The Legal 500

Arent Fox LLP

1717 K STREET, NW, WASHINGTON DC 20036-5342, USA
Work +1 202 857 6000
Fax +1 202 857 6395

United States

Top-tier recommendations


  • United States: Real estate and construction > Construction
  • United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate

United States: Finance

Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), tier 6

Widely considered to be ‘among the best for distressed local government work and Chapter 9 bankruptcies’, Arent Fox LLP also has a strong corporate practice that continues to gain in profile. Lawyers are praised for their ‘highly professional and commercial approach to the law’ and New York-based Andrew Silfen heads a national team that includes Mette Kurth, who is recommended for ‘anticipating the next step beautifully’. In a major coup, the firm was instructed to represent the creditors’ committee in the $5.8bn bankruptcy of Cengage Learning.

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Within Municipal bankruptcy, Arent Fox LLP is a first tier firm,

With an ‘outstanding track record’ in Chapter 9 and Chapter 11 cases, Arent Fox LLP has been a ubiquitous presence amid the US’ recent wave of municipal bankruptcies. An additional strength is its specialist expertise in municipal bonds, tax-exempt bond financing, new market tax credits, and local tax subsidies. New York-based David Dubrow is ‘a great lawyer’, ‘very active’, and highly regarded for his creditor work; he continues to act for Ambac Assurance Corporation (Ambac) in the City of Detroit’s Chapter 9 proceedings; the client, which insures $171m of Detroit’s general obligation debt, opposed the City’s cease on payments on $2bn in unsecured debt. Dubrow also acted alongside LA-based Mette Kurth for Wells Fargo and Ambac in restructuring San Bernardino’s bond debt, in a matter which has not reached court proceedings. Dubrow is also acting alongside Carol Connor Cohen and Caroline Turner English in protecting Ambac’s interests in various other national public and municipal restructurings.

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Within Not-for-profit, Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

Arent Fox LLP’s 15-lawyer team sits across New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles, within the firm’s ‘strong’ tax practice. It is ‘really one of the national go to-places for non-profit real estate issues’ and DC-based lawyer and practice head, the ‘outstanding’ Richard Newman, is particularly recommended in this field. The team is distinguished by its ‘standout’ public finance capabilities and the healthcare sector has traditionally been an area of strength for the firm. Other areas of focus include political and advocacy issues affecting exempt organizations, including electoral law requirements. Recent clients include the American Psychological Association, the AAMC and Sidwell Friends School.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Healthcare: service providers, tier 4

Arent Fox LLP’s healthcare capacity spans its New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. Michael Anderson, based in the capital, has been assisting longstanding client Sunrise Senior Living on various state-by-state regulatory issues, and assisted the same client in its $844m acquisition by Healthcare REIT in 2012. Further demonstrating its credentials in long-term care, Michael Blass and Jill Steinberg, both based in New York, have been assisting Fundamental Long Term Care on its joint venture with a Nevada-based hospital system. The firm continues to assist Broward Health with ongoing False Claims Act and Stark Law-related government investigations, where Linda Baumann is leading the advice. Los Angeles-based Lowell Brown heads the department, with all other lawyers named based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

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Within Sport, Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

Arent Fox LLP’s group is led by Richard Brand, who is singled out for his ‘wealth of knowledge and experience’ in sports matters and who, in May 2013, relocated to the firm’s new office in San Francisco. That new office has drawn the practice closer to its existing West Coast clients, which include the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings and AEG. Television media deals, media rights and sponsorship agreements generate a significant stream of instructions for the 34-strong group, which has also developed a leading practice in professional sports franchise acquisitions. It represented the San Francisco 49ers in a high-value naming rights and sponsorship transaction with Levi Strauss & Co. It also advised the NHL’s New York Islanders on the franchise’s relocation to the Barclays Center; and acted for Tennis Channel on rights agreements with the USTA. New York-based Matthew Pace is another name to note.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Copyright, tier 5

Arent Fox LLP’s Paul Fakler and Ross Charap, both based in New York, act for content and rights owners on copyright licensing, transactional, regulatory and litigation matters, with particular experience in the music industry sector. The practice has been acting for Music Choice in royalty rate-setting litigation, advising Adage Classics on the acquisition and sale of song catalogs as well as representing the heirs of Aldous Huxley on negotiating publishing arrangements. It has also been defending MediaNet against alleged copyright infringement claims brought by music artist Aimee Mann in relation to the client’s streaming of the plaintiff’s songs on its digital music service. Anthony Lupo advises clients such as Diesel, Discovery Communications and Pixar. Other key clients include HBO and Mars.

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Within Trademarks: non-contentious (full coverage), Arent Fox LLP is a second tier firm,

Operating mainly from Washington DC, Arent Fox LLP’s team advises on the acquisition and commercial exploitation of IP rights and assets. It has particular strength in the media and entertainment sectors, including TV and film, and fashion; and the food and hospitality industry is another area of expertise. Ricard Fischer heads the group, which includes the highly respected Anthony Lupo, who regularly oversees trademarks and global branding initiatives for Discovery Communications. The firm assists Warner Bros in the protection of its trademarks and also manages Burger King’s extensive worldwide portfolio, handling the full range of work from brand development to protection and enforcement. Well-regarded litigator Michael Grow is active for clients in the entertainment industry.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 5

Arent Fox LLP is a hit with clients owing to its team of ‘exceptional problem solvers’. The group is known for its expertise in fixing broken employee benefit plans. Clients include Choice Hotels and Par Pharmaceutical. The team practices in highly technical areas and has the ‘ability to understand clients’ needs and provide practical advice from a business standpoint’. Group head Quana Jew and William Charyk, both in Washington DC, are considered by some to be the ‘best in the business’.

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Within ERISA litigation, tier 4

Arent Fox LLPprovides the highest level of service possible in complex litigation, so the value received for the fees charged is phenomenal’. Clients report feeling ‘confident in and satisfied with their guidance’. The firm is known for its expertise at the intersection of employee benefits and bankruptcy, and for its handling of ERISA issues in the context of class action defense. Clients include the Official Committee of Retired Employees of Eastman Kodak Company and the ESOP Committee of The SCOOTER Store. Carol Connor Cohen is ‘an outstanding attorney’, Caroline Turner English is ‘excellent’, and Nancy Heermans is also recommended; all are based in Washington DC.

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United States: Litigation

Within International trade, Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

Noted for its ‘excellent and accurate advice’, Matthew Nolan’s Washington DC-based team at Arent Fox LLP continues to enjoy market share in traditional trade litigation. The firm’s recent record includes acting for NatureSweet in an ongoing trade dispute over imports of Mexican tomatoes; and securing victory for CP-Kelco at the US International Trade Commission in an anti-dumping duty petition over the import of xanthan gum from Austria and China. The team is also an active force in export controls, economic sanctions, and anti-boycott compliance. David Hamill, who ‘goes out of his way to keep his clients informed’, is advising meat and food company Hillshire Brands on import and export compliance matters. Also well known in the field are Nolan and Kay Georgi, who assist clients such as National Oilwell Varco, G4S International and TRW. John Gurley, Matthew Clark and Matthew Kanna are also recommended.

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Within Leading trial lawyers Leading trial lawyers

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory, Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

Arent Fox LLP’s 12-strong telecoms group in Washington DC typically represents the market’s pioneers and innovators; it has a particular focus on advising startups, assisting them with mobile issues and handling government relations. Litigation accounts for about 60% of the practice, with the rest split evenly between regulatory and transactional work. Group leader Ross Buntrock regularly advises the App Developers Alliance and other trade associations, and he recently defended new client Jesta Digital (formerly known as Fox Mobile Group) against four challenges alleging violation of the TCPA; one was successfully defeated, one was settled, and two are ongoing. Michael Hazzard is advising Australian company LeadBolt, Alan Fishel continues to advise not-for-profit organization Internet2, Stephanie Joyce is assisting IntelePeer with issues regarding regulatory compliance matters and FCC policy proceedings. Jonathan Canis is also recommended. Other key clients of the group include CallFire, DecisionQ, the Mobile Internet Content Coalition, the American Library Association, The Conference Group and Twilio.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: transactional, Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

Arent Fox LLP’s 12-lawyer practice in Washington DC is led by Ross Buntrock. It typically represents smaller carriers and start-ups in negotiations with content providers (as well as in disputes with the large telecoms operators and incumbents). Particular strengths of the group are advising on mobile marketing issues, including TCPA legislation and FTC investigations into consumer advertising and the development of application programming interfaces (APIs). Michael Hazzard’s key active clients include cloud communications company Twilio and Australian mobile advertising company LeadBolt. Stephanie Joyce is transactional counsel for DecisionQ, creator of mathematical programs for data analysis and predictive modeling. Alan Fishel represents Internet2 and, together with Jonathan Canis, is advising new client the American Library Association. Other clients include Securus Technologies, IntelePeer and the Application Developers Alliance.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

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

Arent Fox LLP is ‘extremely knowledgeable, competent, practical and responsive’, and stands out for its strength in sports and hotels/hospitality, as well as acting for clients in areas such as technology, manufacturing, entertainment, consumer products, pharmaceuticals, healthcare and government contracts. The team advised Hi Tech Pharmacal on its $640m merger agreement with generic drugmaker Akorn Pharmaceuticals; acted for RapidAdvance on its $100m sale to Detroit-based Rockbridge Growth Equity; assisted Climax Metal Products Company, an industrial components manufacturer for the transmission industry and the maintenance, repair and operations markets, on its sale to RBC Bearings; assisted private equity firm RLJ Equity Partners on the acquisition of R Thompson Trucking from Capital Partners; and acted for Paladin on its public merger with Resource Real Estate Opportunity REIT, both entities being SEC-registered, non-traded REITs. Washington DC-based corporate and securities group head Steven Cohen, Amy Donnelly and Deborah Froling are highly rated, with Froling noted for her ‘industry knowledge and creative problem solving, which are second to none’. Richard Gale, Jay Halpern, Carter Strong and Jeffrey Jordan, an ‘experienced and thorough practitioner’, also attract praise.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, tier 4

Arent Fox LLP provides ‘efficient and economical service’ through its integrated and full-service three-partner team, which handles litigation and transactional matters for owners, developers, architecture and design firms, contractors and public authorities. Contentious matters comprise the bulk of the workload, although the practice has experienced an uptick in construction-related M&A at a domestic and international level. Other areas of expertise include drafting and negotiating broad construction management contracts and green building projects. Practice head James Frankel is ‘one of the finest lawyers in New York City specializing in design, construction and real estate matters’, and seasoned litigator Mark Bloom is commended for his ‘good industry experience’. They are leading advice to Nuprecon on the $1.8bn renovation of the United Nations site in New York. On the transactional front, Andrew Ross is handling Tishman Speyer’s construction portfolio.

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Within Real estate, Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

Arent Fox LLP’s ‘exceptional’ group has more than 40 real estate lawyers across Washington DC and New York, and has now expanded into San Francisco. It is recommended for its experience in real estate acquisitions, finance, and dispositions across the country. Goldman Sachs has instructed it on a number of investment and financing activities, including the $1.56bn acquisition and financing of multi-family assets from Equity Residential; the work was led by Mark Katz (‘excellent for real estate finance’), Eleanor Zappone and Dan Kirsch. David Dubrow was the key lawyer advising Fannie Mae on the $7bn loan restructuring of the Archstone portfolio. Other highlights included advising Forest City Ratner Companies on the development of 8 Spruce Street (aka Beekman Tower), a 76-story, commercial mixed-use construction project in Manhattan; the matter was led by Karen Candreva. The firm is also noted for its expertise in the hospitality and leisure sector and has recently acted for Marriott International and its affiliates on a variety of transactions including the development of Marriott hotels in Manhattan and Miami Beach; these were led by the ‘brilliant’ Kimberly Wachen. The firm was also instructed by Quadrangle Development Corporation on the development of the $520m Washington Convention Center headquarters hotel and also represented the client in the $400m sale of the Grand Hyatt hotel to Host Hotels & Resorts, led by Michael Leahy and Thomas Castiello. Department head Kenneth Jacob is ‘an excellent real estate attorney’ and is particularly noted for his experience in the healthcare and senior living sector alongside Wachen. Richard Newman has ‘strong expertise’ in tax-exempt bond financing and David Martin ‘consistently delivers exceptional service’.

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