The Legal 500

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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United States

Top-tier recommendations


  • United States: Intellectual property > Copyright
  • United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate

Latin America: International firms

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Finance

Within Asset finance and leasing, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has an excellent reputation for representing the airlines, and is praised for its ‘very deep “well"’ and ‘ability to bring numerous highly qualified lawyers of various levels into the effort when necessary’. This bench strength has proved particularly useful in some of the firm’s more recent mandates, such as its ongoing advice to American Airlines and its parent company, AMR Corporation, regarding their Chapter 11 proceedings, as this involved the restructuring of complex financing and purchase agreements relating to over 1,000 aircraft. The firm also assisted American Airlines with its offer of $1.4bn worth of EETCs to help refinance 75 Boeing aircraft, as well as a $3bn loan secured by its route authorities, slots and foreign gate leaseholds; the fact that such financings, including new aircraft deliveries, were achieved while the company was in Chapter 11 made the work all the more impressive. Other highlights include advising Sukhoi Civil Aircraft as the seller in the purchase and leasing of three Sukhoi Superjet 100 aircraft to the Lao Central Airlines Public Company. Delta Air Lines is another major client, which it advised on the offering of $479.9m worth of EETCs to refinance 31 Airbus and Boeing Aircraft. John Curry heads the highly regarded team from New York, which includes Raymond Wells and Jaeyong So.

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Within Bank lending (including other sources of financing), tier 4

The ‘excellent’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York is ‘one of the best’ for borrower-led finance advice. ‘Always responsive on time sensitive matters’, the team’s ‘significant depth of industry knowledge’ makes it a ‘go-to for bank financing transactions’. Among the firm’s team of partners, practice head David Brittenham and Pierre Maugüé are ‘trusted advisers’ who ‘help clients achieve goals in the most efficient manner’. Major highlights included advising The Tribune Company on the financing for its $2.7bn acquisition of Local TV Holdings. The firm is regularly instructed by some of the major private equity houses, including Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, which it advised on the financing of its highly complex combined acquisition of Brand Energy & Infrastructure Services and Harsco Infrastructure, which was followed by the merger of both companies. Other recommended partners include William Beekman, Paul Brusiloff and Jeffrey Ross.

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Within Capital markets: debt offerings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

A team of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP lawyers, led by Steven Slutzky, acted on Verizon Communications’ record-breaking corporate bond issue of $49bn; the deal, which attracted over 3,000 orders from more than 800 investors, will help fund its $130bn offer for Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless, the joint-venture between the two groups. Paul Rodel advised American Airlines in its offering of $1.4bn of class A enhanced equipment trust certificates, its first standalone deal during bankruptcy. Drawing on the firm’s expertise in insurance, Ethan James represented Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and J.P. Morgan as joint book-runners in Liberty Mutual’s $600m offering of 4.25% of senior notes due 2023. The practice’s lawyers are praised as ‘practical, knowledgeable and always responsive on time sensitive matters’. Alan Paley and Peter Loughran co-chair the group, and Matthew Kaplan is a ‘trusted adviser you can rely on’. All named attorneys are located in New York.

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Within Capital markets: equity offerings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s New York-based capital markets practice, co-chaired by Peter Loughran and Alan Paley, was involved in a number of private equity-driven IPOs, drawing on the firm’s longstanding relationships with a range of funds. Loughran advised Envision Healthcare, a portfolio company of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, on its $1.1bn IPO of common stock, while Steven Slutzky and Paul Brusiloff acted for HD Supply in its $1.1bn IPO. Other areas of expertise within the practice include insurance, where the team has closed over 100 debt and equity offerings in the last five years including a recent $317m IPO for property and casualty reinsurer Third Point, and aviation, where Matthew Kaplan recently acted for Gogo Inc in its $187m flotation. Underwriter clients of the practice include Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan.

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Within Capital markets: global offerings, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a strong issuer-side practice, which draws on the strength of its London, Paris, Frankfurt, Moscow, Shanghai and Hong Kong offices whilst also benefitting from collaborative relationships with firms throughout Latin America. The ‘excellent’ team is noted for its ‘significant depth of industry knowledge’ and ‘responsiveness on time-sensitive matters’. The firm works extensively for Brazilian bank Itaú Unibanco, and advises on the ongoing updates and takedowns under its $10bn medium-term note (MTN) program, as well as all matters relating to SEC reporting and US securities law; recent instructions in this capacity include advising on the bank’s $1.37bn offering of 5.5% subordinated notes due 2022. Paul Rodel and Peter Loughran led on the aforementioned deal, and Matthew Kaplan is also recommended; all are based in New York.

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Within Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings, tier 4

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP draws on its strengths in private equity, representing portfolio companies and funds to act on leveraged finance deals including high-yield offerings. Recent clients have included Reynolds Group Holdings, HD Supply, and ServiceMaster. The core of the practice is New York-based, where Steven Slutzky, practice co-chair Peter Loughran, Matthew Kaplan and Paul Rodel are all singled out for mention.

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Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), tier 4

In June 2013, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP boosted its restructuring capability through the hire of Craig Bruens as counsel from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Another significant change was the elevation of Natasha Labovitz to joint co-head alongside ‘terrific leader’ and ‘strong negotiatorRichard Hahn. Jasmine Ball is the other stand-out name in the New York-based team and is praised for her ‘strong management skills and critical thinking’. The firm retains strong niche expertise in the debt restructuring of aircraft financing and ‘is probably the most experienced firm in this area’. Indeed, its eminence for this type of work is evidenced by its role advising American Airlines as special aircraft financing counsel in its high-profile Chapter 11 case. The group’s strength is not limited to aircraft-related matters; it is active across a diverse range of industries and acts for debtors, creditors, sponsors, boards of directors and acquirers in a wide spread of bankruptcy and work-out issues. In another notable case, the restructuring department acted hand-in-hand with the firm’s litigation, securities and insurance practices to advise MBIA Inc on the potential restructuring of around $2bn in parent-company obligations.

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Within Financial services: litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

Leveraging the expertise of numerous lawyers who previously held high-ranking positions with financial regulatory bodies, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘very prominent in high-stakes matters’ for banks, insurers, asset managers and brokers. Bruce Yannett, Jonathan Tuttle and Sean Hecker are key members of the team, and are advising JP Morgan Chase on the coordination of its response to multiple agency enquiries into its mortgage acquisition and securitization practices. The ‘excellentMary Beth Hogan is co-chair of the litigation group and has in recent years focused on the consumer finance sphere, representing a number of financial institutions in mortgage and credit card related investigations and class actions. Eric Dinallo handles litigation for insurance clients, and Mark Goodman is also recommended.

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Within Financial services: regulatory, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

The ‘knowledgeable’ team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has ‘creative and judicious’ expertise across a broad spectrum of banking, insurance, broker-dealer and investment management matters. It includes a number of former regulators, and is ‘adept at understanding the nuances of federal and state agencies’. Satish Kini has ‘deep knowledge of the industry’, and alongside the ‘excellentGregory Lyons handles a raft of bank regulatory matters for domestic and international banks as well as for trade bodies including the Financial Services Roundtable and the Private Equity Growth Capital Council as their members look to come to grips with key areas of regulatory change including the Volcker rule and Basel III. The firm remains best known for its ‘outstanding work within the insurance industry’, and is regularly instructed in the most significant M&A deals in the sector. Lyons plays a key role in advising many of the firm’s insurance clients on the implications of the heightened regulatory regime ushered in by Dodd-Frank, advising many on regulatory-driven transactions as they look to ‘de-bank’. The ‘excellentNicholas Potter advised Sun Life Financial on the $1.35bn sale of certain of its US subsidiaries. Paul Lee and John Vasily are also recommended, with the latter recently advising AIG on the sale of a majority interest in International Lease Finance Corporation. Other clients include American Express, Capital One and Fifth Third Bank.

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Within Project finance, tier 4

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP continues to grow its profile in this space. The New York-based team has ‘great advisers and counsel’, and an excellent reputation for its expertise in shale gas. Former managing partner of Davis & Company and leading expert on Canadian PPPs Douglas Buchanan, QC joined in February 2013 to become practice co-head alongside Ivan Mattei. Buchanan is continuing to build up the PPP practice in addition to focusing on energy and natural resources work. The firm is advising the lenders on three fully privatized toll roads in California and Texas, and also has a strong track record of advising on schemes relating to airports – past projects have involved New York’s JFK and Midway, Chicago. On the energy side, it has been making use of its international network to advise on various global projects; for example it recently acted in UES of Russia’s $49bn power assets spin-off. Similarly, it has been involved in mining projects spanning Latin America, Russia, China, Japan and Korea, with a recent case-in-point being Polyus Gold International’s development of a gold mine in north-eastern Russia in order to explore the Natalka deposit. Other clients include Exxon Mobil, Mitsui, Shell and Inter-American Development Bank. Darius Tencza and Craig Bowman are also highly recommended.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Environment: transactional and regulatory, tier 4

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP prides itself on its corporate support work, advising an impressive client base on the amelioration of environmental liabilities and the management of environmental risks in the context of major transactions. In recent years it has also grown its climate change and renewable energy practice, advising on greenhouse gas emissions and disclosure matters. Recent work includes advising AssuraMed on its $2bn sale to Cardinal Health; advising Mitsui on its joint venture agreement with technology company Celanese Corporation to manufacture methanol in Texas (at a shared cost of approximately $800m); and acting for private equity firm Kelso on its acquisition of PowerTeam Services, a company which provides infrastructure services to the utilities industry. The experienced Stuart Hammer heads the department from New York and led on these matters.

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Within Insurance: non-contentious, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s leading insurance practice covers a broad range of corporate and regulatory issues across several disciplines, including capital markets, corporate governance, investments, bankruptcy and restructuring, executive compensation and tax. The firm is particularly strong in its core area of M&A; and continues to develop the capabilities of its newly created insurance capital practice, which advises the insurance industry on a range of capital management issues, such as accessing capital, complex insurance organizations spanning multiple jurisdictions and investing in insurance risk. The insurance capital practice is led by New York-based lawyers Ethan James, Marilyn Lion, Craig Bowman and Seth Rosen. In keeping with its increasingly global capabilities, the firm has also recently established a Latin American insurance M&A practice headed by New York-based John Vasily and David Grosgold to provide specialized counsel to global clients such as AIG, AXA, Prudential and New York Life. Co-chair of the financial institutions group Nicholas Potter led the team’s advice to Goldman Sachs on the formation, separation and disposition of Global Atlantic Financial Group; and advised Markel Corporation on its $3.13bn acquisition of listed Bermuda reinsurer Alterra Capital Holdings. The group also acted for AXA Financial regarding the sale of MONY Life; and Sun Life in the sale of some of its US subsidiaries.

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Within Sport, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘tremendous sports law practice’ continues to make headway in the dispute resolution space, thanks in part to the high profile of the firm’s IP, media and entertainment litigation team. Much of the practice, which has deep resources in both New York and Washington DC, centers on IP issues in the digital space and media distribution. Head of IP litigation Bruce Keller also heads the sports practice, and is an arbitrator at the Court of Arbitration for Sport. The team also features a number of prominent individuals including corporate IT head Jeffrey Cunard, who is managing partner of the Washington DC office, and the New York-based Jeremy Feigelson, Michael Schaper and David Rivkin. The impressive list of clients includes sports franchises, sports associations and major professional sport leagues such as the NFL, the NBA and the New York Giants. The firm has been representing broadcast television networks ABC, CBS and NBC in a high-stakes dispute with internet start-up Aereo before the Supreme Court regarding Aereo’s streaming of live television programs via the internet. Other recent matters include representing the NFL in a class action lawsuit over the its alleged breach of retired players’ publicity rights, which led to a $42m settlement being approved in November 2013; and acting for the NFL and NFL Properties in a copyright action to protect its rights regarding the design of the Vince Lombardi Trophy. The team also excels at traditional labor work and handled aspects of collective bargaining agreement negotiations for the NFL, NBA and NHL.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Copyright, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s copyright practice is underpinned by its wider commercial litigation capabilities to handle some leading copyright cases. Bruce Keller, who is noted for his expertise on first impression issues, continued acting alongside Washington DC-based Jeffrey Cunard and Michael Potenza as co-counsel to a group of broadcasting companies in the high-profile dispute against Aereo, which is being closely watched for its potential impact on internet streaming and the television industry; the team recently appealed on behalf of ABC, CBS and NBC to obtain a grant from the Supreme Court to hear the case. Keller and Jeremy Feigelson settled a case on behalf of Prometheus Global Media – owner of The Hollywood Reporter – against claims of alleged infringement, including ‘hot news’ misappropriation, brought by the parent company of Another highlight saw the team prevail for Sony Pictures Television and A&E Networks on appeal, which affirmed a lower court ruling in the client’s favor against infringement claims brought by a photographer regarding a re-created picture in a TV film.

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Within Trademarks: litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘fantastic’ team includes leading trademark litigator David Bernstein and Bruce Keller in New York. It retains an impressive reputation for handling complex, high-profile trademark litigation matters for major brand owners such as Pernod Ricard, the NFL and Absolut Spirits. It successfully represented Kate Spade in a trademark dispute against Saturdays Surf NY, regarding the client’s new line launch Kate Spade Saturday, with a district court ruling that the opposing party had failed to establish any rights in the ‘Saturdays’ name and that confusion was unlikely between the brands’ marks. Meanwhile, a settlement was obtained for defendant BodyArmor Nutrition in a trademark infringement and dilution case brought by Under Armour Inc, alleging likelihood of consumer confusion between the client’s brand name and logo with its own Armour marks. The practice also obtained a Second Circuit affirmation denying a preliminary injunction on behalf of its client, YSL in its ‘red shoe’ trademark dispute against Christian Louboutin. Other recent instructions came from Prada, American Vintage Beverage Company and Industrias AIEn.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Alternative/hedge funds, tier 5

Although Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has historically been viewed as a private equity powerhouse, its hedge funds team is increasingly being viewed as a go-to resource in its own right for clients such as Abu Dhabi Investment Council, Chess Capital and Oaktree Capital Management. Alongside its ability to advise on complex hedge/private equity hybrids, the firm’s experience for sponsor cliens extends to master-feeder vehicles, funds of hedge funds, and joint venture arrangements. On the investor side, the team has expertise in assessing and structuring investment terms for a large variety of sophisticated investors, including sovereign wealth funds and institutional investors in heavily regulated environments such as financial institutions and pension funds. Byungkwon Lim’s team can call on the esteemed private equity expertise of partners such as Michael Harrell and Erica Berthou on hybrid and crossover private equity matters.

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Within Private equity funds, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

Belonging ‘clearly in the first tier’, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s fund formation practice comprises 50 US-based lawyers with over 30 years’ experience in private equity matters, and is supported by the firm’s deep bench of tax and regulatory experts. It advises on the full range of investment strategies, from buyouts, mezzanine debt and real estate, to infrastructure, healthcare and energy for a broad range of sponsors, limited partners (LPs) and individual investors. 2013 saw it advise on some of the largest and highest profile formations in recent years; Erica Berthou assisted Global Infrastructure Partners on the formation of its $8.25bn Global Infrastructure Partners Fund II, while Jordan Murray advised Providence Equity Partners VII on the creation of its £5.1bn Providence Equity Partners VII global media fund. Secondary funds powerhouse David Schwartz (supported on the tax side by Adele Karig) advised HarbourVest Partners on the formation of its $3.6bn venture capital and leveraged buyout focused Dover Street VIII fund. Other highlights included advising Third Point LLC on the creation of the $750m Third Point Hellenic Recovery Fund, one of the largest Greece-focused funds, and advising longstanding client Carlyle on the formation of the $308m Carlyle Peru Fund. Michael Harrell and Kenneth Berman represent trade organisation the Private Equity Growth Capital Council Group on the implementation of regulatory change post-Dodd Frank. Group head Berthou is ‘a real star – incredibly hardworking and a strong negotiator’.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

The New York-based EBEC team at Debevoise & Plimpton LLPhas a wide array of experience and expertise, with excellent industry knowledge’. Renowned for its executive compensation and fiduciary practice, the group offers expertise in corporate governance, ERISA, tax and securities laws. It recently advised Prudential on the sale to a General Motors retirement plan of a group annuity contract that will provide annuity payments for certain General Motors-salaried retirees as part of the employer's plan to reduce pension obligations by approximately $26bn. It also assisted Prudential with its sale to the Verizon Management Pension Plan of a group annuity contract to settle $7.5bn of pension liabilities to approximately 41,000 plan participants. Head of department Lawrence Cagneyhas particular expertise in extremely complex transactions and understands the core of the issue quickly, helping to develop an appropriate response’; he is ‘one of the few attorneys who can handle equity mapping matters in complex securities transactions’. Elizabeth Pagel Serebransky and Jonathan Lewis are also highly recommended.

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Within Labor and employment litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

The ‘excellentDebevoise & Plimpton LLPis great to have on your side when the big guns need to be brought out’ and is considered a ‘go-to firm for the most serious cases’. The firm’s employment litigators are broad-gauged lawyers who form part of the general commercial litigation group and for the type of cases this firm attracts, the model works. For example, the group has successfully defended clients in wrongful termination actions, and, assisted by the firm’s white-collar lawyers, handles whistleblower lawsuits that arise in connection with broader regulatory inquiries. The group also has extensive experience on both the plaintiff and defense sides of disputes involving non-compete agreements. In Smiths Group v Frisbie, the firm successfully enforced an executive non-compete agreement against the client’s former head of global operations. In addition it conducts internal investigations of alleged sexual harassment and employee fraud and other types of misconduct, and over recent years has handled a number of school sexual abuse cases. The firm has represented schools and boards of directors of schools to help them navigate the employment, communications, investigatory and criminal aspects of these matters. Jyotin Hamid who is ‘commercial, decisive and highly responsive’ and Mary Beth Hogan co-chair the employment litigation group; both are based in New York.

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United States: Litigation

Within International arbitration, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

Experienced across the full spectrum of arbitration matters, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s global practice has historical strength in the US and has expanded its capacity in both London and Hong Kong. Key sources of growth for the practice have been Latin America and the mining sector. Team co-chair Donald Francis Donovan, Mark Friedman and Dietmar Prager are representing the Tethyan Copper Company, a joint venture between Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada and Chile’s Antofagasta, in two arbitral proceedings against the government of Balochistan in the ICC, and the government of Pakistan in ICSID, both in relation to the denial of a mining license. BIT cases remain a strength for the team, following on from its high-profile success for Occidental Petroleum in a $2.3bn investment dispute. Practice co-chair David Rivkin and Catherine Amirfar are representing Slovac bank Postova banka in a $500m BIT dispute against the Greek government in relation to the forced exchange of bonds held by investors before the country’s debt restructuring. The duo were joined by Prager in defending Brazil’s Grupo Diniz in two ICC arbitrations seated in Sao Paulo against a European joint venture partner; and by Christopher Tahbaz in representing Lao Holdings in two $1bn ICSID and ad hoc arbitrations. The attorneys named are all based in New York.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

The service in enforcement and litigation has been outstanding’, notes a client of Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, where the broader litigation practice, chaired by John Kiernan, is widely recognized as one the country’s finest. The firm has niche skills in the insurance sector, with Maeve O’Connor and the ‘client-focusedEdwin Schallert advising on class actions and derivative claims for MetLife and Prudential Financial respectively. Kiernan and Gary Kubek, who ‘does a great job’, successfully defended the Federal Reserve Bank of New York against claims alleging breach of fiduciary duty in the bailout of AIG. ‘Amazing lawyerColby Smith in Washington DC and the ‘thoughtful, exceedingly calmBruce Yannett in New York are representing former Hewlett-Packard CEO Léo Apotheker in a federal class action, derivative lawsuits and an SEC investigation arising from the company’s Autonomy acquisition. The firm’s lawyers, including the highly recommended Jeffrey Jacobson and Shannon Selden, provide advice that is ‘strategic, tailored, insightful and not overly conservative’. Attorneys are located in New York except where stated.

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Within White-collar criminal defense, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

Despite the departure of Mary Jo White and Andrew Ceresney in 2013, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s established reputation in the white-collar arena means that it continues to attract mandates in high-profile cases. Praised as a ‘great firm’, which is ‘business-savvy but also enforcement-minded’, it works in conjunction with partners from across its global network to handle multi-jurisdictional and multi-agency investigations. As well as having a presence in the financial services sector, advising multinational banks and their executives, hedge funds and private equity firms, the practice’s client base stretches across various other industries including pharmaceutical and manufacturing. The team represented the president of a global IT company in an SEC investigation, plus securities and derivatives lawsuits, and various regulatory inquiries. Practice head Bruce Yannett took the lead role in representing 3M in DOJ and SEC investigations into possible FCPA violations in multiple jurisdictions including Turkey. Yanett is based in the New York office, where many of the practice’s key players also reside, including Sean Hecker and Andrew Levine; they are a part of the team that continues to represent JPMorgan Chase in various civil lawsuits and investigations regarding mortgage acquisition and securitization. In Washington DC, the names to note are Jonathan Tuttle and Paul Berger.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘all-round excellent’ cross-border, interdisciplinary team provides regulatory advice relating to the US and Europe, and defends clients in government enforcement actions and privacy class actions. Recent instructions have involved data security and breaches, regulatory and internal investigations and internal data policies. IP litigation head Bruce Keller and his team represented Viacom in two class actions that were ultimately dismissed, regarding allegations of unwanted text messages being sent to users. The team is also representing Viacom in multidistrict litigation regarding tracking cookies sharing user information. Jeremy Feigelson, whose ‘advice is always spot on’ is advising JSTOR on the unauthorized downloading of much of its database, and is also advising a leading software and entertainment company on data protection and privacy policy and compliance. Jeffrey Jacobson successes included defending Direct Brands/SkyMall against allegations regarding disclosures of its online privacy policies, and Viacom in two class action litigations concerning text messages sent to subscribers. Feigelson and Washington DC-based Satish Kini are advising financial institutions and trade associations on data privacy and security. The addition of Min Lee from Penguin Random House gave the team a further boost. Attorneys are based in New York except where stated.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: transactional, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s 35-strong media group, led by Richard Bohm and Michael Gillespie in New York, handles public and private M&A and private equity capital markets work for major national and international clients. The telecoms group is integrated into the firm’s corporate practice and supported by a strong IP practice. Paul Bird and Jonathan Levitsky are assisting Tribune with its $2.7bn acquisition of Local TV Holdings, including all of Local TV’s 19 television stations in 16 key markets. Jeffrey Rosen led advice to Warner Music Group on its $765m acquisition of Parlophone from Universal Music Group. Its prestigious client list also includes Amazon, The Carlyle Group, Globo Organization and Verizon Communications/Verizon Wireless.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within Antitrust, tier 5

As part of the firm’s litigation department, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s antitrust practice is well versed in transactional disputes, government investigations and private litigation. The team, which is based in New York, continues to advise Reynolds Group Holdings (formerly Rank Group) on various transactions, most recently on its $980m acquisition of automotive company UCI International and the subsequent $950m purchase of Honeywell’s automotive consumer products group. In litigation, Michael Schaper and Daniel Abuhoff, who co-chairs the practice alongside Gary Kubek, are representing Sature Express in a $200m treble-damages claim against Cardinal Health and Owens & Minor, alleging that the defendants used anti-competitive practices in the distribution of medical and surgical supplies to acute care providers. On the class action side, Kubek and Jeffrey Jacobson are defending the Bank of Yokohama in connection with the alleged manipulation of TIBOR, the Japanese bank reference interest rate. Kyra Bromley is also recommended.

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Within M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+), Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP recently advised The Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell during the $24.9bn take-private transaction by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners; this was a validation of the firm’s burgeoning M&A credentials and further enhanced its standing in the space, as well as demonstrating its traditional strength in the TMT sector. Other TMT clients include Amazon and Verizon. The firm’s longstanding and strong reputation in the private equity arena has given it increasing exposure to the strategic M&A world and enabled it to pursue a concerted M&A initiative. Indeed, it has transferred a number of key private equity buyout techniques to the strategic M&A segment. Aside from TMT, other key sectors where it has had considerable success include healthcare, aviation, financial institutions (including insurance) and asset management. In the financial institutions space, it advised AIG on its $5.4bn sale of International Lease Finance Corporation to AerCap Holdings. In healthcare, the firm advised AssuraMed and its primary shareholders Clayton, Dubilier & Rice (a cornerstone client of the firm) and GS Capital Partners on the $2.07bn sale of AssuraMed to Cardinal Health. Key members of the practice include the ‘excellent’, ‘outstanding’ and ‘phenomenalJeffrey Rosen, who was the lead partner on the Dell transaction. Paul Bird is a big name in both private equity and strategic M&A, with key clients including The Carlyle Group and Schneider Electric. Gregory Gooding is a seasoned figure in the aviation and financial institutions industries, as well as in Latin American transactions. William Regner is renowned for his in-depth knowledge of M&A structuring, the stance of the Delaware courts and his expertise in the TMT and asset management sectors.

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Within Private equity buyouts, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a longstanding association with certain major private equity sponsors but has taken great strides in further expanding its client portfolio in recent years, adding names such as One Equity Partners and TPG Growth. Its blossoming relationship with The Carlyle Group is a particularly good illustration of its standing, particularly following advice on its $3.3bn acquisition of Getty Images in 2012. The firm’s outstanding private equity fund formation practice is another reason for its success; Michael Harrell has an especially impressive reputation in this space and Jeffrey Ross is playing an integral role on the leveraged finance side for private equity sponsors. The firm’s preeminent reputation in the insurance sector also adds to its credentials, with several major buyout funds turning to it for its industry expertise as well as buyout acumen. In 2013, the firm advised Clayton, Dubilier & Rice on its $2.5bn acquisition of Brand Energy and Harsco Infrastructure; this rare transaction involved two acquisitions supported by a common financing package. The firm also advised the same client on portfolio company US Foods’ $8.2bn agreement to merge with Sysco Corporation. The firm also advised the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell on the $24.9bn sale of Dell to Silver Lake Partners and Michael Dell. Margaret Andrews Davenport is now co-chair of the corporate department and Kevin Schmidt is co-head of the private equity group. Paul BirdGregory Gooding and ‘very good lawyerKevin Rinker are other names to note. Kelso & Company is a marquee client, with additional names on the client list including HarbourVest Partners, Providence Equity Partners, Morgan Stanley Private Equity, Stone Point Capital and JC Flowers.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Real estate, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a third tier firm,

The ‘first-rate’ department at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is ‘very professional’, has a ‘broad range of experience’ and a longstanding client base. Headline work led by the ‘outstanding’ Nicole Mesard includes advising The Westfield Group on a number of high-profile transactions, including the $1.64bn divestiture of seven non-core shopping centers in the US to the Starwood Group, the acquisition of the Port Authority’s remaining 50% interest in the World Trade Center retail facilities for $800m, and on its engagement to operate and manage the retail portions of The Fulton Center located in New York. ‘Formidable’ department head Peter Irwin was instructed by JPMorgan Investment Management on a range of matters including its purchase of 425 Lexington Avenue and on a $1.5bn equity transaction with Edens Investment Trust. Additional instructions came from Oaktree Capital Management regarding its joint venture with Kushner Companies for the acquisition and financing of a mixed-use development in Philadelphia, and from Rockefeller Group International on its joint venture with Mitsubishi Estate New York for the acquisition and financing of 50 Beale Street in San Francisco.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax: East Coast, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

With a deep bench of talented lawyers, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP provides an ‘exceptional’ level of service to clients across an array of industries. The nine-partner team is based in New York and is led by the highly regarded Burt Rosen. David Schnabel, current chair of the New York State Bar Association Tax Section, focuses on M&A transactions for private equity and corporate clients, and recently advised Warner Music on its $765m acquisition of Parlophone Label Group from Universal Music. Other names to note include Vadim Mahmoudov, who has ‘extraordinary depth of knowledge’, and the ‘excellent’ Adele Karig. Peter Furci led advice to the Special Committee of the Board of Directors of Dell on the $24.9bn sale of the company to an investor group including Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners.

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Within International tax, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s ‘excellent’ tax team is ‘clearly at the forefront of the profession. Burt Rosen heads the New York-based practice, which is supported in its international work by partners in Hong Kong, Paris, Frankfurt and London. The practice covers the full spectrum of tax matters related to corporate transactions and assists clients from a broad range of industries including banking, communications and media, software, energy, insurance, and international trade. Rosen was joined by Peter Furci in advising American International Group on the sale of a stake of up to 90% in International Lease Finance Corporation to a consortium of Chinese investors, a $4.23bn transaction. Other names to note include Vadim Mahmoudov, who is praised for his ‘extraordinary’ depth of knowledge; David Schnabel, the current chair of the New York State Bar Association tax section; Adele Karig, who provides ‘superior’ advice; and Gary Friedman, who advised Mitsui & Co on its joint venture with Corporación Nacional del Cobre de Chile to acquire 29.5% of Anglo American Sur for $2.8bn. Peter Schuur and Seth Rosen are also recommended.

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Latin America: International firms

Within Capital markets, tier 6

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s small Latin America team has a capital markets practice largely centred on two significant Brazilian issuers, the media giant Globo Comunicação e Participações (Globopar) and the banking titan Itaú Unibanco. The firm’s relationship with the latter in particular has grown significantly in recent years, giving rise to a steady flow of capital markets issuance instructions, particularly on the debt side. Over 2012 and 2013, the firm advised the bank on a series of offerings under its global MTN programme, including a $1.87bn issuance in November 2012; the programme was expanded in February 2013 from $10bn to unlimited funding. The firm also provides regular advice on SEC reporting issues to the client. New York partner and Spanish speaker Paul Rodel is the key partner for these matters, with co-chair of the global capital markets group Peter Loughran adding further credibility to the practice.

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Within Corporate and M&A, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a second tier firm,

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a well-established Latin America practice with a particularly impressive record in infrastructure, mining and financial sector transactions, and is known for its work representing major family-owned corporate groups in the region. It has also worked on a series of major restructurings, particularly in Brazil. Its practice is primarily located in New York, with senior figures and partners travelling regularly and extensively within the region, and its connections to Latin America and its expertise in dealing with linguistic and cultural aspects of transactions are increasingly recognised. In 2013 it acted for Pueblo Viejo Dominicana, a subsidiary of Barrick Gold and Goldcorp, in renegotiating the terms of the Pueblo Viejo Special Lease Agreement, with an estimated value of $1.5bn, a deal negotiated and documented in Spanish and subject to Dominican Republic law; New York partner and head of the Latin America practice group Maurizio Levi-Minzi led the advice, working alongside tax partner Peter Furci, a Portuguese and Spanish speaker who is regularly involved in Latin American transactions. Elsewhere, the firm acted for regular client Mitsui & Co on its $675m acquisition of a 20% interest in VLI, a Brazilian integrated general cargo logistics company wholly owned by Vale. The firm is also active in Chile, and in the financial sector in Colombia. Levi-Minzi is a prominent player in the infrastructure and mining sectors, particularly in Brazil, Chile and Colombia and increasingly in Peru, and has also acted for Ambev in a number of major transactions; he is ‘creative in finding solutions’ and ‘very good at reading people’, and his ‘international background makes him an asset for the firm’. Michael Gillespie is also a senior figure in the practice, and is heavily involved in Brazil, particularly for several family-owned groups and strategic acquirers; he is a renowned TMT expert and has acted for Brazil media giant Globo in several deals. David Grosgold is well known in the financial institutions space, as is Gregory Gooding, who is also recognised for private equity transactions and is ‘extremely responsive’, ‘diligent’, ‘business savvy’ and ‘well supported by the firm’. The team is ‘easy to work with’ and ‘creative’; it ‘thinks outside the box’, ‘goes the extra mile’ and ‘quickly adapts to the needs and characteristics of the client’.

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Within International arbitration, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP is a first tier firm,

An international arbitration stalwart in the US, Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a superb track record in both investment treaty and commercial arbitration throughout the Latin American region. Co-chaired by Donald Francis Donovan and David Rivkin, the team fields 12 other partners with capabilities in the area including the New-York-based Catherine Amirfar, Dietmar Prager and Mark Friedman. The team is able to draw on the firm’s renowned mining expertise and its client roster includes a number of the largest mining companies worldwide. In an illustration of its strength in this area, the team is representing project company Tethyan Copper, jointly owned by Antofagasta Minerals of Chile and Barrick Gold Corporation of Canada, in two arbitral proceedings against the Government of Balochistan, a province of Pakistan, following the denial of a mining licence: one in the ICC for contractual breaches, and the other in the ICSID for breaches of the bilateral investment treaty (BIT) between Pakistan and Australia. The group is active in some of the largest investment cases in the region; Friedman is currently handling an ICSID claim valued at over $3.5bn on behalf of Perenco Ecuador against the Republic of Ecuador in relation to the country’s amendment of its Hydrocarbons Law in 2006, and Rivkin secured a $2.3bn award for Occidental Petroleum Company and Occidental Exploration and Production Company in a BIT arbitration case against Ecuador. The firm has an established reputation in the commercial arbitration field and has recently handled ten ICC arbitrations on behalf of Brazilian parties alone. Donovan, Amirfar and Prager led on a high-profile dispute that spawned three ICC arbitrations seated in São Paulo, where the team represented Brazilian billionaire Abilio Diniz, founder and shareholder of Grupo Diniz, against his European joint venture partner Casino Guichard-Perrachon; the case settled for over €400m. Other clients include ExxonMobil Corporation, General Electric and Pueblo Viejo Dominicana Corporation. Also recommended is Christopher K Tahbaz, who splits his time between New York and Hong Kong, where the firm launched an international dispute practice in 2011.

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Within Projects and energy, tier 4

Debevoise & Plimpton LLP has a long history with Latin America and is consistently engaged in a range of landmark projects in the region, ranging from mining matters to toll road projects. Project finance is a core sector for the firm and it represents a variety of parties in this area including a number of MLAs and development banks such as IFC, IDB and CAF. The firm is also recognised for its expertise in the public-private partnership (PPP) segment, which it has been at the forefront of in the US. In addition, energy and natural resources is a key segment for the firm and in Latin America it is engaged in a number of mining projects most notably in Chile. Japanese trading house Mitsui & Co is a regular client in this space and the firm recently advised it in connection with its joint venture with Codelco to acquire a 29.5% stake in Anglo American Sur. The firm is also engaged in a series of infrastructure projects in Chile, including representing the lender in connection with the financing of additional works for refurbishment and upgrading of the Ruta del Bosque toll road project. Key partners include head of the Latin America practice group Maurizio Levi-Minzi and chair of the firm’s project finance and infrastructure group Ivan Mattei.

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Latin America: International firms



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Debevoise & Plimpton LLP

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