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United States > M&A/corporate and commercial > M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m) > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

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  1. M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)
  2. Leading lawyers
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Leading lawyers

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Akerman LLP is ‘a great go-to firm in all respects and offers fantastic quality at excellent rates’. Miami-based Martin Burkett and Carl Roston co-chair the firm’s M&A and private equity practice, which is particularly active within healthcare, technology, retail and the restaurant business. Roston represented KLX, a global provider of aerospace and defense products, in its $210m cash acquisition of Herndon Aerospace & Defense. Chair of the national corporate practice Mary Carroll, who is ‘a great all-round lawyer’, acted for Canadian paper firm Resolute Forest Products in its $156m acquisition of Atlas Paper Holding. Other recommended attorneys include Jonathan Awner, who has ‘strong judgment’, and Teddy Klinghoffer and Stephen Roddenberry, who are hugely experienced deal lawyers. Awner regularly advises longstanding client Trivest Partners on its M&A activities; and Klinghoffer recently acted for information solutions provider IDI in its $225m acquisition of advertising technology company Fluent. Growth for the corporate practice included a number of hires: corporate law specialist Paul Quinn, who divides time between the Fort Lauderdale and Chicago offices, joined from Paul Hastings LLP, while Lorenzo Borgogni, who is focused on Italian buyers, was recruited in New York from Proskauer Rose LLP. Other notable corporate practice hires included Chicago and New York-based Mason Drake joining from Greenberg Traurig LLP, and Los Angeles-based Mark Liu arriving from Hong Kong-based Amicorp. All partners listed are based in Miami unless otherwise stated.

In 2017, Arnold & Porter LLP merged with the ‘outstanding’ Kaye Scholer LLP to become Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP. The new entity has approximately 1,000 lawyers across nine domestic and four international offices and regularly advises on complex deals in sectors such as financial services, life sciences and federal government services. The practice is also experienced in healthcare, IT, energy, private equity and Latin America-related transactions. Washington DC-based chair of the corporate and securities practice Kevin Lavin led advice to DC Capital Partners in its acquisition of government contractor QRC Technologies; Andrew Varner, who divides his time between Washington DC and New York, was M&A counsel to Service Experts in its $340m merger with a subsidiary of Enercare; and Edward Deibert in San Francisco was US counsel to Singapore-based Zeavion Holding in its acquisition of Gymboree’s early childhood development business, Gymboree Play & Music. Other key Washington DC partners include Steven Kaplan, Susan Morita and energy sector specialist Hans Dyke; Kaplan advised Cain Brothers, as financial adviser to Avēsis, regarding Avēsis’ sale to The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America. In New York, Joshua Berick and financial institutions M&A head Robert Azarow are highly rated. Also recommended are former Kaye Scholer LLP lawyers Emanuel Cherney and Stephen Koval; Koval is ‘one of the best lawyers in the business’.

Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP’s corporate partners regularly work alongside attorneys from the firm’s tax, antitrust, real estate, environmental, IP and executive compensation and employee benefits practices. Recent deals involved the insurance, pharmaceuticals and technology industries. For instance, the team advised insurance brokerage and risk management firm Integro USA on the acquisition of Florida-based Jerry Parks Equine Insurance and Parks Insurance Corporation; for pharma and biotech services company ICON, the firm advised on the acquisition of PMG Research; and for the founders of Bluewolf Group, it advised on the sale of cloud consulting firm Bluewolf. It also acted for Trans World Entertainment in its acquisition of digital marketplace Etailz. Large deal highlights included the group’s representation of Empire District Electric Company in its agreement to be sold to a subsidiary of Algonquin Power & Utilities; this all-cash transaction was valued at $2.4bn, including assumed debt. It also assisted Arch Capital Group with its acquisition of United Guaranty Corporation from American International Group. Helene Banks is recommended for her representation of sellers, acquirers, targets, financial institutions and shareholders during M&A transactions, and John Schuster, William Hartnett, Kimberly Petillo-Décossard, Michael Sherman and Susanna Suh are also highly regarded. All named advisers are based in New York.

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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.

Boston-based law firm Choate, Hall & Stewart is highly rated for transactions involving the technology, healthcare and life sciences industries; it also has a robust private equity buyout practice. The group regularly acts for acquirers, targets, financing sources and investment bankers on domestic and international M&A deals, and it recently hired private equity attorneys Stephen Meredith, Sarah Camougis and Christopher Nelson from Locke Lord LLP, which enhanced the firm’s expertise in the media and telecoms space. Key deals included assisting Riverside Partners and Tegra-CTW Holdings (TCH), Tegra Medical’s parent company, with the approximately $215m sale of TCH and its subsidiaries to SFS Acquisition Holding; acting for Curaspan Health Group in its sale to NaviHealth; and advising the Tennis Channel on its sale to Sinclair Broadcast Group. On the buy side, the practice acted for BV Investment Partners in its acquisition of commercial textiles company CF Stinson; and assisted Great Hill Partners with the purchase of a majority stake in cloud-based services provider EvolveIP. The practice group leaders are Boston-based John Pitfield, Brian Goldstein, T J Murphy and Christian Atwood. William Asher Jr retired from the partnership but remains involved with the firm.

Foley & Lardner LLP acts for clients in several sectors, including real estate, healthcare, energy, telecoms, manufacturing, infrastructure and life sciences. The practice acted for vehicle equipment manufacturer Douglas Dynamics in the acquisition of eight affiliated companies, while inbound deal highlights included representing Boditech Med, a Korean in-vitro diagnostic company, in its stock acquisition of Immunostics. In other matters, the team advised Wynnchurch Capital on its sale of US Pipe to Forterra Building Products, and assisted MedHOK with its $335m sale to media and information company Hearst. Milwaukee-based Steven Barth and Washington DC-based David Sanders co-chair the transactional and securities group and are highly regarded advisers. Chris Laukenmann and Richard Ferris Jr, in Los Angeles and Washington DC respectively, are also recommended. Other notable contacts include Detroit-based Steven Hilfinger; Jay Rothman, Bryan Schultz and Kevin Schulz in Milwaukee; Gardner Davis in Jacksonville; and Tampa-based Curt Creely.

Loeb & Loeb LLP has particular deal expertise in the entertainment, media, technology, marketing and communications sectors. The practice recently represented longstanding client Clearview Capital in significant portfolio investments, add-on acquisitions and divestments, including the sale of its stake in The Results Companies to an investor group led by One Equity Partners. Other sell-side matters included advising a number of minority equity holders and employees of Pharmscript, and its affiliates, on the sale of a 45% equity stake to Summit Partners. The team also provided US counsel to UK-based animal health and biotech firm Benchmark Holdings in its $342m acquisition of INVE Aquaculture, and acted for TransUnion in the acquisition of Trustev, a global provider of digital verification technology. New York managing partner Mitchell Nussbaum, Lloyd Rothenberg and Los Angeles-based Paul Severin co-chair the capital markets and corporate practice. Nussbaum’s experience includes advising US-based companies in the technology, life sciences and energy sectors, and advising companies from Australia, Brazil, Canada, India and Europe on transactions within the US. Rothenberg acts for established and emerging businesses in industries such as technology, media and advertising. Deputy capital markets and corporate practice chair Arash Khalili handles a range of media, entertainment, music, sports and real estate-related matters.

Vedder Price’s M&A and private equity transactions practice is recommended for deals involving regulated industries, such as financial services, healthcare, construction, gaming, aerospace and investment services; and the client base includes private equity funds, hedge funds, privately held and public companies, family controlled businesses, and start-ups with access to over $1bn of capital. The team represented Longview Asset Management and its related entities in a co-investment with Sterling Partners to acquire a business unit of eBay, advised Glanbia on the $217m acquisition of all the outstanding equity of thinkThin (a portfolio company of TSG Consumer Partners), and acted for Vance Street Capital in its acquisition of Motion Dynamics (a manufacturer of precision metal components). In Chicago, finance and transactions group chair Michael Nemeroff, William Bettman, John Obiala, Guy Snyder, John McEnroe, Adam Lewis and Joseph Kye are recommended. Nemeroff is an M&A expert who is experienced in advising private equity firms and hedge funds on leveraged and management buyouts. Scott Adamson is a key contact in Los Angeles; his experience spans the construction, healthcare, manufacturing and technology industries.

Venable LLP recently grew its practice through the recruitment of Christopher O’Brien, a former in-house counsel at Mattel, as a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office; O’Brien represents clients in the entertainment, consumer products and media industries. Charles Morton Jr, who divides time between Washington DC and Baltimore, and Washington DC-based Robert Bolger Jr are department heads. Morton focuses on healthcare, technology and consumer products; Bolger - who also heads the firm’s hospitality initiative - acted for Guthy-Renker in the 2016 sale of a majority interest of its worldwide Proactiv business to Nestlé Skin Health. Other key deals for the firm included acting for PlanetRisk, known for data visualization and analysis, in its acquisition of Analytic Strategies, which provides enterprise analytics services to the federal government. Large deal highlights for the practice included advising longstanding client Merkle Group, a marketing agency, on its sale of a majority stake to London-based Dentsu Aegis Network; and acting for American bank holding company Huntington Bancshares in the acquisition of FirstMerit Corporation.

Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP’s practice grew through the recruitment of Houston-based oil and gas specialists Christopher Richardson and Charlie Ofner from Mubadala Petroleum and Oasis Petroleum respectively. The team excels in energy sector deals; it acted for LRR Energy in its acquisition of a subsidiary of Vanguard Natural Resources and advised Energy Transfer Partners on its acquisition of certain interests in PennTex Midstream Partners. It also advises in other sectors, such as assisting specialty pharmacy Avita Drugs with its sale to Tailwind Capital portfolio company Long’s Drugs and advising cloud-based software company Gravitant on its sale to IBM. Recent large deal highlights include advising Archer Well Company on its disposition of outstanding equity interests in certain North American subsidiaries; representing LDR Holding Corporation in its approximately $1.1bn sale to Zimmer Biomet Holdings; and advising Chelsea Petroleum Products Holdings, an affiliate of ArcLight Capital, on its purchase of Gulf Oil Limited Partnership and a related business. Houston-based David Buck and Michael O’Leary head the department. Buck has particular experience with energy, maritime transportation, restaurant, aviation and death care companies; and O’Leary’s representative experience includes acting as counsel to a publicly traded master limited partnership (MLP) in its acquisition of natural gas liquid pipelines and related assets. Other recommended Houston advisers are John Clutterbuck, Jon Daly, Melinda Brunger, Hal Haltom Jr, Henry Havre and firm managing partner Robert Jewell. In Washington DC, Bill Cooper is a key name, as are Dallas-based Mark Solomon, Peter Bogdanow, David Washburn and Victor Zanetti and Austin-based Alan Bickerstaff.

Ballard Spahr LLP grew its team in New York through the hire of M&A and securities partner David Landau from Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP; Landau represents clients, both in the US and abroad, in sectors such as fashion and retail, financial services, technology, and media and entertainment. The firm also expanded its bench strength in Denver, adding name partners Damon Barry and Stephen Donelson from Donelson Barry, LLC. Barry has deal experience in the technology, telecoms, retail, gaming, e-payments and manufacturing sectors; while Donelson has a broad practice that includes M&A, corporate restructuring and private equity transactions. The M&A group regularly works alongside the firm’s tax, securities, executive compensation, employee benefits, IP and environmental law groups. Practice group leader Craig Circosta heads the Philadelphia team; he acted for Teleflex during its acquisition of medical device company Nostix. Other key deals for the practice included advising Spark Therapeutics on the acquisition of Ireland-based Genable Technologies, a private gene therapy innovator. M&A and private equity investment transactions expert Karen McConnell leads the Phoenix team and has closed over 400 transactions for buyers and sellers during her career. Michele Rowland is a recommended Denver contact.

In early 2017, Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP merged with British multinational law firm Eversheds LLP, creating Eversheds Sutherland (US) LLP. The new firm’s industry experience includes chemicals, healthcare, energy, financial services, manufacturing, technology and telecoms. Notable matters included acting as lead transaction counsel to MassMutual in its acquisition of MetLife’s US retail adviser force, the MetLife Premier Client Group. It also acted for infrastructure technologies company Underground Solutions in two simultaneous transactions: the sale of its Fusible PVC pipe business to Aegion and the separate split-off of its solutions business to stockholders. In addition, it acted for heavy building materials supplier Martin Marietta in its acquisition of Rocky Mountain Materials and Asphalt (and affiliated entities); and advised technological manufacturer Flextronics International USA on its agreed acquisition of Bose Corporation’s consumer electronics operations in San Luis, Mexico and Penang (Malaysia). In Atlanta, Wade Stribling advises on domestic and cross-border deals across a range of industries, including healthcare and financial services. Other notable Atlanta attorneys include Robert Pile, who advises payment and technology companies on their acquisition programs and joint venture and alliance arrangements; Thomas Herman, who is focused on the industrial, insurance services and natural resources sectors; water industry expert Marc Rawls; Michael Gurion, who has acted in significant deals for technology and new media clients, as well as for manufacturing, distribution, natural resources and financial services companies; and payments industry specialist David Zimmerman. Bert Adams in New York and Washington DC-based Cynthia Krus, William Dudzinsky Jr, Harry Pangas and Douglas Leary are also recommended.

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP provides ‘world-class work, including rapid responses, outstanding negotiation techniques and instincts, and diverse knowledge of the varying requirements for M&A transactions’. The corporate practice is highly rated for its advice to middle-market private equity participants; it also has experience in particular industries, including healthcare, pharmaceuticals, life sciences, sports, financial services, education, manufacturing, transportation, media and technology. Recent highlights include advising Hartford Funds on the acquisition of Lattice Strategies; representing financial services provider INTL FCStone in its acquisition of certain businesses of Sterne Agee Group; and acting for ATI Physical Therapy in six deals during a 12-month period, including its acquisition of Ideal Physical Therapy. Other notable transactions included advising Centre Lane Partners on its purchase of Vitamin World, the third-largest vitamin retailer in the US, from NBTY; and assisting Sagent Pharmaceuticals with its $40m acquisition of a portfolio of five abbreviated new drug applications from Teva Pharmaceuticals and Actavis. Global corporate head Mark Grossmann divides time between the Chicago and New York offices; Stephen Antion heads the Los Angeles corporate group; and in Chicago, Jeffrey Patt, entrepreneurial ventures practice head Matthew Brown and Kimberly Smith, who co-heads the nationwide private equity practice, are highly rated. Mara Glaser McCahan is a key Washington DC contact and Russell Black is a notable name in Charlotte. Key hires included Daniel Peters joining the Century City office from Locke Lord LLP; New York-based M&A and securities expert Farzad Damania from Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP; and Washington DC-based healthcare transactional specialist Christopher Locke from Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.. David Landau left for Ballard Spahr LLP’s New York office.

Kelley Drye & Warren LLP’s ‘attorneys are very knowledgeable and provide excellent advice and sophisticated legal representation; the partners are also very involved with their clients and handle a lot of the work’. The corporate, M&A and private equity group is complemented by the firm’s finance, tax and real estate practices, while industry specialisms include financial and investment services, aerospace, telecoms and consumer brands. The group also has sector experience in IT, real estate, healthcare, logistics and energy. New York-based Jane Jablons chairs the M&A group; she represented BioMedical Enterprises in its sale by merger to DePuy Orthopaedics. In Chicago, corporate practice chair Timothy Lavender represented lease and debt restructuring firm Huntley, Mullaney, Spargo & Sullivan in its sale to Jones Lang LaSalle Americas; Lavender is ‘very knowledgeable, takes a practical approach to representing clients and also assesses the business side of matters’. Also in Chicago, Andrew Pillsbury acted for FreightCar America in the sale of its railcar repair and maintenance services business to Appalachian Railcar Services. Other active clients of the practice include Lifeway Foods, Net Lease Capital Advisors, Broadsmart and Great Basin Scientific.

Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s department heads are Scott Rosenblum and Howard Spilko, who has particular experience in the strategic use of representations and warranties insurance during acquisitions. Recent highlights include advising BlackRock on its buyout of FutureAdvisor, known for digital wealth management. It also acted for Stone Point Capital in a number of corporate transactions, including the acquisition of NFP’s Advisor Services business, which provides broker-dealer and registered investment adviser support to independent financial advisors; and assisted Sentinel Capital Partners with its acquisition of Houston-based Revenew International from Levine Leichtman Capital Partners. Other key deals included acting for regular client Deloitte in the acquisition of advertising agency Heat; and advising Quad Partners on its acquisition of an equity stake in Endeavor Schools. Steven Goldman and Thomas Molner are highly rated; James Grayer’s deal experience covers sectors such as fashion, biotech, financial services and private equity; James Moriarty co-heads the firm’s alternative assets transactions and private M&A practice groups. Additionally, Ernest Wechsler has notable experience includes financial services, technology and manufacturing deals.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP’s ‘lawyers are very responsive and client-focused, the value for money is great, and clients receive senior-level attention on all matters’. The firm’s M&A professionals regularly advise on high-profile deals in the firm’s core specialty areas, namely healthcare, financial services and technology. Los Angeles-based practice head Ben Orlanski is ‘responsive and knowledgeable’, and Gordon Bava, Richard Maire Jr and Jordan Hamburger are also highly rated. Orlanski’s deal experience covers technology, REITs, media, financial services, investment banking, manufacturing and consumer products, and he acted for Stamps.com in its $55m acquisition of Texas-based ShippingEasy. Hamburger, who is ‘a standout star for M&A and corporate advisory work’, led advice to Valley Campus Pharmacy (doing business as TNH Advanced Specialty Pharmacy) on its sale to Diplomat Pharmacy; and Maire assisted Del Taco and its limited partnerships (LPs) with a sale of assets, which involved the deregistration and dissolution of the LPs. Other notable deals included the team advising Dura Coat Products on the sale of a majority stake to Axalta Coating Systems; assisting CVB Financial, the holding company for Citizens Business Bank, with its merger agreement with Valley Commerce Bancorp, the holding company for Valley Business Bank; and advising Houlihan Lokey on its acquisition of MESA Securities, a boutique investment bank that provides financial advisory services to the media and entertainment industries. Orange County-based Matthew O’Loughlin and Washington DC-based Douglas Boggs, Alan Noskow and Brian Ashin are also recommended.

Nixon Peabody LLP is ‘a pragmatic, business-minded, service-oriented firm, which truly excels during transactions’. It frequently advises clients in the healthcare, food and beverage, manufacturing, technology and energy sectors. In the food and beverage sector, the team assisted European soft drinks manufacturer Refresco Group with its purchase of Whitlock Holding Company’s stock and the practice often advises alcoholic beverages company Constellation Brands. In the technology space, it represented Magnecomp Precision Technology Public Company, a subsidiary of TDK, in its $300m public acquisition of Hutchinson Technology. The team also acts in media sector deals and advised TEGNA, a media and digital powerhouse, on the purchase of three Sander Media television stations. It also regularly advises Paychex, a provider of payroll and other services, on its corporate transactions, including its recent acquisition of Advance Partners. Group M&A and corporate transactions leader David Martland, Christopher Keefe, Gregory O’Shaughnessy and Haydon Keitner are key Boston contacts. John Partigan in Washington DC, New York-based Daniel McAvoy, and Thomas Gaynor, who divides time between San Francisco and Los Angeles, are also highly regarded practitioners. Cross-border corporate and real estate transactions expert Jinjian Huang joined the San Francisco office from Winston & Strawn LLP.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is ‘a great law firm for international M&A; it provides almost instant response times, thorough answers, top-level advice and analysis of commercial concerns’. Others applaud its ‘end results and levels of efficiency that focus on the key legal issues’. Over half of the deals the M&A group recently handled were in the technology sector, including semiconductors, which is a hallmark of the practice. Other industries in which the team regularly operates include life sciences and healthcare, professional services, aerospace, government contracting, mining and energy. Silicon Valley’s Jorge del Calvo recently represented investment adviser Financial Engines in its acquisition of The Mutual Fund Store from Warburg Pincus for approximately $600m. Elsewhere, North Virginia-based Craig Chason led advice to Berkley/Greenwich AeroGroup in the sale of Aero Precision Industries and two other divisions to affiliates of Odyssey Investment Partner; Steven Kaplan advised Oceans Edge, a provider of specialized services to the US government and intelligence community, on the sale of its cyber business; and Matthew Swartz acted for Elderlife Financial Services in its sale to Patriot Capital. Steven Meltzer is another recommended North Virginia contact, and Washington DC-based Robert Robbins is also highly rated. The firm grew the group through the recruitment of Michael Torosian from DLA Piper LLP (US); Torosian divides his time between San Francisco and Silicon Valley and acts as general outside counsel to private and public companies, particularly in the technology, renewable energy and life sciences industries.

Seward & Kissel LLP has ‘a very talented, experienced group of individuals who have the ability to think as owners and find ways to resolve differences and close transactions; they are also very detail-oriented’. Other clients rate the practice as ‘outstanding in all respects; it is tremendously responsive, the service is excellent and the advice is tailored to clients’ specific needs and issues rather than being theoretical’. The firm promoted New York-based Gerhard Anderson to partner in the business transactions group; his representative transactions include M&A, private equity deals, joint ventures and strategic alliances, and he is praised as being ‘very efficient and prompt at turning around key documents in very short timeframes’. The practice distinguishes itself through shipping industry and investment management M&A, as well as private equity deals. It has expanded its coverage of the financial services sector, where it has acted on multiple deals involving broker-dealers, and also regularly handles media and technology transactions. Also of note, the firm has traditionally acted predominantly on sell-side M&A work, but it is increasingly assisting clients with buy-side deals. Recent highlights include advising longstanding client Emerging Sovereign Group, a New York-based registered investment adviser, on reacquiring a 55% stake held by Carlyle; and, in the shipping sector, the team acted for new client Sargeant Marine, a Florida-based asphalt business, in its sale of a 50% interest to The Vitol Group. Notable technology sector transactions included advising UBM on its acquisition of Content Marketing Institute. James Abbott and Craig Sklar co-head the business transactions group. Abbott is ‘a team player, who understands the primacy of business goals and solves problems rather than creating them; he is a good listener, wise counselor and contributes perspectives that defuse potentially confrontational issues’. Sklar also draws praise; he is ‘a remarkable lawyer, who is practical and fair-minded and has total command of relevant precedent, law and practice’. Other notable practitioners include Meir Grossman, who ‘facilitates smooth negotiations with sophisticated and demanding investors, is incredibly responsive, and highlights issues that clients need to think through’; and Nick Katsanos, who is ‘an incredible professional’.

Seyfarth Shaw LLP has ‘a very responsive, knowledgeable, lean practice, which has lawyers who are courteous and succinct’. The firm’s well-known labor and employment practice regularly supports the practice during M&A transactions; recent highlights include a cross-departmental team from the firm successfully advising Alleghany Capital Corporation on the purchase of 84% of Integrated Project Services. It also acted for Nanosphere, active in the molecular microbiology and molecular diagnostic market, in its sale to Luminex Corporation; the transaction was valued at approximately $115m. Other matters included advising Morrisey Holdings on the sale of one of its wholly owned subsidiaries to healthcare software company HealthStream, while large real estate sector deals included advising commercial real estate company Workspace Property Trust on the $1bn-plus acquisition of 108 office properties. Chicago-based Suzanne Saxman advises clients in industries such as manufacturing, gaming, alternative energy, professional services and construction; Steven Meier is ‘outstanding and provides thorough analysis, knowledge and responsiveness’; and Theodore Cornell III is also recommended. New York-based vice M&A chair Andrew Lucano, who has significant experience in representing cable operators and financial entities on the sale and purchase of cable systems, and communications industry expert Stanley Bloch are also highly rated. In Washington DC, Robert Bodansky is another recommended attorney and the ‘excellent’ Andrew Sherman chairs the Washington DC corporate department; Sherman is ‘extremely effective, competent, worth every cent, and leaves clients feeling very fortunate’. Michael Clark, Ofer Lion and Douglas Mancino are key Los Angeles contacts.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP’s transactional experience includes mergers, purchases and sales of stock and assets as well as MBOs. Recent deals for M&A practice leader Will Chuchawat, who divides time between Los Angeles and Shanghai, include representing United Therapies Holding in the sale of the membership interests of its wholly owned subsidiary, UTH Holdco, and advising CutisCare, a subsidiary of Bison Capital, on the purchase of assets of OxyHeal Health Group. Los Angeles-based Lawrence Braun also had a busy year; his recent work included representing American Fruits and Flavors, a privately held family company, in its $690m all-cash asset sale to Monster Beverage; advising RW Lyall & Company (known for oil and gas pipeline components manufacturing) and its shareholders on the sale of all the company’s equity securities to Burndy, a subsidiary of Hubbell; and acting for Ebuys in its sale to DSW. In Washington DC, Lucantonio Salvi advised Tullett Prebon on its proposed acquisition of Creditex’s US hybrid voice brokerage business from Intercontinental Exchange and acted for Arlington Capital Partners portfolio company United Flexible in the acquisition of Kreisler Manufacturing. Other highlights included David Sands acting for WestStar Mortgage in a sale of its equity interests to financial services business JG Wentworth Company, and assisting Karga Seven Pictures with its sale of a controlling interest to Red Arrow Entertainment Group. Century City-based Jeryl Bowers, Del Mar-based John Hentrich and Shon Glusky in New York are also recommended.

Squire Patton Boggs has significant deal experience in sectors such as chemicals, financial services, retail, technology, healthcare, life sciences, and food and drink, and has a prominent private equity deal practice. Recent technology highlights include advising Plat.One on its sale to SAP. Cleveland-based Americas chair of the global corporate practice Daniel Berick advises private equity and venture capital firms, as well as family offices, on portfolio company investments, acquisitions and dispositions. Nicholas Unkovic, who divides time between Palo Alto and San Francisco, acts for US and multinational life science and technology companies, professional service firms and financial institutions. His representative experience includes advising the seller on the sale of a substantial equipment leasing portfolio and acting for a multinational life sciences company on medical device company acquisitions.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP’s client list includes large public companies with robust acquisition programs, buyout firms, foreign enterprises expanding into the US, technology companies and family owned businesses. It also acts for large public and private REITs in M&A deals; and the attorneys draw on the expertise of their colleagues specializing in tax planning. Key matters included acting for the Ocean Harbor Insurance Group in its sale of the Zephyr Insurance group of companies to Heritage Insurance Holdings; assisting Associates for International Research and its major shareholders with the sale of an equity majority to Relo Group; and acting for Pavilion Advisory Group in its recent acquisition of Jeffrey Slocum & Associates. Other examples of cross-border work included advising Equinix on its $280m acquisition of Japan-based internet data center provider Bit-Isle and acting for Spanish investment bank N+1 Group in its merger with Boston-based CW Downer & Co. In Boston, corporate and M&A practice group head Lewis Segall and Carol Wolff are recommended advisors. Significant growth in the practice included the recruitment of New York-based Joel Telpner from Jones Day; Telpner’s representative experience includes advising a global bank on the sale of its asset management business.

Blank Rome LLP’s M&A capabilities include transaction and tax structuring, advising boards on fiduciary duties and preparing regulatory filings. Recent matters included advising Harbour Group portfolio company CPS Products on its acquisition of smoke technology company STAR EnviroTech, acting for PCB Group in its $580m sale to MTS Systems and representing David Michael & Co in its sale to International Flavors & Fragrances. Other matters included assisting JF Lehman & Company with its acquisition of API Technologies. Alan Lieblich chairs the corporate, M&A and securities practice group; corporate, M&A and securities vice chairs Linsey Bozzelli and Brad Shiffman in New York are also highly rated; and Louis Rappaport is particularly focused on emerging and middle-market businesses. All partners listed are in Philadelphia except where otherwise noted.

Bryan Cave LLP is well regarded for its M&A work involving US targets. The group regularly assists with mergers, acquisitions and dispositions; tender offers and proxy contests; and takeover and anti-takeover planning. St Louis-based John Welge leads the firm’s transactions group and has substantial cross-border expertise. His recent experience includes advising Emerson Electric on several domestic and cross-border acquisitions, sales and joint ventures; acting for a private family investment company in the acquisition of Illinois businesses; and advising privately held Watlow Electric Manufacturing on the potential acquisition of a company in Italy. Steven Baumer has acted for clients such as Bunge North America, Maschhoff Family Foods and Express Scripts; Atlanta-based Rick Miller is experienced in representing public and private corporations and REITs; and private equity co-leader Tara Newell in New York is also recommended.

Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s M&A group is noted for its advice to public and private companies, financial sponsors, private equity firms and investment banks; it acts on M&A deals, divestitures, strategic partnerships, cross-border transactions and takeover defenses. Minneapolis corporate partners Jonathan Van Horn and Timothy Hearn represented medical device company Vascular Solutions in its sale to Teleflex. Deals in the natural resources sector included the team acting as special US counsel to Chaparral Gold in its sale to a Toronto-based private equity firm that develops precious and base metals projects; and, in the healthcare industry, it acted for Concordia Healthcare in its acquisition of epilepsy treatment Zonegran for commercialization and sale in the US and Puerto Rico. New York-based private equity chair Eric Rytter and Kevin Maler in Minnesota are recommended; in Utah, Layne Smith is well known for advising operating companies and investors in the healthcare and technology industries; New York-based Scott Desmond and Minnesota-based Robert Rosenbaum and William Jonason are also key contacts. Samuel Gardiner exited for Stoel Rives LLP.

With offices in Boston, New York, Paris and Washington DC, Foley Hoag LLP is highly rated for acquisitions and sales of technology and life science companies and assets. The M&A practice includes corporate, tax and cross-border specialists, as well as IP, employment, environmental, immigration and litigation experts. The team acted for Automation Engineering, known for camera module solutions and lens alignment, in its sale to Swedish hi-tech company Mycronic, and assisted ShapeUp with its sale to Virgin Pulse. Other matters included advising a company focused on rapid diagnostics for infectious disease, cardiometabolic disease and toxicology on its acquisition of substantially all the assets of a provider of drug testing devices. Boston-based Alexander Aber and Joseph Basile are M&A practice group co-chairs. Aber is recommended for his representation of public and private company buyers and sellers in domestic and cross-border M&A and other strategic business transactions; and Basile’s practice includes hostile and negotiated public company, private company and distressed M&A transactions, and he has extensive experience in cross-border deals in North America, Europe, Asia and Latin America. He also stands out for transactions where the integration of corporate social responsibility principles are of significance to the parties. Peter Rosenblum is another key contact.

Holland & Knight LLP’s M&A team handles transactions involving small, middle-market and large businesses. It routinely advises on transaction structuring and negotiation, due diligence, securities filings and corporate governance issues, and its clients include businesses from the technology, telecoms, healthcare, energy, financial services and maritime sectors. The team is experienced in government contracts deals; examples include acting for Information Management Technology, a system integrator and software engineering firm, in its sale to Mission Essential, a provider of interpretation and translation services to the Defense Department. Other significant matters included advising Digitek Computer Products, a distributor of imaging services and products, with its sale to Carolina Wholesale Group, and assisting Ireland-based Fyffes with its $109m purchase of Canadian mushroom producer Highline Produce, a portfolio company of US private equity firm Peak Rock Capital. The primary contacts are Leighton Yates Jr in Orlando and Northern Virginia-based consulting counsel William Mutryn. Stamford’s Martin Clarke is also recommended.

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton’s practice covers deals with IP aspects, cross-border transactions, leveraged deals and acquisition programs. The team acted for Oldcastle Architectural and its affiliates in the acquisition of the concrete block and paver businesses of Western Block, Red River Block, and Robbins Brick & Block; assisted Pharos Capital Group with its acquisition of Beacon Specialized Living Services, which involved the acquisition of 27 residential psychiatric facilities and legal advice concerning healthcare, employment, real estate, tax and environmental issues; and advised units of AT&T on several transactions involving the acquisition, exchange or sale of spectrum licenses and other telecoms assets. The practice also continued to represent United Capital Financial Partners in its acquisition program, including the purchase of five financial advisory firms. Other active clients include Equifax, Hanesbrands, Royal Ten Cate Corporation and Zodiac Aerospace. Atlanta-based practice leader Richard Cicchillo Jr is focused on domestic and international M&A deals and joint ventures, and has extensive experience in IP development and licensing transactions. Raleigh-based Thomas Steed III is also highly rated; Carole Bellis and David Eaton are notable Silicon Valley contacts. Elsewhere, San Diego’s Kandace Watson and Washington DC-based Gary Bronstein and Joel Rappoport are also highly regarded. The M&A and securities group was recently strengthened through the promotion of Atlanta-based Thomas Kesler to partner and San Diego-based Marty Lorenzo’s recruitment from Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C..

Highly focused on middle-market deals, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. has offices in Boston, New York, San Diego, San Francisco and Washington DC, and is specialized in deals involving emerging and regulated industries, such as life sciences, healthcare, technology and energy technology. The client list includes buyers and sellers as well as private equity and venture capital firms, and the practice often assists closely held and family-owned businesses. In Boston, M&A chair Dean Zioze has advised Philips Healthcare and Philips Lighting on numerous middle-market M&A deals and other strategic transactions; he also recently acted for Altenex in its sale to Edison. Michael Fantozzi is division head for the firm’s corporate, tax, private client and immigration sections; he acted for Brooks Automation in its $127m acquisition of BioStorage Technologies, a global provider of management solutions for the bioscience industry. Matthew Gardella represented Synta Pharmaceuticals in its reverse merger transaction with private company Madrigal Pharmaceuticals; Marc Mantell’s experience includes acting on deals in the technology, medical device, manufacturing and retail sectors; and New York-based Charlotte Edelman is also recommended. Recent growth in the team included the recruitment of Edouard LeFevre to the Boston office from Foley & Lardner LLP; his practice focuses on middle-market M&A transactions, many of which have a private equity component.

At Chicago-based law firm Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP, the ‘skilled lawyers provide extremely high availability, constructive advice and a commercial approach; they invest time in learning clients’ businesses, are great at following up on matters without over-selling their services, and keep clients in mind after deals have closed’. The group’s M&A transactional experience includes asset and stock transactions, mergers, LBOs, spin-offs, going-private deals and acquisitions of controlling, minority and strategic interests. It regularly advises Canadian clients on metals and mining deals; examples include acting as US legal counsel to Goldcorp in the acquisition of Kaminak for approximately C$520m. The team also represented Fonterra Co-operative Group in the approximately $128m sale of a 50% joint venture interest in DairiConcepts to its joint venture partner, Dairy Farmers of America, and assisted longstanding Swedish client NIBE Industrier with its $364m-plus purchase of The Climate Control Group. Chicago-based corporate and securities chair David Stone is experienced in advising domestic and international clients in the energy, mining, insurance, technology, manufacturing and service industries. John Koenigsknecht, who co-chairs the cross-border and international practice, is ‘a very good team leader and it is clear that his spirit and ambition to always deliver on time and be available around the clock have influenced his entire team of colleagues’. Michael Gray, Cristina DeMento and Joshua Klein are also recommended.

Perkins Coie LLP is frequently active in deals involving the life sciences, telecoms, hotels, REITs, energy and manufacturing sectors, and the M&A group routinely works alongside the firm’s securities, antitrust, employment, environmental regulation, IP and taxation lawyers. Recent experience includes acting for PitchBook Data in its sale to Morningstar; advising Thompson Creek Metals Company on its approximately $1.1bn sale to Canada-based Centerra Gold; and assisting TalentWise in its merger with SterlingBackcheck. It also acted for Nimes Capital in its acquisition of Togo’s Holdings, the franchiser of Togo’s West Coast Original sandwich shops. Denver-based Jeff Beuche is firm-wide chair of the M&A practice and is recommended for technology, software, agricultural products, telecoms and healthcare services transactions. Seattle-based Stewart Landefeld is former chair of the corporate practice; and Andrew Moore’s corporate clients include Alliant Energy, Amazon.com, Costco Wholesale and Microsoft. Chicago-based Randy Bridgeman co-chairs the firm-wide corporate governance and transactions team; his recent experience includes several brand acquisitions for multinational companies with complex IP assets, and a cross-border co-manufacturing joint venture for a global food manufacturer. Fiona Brophy splits her time between San Francisco and Palo Alto and is firm-wide co-chair of the emerging companies and venture capital practice.

Schiff Hardin LLP is recommended for its experience in public and private company mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, joint ventures and strategic alliances, equity investments, and going-private transactions. It represented broadband provider Consolidated Communications Holdings, a longstanding client, in its agreed acquisition of FairPoint Communications; this all-stock deal was valued at $1.5bn. Other highlights included acting for Wintrust Financial in the successful completion of its $30m acquisition of First Community Financial, the parent company of First Community Bank. Stephen Dragich is corporate and transactional practice leader; his experience includes advising Laidlaw, an international transportation company, on its strategic acquisition programs. Steve Isaacs leads the M&A and private equity groups and has acted for clients such as Newell Brands, Kraft Foods and Altaris Capital Partners; and deputy M&A and private equity practice leader Alexander Young is also highly rated. All partners named are based in Chicago.

Thompson Hine LLP’s ‘response times, business acumen and value for money are great’. Others praise the practice for its ‘overall high levels of service, which exceed expectations’. The firm leads M&A transactions from its Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, New York and Washington DC offices. Cincinnati-based corporate transactions and securities practice group leader Frank Chaiken and New York-based Garrett Evers represented Sportfield Deutschland Holding, a portfolio company of German private equity firm Equistone Partners Europe, in its $92m purchase of the iconic AstroTurf brand and business. Evers ‘delivers solid counsel; he is measured, provides insights based on his broad experience and is someone clients can count on’. Other deals of note included Chaiken and Todd Schild (also in Cincinnati) co-leading transactions for Pro Mach, namely the separate acquisitions of EPI Labelers, Texwrap Packaging Systems, Zarpac Performance and Pacific Packaging Machinery; David Neuhardt in Dayton assisting AdvancePierre Foods with its $60m acquisition of Allied Specialty Foods; and Cleveland-based Tony Kuhel leading a multi-functional team, including, corporate, tax, benefits and environmental law experts, in advising Netherlands-based chemicals distributor IMCD on its acquisition of Mutchler. Another recommended Cincinnati adviser is John Cottingham, who ‘really understands deals from a business perspective, has a great grasp of numbers and immediately knows how a seemingly minor change in one area could adversely impact another’. Also highly rated are Thomas Aldrich in Cleveland and Columbus-based Jim Balthaser.

Thompson & Knight LLP is ‘always excellent, the value for money is high and the team responds quickly and with great ideas’. Others applaud the practice’s ‘longstanding knowledge of its clients’ business activities, while the lean deployment of excellent partners and associates makes the service extremely valuable’. The firm is well known for its expertise in the oil and gas industry, particularly upstream and midstream matters. Highlights included acting for EnerVest in the $876m acquisition of Range Resources’ Nora natural gas assets in Virginia, assisting EnCap with the $301m sale of equity in Paloma Partners III to Gulfport Energy, and representing the conflicts committee of American Midstream Partners in its review and evaluation of the acquisition of approximately $220m of Gulf of Mexico midstream infrastructure assets and incremental ownership in the Delta House Floating Production Facility. The team advised Silver Hill Energy Partners on its $2.4bn sale to RSP Permian. Other notable clients include 7-Eleven, Natural Gas Partners, RSP Permian, The Michaels Companies and Warren Resources. Corporate and securities practice leader Wesley Williams has ‘strong business sense’ and divides his time between Dallas and Fort Worth. Joe Dannenmaier in Dallas and Houston-based Michael Pierce also draw high praise. Also in Dallas, Steven Bartz was promoted to partner; he represents clients in middle-market mergers, acquisitions and dispositions of securities and assets.

Excellent law firmArent Fox LLP has over 25 dedicated corporate lawyers in Washington DC, including corporate and securities group head Steven Cohen, Richard Gale and Jay Halpern. Cohen counsels clients in diverse industries, such as technology, media, sports, real estate, hospitality and healthcare. The bulk of the group’s transactional and advisory work centers on middle-market deals in the $25m-500m range; and the sectors in which the ‘trusted team’ is especially strong include hospitality, consumer products, restaurants, retail and real estate. It regularly advises Choice Hotels International, one of the largest hospitality companies in the world, on its acquisitions and joint ventures, including a recent joint venture for the acquisition and development of a hotel in San Francisco. The practice is also the primary outside counsel to Think Food Group, an international food and beverage company that is led by celebrity chef José Andrés, and the firm has had a close relationship with global hotel company Marriott for more than 30 years. Other highlights included acting for Congressional Bancshares in its approximately $50m agreement to acquire American Bank Holdings and assisting digital media company Bisnow with its $50m sale to Wicks Group.

Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle LLP’s ‘top-drawer’ corporate M&A practice group is highly focused on middle-market deals. It has extensive expertise in complex cross-border transactions and foreign investments, and its sector experience includes the energy, commodities, manufacturing, transportation, pharmaceuticals and technology industries. In New York, team head Lawrence Goodman advised Chop’t Creative Salad Company (CCSC) on a significant investment made into CCSC by Catterton, a consumer-focused private equity firm, and The Hain Celestial Group, an organic and natural products company; Goodman is ‘an incredibly astute, business-sensitive attorney who epitomizes the word “counsel”; he devotes time, energy and intellect to every matter and client’. A multinational commodity trading and mining company is also a client of the firm. Evan Borenstein, Andrew Seiden, Joshua Geller and William Candelaria are other notable attorneys; and Raymond Hum divides time between Washington DC and New York.

As part of its M&A practice, Ohio-headquartered Dinsmore & Shohl LLP routinely advises on corporate governance, capital formation, securities, real estate, restructuring and tax matters. In Cincinnati, Susan Zaunbrecher chairs the corporate department and the business, acquisitions and securities practice; she acts primarily for financial institutions but also represents public and private manufacturing companies. Her clients include LCNB Corporation, Peoples Bancorp (for which she has acted on multiple bank and insurance agency acquisitions), Lexmark International and Vitas. M&A practice head John Barnes advises manufacturing businesses, banks and bank holding companies; his experience also includes acting for publisher Kith Media and he has developed a robust healthcare transactions practice.

Philadelphia-founded Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP regularly represents corporate acquirers and sellers as well as private equity firms and other financial sponsors. Typical experience includes assisting with stock and asset acquisitions, tender offers, mergers, joint ventures, LBOs and spin-offs. Recent highlights include advising Thomas Jefferson University on its merger with Aria Health, acting for an education technology company in its sale to a discovery service provider for libraries, advising a global specialty pharmaceutical company on the sale of its branded drug discovery platform to a chemical and biological research development company, and assisting a global provider of supply chain management and logistics services with its acquisition of a provider of third-party logistics and supply chain solutions. Princeton-based John Stoddard III’s clients include private equity firms and middle-market companies; he has acted for Graham Partners and its portfolio companies on multiple M&A transactions; and Chicago-based David Rubenstein advises private and public companies on mergers, asset and stock acquisitions and joint ventures; his deals frequently involve investigatory, tax, accounting and corporate issues. Growth in the team included the recruitment of Bonnie Barsamian in New York from Baker Botts L.L.P., who advises public and private companies and financial advisers on M&A deals and change-of-control transactions.

Duane Morris LLP’s M&A team is ‘fast and smart and never overworks a deal; it is also good value for money’. The firm’s experience includes representing acquirers, targets and financial advisers on both negotiated and hostile transactions. Recent highlights include advising ESM Productions on the sale of assets to ESM Productions, acting for Inovio Pharmaceuticals in its acquisition of all of Bioject Medical Technologies’ assets, and advising the special committee of the board of directors of Javelin Mortgage Investment Corporation on its sale to Armour Residential REIT. Other notable matters included advising private equity portfolio company YDesign Group on its acquisition of lighting company Lumens, acting for product testing company Trialon Corporation in its sale to Resilience Capital Partners, and representing The O’Gara Group in the sale of a manufacturer of night vision technology products to a global security and weapons manufacturer. Other active clients for the firm include A Team Leasing, Aljomaih Auto Rentals, Constructive Media and Alpine Investors. Chicago-based Brian Kerwin is corporate chair and Kirk Domescik is managing partner of the Atlanta office. Domescik is ‘extremely responsive, dedicated to obtaining outstanding results, and highly pragmatic in his advice and management of a transaction’.

Haynes and Boone, L.L.P.’s deal experience includes private equity transactions, corporate strategic acquisitions and divestitures, LBOs and hostile takeovers. Other areas of activity include proxy contests, activist investor defense, tender offers, spin-offs and going-private transactions. The team advised building insulation technology company Rmax Operating on its agreement to be sold to Sika Corporation and represented Forest Park Medical Center at Southlake in its bankruptcy sale to the Methodist Health System, creating a multi-specialty hospital. Dallas-based Tom Harris and Janice Sharry are recommended; Harris has over 25 years’ experience in acquisitions, divestitures and other corporate matters; and Sharry’s experience includes acting on large transactions for companies such as American Airlines Group, WhiteWave Foods and Rise Energy. Ricardo Garcia-Moreno, who is a cross-border energy M&A specialist and has a broad sports law practice, and George Gonzalez, who acts on energy, food and beverage, construction, healthcare and technology transactions, divide their time between Houston and Mexico City.

Irell & Manella LLP’s client list includes acquirers, sellers, targets and financial institutions. Recent highlights include assisting ConstructConnect, a provider of cloud-based services to the construction industry, with its sale to public company Roper Technologies; acting for Physiotherapy Associates Holdings in its sale to Select Medical Corporation; and advising Pinnacle Entertainment, an owner and operator of gaming entertainment properties, on a $138m deal to acquire the operations of the Meadows Racetrack & Casino. Cross-border highlights included acting for Dalian Wanda Group, China’s largest commercial property company and the world’s largest cinema chain operator, in its $3.5bn acquisition of Legendary Entertainment. Gregory Klein and Joshua Grode are the recommended Los Angeles-based practice co-heads.

Lowenstein Sandler LLP experienced growth in its New York office through the recruitment of Benjamin Burkhart from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP; Burkhart is recommended for his advice on strategic M&A and investment transactions, particularly for technology companies and investment funds. The practice frequently advises on technology and biotech M&A deals, and has strong experience in IP issues; it also has significant life sciences expertise, acts on bankruptcy related deals and regularly works with the firm’s securities, tax, environmental and employee benefits practices on acquisitions and dispositions. The team acted for Diligent Corporation, a provider of online document sharing, on its sale to venture capital and private equity firm Insight Venture Partners. New York-based M&A chair Marita Makinen recently advised The Estée Lauder Companies on several global acquisitions, including the $1.45bn acquisition of Too Faced, a makeup brand.

McGuireWoods LLP’s ‘overall value of service is very high’. The team is especially visible in deals in the energy, healthcare, real estate and technology sectors, and also frequently assists financial advisers in transactions. It acted for Tesoro Logistics, a provider of midstream services, on its $444m acquisition of petroleum storage and terminal assets from Tesoro Corporation; and assisted the special committee of the board of directors of Penske Automotive Group with its $499m acquisition from GE Capital Global Holdings’ subsidiaries of a 14.4% ownership interest in Penske Truck Leasing. Work on large deals included advising Dominion Resources, one of the US’ largest producers and transporters of energy, on its $4.4bn acquisition of Questar Corporation; acting for Apple REIT Ten and the special committee of its board of directors on its planned sale to Apple Hospitality REIT; and advising Houlihan Lokey, as financial adviser to Freeport-McMoRan, on its sale of a 13% interest in the Morenci mine to Sumitomo Metal Mining. Chicago-based private equity chair Geoffrey Cockrell is ‘very good; his strengths include creativity, drafting ability and client service’. Pittsburgh-based Scott Westwood chairs the firm’s M&A, corporate transactions and technology department; Richmond-based Joanne Katsantonis chairs the energy industry practice; and James Anderson III is also a key adviser. Notable advisors in Charlotte advisers include Harrison Marshall Jr and Chris Scheurer.

With offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington DC, Munger, Tolles & Olson is recommended for buy-side deals for private equity firms, financial sponsors and strategic investors, while in sell-side transactions, the firm routinely assists companies, boards, special committees and shareholders with their exit strategies. Recent highlights include representing Jamie Kern Lima and Paulo Lima, the founders of IT Cosmetics, on the company’s $1.2bn sale to L’Oréal; and acting for the independent directors of DreamWorks Animation in the company’s sale to NBCUniversal. Los Angeles-based Mary Ann Todd represents publicly traded and privately held companies and private equity funds on M&A deals. Robert Denham and Justin Hellman are also key names to note.

Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP is focused on domestic and international middle-market transactions, and its clients include public and privately held companies, private equity groups, management groups and investment banks. It also regularly advises start-ups and is experienced in deals involving the technology, healthcare, business services, and manufacturing and distribution sectors. Highlights included advising Novolex Holdings on the acquisition of Heritage Bag Company, acting for WellCentive in its $165m merger sale to strategic buyer Philips Holding USA, and representing staffing company Impellam Group in its acquisition of Bartech Holding Corporation and its subsidiaries from private equity firm Sverica Capital Management. Atlanta-based Rhys Wilson, Phillip Cooper and Michael Hollingsworth II, together with Gus Dixon in Columbia, are the M&A group leaders. Former assistant general counsel of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Atlanta Branden Baltich made partner.

Based in New York, with an additional office in Los Angeles, Pryor Cashman LLP is particularly focused on middle-market companies and their investors. The firm’s deal experience covers the energy, software, technology, advertising, apparel, medical supplies and life sciences sectors, and its transactional support also includes IP, tax, labor law, real estate and banking and finance advice. Recent highlights include acting for drug development company Marina Biotech in its wholly owned subsidiary’s merger with IthenaPharma; advising pet product company Worldwise on its acquisition of pet accessories brand SHERPA; and assisting Consumer Testing Laboratories, a multinational retail testing company, with its sale to global independent safety science company, UL. New York-based John Crowe leads the firm’s M&A and private equity practice, and Richard Frazer and Stephen Goodman are also recommended.

Bass, Berry & Sims PLC has over 70 M&A attorneys and the firm’s clients include public and private companies, boards of directors and special committees, and private equity firms and their portfolio companies. The team frequently negotiates mergers, tender offers and stock and asset purchases and sales; structures spin-offs, MBOs and other going-private transactions; assists directors with hostile transactions; and executes cross-border M&A transactions in conjunction with its global international referral network, Lex Mundi. The practice has strong healthcare expertise and acted for Community Health Systems in the spin-off of Quorum Health Corporation and the sale of 38 hospitals. Todd Overman in Washington DC chairs the firm’s government contracts practice and has particular experience in structuring transactions and corporate reorganizations to ensure compliance with the Anti-Assignment Act; and Nashville-based Riney Green’s experience includes advising a US private equity sponsor on high-profile portfolio company acquisition and sale transactions, and providing M&A and corporate governance counsel to a publicly traded long-term care company.

Brown Rudnick LLP is highly rated for its emerging technology company expertise; the team’s experience includes advising on the sale of software, life sciences, medical devices, semiconductors and digital media companies to industry giants such as Microsoft, Oracle and IBM. The practice also has robust healthcare, energy and finance deal experience. Recent highlights include advising Edwards Lifesciences on its structured investment in Harpoon Medical, a privately held medical technology company. Boston-based corporate and capital markets managing director Samuel Williams acts for clients in the IT, semiconductor and communications sectors.

Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP has extensive experience representing private and public companies in LBOs and asset and equity acquisitions and sales; its support services also cover corporate reorganizations, taxation and employee benefits and compensation, in addition to which it has extensive experience in transactions involving troubled companies. The group has specialist expertise in the banking, consumer products, energy and mining, gaming and entertainment, healthcare and hospitality industries. Denver-based online gaming industry specialist Elizabeth Paulsen and Gino Maurelli co-chair the firm’s corporate and business department. Paulsen advises high-profile clients such as Wynn Resorts, Caesars Entertainment and Vail Resorts, and has represented foreign operators of online gaming platforms and operators of US-based casinos on significant joint venture agreements. Maurelli is recommended for both buy-side and sell-side deals.

Davis Wright Tremaine LLP acts for domestic and foreign clients in LBOs, spin-offs, cross-border transactions and deals involving troubled businesses. The team’s industry knowledge includes media, technology, community banking, hospitality, energy and healthcare. Seattle-based Matthew LeMaster chairs the firm’s M&A practice and has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, handling the acquisition and disposition of numerous hotel properties. Examples include acting for Coast Hotels in the acquisition of hotel facilities and assisting The Peninsula Group with the sale of multiple hotel facilities and follow-on acquisitions of replacement commercial properties. Other recommended advisers include Sean McCann, who has extensive experience advising clients in the manufacturing, food and beverage, real estate and professional services sectors; and Sarah Tune, who divides her time between Seattle and New York. Tune specializes in the food and beverage and restaurant industries. In 2016, she advised Victory Brewing Company and its majority shareholders on its sale to Artisanal Brewing Ventures.

Predominantly working on middle-market deals, Dickinson Wright PLLC has ‘an extremely deep team with exceptional competence’. A major part of the M&A practice involves assisting private equity clients with their sales and acquisitions, and it frequently advises on cross-border transactions. Sectors in which the practice is particularly active include financial services, media, sports, real estate, automotive and consumer products. Recent matters include advising the Doncasters Group, an international manufacturer of precision metal components, on the stock purchase of a holding company and operating company; and assisting Eucetrix with its acquisition of assets of Molycorp Metals & Alloys, pursuant to the Bankruptcy Code. Other notable clients include Irvin Acquisition, Peninsula Capital Partners and Shalewater Solutions. Michigan-based Richard Bolton ‘gets deals done, providing the same or better level of service as other firms but at less cost’; and Mark High and Andrew MacLeod are also recommended. In Columbus, Scot Crow was recently promoted to practice manager.

Epstein Becker & Green, P.C.’s ‘overall level of service and knowledge base are excellent, while its healthcare team is probably one of the best in the market’. Others praise the group for ‘always being on top of matters, its complete dedication and legal intelligence, and for keeping clients’ businesses moving’. The team of 50-plus healthcare M&A and private equity lawyers regularly structure and negotiate complex business transactions for healthcare companies. Notable work included acting as transaction counsel to Barnabas Health System in its merger with Robert Wood Johnson, and assisting All Metro Health Care Services, a portfolio company of the firm’s client Nautic Partners, with the $300m sale of All Metro and its subsidiary Caregivers America to One Equity Partners. It also acted for Envision Healthcare in its merger with AmSurg. Practice head Mark Lutes, Steven Epstein, Douglas Hastings, Katherine Lofft and Joseph Lynch are the recommended advisers in Washington DC. In New York, Jeffrey Becker and John Gleason are highly rated, as are Chicago-based Amy Dow and Kevin Ryan, and Los Angeles’ Paul Gomez. Gary Herschman in Newark is ‘extremely helpful during multiple transactions, highly responsive and committed to his clients’.

Gardere Wynne Sewell has significant experience representing family-owned and other closely held companies; the practice is particularly focused on pre-transaction planning, including estate and other tax planning issues. In a deal valued at approximately $600m, the team advised Lime Rock Resources on its acquisition of Occidental Petroleum’s oil operations in North Dakota; it also advised National Express Transportation Services, the second largest private provider of school bus transportation services in North America, on several strategic acquisitions of businesses located in New Hampshire, Maryland, Illinois, New York and Washington DC. Other key deals included assisting Ricoh Innovations Corporation with its acquisition of photo-hosting product Eyefi’s Cloud Service, and acting for Oerlikon Metco (US) in its acquisition of Laser Cladding Services. Corporate co-chairs Daniel Cohen in Houston and Michael Newman in Dallas are recommended. For over 15 years, Cohen has represented the US subsidiary of a public UK company on various matters, including complex cross-border acquisitions in Canada; he has also represented a private equity portfolio company on the acquisition of numerous water and wastewater utilities from private and governmental owners. Newman regularly represents private equity firms and their portfolio companies in transactions.

Holland & Hart LLP handles public and private deals on behalf of both US and non-US acquirers, including private equity funds, strategic buyers and target companies. The team represented Colorado-based client Stillwater Mining Company in its $2.2bn sale to South African gold mining company Sibanye Gold, and acted for longstanding client Air Methods Corporation, an American publicly owned helicopter operator, in successfully negotiating a definitive agreement to acquire Tri-State Care Flight for $222m. Denver-based Chris Groll has acted in deals involving the food and beverage, software and telecoms, consumer products, professional services and manufacturing sectors.

Founded in Virginia, Hunton & Williams LLP’s M&A team is well known for its deal experience involving the energy, financial services, private equity, healthcare and real estate sectors. It also has particular expertise in Latin American transactions; Fernando Alonso, who splits time between Miami and New York, advised Promerica Financial Corporation on its acquisition of Banco Citibank de Guatemala and affiliate Cititarjetas de Guatemala. In other matters, the team advised Altisource Residential on its $652m acquisition of approximately 4,250 single family rental homes from investment funds sponsored by Amherst Holdings; and assisted electric utility Cleco Corporation’s independent directors with its high-value sale to an investor group, led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets and British Columbia Investment Management Corporation; and a cross-office multidisciplinary transaction team was legal counsel to Cash America International in its definitive merger agreement with First Cash Financial Services. Richmond-based corporate finance and M&A group co-head Gary Thompson and Steven Patterson in Washington DC are recommended; and corporate head Justin Moore III, who divides time between Richmond and New York, is also highly rated.

A top-notch firm with great depth of expertise’, Morris, Nichols, Arsht & Tunnell LLP’s ‘very responsive and user-friendly practice’ is recommended for its Delaware law advice in M&A deals and corporate governance issues, including directors’ and officers’ fiduciary duties and defending against litigation challenging deals. The practice also assists boards’ conflict committees in the oil and gas MLP space. In recent matters acting as Delaware counsel, it advised power and renewable energy investor Fortistar on the acquisition of two Green Gas Americas landfill gas-to-energy projects, acted for Intercontinental Exchange in its acquisition of mortgage registry owner Merscorp Holdings, and assisted Ontex with its acquisition of Grupo PI Mabe, a Mexican maker of disposable hygiene products. It also provided transactional advice to Land O’ Lakes in its acquisition of California-based biotech company Ceres. In large deals as Delaware counsel, it advised Apollo Global Management on its agreement to acquire specialty grocery operator Fresh Market, acted for long-time client Bayer in its attempt to acquire Monsanto, and advised BlackRock on its purchase of Bank of America’s money-market fund business. David Harris and Louis Hering are the recommended commercial law experts.

Providing Delaware counsel during M&A transactions, Richards, Layton & Finger, P.A. acts on a large number of high-value public deals. The practice ‘leaves clients feeling extremely pleased with its work; the team is highly professional and very knowledgeable about Delaware case law’. Others praise ‘response times that are extremely prompt, including several long sessions over holiday weekends’. Highlights, as Delaware counsel, included advising Charter Communications on its acquisition of Time Warner Cable, acting for computer maker Dell in its acquisition of data storage company EMC Corporation, and assisting Axiall Corporation during its sale to Westlake Chemical. John Mark Zeberkiewicz is ‘extremely diligent in every matter put before him, consistently gives excellent advice and protects clients’ best interests’; and Michael Allen is ‘exceptional in all respects and he anticipates issues that might arise’. Donald Bussard, William Haubert, Stephen Bigler and Mark Gentile are also key advisors.

Growth in Robinson & Cole LLP’s corporate team included the hiring of Miami-based counsel Suzanne Ferguson from Assurant, where she advised on major business transactions and regulatory compliance. The practice regularly assists with acquisitions, divestitures, joint ventures, LBOs and going-private deals, and specific sector experience includes professional services, arts and entertainment, agriculture, forestry and fishing, and waste management services. Business transactions chair Eric Kogan divides time between Stamford and New York, and is recommended for his advice to emerging, middle-market and multinational clients from the digital media, consumer products, food and beverage, and technology sectors.

Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP is highly focused on deals in the insurance brokerage and environmental services industries, and has also been growing its healthcare sector experience. In addition, it frequently advises on cross-border transactions, particularly in relation to Europe, and clients include insurance brokers as well as energy, technology, retail and consumer goods companies. The team advised Archer A Associates, an insurance specialist company, on its sale to Assured Partners and its subsidiary Assured SKCG. The team also recently acted for statement services and customer communication company Output Services Group in several acquisitions, including the acquisition of The Garfield Group, an advertising agency. Megan Harmon in Pittsburgh 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 stands out for transactions involving Italy.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP has robust deal experience in the energy, insurance, real estate, financial services, commodities and derivatives, and defense sectors; and a number of the firm’s transactions also have cross-border components. The M&A lawyers work closely with their colleagues from the financial restructuring, tax, employee benefits, environmental, IP, antitrust and takeover litigation groups. The team advised British defense technology company QinetiQ Group on the sale of its indirect US subsidiary Cyveillance to LookingGlass Cyber Solutions, and acted for GE Energy Financial Services in its sale of 50% of its membership interest in the New Jersey Linden Cogeneration project to funds managed by the Ares-EIF Group. New York-based department head Todd Lenson’s clients include an independent oil refiner, public and private REITs, and media, sports and entertainment companies. Christopher Doyle, Jordan Rosenbaum, Bradley Kulman, Marissa Holob and Matthew Schwartz are also recommended.

Troutman Sanders is well known for its expertise in the energy, finance, technology and biotech sectors. The team advised PNM Resources, a publicly traded energy holding company, on the sale of San Juan Coal Company; acted for Cynapsus Therapeutics in its sale to Sunovion; and was Virginia counsel to Media General in its merger agreement with Nexstar Broadcasting Group. Department heads David Meyers in Richmond and Atlanta-based Andrea Farley are highly rated. Meyers’ experience includes serving as general outside counsel to a large publicly traded coal company, including in its sale to a competitor. Farley focuses on the representation of public and private companies during corporate reorganization transactions, including M&A, divestitures and joint ventures, and has particular experience advising specialty finance companies on their M&A deals.

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