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 22 more

United States

Top-tier recommendations


Latin America: International firms

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Finance

Within Project finance, tier 4

The ‘nimble’ three-partner offering at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is distinguished by its ‘varied practice’, ‘deep sector knowledge’ and ability to come up with ‘bespoke’ solutions. While it has historically focused on the US and Latin America, the New York-based team is increasingly branching out into new jurisdictions, utilizing its full-service capabilities to go beyond financing and deal with all aspects of a project. Practice head Lisa O’Brien is commended for her good ‘response times, commitment, deal experience and value for money’, and Melissa Raciti-Knapp is especially recommended for her work in Latin America. A recent highlight for the group was advising North Central Texas Council of Governments on establishing procurement rules and procedures for the Cotton Belt Rail Line PPP, worth an estimated $2bn. Other clients on the sponsor side include ArcLight Capital Partners, abertis, E.ON Climate & Renewables and Corporación América. On the lender side, the practice is advising OPIC and Century Tokyo Leasing Corporation as senior lenders on the proposed $800m financing for a private teaching hospital, medical school and clinical research center being built in Kuala Lumpur, in affiliation with the John Hopkins University. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, Rabobank Group and Banco Sabadell. Doug Bacon is also recommended.

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

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s ‘work is top notch’ in the structured finance area. The 14-strong team includes two partners: highly recommended practice head Brian Rance and UK and US-qualified Jerome Ranawake. Third partner Ellen Hayes left to work as counsel for Linklaters LLP. The New York-based group also works in close cooperation with the firm’s international structured finance team across Europe and Asia. It has been particularly active in large-scale loan portfolio financings with its expertise in Total Return Swap (TRS) technology. Ranawake advised UBS on a structured TRS programme for Ares Capital’s Ares Enhanced Loan Investment Strategies VI fund (AELIS), which provided AELIS with an amortizing TRS facility on a diversified portfolio of loans with a current market value of $1.81bn. The firm is also highly active in the CLO market; associate Ryan Suda is particularly concentrated on this area and counts Citibank as a key client. Rance and Suda advised Citigroup on the THL Credit Wind River 2013-1 CLO and Halcyon Loan Advisors Funding 2013-1 transactions. Other clients include Barclays, JPMorgan Chase and lenders in the fund industry and the hedge fund industry.

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United States: Litigation

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

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP fields a ‘brilliant, extremely knowledgeable and tremendously skilled’ international arbitration team, whose dedication to the area – ‘from paralegals to associates to partners’ – is ‘unique and impressive’. The sizeable team has ‘unparalleled experience’, covering commercial and investment arbitration under a wide range of institutional rules and providing ‘the most cost-effective and high-quality service out there’. Practice head Nigel Blackaby, in Washington DC, stands out for his experience in the energy sector and in Latin America-related cases. Together with Alexander Yanos and Washington-based counsel Alexander Wilbraham, he has been representing Crystallex International Corporation in an ICSID dispute against Venezuela in relation to the alleged expropriation of its investment in one of the largest undeveloped gold mines in the world. The ‘impressiveBrian King is ‘a brilliant strategist’ who delivers ‘the perfect combination of intelligence and diligence’. King and Yanos are representing ConocoPhillips in an ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, one of the largest investment treaty cases ever filed. Noted as ‘a go-to firm for arbitration disputes against governments’, it is also acting for Burlington Resources in its $1.3bn ICSID arbitration claim against Ecuador. Newly promoted partner Elliot Friedman and ‘very clever’ counsel Noiana Marigo are also recommended. The attorneys named are based in New York, unless otherwise stated.

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Within White-collar criminal defense, tier 5

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP delivers ‘creative solutions to sophisticated legal problems’ and demonstrates an ‘absolute commitment to protecting its clients’ interests’. The relative youth of the practice does not detract from its impressive workload or client roster, which includes well-known national and international companies from various industries such as energy, telecoms and financial services. Particular praise is leveled at Tim Coleman in the Washington DC office, who has ‘exceptional credibility with the US government agencies’; he recently represented two British Vita subsidiaries in a criminal antitrust investigation by the DOJ, as well as parallel multi-district litigation. Adam Siegel is particularly active in the FCPA sphere, and advises multinational companies in anti-corruption investigations into operations in various countries such as China and India. Elsewhere, Benito Romano is advising numerous clients on trade sanctions, and was recently appointed independent monitor for a financial services company pursuant to a deferred prosecution agreement for wire fraud and anti-money laundering violations. Practice head Aaron Marcu represents financial institutions and their senior executives in fraud, insider trading and market manipulation investigations. Recently promoted partner Kimberly Zelnick is also recommended. All named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

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

Although enjoying a higher profile in Europe, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is ‘perfectly capable in US antitrust too’ and continues to grow its practice, with most of its attorneys located in Washington DC. Former FTC official Mary Lehner joined the group as counsel in August 2013, boosting the firm’s civil litigation and M&A defense capabilities. Bob Schlossberg focuses on merger control, and recently advised Invensys on its $2.6bn sale of its rail signaling and software division to Siemens. In another transactional highlight, ‘extremely smart, strategic and practical’ practice chair Paul Yde advised Johnson & Johnson on its $1.2bn acquisition of pharmaceutical company Aragon. Yde also acts in contentious matters, and is defending Hachette Book in the New York e-book class action as well as representing Continental against a private plaintiff challenging the merger with United Airlines. The group is also representing a number of blue-chip financial institutions in highly publicized agency investigations, and Bruce McCulloch is defending an auto parts manufacturer in the DOJ grand jury investigation. Also recommended are Tom Ensign, Michael Lacovara in New York, and Terry Calvani, who has ‘exceptional depth and breadth of antitrust knowledge’.

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Within M&A: middle-market ($500m-999m), Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is a third tier firm,

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s practice is ‘very responsive and always available to assist, even on short notice. It is dedicated to clients and very driven to understand their goals and concerns, and to provide practical solutions. The team also operates efficiently, providing clients with one or two contact lawyers who possess an overview of all the issues while managing the remaining team’. The firm’s US corporate/M&A practice provides expertise to leading national and multinational corporations, financial sponsors and financial institutions in complex, global transactions, combined with an integrated multi-jurisdictional and multi-disciplinary transactional capability. The team acted for diversified chemical company FMC on its $345m acquisition from Trigg Pharma of Epax, a global producer of high-purity, premium-grade Omega-3 EPA/DHA fatty acids; advised EQT Infrastructure II on its acquisition of Westway Group, the NASDAQ-quoted New Orleans-based global provider of bulk liquid storage and liquid animal feed supplements, in a $419m cash tender offer and related financing; and assisted Vienna-based Constantia Flexibles on its $305m acquisition of Globalpack, a consumer goods packaging company based in Mexico, from One Equity Partners, the private investment arm of JPMorgan Chase. It also advised Amtek Auto, one of the largest integrated auto component manufacturers in India, on the acquisition of NeumayerTekfor Group of Germany and related financings; assisted Ardagh Group, globally known for glass and metal packaging solutions, on its for $1.7bn acquisition from Compagnie de Saint-Gobain of Verallia North America; acted for Foster Wheeler on its announced proposed $8bn business combination with AMEC; and assisted Swiss Re on its sale of an indirect stake in Shinsei Bank to Christopher Flowers. Matthew Herman is department head, and Julian Pritchard is US managing partner. Doug Baconcombines excellent technical skills with commercial savvy, and is unflappable even in heated moments’; and Matthew Jacobson and Timothy Wilkins are also recommended.

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United States: Tax

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

The small but very competent team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is led by Robert Scarborough and Claude Stansbury. It is particularly noted for its capacity to advise on cross-border transactions, currently working on deals in the US, Mexico and South Africa, as well as across Europe, and acts for clients such as Credit Suisse, Citigroup, J.P. Morgan, EQT and Continental AG. Core areas of expertise include bespoke CLOs.

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

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s two-partner team works closely with the firm’s international network, and is supported by experts across Europe. It assists international banks and private equity funds on cross-border transactions as well as multinational companies investing into the US. New York-based Robert Scarborough led advice to EQT Infrastructure II on its acquisition of Westway Group, a leading global provider of bulk liquid storage and liquid animal feed supplements. In Washington DC, Claude Stansbury recently advised Advent International, a leading global private equity firm, on its $1.15bn acquisition of the coating resins business of Cytec Industries.

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Latin America: International firms

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

The immensely experienced Nigel Blackaby heads Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP’s sizeable Latin America arbitration group. He is frequently mentioned as one of the world’s leading specialist in that sphere and has a strong following in the energy sector. Together with Noiana Marigo and newly made partner Elliot Friedman, Blackaby is representing Burlington Resources in a $1.3bn ICSID arbitration claim against Ecuador, a case in which the team successfully obtained a favourable award on the merits. He teamed up with Noah Rubins and Alex Yanos, representing Total in an ICSID arbitration against Argentina; Argentina was held liable for $280m under the France/Argentina BIT. On the sovereign side, Blackaby, Marigo and counsel Lluís Paradell, who is based in Rome, represented the Republic of Guatemala in a $185m ICSID arbitration claim brought by Iberdrola Energía pursuant to the Spain/Guatemala BIT. The pair were also instructed by Repsol to represent it in its high-profile dispute against Argentina over the controversial nationalisation of its 51% stake in local oil company YPF. Washington-based counsel Alex Wilbraham is a fluent Portuguese speaker and has carved out a strong reputation for his expertise in international arbitrations involving Brazil and, more generally, disputes in the Brazilian and Venezuelan oil, gas and mining sectors. New York-based Brian King is also highly rated for his solid experience in investor-state and commercial arbitration. He was counsel to ConocoPhillips in the ICSID arbitration against Venezuela, one of the largest investment treaty cases ever filed, where Venezuela was held liable for unlawful expropriation. London-based Sylvia Noury has experience of litigation and arbitration cases involving emerging markets, including Latin America, with a particular focus on the energy and telecoms sector. Since the completion of research, Alex Yanos has moved to Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP.

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Within Projects and energy, tier 4

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP has a small team, which has growing prominence in Latin America. It is best known for energy and natural resources, as well as infrastructure projects connected to these sectors. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile are key jurisdictions for the practice. The team represents both sponsors and lenders, including ECAs and MLAs. A pivotal client is KfW IPEX-Bank, while it also represents Banco de Sabadell, Rabobank, BBVA, Société Générale, Abertis Infraestructuras, Hidrovias do Brasil, and Corporación América. Even without a physical presence in Latin America, the firm has made excellent progress in the region. Much credit should go to the New York office where partner Melissa Raciti-Knapp is co-head of the Latin America practice. She is ‘very experienced’, ‘stand-out’ and has ‘great knowledge’ of the local markets. Raciti-Knapp led the team that represented Abertis Infraestructuras on its $204m acquisition of OHL’s Chilean toll road concessions, an illustration of the firm’s efforts to develop its infrastructure credentials in the region. The team also advised the co-borrowers on the development and financing of an inland waterway across Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil, for the transportation of iron ore via barge. Other senior figures include Frankfurt partner Daniel Reichert-Facilides who is close to KfW IPEX-Bank and New York-based power expert Lisa O’Brien who has worked on several transactions in Latin America. London partner Graham Watson is a ‘top lawyer in the oil and gas sector’ and has significant Brazil experience. The ‘top-notch’ firm focuses on ‘value-added work’ with a ‘boutique level of service’. The global firm is praised for being ‘fantastic at coordinating work across various jurisdictions’.

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Further information on Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP

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