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 ‘impressive’ Brian 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 Bacon ‘combines 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 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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