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United States > Tax > Financial products > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings

Editorial

Index of tables

  1. Financial products
  2. Leading lawyers

Leading lawyers

  1. 1

Led out of New York and Washington DC, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP’s tax practice covers the full gamut of financial products. Providing extraordinary knowledge of this specialist area, it is well known for its expertise in relation to the development of sophisticated and innovative products. New York-based co-chair of the tax group Linda Swartz advises on structuring complex mergers and acquisitions, financings and derivative transactions. Gary Silverstein is praised for his knowledge and expertise in the securitization arena and acts for underwriters, issuers and other market participants in matters relating to mortgage-backed and asset-backed securities. Based in Washington DC, Mark Howe provides expertise in partnerships, financial products, securitizations, capital markets and commodities. Previous mandates included acting for Barclays on the issuance of structured notes and Goldman Sachs Developers Diversified Realty’s credit line securitization. Other notable clients include Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, BNP Paribas and Deutsche Bank. Since publication, David Miller has moved to Proskauer Rose LLP.

A market leader in financial products without a doubt’, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP provides ‘excellent service and high-standard advice’. The practice is very active advising investment banks, financial bodies, private equity firms and others on debt and equity transactions, convertible bonds and other hybrid securities, derivatives, and credit default swaps. ‘Notable practitioner’ Erika Nijenhuis focuses on US income tax - particularly in relation to financial products and international tax planning - and advises major investment banks such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Bank of America and JPMorgan. Work highlights included William McRae and Diana Wollman advising Family Dollar on its $9.3bn cash and stock purchase by Dollar Tree. The team also acted for Google in the organization of its new holding company Alphabet, and in its sale of the Motorola Mobility mobile devices business to Lenovo. James Peaslee has advised Freddie Mac, Fannie Mae and Ginnie Mae on mortgage-backed securities. James Duncan (‘one of the best tax lawyers’) advised SABMiller in connection with its proposed acquisition by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Under the leadership of New York-based partner Richard Catalano, Clifford Chance’s financial products team exhibits ‘excellent, integrated, structured advice in all related tax and corporate areas’, including CLOs, derivatives, commercial real estate and insurance. Catalano is especially known for his work on REITs and has advised clients such as Empire State Realty Trust and Colony American Homes. The ‘authoritative and knowledgeableDonald Carden continued to advise global institutions on tax-efficient structures in relation to some of the largest insurance-related deals. William Cejudo has expertise in the tax aspects of structured finance transactions, including those involving RMBS, CMBS, real estate mortgage investment conduits (REMICs), REITs and offshore funds. Clients include Appian Capital, Berkshire Group, Madison International and GoldenTree Asset Management.

A ‘well-known’ name in the tax arena, Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP has built a reputation for being able to develop sophisticated and innovative financial products. The ‘top tax department’ is headed by Avishai Shachar, who focuses on mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs and financial products, and Neil Barr, who advises on tax matters relating to cross-border M&A. In an ongoing work highlight, the team acts for General Electric on several matters relating to the reorganization of GE Capital as part of its plan to reduce the size of its financial services business. Po Sit is an expert on derivatives, partnerships and M&A, often acting for major financial institutions. Menlo Park-based Rachel Kleinberg provides advice to corporate and private equity funds clients.

Laurence Bambino in New York and Michael Shulman in Washington DC lead Shearman & Sterling LLP’s tax group. The team handles the tax aspects of a variety of complex, often cross-border transactions, including M&A, debt offerings, securitizations, debt/equity swaps, REITs and hedge fund transactions, and other financial products. It represents large US and non-US financial institutions and is praised for its expertise in developing innovative products from a tax-efficient perspective. The group advised Liberty Global on the creation of the first ever stock under English law for its operations in Latin America and the Caribbean. In an ongoing matter, Shulman and Robert Rudnick act for Freddie Mac in all matters connected to the development and implementation of Structured Agency Credit Risk (STACR) notes, aimed at reducing its exposure to single-family mortgage credit risks. Kristen Garry is also noted. Other clients include Bank of America, Barclays, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank and General Electric.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s tax team receives praise for ‘its deep knowledge in the sector’, which is greatly appreciated by clients. It advises blue-chip companies, investment banks, private equity firms, REITs, partnerships and investment managers on all manner of financial product transactions. The team is headed from Chicago by David Polster, who has extensive knowledge in partnership transactions, M&A, REITs and other regulated investment companies (RICs). Victor Hollender is ‘impressive’ and has proven expertise in hybrid capital and derivatives transactions; he acted for Anheuser-Busch in its $20.1bn acquisition of a stake in Mexican beer producer Grupo Modelo. Kirk Wallace advises a wide variety of investment managers and financial institutions on the development of complex derivative and structured products.

A force in the financial products area’, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s team has a deserved reputation for its advice on hedging transactions, equity monetization strategies, share repurchase programs and cross-border transactions, and is especially renowned for its work on tax matters relating to structured notes. ‘Expert in derivatives taxationRonald Creamer leads the team from the firm’s New York office. The team continued to advise on complex structured notes, including commodity, equity, interest rate and foreign currency-linked notes, for clients such as Wells Fargo, Barclays, Goldman Sachs and UBS. David Hariton and Jeffrey Hochberg are recommended. Other important clients include ACE Limited, Japan Airlines, Rio Tinto and The Madison Square Garden Company.

The ‘excellent team’ of tax lawyers at Covington & Burling LLP is based in Washington DC and serves an array of clients ranging from US and foreign hedge funds, CDO sponsors, mutual funds, banks, pension trusts, corporations, industry groups and high-net-worth individuals. Its practice covers domestic and international transactions, exchange-traded and OTC products and tax-efficient hedging structures, and it is especially adept at developing innovative products such as credit derivatives and other esoteric debt securities. It is also active on the regulatory side, advising on the implications of new legislation. William Paul led advice to the Investment Company Institute regarding the taxation of its member funds and their shareholders, and represented the association before Congress, the Treasury and the IRS. Kurt Baca, Robert Culbertson and Emin Toro acted as counsel to a well-known financial corporation in connection with the structuring and execution of a complex bond exchange linked to the wind-down of a business to optimize tier one capital. Clients include BNP Paribas, ING, Options Clearing Corporation and US Securities Markets Coalition.

The ‘small but efficient’ financial products group at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP benefits from the firm’s global standing and provides clients with extensive knowledge and experience in tax matters, with partners ‘heavily involved’ in all transactions. New York-based Robert Scarborough and Claude Stansbury in Washington DC lead the practice. Keynote matters saw the team advising Cheung Kong Holdings and Hutchison Whampoa on the US tax issues associated with the former’s $24bn stock acquisition of the latter, as well as on the reorganization of the combined business. Scarborough led a group advising a high-profile investment management corporation on all aspects relating to its acquisition of securitized assets backed by royalty revenue from patent-protected pharmaceutical products; the overall value of the matter was $300m-plus.

Tax is one of the core areas at McDermott Will & Emery LLP and the group is recognized for its advice on various types of complex financial products. Its clients include top investment banks, public and private investment vehicles, and high-net-worth individuals. Based in New York, practice co-head John Lutz led advice to a global bank on the restructuring of its non-US operations to comply with newly enacted regulations. The group is also acting before the Court of Federal Claims as counsel to Citibank in seeking a tax refund of over $400m. Chicago-based co-head Andrea Kramer is well known for her work on tax planning and compliance matters.

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s financial products team is ‘outstanding and very knowledgeable on current legal events’. Its lawyers advise clients on debt and equity offerings, hybrid securities and structured products, among other things, and its expertise in bank regulatory, corporate and securities law makes it attractive to clients seeking to develop new and innovative financial products. The practice works for Residential Capital on the tax implications of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which include asset sales and the creation of a liquidation trust; co-head of team Tom Humphreys and Remmelt Reigersman lead the advice. The firm also advises container lessor Textainer Group in relation to its international tax structure, securities offerings, credit facilities and container acquisitions. Other clients include Bank of America, BMO Structured Products and Royal Bank of Canada.

Sidley Austin LLP works for leading world banks, securities firms, European and Asian private and sovereign issuers, borrowers and other market participants in a variety of public and private securities transactions. Its lawyers are renowned for their expertise in structured notes, swaps, hedging transactions and market derivatives. Work highlights included acting for the underwriters in BHP Billiton’s issuance of $1bn of subordinated fixed-rate reset notes. The team is led by Robert Kreitman in New York. Kreitman was in charge of the team advising Goldman Sachs as joint agent and book-runner in Passenger Railroad Insurance’s $275m catastrophe bond issuance. David Miller acted for REIT client Ventas in its equity offering program of $1bn of common stock. Other clients include Barclays, Deutsche Bank, General Electric and JPMorgan.

With an ‘excellent track record’ in the financial products arena, Squire Patton Boggs provides counsel to hedge funds, sovereign wealth funds, international banking associations and insurance brokers. Previous work included advising clients on Intergovernmental Agreements (IGA) connected to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). Stephen McHale is noted. Micah Green left the team to join Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

Dentons provides financial products advice to prominent financial institutions and has earned a good reputation for its advice related to the tax implications of swaps and other derivatives, risk-transfer structures, and debt and equity issuances. The group acted for Credit Suisse Securities (USA) on its $371m Rule 144A offering of residential mortgage-backed securities, backed by mortgages purchased from originators by DLJ Mortgage Capital. The ten-lawyer team is led by Jeff Koppele.

Linklaters LLP continues to build its reputation in the financial products arena and provides tax advice to an outstanding roster of financial institutions. New York-based global head of tax Gordon Warnke and Shane Milam advised ACS and ACS’ yieldco, Saeta Yield, on the tax aspects of the latter’s secondary offering of 51% of its shares and on the M&A transaction with Global Infrastructure Management. It also acted for Visa Europe on the sale of its total share capital to Visa Inc.; this included negotiating the structure of the terms of the €5bn of preferred stock being issued by Visa Inc. in relation to the deal. Mayer Brown’s financial products practice is a respected name in the market. One of the factors underpinning this is the work of Mark Leeds, which includes handling capital markets, structured finance, derivatives, financial products and insurance-related transactions. The team acted for Vanbridge Life and Annuity on the issuance of annuity products sold to wealth fund investors; it also advised Amtrak on the issuance of catastrophe bonds to fund reinsurance of Amtrak’s exposure to storm surge, wind storm and earthquake risk. Clients include Santander Consumer and Barclays Capital.

Under Jeffrey Uffner’s direction, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s team acts as counsel to important participants in the market on a wide variety of transactions, involving commodities, derivatives, designed structures and pervasive regulatory issues.

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Legal Developments worldwide

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