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

On a par with the best practicing in this area’, Arent Fox LLP is recommended for its ‘professional and skillful advice’. Led from New York by the ‘extremely knowledgeable’ Andrew Silfen, the group also leverages platforms in Washington DC and Los Angeles to provide a strong service advising unsecured creditors’ committees and indenture trustees on restructuring cases of national importance. In a recent example, Silfen led the firm’s representation of the official committee of unsecured creditors in the $5.8bn Cengage Learning bankruptcy. In 2015, highly rated partner Mette Kurth left to join Fox Rothschild LLP.

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

Considered ‘a five-star firm’ that is ‘the best in the business’, Arent Fox LLP’s national bankruptcy practice has a longstanding track record of ‘achieving positive results’ in municipal bankruptcy cases, for which clients recommend it ‘wholeheartedly and without hesitation’. The firm is particularly strong in dealing with complex benefits issues faced by municipalities, and its bankruptcy practice is ‘supplemented by excellent litigation expertise’. New York-based David Dubrow is a ‘top lawyer’ who has ‘decades of Chapter 9, Chapter 11 and municipal finance experience’. Dubrow recently represented bond insurer Radian Group on a defaulted payment obligation, and acted alongside Washington DC-based Carol Connor Cohen and Les Jacobowitz to advise Ambac Assurance Corporation (Ambac), a major holder of debt in Puerto Rico and its public authorities, on the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s enactment of new legislation allowing certain of its municipal authorities to restructure their debt. In another highlight, Dubrow, Conner Cohen and Washington DC-based public pensions expert Caroline Turner English represented Ambac (the insurer of approximately $180m of Detroit municipal bonds) in Detroit’s Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

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

Arent Fox LLP’s Richard Newman is a real estate expert in Washington DC whose clients include the Planned Parenthood Federation, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Bar Association and NPR, and who is very active in tax-exempt bonds. Newman and Eve Corbin recently advised Georgetown Day School on a $40m real estate purchase, and the firm also gives real estate and employment advice to The Salvation Army, and serves as outside benefits counsel to AARP. Other areas in which the firm represents nonprofits include IP, antitrust and government relations. Attorneys are spread across offices in Washington DC, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Healthcare: service providers, tier 5

Arent Fox LLP is lead healthcare counsel to Sunrise Senior Living, demonstrating its prominent position in long-term care. Highlights in the space included advising MedEquity Capital on its $250m acquisition of a Californian provider, and assisting Fundamental Long Term Care on collaborative arrangements with nursing homes and physicians. In another key mandate, Los Angeles-based practice head Lowell Brown filed an amicus brief at the California Supreme Court for the California Hospital Association challenging the medical peer review decisions process in whistleblower applications. Strong on both coasts, key group members include Michael Blass and Connie Raffa in New York and Washington DC-based David Greenberg, who made partner in 2014.

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

Arent Fox LLP’s burgeoning sports practice was bolstered this year with the addition of The Miami Heat to its already impressive client list, continuing the firm’s long association with NBA franchises. It is providing contractual advice to the client on the advertising agreements, sponsorship agreements and the client’s stadium, the AmericanAirlines Arena. It remains prominent in advising on rights agreements; it represented supermarket chain Albertsons on its corporate sponsorship of the Boise State football stadium, which included a naming rights deal and on-pitch logo. It continues to advise longstanding client the Brooklyn Nets and, following previous mandates to assist with sponsorship agreements, naming rights and IP matters, led the development of the team’s training facility. Other clients include USA Cycling, New York Jets, Los Angeles Galaxy, Fox Broadcasting and James Grant Sports. Richard Brand, who leads the practice from the firm’s San Francisco office, and New York-based Matthew Pace, a key name for cycling and fringe sports, are recommended.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Copyright, tier 5

Arent Fox LLP’s practice is praised for its ‘very good responsiveness’ and ‘excellent industry knowledge’, particularly in the music industry, but it also acts for a variety of clients in the entertainment, technology and fashion industries. ‘Sharp litigator’ Paul Fakler and Ross Charap, both based in New York, continue to defend online music subscription service MediaNet against alleged copyright infringement claims brought by artist Aimee Mann. Fakler is also representing Sirius XM in webcasting rate proceedings before the Copyright Royalty Board. Anthony Lupo in Washington DC is particularly recommended for his ‘expertise in the fashion industry’, with Hugo Boss, Diesel, and Bluestar Alliance featuring among the firm’s clients.

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Within Patent prosecution: utility and design patents , tier 5

Arent Fox LLP has more than 60 patent prosecutors in its Washington DC office, led by James Bindseil. The group is regularly instructed by leading technology companies such as Qualcomm, Fujitsu, LG Electronics and Vyclone. The practice also has presence in Los Angeles, where a stand out names is internationally known ‘IP legend’ Craig Gelfound, who is ‘extremely commercially astute and is always an absolute pleasure to work with’. Richard LaCava joined the New York office from Dickstein Shapiro in February 2015.

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

Ricardo Fischer’s ‘extremely responsive and commercial’ group at Arent Fox LLP has ‘phenomenal knowledge across all relevant legal areas, including registered trademarks and brand management strategies’. The team, which includes Cristina Carvalho, Christopher Norton and San Francisco-based Sarah Bruno, advises clients including Mars, Discovery Communications, HBO and Burger King on various trademark-related matters. The group also acts as primary IP counsel for The Oprah Winfrey Network, handles enforcement-related matters for Qualcomm regarding its mobile and wireless products, and assists LG with clearance and advertising campaigns. In the Los Angeles office, Craig Gelfound ‘always goes the extra mile, delivering on time and within budget’, and trademark litigator Michael Grow is also recommended. All named lawyers are based in Washington DC, except where otherwise stated.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 5

Highly regarded Quana Jew leads the ‘priceless’ practice at Arent Fox LLP in Washington DC, which ‘keeps up with the ever-constant changing regulations’. It predominantly takes on an advisory role in the employee benefits field, incorporating its expertise in tax and compliance counseling. The practice also centers on the impact of benefit plans in the context of transactions. The correction of non-compliant plans is another strength. Bill Charyk structures funding and insurance vehicles to provide ongoing benefits to retirees of Eastman Kodak following the company’s emergence from a restructuring process in 2013.

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Within ERISA litigation , tier 4

Washington DC-based Carol Connor Cohen heads the ‘extremely helpful’ team at Arent Fox LLP, which excels in litigation involving crossover employee benefits or banking issues. Cohen and Nancy Heermans have substantial experience in their former roles as senior lawyers to the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation. The firm is representing Telex in one of the first stock drop cases to be decided following the Supreme Court’s 2014 Dudenhoeffer decision, which dismantled the presumption of prudence previously afforded to ESOP fiduciaries. In addition, it serves as primary ERISA litigation counsel to Monsanto. The firm is also notable for its niche expertise in benefits aspects of municipal bankruptcies, where its track record includes advising the City of Detroit in connection with its $17bn Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy.

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United States: Litigation

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

From Washington DC, Arent Fox LLP’s international trade group ‘specializes in trade remedies work’ but also continues to add weight to its reputation in the export controls, economic sanctions and customs areas. Matthew Nolan chairs the team and is acting with customs expert David Hamill to advise Target on its import and export practices. John Gurley is an ‘excellent professional’ and focuses on trade relief proceedings; he is acting alongside Diana Quaia to represent Chinese manufacturer Trina Solar in an ongoing case relating to alleged Chinese state subsidies in the photovoltaic industry. Matthew Clark, Kay Georgi and Matthew Kanna are also recommended.

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Within Leading trial lawyers Leading trial lawyers

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

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

Arent Fox LLP’s transactional work is centred on the $25 to $500m range, with the occasional $500m-plus matter. The team stands out for its strength in the sports, hotels and hospitality, wine and spirits, and healthcare and medical devices sectors. Private equity acquisitions recently increased for the practice, which has also seen a rise in instructions from high-net-worth families and family owned trusts. It advised Revolution on the sale of a controlling interest in Arizona’s Miraval Resort & Spa to KSL Capital Partners; and acted as special M&A Counsel to Hi Tech Pharmacal on its $640m merger agreement. It also advised Choice Hotel on several transactions involving its Cambria Suites hotel properties. Steven Cohen, who heads the corporate and securities practice from Washington DC, is recommended alongside Amy Donnelly, Deborah Froling, Richard Gale, Jay Halpern, Carter Strong and Jeffrey Jordan.

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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 former practice head Ross Buntrock left to join Arnall Golden Gregory LLP and was succeeded by Alan Fishel. Fishel, who has extensive experience acting for academic institutions, is representing The American Library Association before the FCC in relation to major reforms that will determine the way schools and libraries are funded, and what services are available to libraries under certain FCC programs, including the E-rate program. Stephanie Joyce, who is involved in the aforementioned matter, is also assisting the Computer and Communications Industry Association with a number of Open Internet issues, arguing that the FCC ought to alter rules that define which broadband providers manage internet access services. Other clients include The Application Developers Alliance, The Mobile Internet Content Coalition, the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association, and freenet digital; the latter is a longstanding client which the firm is advising on several compliance matters and it also settled a number of regulatory investigations regarding its alleged violation of the TCPA. Michael Hazzard is also recommended.

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

Arent Fox LLP lost former practice head Ross Buntrock to Arnall Golden Gregory LLP, and the team is now led by Alan Fishel, who focuses primarily on technology and telecoms agreements. The firm is a popular choice among smaller companies and new market entrants, and its portfolio includes telecoms carriers, wireless service providers, cable companies, mobile content providers, broadcasters, satellite operators, and internet service providers. It recently advised on the impact of mergers and commercial arrangements between large telecoms operators such AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint. Another recent work example is its advice to the American Library Association on a wide range of telecoms and information-related commercial matters, including funding-related issues. In addition to Fishel, other notable practitioners are Mike Hazard and Stephanie Joyce. Joseph Bowser and David Carter left the firm to join Innovista Law PLLC.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, tier 4

Arent Fox LLP has eight dedicated partners advising on both contentious and transactional matters for owners, developers, design firms, and public authorities. It has particular expertise in advising on project delay claims, design and construction defects, and structural failure collapse disputes, and has a proven track record in complex cross-border transactions and large commercial projects. Ongoing work includes assisting leading window manufacturer Glasswall with a $332m project for two large residential buildings on Long Island, New York. The firm is also acting as transactional counsel for design firm Studios Architecture in several significant ongoing projects.

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

Arent Fox LLP’s team in Washington DC, New York and San Francisco provides ‘an excellent and thoughtful service’, ‘prompt responses’ and ‘top-notch research’. Its real estate finance practice is active on both the borrower and lender side and the team is also recognized for its expertise in tax-exempt bond financing. David Dubrow is leading work for developer Larry Silverstein regarding a $1.6bn municipal bond financing deal that will enable the World Trade Center to add a fourth tower and advised TIAA–CREF on a $1bn real estate finance joint venture, a matter that was led by Mark Fawer who joined from Brown Rudnick LLP in March 2014; Carolyn Austin also joined from the same firm. Washington DC-based department head Kenneth Jacob has been advising South Bay Partners on the development, management and sale of senior living facilities. The team also advised the Brooklyn Nets franchise on the team’s training facility, to be located in Brooklyn’s Industry City, and assisted NorthStar Realty with several commercial real estate deals in the senior living industry. In the hospitality sector, the practice has been acting for Marriott on several matters including the development of Edition brand hotels in Manhattan, the Seville Beach Hotel in Miami Beach, and the financing of the development in Potomac Yards. Mark Katz, chairman of the firm, is ‘brilliant’; Kimberly Wachen is ‘hardworking and thorough’; David Martin is ‘excellent’; and Karen Candreva and Richard Newman are also recommended.

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