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United States : Finance
Within Bank lending (including other sources of financing), tier 6
Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides a ‘high level of service, has strong knowledge and business acumen and delivers appropriate advice’. It has particular strength on the borrower-side, leveraged from the firm’s private equity expertise, and is adept in restructuring and M&A. It acted for Apax Partners on the funding, by a group of banks including Morgan Stanley, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and Credit Suisse, of its acquisition of Kinetic Concepts; the financing involved $2.5bn of senior secured credit facilities, $1.75bn of senior secured second lien bonds and $750m of senior secured bonds. Linda Myers in Chicago led a team which acted for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company on its $1.5bn revolving credit facility and with lenders including Syndicate Group, JPMorgan Bank and Citibank. Jason Kanner in New York advised Carlyle on its leveraged finance acquisition of Worldstrides, which involved a fully underwritten senior secured bank facility provided by Ares Capital Corporation. Recommended attorneys include the ‘diligent and hardworking’ Leonard Klingbaum in New York, who is ‘adept at locating problems and finding solutions’, as well as Jason Kanner, with his ‘strong market knowledge’, Samantha Good in Los Angeles, and the ‘highly experienced, extremely hardworking and very knowledgeable’ Jay Ptashek in New York. The team made a number of lateral partner hires including Gregory Bauer in Chicago, Christopher Kirkham in San Francisco and David Nemecek in Los Angeles.
Within Capital markets: debt offerings , Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Calling on the strength of its private equity practice and distinguished client base, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is highly rated for the strength of its issuer counsel in both investment grade and high-yield debt offerings work. The team is based between Chicago and New York, and also has capital market capabilities in Washington DC and Los Angeles. Key individuals in New York include Joshua Korff and Christian Nagler, and in Chicago, Dennis Myers, Gerald Nowak and new partner Christopher Bennett, who joined from Reed Smith in 2011, are well known for their expertise. In 2011, a Chicago-based team led by Keith Crow and Robert Hayward advised key client Kellogg Company on a $400m offering of 3.25% senior notes due 2018. In New York, Korff and Michael Kim represented ABB Treasury Centre as issuer in a $600m offering of 2.5% notes due 2016 and a further $650m offering of 4% notes due 2021 on behalf of ABB. Other key clients include Wyndham Worldwide Corporation, Horsehead Corporation and Clearwire Corporation.
Within Capital markets: equity offerings , Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
With a top reputation for private equity work, Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a broad base of issuer clients and regularly advises on equity offerings. The practice is split between the firm’s Chicago and New York offices, and recent highlights include advising Trinseo on its $500m IPO, an offering led by the New York-based Joshua Korff and Christopher Kitchen, and advising Sensata Technologies Holding on a $762m offering of common stock, a transaction handled by Dennis Myers in Chicago. New York-based Christian Nagler, assisted by Scott Falk in Chicago, advised General Motors Company as the selling securityholder in the $1bn offering of fixed-rate perpetual preferred stock of Ally Financial. Robert Hayward in Chicago also advised US Silica Holdings on its $200m IPO. The firm is developing its experience in assisting underwriters, and in June 2011, Korff represented Goldman Sachs, Citigroup Global Markets, JPMorgan Securities and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as underwriters in the $300m IPO of Bankrate.
Within Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings , Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Leveraging off its superb private equity capabilities, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is known for advising private equity sponsors on high-yield debt offerings. The team is noted for its experience across several sectors, including media and entertainment, technology and energy. In 2011, it advised a private equity consortium, led by Apax Partners and including Kinetic Concepts, on a $1.75bn offering of 10.5% second-lien secured notes due 2019 and a further $750m offering of 12.5% senior notes due 2019 in order to finance a LBO deal. It also represented Charter Communications in three offerings of senior notes of aggregate amount $2.9bn; these transactions were led by the New York-based Joshua Korff and Christian Nagler, respectively, who are both recommended for their knowledge. From Chicago, Dennis Myers and Gerald Nowak are highly recommended, and Nowak recently represented NRG Energy on three offerings of senior notes of aggregate amount $3.2bn. Also in Chicago, James Rowe has a growing reputation, and advised CDW in three offerings of senior notes of total value $1.675bn.
Within Corporate restructuring, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Few firms can match the all-round firepower of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, with its ‘deep bench of experienced and business-savvy lawyers’ and its ability to maintain a creative culture that is ‘not bound by convention – enabling it to tackle many novel issues that have not gone through the bankruptcy court before’. Widely acknowledged to be one of the top three specialist debtor’s counsel, the firm scores points for its ‘good relationships with creditors’ counsels and advisors, which assures that little effort is wasted on needless posturing’. Significantly, the firm’s preeminent experience in advising companies ensures that when it does represent creditors – and it has experience in advising the full spread of creditors’ and equity committees – it has a tactical advantage in terms of anticipating debtors’ actions. Cross-border advice is a notable strength, as is the firm’s strong full-service support; a ‘highly integrated practice that can draw on a variety of related expertise in the corporate, tax, regulatory and real estate areas’. New clients continue to turn to the firm in their droves and recent additions to the firm’s roster include MSR Resort Golf Course, Nebraska Book Company and Sbarro – they join names such as Corus Bankshares and Japan Airlines Corporation. The firm advised on some of the biggest filings of 2010; most notably, James Sprayregen (‘one of the top partners in this field’), Paul Basta (‘great knowledge and response times’), Ray Schrock (‘excellent and growing in profile’) and attorney James Mazza advised The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, which has assets of $2.5bn and a workforce of over 40,500 people, in its Chapter 11 cases. In another headline matter, the firm represented Innkeepers USA Trust, the owner and operator of an extended-stay and select-service hotel chain, on its successful guidance out of Chapter 11 following the $1bn sale of 64 hotels to a joint venture and the $195m sale of five other hotels to Chatham Lodging. Other leading individuals include ‘restructuring doyen’ Richard Cieri, Adam Paul, who ‘applies experience in a practical manner’, and Edward Sassower – a ‘tireless advocate with a highly evolved understanding of what matters to financial clients’.
Within Financial services: litigation, tier 4
The lion’s share of financial services disputes handled by Kirkland & Ellis LLP recently has centered on bankruptcy claims. Herald USA Fund instructed the team to represent it in Madoff fallout litigation, a role that saw Joseph Serino achieve a motion to dismiss a $2bn putative class action. He also acted for Herald in a $20bn RICO action as well as clawback claims worth over $600m brought by Irving Picard. The team’s representation of parties in Madoff-related disputes has grown to include nine other feeder funds too. General litigator Andrew Clubok is a key advisor to UBS, and recently acted for the client in nationwide cases concerning losses arising from naked short selling. Trial lawyer Emily Nicklin has earned an excellent reputation for representing accountancy firms including PriceWaterhouseCoopers Canada, which she defended against claims brought by defrauded investors in feeder funds. Alexander Pilmer acted for the securities division of a major bank (and its affiliates) in three actions brought by other financial institutions concerning its underwriting of CMBS and RMBS.
Within Structured finance , tier 4
‘Premium firm’ Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘very strong on large transactions’ and commended for its competitive rates and responsiveness. The group is ‘at the top of the auto securitization market’, where it is acting for Ally Bank and Ally Financial in a $15bn revolving credit warehouse facility, providing funding for auto loans, auto leases and dealer floorplan loans. While the firm is often better known for representing auto finance issuers, it also handles an array of securitization transactions involving many other asset classes. In 2011, the firm advised RBS Securities and Deutsche Bank (as structuring agents and initial purchasers) on two term securitizations of timeshare loan receivables under the Sierra program of Wyndham Worldwide Corporation. In Chicago, recommended individuals include Kenneth Morrison, who has a ‘knowledgeable and calm demeanor’, and Jeffrey O’Connor, ‘an excellent technical lawyer, who provides creative solutions to structuring challenges’. In New York, clients are ‘very happy with the expertise and approach’ of Scott Gordon. Janette McMahan is a ‘hard worker and good negotiator’.
United States : Industry focus
Within Energy: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP leverages the firm’s overall litigation expertise to represent oil and gas clients across the gamut of energy litigation matters. The team acts for key client BP in a variety of cases, including antitrust, royalty, and public and consumer class actions. The Chicago-based team, led by leading lawyer Richard Godfrey, continues to act as BP’s lead counsel in In Re Spill by the Oil Rig “Deepwater Horizon” in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, as well as related lawsuits and the case opened by the Marine Board of Investigation. The team is also defending Spanish and Argentinian oil and gas companies, Repsol and YPF, against fraudulent conveyance and alter ego claims relating to a US subsidiary. This action was initiated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and is currently being heard in the New Jersey Superior Courts. The firm also acts extensively for ExxonMobil, and other notable clients include Calpine, ConocoPhillips, and Hoosier Energy.
Within Environment: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a ‘particularly strategic and creative’ practice that regularly acts in civil, criminal and administrative environmental proceedings, across government enforcement actions, Superfund matters, insurance coverage cases, contract and indemnity claims, toxic tort suits and challenges to federal and state rulings. The firm continues to represent BP in the extensive litigation relating to the Deepwater Horizon drilling-rig explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; the case includes some 661 individual and class action lawsuits. It also successfully defended The Dow Chemical Company against a mass tort action in Michigan, in which the plaintiffs were seeking damages for over 3,000 property owners relating to contamination of property; and is defending international oil and gas firms Repsol and YPF in litigation initiated by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, involving allegations of pollution liability relating to the Passaic River against the companies’ indirect subsidiary. Other clients include 7-Eleven, ExxonMobil, Keystone, General Motors, Tronox Incorporated and ConocoPhillips. Chicago-based Richard Godfrey heads the team working on the BP litigation. Granta Nakayama is a former EPA attorney who specializes in enforcement actions and regulatory litigation. Andrew Running’s practice spans environmental bankruptcy, insurance, toxic tort and general commercial litigation. Jeffrey Clark has experience in air quality matters, and is valued as ‘very responsive to client needs’. Jeffrey Davidson, based in Los Angeles, is noted for his ‘in-depth understanding of environmental indemnity issues’.
Within Environment: transaction and regulatory, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s practice is ‘excellent’, and ‘has a deep bench on environmental and regulatory matters’. The large group is involved in all aspects of environmental transactions, to include due diligence, acquisitions, contract negotiations, permit transfers, environmental insurance, liability transfer and securities disclosure, as well as the assessment of Bankruptcy Code impact on environmental liabilities. On the regulatory side, it is representing the US Chamber of Commerce in three related challenges to greenhouse gas rulemaking. These regulations were brought by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in an attempt to curb emissions under the auspices of the Clean Air Act (CAA). The firm is challenging the Endangerment Rule, Triggering Rule and Tailoring Rule, along with 15 states and 65 private entities across the economic spectrum. On the transactional side, the firm assisted in the ABB acquisition of Baldor Electric ompany, which is worth $4.2bn. It also acts as lead environmental counsel for Berry Plastics and American Standard Brands, where it handles M&A, compliance, site remediation and enforcement issues. In January 2011, the firm provided counsel to Chemtura Corporation in the successful completion of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructuring. It settled obligations at approximately 100 sites with federal and state regulators, property owners and other entities for cash payments of $68m. This total includes a $27m settlement with the EPA that covers 19 Superfund sites in 16 states. These settlements were in response to EPA claims that the value was in excess of $2bn. Other clients include 7-Eleven, GM, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips. Walter Lohmann is the head of the environmental transactions practice out of Washington DC, and is regularly recommended by clients and peers alike.
United States : Intellectual property
Within Copyright, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's copyright team is part of an integrated trademark, internet and advertising litigation group, and is ‘very experienced, smart, keeps up on the law and even influences the creation of law on copyright issues'. It acts for major names across entertainment, publishing and high-tech industries, with clients including The Tetris Company, IBM and Fox Entertainment Group. New York-based Dale Cendali is well known for handling high-profile copyright cases, and for her expertise in fair use issues. Cendali and Claudia Ray were part of the team that settled a lawsuit for The Associated Press, which had brought a claim against artist Shepard Fairey over the use of its copyrighted Barack Obama photograph to create the 'Obama Hope' poster, which was also used on merchandise. Cendali and Claudia Ray previously represented Scholastic Inc in obtaining a dismissal of a copyright infringement claim brought by the estate of the late author Adrian Jacobs, which alleged that JK Rowling's fourth book in the Harry Potter series infringed a 1987 novel by Jacobs.
Within Patent licensing and transactional, tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is very active in patent licensing, and advises clients in the private equity, energy and utilities and pharmaceutical sectors. Work highlights include litigation settlement negotiations, and assisting a client with the development and commercialization of new branded generic drugs in emerging markets such as China and India. Russell Levine is a key member of the practice, and splits his time between patent licensing agreements and disputes over patent infringement and technology transfer. Neil Hirshman, Gregg Kirchhoefer and New York-based David MacDonald are also key figures. All lawyers are based in Chicago, except where noted otherwise.
Within Patent litigation: full coverage, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
‘One of the top firms in IP litigation', Kirkland & Ellis LLP's ‘broad, cost-effective team provides excellent service. Its response time is outstanding, as is its technical and business knowledge'. This busy trial practice acts for clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Abbott Laboratories, Siemens, Cisco, IBM, Boston Scientific and Amgen. Russell Levine is ‘a first-class professional that presents himself and the firm in a down-to-earth manner that always keeps the best interests of the client first'. Levine led for BP Lubricants in a successful and important Federal Circuit appellate win against Thomas Simonian in which the court ruled that it is insufficient simply for the plaintiff to identify a falsely marked product but that the plaintiff had to show evidence of intent to deceive consumers. This decision led to a notable decline in new filings of patent false marking suits. Luke Dauchot won a $101m award for a Medtronic entity in an infringement case brought against NuVasive regarding medical devices used in spinal surgery. He also achieved a damages award for Alcatel-Lucent at appeal in a long-running dispute with Microsoft. Other recommended attorneys include ‘outstanding first chair litigation partner' Gregory Arovas and Mark Pals, who handles pharmaceutical and biotechnology cases. Robert Krupka retired, but the firm recruited Kenneth Adamo from Jones Day and Michael De Vries from Latham & Watkins LLP.
Within Patent litigation: International Trade Commission, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's extensive trial litigation practice sees many blue-chip clients of that practice turn to the firm to handle ITC investigations. Gregory Arovas and Edward Donovan have been part of the team involved in the smartphone disputes and also successfully acted for Samsung in its semiconductor patent dispute with Spansion. Steven Cherny, Eric Lamison and De Vries are acting for respondent Cisco in a complaint filed by patent licensing company Mosaid. The firm recently hired Chicago-based Kenneth Adamo from Jones Day and Los Angeles-based Michael De Vries from Latham & Watkins LLP. The lateral hires have previously represented clients such as IBM, Oracle and Broadcom.
Within Trademarks: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP's trademark litigation team acts for numerous leading clients, and is primarily based in New York. Dale Cendali is well known, having litigated numerous IP cases across a broad range of sectors. These include having acted for Colgate-Palmolive to settle a dispute with Johnson & Johnson regarding the client's Total toothpaste mark, as well as successfully defending The Walt Disney Company against a trademark lawsuit brought by the owner of the Mr Men and Little Miss literary series. Claudia Ray handles internet-related litigation and is currently involved in defending Apple against infringement claims regarding its iBook trademarks. Cendali and Los Angeles-based Diana Torres are acting for Limited Brands in a trademark dispute against Summit Entertainment, which owns the Twilight film series, in moving to dismiss an action against the client's ‘Twilight Woods' line of products. The team also represented Limited Brands in a case filed by footwear maker Fortune Dynamics regarding the plaintiff's ‘Delicious' registered trademark, which was settled following a Ninth Circuit appeal. Jeanne Heffernan has experience representing luxury brand owners such as Hermès.
United States : Investment fund formation and management
Within Alternative/hedge funds, tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s investment management practice can ‘handle work across a wide breadth of fund types and complex projects’, and is ‘extremely responsive and can call on deep resources to perform work quickly’. Its team of ten attorneys handles fund formation, transactional and regulatory work for asset managers such as BlueBay Asset Management and Neuberger Berman. In 2011, it acted for the latter and its affiliates in several hedge fund formations, including single-investor vehicles designed specifically for Japanese institutional investors. It also handles investment matters for funds-of-funds and institutional investors, and recently acted for General Motors Investment Management Company and GMAM Absolute Return Strategies Fund in making more than $200m of investments in a variety of funds and accounts. Chicago-based Scott Moehrke and Nabil Sabki are the key figures, working ‘to deliver excellent, timely, well thought-out advice on various market and regulatory trends’.
Within Private equity funds, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP continues to be ‘go-to deal counsel’ for a significant proportion of GP sponsors. Its winning combination of ‘a deeply integrated team and a truly global reach’ has ensured healthy deal activity despite challenging market conditions. In 2011, it represented some 130 private equity sponsors in 157 fund raisings and closings, constituting around 25% of the aggregate publicly reported funds raised in the US in 2011. The US team is based in six offices and has an international network that brings the total to 35 corporate and real estate partners delivering ‘exceptional work’ in fund formation, M&A and regulatory matters. The group has a particularly strong niche in secondary transactions – for example, it has advised Partners Group on over 70 transactions totaling more than $4bn, and gained several new clients in 2011, including Pantheon Ventures and Citibank. Targeted buyout funds have been another fruitful source of instructions, with the team acting for the sponsors of GTCR Fund X, a $3.25bn buyout fund targeting investments across high-growth areas such as technology, healthcare and financial services. It also acted for Golden Gate Capital on its $3.5bn Golden Gate Capital Opportunity Fund, which achieved 95% of its target amount on its initial closing in October 2011. It is also in demand among institutional investors, who value its ‘broad exposure to counterparties and GPs’, and these clients include Invesco Private Capital and Morgan Stanley AIP. The ‘client-focused’ partners are roundly regarded as ‘thought leaders’ in the private equity space, with New York-based Andrew Wright singled out for his ‘strategic vision, tremendous technical expertise and understanding of the commercial operations of investment funds, rather than just the legal theory’. In Chicago, Margaret Gibson is regular counsel to Bank of America’s affiliated funds and spin-offs, and ‘applies a consistent but balanced approach to negotiations’; Michael Belsley provides ‘extremely insightful and thoughtfully crafted resolutions’; and private funds group head Bruce Ettelson is also highly recommended for his ‘dedicated leadership’. In New York, John O’Neil is very well regarded.
United States : Labor and employment
Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has seen a shift towards more transactional work, thanks in part to the strength of its benefits practice. The ‘very responsive and knowledgeable’ Vicki Hood, leads the ‘extremely good’ employee benefits team from Chicago, while Scott Price in New York heads the executive compensation team. Restructuring has remained an important area for the practice, with recent work including advising Chemtura on its complete operational restructuring; Hood advised on the pensions, retiree medical benefits and fiduciary issues in the transaction. In another significant instruction, the firm acted for Constellation Energy Group in its merger with Exelon, with Price joined by Howard Klein in handling the executive compensation aspects. Dominic DeMatties, in Washington DC, is also recommended. Practice clients include Golden Gate Capital, YRC Worldwide, and The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company.
United States : Litigation
Within Leading trial lawyers,
William Pratt, Kirkland & Ellis LLP: William Pratt has built his reputation across a wide variety of substantive areas, from antitrust and IP to trade secrets and environmental litigation. Recently, Pratt won a trial for a group of clients including Samsung Electronics and IBM in a high-stakes technology patent licensing matter before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: aerospace/aviation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has recently been working for Boeing, defending it in litigation arising from an accident in the Netherlands in 2009, which involved nine fatalities and a number of severe injuries. The firm was involved in the accident investigation as well as acting as counsel for the sole defendant in litigation brought by 124 plaintiffs in Illinois. It also defended Boeing in litigation relating to a flight that veered off the runway during takeoff in Denver; and following the crash of a Marine Corps F/A-18 fighter jet into a family residence in California. The bulk of the practice is based in Washington DC, where Daniel Bress, Matthew Papez, Craig Primis and Edwin U are the key contacts. Chicago-based Michael Slade is also recommended.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco), Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a long-established reputation in this space, exemplified through solid client relationships with Honeywell, BAT, Brown & Williamson and RJ Reynolds. The firm is defending the former in a False Claims Act case brought by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) alleging that it made defective body armor sold to law enforcement officers. For the latter three, a defense verdict was obtained in 2011 following 12 years of litigation in which 61 Missouri hospitals sought to recover some $4bn in uncompensated smoking-related healthcare costs. The team’s ‘solid’ practice head Andrew McGaan played a key role in the victory. Other successes have included defending Motorola against claims that cell phone use causes brain damage. McGann is located in Chicago and has taken up the leadership role following the departure of Stephen Patton, who left to serve as the City of Chicago’s corporate counsel. Other key team members Eugene Assaf, Michael Jones, Jennifer Levy and Craig Primis are based in Washington DC.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is known for its strong product liability practice and often attracts national instructions. For example, it is representing Baxter Healthcare and affiliates of Teva Pharmaceuticals in a set of cases arising from a hepatitis outbreak in Las Vegas in 2008. After the first trial resulted in a verdict against the defendants, the firm was called upon to work on the appeal and to try the remaining cases. Additional work for Baxter includes a case brought by the estate of an individual who agreed to participate as a subject in a clinical trial sponsored by the company, during which he died. It is advising Hoffman La-Roche and certain other companies in a personal injury lawsuit involving the drug Accutane and its generic equivalents. Recommended attorneys include Michael Foradas and Leslie Smith in Chicago, Jay Lefkowitz in New York and Jennifer Levy in Washington DC.
Within Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘an exceptional firm’ that has participated in some of the most complex and significant matters in recent years. Examples include the well-documented victory for Dow Chemicals in Cook v Rockwell, and its work for BP in the Deepwater Horizon case. With regards to the latter, the team is handling nearly 400 individual and class action lawsuits filed as a result of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the case opened by the Marine Board of Investigation. The firm is also assisting BP with investigations by various governmental agencies. Other highlights in 2011 included securing a victory for Verizon in environmental tort claims brought by two individuals; the plaintiffs claimed the company was liable for illnesses suffered as a result of working at a warehouse in New York during the 1990s. The site had previously been used as a nuclear fuel production facility, and plaintiffs claimed that certain chemical substances remained. Richard Godfrey has been instrumental in the BP litigation; he is based in Chicago alongside Kevin Van Wart, Douglas Kurtenbach and Thomas Morel. The practice also includes William Pratt and Lee Ann Stevenson in New York, and Eugene Assaf in Washington DC.
Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 4
Largely concentrated in New York, but aided by teams in Chicago, California and Washington, Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a ‘top-notch awareness of the industry’, alongside a ‘wealth of experience in representing auditors’ and ‘excellent bench strength’ – it is also commended for ‘getting associates involved early which empowers them to become better lawyers’. Housed in New York: ‘good communicator’ Peter Doyle is an ‘excellent litigator in all facets’; Andrew Clubok is ‘tireless, tenacious and strategic’; and Yosef Riemer is a ‘strong advocate, has a deep understanding of securities cases and doesn’t get rattled by anything’. In a series of high-value cases, the firm successfully represented real estate developer, Atrium European Real Estate in 15 litigations and arbitrations across seven countries against the troubled Meinl Bank. The litigation involved claims of €3.7bn and led to the separation of Meinl Bank and Atrium. The firm was also instructed by private equity giant Blackstone Group to defend it in three lawsuits worth $8.4bn against Extended Stay Litigation Trust arising from the sale of now-bankrupt company Extended Stay by Blackstone-controlled entities in 2007.
Within Supreme Court and appellate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘aggressive, smart, and tough’ appellate group is excellent for ‘big, complex, bet-the-company cases’. The team represented Raytheon in achieving victory before the Eleventh Circuit in a highly publicized lawsuit in which homeowners in St Petersburg, Florida, filed a $400m class action after groundwater contamination of their homes. Another significant victory was obtained for Teva before the US Supreme Court when Jay Lefkowitz argued a case which led to a ruling that federal law pre-empts state law tort claims against manufacturers of generic drugs. Lefkowitz ‘provides a depth of understanding and influence in some of the highest courts of our country’. Other clients include Morgan Stanley, Dow AgroSciences and Barr Pharmaceuticals.
Within Trade secrets, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘superior’ IP and general litigation practitioners are stationed in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Washington DC, providing national reach to clients in a range of sectors looking for penetrating trial experience. Lawyers handle contentious matters from patent disputes to IP rights, and have seen a recent increase in trade secrets cases involving employee moves, business to business competition and trade secret misappropriation, reflecting the speed with which injunctive relief needs to be obtained. With a strong client base in the technology sector, the firm is currently instructed by aerospace, defense and civil electronics specialist Raytheon in its defense of an allegation of theft of air-traffic control-related trade secrets; Jeffrey Rosen and Chris Posteraro in Washington DC lead on the case. The ‘first-class professional’ Russell Levine and Cory Spence in Chicago are representing Coskata in a high-profile, biofuel industry trade secret misappropriation case against competing ethanol bio-fermentation producer INEOS brought under the Illinois Trade Secrets Act.
Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 5
The ‘best in class’, Debevoise & Plimpton’s ‘cordial, talented and responsive’ white-collar and government investigations team has an ‘unparalleled level of knowledge’ across the spectrum of matters including financial fraud, FCPA violations and matters impacting on the pharmaceutical industry. The team has ‘recent, practical experience and an effective way of delivering advice to lawyers and non-lawyers alike’, and handles criminal and SEC investigations and litigation, as well as parallel civil and administrative proceedings. Recognized as the ‘doyen of the white-collar bar’, co-head Mary Jo White is regularly called upon by corporates to extricate them from high-stakes problems. Very active in the financial industry, she continues to represent Kenneth Lewis, former CEO of Bank of America, and recently successfully argued that he should not face individual charges in the SEC’s case against the bank for its disclosures relating to the acquisition of Merrill Lynch. White is one of no fewer than 11-former assistant US attorneys that also includes ‘excellent’ co-chair Bruce Yannett, who was recently part of a multi-office team that represented Ferrostaal in an extensive internal compliance investigation regarding allegations of corruption in several jurisdictions. The ‘thoughtful, commercial and very experienced’ Sean Hecker is representing a former employee of JPMorgan in an SEC inquiry into CDO transactions. Andrew Ceresney and Matthew Fishbein are recommended. Clients include Bristol-Myers Squibb, Forest Laboratories, Ferrostaal and HCA. Neil Eggleston left in February 2012 to join Kirkland & Ellis LLP.
United States : Media, technology and telecoms
Within Marketing and advertising, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
At Kirkland & Ellis LLP, practice head Ross Weisman’s 15-strong marketing and advertising team in Chicago, Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles is part of the firm’s IP group and supported by its national footprint. Work includes investigating, prosecuting and defending advertising, marketing and unfair competition claims. The group has an impressive track record of handling high-profile, big-ticket and challenging cases, representing clients before the FTC, and handling litigation and NAD work for high-profile advertisers. In 2011, Weisman and his team represented DIRECTV against Comcast Corporation in relation to allegations concerning DIRECTV’s advertising for its NFL Sunday Ticket promotion. Other clients include Abbott Laboratories and Verizon Communications. Tom Monagan focuses on Lanham Act litigation. Chicago-based Paul Garcia left to join Kelley Drye & Warren LLP.
Within Technology: outsourcing, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s 50-lawyer practice advises customers and service providers on procurement initiatives, multi-tower and multi-provider deals, and ITO and BPO initiatives that use outsourcing as a platform for strategic development and growth. Clients appreciate the group’s ‘excellent service levels’ and attorneys’ ‘good, knowledgeable, impartial advice’. Practice head Gregg Kirchhoefer in Chicago is advising a financial services/insurance company on a $3.5bn initiative to transform the customer experience. ‘Excellent relationship manager’ Neil Hirshman guided National Grid through seven IT transactions in a multi-tower, multi-vendor transformational outsourcing involving negotiations with some of the largest and most sophisticated service providers. Stephen Johnson in California and Matthew Lovell in Chicago combine intellectual property and outsourcing expertise. The firm’s international footprint supports global deals for Allstate, National Grid, XChanging, CIGNA, Kellogg and Lawson.
United States : Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts
Within Antitrust, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
‘Excellent in all respects’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP ‘knows the law inside out’ and has a strong track record for antitrust litigation where it continues to excel in defending clients involved in civil and criminal cases. The firm recently represented Chiquita Brands International before the European Commission on aspects of a 2005 leniency application relating to the exchange of pricing and other information with competitors in Europe, which included follow-on litigation in the US. The group not only has strong European expertise but is also increasing its focus on Asia, where James Mutchnik is the key driver (recommended for his ‘practical advice and superb service’). In the M&A clearance sphere, the firm successfully guided Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, through Federal Trade Commission (FTC) clearance of the $6.8bn acquisition of biopharmaceutical company Cephalon; the transaction was announced in May 2011 and closed just three months later, following approval by the European Commission. Noteworthy individuals include Washington DC-based Timothy Muris and Christine Wilson. In Chicago, David Zott is a ‘bulldog of a litigator, who knows his stuff’. Daniel Laytin is appreciated for his economic background; he is ‘the smartest guy in whichever room he’s in, but doesn’t flaunt it’. Zott and Laytin’s recent work includes acting for General Motors and General Motors of Canada in a major cartel case concerning alleged conspiracy to prevent importation of lower-priced Canadian vehicles, which involves virtually the entire US automotive industry. The US team spans offices in Chicago, New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles, and also acts for clients such as BP America, EVA Airways and Constellation Energy Group.
Within M&A: litigation, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s litigators are trained as trial-ready generalists, allowing them to contribute to a variety of types of cases, including disputes related to M&A, dispositions and hostile transactions, its work in M&A litigation an outgrowth of the firm’s representation of clients in securities and shareholder actions. Highlights for the practice included representing Avis Budget Group in connection with its hostile-turned-friendly acquisition bid for the Dollar Thrifty Group, the case turning into a widely watched bidding war as it involved the biggest players in the car rental market and will have a significant impact on the car rental industry. The practice also defended optionsXpress Holdings, and its directors, in a shareholder class action that challenged the optionsXpress board of director’s decision, announced in 2011, to merge with The Charles Schwab Corporation, in a deal valued at more than $1bn. The firm’s key US partners that have experience in this practice area include New York-based Yosef Riemer, Peter Doyle, Joel Blanchet, Eric Leon, and Joseph Serino; and James Basile, Elizabeth Deeley and Mark McKane in San Francisco.
Within M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+), Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘outstanding. The lawyers have excellent business acumen and the advice is always on target’. For one client, the team is ‘incredibly responsive and thoughtful. The attorneys bring a real breadth of knowledge of M&A activity, and cover almost all of the substantive areas we need for such transactions. While they are expensive, we believe that they are value for money given the level of service and expertise’. The practice advised Constellation Energy Group in its announced $7.9bn merger with Exelon Corporation in a stock-for-stock transaction; acted for Teva Pharmaceuticals, the world’s largest generic drugmaker, in its $6.8bn acquisition of drug company Cephalon, which brought together the world’s largest generic drug maker and a branded drug company with significant branded products; and represented Anglo Irish Bank in connection with the sale of a portfolio of approximately 250 loans, secured by real estate across the US with a total aggregate principal balance of approximately $10bn. The team also represented the special committee of the board of directors of Expedia in connection with the split up of the company, assisted Oklahoma-based Tronox in its $3.4bn acquisition of the mineral sands operations of coal and iron ore miner Exxaro Resources, which includes facilities in Australia and South Africa. The firm also advised Koor Industries in its agreement for Makhteshim Agan Group to carry out a merger with a subsidiary of ChemChina, and was counsel to iGate Corporation and Apax Partners in iGate’s acquisition of a significant majority of the shareholding of public Indian company Patni Computer Systems, the transaction being the largest ever acquisition of an information technology company in India and one of the largest leveraged acquisitions of an Indian company to date. In the mid-market, the practice represented Headstrong in its $550m sale to Genpact, India’s largest business process outsourcing services provider, the deal marking one of the largest acquisitions in the business process outsourcing sector in 2011; acted for Sara Lee Corporation in its $545m sale of its North American refrigerated dough business to Ralcorp Frozen Bakery Products, a division of Ralcorp Holdings; and represented EMS Technologies, a supplier of communications equipment to the aerospace, defense and trucking industries, in its $491m acquisition by Honeywell International. Other highlights included advising APAC Customer Services in its $470m sale to One Equity Partners, which is JPMorgan’s private equity fund. The firm is also adept at handling hostile situations, from both an offensive and defensive position. It recently represented Pershing Square Capital Management in its investment in J C Penney, and advised McCormick and Schmick’s in the defense of a hostile takeover by Landry’s Restaurant. In addition, the firm represented notable new client Bristol-Myers Squibb in its agreement to acquire Inhibitex for approximately $2.5bn, the agreement being the biggest among 18 deals made by Bristol since 2007. New York-based David Fox is a leading member of the corporate group. Fox focuses his practice on complex M&A. Also in New York, Thomas Christopher is a ‘great public company M&A lawyer and strong on corporate governance’, Jeffrey Symons is ‘very personable, knowledgeable, quick to respond, and a pleasure to work with’, and William Sorabella ‘provides critical support and is very knowledgeable on M&A matters’. In Washington DC, Mitchell Hertz is ‘great for all sorts of asset transactions’, and George Stamas ‘is an outstanding counselor and strategic thinker’. Mark Director in Washington DC is also recommended.
Within Private equity buyouts, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
With private equity very much at the heart of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s domestic and global practice, it is widely commended for its dedication to major buyouts as well as middle-market transactions. The ‘world-class’ firm has ‘great industry knowledge’ and ‘infinite bandwidth’ thanks to having the largest private equity team in the US by some distance. It now represents more than 280 private equity clients around the world, while some 60% of the firm’s transactional lawyers are principally engaged in private equity. With large support departments including an ‘excellent’ tax team, as well as employee benefits, real estate and intellectual property specialists, among others, the firm is able to handle the largest and most complex transactions in this sector. The team is also renowned for its expertise in distressed deals thanks to the firm’s ‘interdisciplinary knowledge of bankruptcy law and M&A’. Indeed clients feel the firm is equally capable on bet-the-company transactions as well as straightforward middle-market deals. Chicago remains its biggest driver of private equity revenue, although New York, as well as its San Francisco and Silicon Valley offices, are now significant contributors to the domestic practice. Over the last few years, its West Coast offices have developed strong connections to major private equity houses such as Golden Gate Capital and Vista Equity Partners. These now sit alongside key domestic and global clients such as Madison Dearborn Partners, Bain Capital, Oaktree Capital Management, Sun Capital Partners, CVC Capital Partners and Apax Partners. The firm illustrated its national and international credentials in 2011 when it represented iGate Corporation and Apax Partners in connection with iGate’s $1.2bn acquisition of a significant majority of the shareholding of Indian public company Patni Computer Systems. It also advised marquee clients Bain Capital and GTCR on a series of transactions during 2011. Amongst the ‘extremely talented and experienced’ team of lawyers are the eminent Kirk Radke in New York, Chicago’s Douglas Gessner who is praised for his ‘client service’, Matthew Steinmetz, Stephen Ritchie, Sanford Perl, Jon Ballis, Richard Campbell, and David Breach and Stephen Oetgen in San Francisco. Kevin Evanich has now retired and Jeffrey Hammes is chairman of the management committee. The ‘exceptional’ Walt Holzer is praised for his ‘pragmatic approach’, ‘business acumen’ and ‘sector knowledge’.
United States : Real estate and construction
Within Construction (including construction litigation), Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
The construction litigation team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP represents clients involved in projects for commercial buildings, nuclear generating systems, sports stadiums, industrial plants, underground tunnels, airports and residential developments. The firm represented Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP in a serious personal injury claim by a worker at Trump Tower, claiming the client was in part responsible for unsafe design; it filed a summary judgement and the plaintiff and other parties stipulated that they would not contest, and the case was dismissed with prejudice. The firm has significant expertise in mass tort cases, and continues to represent Verizon, a building owner defendant in what is believed to be the largest mass tort litigation in the country; the case involves around 1,500 claims brought by workers engaged in the clean-up and repair of buildings damaged in the September 11 attacks, involving hundreds of defendants; the cases have been consolidated in a single docket in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. The construction practice is led by experienced litigator James Nowacki, who is highly regarded within the industry. Elizabeth Hess is also recommended.
Within Real estate, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a second tier firm,
In the summer of 2011, Kirkland & Ellis LLP hired ten seasoned real estate partners into its New York and Chicago offices, bringing the total number of partners to 19. The appointees include Daniel Perlman in Chicago, a former vice chair of the global real estate practice at Paul Hastings LLP, and Scott Berger in New York, a former practice head at White & Case LLP. The ‘very responsive and highly qualified’ team is heavily involved in restructuring assets, portfolio management and investments in a distressed market, and has recently experienced an increase in work for sovereign wealth funds. Veteran partners Stephen Tomlinson and the ‘very business-minded and practical’ Jennifer Morgan in the New York office have been representing Anglo Irish Bank Corporation in the sale of its 250-loan portfolio secured by various property types, with an approximate value of $10bn. Morgan and Tomlinson also represented Archstone on its $5.4bn debt-to-equity conversion, and continue to act for it on an $8.3bn debt modification. The firm has consolidated its longstanding relationship with Starwood since the arrival of Berger, Jonathan Schechter and Andrew Shiner, advising on acquisitions, joint ventures, distressed investments and fund offerings. Partners in the Chicago office are assisting General Growth Properties in its joint venture partnership with the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board.
United States : Tax
Within Domestic tax: Central, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a first tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s firm-wide tax group numbers some 77 lawyers, with approximately 47 of these based in its Chicago office. William Levy, who joined the Chicago office in June 2011 from Mayer Brown, is the most recent addition to the team. The group handles tax planning in connection with domestic and foreign M&A, buyouts, international restructurings, bankruptcy reorganisations, as well as contested tax matters in connection with challenges by the IRS and by foreign and state tax authorities. The firm is particularly recommended for its tax strength in the REIT and private equity fund area, and clients report the firm has a promising growing real estate area. Bruce Gelman is ‘clearly a recognized national leader’ in the REIT and private equity funds space. Active clients include Apax Partners, Archstone, Bain Capital and Constellation Energy Group.
Within Domestic tax: East Coast, tier 4
16 fee-earners are based in Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York office which clients describe as ‘nothing short of fabulous’, and which has particular strengths in private equity transactions, including fund formation, and in corporate reconstruction and bankruptcy. The firm has recently been instructed by Constellation Energy Group to assist in its $7.9bn merger with Exelon Corporation in a stock-for-stock transaction. Steven Clemens and Scott Price advised Teva Pharmaceuticals on the tax aspects in connection with its $6.8bn acquisition of Cephalon. Other active clients include ABB, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apax Partners. Patrick Gallagher is ‘very knowledgeable’, and Steven Clemens applies ‘great technical knowledge with an incredibly practical business sense’.
Within International tax, tier 4
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s practice has seen exponential overseas growth, opening offices in Shanghai and adding new partner Angela Russo’s tax expertise to its Hong Kong office. The firm recently advised new client Trononx and its affiliates through its Chapter 11 reorganization including in the development and confirmation of a consensual plan based on a heavily negotiated creditor settlement to resolve billions of dollars in liabilities with general unsecured creditors and equity holders also getting a stake in the reorganized business. The firm also represented Apax Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and TA Associates in connection with the tax aspects of their $7bn sale of interest in Wind Telecom to VimpelCom. Other active clients include Bain Capital and iGate Corporation.
Within Tax controversy, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is a third tier firm,
Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s Chicago-based tax controversy practice has gained a reputation for its success in obtaining positive results for clients in administrative controversies that have not yet reached litigation. The team attracts a growing flow of international work, in particular transfer pricing matters, and the practice is now split fairly equally between federal, SALT and transfer pricing matters. It has also witnessed an increase in litigation relating to bankruptcy cases, such as the representation of Majestic Star Casino in contesting the real property assessment of two of the company’s riverboat casinos; the client was granted a total victory, in a case which otherwise would have jeopardized its emergence from bankruptcy. Natalie Hoyer Keller, who ‘exudes confidence and knowledge of the subject matter’ and has an ‘irrefutable presence’ in court, led the case. The firm also works with a number of major airlines, and has represented several of them in controversy matters. Todd Maynes is also recommended.
Further information on Kirkland & Ellis LLP
Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Kirkland & Ellis LLP in other jurisdictions.
Offices in Shanghai
Offices in Munich
Offices in Hong Kong
- Banking and finance : Banking and finance
- Capital markets (debt) : Capital markets (debt)
- Capital markets (equity) : Capital markets (equity)
- Corporate (including M&A) : Corporate (including M&A)
- Investment funds : Investment funds
- Private equity : Private equity
Offices in London
- Corporate and commercial : Corporate tax
- Corporate and commercial : Financial services
- Corporate and commercial : M&A: premium deals, £250m+
- Corporate and commercial : Private equity: transactions
- Crime, fraud and licensing : Fraud: corporate crime
- Dispute resolution : International arbitration
- Finance : Acquisition finance
- Finance : Corporate restructuring and insolvency
- Finance : High yield
- Finance : Investment funds
- Finance : Bank lending (including other sources of financing)
- Finance : Capital markets: debt offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: equity offerings
- Finance : Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
- Finance : Corporate restructuring
- Finance : Financial services: litigation
- Finance : Structured finance
- Industry focus : Energy: litigation
- Industry focus : Environment: litigation
- Industry focus : Environment: transaction and regulatory
- Intellectual property : Copyright
- Intellectual property : Patent licensing and transactional
- Intellectual property : Patent litigation: full coverage
- Intellectual property : Patent litigation: International Trade Commission
- Intellectual property : Trademarks: litigation
- Investment fund formation and management : Alternative/hedge funds
- Investment fund formation and management : Private equity funds
- Labor and employment : Employee benefits and executive compensation
- Litigation : Leading trial lawyers
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: aerospace/aviation
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco)
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices
- Litigation : Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort
- Litigation : Securities: shareholder litigation
- Litigation : Supreme Court and appellate
- Litigation : Trade secrets
- Litigation : White-collar criminal defense
- Media, technology and telecoms : Marketing and advertising
- Media, technology and telecoms : Technology: outsourcing
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Antitrust
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: litigation
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+)
- Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts : Private equity buyouts
- Real estate and construction : Construction (including construction litigation)
- Real estate and construction : Real estate
- Tax : Domestic tax: Central
- Tax : Domestic tax: East Coast
- Tax : International tax
- Tax : Tax controversy