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Kirkland & Ellis LLP

300 NORTH LASALLE, CHICAGO, IL 60654, USA
Tel:
Work +1 312 862 2000
Fax:
Fax +1 312 862 2200
Web:
www.kirkland.com

Top-tier Firm rankings

Firm Rankings


United States: Antitrust

Cartel
Cartel - ranked: tier 4

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP defends clients in major government-initiated and private antitrust cases, handling the full spectrum of antitrust-related claims, including price-fixing, cartel and monopolization allegations. The firm recently represented autoparts manufacturer Tenneco in a joint investigation by the DOJ and the European Commission, with the result that the DOJ granted the client conditional leniency. Other highlights include matters related to the DOJ’s and European Commission’s ocean shipping investigations. Chicago-based James Mutchnik is the key antitrust partner in the firm.

Leading lawyers

James Mutchnik - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Civil litigation/class actions
Civil litigation/class actions - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s client base, which includes the Chicago Cubs, Bain Capital and EVA Air, reflects its breadth of expertise. Esteemed litigator James Mutchnik, based in Washington DC, was particularly active in 2015, and highlights included defending Health Care Services Corporation against allegations of suppressing competition for outpatient surgical services brought by a private clinic, and defending, as part of a cross-office team, Hitachi and Hitachi Display Products in multiple class actions alleging price-fixing of cathode ray tubes. In Chicago - another key office for antitrust work within the firm’s wide network - David Zott and Daniel Laytin are representing the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association in a series of putative class actions challenging, under antitrust laws, the structure of the association’s health insurance provision. Jay Lefkowitz in New York and Karen Walker in Washington DC together handled a number of pharmaceutical-related cases. Since publication, Matthew Reilly has joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Leading lawyers

James Mutchnik - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Merger control
Merger control - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s antitrust team includes many attorneys with experience working at the US government enforcement agencies, affording it additional insight in representations before the FTC, DOJ and state attorneys general. It is also well versed in many foreign jurisdictions. The group handles a large number of transactions each year, most notably for companies in the healthcare, energy and hi-tech sectors. In the FTC’s fiscal year ending in September 2015, the firm filed more than 200 Hart-Scott-Rodino (HSR) notifications. As an example, it represented Charter Communications in its proposed $55bn acquisition of Time Warner Cable. In another highlight, the team provided regulatory guidance to Danaher in its acquisition of water filtration systems producer Pall Corporation. Chicago-based James Mutchnik is the firm’s key antitrust partner. Mark Kovner and Ian Conner in Washington DC are noted. Since publication, Matthew Reilly has joined from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.

Leading lawyers

Matthew Reilly - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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United States: Dispute resolution

Appellate
Appellate: Supreme Court (federal and state) - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Appellate: courts of appeals - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a strong appellate practice, with a truly national presence. Christopher Landau’s successful representation of DirecTV in an important arbitration enforcement dispute is testament to the firm’s abilities; the case, heard in the US Supreme Court, also has implications for the sovereignty of federal law over state law. In a federal court of appeals case, the firm represented Facebook in the dismissal of derivative actions bought by directors in the wake of its $16bn IPO in 2012. Highlights for Jay Lefkowitz include successfully defending Teva Pharmaceuticals in personal injury. Following publication, the firm subsumed the practice of leading Supreme Court law firm Bancroft PLLC. Those joining include ‘prolific’ practice head and former US Solicitor General Paul Clement, who had appeared at the Supreme Court over 75 times prior to 2015 - a number he added to over the course of the year in several major cases. In December, Clement argued the closely watched Supreme Court appeal for Franchise Tax Board of California in a case pertaining to the sovereignty of states in competition statutes. In October, Clement was retained by the appellant, the NFL, in the headline ‘deflategate’ litigation, which concerns the suspension of star quarterback Tom Brady for his knowledge of deflated footballs used in a game between the New England Patriots and the Indianapolis Colts; this case is ongoing. The legacy practice is also highly active in the federal courts of appeal, with HSBC a prestigious new client win; Clement successfully cleared a $2.5bn jury verdict concerning allegations that HSBC executives had misrepresented various company practices, including lending and accounting.

Leading lawyers

Paul Clement - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Financial services: litigation
Financial services: litigation - ranked: tier 4

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Although the firm lacks a dedicated financial services litigation group, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘top-notch’ general commercial litigation offering, with strength and depth on the east and west coasts as well as out of its Chicago head office, ensures that it is regularly engaged in high-profile disputes for entities in the industry, that are appreciative of the firm’s trial-ready approach. Los Angeles-based Alexander Pilmer continues to represent RBS in RMBS-related disputes brought by the National Credit Union Administration Board following the $129.6m settlement over claims that sales of these structured finance instruments led to the failure of two credit unions. Andrew Clubok is representing UBS in a series of nationwide cases alleging losses stemming from naked short selling. Kenneth Lench and Robert Khuzami were both formerly at the SEC and provide significant insight into government investigations.

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General commercial disputes
General commercial disputes - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Among the best in the country’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP is ‘thorough, reliable and accurate’ and is considered a ‘go-to firm for highly complex commercial and regulatory litigation disputes’. The department is regularly engaged in disputes involving numerous regulatory bodies and civil litigation parties; recent examples include representing Deutsche Bank in enforcement investigations and concurrent class actions surrounding the alleged price-fixing of foreign exchange rates. The team acts for market leaders across the pharmaceutical, energy and TMT sectors; James Hurst successfully represented AbbVie in a breach of contract case in Lake County, Illinois, and Richard Godfrey and Mark Filip serve as lead counsel to BP in the sprawling litigation arising out of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Praise is also levelled at the ‘first-rateMark Holscher in Los Angeles, and James Gillespie, Eugene Assaf and Winn Allen in Washington DC. All partners are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

Leading lawyers

Mark Filip - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Richard Godfrey - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Leading trial lawyers
Leading trial lawyers

William Pratt - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Gregory Arovas - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Jim Hurst - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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M&A: litigation: defense
M&A: litigation: defense - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s New York-based team continues to build upon a strong track record, with highlights including Yosef Riemer (‘certainly one of the leading lawyers in this area’) securing a major victory for Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital in the largest statutory appraisal action ever to reach a post-trial decision in the Delaware Court of Chancery. Following the $6.9bn acquisition of BMC Software, the court ruled in favor of the firm’s clients in finding that merger price, rather than discounted cash flow, is the best indicator of fair value in the case of a robust and arm’s-length sales process. ‘Fine lawyerJay Lefkowitz, Matthew Solum and former director of enforcement at the SEC Robert Khuzami were part of a team that represented activist investor Pershing Square Capital Management in litigation arising from its joint bid with Valeant Pharmaceuticals to acquire Allergan and in a subsequent SEC inquiry. The firm also advised Vista Equity Partners in a class action arising from its acquisition of TIBCO Software, in which the target’s shareholders challenged the per-share valuation of the deal and alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the company’s board of directors.

Leading lawyers

Yosef Riemer - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: aerospace/aviation
Product liability, mass tort and class action: aerospace/aviation - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP complements its notable aviation bench in Chicago and Washington DC with a broad commercial disputes practice representing aviation industry players across a wide spectrum of cases throughout the US. In the Washington DC office, Matthew Papez and Craig Primis successfully represented Boeing in litigation following the crash of a Boeing 737 in Kazan International Airport in 2013. Delta Air Lines is another key client, on behalf of which the team secured a number of victories in putative class action suits during 2015, including the dismissal of a lawsuit seeking compensation for passengers affected by canceled or delayed flights.

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco)
Product liability, mass tort and class action: consumer products (including tobacco) - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

The Washington DC-based team of Kirkland & Ellis LLP, led by Eugene Assaf and Michael Williams, is currently serving as national and lead trial counsel to BASF Catalysts in a number of high-profile product liability cases arising from the sale of talc by the defunct talc-mining operations of Engelhard. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz successfully obtained dismissal of all claims brought against Teva Pharmaceutical Industries alleging failure to warn regarding the drug Treanda, a case heard before the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Andrew McGaan is also recommended. Other clients include Honeywell and Union Carbide.

Leading lawyers

Andrew McGaan - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense
Product liability, mass tort and class action: pharmaceuticals and medical devices - defense - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s deep bench of litigation experts recently achieved a significant number of victories for key clients in the pharmaceuticals and healthcare sectors. Chicago-based Michael Foradas secured summary judgment for AbbVie in the final pending case involving the client’s Humira drug. New York-based Jay Lefkowitz successfully obtained dismissal of all claims brought against Teva Pharmaceuticals regarding alleged failure to warn of side effects associated with Treanda, a cancer treatment, in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York. Other clients of the practice include Baxter and Abbott Laboratories. Washington DC-based Mike Brock is highly recommended and has extensive experience in top-end litigation.

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Product liability, mass tort and class action: toxic tort - defense
Product liability, mass tort and class action: toxic tort - defense - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is serving as national and lead trial counsel to BASF Catalysts in high-profile cases arising from the sale of talc by legacy company Engelhard, which was acquired by the defendant in 2006. One case is currently pending before the US District Court for New Jersey, with Eugene Assaf and Michael Williams leading the team from Washington DC. Chicago-based Richard Godfrey and Mark Filip continue to serve as lead trial counsel for BP in all litigation arising from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Other clients include Boeing and Dow Chemical.

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Securities litigation - defense
Securities litigation - defense - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team ‘provides an excellent level of service’. Central to the practice is a strong Chicago office, which houses key players Mike Brock and Richard Godfrey, and the pair were part of a team defending BP in securities litigation alleging material misrepresentation of the value of stock prior to and following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Another highlight is an appeal for General Motors arising from its IPO, in which Robert Kopecky obtained dismissal with prejudice. Mark Filip’s docket included a securities fraud class action and three derivative actions for Hospira in which plaintiffs alleged failure to disclose quality control problems at a manufacturing facility. Robert Khuzami in New York stands out in an enforcement practice with ‘an impeccable record’ and advised Pershing Square Capital Management in 10b-5 litigation arising from its joint bid to acquire pharmaceutical company Allergan. In another IPO-related matter, Andrew Clubok in New York defended Facebook in shareholder class actions and derivative lawsuits. On the West Coast, a team from the Los Angeles office is advising RBS Securities and affiliates in three lawsuits relating to mortgage-backed securities and CDOs. Joshua Rabinovitz in Chicago and Yosef Riemer in New York are also recommended.

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White-collar criminal defense
White-collar criminal defense - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s government, regulatory and internal investigations team is best known for acting for major corporate clients in high-profile investigations, and it has a significant FCPA-related practice. Key mandates included continued work for BP in relation to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. It is also advising the special committee of the board of directors of Valeant as it investigates the company’s business practices. The head of the practice is Mark Filip, whose colleagues in Chicago include John Lausch. Also recommended are Robert Khuzami and the ‘experienced and judiciousMichael Garcia, both based in New York, and Kenneth Lench in Washington DC.

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United States: Finance

Capital markets: debt offerings
Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s capital markets team focuses largely on issuer-side work. It represents a mix of private equity sponsors, portfolio companies and corporate clients in the full array of debt and equity transactions, including complex exchange offers, where it benefits from the firm’s first rate restructuring practice. The firm has a focus on the complex high-yield market, but it also handles investment grade work for the likes of Boeing, Kellogg’s and Heinz. In 2015, in a particularly standout matter, New York-based Joshua Korff advised Heinz on its offering of notes totaling $12bn, the proceeds of which part financed its merger with Kraft. In another highlight, Richard Aftanas and Ross Leff, also in New York, advised Exelon on its offering of $4.2bn of senior unsecured notes. Other key contacts include Dennis Myers, Christian Nagler and Robert Hayward.

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Capital markets: equity offerings
Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s cross-office team, which has a strong presence in New York and Chicago, handled a broad mix of issuer and underwriter-side work over the course of 2015. Richard Aftanas acted as underwriter’s counsel to Morgan Stanley in AES Corporation’s $784m public offering, while Christian Nagler and David Curtiss advised Deutsche Bank and Cantor Fitzgerald in Quinpario Acquisition Corp. 2’s $350m IPO by way of a sale of 35 million units, with each unit consisting of one share of common stock and a warrant to purchase another one-half of a share of common stock. On the issuer side, Joshua Korff acted for Burlington Stores in three equity offerings totaling $1.7bn, and Chicago-based Dennis Myers handled TerraForm Global’s $675m IPO. Other key clients of the firm include Golden Gate Capital, Charter Communications and Burger King. Alexander Fine is the key contact in Washington DC.

Leading lawyers

Joshua Korff - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings
Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

In relation to the high-yield market, Kirkland & Ellis LLP has one of the most active practices in the country. The firm acts almost exclusively as issuer’s counsel to private equity sponsors and their portfolio businesses as well as public companies, often in relation to M&A financing. Notable recent work includes Joshua Korff advising Heinz on its $2bn offering of second lien senior secured notes, the proceeds of which were used to fund its merger with Kraft Foods. During 2014 and 2015, Christian Nagler advised on numerous high-yield debt issuances, including two offerings by Charter Communications totaling $6.2bn and a $1.26bn offering by Murray Energy. Korff and Nagler are both based in New York, but the firm has notable strength in its Chicago office too. From there, James Rowe acted for iHeart Communications in a $950m notes offering and Dennis Myers handled asset management software provider Solera Holdings’ $850m notes offering. New York-based Richard Aftanas is another key name in this space.

Leading lawyers

Joshua Korff - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Commercial lending
Commercial lending: advice to borrowers - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Top-tier’ firm Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘highly skilled’ and ‘very responsive’ team has a ‘market-leading share in the private equity’ space, with mega-funds Bain Capital, Blackstone and The Carlyle Group among its clients. It is singled out for its ‘terrific market knowledge’, ‘strong business acumen’ and ‘excellent service’. The ‘robust’ practice has an impressive geographical reach, with practitioners in offices on the east and west coasts as well as Houston and Chicago; debt finance practice head, the ‘extremely strongLinda Myers, is based in the latter. It primarily handles work on the borrower and sponsor side and its expertise spans large and middle-market transactions. The group has been kept busy advising on acquisition financing, with recent examples including its assistance to Golden Gate Capital with the financing of its $1.2bn purchase of Angus Chemical Company, which included a $505m cross-border term loan; San Francisco-based Samantha Good led the advice. The group often acts for Vista Equity Partners, and among its work for the client in 2015 was a team including Sonali Shah Jindal handling the $3.1bn financing of the $4.3bn take-private acquisition of TIBCO Software. The ‘very experienced’ partners, who are ably supported by some ‘exceptional associates’, also include Michelle Kilkenney and Christopher Butler, who are based in Chicago, David Nemecek in Los Angeles and Jason Kanner and Eric Wedel in New York.

Leading lawyers

Linda Myers - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate
Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

According to one client, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘outstanding lawyers form the top restructuring team in the US’. Remarkably, given the relative scarcity of company-side mandates, the firm’s debtor caseload outstrips its creditor-side work. Demonstrating its credentials, the firm is lead debtor’s counsel in the two largest ongoing Chapter 11 proceedings: Caesars Entertainment’s $18bn filing and the numerous cases filed under the $40bn bankruptcy of Energy Future Holdings. It has also been retained by a large proportion of the US natural resources companies subject to the current harsh market conditions in that sector. It is advising Hess Corporation as joint owner of the Hovensa petroleum refinery in the latter’s $1.6bn filing, Sabine Oil & Gas in its $2.6bn Chapter 11, Patriot Coal in its $790m Virginia filing, and Samson Resources in its $4.2bn proceedings. It also advised Indiana Toll Road Concession Company on the third-largest pre-packaged Chapter 11 of 2014. Though less well known for creditor work, its recent caseload includes advising ad hoc noteholders in the bankruptcies of Alpha Natura Resources and Altegrity Risk International. James Sprayregen and Paul Basta head the respective groups in Chicago and New York, which comprises 18 partners. Key lawyers in the former include Adam Paul (‘super smart and very effective’), Ryan Bennett and David Eaton; and, in the latter, Nicole Greenblatt, Jonathan Henes and Stephen Hessler.

Leading lawyers

James Sprayregen - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Paul Basta - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Restructuring (including bankruptcy): municipal
Restructuring (including bankruptcy): municipal - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s municipal restructuring practice is recognized for its ‘excellent development in recent years’. In a hugely significant case, James Sprayregen, who splits his time between New York and Chicago, and New York-based Paul Basta are acting for Puerto Rico in the defense of the constitutionality of the Puerto Rico Public Sector Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act (the ‘Recovery Act’), which was enacted to give the commonwealth’s corporations a way of restructuring their debts. Following a challenge to the act by two bond funds, it was ruled unconstitutional by Puerto Rico District Court, a ruling that was affirmed by the First Circuit following an appeal by the firm. The firm is now seeking a Supreme Court review. Chicago-based Ryan Bennett is another name to note.

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Structured finance
Structured finance - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

The asset finance and securitization team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, which comprises five partners across New York and Chicago, provides ‘pragmatic advice and understands business needs’. From Chicago, Jeffrey O’Connor acted for a global institution dealing in securities in a transaction involving the Rule 144A sale of asset-backed notes with a total value of $500m. Also in Chicago, Kenneth Morrison, who regularly works on auto-based securitization matters, led advice to Värde Partners on the formation of an investment partnership with Praxis Finance for the purchase of auto finance receivables. Based in New York, Scott Gordon continued to advise Wyndham Worldwide on timeshare loan receivables under its Sierra program worth $950m. Also in New York, Janette McMahan headed a team advising Ally Financial on its first public non-prime transaction in 2015, with a value of $1.25bn, and in three subsequent non-prime public auto deals with an aggregate value of $2bn. An impressive list of clients also includes World Omni, Navistar, CarMax Business and Barclays Capital.

Leading lawyers

Kenneth Morrison - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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United States: Industry focus

Energy transactions: conventional power
Energy transactions: conventional power - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

In an illustration of Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s presence on large-scale energy deals, the practice advised Exelon Corporation on its proposed acquisition of Pepco Holdings for $6.8bn; and Mark Director and Christopher Thomas acted for Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets as part of the consortium which acquired Cleco Corporation for $4.7bn. Other clients include Talen Energy Corporation, Energy Future Holdings and Blackstone Energy Partners. Hans Dyke joined Arnold & Porter LLP’s Washington DC office in 2015.

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Energy transactions: oil and gas
Energy transactions: oil and gas - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

In August 2015 Kirkland & Ellis LLP welcomed energy transactions specialist Cody Carper to its Houston office from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Highlights for the practice included acting for Murray Energy Corporation on its $1.4bn acquisition of a controlling interest in Foresight Energy.

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Energy: litigation
Energy: litigation - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s strength is oil and gas litigation, as evidenced by the defense of BP in relation to the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig. Chicago-based Richard Godfrey and Washington DC’s Mike Brock defended BP against allegations of gross negligence with regard to its efforts to respond to the breach. The team reduced the potential exposure faced by BP’s subsidiary by more than $4bn, proving that the oft-quoted ‘five million barrels’ overstated the size of the spill. Statoil Gulf of Mexico retained the team, including David Zott, as trial counsel in a breach of contract dispute relating to overriding royalties on a production lease in the Gulf of Mexico. Other clients include Chesapeake Appalachia and ExxonMobil.

Leading lawyers

Richard Godfrey - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Environment: litigation
Environment: litigation - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLPranks head and shoulders above any other firm in capability, bench strength and efficiency’, according to sources. Praised as being ‘extremely responsive, professional and courteous’, the firm is best known for its litigation expertise, and regularly represents clients in an array of civil, criminal and administrative environmental proceedings. A recent highlight was representing the Air-Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute in a settlement with the DOE, accepted by the Fifth Circuit, regarding a challenge to a rule passed by the DOE setting stringent new energy efficiency standards for walk-in coolers and freezers. In another standout matter, the team defended Boeing in a groundwater contamination case brought by nearly 200 property owners in Washington State. The firm was also called upon by ExxonMobil to defend cases relating to the rupture of a crude oil pipeline near Billings, Montana in 2011 that led to an escape of oil into the Yellowstone River; and it continued its work for BP in several cases relating to the Deepwater Horizon case. Other notable mandates included handling a toxic tort case for Axiall Corporation and its subsidiary, Eagle US, before the Fifth Circuit. Chicago-based Catherine Fitzpatrick and Richard Godfrey are recommended.

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Environment: transactional
Environment: transactional - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has an outstanding reputation for private equity, M&A and restructuring work, and its environmental practice excels in providing comprehensive support to buyers, sellers, lenders and investors involved in such transactions. Recently, the team conducted the environmental due diligence for the investor group led by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets in relation to the acquisition of Cleco. It also assisted Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan with its acquisition of Infiltrator Water Technologies from Graham Partners, including the coordination of the environmental due diligence, negotiation of the environmental terms of purchase and finance agreements, and environmental insurance proposals. Walter Lohmann and Brian Land in Washington DC and Paul Tanaka in San Francisco are noted.

Leading lawyers

Walter Lohmann - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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United States: Intellectual property

Copyright
Copyright - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘outstandingDale Cendali has ‘a solid record of winning cases’, in particular with regard to copyrightability and fair use issues. Other recommended partners are Johanna Schmitt and Claudia Ray, who are also based in New York, as well as Diana Torres in Los Angeles. The team successfully represented Fox News before the Southern District of New York in its lawsuit against the media monitoring company, TVEyes, which defended its provision of news broadcasts as fair use; the case is currently on appeal. In a copyrightability case, the team successfully defended Nike against claims by photographer Jacobus Rentmeester that the ‘Jumpman’ logo used on Air Jordan shoes infringes his 1984 photo of Michael Jordon. Other clients include Oracle, the National Football League and McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff LLP.

Leading lawyers

Dale Cendali - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Patent litigation: International Trade Commission
Patent litigation: International Trade Commission - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s cross-office team has a strong presence in Chicago, New York and Washington DC, and continues to handle cases within a broad range of sectors, including technology, medical devices and retail products. In the Washington DC office, Gregg LoCascio and Sean McEldowney are representing BASF in an infringement investigation of patents asserted against Umicore and Makita Corp concerning NMC-based lithium-ion batteries; and in New York, Leora Ben-Ami and Patricia Carson secured a favorable settlement for Baxter International, ending parallel litigation filed by the client against Ethicon’s ‘Surgiflo’ hemostatic device product. Gregory Arovas has acted for various major technology clients, including IBM, Samsung and Xerox. Los Angeles-based Michael De Vries is also a key figure, who, along with Gianni Cutri, represented Lucky Brand Dungarees in a Section 337 investigation regarding laser-abraded denim products.

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Patent litigation: full coverage
Patent litigation: full coverage - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP provides ‘uniformly first-class service’, and is ‘at the very top level of firms for patent litigation’. The group has ‘legal prowess, bench strength and thoroughness’, and ‘the attorneys’ attention to detail is unsurpassed’. ‘Phenomenal court advocateGregory Arovas is representing Intel in a nine-patent action brought against Future Link Systems seeking to resolve matters concerning liability along with RAND (reasonable, and non-discriminatory) licensing issues, and the group is also defending Intel against Ericsson’s licensing and litigation efforts regarding Wi-Fi technologies. The group also has notable medical devices experience; Jeannie Heffernan represented Medtronic in a case brought by non-practicing entity (NPE) Atlas IP, successfully obtaining a non-infringement verdict and dismissing a $218m damages claim. The group is headed by Leora Ben-Ami in New York; other key figures include Steven Cherny, Chicago-based Luke Dauchot, and Gregg LoCascio in Washington DC. Samsung, Cisco Systems and C.R. Bard are notable clients.

Leading lawyers

Leora Ben-Ami - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Patents: portfolio management and licensing
Patents: portfolio management and licensing - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is experience in patent licensing and portfolio management, and provides particular expertise in relation to private equity, corporate, financing and restructuring transactions, as well as patent settlement agreements. Neil Hirshman is assisting a leading semiconductor company regarding potential licensing arrangements with a number of technology companies. Gregg Kirchhoefer, Vladimir Khodosh and Matthew Lovell are also active in patent licensing transactions. All individuals mentioned are based in Chicago.

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Trade secrets
Trade secrets - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

A leading player in this field, Kirkland & Ellis LLP draws on its extensive litigation practice and highly regarded IP group to service its international client base. The department has a good standing in several industries, notably food and beverage, where Michael Slade defended Natural American Foods and its employee Arlen Penner in a case brought by Barkman Honey alleging breach of a non-compete agreement and tortious interference with a contract. Craig Primis and Daniel Bress are representing multinational conglomerate Honeywell in a North Carolina lawsuit alleging that Honeywell misappropriated trade secrets when it hired an employee who previously worked at DSM Dyneema, a competitor in the manufacture of ballistic materials for the US military. Another focus is the pharmaceutical industry; Nader Boulos and Jay Lefkowitz are defending Akorn in a case brought by Fera Pharmaceuticals regarding a manufacturing and supply agreement alleging that Akorn breached the parties’ contract by failing to manufacture certain products and misappropriating trade secrets.

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Trademarks: litigation
Trademarks: litigation - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s ‘exceptionally savvy and talentedDale Cendali in New York is frequently involved in high-profile trademark litigation and has particular expertise in trademark dilution and reverse confusion cases. Other notable partners are Claudia Ray, who is also based in New York, and Los Angeles-based Diana Torres. Cendali and Ray successfully represented Nike-subsidiary Converse before the International Trade Commission (ITC) in a trade dress infringement suit against Walmart, Skechers and other companies regarding the plaintiff’s Chuck Taylor All-Star shoe design. Cendali and Torres continue to represent the smartphone case manufacturer LifeProof in a trademark infringement suit against Seal Shield and KlearKase regarding the defendants’ use of the LIVEPROOF mark. On the defense side, Ray is representing the advertising company Droga5 against trademark infringement and unfair competition claims brought by Dov Seidman and LRN.

Leading lawyers

Dale Cendali - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Private equity funds
Private equity funds - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

A top-flight’ firm, Kirkland & Ellis LLP has ‘unmatched bench strength and experience’, and is praised for its ‘market knowledge and focus on client service’. Its impressive client roster includes some of the largest and most prominent global entities in the private equity space, such as Warburg Pincus, 3G Capital and The Carlyle Group. The firm also advises institutional investors on their multimillion-dollar investments into a wide range of funds. In 2015, practice head John O’Neil assisted Rhône Group with the formation and fundraising of flagship fund Rhône Partners V. Other names to note include Daniel Lavon-Krein, who ‘brings a depth of knowledge and experience to every situation’, the ‘smart and decisiveBruce Ettelson, and Nadia Murad (‘you could not hire a more personable or intelligent fund formation attorney’). Andrew Wright is an expert in the formation of complex LBO and hybrid funds, while Michael Belsley leads the firm’s secondary practice. Scott Moehrke, Kelly Ryan, John Muno and Sarah Kirson are also recommended. In 2015, the practice was bolstered by the arrivals of David Lenzi and Martin Voelker from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, and Matthew Dickman from Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

Leading lawyers

Andrew Wright - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Bruce Ettelson - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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United States: Labor and employment

Employee benefits and executive compensation
Employee benefits and executive compensation - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s benefits team focuses on corporate-related work involving M&A, spin-offs and restructurings. Work highlights included Chicago’s Vicki Hood advising Zebra Technologies on its purchase of Motorola Solutions’ inventory control business, and practice head Scott Price assisting Burger King Worldwide with the executive compensation aspects of its merger with Tim Hortons, a deal which saw the merged company locate its headquarters in Ontario. Price is located in the New York office, which added Matthew Shiels from Morrison & Foerster LLP. On the private equity side, Chicago-based Laura Bader advised Landmark Partners on creating its seventh fund, where investors include a number of ERISA-regulated and public sector pension plans.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
M&A: large deals ($1bn+) - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has made huge strides in the M&A sector over the last five years, as evidenced by the fact that it is no longer perceived as purely a private equity firm, but rather one that is just as closely associated with blue-chip corporates and strategic acquirers. It is noted for middle-market transactions all the way up to large public and private M&A, and ‘provides an outstanding level of service across a broad range of criteria’. ‘The attorneys are extremely knowledgeable in their respective areas of expertise and advice is always timely and efficient’. Clients also appreciated the firm’s ‘practical and knowledgeable approach to both legal and business issues’ and its ability to really understand their businesses and industries. Accordingly, the lawyers ‘never lose sight of customer service and the importance of developing a long-term partnership between themselves and their client’. In 2015, the firm represented 3G Capital and Heinz in the $55bn merger of Heinz and Kraft Foods to create The Kraft Heinz Company, the third-largest food and beverage company in North America. In another headline deal, the firm advised Baxalta on the $30bn unsolicited takeover bid by Shire. It also advised Molson Coors on its $12bn agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev to buy SABMiller’s 58% stake in MillerCoors. The firm’s growing reputation in strategic M&A was matched by further headway in private equity buyouts, where it continued to develop its reputation from that of a largely middle-market-focused firm to one that routinely advises big buyout sponsors such as KKR, Apollo and Blackstone. For a firm that did not originate in New York, it has developed a truly impressive standing in the US’s principal financial center. David Fox is one of the biggest names in the market, as is Daniel Wolf, who - along with Scott Falk - headed the team that advised on the Baxalta matter. Sarkis Jebejian is another impressive figure, and he advised Nextar Broadcasting on its $4.1bn unsolicited bid for Media General. William Sorabella, also in New York, led the advice on The Kraft Heinz Company matter mentioned above. Scott Falk is a key figure in Chicago and Andrew Calder is a big name in Houston, especially for private equity houses.

Leading lawyers

Daniel Wolf - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

David Fox - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Overview

With transaction values and volume at their highest-ever levels, 2015 was a banner year for M&A. It was a year when strategic corporates grabbed the headlines in place of private equity houses, which were comparatively quiet in bulge-bracket deals. Global M&A reached a record $4.28tn - a 30% increase on 2014, according to Mergermarket. The US was at the center of this M&A phenomenon. The US accounted for 46.2% of global M&A activity, with 4,786 deals valued at a combined $1.97tn. A headline example of this interest in doing deals was Heinz’s $60bn merger with Kraft Foods, a transaction that brought in the expertise of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP, Sullivan & Cromwell LLP and Kirkland & Ellis LLP. In a major development in 2016, Pfizer terminated its $160bn proposed acquisition of Allergan, following new rules introduced by the US Treasury to curtail the tax benefits of inversion transactions. After a string of such deals in the last few years, inversions may have had their day.

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Private equity buyouts
Private equity buyouts - ranked: tier 1

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP remains one of the top players in the private equity buyout arena, delivering ‘top-notch advice’. Considered ‘very strong across the board’, with several hundred attorneys practicing in the field, the firm balances a huge middle-market presence alongside an equally impressive large-cap practice. The list of active key clients includes Apax, Bain Capital, Warburg Pincus and Oaktree Capital Management. The department has also taken on substantial assignments for KKR, Blackstone and The Carlyle Group, and lately gained new client Sycamore Partners, which Sean Rodgers advised on its agreement to acquire Belk in a transaction worth $3bn. In less than a year, the Chicago-headquartered firm has made itself as a serious player in Texas, with the 2014 addition of Andrew Calder in Houston contributing to its standing in the energy sector. In Chicago, Walter Holzer (‘smart and business-minded’) and Stephen Ritchie represented GTCR as one of the majority shareholders of Ironshore in the $1.8bn sale of Ironshore to Chinese investment company Fosun International. ‘Highly responsiveJeffrey Seifman in Chicago acted as lead partner in various matters for Audax Group. Chicago-based Jon Ballis continues to represent Bain Capital, most recently in connection with its $2.1bn sale of Air Medical Group. The firm is also a market leader in distressed investments, which is built upon its eminence in bankruptcy and restructuring. Hamed Meshki in Los Angeles and Christopher Greeno in Chicago are ‘creative’ and ‘commercially minded’; David Nemecek in Los Angeles and Matthew Steinmetz are also highly regarded. New recruit Melissa Hutson joined the firm’s New York office from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Departures included Taurie Zeitzer, who joined Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP; Fred Lim, who went to Goodwin Procter LLP; and Kathy Schumacher, who went to McDermott Will & Emery LLP. All attorneys are based in New York except where noted otherwise.

Leading lawyers

Jon Ballis - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Advertising and marketing
Advertising and marketing - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Operating as part of the firm’s intellectual property practice, the advertising group at Kirkland & Ellis LLPprovides an exemplary service that is responsive, thoughtful and intelligent, utilizing the team’s deep bench and exceptional industry knowledge’. The firm excels in contentious matters, and has substantial experience before the NAD, FTC and NARB. The department has seen an increase in its class action work, and recently advised Abbott Laboratories in a putative class action alleging the client had falsely advertised its Ensure Muscle Health Shake and Ensure Clinical Strength products. ‘Top-of-the-class lawyerGregg LoCascio in Washington DC led the matter, and is also representing Henkel in a class action alleging the client misled consumers by labeling its deodorants as unscented. Clients also recommend Ross Weisman in Chicago, who ‘has a quick mind and a keen strategic sense’, Washington DC-based Jonathan Brightbill, who is a ‘talented lawyer’, and Dale Cendali in New York, whose ‘intellect is unparalleled’.

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Technology: outsourcing
Technology: outsourcing - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP assisted Accenture with several outsourcing agreements in relation to the sale of its Navitaire unit, a provider of technology and business solutions to the airline and travel industry, to Amadeus IT. The sale includes an agreement under which Accenture will provide the buyer with infrastructure outsourcing, application and research and development services. Neil Hirshman, who co-leads the team, led this deal from the Chicago office along with Daniel Lewis. Other practice co-leader Gregg Kirchhoefer recently led an initiative to remaster a client’s overall outsourcing procurement policies, practices and documentation, and, for a client in the energy technology sector, Kirchhoefer assisted with the negotiation of a strategic alliance agreement and related license, outsourcing services, and manufacturing agreements with a geology bureau in Asia. Other notable work includes assisting a provider of customer care outsourcing services with the sale of the company to customer relationship management company Groupe Acticall, which is headquartered in France.

Leading lawyers

Gregg Kirchhoefer - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Neil Hirshman - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Technology: transactions
Technology: transactions - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Gregg Kirchhoefer and Neil Hirshman lead the team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP, which is largely based in Chicago but is supported by lawyers across the firm’s domestic and international network, including Europe and Asia. Hirshman and Daniel Lewis advised IGATE on its $4.04bn sale to Capgemini. In the New York office, Lisa Samenfeld handled new client Infineon Technologies’ $3bn acquisition of International Rectifier in an all-cash transaction. The recommended Edward Sadtler, also in New York, advised long-term clients ABRY Partners and Berkshire Partners on their $1.9bn sale of Telx to Digital Realty Trust. Other key clients include Pfizer, Blackberry and Samsung.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Construction (including construction litigation)
Construction (including construction litigation) - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Although largely based in Chicago, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s team benefits from the firm’s broad office network when handling national and international mandates. The team handles pre-litigation counseling as well as high-stakes construction, EPC contract and engineering disputes. Although its sweet spot is in the petroleum industry, it also manages claims related to retail and residential projects, high rises and civil infrastructure. Michael Slade continues to lead a team defending Boeing against alleged defective design, breach of contract and indemnification claims arising from the construction of Saipan International Airport. The team acted for an ExxonMobil affiliate in a $78m dispute over alleged botched designs for an offshore drilling platform. It continues to represent Skidmore, Owings & Merrill as a respondent to a Rule 224 Petition in Illinois State Court regarding multi-party defect claims related to the cladding and fireproofing of a bank building in Springfield, Illinois. Elizabeth Hess and of counsel James Nowacki are recommended.

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP had a busy year representing a range of private equity firms, sovereign wealth funds, major pension organizations and other institutional investors on substantial acquisitions. New York-based Scott Berger advised key client Starwood Capital on a number of significant matters, including its agreement to acquire a portfolio of apartment units in 72 communities across the US from Equity Residential. Berger also led a team that represented GID Investment Advisers in its $3.2bn bid for Gables Residential. Also in New York, Stephen Tomlinson represented Al Faisal Holding and its subsidiary in the $500m acquisition of The Times Square Hotel. In Chicago, Daniel Perlman handled a mix of equity and debt transactions, acting for Ventas in connection with its agreement to acquire privately owned Ardent Health Services for $1.75bn, and assisting Equity Commonwealth with a $1.1bn credit agreement involving 19 financial institutions. The Chicago office was further enhanced by the promotions to partner of Krystle Lamprecht and Jessica Schultz, however the New York office lost Jennifer Morgan to King & Spalding LLP.

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United States: Tax

International tax
International tax - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Based across its Chicago and New York offices, the team at Kirkland & Ellis LLP draws praise for its ‘efficient’ and ‘top-quality’ advice and for its ‘fantastic transactional expertise’, particularly in relation to corporate and private equity M&A. The team advised Molson Coors on its agreement with Anheuser-Busch InBev to purchase SABMiller’s 58% stake in MillerCoors for $12bn. It also advised Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets on the acquisition of Cleco Corporation, and acted for IGATE in its merger with Capgemini. In New York, Russell Light and Dean Shulman are recommended. Todd Maynes and Mike Carew are also names to note.

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US taxes: contentious
US taxes: contentious - ranked: tier 3

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP is well versed in tax litigation at all levels, as well as in IRS appeals and audits, and has substantial transfer pricing controversy experience. The team, which is led by Chicago-based Todd Maynes, Natalie Keller and JoAnne Nagjee, continues to handle a substantial number of tax controversy matters within the context of bankruptcies, such as the representation of FirstFed in a tax refund claim on behalf of a failed bank. In another important matter, the team represented EFH before bankruptcy court in relation to a section 505 motion challenging property tax valuations of seven nuclear power plants in Texas. While the practice is active for a wide range of industries, from automotive to consumer electronics, it has extensive experience representing airlines, and has acted recently for airline clients in disputes involving sales and use taxes on jet fuel with the Regional Transportation Authority.

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US taxes: non-contentious
US taxes: non-contentious - ranked: tier 2

Kirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP acts for clients in a range of sectors, from biopharmaceuticals to real estate. The firm opened a Houston office in 2014, which helped fuel steady growth in the tax practice over the course of 2015, particularly in relation to the energy sector. Highlights included advising Energy Future Holdings in what is the seventh-largest Chapter 11 case ever filed; Todd Maynes, Gregory Gallagher and Sara Zablotney are leading the tax advice. The firm also acted for Baxter International in the spin-off of its pharmaceutical business, Baxalta, a company specializing in hemophilia and other blood disorders. Further to this, the team was called upon to assist Baxalta in relation to an attempted $30bn hostile takeover by Dublin-headquartered Shire; Dean Shulman and Mike Carew led the tax advice. The team also advised Caesars Entertainment Operating Company on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy and related debt restructuring, with William Levy taking a leading role. There have been three new additions to the tax department: Mike Beinus and Brett Willis joined the Los Angeles office, while Benjamin Schreiner joined in New York - all three from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.

Leading lawyers

Todd Maynes - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

William Levy - Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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Further information on Kirkland & Ellis LLP

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