The Legal 500

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

Work +1 212 277 4000
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Washington DC, Vienna, Tokyo, Singapore, Shanghai, Seef District and 23 more

United States

Top-tier recommendations


Latin America: International firms

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Finance

Within Project finance, tier 4

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides ‘outstanding’ levels of service to a host of sponsors and lenders, and is rated for the strength of its global practice and excellent capabilities in the energy, mining, metals and renewable spaces. Lisa O’Brien provides expertise in advising financial institutions, developers and multinational companies on a range of power, renewable energy and infrastructure projects in the US and abroad. She recently acted for private equity firm ArcLight Capital Partners on its acquisition of Teesside Gas Processing Plant, and Scottish Southern Energy on its $700m debt placement in the US. The ‘diligent and objective’ Melissa Raciti-Knapp is highly experienced in Latin America transactions, particularly related to projects in Chile and Mexico. She advised Spanish infrastructure operator Abertis on the €204m acquisition of three highways in Chile owned by Spanish construction group OHL; and KfW IPEX-Bank, as lender and ECA agent, and Finnish export credit agency Finnvera, on the $228m limited recourse financing for the GreenPac containerboard mill in Niagara Falls. Also recommended are newly appointed partner Doug Bacon, and associates Adam Giuliano and Raquel McKenney, who is ‘always available, and thoroughly understands the subject’. PPP specialists Kent Rowey and Dolly Mirchandani left for Allen & Overy LLP.

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Within Structured finance , Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a third tier firm,

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP ‘benefits from its international network and the cooperation between its New York and European lawyers, which is always impeccable and smooth’. The New York-located US practice group comprises three partners and 12 lawyers and handles matters of the highest value. Recent work has included a good deal of restructuring of underperforming portfolios and Dodd-Frank advisory mandates. Group head Brian Rance, ‘has extensive experience in structured credit products including TRS and CLOs from both the dealer and end user perspective’. Rance’s expertise in Total Return Swap (TRS) has been directed towards complex loan portfolio financing, and he has developed industry-leading documentation for Citibank, Barclays and RBS. In a high-profile instruction, the largest post-crisis CLO, a team advised Citigroup Global Markets as initial purchaser and placement agent in connection with a $1bn cash-flow collateralized loan obligation transaction managed by Guggenheim Investment Management. Jerome Ranawake, who ‘has a well-received, commercial, negotiating style’, recently advised State Street on the transactional and regulatory aspects of derivatives trading relationships, including the implementation of the Dodd-Frank business conduct rules. Clients of the practice group include Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Man Group, Kylin Management and UBS.

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United States: Litigation

Within International arbitration, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a first tier firm,

Clearly an industry leader in the field of international arbitration’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLPprovides excellent service in this area’. The firm handles a significant number of sizeable commercial cases but is best known for its capabilities on either side of investor-state cases, frequently in the energy and infrastructure sector and particularly in relation to Latin America. On the investor side, it is currently undertaking the damages phase of proceedings on behalf of Total; and representing BG Group in the US Supreme Court following a decision by the Washington DC Appeals court to vacate an award - both cases are against Argentina. Elsewhere it is representing: Bureau Veritas against Paraguay ($70m), Rurelec against Bolivia ($140m), Burlington Resources against Ecuador ($500m), GDF Suez in a pair of cases against Argentina ($1.3bn); and Crystallex International against Venezuela ($2.3bn). On the state side, it recently successfully defended Guatemala against a $185m BIT claim brought by Iberdrola Energía, and is representing the same defendant in a $285m DR-CAFTA case brought by TECO. It is also representing the governments of St Lucia and Granada in (separate) cases involving RSM Corporation. Elsewhere, the team is handling cases in Brazil, Europe and Africa. Head of both the US and Latin American international arbitration practice groups, the ‘excellent’ Nigel Blackaby displays ‘very fine judgement’ and has ‘truly excellent advocacy skills’. With the relocation of Lucy Reed, co-head of the firm’s global arbitration group, to the Hong Kong office, he leads a team that is over 40-strong. Clients report ‘a strong bench’ and ‘a very good bedside manner’ which makes it ‘easy to work with the firm’. Beyond Blackaby, key figures include the ‘supremely prepared and hard-working’ Brian King, who is ‘clearly comfortable in the arbitral forum’; and Alex Yanos who has ‘a deep knowledge of international arbitration and US appellate strategy, and is able to convey that knowledge in a clear and concise manner’. Recently appointed counsel, both Noiana Marigo and Alex Wilbraham are emergent figures of note in a team that has ‘enormous experience, is technically and practically first rate, and impresses with its pro-activity, attention to detail, commitment and availability’.

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Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 7

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s litigation practice is relatively young, having evolved out of its arbitration group in the past few years, but already has an impressive list of clients that includes a number of major financial institutions and blue-chip companies. Key to this standing is the fact the firm’s white-collar lawyer complement extends beyond the US, giving it added strength when dealing in international matters. Current mandates include representing a Swiss bank in a DOJ and IRS investigation for allegedly facilitating US customers in avoiding US tax payments, and representing Louis Dreyfus Energy in a False Claims Act investigaion into underpayment of royalties to the US Government. In conjunction with colleagues in the UK, the team is defending Oxford University Press before the World Bank and SFO, in an investigation into alleged corruption in East Africa on World Bank-financed purchases of educational materials. Recent successes include acting for Smiths Group in an internal investigation regarding potential FCPA violations concerning the activities of third-party distributors and competitors; the matter was concluded with no charges being brought. Aaron Marcu heads the practice, which includes Washington DC-based Tim Coleman, Adam Siegel and Benito Romano. The practice recently hired Matthew Freidrich in Washington DC, from Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. All attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise stated.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within Antitrust, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a third tier firm,

Clients remain ‘extremely pleased’ with the efficiency and breadth of service on offer at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP. The lawyers deliver ‘professional and practical advice’ and the practice is ‘stronger internationally than many of its peers’’. From the Washington DC office, the team continues to attract a large number of M&A-related mandates, and in 2012, Bruce McCulloch acted for Xstrata on antitrust aspects of its $60bn merger with Glencore International. With additional experience in civil investigations, cartel work, and disputes, other work highlights saw the firm representing Hachette Book Group in the eBooks price-fixing class actions; and acting for Emirates in private litigation stemming from the DOJ Air Cargo antitrust investigation. The group reaffirmed its commitment to antitrust litigation, by hiring Michael Lacovara in 2012. Based in the New York office, Lacovara’s arrival marked his return to private practice, but, in the past, he has handled cases in more than 30 states and ten US federal circuits, and advised clients before regulators and tribunals in the UK, Europe and Asia. Recommended practitioners also include Bob Schlossberg and practice head Paul Yde. Tom Ensign is ‘an attorney whom business clients relate to and respect’, and for criminal investigations, of counsel Terry Calvani is highly regarded.

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Within M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m), tier 4

Operating in small, efficient teams’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘attorneys are dedicated to their clients, quick to understand our goals and concerns, and are always available when we need them. They are also very knowledgeable, hardworking and driven to providing good service and constructive solutions’. The US corporate group has developed a niche expertise in the US market, and is best known for its work in cross-border and multi-jurisdictional, public and private acquisitions for strategic and financial sponsor clients, with assets located around the world. The practice advised New York Life Insurance on the sale of its 26% stake in Max New York Life, India’s fourth largest private life insurance company, to MS&AD Insurance Group Holdings, a Japan-based global insurance company, marking the second largest Indian insurance deal in history; and acted for ASSA ABLOY in its purchase of Albany International Corporation’s global door systems business, the transaction valued at $130m; assisted Swiss Re on its investment in WRM Holdings (Osprey), representing a significant investment in WRM’s US-based specialty property casualty insurance services company; acted for Advent International, a global private equity firm, on the $1.15bn acquisition of the Coating Resins business of Cytec Industries; and advised EQT Infrastructure II, an infrastructure investment fund managed by EQT, a private equity group in Northern Europe, in its $419m acquisition of Westway Group, the New Orleans-based, global provider of bulk liquid storage and liquid animal feed supplements. Mega deal instructions included advising Goldman Sachs, as financial advisor to Tyco, in connection with the merger of Tyco’s flow control division with Pentair, the transaction structured as a Reverse Morris Trust and involving Tyco spinning its flow business into an independent company, which will be merged with Pentair, creating a new, standalone, combined public entity. New York-based Matthew Herman is ‘very experienced, sensible and commercial’. Julian Pritchard has longstanding experience in the Japanese market, and is an ‘outstanding lawyer. He is extremely experienced and diligent, always watching out for our interests, and very commercially minded, bringing much more to the transaction than technical legal advice’. Timothy Wilkins and Matthew Jacobson are also key contacts. Doug Bacon was promoted to partner. Bacon is a ‘good negotiator, and has exceptional, technical expertise and excellent business sense. He always strives to provide balanced and solutions-oriented advice’.

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United States: Tax

Within Financial products, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a second tier firm,

Gregory May heads Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP‘s growing team of tax lawyers in New York and Washington DC, that stands out for its expertise in multi-jurisdictional and cross-discipline legal advice. With an international reach and a particular emphasis on Asia, the financial products practice represents multinational clients on cross-border M&A deals, international banks in transactional work, from corporate debt and equity offerings to complex securitization transactions, as well as private equity funds on cross-border investments, restructurings and divestitures worldwide. The firm is currently advising global clients such as Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Alibaba Group Holdings, Caterpillar, Lufthansa and Toyota. Claude Stansbury recently advised CVC Capital Partner on US tax aspects related to the $3.5bn sale of StarBev to Molson Coors Brewing. Robert Scarborough advised Goldman Sachs in the $7.7bn merger of Pentair (PNR) with Tyco.

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Within International tax, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a third tier firm,

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s international tax practice advises international banks, private equity funds and multinational corporates on a variety of tax planning issues across the US and internationally. Gregory May heads the three partner team from Washington DC, where Claude Stansbury is also based. Robert Scarborough in New York completes the team. Stansbury is leading the tax advice to the Ardagh group in its negotiations with Saint-Gobain for the $1.7bn purchase of Verallia North America. Other work highlights included Scarborough advising The Royal Bank of Scotland as global coordinator and arranger, and Barclays Capital, HSBC and Lloyds Bank as the joint lead managers, on the novel £1.2bn refinancing and development financing solution for Center Parcs. Counsel Eschrat Rahimi-Laridjani is also recommended.

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Latin America: International firms

Within Projects and energy, tier 4

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is praised by clients for the ‘technical knowledge of the professionals’, and its outstanding service. ‘It is a great firm, and fields a very responsive good team’. ‘I think it is top notch and would recommend it highly’. The firm’s project finance lawyers advise borrowers, sponsors, commercial lenders, multilaterals, export credit agencies, and governmental bodies and work on all aspects of a financing – from preparing a bid, negotiating a concession, through to closing the financing. The firm has advised on projects in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Uruguay and Venezuela. Sector experience includes mining, oil and gas, power, wastewater and infrastructure. The firm has been engaged to represent Banco Sabadell in connection with the refinancing of the development of a W hotel in Vieques Puerto Rico; and represented The Desalination Company of Trinidad and Tobago in connection with the refinancing of a desalination plant in Trinidad. The firm also advised Abertis Infraestructuras on its €204m acquisition of OHL's Chilean toll-road concessions. The deal had mixed Chilean, Spanish and NY law-governed inter-conditional transactions and documentation. Other clients include Rabobank. Melissa Raciti-Knapp ‘is a great lawyer. She is smart, fluent in Spanish, and a problem solver’; ‘her approach is always constructive, which makes the process easier and smoother for the company’. Lisa O’Brien is also recommended. Kent Rowey and Dolly Mirchandani joined Allen & Overy LLP.

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Latin America: International firms: International arbitration

Within International arbitration , Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a first tier firm,

Hugely strong’, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has an impressive caseload that reflects the bench depth at this leading practice. With a remarkable client list in the energy sector (including BP, BG Group, CMS Energy, ConocoPhillips, Pan American Energy, Repsol and Total), the practice also has a broad array of work in other sectors, from major Italo-Argentine steel group Techint to Canadian gold mining group Crystallex International, and others in the commodities, retail and service sectors, as well as state clients. The practice’s current investor-state caseload includes representing: BG Group in US Supreme Court proceedings after the DC Court of Appeals vacated an award in the group’s favour; Bureau Veritas in a $70m claim against Paraguay; Pan American and Rurelec in cases against Bolivia; Burlington Resources in a $3bn case against Ecuador; ConocoPhillips, Rusoro Mining and Crystallex International against Venezuela (the latter being a $3.2bn case); GDF Suez et al in a $1.3bn case against Argentina; and in sovereign state disputes, is representing Guatemala in cases brought by TECO ($285m) and Iberdrola Energía ($185m). In addition, the practice has been appointed lead counsel to Repsol in its dispute with Argentina, following the latter’s ‘nationalisation’ of the company’s 51% stake in local oil company YPF. The claim remains to be quantified but is estimated to be in excess of $11bn. Head of Latin American international arbitration, Washington DC-based Nigel Blackaby is ‘undoubtedly among the foremost practitioners globally’, and is ‘head and shoulders above most of his competitors’. In New York, the ‘measured and expert’ Brian King is currently leading in a multi-hundred million dollar EPC contract case, as well as in the ConocoPhillips matter; and ‘the experienced and detail-orientated’, multilingual Alex Yanos is currently lead counsel to Total Austral in an ICC case, and to Saint-Gobain in an ICSID case against Venezuela. Also located in New York, Elliot Friedman has just made partner, as has the trilingual (English, Spanish, French), London-based Sylvia Noury, whose ‘technical skills and focus’ are much admired. Counsels Noiana Marigo and Alex Wilbraham are also both increasingly prominent. Marigo leads on cases held in Spanish, and Wilbraham is specialised in Brazilian matters. Rome-based counsel Lluís Paradell maintains extensive involvement in the region, particularly as regards investor-state cases concerning infrastructure projects.

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