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 7

Andrew Silfen’s 12-partner practice at Arent Fox LLP is represented across the firm’s New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles offices. The national team has experience in acting for debtors, creditors and acquirers but it is particularly known for its niche in advising on ERISA and employee benefits-related bankruptcy matters. Mary Joanne Dowd heads the Washington practice and recently represented general contractor Dietze Construction Group in its Chapter 11 proceedings. Other representative clients include Calumet Photographic, Mattress Discounters Group and Wilmington Trust Company.

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

Historically one of the first firms in the municipal space, Arent Fox LLP has seen an increase in this type of work in the past year. ‘There are few firms that have the experience in a developing area of the law where there is not a vast body of legal precedent to guide decision making or to predict outcomes’. Andrew Silfen heads the bankruptcy and financial restructuring practice and has the support of a multidisciplinary seven-partner team. It primarily represents creditors, bondholders, bond insurers and trustees, but is equally equipped to act on the debtor side due to extensive Chapter 11 experience. In-court proceedings account for two-thirds of the workload, with the rest mainly consisting of out-of-court restructurings and general advisory work. The firm has ‘a good and deep bench in related practice areas’, and its advice is ‘informed, balanced and practical, enabling the making of clear and efficient business decisions’. Highly praised David Dubrow has ‘rare expertise in both municipal bankruptcy and in general municipal bond law’, is ‘extremely efficient and cost-effective’, and his ‘instincts for narrowing down the potential outcomes are peerless’. He is also ‘one of a handful of lawyers who have the broadest knowledge of Chapter 9’ and his ‘legal analysis and strategizing is top notch’. Pensions expert Carol Connor Cohen is a former general counsel for Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) and her seasoned bankruptcy litigation and constitutional expertise ties in with, and adds to, the breadth and depth of the practice. Recently hired partner Mark Joachim brings deep M&A and distressed debt knowledge to the team that acted in the Stockton, CA and Harrisburg, PA defaults. The firm is also involved in the ongoing San Bernardino, CA proceedings in relation to the fate of California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) and pension bond obligations. The firm is also advising on the proposed plan of debt adjustment that does not impact the firm’s bondholder client in the case of Central Falls, RI, which emerged from bankruptcy after just a year. Notable clients include Ambac Assurance, Radian Group, Vanguard Mutual Funds and Goldman Sachs.

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Within Not-for-profit (non profit and tax exempt organizations), Arent Fox LLP is a third tier firm,

The eight-partner team at Arent Fox LLP saw a sharp rise in tax controversy-related work, and assisted clients with subpoenas and audits caused by the IRS’ substantially increased enforcement of its regulations. The firm has an international scope of work and its special expertise lies in the tax-exempt bond financing and real estate areas, servicing the trend among nonprofits to own real estate and become more entrepreneurial. A significant deal was the $260m acquisition of half a city block in downtown Washington DC by the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), and the tax-exempt and taxable financing of the project; Washington DC-based Richard Newman was the lead lawyer in this transaction and ‘is in a class by himself’. He recently assisted with the financial structuring and key deal terms in the negotiations with the issuing authority and the letter of credit provider for a large private nonprofit corporation. He chairs the firm’s nonprofit organization practice that also acted as political and election law counsel for numerous clients and facilitated the launch of a new trade association. The firm represented the American Psychological Association in litigation matters, and was instructed with devising an insurance program. Eve Corbin was involved in the majority of complex tax-exempt financing transactions in Washington DC acting for clients such as Sidwell Friends School and Potomac School.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Healthcare: service providers, tier 4

Arent Fox LLPdemonstrates clear, thorough knowledge of the law related to Medicare rules, procedures and guidelines’, representing healthcare clients from its three offices in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles. Clients include Community Memorial Health System and The Family Care Group - and the New York office enjoys a strong reputation in the long-term care and home care space. The team is acting for Fresenius Medical Care in several regulatory matters including FCA litigation and a major government investigation. Practice head Lowell Brown and associate Brian Schneider, who are both based in Washington DC, attract praise for ‘taking the time (without wasting it) to educate the client’.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Copyright, tier 5

Arent Fox LLP has a well-rounded practice focused on advising fashion, internet, media and entertainment sector clients on transactional, licensing and litigation matters. It is copyright counsel to major brand companies such as LG Electronics, Pixar, HBO, Mars and Diesel. The team defended online music subscription website MediaNet against copyright infringement claims brought by music publishers. In New York, Ross Charap’s focus includes advising copyright owners on acquiring assets and he has particular expertise in copyright termination issues. Paul Fakler is experienced in rate-setting proceedings and has handled online media-related disputes. Washington DC-based IP practice co-chairs Anthony Lupo and Michael Grow handle counseling and litigation matters respectively.

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

Arent Fox LLP has a fantastic reputation within the entertainment sector, with a client base to rival many. The IP team is headed by Anthony Lupo, who has an excellent reputation as relationship partner to marquee clients such as The Discovery Channel and The Oprah Winfrey Network, with Cristina Carvalho leading the trademark practice. The group has a vibrant client base which includes Apple, Mars, Google, Warner Brothers, LG and a number of leading fashion retailers such as Lacoste and Benetton. Day-to-day matters for the group include worldwide portfolio management, licensing and prosecution, and recent mandates include acting for 3net - the joint venture of Sony, Discovery Communications and IMAX - on the launch of the US’ first 3D network.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 5

Arent Fox LLP is ‘responsive and knowledgeable. The firm focuses on transactional and advisory employee benefits work and has niche expertise in advising on practical solutions to fix ‘broken’ employee benefit plans; and representing real estate companies in the development of REITs and LLCs that meet the structural and tax requirements for consideration as suitable ERISA plan investments. The firm advised Monsanto in a re-design of its benefit plans; and Catholic Charities USA to advise on a range of ERISA and employee benefits matters. EBEC practice head William Charyk and Quana Jew are both recommended.

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Within ERISA litigation , tier 4

At Arent Fox LLP, the advice is ‘very credible and helpful’ and ‘I would rate the level of service as high in all regards’. The firm has particular expertise at the intersection of employee benefits and bankruptcy and class action defence. The firm is representing the Official Committee of Retired Employees of Eastman Kodak Company in the bankruptcy proceedings of Eastman Kodak Company and its subsidiaries in retiree health benefits litigation. Other clients include Trustees of the Mercedes Homes, Terex, Chamber of Commerce of the United States of America and Wells Fargo Bank. Carol Connor Cohen was once general counsel of the PBGC, and Nancy Heermans was formerly the PBGC’s associate chief counsel for litigation. Caroline Turner English is also recommended.

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United States: Litigation

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

Clients praise Arent Fox LLP for its in-depth knowledge of international trade, understanding of clients’ businesses and its ‘customized’ and ‘effective’ advice. Matthew Nolan oversees a team that provides an ‘excellent’ level of service and advises on trade litigation, export controls, customs law and trade policy. The firm has recently received a number of new instructions from Argentina as well as NatureSweet, a Mexican tomato producer. The firm is involved in the high-profile issue of solar panel subsidies and John Gurley is leading advice to Trina Solar, a Chinese manufacturer of photovoltaic modules, used in solar panels. Kay Georgi is providing global compliance advice to 3M regarding export and import controls and anti-boycott compliance. The firm usually acts on the side of respondents, but notably managing partner Matthew Clark and Matthew Kanna are representing CP-Kelco in antidumping petitions before the ITC. The case alleges that imports of xanthum gum from Austria and China have caused material injury to the US xanthum gum industry. Michael Burton left the firm to establish a boutique practice in January 2013.

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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,

Ross Buntrock in Washington DC leads Arent Fox LLP’s 12-strong telecoms group which typically represents the market’s pioneers and innovators. Litigation accounts for about 60% of the practice; 20% is regulatory work and 20% relates to transactions. Key strengths are advising on mobile issues, advising startups and handling government relations. Buntrock is legal advisor to the App Developers Alliance and other trade associations. He is representing The Conference Group in an appeal of a FCC decision around universal service charges on conference calling companies. Michael Hazzard is advising cloud communications company Twilio, which is a new client. Stephanie Joyce’s clients include Securus Technologies, DecisionQ and Intelepeer. Jonathan Canis successfully represented the Oglala Sioux Tribe in an unprecedented agreement involving federal court litigation and FCC proceedings to secure a wireless phone service and a substantial cash payment from AT&T in return for the use of tribal land to maintain AT&T’s radio towers.

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

Arent Fox LLP’s 12-lawyer practice, led by Ross Buntrock, represents smaller carriers and start-ups in negotiations with content providers and disputes with the large telecoms operators and incumbents. Particular strengths are mobile issues, representing startups and handling government relations. Michael Hazzard continues to represent cloud communications company Twilio. Jonathan Canis successfully secured for the Ogala Sioux Tribe a high-quality wireless phone service and a substantial annual cash payment from AT&T in return for the use of tribal land to maintain AT&T’s radio towers. Stephanie Joyce is transactional counsel for DecisionQ, a creator of mathematical programs for data analysis and predictive modeling. Alan Fishel represents Internet2. 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’s ‘M&A work is outstanding, and the firm’s attorneys show excellent business sense and good judgment’. The firm has built one of the largest and most comprehensive corporate practices in the Washington DC area; and with a client base that ranges from mid-market private businesses to Fortune 500 companies, the firm’s team is well versed in transactions with regional, national and international scope. The bulk of the group’s transactional work involves deals in the $25m-$500m range, with its high-profile clients drawn from a variety of industry sectors, such as technology, manufacturing, sports and entertainment, consumer products, lodging and hospitality, healthcare, and government contracts. The practice advised SunBridge Capital Management, in its investment in FJ Capital Long/Short Equity Fund, a fund that specializes in making investments in the small/mid-cap community bank sector; acted for Linens of the Week in connection with the sale of the company to Alsco, a global leader in the rental of linens, uniforms, and hygiene products; and acted for Capitol Spine and Pain Centers in connection with the sale of the company to National Spine and Pain Centers, a unit of Sentinel Capital Partners, and a regional provider of pain management services, the acquisition creating one of the largest systems of pain management clinics and facilities in the country. Washington DC-based Jay Halpern heads the corporate practice; Halpern is a ‘thoughtful and excellent adviser’. Also in Washington DC, Richard Gale, Jeffrey Jordan and Carter Strong are experienced attorneys.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, tier 4

Arent Fox LLP provides transactional and litigation support to various parties within the construction industry, including owners, developers, contractors, architects, project managers, engineers, and construction managers. Based primarily in New York and Washington DC, the construction team advises on contact drafting, negotiation and administration, dispute resolution, green building, insurance, troubled projects, and collapse and structural failure matters. Practice head James Frankel has participated in numerous large-scale construction projects, including New York’s Grand Central Station, the Museum of Modern Art, Radio City Music Hall, and the Miami International Airport. Key litigator Eugene Scheiman was actively involved in the firm’s defense of the city of New York in connection with $1bn in claims arising from the collapse of the World Trade Center following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001.

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

Arent Fox LLP’s 28-partner real estate department, across New York, Washington DC, and Los Angeles, is highly rated by clients. Finance expert David Dubrow, in New York, continues to advise Fannie Mae in relation to its participation in the HFA Initiative - a $25bn government plan for housing market stabilization. Kimberly Wachen is chair of the hospitality industry group and, alongside counsel Joseph Fries, advises Marriott International in various matters; work in 2012 included the development of the EDITION brand hotels in Manhattan and Miami Beach. Wachen acted for Sunrise Senior Living in its $362m sale, to Ventas, of 16 assisted living communities in 12 states. Michael Leahy is the lead partner in the firm’s 30-year relationship with Quadrangle Development, and continues to represent the client in a wide variety of real estate deals. Firm chairman Mark Katz is also part of the real estate group in Washington DC. Firm real estate practice leader Kenneth Jacob is ‘detailed, practical, knowledgeable and client focused’.

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