included advising Cox Media Group on its sale of the businesses of Cox Target Media, one of the largest direct marketing service providers in the US, to Platinum Equity; and assisting Atlanta-based mid-market private equity firm Argonne Capital with the sale of its portfolio company, Lube Stop, an Ohio-based operator of 51 quick oil change locations. Bert Adams in New York, and Washington DC-based William Dudzinsky Jr and Douglas Leary are also recommended.

Acting for US and foreign companies, Loeb & Loeb LLP is experienced in the purchase and sale of closely held businesses, and has particular expertise in the entertainment, media, technology, marketing and communications sectors. Its range of work includes negotiated transactions, corporate takeovers and proxy contests, going-private deals, and change-of-control transactions. The team acted for an international private equity firm and its subsidiary, Leadon Investment, in the acquisition of SilverBirch Hotels & Resorts, a portfolio of 25 upscale hotel properties across Canada, from British Columbia Investment Management Corporation. New York-based Mitchell Nussbaum - who led advice to recruitment services company GEE Group on its acquisition of SNI Holdco (and its wholly owned subsidiary SNI Companies) - and Los Angeles-based Arash Khalili are joint chairs of the capital markets and corporate practice. Lloyd Rothenberg in New York is deputy capital markets and corporate practice chair, and he acted for online advertising services company Rosebud Media in its acquisition of assets owned by New Media Investment group, including the Mail Tribune and Ashland Daily Tidings newspapers. Other key work included advising defense contractor OSI Systems on the $75.5m acquisition of a explosive trace detection business from Smiths Group; advising independent television producer Litton Entertainment (LE) on the sale of a majority ownership interest in LE to Hearst; and assisting New York-based data management and analytics consultancy Eccella with its sale of three separate entities to NGDATA, a multi-jurisdictional transaction involving IP, regulatory, securities and tax issues.

Acting for public and private companies, family-held businesses, financial institutions, private equity firms and hedge funds, Vedder Price’s ‘overall service level is excellent and its experience in middle-market M&A is unparalleled’. The practice covers M&A deals, tender and exchange offers, going-private deals, spin-offs and divestitures, LBOs, and asset-purchase transactions, and it is experienced in transactions of all sizes, from mid-market deals to large-cap transactions that exceed $20bn in value. The M&A and private equity transactions practices are also enhanced by the firm’s expertise in complex, regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, construction, gaming and aerospace. Finance and transactions group chair Michael Nemeroff acted for private equity firm L Squared Capital Partners and investment and Longview Asset Management in the recapitalization and acquisition of Oracle Elevator; he also advised The Edgewater Funds, a Chicago-based private equity firm, on the acquisition of Viskon-Aire Corp. Other notable deals included Adam Lewis advising Fluence Automation on the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Bell and Howell’s software and hardware solutions business for sorting mail; and Guy Snyder assisting solid waste services company Groot Industries with its sale to Canada-based Waste Connections. Snyder and Joseph Kye are ‘able to navigate the most complex legal and business issues, and crystallize things quickly and efficiently’. William Bettman, John Obiala and John McEnroe are also recommended. Scott Adamson is a key contact in Los Angeles and Shelby Parnes is a highly regarded associate. Attorneys listed are based in Chicago, unless otherwise stated.

A leading adviser to middle-market buyers and sellers both in the US and internationally, Venable LLP’s 80-plus M&A attorneys assist with virtually all types of transactions, including acquisitions, mergers, spin-off and carve-out transactions, minority interest acquisitions, and joint ventures. The firm also fields lawyers with expertise in tax structuring, transaction financing, IP, employee benefits and executive compensation, corporate finance and securities, and regulatory issues, and its sector experience includes IT, cybersecurity, digital media and big data, entertainment, and education technology. Other industry areas of note include financial services, healthcare, energy and government contracts. Recent matters include acting for Norwegian fishing and biotechnology company Aker BioMarine Antarctic in the purchase of the krill oil inventory, customer accounts and krill oil-related IP from Neptune Technologies & Bioressources for approximately $34m. It also assisted GenRock Investment Fund I and its affiliates with the acquisition of portfolios of Pizza Hut restaurants; and acted for longstanding client Merkle Group (MG) in its sale of a majority stake in MG to London-based Dentsu Aegis Network, part of Japan’s advertising conglomerate, Dentsu. Charles Morton Jr, who divides time between Washington DC and Baltimore, focuses on the healthcare, technology and consumer products industries; he chairs the corporate practice alongside Washington DC-based Robert Bolger Jr, who focuses on advising clients in the advertising, entertainment services and hospitality industries, and across traditional and emerging media. Morton recently advised a client that provides human and operational performance improvement solutions on its €28m sale. Los Angeles-based Christopher O’Brien’s clients include content producers and distributors, talent agencies, investors, and financing sources.

Akerman LLP’s national corporate practice group includes more than 70 lawyers who handle complex work on both the buy side and the sell side, and it stands out for middle-market private equity deals. Highlights included advising Trivest Partners, the oldest private equity firm in the US’ Southeast, on numerous transactions, including the purchaseof 3D printing technology company NovaCopy. Martin Burkett and Carl Roston are the M&A and private equity practice chairs; Roston acted for middle-market private equity firm Comvest Partners on the sale of its portfolio company, Groundlink/Limo Holdings, and its subsidiaries, the Groundlink and Limo Anywhere apps, to MTG Technologies. National corporate practice group leader Mary Carroll advises a diverse roster of companies and private equity funds operating in the healthcare, life sciences, aviation, restaurant and technology sectors; and Jonathan Awner is a nationally recognized attorney for purchases and sales of car dealerships across the US. Awner led advice to the US’ largest automotive retailer, AutoNation, on the sale of the Fox Chevrolet automobile dealership; and Teddy Klinghoffer specializes in M&A transactions and private equity investments, as well as corporate compliance and governance issues. Klinghoffer acted for Associated Grocers of Florida on its sale to publicly traded Supervalu; and Stephen Roddenberry has represented clients in hundreds of M&A deals, spin-offs and restructurings of private and public companies. In a $360m deal, he advised The Geo Group, a Florida-based real estate investment trust, on its acquisition of New Jersey-based Community Education Centers. Other highly rated advisers are David Birke and Paul Quinn, who divides his time between the West Palm Beach and Chicago offices. Attorneys listed are based in Miami unless otherwise stated.

Foley & Lardner LLP’s client base includes US and international public and private companies, investment banks, private equity and venture capital funds, special board committees and lenders, and its M&A practice ranges from small product-line acquisitions to large-scale business mergers. Recent work includes acting for Sun Life Financial in the acquisition of The Premier Dental Group, a Minnesota-based dental network; advising medical supplies manufacturer DermaRite Industries on its sale to Tailwind Capital; and assisting a manufacturer with its stock acquisition of a rigid plastics business that manufactures containers. Other key matters included advising US Pipe and Wynnchurch Capital, as primary deal counsel, in the sale of US Pipe to Forterra Building Products; and acting for Sanimax Energy in the sale of its bio-diesel plant and related business to Renewable Energy Group. Milwaukee-based Steven Barth jointly chairs the firm’s national transactional and securities practice, and has extensive experience in counseling mid-market and closely held firms, including many family businesses. Washington DC-based David Sanders is vice-chair of the business law department, and a substantial portion of his practice involves representing medical devices, health services and biopharmaceutical companies.

In April 2018, Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP merged with Hunton & Williams LLP to form Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, a move which brought together two reputable middle-market M&A practices. The legacy Andrews Kurth Kenyon group is highly rated for its advice to public and private companies, MLPs, REITs, financial advisers and private equity funds on complex M&A transactions. Houston-based Michael O’Leary advised Energy Transfer Partners on its acquisition of certain interests in PennTex Midstream Partners, including a rich natural gas gathering system, two cryogenic natural gas processing plants, and residue gas and natural gas liquid pipelines. Highlights for the Austin office included the team advising virtual reality video game developer Owlchemy Labs on its sale to Google; and acting for GPB Capital Holdings, a New York-based global asset management firm, in its acquisition of a division of NTT Data. In the large deal space, Houston-based Christopher Richardson and Hal Haltom Jr acted for Hilcorp San Juan in its acquisition of San Juan Basin oil and gas properties from ConocoPhillips. Other recommended Houston advisers are John Clutterbuck, Melinda Brunger, Henry Havre, Mark Young, Jordan Hirsch, firm-wide managing partner Robert Jewell and Ashley Burns Muehlberger. The legacy Hunton & Williams group includes M&A group co-heads Steven Haas in Richmond, whose practice includes change-of-control transactions, strategic acquisitions and divestitures; Washington DC-based Steven Patterson, who works with a variety of retail and consumer products companies; and Fernando Alonso, who splits his time between Miami and New York and has particular experience in the energy, infrastructure and telecoms sectors. Highlights included advising Bank of the Cascades, and its parent company Cascade Bancorp, in their sale to First Interstate BancSystem, and assisting Darden Restaurants with its $780m purchase of Texas-based restaurant chain Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen. Notable departures included David Buck, Jon Daly and Bill Cooper to Sidley Austin LLP; Mark Solomon, Peter Bogdanow, David Washburn, Victor Zanetti and Joseph Hoffman to Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP’s Dallas office; and Matthew Lyons, Carmelo Gordian, Alan Bickerstaff, Ted Gilman, Brian Dillavou and Russ Denton going to Shearman & Sterling LLP’s new Austin office.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is ‘superb in every respect’. The practice has particularly deep sector knowledge in healthcare, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, sports, financial services and investment funds, and also fields lawyers with deal experience in education, manufacturing, transportation, media and technology, among other areas. Matthew Brown is ‘a superstar, who anticipates and solves every problem before anyone asks, and he has a clear understanding of business and legal strategies’; Brown acted for Edwin Eisendrath and the Chicago Federation of Labor in the high-profile bid for and successful purchase of the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago Reader and Straight Dope from Wrapports. Team head Mark Grossmann, who divides time between the Chicago and New York offices, assisted Victory Park Capital Advisors with the acquisition of substantially all the assets of Katy Industries, a manufacturer, importer and distributor of commercial cleaning and consumer storage products. Other key matters for the group included advising Svoboda Capital Partners on separate transactions, including the sale of DataBank Holdings, a national provider of business process automation solutions, to Kyocera Document Solutions; and acting for Meta Financial Group in numerous acquisitions, including the acquisition of substantially all of the assets and specified liabilities of Specialty Consumer Services to expand its presence in the tax services space. Other recommended attorneys include Stephen Antion in Los Angeles, Century City’s Daniel Peters and Chicago-based Jeffrey Patt and Kimberly Smith. Mara Glaser McCahan is a key Washington DC contact; Russell Black is a notable Charlotte name; and New York-based Farzad Damania is also highly rated. In Dallas the team recently hired Mark Solomon, Peter Bogdanow, David Washburn and Victor Zarnetti from the legacy Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP firm.

Highly regarded for middle-market M&A deals, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLPdelivers consistently outstanding service in terms of response times, resources brought to bear, and the quality of the legal advice’. The firm’s clients include start-ups, multinationals, public corporations, private equity and hedge funds, parties to joint venture arrangements, venture capitalists, and individual investors, and its lawyers routinely assist with representations and warranties insurance policies on behalf of buyers, sellers and insurance carriers. Ernest Wechsler led advice to BlackRock in several matters, including its pending acquisition of fintech firm Cachematrix and its pending strategic investment in Scalable, an Anglo-German digital investment manager. The department heads are Scott Rosenblum and Howard Spilko. Spilko acted for Stone Point Capital, which is part of an investor group that includes KKR, in a number of corporate transactions, including the sale of investment and wealth management firm SCS Capital to Focus Financial Partners, and the purchase of a majority stake in Focus Financial Partners. In other matters, Eitan Tabak advised Atlantic Street Capital and its portfolio companies on several corporate transactions, including its acquisition of Planet Fit Indy 10, an owner and operator of Planet Fitness gyms. Thomas Molner is ‘an outstanding lawyer and business adviser’; James Moriarty co-heads the firm’s alternative assets transactions and private M&A practice groups; and Scott Abramowitz is a key senior associate. All partners listed are in New York. Corporate and transactional partners Todd Lenson and Jordan Rosenbaum joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP regularly advises on M&A transactions in the firm’s key industries of technology, financial services, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and consumer and retail. Recent highlights include serving as legal counsel to CU Bancorp in its sale to PacWest Bancorp; advising Valley Campus Pharmacy (d/b/a TNH Advanced Specialty Pharmacy) on its sale to Diplomat Pharmacy; and assisting Stamps.com with its $55m acquisition of Texas-based ShippingEasy. The team also advised international investment bank Houlihan Lokey on its acquisition of Black Stone IP; and acted for Dura Coat Products, a developer and manufacturer of construction and industrial paint coatings, in the sale of a majority stake to Axalta Coating Systems. Los Angeles-based Jordan Hamburger and Orange County’s Matthew O’Loughlin are co-chairs of the firm’s M&A practice, where they are supported in Los Angeles by chair of the business, finance and tax division, Ben Orlanski, as well as Gordon Bava, who is co-chair of the firm. Richard Maire Jr is another notable name in Los Angeles and Washington DC-based Douglas Boggs, Alan Noskow and Brian Ashin are also recommended. In New York, Aydin Caginalp is another highly rated adviser.

Adopting a highly pragmatic approach’, Nixon Peabody LLP’s team is ‘very capable of dealing with both small and large transactions, and adjusts to the complexity of deals’. The practice fields lawyers with sector expertise in healthcare, consumer products, manufacturing, technology and energy. In cross-border transactions, the team acted for BBA Aviation in the sale of its global aviation support business. It also acts as outside general counsel to Magnecomp Precision Technology Public Co (Magnecomp) and recently advised the client on its public acquisition of Hutchinson Technology, a global supplier of critical precision component technologies. In other matters, the practice acted for Constellation Brands, through its subsidiary Greenstar Canada Investment Limited Partnership, in its investment of approximately C$245m in Canopy Growth Corporation; acted for German pharmaceutical company Merck and its subsidiaries in several M&A transactions, including the acquisition of BioControl Systems; and advised The Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Northern New England on the acquisition of several bottling and distribution facilities. Boston-based M&A and corporate transactions head David Martland is ‘a great business partner - he is a very realistic lawyer who outlines the risks of certain business decisions and takes responsibility for his decisions’; and Christopher Keefe, Gregory O’Shaughnessy and Haydon Keitner are also recommended Boston contacts. Other highly regarded practitioners include John Partigan in Washington DC; New York-based Daniel McAvoy; office managing partner Thomas Gaynor and cross-border corporate and real estate transactions expert Jinjian Huang in San Francisco; Rochester’s Lori Green; and Brian Krob in Chicago.

Over half of the deals that Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s M&A group handles are in the technology sector, particularly its hallmark of semiconductors. Other industries where the practice distinguishes itself are life sciences and healthcare, professional services, mining and energy. The team advised US-based pharmaceutical company Sentynl Therapeutics on its sale to Zydus Cadila; acted for casual game publisher MobilityWare in its acquisition of mobile game publisher Critical Hit Software; and assisted biotech company Celladon Corporation with its merger with Eiger BioPharmaceuticals, a privately held biopharmaceutical company that is focused on novel product candidates for the treatment of orphan diseases. Other key work included acting for industrial services company Terra Millennium Corp in its sale to Court Square Capital Partners; advising American semiconductor manufacturer Exar Corporation on its sale to MaxLinear for approximately $700m; and assisting provider of cloud contact center software inContact with its $940m sale to Israel-based NICE. The recommended names are Silicon Valley’s Jorge del Calvo; and North Virginia-based Craig Chason, Steven Kaplan, Matthew Swartz and Steven Meltzer.

Seward & Kissel LLP’s ‘team is extremely knowledgeable, available and responsive, and its lawyers represent great value for money’. Others praise the practice for being ‘very well aware of what is important and making sure the key points are captured in the process’. The practice is highly rated for its advice to investment management and shipping industry clients - and expanding its coverage within the financial services sector, the team has also handled multiple deals involving broker-dealers. Other areas of strength include complex middle-market transactions in the media and technology space. New York-based James Abbott and Nick Katsanos are ‘excellent, well-versed M&A attorneys, who are both extremely personable, which makes working with them very easy’. Abbott led advice to Borr Drilling in its acquisition from Transocean of its entire fleet of jack-up oil rigs; and Katsanos advised Scorpio Tankers, a provider of marine transportation of petroleum products, on its merger with Navig8 Product Tankers. The ‘amazingly responsive and attentiveCraig Sklar, who is ‘practical and focused on finding pragmatic solutions’, led advice to NewStar Financial in its acquisition of Fifth Street CLO Management, an affiliate of Fifth Street Asset Management, a publicly traded credit-focused asset management firm; Gerhard Anderson, who is ‘an excellent lawyer and tireless worker who excels in getting things done, and who always places his clients’ interests first’, assisted HNA Capital (US) Holding with its agreement to purchase, together with RON Transatlantic, a majority stake in global alternative investment firm Skybridge Capital; and Meir Grossman, who is ‘responsive and aware of clients’ overall issues’, handles a variety of M&A, private equity, venture capital, joint venture, and lift-out and seed capital deals.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP is ‘highly regarded for its deep knowledge of corporate law and M&A expertise; the firm’s associates are also knowledgeable and responsive to clients’ needs’. With a team of over 60 corporate M&A attorneys, the practice advises clients engaged on the full range of domestic and cross-border public and private transactions, including M&A deals and divestitures, going-private transactions, strategic alliances and joint ventures; and the M&A practice is supported by the firm’s leading labor and employment group. It also works closely alongside the global privacy and security team and M&A litigation team. Chicago-based national M&A chair Suzanne Saxman led advice to a healthcare solutions company on the acquisition of substantially all the assets of a clinical data management and clinical and statistical programing solutions provider. Steven Meier and Theodore Cornell III are also highly rated Chicago contacts, and in New York, vice-national M&A chair Andrew Lucano - who has significant experience in the communications industry advising cable operators and financial entities on the sale and purchase of cable systems throughout the US - and Stanley Bloch are ‘extremely knowledgeable and service oriented - they are true business partners with clients’. Other recommended names are Washington DC-based Robert Bodansky and Andrew Sherman; Ofer Lion and Douglas Mancino in Los Angeles; and Houston-based Paul Pryzant. In 2017, the firm opened a Hong Kong office, expanding its presence in Asia-Pacific.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLPdelivers exceptional service; the lawyers are all extremely knowledgeable and consistently deliver advice that is not only commercial, but that clients can trust’. The firm’s M&A attorneys handle deals throughout the US and overseas, on behalf of individuals, small privately held businesses, private equity firms, and multinational corporations. Representative work includes mergers, purchases and sales of stock and assets, MBOs, recapitalizations, and other corporate restructurings. M&A practice leader Will Chuchawat, who divides his time between Los Angeles and Shanghai, advised Mercury Systems on its $40.5m acquisition of Delta Microwave; and acted for Aerojet Rocketdyne in the acquisition of Coleman Aerospace. Los Angeles-based Lawrence Braun’s recent highlights include advising Windsor Fashions on the sale of a majority of its stock to Windsor Ultimate Holding and Sun Co-Invest Windsor; and acting for two operating companies, Karoun Dairies and Central Valley Cheese, and the affiliated owner of the Turlock facility, in their sale to Parmalat. David Sands, who splits his time between the firm’s Los Angeles, Orange County and Century City offices, advised Machinima on its sale to an affiliate of Warner Bros Entertainment, in an $85m reverse subsidiary merger, and acted for Prospect Mortgage in its sale to HomeBridge Financial Services; and Lucantonio Salvi is ‘an excellent lawyer who has a firm grasp of the subject matter and always approaches clients’ questions and issues with commercialism and practicality’. Salvi acted for Polaris Alpha, a portfolio company of Arlington Capital Partners, in the acquisition of Solidyn Solutions; and assisted private equity firm Riordan Lewis & Haden with the acquisition of an analytics and cybersecurity company. Jeryl Bowers and Linda Michaelson are the names to note in Century City. In May 2018, Eric Newsom joined the San Francisco from Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP.

Headquartered in Cleveland, Squire Patton Boggs’ highly regarded corporate M&A practice has a substantial presence nationally and regularly plays lead roles in significant M&A transactions in key industry sectors, including automotive, aviation, chemicals, financial and business services, food and beverages, and consumer brands. Cleveland-based Americas chair of the global corporate practice Daniel Berick was counsel to Meritor on the sale of a joint venture interest; Frank Placenti in Phoenix advised Cryogenic Industries on its sale to advanced technologies company Nikkiso Co; and Washington DC’s Abby Brown led advice to longstanding client Sterling Bancorp on its definitive merger agreement with Astoria Financial Corporation. Other key work included Stephen Mahon, who divides time between Cincinnati and New York, advising meat processor JBS USA Food Company on the acquisition of Plumrose USA; and New York’s Carolyn Buller assisting South Korea-headquartered SK Global Chemical Co with its $370m acquisition of Dow Chemical’s global ethylene acrylic acid business. San Francisco-based Nicholas Unkovic is a widely praised adviser.

Recent work for Sullivan & Worcester LLP, which has offices in Boston, New York and Washington DC, includes advising large public companies with active acquisition programs; assisting a nationally known buyout firm with M&A deals; acting for foreign enterprises expanding into the US; and assisting technology companies and family-owned businesses. The practice stands out for its assistance to some of the US’ largest public and private REITs on notable transactions. It acted for Iron Mountain, an American enterprise information management services company, in its $135m acquisition of MAG Datacenters, which operates Fortrust, a private data center business; and Carol Wolff led advice to Diversified Holding and two of its wholly owned subsidiaries, Community Broadcasting Service and Diversified Broadcasting, on the sale of two television stations. Other matters included acting for ChallengeME Esports, a provider of a sophisticated eSports matchmaking and tournament platform, in its acquisition of US-based platform provider eSports Hero; and advising The Paciello Group on its sale to VFO, a portfolio company of tech-focused private equity firm Vector Capital. Boston-based corporate and M&A head Lewis Segall and Benjamin Armour are highly rated attorneys.

Blank Rome LLP’s national M&A team has its core groups in New York and Philadelphia, with additional strength in Pittsburgh, Washington DC and Los Angeles, and it is experienced in public and private M&A, venture capital and private equity transactions. The team’s ‘level of service is very good and its lawyers are knowledgeable and responsive’, and it stands outs for its advice to fashion industry clients and its strong focus on digital media - including gaming, video, and internet and e-commerce companies. It also assists maritime and transport companies with transactions. Recent matters include acting for betting company Paddy Power Betfair in the acquisition of a US-based fantasy sports start-up; advising eGov Holdings, which trades as Aquilent, on its sale to government services company Booz Allen Hamilton; and acting for sensor technology manufacturer PCB Group in its $580m sale to MTS Systems. The names to note in Philadelphia are Alan Lieblich (who is particularly noted for his advice to clients in the manufacturing, insurance, technology and retail industries), Linsey Bozzelli and Louis Rappaport; and Brad Shiffman in New York is also noted.

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner LLP fields lawyers with expertise in strategic acquisitions and divestitures, cross-border transactions, corporate restructurings and reorganizations, and joint ventures. The practice acted for longstanding client Ixia, a publicly traded provider of testing, visibility and security solutions, in its $1.6bn sale to Keysight Technologies. It also assisted legal process outsourcing company Document Technologies with its acquisition of Epiq Systems; advised consumer packaging manufacturer Berry Global on the acquisition of AEP Industries; and acted for global specialty biopharmaceutical company Mallinckrodt in the strategic sale of its nuclear imaging business to IBA Molecular for approximately $690m. St Louis-based John Welge leads the firm’s transactions client service group; and Atlanta-based Rick Miller and Tara Newell in New York are also highly regarded. James Attonito in New York and Kristin Yemm in St Louis were made partners.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP’s corporate M&A practice fields lawyers with considerable experience handling sub-$500m transactions, particularly involving cross-border investments into the US. The team acted for personal care products manufacturer BWX in its acquisition of Mineral Fusion Natural Brands from North Castle Partners and other sellers; advised GAL Manufacturing Corporation and its affiliates on its sale to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital Opportunity Fund; and assisted Gordon Brothers Commercial & Industrial, and its subsidiary Carolina Pride Foods, with the purchase of substantially all the assets of Carolina Pride Foods. New York-based Lawrence Goodman is global M&A group head; and other recommended names include Evan Borenstein and Andrew Seiden, as well as Raymond Hum, who divides his time between Washington DC and New York, Valarie Hing, Jeffrey Ostrager and firm managing partner Matias Vega. Partners listed are in New York, except where otherwise stated.

Foley Hoag LLP has offices in Boston, New York, Paris and Washington DC, and the team is experienced in advising buyers and sellers as well as private equity and other deal sponsors, and excels in complex acquisitions and divestitures of technology and life science companies and assets. The team acted for the shareholders of Canadian-based Northern Harvest Sea Farms in its agreement to be sold to Marine Harvest, one of the largest seafood companies in the world. It also recently advised battery pack manufacturer Brammo on the sale of its assets to Indiana-based Cummins, which manufactures diesel and natural gas engines. Boston-based Alexander Aber and Joseph Basile are the M&A practice group co-chairs; and Peter Rosenblum is also highly rated.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP’s corporate and M&A, private equity and investment fund practice is enhanced by its capabilities in finance and tax, and it has sector experience in financial services, transportation, specialty chemicals, agriculture and natural resources. Other areas of note include telecoms, consumer brands, outsourcing, and healthcare. New York-based Jane Jablons is highly rated; and Chicago-based Timothy Lavender led advice to Cooke Aquaculture on its unsolicited bid to acquire Omega Protein. Other active clients include Lifeway Foods, Cognizant and Aegis Capital Corp. Andrew Pillsbury works with clients in financial services, consumer goods, software, telecoms, logistics and transportation, manufacturing and energy.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s corporate and M&A team recently advised US asphalt producer Oldcastle Materials on the acquisition of Mulzer Crushed Stone (and related entities), assisted Aaron’s, a provider of lease-purchase solutions, with the all-cash acquisition of substantially all the assets of its largest franchisee for $140m, and advised US telecoms provider American Tower Corporation on its $125m purchase of a portfolio of 1,400 Paraguayan wireless communications towers. In the large deal space, the team acted for building materials group CRH in its pending $3.5bn acquisition of Ash Grove Cement Company, and assisted CRH with the $2.63bn sale of its Americas Distribution division to Beacon Roofing Supply. Atlanta-based practice leader Richard Cicchillo Jr is ‘very experienced’; Raleigh-based Thomas Steed III is also highly rated; and Carole Bellis and David Eaton are notable Silicon Valley contacts. Washington DC-based Gary Bronstein and Atlanta-based Thomas Kesler are also widely praised.

McGuireWoods LLP’s lawyers have significant experience in all types of private equity transactions, including LBOs, roll-ups, minority and junior capital investments, going-private transactions, independent sponsor transactions, and purchases of troubled companies. The practice also regularly assists with deals involving the energy, real estate and healthcare sectors. In other areas, Charlotte’s Chris Scheurer advised Park Sterling Corporation, the holding company for the Park Sterling Bank, in a stock-for-stock merger with South State Corporation; and Pittsburgh-based Scott Westwood, who is global head of the firm’s M&A and cross-border transactions department, advised digital imaging products provider Teledyne Technologies on its acquisition of UK-based e2v technologies. A multi-practice team also assisted the special committee of the board of directors of Constellation Healthcare Technologies, a consolidator of billing businesses used by doctors in the US, with its $309m going-private sale to its founder Paul Parmar and private investment firm CC Capital. Chicago-based Geoffrey Cockrell is co-private equity chair; Richmond-based Joanne Katsantonis chairs the energy industry practice; and James Anderson III is also a key adviser. Other notable Charlotte attorneys include David Whelpley Jr, who chairs the M&A, energy and private equity transactions department, and H Ramsey White III.

Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP stands out for its experience in the metals and mining space, where it regularly works alongside leading Canadian firms on significant deals. The practice acted as US legal counsel to Vancouver-headquartered gold production company Goldcorp in its high-profile acquisition of Exeter Resource Corporation, the owner of the Chilean Caspiche project, a potentially high-tonnage, long-life mining asset; and assisted, as US legal counsel, Canada-listed Sandstorm Gold, with its share and cash acquisition of Mariana Resources, the Turkey-focused mining exploration specialist. In other areas, the practice advised longstanding Swedish client NIBE Industrier, a worldwide heat pump and climate solutions provider, in its purchase of The Climate Control Group, a US manufacturer of HVAC solutions for commercial and residential applications in North America. Corporate and securities chair David Stone, John Koenigsknecht, Michael Gray, Cristina DeMento and Joshua Klein are all recommended. All partners named above are in Chicago.

Perkins Coie LLP’s practice fields over 100 M&A attorneys who act for public and private companies and investors in domestic and cross-border M&A deals, joint ventures, carve-outs, spin-offs, and growth equity investments. The team advised Boeing on its acquisition of Aurora Flight Sciences, assisted Onvia, a provider of sales intelligence and acceleration technologies, with its sale to software and information solutions provider Deltek, and advised Potlatch Corporation, a real estate investment trust with approximately 1.4m acres of timberland in Alabama, Arkansas, Idaho, Minnesota and Mississippi, on its all-stock definitive merger agreement with Deltic Timber Corporation. Denver-based firm-wide M&A practice chair Jeff Beuche has substantial experience with transactions in the technology, software, agricultural products, telecoms and healthcare services industries. Seattle-based Nicholas Ferrer and Gina Eiben in Portland are also key contacts.

Schiff Hardin LLP’s ‘experienced lawyers deliver a very strong service at a reasonable cost and are practical, efficient and responsive’. The practice covers the entire M&A spectrum, including private and public company mergers, acquisitions and divestitures; majority and minority equity investments; MBOs and LBOs; and joint ventures and strategic alliances. It acted for Fortune 500 company Newell Brands in several matters, including its acquisition of Smith Mountain Industries, a candle maker that sells under the WoodWick candle brand. The team also advised Altaris Capital Partners, a healthcare-focused private equity firm, on its sale of CSafe Global to private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners; and assisted Consolidated Communications Holdings, the ninth-largest fiber provider in the US, with the sale of its subsidiary Consolidated Communications of Iowa Company. The key contacts are team head Stephen Dragich, Steve Isaacs and Alexander Young. Other notable advisers are David McHugh, Matthew Galo and Jason Zgliniec. All partners listed above are in Chicago.

Thompson Hine LLP’s corporate practice has close to 100 attorneys, over half of whom regularly work on M&A transactions, including both domestic and cross-border deals. Cincinnati-based corporate transactions and securities practice group leader Frank Chaiken and Todd Schild recently led three acquisitions for packaging company Pro Mach, including its acquisition of Canadian company, Jalbert Automatisation; and Cleveland’s Tony Kuhel led advice to The Home Depot in its $265m purchase of Compact Power Equipment, a national provider of equipment rental and maintenance services. The team also advised American biotechnology company Intrexon in its definitive merger agreement to acquire gene therapy company GenVec, while large deal highlights included acting for American Entertainment Properties and AEP Rail, which are subsidiaries of Icahn Enterprises, in an agreement to sell the membership interests of American Railcar Leasing to SMBC Rail Services, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, for $2.8bn. Other key advisers include New York-based Garrett Evers, David Neuhardt in Dayton, Cincinnati’s John Cottingham, Thomas Aldrich in Cleveland, and Columbus-based Jim Balthaser.

Thompson & Knight LLPdelivers top-of-the-line work and its excellent lawyers are timely and professional’. The practice has significant expertise in assisting clients in the oil and gas industry, particularly those with a focus on upstream and midstream activities, and its experience includes advising businesses and investors on M&A deals and dispositions, earnouts and LBOs. The team advised Endurance Resources on the sale of the majority of its Delaware Basin assets, held in two separate entities, to two separate buyers; and in non-energy matters, it acted for Anderson Media Corporation in its acquisition of a majority interest in media company BASS Productions. In large deals, the practice acted for Silver Hill Energy Partners in its sale to RSP Permian, and advised the conflicts committee of the general partner of American Midstream Partners on its merger with JP Energy Partners. In Dallas, corporate and securities practice leader Wesley Williams, Joe Dannenmaier, Steven Bartz and of counsel Fred Fulton, who ‘has an excellent business sense and handles a wide range of subjects’, are all highly regarded practitioners, as is Houston’s Michael Pierce.

With a client base ranging from mid-market private businesses to Fortune 500 companies, Arent Fox LLP’s ‘great value-for-money practice is very responsive and offers business-minded, practical advice’. Moreover, ‘its lawyers understand deals and find creative solutions to problems, and the firm’s senior associates are top-notch and completely trusted’. The team stands out for its expertise in deals involving hospitality, consumer products, restaurants, retail and real estate, and the ‘extremely effective’ Jay Halpern, who ‘understands both business and the nuances of negotiation’, advised Tupperware Brands Corporation on an array of corporate and commercial matters, including the potential sale and ultimate wind-down of its BeautiControl business. Corporate and securities group head Steven Cohen advises clients in the technology, media, sports, real estate, hospitality and healthcare sectors; Richard Gale’s transactional work crosses a broad spectrum of industries, including healthcare, technology, manufacturing, real estate and alcoholic beverages; and Amal Dave is ‘a terrific associate’. All named advisers are in Washington DC.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP’s corporate and business transactions practice has experience advising companies on transactions across the US and around the world. Recent matters include a multi-disciplinary, cross-office acting for the owners of performance art company Blue Man Group (BMG) in the sale of BMG to Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil; assisting Expedia and its subsidiary with the acquisition of GoConcierge, a software-as-a-service business that helps high-end hotel clients run and track concierge activities; and advising a fast-casual restaurant group on its majority interest sale to a private equity fund. Seattle-based Matthew LeMaster is the M&A group chair, and Sean McCann has extensive experience advising clients in the manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, real estate, and professional services industries. Sarah Tune, who divides her time between Seattle and New York, is particularly focused on the food and beverage and restaurant industries.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP acts as counsel to public and private companies, financial sponsors, private equity firms and investment banks in M&A deals, divestitures, corporate restructurings, strategic partnerships, cross-border transactions, auctions, and takeover defense matters. The team acted for Greater Talent Network in its sale to United Talent Agency, and served as special US counsel to mining company Chaparral Gold on its sale to a Toronto-based private equity firm focused on developing precious and base metals projects. Minneapolis-based Jonathan Van Horn’s experience includes negotiated business combinations and contested acquisition transactions; and Timothy Hearn is particularly noted for his work with micro- and small-cap public companies. New York’s Eric Rytter chairs the firm’s private equity practice group; and Kevin Maler in Minnesota assists buyers and sellers in a variety of divestitures, asset purchases, stock purchases and mergers. In Utah, a significant amount of Layne Smith’s experience involves advising operating companies and investors in the healthcare and technology industries. New York-based Scott Desmond as well as Minnesota-based Robert Rosenbaum and William Jonason are also key contacts.

Exceptionally good to work with’, Duane Morris LLP’s experience includes assisting both mature and early-stage companies with negotiated acquisitions and divestitures, hostile acquisitions, and takeover defense. Kirk Domescik in Atlanta led advice to Unified Capital in its acquisition of a majority equity stake in Brightlink Communications. The team also acted for Donegal Mutual Insurance Company in the merger with Mountain States Mutual Casualty Company, and advised Hill International on the divestiture of its construction claims business through a sale of a combination of stock and assets to British private equity buyer Bridgepoint Development Capital. It also assisted Naked Brand Group, a fashion and lifestyle brand, with its merger with privately held lingerie and swimwear brand Bendon. Chicago-based team head Brian Kerwin has extensive experience representing business entities, lenders, private equity funds and entrepreneurs in various business transactions.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P. handles a wide array of transactions for clients ranging from private equity firms and closely held corporations to large financial institutions and Fortune 500 public companies. The team’s scope of work includes private equity deals, strategic acquisitions and divestitures, LBOs and hostile takeovers, as well as proxy contests, tender offers, spin-offs, and going-private transactions. Recent work includes acting for FleetPride, the largest provider of heavy-duty truck and trailer parts in the US, in the purchase of Truck Parts & Equipment; advising Cook Children’s Health Care System on its acquisition of Child Study Center; and assisting Aspect Security, a consulting firm focusing on application security, with the sale of its business assets to Ernst & Young US. Dallas-based Tom Harris acts for buyers and sellers in public and private sale-of-business transactions, and Janice Sharry has particular experience in the energy, aviation, healthcare and food industries. Ricardo Garcia-Moreno, who has over 22 years of experience representing US, European and Latin American clients in domestic and international transactions, and George Gonzalez, who has deal experience in the energy, oil and gas, infrastructure, healthcare and technology sectors, divide their time between Houston and Mexico City.

Holland & Knight LLP’s M&A practice advises clients on transaction structuring and negotiation, due diligence, SEC matters, and corporate governance issues. Recent highlights include acting for Palm Beach Community Bank in its sale to Seacoast Banking Corporation of Florida, and advising Royce Carlton, a New York-based independent speakers’ bureau, on its sale of a majority interest to ICM Partners, one of the world’s largest talent and literary agencies. In other matters, the practice advised Texas-based EZCorp, a provider of pawn loans in the US and Mexico, on its acquisition of GuatePrenda MaxiEfectivo; and assisted Carlyle Infrastructure Partners with the sale of intermodal terminal operator ITS ConGlobal. Leighton Yates Jr in Orlando and Stamford’s Martin Clarke are the names to note.

Irell & Manella LLP fields lawyers with experience advising companies in the technology, media and entertainment, computer hardware and software, communications, and cable sectors. The practice also has deal expertise in healthcare, biosciences, retail, manufacturing, energy, gaming, real estate development and finance. Highlights included acting for Angiotech Pharmaceuticals in its sale to a group of investors led by Vivo Capital and China-based ZQ Capital, and assisting Britt Private Capital and Jupiter Investors with their acquisition of Oakland-based Mountain Mike’s Pizza. The team also acted for Genstar Capital in its acquisition of enterprise software provider PDI, and advised Genstar Capital and Warburg Pincus portfolio company ConstructConnect, a provider of cloud-based services to the construction industry, on its approximately $632m sale to public company Roper Technologies. Los Angeles-based Gregory Klein has acted for clients such as Genstar Capital, Angeles Equity Partners, Platinum Equity, US Renewables Group, and Beach Point Capital. Joshua Grode left the firm to become CEO of film and television production company Legendary Entertainment.

Lowenstein Sandler LLP’s M&A practice group advises major corporations and private equity sponsors on a broad range of strategic acquisitions and dispositions, and also acts as US counsel alongside non-US law firms in cross-border M&A transactions. Recent experience includes acting for The Estée Lauder Companies in its acquisition of makeup brand Too Faced, assisting Diligent Corporation, a provider of secure online document sharing, with its sale to Insight Venture Partners, and advising BASF Corporation on its acquisition of Zed X, a developer of digital agricultural intelligence. New York-based M&A chair Marita Makinen’s deals frequently involve highly complex capital structures, intricate management incentives, talent retention issues, and the protection of IP; corporate department chair Peter Ehrenberg’s representative experience includes acting for an independent owner, operator and developer of utility-scale solar assets in the US, in its sale; and private equity chair Steven Siesser acts for investors, target companies and intermediaries, such as investment banks and high-net-worth individuals.

Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. is highly regarded for its middle-market expertise and the practice is particularly focused on emerging and regulated industries, such as communications, digital media, energy and cleantech, as well as healthcare, life sciences and technology. The client base includes buyers, sellers and private equity and venture capital firms and their portfolio companies, as well as boards of directors, financial advisers and management teams. The team acted for Workterra, an innovator in cloud-based benefits administration and talent management, in its sale to CareerBuilder. Dean Zioze chairs the firm’s M&A practice; Zioze’s experience includes strategic acquisitions and divestitures, including private equity transactions, MBOs, cross-border deals, distressed sales, and carve-out transactions. Michael Fantozzi also has extensive M&A experience. Other key contacts include Matthew Gardella, who has served as counsel for clients involved in the retail, technology, life sciences, and media and telecoms sectors, and Marc Mantell, who focuses primarily on companies engaged in the technology ecosystem. New York-based Charlotte Edelman is also a key contact. Named attorneys are based in Boston, except where otherwise stated.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP’s M&A team fields over 70 attorneys, who regularly advise clients on both buy-side and sell-side M&A transactions. Atlanta-based Rhys Wilson’s experience includes advising on the sale of a luxury resort to a private equity group; and Phillip Cooper acts for public and private companies in the financial services, insurance, staffing and energy sectors, as well as for manufacturing, technology, and sports and entertainment clients. Other key contacts include managing partner of the firm’s Atlanta office, Michael Hollingsworth II, and Gus Dixon in Columbia.

Pryor Cashman LLP regularly advises on deals involving the energy, software, technology and advertising sectors. The practice also has transactional experience in the apparel, medical supplies and life sciences industries. Richard Frazer led advice to music mogul and entrepreneur Russell Simmons, a longstanding client, on the sale of prepaid debit card company UniRush to Green Dot Corporation. Other matters included assisting Asian supermarket chain NYM Holding with its merger into iFresh (a SPAC), and advising Marina Biotech on the acquisition of hypertension treatment Prestalia® from Symplmed Pharmaceuticals. John Crowe leads the firm’s M&A and private equity practice and is also a member of the banking and finance, media and entertainment, and investment management groups; and Stephen Goodman heads the life sciences and technology practices. All named partners are based in the New York office.

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC is highly rated for its assistance to buyers and sellers in public and private strategic transactions, as well as for financial sponsor deals. The practice includes government contractor and healthcare M&A deals, and the team recently acted for CenseoHealth in its sale to New Mountain Capital. It also advised Nashville-based logistics company Tennessee Steel Haulers on its sale to Daseke. On the buy side, the team assisted Gen Cap America, a private investment firm specializing in acquisitions and recapitalizations of middle-market businesses, with its acquisition of The Bargain Barn, which operates as United Grocery Outlet and GO Grocery Outlet. The key contacts are Washington DC-based chair of the firm’s government contracts practice, Todd Overman, who advises companies on the issues involved in doing business with the federal government, and Nashville-based Riney Green, who has extensive experience in advising both private-equity backed and publicly traded companies in industries such as healthcare, manufacturing, commercial real estate and financial services.

Brown Rudnick LLP has particular experience in specialized industries, including technology, healthcare, energy and government services. Recent work includes acting for transnational pharmaceutical company Lupin in its acquisition of privately held Symbiomix Therapeutics, which brings to market innovative therapies for gynecologic infections, and advising an Albuquerque-based biotech company that develops and markets blood diagnostic devices on its cross-border sale to a British firm. Boston-based Samuel Williams is the firm’s corporate and capital markets managing director; Williams advises public and private corporations in a variety of areas, including businesses in the IT, semiconductor, communications and other high-tech sectors.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP’s M&A group attorneys have extensive experience advising private and public companies in various transactions, including LBOs, and asset and equity acquisitions and dispositions, as well as extensive experience in transactions involving corporate restructurings and/or distressed situations. Denver-based online gaming industry specialist Elizabeth Paulsen has acted in a number of transactions in the renewable energy space; and Gino Maurelli regularly acts as lead partner or primary transaction attorney in upper and lower middle-market transactions.

Dickinson Wright PLLC advises on deals in a range of industry sectors, including financial services, media, sports, real estate, automotive and consumer products, and has a growing specialism in deals involving Japan and China. Notable matters included acting for an acquisition entity formed by Vinnie Johnson (the owner of Piston Automotive) in its acquisition of Irvin Automotive, a subsidiary of Japan-based Takata Corporation, and assisting Manufacturers Supply Co with the sale of all its assets to North America’s largest fastener distributor, Fastenal. Columbus-based Scot Crow was recently promoted to practice manager. Other highly rated advisers include Michigan-based Richard Bolton and Mark High.

At Ohio-headquartered law firm Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, the team handles stock and asset purchases, as well as mergers and consolidations. Its representative experience includes advising community banks and large financial institutions on M&A deals, including assisting a large publicly held bank holding company with its acquisition of a mutual savings bank in a simultaneous mutual-to-stock conversion and stock-for-stock merger. The team also acted for a publicly held company in the sale of a portfolio business in a cash-for-assets transaction with a principal competitor, and assisted an owner with the sale of two nonprofit nursing homes. Cincinnati-based John Barnes heads the M&A practice and has recently been focused on transactions in the healthcare industry; and corporate department chair Susan Zaunbrecher’s clients include Peoples Bancorp, United Bancshares, Lexmark International and Chemed Corporation.

Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP is highly regarded for its assistance to acquirers, sellers and private equity firms with mergers, stock and asset acquisitions, tender offers, joint ventures, LBOs, and spin-offs. The team’s recent experience includes advising a publicly traded food and beverage manufacturer on its acquisition of a national direct-to-consumer provider of bottled water, office coffee and water filtration services; and acting for a protection solutions company in the acquisition of a provider of single-use gloves. The names to note are Princeton-based John Stoddard III, and Douglas Raymond and David Denious in Philadelphia.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. is recommended for its significant healthcare M&A practice, which comprises over 50 healthcare M&A lawyers, who regularly structure and negotiate complex business transactions for healthcare companies. The team also works with venture capital and private equity funds in relation to health-related targets. It acted for Colorado-based Envision Healthcare Holdings in its merger with Nashville-based AmSurg, which resulted in the formation of one of the nation’s largest provider organizations, and regularly assists Richmond University Medical Center with transactional matters. The practice’s recommended advisers are team head Mark Lutes, Steven Epstein, Douglas Hastings, Katherine Lofft and Joseph Lynch in Washington DC; New York-based Jeffrey Becker and John Gleason; Chicago-based Amy Dow and Kevin Ryan; and Gary Herschman in Newark.

Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP’s M&A attorneys handle a variety of mergers, equity and asset acquisitions and dispositions, LBOs and joint ventures in a range of industries, including energy, transportation and healthcare. Recent work includes advising Dallas-based Frog Street Press, which creates early childhood educational resources, on its sale to Excelligence Learning Corporation. The corporate chairs are Houston-based Daniel Cohen, whose practice includes M&A deals throughout the US in the transit operator sector, and Michael Newman in Dallas, who serves as outside general counsel to over 75 US and foreign companies and investors seeking business opportunities in Texas and Mexico.

Holland & Hart LLP’s experience includes strategic acquisitions and dispositions, private equity transactions, auction processes, roll-up transactions and LBOs. The practice acted for cybersecurity firm Optiv Security in its recent acquisition of big data company Decision Lab, and assisted the same client with its recent acquisition of Toronto-based security and networking solutions provider Conexsys. It also advised Canada-based mining and exploration company Centerra Gold on its plan of arrangement to acquire Denver-based Thompson Creek Metals. Denver’s Chris Groll, who leads the firm’s M&A practice, advises individuals and companies in industries such as cement and construction, food and beverage, software and internet, consumer products, professional services, and manufacturing.

Midwest firm Husch Blackwell LLP has significant inbound and outbound M&A experience on major transactions. The team acted for King Juice Company in the sale of its business to private equity firm Mason Wells, and advised Marshfield Clinic Health Systems on the $325m purchase of St Joseph’s Hospital in Marshfield, Wisconsin. In the upper middle-market space, the group assisted Canada-based Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp with its $608m agreement to purchase a 25% equity interest in renewable energy and power generation owner and operator Atlantica Yield from Abengoa, and acted for AMC Entertainment Holdings in its $929m acquisition of Nordic Cinema Group Holding, which operates 68 theaters across northern Europe, from private equity firm Bridgepoint and Sweden-based media group Bonnier Holding. Eric Lenzen in Milwaukee is the practice head.

Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP’s M&A and corporate practice group is well known for its technology sector experience in the sub-$500m market. David Calhoun, who is chair of the firm’s private equity and M&A practice, led advice to the management team of Epicor, which provides enterprise resource planning, when Epicor was sold by equity fund Apax to KKR for $3.2bn. The team also advised UK-based multinational Sage Software on the $260m acquisition of its automated clearing house business, Sage Payment Solutions. In other matters, the practice assisted Interstate Hotels & Resorts, the world’s largest third-party hotel management company, with its $307m sale to private equity group Kohlberg & Companies. Ward Bondurant is ‘a responsive and pragmatic M&A partner, who is truly an extension of his clients - he takes the time to understand their business and people’. Both partners mentioned are in Atlanta.

Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLPhas great lawyers and is fantastic for its responsiveness and depth of knowledge of Delaware corporate law’. The commercial law counseling group acts for a number of leading private equity, hedge and mutual funds, and frequently advises clients in the oil and gas and MLP space; and the Delaware corporate law group assists with complex corporate transactions and corporate governance issues in Delaware. The team served as Delaware counsel to a special committee of the board of SeaWorld Entertainment (SWE) regarding its sale of Blackstone Group’s stake in SWE to China’s Zhonghong Zhuoye Group Co. In large deals, the team acted as Delaware counsel in longstanding client Bayer’s proposed acquisition of seed producer Monsanto Co; the merger would create one of the world’s largest agrochemical companies. David Harris and Louis Hering are highly rated commercial law experts.

The corporate group of California law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson specializes in advising buyers and sellers on M&A transactions and privately negotiated investments. On the buy side, the practice is highly rated for its assistance to private equity firms, financial sponsors and strategic investors with their acquisitions of both minority stakes and multibillion-dollar businesses. On the sell side, it advises companies, boards, special committees and shareholders on achieving their exit goals. The team recently acted for Berkshire Hathaway in its acquisition of a minority stake in Pilot Travel Centers, doing business as Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America. The recommended names are Los Angeles-based Mary Ann Todd, Robert Denham and Justin Hellman.

Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. is recommended for its role as Delaware counsel in significant M&A deals. Recent examples include its advice to cloud, messaging and digital products provider Synchronoss regarding its acquisition of Intralinks Holdings, and its assistance to Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding, with its acquisition of MoneyGram International. Large deal highlights included acting for Microsoft Corp in its acquisition of LinkedIn Corp. William Haubert is team leader; and John Mark Zeberkiewicz, Stephen Bigler and Mark Gentile are also highly rated advisers.

Robinson & Cole LLP’s clients range from technology start-ups to multinational corporations, and a significant part of its work involves cross-border transactions. The team’s scope of work includes assisting public and private companies with acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, LBOs, and going-private deals. Business transactions chair Eric Kogan, who divides his time between Stamford and New York, counsels clients in various industries, including digital media, retail and luxury consumer goods, manufacturing, and technology and software. Kogan has assisted The Nielsen Company, a global information and data company, with several transactions, including its acquisition of marketing intelligence company Visual IQ.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is particularly focused on deals in the insurance brokerage and environmental services industries, as well as on cross-border transactions. The M&A attorneys also assist longstanding firm clients in the technology, retail and consumer goods sectors. The team acted for Ryan Insurance Financial Services in the sale of substantially all of its assets to Baldwin Risk Partners, which included complex employment issues regarding restrictive covenants and termination issues. Megan Harmon in Pittsburgh, who acts for family businesses, start-ups and publicly and privately held organizations in business transactions, and Sarah Hewitt, who splits her time between the New York and Philadelphia offices, are the M&A group chairs; and Christian Moretti in New York is noted for his advice to funds and strategic buyers, particularly Italian- and French-owned entities, on cross-border M&A transactions.

Founded in California, Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauthdelivers excellent service levels for good value for money, and responses are always timely; the team also has great business acumen, providing broad advice that takes into account business considerations’. It recently acted for tech company ScanSource in its acquisition of payment services company POS Portal, and advised craft brewery Wicked Weed Brewing on its sale to Belgium-headquartered brewing company, Anheuser-Busch. The practice also stands out for its medical device industry expertise. The Newport Beach-based co-chairs of the corporate and securities practice group are Christopher Ivey, who has ‘outstanding business acumen and considers transactions holistically’, and Mark Skaist, who is also an experienced adviser. The ‘excellent’ Ryan Azlein divides his time between Santa Monica and Santa Barbara.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP focuses on complex middle-market M&A transactions. In recent work, the team has advised AMETEK, a global manufacturer of electronic instruments and electromechanical devices, in numerous strategic acquisitions, including its $182m all-cash acquisition of laboratory analytics provider MOCON, and acted for Carnegie Fabrics, a family-owned provider of sustainable textiles and wall coverings, in its sale of a majority stake to private equity firm Calera Capital. It also assisted The Ultimate Software Group, a provider of cloud-based capital management solutions, with its acquisition of San Francisco-based technology company Kanjoya. Former corporate department head Todd Lenson and Jordan Rosenbaum exited for Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, which led to Christopher Doyle and Jeffrey Lowenthal becoming chairs of the firm’s corporate group. Bradley Kulman and Matthew Schwartz are also key contacts. All partners named are based in New York.

Troutman Sanders advises sellers, purchasers, target companies, special committees and financial advisers on domestic and cross-border transactions, including acquisitions, divestitures, mergers, joint ventures and other strategic alliances. Recent work includes advising Union Bankshares Corporation, the bank holding company for Union Bank & Trust, on the acquisition of Xenith Bankshares in an all-stock transaction, and acting for network communications and technology company Windstream Holdings in a merger agreement to acquire Broadview Networks Holdings. Atlanta-based corporate department chair Andrea Farley’s representative matters include advising a publicly held distributor of automotive replacement parts, office products and electrical materials on the acquisition of a manufacturer of personal protection products; and Richmond’s Mason Bayler Jr’s experience includes assisting a public utility company with its sale to a private equity firm. John Bradley in Irvine is also a key contact.


Private equity buyouts

Index of tables

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Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s inexorable rise continues. The firm has retained its core client base of big names such as Madison Dearborn and Bain Capital, while developing tighter relationships with the likes of Blackstone, KKR, Cerberus Capital Management, Thomas H Lee Partners and TPG. The firm established a Boston office in 2017 with a series of key partner relocations and several lateral hires, including private equity specialist Matthew Cohn from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. This follows a number of recent lateral recruits in New York and Houston, two key private equity locations. The ‘top-echelon and pre-eminent law firm’ is the ‘crème de la crème’ and is commended for its oil and gas expertise thanks to its ‘unmatched knowledge and transaction expertise’. The ‘commercial’ team ‘can work faster than anyone without forgoing work quality’. In 2017, the firm advised anchor client Bain Capital on a $3.2bn carve-out acquisition from Sealed Air of its Diversey Care division and the food hygiene and cleaning business of its Food Care division. It also advised Blackstone on its $4.8bn acquisition of Aon’s technology-enabled benefits and human resources platform and its $6.1bn acquisition of TeamHealth Holdings. Beyond these large cap-deals, the firm also operates a market-leading mid-market practice. Notable partners include Jon Ballis, Sanford Perl, Matthew Steinmetz, Richard Campbell and New York’s Eunu Chun. Stephen Ritchie and Walter Holzer are ‘extremely practical and business minded’, they ‘consider the upside of every obstacle’ and are ‘very problem solving and creative’. New York’s Peter Martelli has played a key role in cementing the firm’s connection to Blackstone and Andrew Calder is a star performer in Houston. New York-based Michael Weisser and Leo Greenberg are also prominent names, Jeremy Lissis a rare M&A attorney with the ability to cut across multiple practice areas and solve problems’, and Corey Fox is a ‘super star’ whose ‘personal skills set him apart’. Jeffrey Seifman is ‘straightforward, cuts through the nonsense and is able to build consensus on very complex matters’. Steven Napolitano and Brendan Head joined from DLA Piper LLP (US) in May 2018. Attorneys are based in Chicago unless stated otherwise.

The ‘outstandingSimpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is the ‘leader in large-cap deals’, according to clients. The firm stands out thanks to its close relationships with KKR, Blackstone, Silver Lake and other big-name private equity houses, and it continues to work hard to develop its standing in the middle market through new client relationships and through established clients that are establishing mid-cap and growth funds, such as cornerstone client KKR’s new technology and healthcare growth funds. Key mid-market clients now also include EQT Partners, which was initially a client of the European practice, as well as Centerbridge Partners, KSL Capital Partners and New Mountain Capital. The lead partners in the practice, while closely associated to the private equity segment, still typically adopt a generalist approach and also frequently handle strategic M&A transactions. This kind of versatility has been pivotal to some headline engagements, including the firm’s advice to Internet Brands, a KKR portfolio company, on its $2.8bn acquisition of WebMD; the deal involved a tender offer for all the outstanding shares of WebMD common stock. In another headline deal, the firm advised KKR and Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec on their $4.3bn joint acquisition of USI Insurance Services, a portfolio company of Onex Corporation. The firm’s strengths in leveraged finance, fund formation, employee benefits, executive compensation and tax structuring are other reasons for its prominence in the private equity segment. Marni Lerner leads the department and was lead partner on the Internet Brands transaction. Gary Horowitz is another outstanding practitioner and a regular adviser to KKR, while Wilson Neely is noted for his experience and connections to the likes of Blackstone and Centerbridge. Palo Alto partner Richard Capelouto is ‘an absolute star’ of the West Coast and recognized for his Silver Lake and Hellman & Friedman relationships. William Curbow and Ryerson Symons are also recommended, as is Brian Stadler for real estate deals, and Mark Pflug recently impressed as lead adviser to KKR on its $1.4bn acquisition of PharMerica.

Terrific firmDebevoise & Plimpton LLP has a ‘top-notch’ private equity practice that encompasses a ‘broad range of services’ and a ‘breadth of resources to solve complex problems’. It reinforced its team with the hire of healthcare sector specialist Paul Rubin from Ropes & Gray LLP in September 2017 and the election of Sue Meng to the partnership. Healthcare is a sector where the firm has achieved notable success, including for big-name private equity houses such as Carlyle. The private equity offering is supported by notable fund formation expertise as well as strong leveraged finance, tax, and employee benefits and executive compensation departments. It also has excellent regulatory credentials with a number of prominent former SEC officials working within its ranks. Prominent clients include Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Blackstone, Apollo Global Management, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB), Kelso & Company, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Providence Equity Partners and Temasek Holdings. In 2017, it advised anchor client Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its $2.5bn carve-out acquisition of HD Supply’s waterworks division. It also represented CF Corporation, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), and Blackstone on their $1.83bn all-cash acquisition of Fidelity & Guaranty Life. Paul Bird is a senior name and is key to the firm’s connection to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice and other private equity houses. Chair of the corporate department Jeffrey Rosen is ‘one of the best lawyers in New York’ and is well thought of in the private equity arena, as is co-head of the private equity group Kevin Schmidt, who has worked on numerous deals for Kelso, CPPIB and others. Kevin Rinker is noted especially for healthcare deals, but advises big names such as Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, Carlyle, Morgan Stanley Global Private Equity and Providence Equity in a variety of sectors. Rising star Uri Herzberg is ‘incredibly thoughtful, commercial and analytical with his advice’, ‘one of the smartest individuals’ and ‘has an uncanny ability to process information quickly and provide smart, tactical advice to his clients’.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s impressive geographic coverage across the US and globally enables it to capture a significant market share of top-bracket private equity transactions. The practice is equally adept in large-cap and mid-market private equity deals, and works closely with clients such as Carlyle, BC Partners, KKR, GTCR, One Equity Partners, Leonard Green & Partners, Genstar Capital, Odyssey Partners and Platinum Equity. The ‘top-notch firm performs at a top-notch level’, according to one client. It advised Carlyle on the sale of a majority stake in The Nature’s Bounty to KKR. In the energy space, it represented Arclight Capital Partners and Blackstone on their $2.17bn acquisition of four power plants from American Electric Power. Jennifer Perkins and Chicago’s Shaun Hartley are joint heads of the private equity practice; Perkins is described as an ‘excellent M&A lawyer’ who ‘understands and is experienced in the full range of M&A transactions’ and ‘has the demeanor, skills and judgment that not only gets deals done, but makes her a pleasure to work with’. Daniel Lennon in Washington DC jointly leads the firm’s relationship with Carlyle. Howard Sobel is a pivotal member of the team and is close to a number of big-name private equity houses, such as Leonard Green & Partners, Centerbridge Partners and Odyssey Investment Partners; he is ‘extremely smart as well as very business oriented and practical’. Washington DC’s David Brown leads the firm’s connection to Platinum Equity and has led a number of transactions for Carlyle’s healthcare and technology industry groups. Fellow DC partner Paul Sheridan leads the firm’s relationship with Onex Partners and Revolution Growth. Silicon Valley’s Josh Dubofsky is a key figure on the West Coast for clients such as KKR and Genstar Capital. Named partners are New York based unless stated otherwise.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP has a significant foothold in the large-cap market through marquee client Apollo Global Management, and is also extremely prominent in the middle market. It has impressed in take-private and public company transactions, thanks in part to its renowned litigation resources that are frequently relied upon in such deals. It also has a formidable finance practice that supports the private equity transactions team. In 2017, the firm advised Apollo on its $2.2bn acquisition of ClubCorp, the largest US owner-operator of private golf and country clubs. It also advised Apollo alongside Vistria Group and Najafi Companies, as a consortium of investors, on their $1.1bn acquisition of Apollo Education Group. In the middle market, the firm maintains a strong connection to General Atlantic and, among a multitude of deals, it advised the private equity firm on the $440m sale of its ownership stake in TriNet Group to Atairos Group. Other key clients include 3G Capital, Oak Hill Capital Partners, Oaktree Capital Management, Crestview Partners, CI Capital Partners, Kohlberg & Co and KPS Capital Partners. The team ‘goes above and beyond for its clients’, is ‘extremely responsive’ and its ‘industry knowledge is first rate given the breadth of the firm’s platform in private equity’. The partners are ‘excellent’ and its ‘deep associate bench stacks up with other top-tier firms’. The firm is also praised for its wider resources and expertise, including in litigation, tax, financing, benefits and funds structuring. Key partners include Taurie Zeitzer, who leads the relationship with Apollo, and Matthew Abbott, who has a close relationship with General Atlantic and is ‘one of the best private equity and M&A lawyers of his generation’ with ‘judgment and technical acumen that is second to none’. Angelo Bonvino has a fine record with firms such as Kohlberg & Co, KPS and Oak Hill, while Carl Reisner is the primary relationship partner for CI Capital Partners. Neil Goldman is ‘an extremely cool and collected lawyer’, ‘thoughtful’, ‘thorough’ and ‘focused on the issues that matter’. John Scott is also highly recommended. Attorneys mentioned are based in New York.

Ropes & Gray LLP has made further inroads into the large- and mid-cap market, building on its long history in the sector and its strength in key areas such as debt finance, tax, executive compensation and regulatory issues. In recent years, the firm has invested in expanding its private equity team in Chicago and on the West Coast, leading to greater connections to the likes of Golden Gate Capital in San Francisco and others. Bain Capital, TPG and Welsh Carson are amongst its longest-standing clients, though its wider client base includes Carlyle, Genstar Capital, HIG Capital, Summit Partners, TH Lee Partners and Baring Private Equity. It advised Bain Capital on a Bain-led consortium’s $18bn acquisition of Toshiba’s semiconductor business, reported as the largest Japanese deal since 2011 and the largest-ever private equity and leveraged finance transaction in Asia. It also represented TPG Capital in its $4.2bn carve-out of McAfee from Intel, in which TPG and Intel have formed a new joint venture with the private equity house having the majority stake in McAfee. The ‘go-to’ firm is a ‘top performer’, ‘responsive’ and ‘has a high-quality work product’. It is ‘excellent in terms of addressing issues, being commercial in its negotiations and is very easy to work with’. Will Shields leads the team and is a key relationship partner for Bain Capital. David Blittner has played a pivotal role in developing the firm’s presence in New York, as have Othon Prounis and Daniel Evans. Chair-elect Julie Jones is another prominent member of the team, as are Alfred Rose, David Chapin and Newcomb Stillwell. Chicago’s Neill Jakobe has contributed significantly to the firm’s growing practice away from the East Coast. In San Francisco, Jason Freedman is ‘practical’, ‘solution oriented’, has ‘a strong business sense’ and ‘strong M&A expertise’. Named lawyers are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.

Previously focused mainly on large leveraged buyouts, Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP now covers the large- to mid-cap range with considerable success. The practice now includes a steady pipeline of infrastructure, growth equity and special situation transactions. It is also expanding its work for sovereign wealth funds and family offices. The firm has worked on a high market share of SPAC deals and has a strong private equity presence in New York, Boston, Silicon Valley and Dallas. Many of its core private equity clients, such as Advent International, engage the firm all over the world. Providence Equity, Centerbridge Partners and CVC Capital Partners are among its other key clients. It is also building its connection to TPG, having advised Pace Holdings, a SPAC sponsored by TPG Global, on its business combination with Playa Hotels & Resorts. It also advised Lindsay Goldberg and portfolio company Bluegrass Materials on the company’s $1.62bn sale to Martin Marietta Materials. Department head Douglas Warner is a genuine leader in the field, and fellow practice co-head and Boston-based Kevin Sullivan leads a number of the firm’s key relationships, including with Providence Equity. Boston’s Marilyn French Shaw is close to Advent and a number of other key clients, and Silicon Valley’s Kyle Krpata and Houston partner Glenn West are also key members of the team. Christopher Machera is an emerging talent. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

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IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP has further cemented its position in the upper echelons of the market. Still known for its relationship with TPG, it now has a strong relationship with Warburg Pincus and is becoming closer to Carlyle. Few firms now can match its status in the large-cap market or its connections to a number of global sovereign wealth funds that are making direct investments and acquisitions. The team is ‘very responsive’, has ‘a deep level of expertise’, ‘brings significant industry knowledge’ and ‘is always good value for the money’. The firm has been especially active on behalf of TPG portfolio companies, including advising nationwide broadband provider RCN Telecom Services on its $2.36bn acquisition of Wave Broadband, creating the sixth-largest cable operator in the US. It also advised TPG portfolio company Surgical Care Affiliates on its $2.5bn stock and cash merger with leading health services company OptumCare. Paul Shim is a big name in the team, often advising TPG and a number of sovereign wealth funds. David Leinwand is a recognized leader in the market, with close connections to marquee clients TPG and Warburg Pincus; James Langston also regularly works woth TPG and Warburg Pincus and is an increasingly pivotal member of the team. Paul Tiger is another emerging talent. The firm’s strong antitrust, tax, employee benefits and leveraged finance practices also add to the private equity team’s compelling offering. Michael Albano is highlighted for his expertise in executive compensation and benefits in the private equity sector.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP continues to build its profile within the private equity community and now has a highly impressive client base that includes the likes of Atairos, Corsair Capital, Crestview Partners, Goldman Sachs Capital Partners, Lightyear Capital, Metalmark Capital, Morgan Stanley Capital, Tailwind Capital, TPG Capital and Warburg Pincus. The firm is noted for its connections to the current and former private equity arms of investment banks. In 2017, it advised the merchant banking division of Goldman Sachs on its preferred equity financing for the $5.5bn acquisition of Cabela’s by Bass Pro Shops. It also advised Metalmark Capital on the sale of its majority interest in WorldStrides and represented I Squared Capital in its $1.9bn acquisition of Hutchison Global Communications from Hutchison Telecommunications Hong Kong. John Amorosi heads the department and has played an anchor role in developing the firm’s standing in private equity. Ronald Cami, former general counsel at TPG Global, is a key figure in Silicon Valley. Leonard Kreynin, John Bick, Michael Davis and William Chudd are also key partners. Attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is at the forefront of the private equity market through clients such as Goldman Sachs and Permira. It provides ‘an excellent level of service’ and its ‘partners are responsive’ and ‘have a keen understanding of the commercial and business aspects of transactions’. The ‘very talented’ practice also has ‘excellent legal acumen and industry knowledge’. Moreover, clients highlight the key contributions of associated practice areas such as tax. Other clients include AEA Investors, American Securities, CVC Capital Partners, KKR, New Mountain Capital, Onex Partners and Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan. It advised Boston-based Yellow Wood Partners on the $1.42bn sale of its portfolio company PDC Brands to CVC Capital Partners, and assisted CVC Growth Fund with its $354m acquisition of Actua’s interests in VelocityEHS and Bolt Solutions. Robert Schwenkel, Christopher Ewan, Steven Steinman and Washington DC-based Brian Mangino are all experienced members of the private equity community. Andrea Gede-Lange and Randi Lally are emerging talents in the mainly New York-based team.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s extensive geographic coverage ensures it is plugged into multiple private equity centers and investment destinations, including California, New York, Washington DC and Dallas. The team benefits from the firm’s impressive regulatory credentials, including in Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) matters. Clients include CVC Capital Partners, AlixPartners, CPPIB, Oak Hill Capital Partners, Platinum Equity, Trilantic Capital Partners, as well as Littlejohn & Co, which the firm recently advised on its $475m sale of Newgistics to Pitney Bowes and on its acquisition of Tidel. Key members of the team include Sean Griffiths and Steven Shoemate in New York, Dallas partner Jeffrey Chapman and Ari Lanin in Los Angeles.

Firm of choiceProskauer Rose LLP advises some of the biggest names in private equity, including Ares Management, Carlyle and KKR. It has an especially outstanding record in sports, media and entertainment and has client base that includes Catterton Partners, Grey Mountain Partners, JW Childs Associates and Summit Partners. In recent work, it advised Ares Management on Ares Capital’s $3.43bn acquisition of American Capital, and assisted Ares with its acquisition of Convergint Technologies. Los Angeles-based ‘great lawyerMichael Woronoff is one of the top private equity and M&A lawyers on the West Coast and leads the practice alongside fellow Los Angeles partner Monica Shilling. Boston partner Steven Peck has worked on series of large-cap deals in recent years and New York’s real estate private equity specialist Jeffrey Horwitz is ‘always extremely responsive and staffs projects with a very skilled team’, and is ‘extremely intelligent and practical’. Los Angeles-based Jonathan Benloulou is an up-and-coming talent.

White & Case LLP’s investment in building out its global private equity practice is paying considerable dividends. Its client base in the US now includes the likes of CVC Capital Partners, Global Infrastructure Partners, Harvest Partners, Quad-C Management, Macquarie Infrastructure Partners, Investcorp, Certares, Dominus Capital and Triton. The firm is most active in the middle market, though is also relied upon to advise on large-cap deals, and recently it advised CVC on its $1.42bn acquisition of PDC Brands from Yellow Wood Partners. It also represented Global Infrastructure Partners on its $1.82bn acquisition of Medallion Gathering & Processing. The firm is ‘on a par or better’ than the top law firms in private equity, according to one client, and ‘always has the expertise needed in-house’, with clients also praising its global coverage and ability to handle multi-jurisdictional deals. Global co-head of private equity Oliver Brahmst is ‘second to none’ and ‘a leader who steps up when it is critical to do so’. Global head of M&A John Reiss also has extensive private equity experience. Carolyn Vardi is also recommended, and Matthew Kautz is ‘a trusted counsel’ and ‘provides excellent advice often in difficult situations’. Dan Latham is ‘an extraordinary lawyer’ with ‘a sharp mind’ and ‘an ability to understand his client’s perspective’.

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has a hugely impressive middle-market practice and has assembled an illustrious client list featuring the likes of Insight Venture Partners, Warburg Pincus, Riverstone Holdings, Aquiline Capital Partners, Genstar Capital, FFL Partners, Court Square and Centerbridge Partners. Fund formation, leveraged finance and financial services regulatory expertise sits alongside the firm’s considerable M&A and buyout experience. The firm recently advised A Place for Mom, a portfolio company of long-term client Warburg Pincus, on its sale to Silver Lake and General Atlantic. It also represented Insight Venture Partners in its investment in Ministry Brands. Firm chairman Steven Gartner and co-chairman Gordon Caplan are big names in the private equity segment, noted for their connections to Warburg Pincus and Insight Venture Partners respectively. Chairs of the private equity practice group Neil Townsend and Jeffrey Poss are also prominent individuals, as is energy sector specialist Bruce Herzog. Kirk Radke is a seasoned professional, especially in the middle market.

DLA Piper LLP (US) operates primarily in the middle market, with a high volume of transactions driven by the likes of ABRY Partners, Wind Point Partners, Arbor Investments, Prairie Capital, Sterling Partners and Stonebridge Partners. The firm has made a particular impression in the healthcare sector, marrying its strong private equity credentials with excellent healthcare regulatory expertise. Food and beverages, life sciences, chemicals and industrials are also key sectors. Moreover, the firm has made an impression in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional transactions for clients such as Wind Point and ABRY. It advised Wind Point on the sale of Novolex to Carlyle and represented Arbor in its acquisition of Greco & Sons. New York-based Daniel Eisner is an experienced figure, noted for his relationship with Arsenal Capital, and Atlanta’s Joe Alexander is the key relationship partner for ABRY. Miami partner Joshua Kaye is recommended for healthcare sector deals and is praised for his M&A and regulatory knowledge.

Dechert LLP’s bold global investment into its private equity practice is certainly earning recognition. Having achieved real traction in New York with a number of important hires, it has turned its sights to building its platforms in London and Asia. Clients now include Bregal Partners, Centre Partners Management, One Equity Partners, Court Square Capital Partners, GIC, Graham Partners, Quilvest Private Equity and Blackstone Tactical Opportunities Advisors. It maintains a solid middle-market footing and is gaining further ground in big-ticket deals. Healthcare and financial services are two key sectors for the team, which provides ‘good value for money’ and a ‘good overall service’. The firm advised new client MSD Partners on its acquisition, alongside CCMP Capital Advisors and Alberta Investment Management, of Hayward Industries. It also represented GIC, as part of a private equity consortium led by Blackstone, in the acquisition of a majority stake in Thomson Reuters. Mark Thierfelder is chair of the global private equity practice and has an outstanding reputation. Philadelphia partner Geraldine Sinatra is ‘great with strategy and high-level business advice’ and is ‘good at applying her broad knowledge to the situation at hand’. Jonathan Kim and Christian Matarese are both up-and-coming names, and Markus Bolsinger has helped elevate the team in New York. Derek Winokur and Philadelphia-based CEO Henry Nassau are also recommended. Named lawyers are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

Goodwin continues to impress in growth equity, with clients recognizing the firm’s ability to span venture financing right through to leveraged buyouts, highlighting the ‘incredible service and responsiveness, cutting-edge legal advice, practical sensibilities and understanding of the need to get the deal done’. The firm is hailed as a ‘solution business’ and private equity clients note that portfolio companies often continue working with the team after private equity investors have exited. It is recognized for its particular strength in Boston and its leadership in real estate and healthcare deals, and recently it advised regular client Great Hill Partners on its respective acquisitions of PartsSource and Quantum Health. Boston-based John LeClaire and Michael Kendall and Los Angeles-based Andrew Weidhaas lead the practice. San Francisco’s Brian McPeake, New York partner Stuart Rosenthal and James Hutchinson in Washington DC are also recommended.

Jones Day remains at the forefront of mid-market private equity while also building its name in portfolio company transactions for large-cap private equity houses. The Riverside Company is an anchor client, but it is also often engaged by EagleTree Capital (formerly Wasserstein & Co), Cortec Group, Wellspring Capital Management, Morgan Stanley Capital Partners and One Equity Partners. PAG is a new client. The firm advised EagleTree on its $525m acquisition of Corsair from Francisco Partners. The team is ‘best in class’, ‘superb’, delivering ‘extreme responsiveness and unsurpassed attention to detail’ and paying ‘utmost attention to client needs and concerns’. Clients praise the firm’s ‘unique global reach’, ‘deep bench’ and ‘one-stop shop’ platform. In the US, much of the firm’s private equity capability is based in New York, Chicago and Cleveland. Cleveland’s Chuck Hardin is ‘world class’ and ‘an exceptional business lawyer’. Cleveland partner Denise Carkhuff leads a number of key client relationships and Dan Michaels is making an impression in Washington DC. Chicago-based Lisa Lathrop is also highly regarded, as is New York-based practice head Andrew Levine.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP delivers an ‘excellent service’ and has ‘a very strong and capable team’, a ‘deep bench’ and ‘impressive market knowledge’. Clients identify the firm as a strong middle-market player with top teams in Philadelphia, New York and Orange County. Its client list includes Apollo, Ares Capital, Arsenal Capital Partners, LLR Partners, Sun Capital Partners and Versa Capital Partners, and in recent years it has added Platinum Equity, The Wicks Group of Companies and Freeman Spogli & Co. The team has excellent regulatory credentials and an especially strong record in highly regulated industries such as healthcare, energy, financial services, and media and technology. It advised Platinum Equity portfolio company Veritiv on its $1.25bn sale of Vertiv’s ASCO Power business to Schneider Electric. Philadelphia-based Barbara Shander is praised by clients for her ‘very commercial’ approach and ‘willingness to take reasonable risks’ in the hope of closing the deal and she leads the team alongside Orange County partner James Loss. Philadelphia-based David Gerson and New York’s Alec Dawson are top names. Los Angeles partner John Filippone is ‘an incredibly knowledgeable, smart and practical deal lawyer’.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s towering profile in M&A makes it an attractive prospect for large-cap private equity houses on big-ticket deals. In 2017 alone, it advised Permira Funds on its $1.8bn acquisition of Duff & Phelps and on its $1.9bn sale of an 80% stake in Netafim to Mexichem. It also advised Fortress Investment Group on its $3.3bn acquisition by SoftBank Group and represented The Warranty Group and patent company TPG Capital in the $2.5bn sale of Warranty to Assurant. New York partner Allison Schneirov heads the private equity department.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP has a broad array of private equity, sovereign wealth fund and family office clients, and its strong M&A, leveraged finance, CFIUS, employee benefits, antitrust and tax credentials make it a genuine player in the market. The firm has impressed in the real estate private equity segment, with Anthony Colletta leading the team that advised Whitehall Street Global Real Estate on the $850m sale of portfolio company American Casino & Entertainment Properties to Golden Entertainment. Los Angeles-based heads of the private equity practice Alison Ressler and Rita-Anne O’Neill advised Ares Management on its $1.45bn strategic partnership with DuPage Medical Group. New York’s George Sampas and Brian Hamilton are also recommended, and Richard Pollack has relocated to London.

Vinson & Elkins LLP is a market leader in energy sector private equity. The firm’s ‘deep expertise within the energy sector’ has enabled it to attract engagements from the likes of Apollo, Blackstone, Crestview Partners, KKR, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Oaktree Capital Management, Quantum Energy Partners, Riverstone, TPG and Warburg Pincus. It advised Apollo portfolio company Double Eagle Energy Permian on its $2.8bn sale of undeveloped acreage and producing oil and gas properties in the core of the Midland Basin to Parsley Energy. It also advised Blackstone Energy Partners on its $2bn acquisition of EagleClaw Midstream Ventures from EnCap Flatrock Midstream. Houston-based head of the corporate group Keith Fullenweiderhas an exceptional sense of business judgment for an attorney’ and is ‘consistently able to deliver the full firm’ for clients’ broader needs. Houston partner Matthew Strock and New York managing partner James Fox are also key partners.

Arnold & Porter is noted for healthcare and life sciences deals and brings leading expertise in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and CFIUS issues. The firm primarily operates in the middle market, though on occasion stretches into the large-cap space. ACAS (formerly American Capital) and Onex are key clients, as are DC Capital Partners, EQT Partners, Halifax Capital Partners, JW Childs and NexPhase Capital. The firm recently advised American Securities on its acquisition of Mortgage Contracting Services. New York-based Emanuel Cherney and Stephen Koval, and Washington DC partner Andrew Varner are key names.

Choate, Hall & Stewart, based in Boston, has a solid client base of mid-market private equity houses, which include the likes of Summit Partners, Windjammer Capital, Riverside Partners, Great Hill Partners, Mainsail Partners, Spectrum Equity and Century Capital. In recent work, it advised Riverside Partners on its $200m leveraged acquisition of Alarm Funding Associates from Keyser Capital. TJ Murphy is the key partner in the team. Former private equity department head Christian Atwood moved to Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

Hogan Lovells US LLP is primarily known for advising middle-market private equity firms and is increasingly recognized for cross-border deals. As one of the world’s leading regulatory firms, it has an especially strong record in regulated sectors such as life sciences, healthcare, technology and financial services. Clients include KRG Capital Partners, Actis, Advent International, ACON Investments, Anschutz, Quad-C Management, Columbia Capital, One Rock Capital and Warburg Pincus. A team led by New York’s Alex Johnson advised UK-based private equity fund Actis on the sale of Anthelio Healthcare Solutions, the largest independent provider of healthcare technology solutions in North America, to Atos. Denver partner George Hagerty and Northern Virginia’s Robert Welp are also recommended.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is recognized for its middle-market credentials and its fine reputation among independent sponsors. Its tax planning expertise is a strong attraction for many private equity houses, which class it as a ‘go-to’ firm and a ‘great value provider’. Clients include Sterling Partners, Frontenac Company, Pfingsten Partners, Victory Park Capital, Prairie Capital, Centre Lane Partners and PSP Capital Partners. LongueVue Capital Partners and NextGen Growth Partners are new clients. In recent work, it advised Prairie Capital on the sale of StatLab Medical Products. Chicago-based Kenneth Miller and Kimberly Smith head the team, which also has strength in New York and Los Angeles.

King & Spalding LLP is noted for healthcare, life sciences and energy deals. In 2017, the firm handled a variety of portfolio company deals and advised Lindsay Goldberg on its acquisition of four independent packaging companies and their captive co-owned sheet feeder. Arcapita and Roark Capital are key clients. Atlanta-based Raymond Baltz is a private equity leader in the South East.

New York’s Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is noted for financial services sector transactions and deals involving corporate restructurings and distressed situations. The ‘terrific team’ is ‘beyond excellent’, according to one client, with the ‘very smart’ James Moriarty, who ‘knows how to get the deal done’, singled out for his ‘extremely knowledgeable’, ‘very thorough’ and ‘pragmatic’ approach. Clients include Stone Point Capital, Quad Partners, BlackRock, York Special Opportunities Fund and Shamrock Capital. The firm advised Stone Point as part of an investor group on its acquisition of a majority stake in Focus Financial Partners. Other key partners include Howard Spilko and Ernest Wechsler.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP has a fine record in mid-market deals and is especially highly regarded for healthcare transactions. It ‘puts together strong teams, ensuring that all relevant skills are covered’ and its ‘buyout/M&A skills are very effective’. HIG Capital is an anchor client for the firm, but it also work with the likes of Baird Capital, CenterGate Capital, JW Childs and New Harbor Capital Management. It advised HIG on the sale of portfolio company Centerfield Media to Qology Direct. Chicago is the firm’s key office for private equity expertise, followed by Miami, New York and Washington DC. Notable partners include Chicago-based Andrew McCune and Brooks Gruemmer as well as Harris Siskind and Frederic Levenson in Miami. New York’s Timothy Alvino is ‘a pleasure to work with’ and is ‘able to work with the most difficult of situations to bring matters to a successful conclusion’.

McGuireWoods LLP has further cemented its presence in middle-market private equity, particularly in the healthcare, food and beverage, and energy industries. In the independent sponsor sub-sector, the firm has an especially strong standing. Most of its private equity buyout talent is concentrated in Chicago, Dallas and Charlotte. Operating primarily in the sub-$500m deal space, the firm advises prominent funds such as Silver Oak Services Partners, Shore Capital Partners, Falfurrias Capital Partners, Source Capital, Gauge Capital, Hermitage Equity Partners, Cornwell Capital and Summit Park. In 2017, the firm advised healthcare-focused Shore Capital Partners on several acquisitions and add-on acquisitions by its portfolio companies. Geoffrey Cockrell, Thomas Zahn, Christopher Nesbit, David McLean and Jon Finger are key partners.

Morrison & Foerster LLP continues to impress in energy and technology private equity deals, and in 2017 it advised DE Shaw Renewable Investments on its acquisition of solar companies from First Solar and Torch Clean Energy. It also advised Starwood Energy Group Global on its leveraged acquisition of two natural gas-fired electricity generation companies from Dynegy. Other clients include Blackstone Energy Partners, Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners and GPI Capital. New York-based Jonathan Melmed leads the team.

Paul Hastings LLP reinforced its San Francisco private equity team in 2016 with a number of senior lateral hires and now has notable private equity expertise in its Chicago, California and New York offices. The team is ‘one of the best’, ‘highly knowledgeable and experienced, responsive with high-level thinkers’ and is ‘fantastic across the board’, with partners that are ‘very smart, practical and the type of people you want around in tough deals’. Clients include Pfingsten Partners, GI Partners, Symphony Technology Group, Francisco Partners and HIG Capital. It advised Francisco Partners and Elliott Management on their multibillion-dollar acquisition of Dell Software. Steve Camahort, Michael Kennedy and Dana Kromm are big names in San Francisco, as are William Simpson and Brandon Howald in Orange County and Robert Miller in Los Angeles. Chicago’s Brian Richards heads the team.

Winston & Strawn LLP has impressive private equity talent spread across its US offices, most notably Chicago, New York and Los Angeles. It delivers ‘consistently perfect advice which reaches far beyond legal advice’ and has ‘strong client orientation and response times’. Healthcare deals are a particular strength of the practice. Clients include The Jordan Company, GenNx360 Capital Partners, Frontenac Company, Water Street Healthcare Partners, Norwest Equity Partners and Kainos Capital. Los Angeles’ Eva Davis is ‘a very good negotiator’ with ‘very strong business acumen’ and ‘does a great job getting things done efficiently and with good results’, thanks to ‘lots of experience that actually saves time and money in the end’. Bradley Vaiana and Dominick DeChiara lead the practice, and James Kellyis a master of his craft’; all three are based in New York.


Venture capital and emerging companies

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Cooley LLP - for many the benchmark venture capital and emerging company firm - stands out for its Silicon Valley status, geographic coverage across key emerging company centers, and its broad industry specialism. Moreover, it remains committed to start-ups, while having the breadth and expertise to help later-stage companies go public or be acquired. Life sciences, tech and cybersecurity are key areas of strength. The ‘top-class’ firm advised Zeltiq Aesthetics on its $2.5bn all-cash sale to biopharmaceutical giant Allergan. It also advised Uber on its joint venture with Russian online taxi booking service Yandex.Taxi. Other clients include BroadSoft, ConvergeOne, Evidon, FrontLine Education, HBM Healthcare Investments, SeatGeek, Thalmic Labs and xAd. Reston partner Mike Lincoln leads the business department and is ‘number one in the Washington DC area’, according to one client. San Diego-based Fred Muto is a leader in life sciences, Jim Fulton is a prominent figure in New York and Palo Alto’s Mark Tanoury has an outstanding reputation in Silicon Valley. Craig Dauchy and Eric Jensen, who is a leader in IPOs and equity offerings, are also big names in the Bay Area.

Fenwick & West LLP is a dominant force in growth company work and is highly active in early-stage financings right through to large-cap M&A and IPOs. It is ‘exceptional’, ‘the go-to firm for tech-related M&A’, ‘top of the class in venture capital and emerging companies’ and has ‘excellent business acumen and industry knowledge’. It has a mighty Silicon Valley presence, strong teams in Seattle and San Francisco, and is a growing force in New York. The firm’s clients primarily operate in the technology and life sciences sectors and it offers substantial corporate, IP, litigation and tax groups to support these clients. The firm has also impressed in a number of niche areas such as digital health, gaming and cryptocurrency. It advised life sciences company GRAIL on its $900m Series B financing, which was the largest venture capital-led life sciences financing in history according to the Wall Street Journal. It also represented Unity Technologies in its $400m financing from Silver Lake. Gordon Davidson and Ted Wang are giants of Silicon Valley, having advised some of the biggest names to have emerged from there. Cynthia Hess is another formidable practitioner, as are Mark Leahy and ‘world classMichael Esquivel, who is a leader in digital health and is regarded as ‘ten out of ten’ and ‘a great partner and strategist’ and who is commended for his ‘ability to network with entrepreneurs and VCs’. Mark Stevens has dominated the gaming sector for years and San Francisco partner Samuel Angus has worked with a range of prominent start-ups such as Airbnb. New York partner Kristine di Bacco has ‘put the firm on the East Coast map’. Attorneys are based in Silicon Valley unless stated otherwise.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati is a giant in the venture capital and emerging company segment, consistently demonstrating its market leadership in Silicon Valley and other key centers such as Boston and New York. It also has genuine international credibility and is increasingly recognized for deals involving later-stage emerging companies. The firm advised Gigamon, the traffic visibility solution provider, on its $1.6bn acquisition by Elliott Management. Firm chairman and highly praised figure Larry Sonsini led the team that advised Tesla on its $1.5bn senior notes offering. In another notable deal, the firm advised UK-based technology company Improbable on its $502m Series B financing led by SoftBank Group. Steven Bochner has legendary status in Silicon Valley, and Jeffrey Saper and Michael Danaher are also highly regarded.

DLA Piper LLP (US) advises on a high-volume of venture financings every year. The firm’s significant market share is down to its intense focus on the emerging company segment and its ‘geographic breadth that other firms don’t have’, which includes offices in the Bay Area, Seattle, Austin, Chicago, Washington DC, Northern Virginia, Boston, New York, Phoenix, Atlanta and Miami. It has experienced a notable uptick in corporate venture work for big names such as GE Ventures and Samsung Venture Investment. It has an outstanding record in tech and has a growing standing in life sciences. The firm is ‘outstanding on all fronts’ and ‘passionate about a client’s success’. The firm advised New Enterprise Associates on a series of investments in 2017, including its $110m Series C financing of Robinhood. Northern Virginia partner Jeffrey Lehrer and Silicon Valley’s Louis Lehot lead the team, which also includes big names Curtis Mo and Mark Radcliffe in Silicon Valley, and Andrew Gilbert in New York and New Jersey. San Diego partner Randy Socol is ‘exceptional’, ‘fantastic’ and ‘a seasoned veteran’. Former Austin partner Paul Hurdlow has joined FloSports as general counsel and senior vice president. In May 2018, Emilio Ragosa joined the Short Hills, New Jersey office from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.

Goodwin is an established leader in Boston, but has also achieved considerable success in the Bay Area, where Anthony McCusker, Jonathan Axelrad, Richard Kline and Caine Moss are among the leading names. New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles are also key centers of strength for the practice. The firm earns accolades for its work in the life sciences sector and is a growing force in tech. It advised Qualtrics International, the experience management software company, on its $180m financing led by Insight Venture Partners and Accel Partners. It also represented Cybereason in a $100m investment from SoftBank and advised WePay on its sale to JPMorgan Chase. Boston-based Bill Schnoor and John Egan are co-chairs of the technology practice, while Mitchell Bloom and Kingsley Taft are co-chairs of the life sciences team.

Gunderson Dettmer LLP has a formidable standing in Silicon Valley and New York, and has also gained considerable recognition in Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego. The firm is roundly praised for its commitment to start-ups and early-stage companies, and its leading venture funds practice has enabled it to cement connections to the leading venture capital providers on the West and East coasts. The firm has an impressive record in late-stage deals too and advised immune-oncology company ARMO BioSciences on its Nasdaq IPO in January 2018. It also advised the underwriters, Morgan Stanley and Citigroup, on the IPO of Despegar.com. In Silicon Valley, the firm’s founders Robert Gunderson and Scott Dettmer continue to earn widespread praise, as does venture capital fund formation leader Steven Franklin. Kennneth McVay and Ward Breeze are leaders in New York, and Boston’s Jay Hachigian impresses in both life sciences and tech.

As well as being a top international law firm with a significant market share of big-ticket transactions and large-cap clients, Latham & Watkins LLP also maintains a strong focus on the start-up, emerging company and venture capital sector. The team was reinforced by the arrivals of Jack Sheridan and Page Mailliard to its Silicon Valley office from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Chris Shoff to its Century City office from Cooley LLP. The firm is hailed variously as ‘the best’, ‘phenomenal’ and ‘flawless’, and its strong focus on start-ups and growth companies, as well as its breadth of resources across the US and globally, enables it to handle all the requirements of an emerging company throughout its life cycle. Clients include Ginkgo BioWorks, GoEuro, Hearsay Social, Memphis Meats, Formation 8, Eclipse Ventures, Home Chef, Zavante Therapeutics, Catalant Technologies, Tetrascience and Bessemer Venture Partners. It advised 3-D printing company Desktop Metal on its Series C and Series D financings in 2017. Other key partners include Alan Mendelson, who is global chair of the life sciences industry group, and Patrick Pohlen, who impresses in life sciences and tech. Boston’s John Chory is also a key name in life sciences and tech.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP has a fine record in regulated industries and is a leading name in biotech, medical devices and digital health; it also has a substantial financial services regulatory group. The firm is noted for its geographic strength across the US, with a diverse client base in Northern California, Boston and the Mid-Atlantic. The ‘true full-service firm’ ‘puts together tremendous teams of attorneys at all levels’, provides ‘strategic value in complex negotiations’ and its ‘complicated legal analysis is unmatched’. Among a series of high-profile deals, Boston partner Michael Conza led the team that advised CarGurus, a global online automotive marketplace, on its $172m IPO on Nasdaq, one of the largest tech sector IPOs of the year. It also advised health technology company Valeritas on its $50m public offering on Nasdaq and represented Vancouver-based technology company Visier in its $45m Series D financing. Other key partners include Boston-based Julio Vega and William Perkins, who ‘anticipate issues before they arise’ and are ‘outstanding at problem solving’. Princeton partner Steven Cohen is prominent in the New Jersey market and Joanne Soslow is a key figure in Philadelphia. Palo Alto’s Tom Kellerman is another established name.

Morrison & Foerster LLP continues to make an impression on the market, thanks in part to its significant presence in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. Its broad offering features significant expertise in intellectual property, technology transactions and employment; although the firm did lose a team of intellectual property specialists to Dentons in 2017. Moreover, the firm’s global presence, including notably in Asia, has brought the US team further success. A team led by San Francisco partner Susan Mac Cormac advised Japan’s SoftBank on its primary and secondary investment in Uber and on its $4.25bn investment into WeWork. The firm advises a wide range of start-ups and growth companies, along with venture capital funds, seed investors, corporate venture funds and sovereign wealth funds. It is widely noted for its life sciences and fintech expertise; the San Diego office has a particularly fine record in life sciences. San Francisco partner Murray Indick heads the department alongside Steve Rowles in San Diego and Northern Virginia’s Greg Giammittorio. Timothy Harris is another big name in Silicon Valley and Thomas Knox is a key partner in Northern Virginia.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP has emerging company and venture capital work in its blood. It advises more than 1,600 start-up clients worldwide and has a high market share of US-based unicorn clients (venture capital-backed companies valued at more than $1bn). It also launched a new office in Santa Monica and hired New York-based Peter Fusco from Lowenstein Sandler LLP. The team is considered ‘top tier’ with ‘experienced partners’, according to one client. Clients include Social Finance, Opendoor Labs, Pinterest, Prosper Marketplace, Stripe and CB Insights. The firm has made a particular impression in fintech, cybersecurity and privacy, and the tech space. It advised Social Finance on its $500m Series G financing and its acquisition of Zenbanx. It also represented IronPlanet in its $758m acquisition by Ritchie Bros Auctioneers. Chairman of the global firm Mitchell Zuklie is a start-up company specialist who ‘brings calm, confidence, knowledge, experience and most importantly business and people judgment’. Silicon Valley partners John Bautista, Stephen Venuto, Don Keller and Harold Yu are also prominent names.

WilmerHale is especially notable in relation to the life sciences, although has developed a genuinely broad emerging company practice with considerable activity in fintech, cybersecurity, cryptocurrency and AI. It is ‘excellent and clearly superior’, according to one client. Clients include Aileron Therapeutics, Andela, Blue Apron, BarkBox, Cape Analytics, Daily Muse, Kala Pharmaceuticals and WorkMarket. It also advises a range of venture capital funds and strategic investors. It acted as issuer’s counsel in three IPOs during June 2017, including Blue Apron’s $300m offering and Kala Pharmaceuticals $103m listing. Mick Bain and David Gammell chair the emerging company practice alongside Peter Buckland in Palo Alto. Other key partners include co-chair of the corporate practice group Lia Der Marderosian, and Daniel Zimmermann in Palo Alto. Life sciences specialist Stuart Falber and public offerings expert Jason Kropp are also recommended. Attorneys are based in Boston unless stated otherwise.

Dentons’ truly global venture capital and emerging companies practice has brought an additional pipeline of business to the US team. It now works on a number of venture capital financings for overseas companies, helps foreign emerging companies to establish a footprint in the US and advises US growth companies on establishing themselves overseas. The firm is well plugged into the start-up community and operates incubators in San Diego and Palo Alto. The firm is especially prominent in AI, fintech, cryptocurrency, mobile, life sciences and digital health, and has a large team primarily spread across its New York, Bay Area, San Diego and Los Angeles offices. It is the only international law firm to have a dedicated venture capital and emerging company office in New York’s Meatpacking District, a notable tech hub. It advised Operative Media on its $200m sale to SintecMedia, a Francisco Partners portfolio company. Other clients include DoubleVerify, Voxy, CommonBond and Zype. New York partner Victor Boyajian heads the department, and medical device expert John Cleary heads the Short Hills office in New Jersey where Jeffrey Baumel is recommended for life sciences.

Hogan Lovells US LLP’s ‘top-class’ team excels in life sciences and healthcare, though is active across the emerging growth company segment. It is known for its complementary strengths in intellectual property and regulatory matters, and its extensive resources and geographic coverage mean it is well equipped to advise emerging companies throughout their life cycles, including IPOs, acquisitions and trade sale exits. The firm advised Sky Ventures and 21st Century Fox on their respective $12.25m and $6.55m investments in the $55.5m Series C financing of fuboTV. San Francisco’s Jon Layman is a key team member, as are Nathaniel Gallon in Silicon Valley and New York-based Jeffrey Hurlburt.

Jones Day has an extensive team operating across multiple US locations. The firm is especially well plugged into the venture capital and emerging company scenes in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Diego, Irvine (California) and Chicago. The firm has developed an especially strong record in healthcare, medical technology and life sciences, and in the general tech space has extensive expertise in AI and cybersecurity. The firm advised regular client Adam Street Partners on its investment in Smule alongside several co-investors in a $54m investment round. It also advised KKR as a co-investor in an $88m Series D financing of ForgeRock. Chicago’s Michael Earley leads the team, which also includes the high-profile Timothy Curry in the Bay Area. San Diego’s Kenneth Polin has a fine record in biotech and John Saada is a key name in Cleveland.

O'Melveny & Myers LLP’s strength in both northern and southern California has enabled it to tap into the emerging growth company and tech sector with considerable success. Cross-border transactions involving Asia have also been a traditional strong point for the team, which has impressed in a number of later-stage transactions and exits in recent years. In 2017, the firm launched ‘Momentum’, a cross-practice initiative directed at supporting growth companies throughout their life cycles. It also advised Access Technology Ventures as the lead investor in the $300m financing of smartphone maker Essential Products. Silicon Valley-based Warren Lazarow and Paul Sieben are key members of the practice alongside San Francisco-based life sciences specialist Scott Elliott.

Boston-based Choate, Hall & Stewart has an excellent record in life sciences and tech deals. John Pitfield and Brian Goldstein, who is a ‘straight shooter’ and ensures clients ‘do the right thing the right way’, lead the team, which is ‘very strong in all areas’. Clients include Threat Stack, Deerfield Capital Management, GrandBanks Capital, Broadview Ventures, Nauta Capital, GeNO, Examity and 4D Path. The firm advised a syndicate of investors in a $60m Series E financing of clinical stage biopharmaceutical company Apellis Pharmaceuticals. It also advised the investors on a $55m Series C financing of Milesone Pharmaceuticals. Brian Lenihan and Laurence Naughton are also recommended.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP has a fine standing in both northern and southern California, with sector focused lawyers in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Orange County. The firm has experienced notable growth in Los Angeles, particularly from the ‘Silicon Beach’ start-up and emerging company community. The firm has some 19 partners and 28 associates that operate in the venture capital and growth company space. Social and mobile gaming, ad tech, semiconductors and life sciences are key sectors for the practice. It advised TeleSign, a communications platform as a service company, on its $230m sale to Belgacom International Carrier Services. It also advised Otic Pharma on its $60m acquisition of a 60% stake in Tokai Pharmaceuticals, with Tokai subsequently changing its name to Novus Therapeutics. Los Angeles partner Bradford Weirick and Silicon Valley’s Gregory Davidson head the practice, which also includes life sciences specialist Ryan Murr in San Francisco.

New York-based Lowenstein Sandler LLP is well established in the local market, and has genuine national credibility in the tech space. The firm has excellent connections to start-ups, early-stage growth companies and a variety of top venture capital funds such as Sequoia, Insight Venture Partners, Accel Partners and Bessemer Ventures. It advised Insight Venture Partners and Accel Partners on their $180m financing of Qualtrics International, the experience management software company. Ed Zimmerman is chair of the tech group and has a fine reputation in New York and Palo Alto, where the firm also has an office. An impressive intellectual property department supports him and the team.

McDermott Will & Emery LLP’s national standing in healthcare and life sciences provides the basis for a thriving emerging growth company practice. Tech and alternative energy are also key sectors. The practice encompasses California, Chicago, Boston, Washington DC, New York and Miami, and the firm leverages its international credentials to advise a number of Israeli start-ups and emerging companies. Clients include 23andMe, Advent Life Sciences, Cellect Biotechnology, Gauge Capital, HIG Growth Partners, Lubax and Virttu Biologics. The ‘top-notch’ service is delivered by ‘high-quality lawyers that are dedicated and available’ and the team is praised for its ‘good value structure’. Silicon Valley and Los Angeles based Mark Mihanovic is ‘very thorough, prompt, creative and willing to go the extra mile’. Washington DC-based Samuel Wales is ‘very competent, well connected, quick to respond, strong in negotiations and always available’. In Boston, Albert Sokol advised Advent Life Sciences on its investment in Moximed, part of a $50m Series C financing round.

Though primarily centered in Boston, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.’s venture capital and emerging companies practice also has notable strength in San Diego, San Francisco and New York. It continues to impress in life sciences, though covers a range of sectors including alternative energy. Boston’s Lewis Geffen is co-chair of the department along with the life sciences group. He recently advised Aura Biosciences on its $30m Series C financing. Fellow co-chairs of the department are Daniel DeWolf, who also chairs the technology practice group from New York, and Jeremy Glaser in San Diego.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has a notable heritage in this segment thanks to its strength in the San Francisco Bay Area and San Diego as well as highly credible teams in New York, Northern Virginia and Austin. It has an impressive client mix of emerging companies and venture capital funds and other financiers/investors. The firm has an especially strong record in the semiconductors sector, along with security, Internet of things, gaming, fintech, e-commerce and big data. It has a particularly high market share of advisory roles on semiconductor company IPOs, and has seen considerable growth in software sector engagements. Clients include Abe Labs, Barefoot Networks, Fortem Technologies, Genome Medical, Mode Analytics, Quilt Data, Shield AI, TechMahindra, Technology Crossover Ventures and Vera Security. A team led by prominent Silicon Valley partner Jorge Del Calvo advised Komprise, an analytics and big data storage developer, on its $12m Series B preferred stock financing. Silicon Valley’s Allison Leopold Tilley, San Francisco partner Michael Torosian and Christian Salaman in San Diego are also prominent.

Foley & Lardner LLP is an established name in life sciences and pharmaceuticals, with a big presence in Boston and a solid standing in San Diego, Chicago and other centers. The firm’s fine intellectual property practice is a key factor in its appeal to the emerging company segment. It has also demonstrated a commitment to the start-up community in the form of involvement in incubators and accelerators. Gabor Garai heads the private equity and venture capital practice, and is co-chair of the life sciences team. A group led by prominent partner Susan Pravda advised Black Duck Software, the provider of automated solutions and open source software, on its $565m sale to Synopsys.

King & Spalding LLP has an outstanding reputation in the life sciences sector, though its commitment to early- and mid-stage growth companies through to unicorns has attracted clients from across the industry, most notably in the tech segment. It recently advised Peleton Technology on its Series B-1 and Series B-2 preferred stock financings, valued at $65m. Other clients include Jounce Therapeutics, Apama Medical, Theatro Labs, GE Digital and GE Ventures. The ‘extremely responsive’ team is spread across the firm’s offices in California, New York, Atlanta and Houston, and is ‘well-versed in the norms of Silicon Valley and outside the Valley as well’; the ‘skilled negotiators’ are ‘first choice for an end-to-end legal support package’. Silicon Valley’s Judy O’Brien is ‘straight talking, knowledgeable, seasoned and measured’ with ‘a very shrewd legal mind’, and she heads the practice alongside San Francisco partner Geoff Leonard. Silicon Valley partner Laura Bushnell is also a prominent name and Atlanta senior associate Nathan Mihalik is ‘experienced, efficient and super detail-oriented’. Matt Stewart joined Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

Reed Smith LLP’s strong Bay Area credentials has led it to advise on a growing number of early- to later-stage financings, particularly in the software and life sciences sectors. Healthcare is another key strength further supported by the firm’s highly reputed healthcare regulatory team. The team is ‘swift’, ‘very transparent’, ‘meticulous and clear’. Silicon Valley partner Donald Reinke, leads the department alongside and Matthew Mohn in Pittsburgh. In Century City, Michael Sanders and Deborah Gunny have an excellent record in the life sciences sector. Silicon Valley associate LiLing Poh ‘reduces complex problems to solutions quickly’ through her ‘emotional intelligence’ and ‘ability to communicate potential solutions concisely and in common language’.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has a fine West Coast reputation with strong teams in Palo Alto, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego. The firm has an impressive record in tech and life sciences, and has strong connections to a number of influential venture capital houses. Clients include Avalon Ventures, Enterprise Ventures, Kleiner Perkins, Samsung Ventures, Confident Technologies, Legend3D, Celula, Chumby, Gojee, mFoundry and Petra Solar. Department head Michael Umansky splits his time between San Diego and Century City (Los Angeles) and covers both tech and life sciences deals. David Lee, Stephanie Zeppa and Tobin Dommer are key names in Palo Alto.

Vinson & Elkins LLP’s practice is primarily located in Austin, where Paul Tobias, William Volk, Wes Jones and Milam Newby are prominent names in the start-up and emerging company community. The firm recently advised Plant Automation Services on its $40m growth investment from Tinicum Partners. It also advised Cognitive Scale on its Series B-1 preferred stock financing led by Norwest Venture Partners, The Westly Group and USAA. Dallas partner Mark Early is also a key member of the team.


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