United States : Finance
Within Corporate restructuring, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a third tier firm,
The ‘extremely responsive and professional’ 46-strong team at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a top choice with clients for its ‘thorough knowledge of the industry’ and ability to ‘achieve great results’. Known for its strength in automotive and financial services restructurings as well as its sterling record in representing creditors, clients highlight it as ‘a traditional leader in bank debt’ and as a ‘commercial team that quickly gets to grips with the business issues’. The firm also maintains a solid debtor practice, but its profile for advising creditor committees, bankruptcy trustees, bondholders and investors continues to dominate. In two recent highlight examples of its committee pedigree, the firm advised the unsecured creditors committee of Capmark Financial Group, which had assets of $20bn and liabilities of $21bn when it entered Chapter 11, on several matters including more than ten complex asset sales. Leveraging off its historical experience in the automotive area, the team represented the unsecured creditors committee of General Motors in the fourth largest bankruptcy in history. The case also illustrated the firm’s strong litigation credentials; it led GM’s litigation of its asbestos liabilities and managed to reduce those from several billion dollars to $625m. Among its debtor-side work, the firm represented Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers on various issues arising from its Chapter 11 cases and it also continues to represent Bally Total Fitness on issues arising from its successful Chapter 11 reorganization. Distressed investment is also an active area and it represented bank lenders holding more than $3bn in claims in the Chapter 11 of Tribune. The ‘exceptional’ Kenneth Eckstein, considered by many as a ‘leading restructuring light’, and the ‘smart but no-nonsense’ Thomas Moers Mayer co-head a ‘strategic and inclusive group of lawyers’ including Thomas Janover (‘best in his field’), and the ‘excellent’ Amy Caton.
Within Structured finance , tier 4
The ‘tremendous’ lawyers at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP are highly specialized in esoteric securitization; ‘they have extensive knowledge in ABS but also related areas such as regulatory and tax, that often impact the viability of a structured finance deal’. In 2011, the firm handled transactions totalling more than $1.5bn for Credit Suisse, JPMorgan, Royal Bank of Scotland and BB&T Capital Markets relating to timeshare loan asset-backed securities and timeshare loan-backed revolving facilities. The firm’s work highlights also display a number of landmark mandates, such as representing Adams Outdoor Advertising as an issuer in one of the few whole-business deals to close in the US in 2011, and acting for a major Japanese financial institution, as sole investor in one of the first CLOs to close since 2008. Key figures within the New York-based team include Laurence Pettit and the ‘terrific’ Gilbert Liu. For esoteric transactions, Richard Rudder is at ‘the top of his class’; ‘he has an important and valuable perspective based on past transactions and can think outside the box when a novel situation presents itself’.
United States : Investment fund formation and management
Within Mutual/registered funds, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a second tier firm,
Few firms match the ‘superior levels of experience and service’ provided by the mutual funds practice at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, which is noted for its ‘spontaneous answers to difficult client questions which have all the texture and insight of a detailed research report’. This high-end, boutique-style practice excels at ‘balancing legal precision and realistic assessments of its commercial application’ and attracts a suite of market-leading fund complexes and independent directors, including four of the 25 largest fund complexes. Its clients include the independent directors of Morgan Stanley, Invesco, Oppenheimer, First Eagle, ISI and Reich & Tang Funds. It recently acted as counsel to the independent trustees of Invesco Funds in its acquisition of various Morgan Stanley and Van Kampen funds, and acted for Morgan Stanley Funds’ independent trustees on the restructuring of its fund complex. It is also heavily involved in direct and derivative litigation, including representing Oppenheimer Funds in the dismissal of derivative litigation involving Rule 12b-1, and continues to advise on recent and proposed changes to money-market fund regulations. New York-based co-chairs Carl Frischling and Susan Penry-Williams’ ‘knowledge and strength in regard to the mutual funds business is unmatched’. Frischling has ‘an extremely strong work ethic that yields a prodigious output of advice, writings and opinions’, and ‘an encyclopedic knowledge of the fund industry built through decades of work both as an outside attorney and as an insider’.
United States : Labor and employment
Within Immigration, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a second tier firm,
Clients ‘tend to use Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP when we anticipate problems with the process’. Known for its ability to handle complex immigration issues, the firm is praised for its ‘excellent service’. Indeed ‘the level of service we get from it is outstanding – prompt and authoritative’. ‘The team has always provided us with accurate, straight to the point and common sense grounded advice. It is efficient and provides extreme value for money’. The firm serves companies, financial institutions and other organizations in all aspects of business immigration. The firm is known for bringing leading artists into the country for both short and long-term engagements, and most recently assisted the cast of and technical staff for the theatrical productions of War Horse, Other Desert Cities and Billy Elliott. It also represented a top 10 global financial institution in its immigration matters when it acquired a regional bank with approximately 10,000 employees, and a major international media company in the immigration ramifications for its foreign national workforce when it reorganized a major division as an independent, stand-alone company. Other recent work highlights include representing a global insurance company in its compliance with immigration requirements when it acquired the life insurance unit of a leading competitor, and assisting a top Asian investment bank in US immigration matters on all immigration aspects following its reorganization. Representative clients include The McGraw-Hill Companies, Time Warner, Time, Louis Vuitton, Museum of Modern Art, MetLife Group, HBO and Timex Group USA. Theodore Ruthizer ‘is an excellent colleague and excellent lawyer. He is clear in his approach and explanation of legal issues’. Mark Koestler ‘is fantastic – responsive, attentive, quick and thorough’. Special counsel Naomi Schorr is ‘thorough, intelligent and creative, also very good at helping her clients understand the process’. Matthew Dunn is also highly recommended.
Within Labor and employment litigation, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a third tier firm,
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s employment law department assists clients in all aspects of the employer-employee relationship, from the drafting of employment policies and employment agreements, through advice concerning the treatment of current employees, to the mediation and litigation of disputes that arise. While the firm does represent clients in class actions, the majority of its practice comprises single-plaintiff employment disputes. It has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best employment law services providers in New York to financial services firms as well as alternative asset managers such as hedge funds and private equity firms. The firm was recently retained by Madison Square Garden and the Knicks in a lawsuit brought by a former professional basketball player, who was not allowed to play professional basketball due to a life-threatening heart condition, alleging disability discrimination. The firm acted in Société Générale (Levion), where summary judgment was granted dismissing numerous compensation-related claims for allegedly unpaid compensation of approximately $40m; assisted in Bank of America (Britt) where summary judgment was granted by federal court in New York, dismissing gender discrimination and harassment claims in their entirety; and advised in Bank of America (Krause) where the federal court in New York granted summary judgment dismissing sexual harassment, gender discrimination and wage and hour claims in a high-profile decision. Other representative clients include Nomura, Barclays Capital, BlackRock, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and Ernst & Young. Chair of the employment department Kevin LeBlang is ‘very down to earth, business-orientated and always available. He can be a killer or a gentleman when he needs to be’. Robert Holtzman and Jennifer Rochon are also recommended.
United States : Litigation
Within Leading trial lawyers,
Gary Naftalis, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP: Even among this firm’s impressive group of attorneys, name partner Gary Naftalis is a ‘terrific lawyer’ who continues to enjoy a standout reputation. During his long career, Naftalis has tried a variety of significant white-collar crime and civil cases. Recently, he successfully represented the City of New York in the inquiry by the New York County District Attorney into a fire at the Deutsche Bank Building (130 Liberty Street), adjacent to the World Trade Center site. Several firefighters lost their lives in the incident after a broken standpipe failed to produce water. Naftalis is also defending Rajat Gupta, former managing director of McKinsey & Company, in an administrative proceeding brought by the US Securities and Exchange Commission under the Obama administration’s new Dodd-Frank Act financial reform laws.
Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 4
Lawyers at Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP receive glowing praise for their ability to ‘genuinely care about your case’, for their ‘excellent response times regardless of time difference’ and for ‘taking time to understand every facet of your commercial background’. In addition, the team is ‘more “fee-conscious” than other US litigation firms and strikes the right balance between the amount of work done appropriate to the size and merits of a claim’. From New York, Gary Naftalis chairs a ‘superior’ group, including the ‘client-oriented and highly experienced’ Michael Dell and Arthur Aufses. Particularly recommended for hard-fought cases, the firm regularly defends issuers, underwriters, lawyers and financial services clients across the full spread of securities and derivative litigation. In a major headline, the firm successfully represented Rajat K Gupta, former managing director of McKinsey & Company, in a groundbreaking administrative case brought by the SEC. The firm also saw its successful defense of equipment rental giant, United Rentals, in class action litigation relating to its failed merger agreement with an affiliate of Cerberus Partners upheld at appeal.
Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 4
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s 11-partner New York-based team has deep trial experience on behalf of corporates and individuals across a myriad white-collar issues including securities and accounting fraud, money laundering, criminal antitrust and public corruption. ‘An A+ in all areas’, the team has a trial-ready reputation – with one client praising its ‘creativity and attention to every detail of the court proceeding’. Particularly accomplished within the financial services arena, the group continues to be involved in a raft of cases arising out of the economic downturn including securities fraud matters that frequently involve parallel civil class actions as well as criminal, SEC or other regulatory proceedings. Barry Berke and Paul Schoeman’s ‘deep experience gives them an incredible advantage when it comes to developing a winning trial strategy’. Their trial experience recently came to the fore in the successful acquittal of a former representative at Deutsche Bank in a ten-week criminal trial regarding allegations of tax-shelter fraud. Gary Naftalis and David Frankel display ‘excellent judgement’ and both recently defended Phillip Bennett, the former CEO of Refco, against securities fraud and other criminal charges brought by the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York relating to the falsification of Refco’s financial statements. The group also recently represented ratings agency Moody’s in an internal investigation into its securities rating methodology. Former federal prosecutor Eric Tirschwell has a burgeoning reputation and as part of his broad-ranging docket of cases continues to represent Bear Stearns in regulatory investigations and civil litigation focused on the collapse of two of its investment funds in the aftermath of the subprime mortgage crisis.
United States : Media, technology and telecoms
Within Marketing and advertising, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a first tier firm,
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s ‘superb, responsive’ eight-partner practice advises pharmaceutical and consumer products companies, retailers and software firms on claim substantiation and advertising clearance, and handles high-profile litigation. Practice head Harold Weinberger, an ‘impressive, professional’ litigator, and Jonathan Wagner, who ‘can be relied upon for objective and sound counsel’, won a landmark Court of Appeals victory for PBM Products upholding the verdict of a jury trial which found Mead Johnson liable for falsely claiming that store brand infant formula manufactured by PBM Products was nutritionally inferior to Mead Johnson’s products and awarded PBM $13.5m in damages. They also successfully defended Procter & Gamble in a Lanham Act false advertising case brought by a group of professional salons who were claiming that Procter & Gamble falsely advertised their hair products, and successfully defended Neutrogena against a challenge by Schering-Plough to Neutrogena’s sunscreen products sold under the Helioplex trademark. Weinberger and Norman Simon, who is recommended as ‘approachable, highly knowledgeable and skilled’, defended advertisers in challenges before the NAD and the National Advertising Review Board (NARB). Simon successfully defended comparative advertising claims for Acuvue brand contact lenses based on clinical testing conducted by Johnson & Johnson Vision Care in an NAD challenge commenced by CIBA Vision Corporation. Simon and Weinberger defended advertisers in challenges before the NAD and the NARB. Jennifer Rochon and Kerri Ann Law are also recommended.
United States : Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts
Within M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m), Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a first tier firm,
The ‘very timely firm’ Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is ‘always my go-to practice when I need sophisticated legal and business advice in connection with completing M&A transactions’. The firm has its home base in New York, and handles all types of corporate transactions, both domestic and cross-border. In strategic deals, the practice represented one of the world’s largest legal outsourcing service providers, Pangea3, in its acquisition by Thomson Reuters; acted for Deloitte Tax in its disposition of Deloitte Investment Advisors to Aspiriant Investment Advisors; and represented Genco Shipping & Trading in an agreement with Bourbon to acquire 16 Supramax vessels from Setaf SAS, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bourbon, for an aggregate purchase price of $545m. In PE/sponsor M&A deals, the group assisted Fortress Value Recovery Fund I and Fortress Investment Group in the $87.2m disposition of Rockford Corporation from Second City Partners to Primoris Services Corporation. Distressed deals have included advising Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers in connection with the concurrent negotiations and sales of their extensive array of ongoing patient care programs, including three separate nursing and rehabilitation homes, two home health agencies and one of New York State’s largest behavioral health hospitals; and acting in M&A transactional work for the Official Unsecured Creditors Committee in the Smurfit-Stone Container Corporation bankruptcy. Thomas Balliett, Thomas Molner and Scott Rosenblum are recommended practitioners. Rosenblum is ‘first and foremost an extraordinary business counselor. His advice is always thoughtful, measured and informed by his vast experience. If I had the proverbial quarter in my pocket and could make only one call to get legal help, Scott would be that call’. Howard Spilko is also ‘excellent’, and Richard Gilden is ‘a man you can go to anytime, anyplace, and he will help your company with any situation that might require his professional skill set. He is an A+ lawyer, as are the firm’s support staff that Richard reaches out to at times’. Eric Lerner is another key contact.
Within Private equity buyouts, tier 5
A firm that delivers ‘extremely sophisticated advice on middle-market transactions’, New York’s Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is ‘excellent’ and ‘superior’ to many of its rivals and consistently ‘performs admirably’. Clients commend the firms ‘broad resources’, its M&A capabilities as well as the tax and other related expertise. Clients also praise the firm’s tendency to provide ‘lean’ teams that are ‘efficient’ and ‘excellent value for money’. Aside from its middle-market orientation, the firm has a fine record in distressed deals. Clients include Perella Weinberg Partners, Stone Point Capital, Kohlberg & Company, Altitude Capital Partners, Fortress Investment Group and York Capital. Recent highlight transactions include its representation of Perella Weinberg on its $575m acquisition of AIG Rail from AIG. It also acted for Kohlberg & Company on its disposal of US Infrastructure to OMERS Private Equity. Senior figures in the department include the ‘excellent’ Howard Spilko and James Moriarty, who lead on many of the team’s more notable deals. Thomas Molner is recommended for distressed deals, while clients commend James Grayer’s ‘deep knowledge and understanding of corporate issues’, his industry knowledge, his ‘practical’ approach, and ability to ‘more than hold his own against counterparts at large international law firms’.
United States : Real estate and construction
Within Land use/zoning, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a first tier firm,
‘One of the top land use firms in the city’, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s land use group operates out of New York. The land use department is complemented by a condemnation practice, giving the team broad experience in litigation and negotiation. The ‘very well-versed and experienced’ team is acting for Extell Development Company in obtaining development rights and zoning compliance for the International Gem Tower and One57 – a 1,000 ft hotel and residence. Other instructions include acting for South Street Seaport in connection with a proposal to alter and reposition Pier 17 and the development of a new mixed-use development on adjacent waterfront areas. The ‘highly respected’ Paul Selver is co-chair of the department with Michael Sillerman; the ‘resourceful and efficient’ Elise Wagner and of counsel Samuel Lindenbaum are also highly regarded.
Within Real estate, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP is a third tier firm,
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP has a full-service, seven-partner real estate practice in New York, with transactional expertise as well as extensive workout and restructuring experience. Co-chair Jay Neveloff ‘instils confidence’ and is a ‘super attorney: creative, thoughtful, and to the point’. He acted in the sale of the upper portion of the Times Square Building, and is handling numerous matters for longstanding client Donald Trump. Neveloff and Neil Tucker represented Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centres in the sale of its main campus, a prominent development site in Greenwich Village, and acted for DLJ Real Estate in the acquisition of an 800 residential unit development site in Hollywood. Michael Korotkin, who also co-chairs the practice, assisted Muss Development and Onex Realty in the sale of a $1bn condominium complex including 1,100 apartments and 800,000 sq ft of retail space in Queens, New York. He also represented longstanding client Rockrose Development in the loan refinancing of 200 Water Street. Highly recommended partner James Godman, who has recently represented a large investment manager and a luxury hotel developer, is ‘very thorough, capable and resourceful’; ‘his strength is in always catering to the client’s needs’. Jonathan Canter is ‘very experienced’ and ‘responsive’.
United States : Tax
Within Domestic tax: East Coast, tier 5
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP (‘good business lawyers’) provides ‘timely, pragmatic and practical’ advice and planning in connection with a wide variety of federal, international, state and local tax matters, including significant tax controversies to clients ranging from multinational corporations, mid-size corporations, partnerships and other entities, including private equity and hedge funds, to high-net-worth individuals in a variety of industries such as real estate, finance, entertainment, and fashion. The firm, noted for its lawyers ‘great client interaction skills’, is particularly well known for its state and local practice, led by Maria Jones, which recently represented foreign and domestic banks with respect to tax treatment of an international banking facility, and several high-net-worth individuals in issues of residency and allocation of income. Barry Herzog, who spearheads the federal tax practice, recently represented creditors in significant restructurings including Capmark Financial Group and Motors Liquidation Corporation (formerly General Motors). Russel Pinilis has a ‘rare breadth of experience’, and John Novogrod is ‘creative, practical, personable and persuasive’.
Within International tax, tier 5
Howard Rothman leads Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP’s tax group, which has seen an uptick in international clients and acquisitions for domestic clients with foreign subsidiaries. The firm is well regarded for joint ventures and partnerships, individual international tax planning and its representation of entertainment and media industry clients. Highlights included representing First Investors Consolidated Corporation in connection with its acquisition by Canadian life insurance provider Foresters and a high-volume of negotiations with the IRS and other jurisdictions on behalf of entertainment related clients in connection with audits, central withholding agreements, offers in compromise and instalment agreements.
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Offices in Paris
- Banking and finance : Banking and finance
- Construction : Construction
- Dispute resolution : Commercial litigation
- Dispute resolution : Stock market litigation
- Dispute resolution : White-collar crime
- EU competition and distribution : EU competition and distribution
- Insolvency : Insolvency
- Insurance : Insurance
- Mergers and acquisitions : Mergers and acquisitions
- Real estate : Real estate
- Tax : Tax
- Finance : Corporate restructuring
- Finance : Structured finance
- Investment fund formation and management : Mutual/registered funds
- Labor and employment : Immigration
- Labor and employment : Labor and employment litigation
- Litigation : Leading trial lawyers
- Litigation : Securities: shareholder litigation
- Litigation : White-collar criminal defense
- Media, technology and telecoms : Marketing and advertising
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m)
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Private equity buyouts
- Real estate and construction : Land use/zoning
- Real estate and construction : Real estate
- Tax : Domestic tax: East Coast
- Tax : International tax