The Legal 500

Latham & Watkins LLP

650 TOWN CENTER DRIVE, TWENTIETH FLOOR, COSTA MESA, COSTA MESA CA 92626-1925, USA
Tel:
Work +1 714 540 1235
Fax:
Fax +1 714 755 8290
Web:
www.lw.com

United States

Top-tier recommendations

Recommendations

  • United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate

United States: Finance

Within Asset finance and leasing, tier 4

Global co-chair Kevin Fingeret is one of the main points of contact at Latham & Watkins LLP’s versatile securitization and structured finance practice. The 30-lawyer team, which includes six partners in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, continues to grow following the promotion of Graeme Smyth to partner in 2013. The asset finance side of the practice covers a variety of sectors and asset types, including aircraft leases, cell tower and broadcast tower assets, and rental car fleets. Recently it represented Deutsche Bank on the $282m financing for Global Tower Partners’ purchase of a portfolio of wireless cell tower easements and ground leases from Goldman Sachs. This was the first ever broadcast tower securitization. On the aviation finance side, the firm was issuer’s counsel to US Airways on two EETC offerings, worth over $1bn, used for the purchase and refinancing of several Airbus A321s and A330s. The firm has also been active in the automotive side, and represented Deutsche Bank Securities as conduit counsel on a $350m variable funding note issue for a rental truck securitization program by Centre Point Funding.

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Within Bank lending (including other sources of financing), Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP is ‘very good across the board in all respects’, and is another rare firm with a consistently strong track record for both lender and borrower advice on LBOs. Michele Penzer co-heads the team with John Mendez, who ‘in the banking world, stands head and shoulders above his peers. He is not only our legal counsel, but also our business adviser’. Clients appreciate the firm’s broad international reach. ‘Regardless of which partner may be in charge, it is a global, full-service firm that has consistently provided top-notch legal services’. This reach was enhanced through the recruitment of Greg Robins from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in Los Angeles, while in the firm’s nascent Houston practice, Catherine Ozdogan joined from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. An undoubted highlight on the lender side was representing Barclays as arrangers’ counsel for a $13.3bn bridge, term loan and revolving credit facility linked to Kinder Morgan’s acquisition of El Paso Corporation. The firm also advised Credit Suisse on the complex $1.78bn financing for Vista Partners’ bid for the UK company Misys, and represented UBS on the $1.25bn financing for the acquisition of EMI Music Publishing Group by Sony, Mubadela Development Company, and the estate of Michael Jackson. Partners Daniel Seale, Christopher Plaut, Melissa Alwang, David Teh and Eugene Mazzaro are also singled out by clients for recommendation.

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Within Capital markets: debt offerings , Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP is renowned for its strength in debt capital markets, and the large team draws on the capabilities of lawyers across the US to act for both issuers and managers. Marc Jaffe in New York and Patrick Shannon in Washington DC remain the global co-chairs of the practice, and the team also counts on the support of Lene Malthasen in the London office. Jaffe and Senet Bischoff acted for Goldman Sachs as the initial purchaser in a bond offering by CNO Financial Group (also including a tender offer for existing bonds and the repurchase of convertible senior debentures). Gregory Rodgers and Shayne Kennedy, in New York and Orange County respectively, advised Banc of America Securities in connection with a multi-tranche senior notes offering by Gilead Sciences. Elsewhere, Bischoff, together with Christopher Lueking in Chicago, acted for Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo Securities and Stifel Nicolaus Weisel in a $550m offering of 7.875% senior secured notes due 2019 by Viasystems, together with a tender offer. Houston-based Michael Chambers advised RBS Securities as initial purchaser on the $1.8bn debt offering of 6.250% senior notes due 2019 by Linn Energy. On the issuer side, the team has acted for Hyatt Hotels Corporation. Also recommended are Alexander Cohen, ‘powerhouseKirk Davenport and Barry Clarkson, based in Washington DC, New York and San Diego respectively.

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Within Capital markets: equity offerings , Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP represents businesses, investment banks and sovereign governments with equity and equity-linked products, including derivatives. The team is also known for its expertise with emerging companies and REITs. A team led by the highly respected Marc Jaffe and Ian Schuman acted for Manchester United in its IPO on the NYSE, which was the first IPO that went from start to finish under the JOBs act; this was a complex deal due to unorthodox voter rights between prospective buyers and the majority shareholders. Patrick Pohlen in Silicon Valley advised Intermolecular in its IPO of 9,650,000 shares of common stock. The team also advised Allison Transmission Holdings’ in its IPO of over 30,000 shares of common stock for $690.35m. Kirk Davenport is rated as ‘one of the most capable capital markets experts in the field’ by his peers and a major draw for clients. Washington DC-based Alexander Cohen and Julian Kleindorfer in Los Angeles are also recommended.

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Within Capital markets: global offerings , Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP recently bolstered its global capabilities with the addition of Los Angeles-based securities specialist Casey Fleck from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Courtenay Myers Lima who joined the New York team from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, who focuses on complex capital raising transactions. The team has experience working with equity products (including equity derivatives) and equity-linked and debt products in the US, Asia, Middle East and Europe. The firm recently advised on a $1bn package of shares in Seadrill, a leading offshore deepwater drilling company, placed by Goldman Sachs. The cross-Atlantic deal team was led by New York-based financial products partner Witold Balaban. The firm has practices in Germany, the Nordic countries and particularly Hong Kong. The reputation and experience of Marc Jaffe in New York is a major draw for clients.

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Within Capital markets: high-yield debt offerings , Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Demonstrating extensive experience in high-yield debt offerings for both issuer and manager clients, Latham & Watkins LLP has a superb reputation. The securities team can call on the strength of individuals across several US offices, and the firm’s global cross-border practice is also highly rated. In 2012, Washington-DC based Patrick Shannon acted for Taminco Global Chemical Corporation on its $400m offering of 9.75% second-priority senior secured notes due 2020. In Chicago, Christopher Lueking acted for Libbey Glass in its $450m Rule 144A/Reg. S offering of 6.875% senior secured notes due 2020. On the underwriter side, Marc Jaffe and Senet Bischoff in New York acted for Jefferies & Company and RBC Capital Markets in the issuance of $100m 9% senior notes due 2017 by Thermadyne Holdings Corporation, as a tack-on to an existing series of secured notes. Bischoff and Lueking also acted for Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo Securities and Stifel Nicolaus Weisel in a $550m offering of 7.875% senior secured notes due 2019 by Viasystems. Houston-based Michael Chambers advised RBS Securities as the initial purchasers on the $1.8bn offering of 6.250% senior notes due 2019 by Linn Energy. New York-based Kirk Davenport is highly rated by clients. Elsewhere, Casey Fleck joined the Los Angeles office from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Brett Braden in Houston is also recommended.

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Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP impresses for its ‘very deep bench of lawyers who are at the top of their field in the bankruptcy and restructuring area’ and for ‘building great rapport with its clients’. Following the arrival of Jan Baker, singled out as ‘the consummate professional: clever, client-focused and collaborative’, from debtor shop Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in 2010, the firm has made serious strides in the debtor-side space. It now has an excellent track record of representing both debtors and creditors across the United States. Led from New York by global co-chairs Baker and Mitchell Seider, the team is ‘knowledgeable, client-oriented and efficient’ and benefits from a significant number of bankruptcy specialists in Los Angeles - where ‘exceptional bankruptcy lawyer’ Peter Gilhuly heads the West Coast practice - and Chicago. In a highlight debtor-side representation, the firm advised US Airways, the fifth largest airline in the US, on the Chapter 11 case of its parent company AMR Corp. It also represented New United Motors Manufacturing, a multibillion-dollar joint venture between Toyota and old General Motors, on its wind-down and insolvency issues; the case was notable for being the first successful out-of-court wind-down of a company of this size ($5bn in annual revenue). In a headline non-debtor instruction, the firm represented Jefferies & Co as the underwriter that funded the exit of Satelites Mexicanos from a pre-packaged bankruptcy, which allowed Mexico’s satellite operator to reorganize under Chapter 11. Other recent clients include A123 Systems, Wastequip Restructuring and Ship Finance Management.

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Within Financial services: litigation, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP is a ‘significant player’ in the market and continues to handle some major mandates for a broad range of financial services clients. As well as instructions from numerous banks, the firm has developed a strong reputation for the representation of accountancy firms in securities class actions. California-based partners Peter Wald and James Farrell were both heavily involved in the firm’s recent successes for Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche in the respective securities class actions relating to the failures of both IndyMac Bancorp and Washington Mutual Bank. On the bank side, the firm has been involved in the majority of Deutsche Bank’s post-credit crisis shareholder and other civil actions related to its RMBS business. James Brandt was involved in the Deutsche Bank litigation and is a key member of a team that also includes Christopher Harris and Jeff Hammel.

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Within Financial services: regulatory, tier 4

Although former team head Brian Smith retired from the partnership, Latham & Watkins LLP’s rapid growth in recent years has ensured that the firm has more than enough strength and depth to cope with his departure. Active across most areas of regulatory concern including banking, derivatives and investment management, the nine-partner New York-based team is best-known for its broker-dealer expertise. The ‘excellentDana Fleischman and ‘smart, thoughtful and practicalStephen Wink are the main contacts for this work and have both been advising a number of top investment banks, both individually and through SIFMA, on the implications of the recently passed JOBS Act. Both on behalf of a number of global investment banks and through the ABA Trading and Markets subcommittee, Fleischman and Wink are also working with the SEC’s Trading and Markets Division to obtain guidance regarding the application of the safe harbour provisions for foreign broker-dealers from the impact of the SEC’s broker-dealer registration requirements. On the bank regulatory side, Alan Avery has thrived since his arrival in 2011 from Arnold & Porter LLP and handles a vast array of regulatory work associated with transactions, in addition to general regulatory compliance work relating to Dodd-Frank matters. Avery recently advised Société Générale on the bank regulatory advice associated with its minority stake in the sale of asset manager Rockefeller Financial Services to RIT Capital Partners. Clients include Bank of America, GE, UBS and Credit Suisse.

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Within Project finance, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s highly regarded project finance team is spread across the firm’s New York, Washington DC, San Diego, Los Angeles, Houston and San Francisco offices, and benefits from a long-established global presence that enables it to call on 150 lawyers across its international network. It has an impressive roster of sponsor and lender-side clients, which it advises on complex US domestic and international projects, with a particular focus on the oil and gas and power sectors. San Diego-based Kelley Gale chairs the global project finance practice, and acted alongside New York-based Jonathan Rod on AES Solar Power’s development and construction financing for a $715m, 200MW photovoltaic power plant in California. In Washington DC, Paul Hunt represented The Blackstone Group as lead equity investor in its $1.5bn purchase of Class B shares in connection with the senior debt financing for the construction and operation of the Sabine Pass liquefaction facility, the first LNG export facility in the US. New York-based Warren Lilien led a team that represented Panda Power Generation Infrastructure Funds and its affiliate Panda Temple Power as sponsor and borrower in the financing of a $340m combined natural gas fired electrical generation plant in Texas. Washington DC-based John Sachs represented South Jamaica Power Company in the development and financing of a $750m oil and gas fired power project, the first of its kind in Jamaica. The ‘outstanding and highly knowledgeableChristopher Cross and Matthew Henegar (both based in New York) are also recommended, as are energy specialist Dennis Nordstrom, who splits his time between London and Washington DC, and Jeffrey Greenberg in Los Angeles. New York-based Amy Maloney was promoted to partner in January 2013.

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Within Structured finance , Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s structured finance lawyers ‘demonstrate a remarkable commitment to us, which is evidenced by their responsiveness, availability, and teamwork’. The relatively small practice group comprises six partners and some 30 lawyers based in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. In addition to standard securitization issues, such as credit card and auto-loan backed securities, the group is well versed in the complexities of one-off and innovative transactions such as the recent representation of Deutsche Bank in the first ever broadcast tower securitization for Richland Towers. New York’s Kevin Fingeret heads the global securitization and structured finance practice. Derivatives expert Witold Balaban was a member of the team which advised Goldman Sachs on an innovative accelerated book-built offering (ABO), which involved a $1bn package of shares in Seadrill, placed by Goldman with institutional investors in reliance on Rule 144A, and OTC put options entered into by the buyers with Goldman Sachs, which provided the buyers with downside price protection. Los Angeles-based Vicki Marmorstein is extremely experienced and expert in securitization, derivatives, and structured products generally. Ellen Marks in the Chicago office, led the representation of Goldman Sachs and Citigroup Global Markets as arrangers in the Desert Sunlight Solar Power Plant Securitization project financing component, a deal valued at $2.9bn. Graeme Smyth was promoted to partner in the New York office in January 2013. Group clients include Deutsche Bank, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Credit Suisse, Citibank, US Airways, Ares Management, PIMCO, Discover Financial Services and Zipcar.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Energy: regulatory, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

With a presence across Europe, the Middle East and Asia, Latham & Watkins LLP’s 200-partner energy practice’s regulatory offering has ‘excellent capability in electric’ and is supported by strong transactional and environmental expertise. Washington DC-based global energy chair, David Schwartz is highly recommended in both electricity and renewable energy matters. He acted alongside Natasha Gianvecchio in filing and prosecuting FERC complaints on two issues relating to the PJM market, one of which was won and related to congestion rights in the region, and the other which is still pending. Schwartz and Gianvecchio also successfully implemented the first use of PJM’s alternative rate structure - the Deactivation Avoidable Cost Rate - on FirstEnergy’s behalf. The firm assisted Energy Capital Partners & Equipower with the regulatory and transactional aspects of numerous acquisitions including the Odessa plant in Texas and the Liberty and Red Oak plants in the PJM region. Ken Simon and Michael Gergen represented LS Power Equity Advisors on all regulatory and power contract issues relating to the $1.05bn acquisitions of electric power generating facilities in California, Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia, including the use of a FERC qualifying asset management agreement. In the oil and gas sector, Ken Simon and Schwartz represented Blackstone on all FERC and DOE issues relating to its $2bn investment in Sabine Pass liquefaction facility, Sabine Pass regasification terminal and the Creole Trail pipelines. Simon also advised Energy Transfer Partners on the regulatory aspects of its $5.3bn acquisition of Sunoco, which was impacted by numerous pieces of legislation, including the Natural Gas and Federal Power Acts, as well as pipeline safety laws. The energy practice has seen significant expansion, with the recruitment of Robin Fredrickson, Mike King, Jeff Munoz and Catherine Ozdogan into its Houston office and Patrick Laporte and Pierre-Louis Clero into its Paris office.

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Within Energy: renewable/alternative, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP has over 20 years’ experience advising project sponsors, developers and financial institutions in the renewable energy space. The firm’s energy practice, which is spread over a number of its US offices, has been particularly busy working on various aspects of domestic solar projects. San Diego-based Kelley Gale and New York-based Jonathan Rod advised AES Solar Power on the $715m development and construction financing of a 200MW photovoltaic solar facility in Imperial County, California. The mandate involved negotiating power purchase and EPC agreements, as well as a project acquisition from the third-party developer. The financing structure included a private placement of notes, a credit facility and a separate subordinated cash grant loan. Gale and Rod also represented Barclays Capital, Citigroup and RBS Securities as lead arrangers in the $1.9bn financing of a 550MW solar facility under construction in San Luis Obispo Country, California. New York-based Matthew Henegar acted for a consortium of financial institutions in connection with the project financing of a 127MW solar facility in Maricopa County, Arizona. In wind-related projects, Los Angeles-based John Kenney advised a group of sponsors on obtaining a $384m financing of a 201MW wind farm in Kansas; and John Sachs is advising Norddesutshce Landesbank, Sunlife Insurance Company and John Hancock on the $200m refinancing of six wind farms in Idaho. In the same office, Jeffrey Greenberg advised Sempra Generation and Mountain Solar on the financing of a $117m project in Nevada.

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Within Energy: transactions, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s energy lawyers ‘know the industry, are excellent negotiators and they manage a project as well as any’. Although best known for its longstanding reputation on power-related transactions and financing, the firm’s rapidly expanding Houston office has made it a dominant force across the sector. Recent significant arrivals in Houston include Robin Fredrickson and Jeff Munoz from Vinson & Elkins L.L.P.; Mike King from Morgan Lewis; and Catherine Ozdogan from Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. Global chair of the oil and gas industry group Michael Darden recently advised Red Leaf Resources on a $450m joint venture with TOTAL to develop oil shale leases. Munoz represented Plains Exploration & Production Company in its $5.5bn acquisition of a portfolio of deepwater oil and gas assets from BP. Bill Finnegan and Sean Wheeler from the Houston office advised Energy Transfer Partners on the $5.3bn acquisition of petroleum refiner and chemicals manufacturer Sunoco. Wheeler was also the lead partner advising Suburban Propane Partners on its $1.8bn acquisition of the propane operations of Inergy Propane. The firm’s project finance attorneys are currently involved in a number of high-profile liquefied natural gas (LNG) transactions. David Allinsonand Charles Carpenter are advising Blackstone Energy Partners on a $1.5bn investment in Cheniere Partners to fund the equity portion of the Sabine Pass LNG liquefaction project. The firm was also instructed by a number of export credit agencies on the $8.5bn project financing of the Australia Pacific LNG project. The ‘knowledgeable, thoughtful and patientJonathan Rod is global chair of the firm’s power industry group, based in New York. Significant work highlights from 2012 included representing Barclays Capital as financial adviser to Progress Energy on its $25.9bn sale to Duke Energy; and JPMorgan as financial adviser to Exelon on its merger with Constellation Energy. The practice also assisted a consortium of financial institutions with the refinancing of a term loan and revolving credit facility for NRG Energy. David Schwartz, M Adel Aslani-Far and Mark Gerstein are also recommended.

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Within Environment: litigation, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Preeminent firmLatham & Watkins LLP is ‘a very strong and visible presence’ in the market. Its recent work includes nationwide cases representing major companies, such as: Georgia-Pacific in a Wisconsin trial over a $1.5bn CERCLA allocation case and Masco Corporation in a class action which claims the client’s spray-on insulation used in millions of homes is hazardous. This latter matter is both a litigation and chemical regulatory case in which plaintiffs are seeking compensatory and punitive damages. The firm also achieved success for established client Fluor Corporation in a Californian insurance trial, which involved precedent-setting issues for policyholders seeking coverage for asbestos and related toxic tort liabilities. The firm won an assurance of $50m in coverage for the corporation’s liabilities and possibly much greater amounts for insureds if approved by the appellate courts. It also has a strong climate change practice, and represented a business coalition in California in the first lawsuit to challenge the state’s AB32 cap-and-trade program. The litigation practice is co-led by the experienced Mary Rose Alexander, who is based in Chicago, and Robert Wyman in Los Angeles.

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Within Environment: transactional and regulatory, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s large environmental practice is ‘very visible’, ‘strong’ and ‘very good on the transactional side’. It has an extensive domestic presence with lawyers operating on both coasts as well as in Chicago. Its work often covers major environmental cases and projects, ranging from insurance coverage, due diligence and climate change enforcement, and it has experience with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) matters. The firm was recently instructed by Carlyle to conduct regulatory due diligence on its $4.9bn acquisition of DuPont Performance Coatings, which manufactures paints for refinishing vehicles. In other transactional work, lawyers from four countries advised commercial banks and other lenders on the financing for a liquefied natural gas project in Australia. This major project was led from the firm’s Washington DC office and involved issues of international compliance and due diligence. In regulatory cases, the firm is assisting ExxonMobil with the development of its strategy and addressing the various issues arising from the EPA’s Chemical Action Plan concerning the assessment of phthalates, and the safety of the chemical in children’s products. Global practice head Robert Wyman is based in Los Angeles and Mary Rose Alexander in Chicago is also recommended.

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Within Healthcare: life sciences, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘response times are immediate; it has deep life sciences industry knowledge and a very strong bench’. Recent M&A highlights included advising Medicis on its $2.6bn agreement with Valeant for the latter to acquire all of Medicis’ remaining stock. Group co-chairs Peter Handrinos - ‘one of the best life sciences lawyers in Boston’ - and Mark Roeder, based in Menlo Park, have both been very active on venture capital financings for clients such as Pearl Therapeutics and Nurix. The group’s impressive capital markets practice acted for Amgen on its $12bn multi-tranche notes offering; and advised Kythera on its high-profile IPO. The firm has substantial IP and regulatory practices, the latter headed by Washington DC-based John Manthei, who is ‘a class act and extremely capable of leading through tough situations and issues’. Highly respected group co-chair and emerging biotech specialist Alan Mendelson, also based in Silicon Valley, is ‘at the top of his profession’.

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Within Healthcare: service providers, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘excellent’ healthcare group represents providers across the full spectrum of issues nationwide. Particularly well known for its transactional work, representative highlights included advising Univita Health on its acquisition of home-based care provider All-Med Services; and DaVita on regulatory and structuring aspects of its $4.4bn acquisition of HealthCare Partners. A team comprising Katherine Lauer, Roger Goldman, Daniel Meron and Alice Fisher is representing multiple hospital defendants in an investigation by the Department of Justice regarding reimbursement for defibrillator devices. Lauer, who is based in San Diego and is recommended for her DoJ work, is also acting for TridentUSA Health in an unsealed FCA qui tam matter alleging kickbacks through pricing discounts in California. Washington DC-based Fisher and Los Angeles-based Daniel Settelmayer are also recommended for SEC investigations. Washington DC-based Stuart Kurlander attracts praise for his regulatory expertise. Paul DeMuro joined Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt as special counsel in October 2012.

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Within Insurance: advice to policyholders, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s insurance team is ‘excellent across the board’ and has ‘good business sense’. The firm’s coverage lawyers ‘give nuanced advice without being equivocal’ and have diverse expertise across disciplines. While the group is heavily concentrated in California, the practice extends throughout the US and also the EU. It witnessed an expansion in D&O and E&O work and coverage issues arising from bank failures. A particularly busy area of involvement is property insurance. The team handles property damages and business interruption losses for Western Digital, Corning and the state of Hawaii relating to the 2011 floods in Thailand, the 2009 Japanese earthquake and the 9/11 terrorist attacks, respectively. Practice co-chair Brook Roberts and John Wilson won a trial victory for longstanding client Fluor in its asbestos coverage battle, which led to an ongoing review of Henkel v Hartford that could revoke barriers to transferring insurance rights during corporate restructurings. In other notable work, fellow co-chair Andrew Lundberg is currently representing Rockwell Automation in an asbestos coverage matter and David Barrett developed the first union-side lockout policy on behalf of the NFLPA.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Patent litigation: full coverage, tier 4

Latham & Watkins LLP’s broad-based litigation capabilities allows it to handle a range of trial, appellate and ITC proceedings for clients such as AOL, Vizio, Honeywell and Symantec. The practice has also been handling a number of Section 337 investigations as well as acting for Monsanto on disputes against Pioneer and DuPont. IP litigation co-chair Maximilian Grant and patent litigator Matthew Moore are acting for the defendant in EI DuPont De Nemours and Company v Heraeus Holding. Moore was also counsel to Amazon as defendant in a successful dismissal of numerous claims brought by OIP Technologies, with the district court ruling on a failure to claim patentable subject matter. Daniel Brown focuses on the life sciences sector and leads on pharmaceutical patent litigation matters alongside Kenneth Schuler. They have been leading on ANDA litigation for Cadence Pharmaceuticals and Par Pharmaceuticals. Jonathan Link joined from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton in late 2012.

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Within Patent litigation: International Trade Commission, tier 4

Latham & Watkins LLP’s Bert Reiser leads the practice on Section 337 cases, with West Coast-based Ron Shulman and Julie Holloway also providing extensive trial experience, including on ITC investigations. The team successfully defended AU Optronics against an investigation filed by Thomson Licensing regarding LED technology patents. It is currently representing InterDigital as complainant in a 3G wireless technology patent infringement case against Nokia, Huawei, ZTE and LG. Jonathan Link joined from Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and focuses particularly on ITC matters.

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Within Trademarks: litigation, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP acts for a number of leading brand owners on trademark litigation matters and is regularly involved in multi-jurisdictional disputes. The highly regarded Perry Viscounty and San Diego-based internet law specialist Jennifer Barry successfully concluded a domain name and counterfeiting dispute on behalf of plaintiff Symantec Corporation against Johns Creek Software. The trial team also acted for Entrepreneur Media in various trademark infringement and cybersquatting disputes.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Private equity funds, tier 4

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘strong’ private equity fund formation team provides ‘very high levels of service and extremely commercial advice’ for both sponsors and investors. Seven US-based partners handle formation, structuring and regulatory compliance matters, and can call on approximately 100 lawyers across the firm’s 31 offices globally to provide fully integrated, multidisciplinary advice to a client base that includes Global Infrastructure Partners and LaSalle Investment Management. In 2012, Los Angeles-based Scott Klein represented BDT Capital Partners on the fundraising of a $1bn private equity fund targeted to provide supplemental capital to the client’s existing private equity investment activities. New York-based Andrea Schwartzman represented China-based Milestone Capital in the formation of Milestone China Opportunities Fund III targeting investments in established, high-growth companies in China. Schwartzman draws praise for her ‘smart, commercial and responsive service’, alongside practice co-chairs, LA-based Scott Klein, NY-based Kathleen Walsh and Washington DC-based Barton Clark.

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Within Real estate investment trusts (REITs), Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s REIT expertise spans a 20-year track record on market-changing matters, including the 1991 Kimco REIT conversion and IPO. Michael Brody and Julian Kleindorfer jointly head a team that has the capacity to draw on 130 lawyers across the firm’s US offices, providing advice to some of the largest real estate investment trusts, including American Assets Trust and Hudson Pacific Properties, as well as acting as designated REIT underwriter’s counsel. 2012 saw it act on a number of cutting-edge matters, including its representation of Spirit Realty Capital in its $500m restructuring and IPO, which follows the practice’s representation of the buyers in Spirit Realty’s 2007 take-private transaction. In another IPO highlight, the team represented the underwriters in CyrusOne's $300m IPO, which involved consolidating over 20 properties in a single entity. It is also frequently called on to represent its REIT clients in M&A matters, and in 2012 represented Realty Income in its $3bn acquisition of American Realty Capital, which was the second-largest acquisition of a US REIT in 2012. Other highlights included representing Kimco Realty in its $400m depository share offering, and representing Digital Realty Trust in its $830.9m common stock offering to finance its acquisition of the Sentrum portfolio of data center properties located in London. The depth of the practice’s capability in REIT-related securities and transactional matters was further strengthened by the arrival of Kevin Ehrhart from private practice, and David Broderick, who joined from Allen & Overy LLP.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘team is extremely high quality and demonstrates exceptional knowledge in its field of expertise’. With specialist EBEC partners based in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Washington and London, the firm has an impressive cross-border practice. Key areas of expertise include executive and employee compensation, hiring and termination issues; governance and regulatory issues; stock and cash based incentives; and pensions and employee benefits. The firm recently represented Manchester United in executive compensation and benefits matters in connection with its Class A Ordinary Shares listed on the NYSE; and advised its clients Mattel, Watson Pharmaceuticals and KKR & Co on the employee benefit, compensation and labor aspects of their respective acquisitions of HIT Entertainment, Actavis and Capital safety. ‘We have found that the team’s knowledge, responsiveness and culture fit best with the requirements of our company’. Global benefits and compensation practice chair James Barrall, Laurence Seymour and David Taub are recommended. David Della Rocca, Robin Struve and Bradd Williamson and Jed Brickner are all also highly experienced. ‘They understand completely the issues which are important to our firm and are an extremely valuable partner to our in-house transaction professionals’.

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United States: Litigation

Within International trade, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s practice focuses on export controls, sanctions and customs, FCPA, anti-corruption and CFIUS. The firm has deliberately chosen to distance itself from traditional international trade work, including trade remedies, and has focused the practice as an extension of the firm’s robust white collar litigation department. This approach has been successful for the firm, as it has recently seen an increase in instructions relating to trade and economic sanctions against Iran and Syria by the US and the UN. The ‘absolutely outstandingWilliam McGlone, a ‘superb practitioner in export and sanctions’, leads a team of over 30 attorneys and continues to specialize in ITAR and EAR cases. Edward Shapiro focuses his practice on CFIUS matters and Les Carnegie advises on export controls. Recent work for the firm includes advising on the voluntary disclosure of a violation of US export control laws, advising on compliance with US sanctions and representing a multinational company in multiple criminal and administrative proceedings.

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Within Product liability and mass tort defense: consumer products (including tobacco), Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Noted for ‘excellence’ across the country, Latham & Watkins LLP achieved a coup when it boosted its product liability expertise in Boston by recruiting Kenneth Parsigian and Gwyn Williams from Goodwin Procter LLP in October 2012. Williams is ‘a very strong team leader’ and provides ‘quick, clear and thoughtful’ advice, ensuring that ‘nothing falls through the cracks when she is responsible’. ‘Truly the full package’, Parsigian has a breadth of experience in tobacco work and long history of advising both Philip Morris USA and Philip Morris International as lead counsel in multiple mass torts across the country and internationally. Praised for his ‘unparalleled success rate’, he is ‘a world-class trial lawyer’ and ‘master strategist’ who puts together ‘highly effective’ teams. Parsigian was recently appointed as chair of the Boston office’s litigation group. In Washington DC, William Rawson and Christine Rolph represented Playtex in alleged consumer fraud and warranty claims in the form of putative class actions across 20 states. Elsewhere, Aurora Organic Dairy instructed Mark Mester in a dispute concerning product labeling issues under Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 anad National Organic Program regulations. ConocoPhillips, Monsanto and Georgia-Pacific are also clients.

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Within Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s toxic tort group works closely alongside lawyers from the environmental litigation practice, defending major engineering companies, energy sector clients, and manufacturers. Georgia-Pacific instructed Chicago-based Mary Rose Alexander and Karl Lytz in San Francisco to defend it in a $1.5bn CERCLA allocation case concerning polychlorinated biphenyls. Thomas Heiden defended Nalco Company, a water treatment company, in class actions and personal injury claims arising from the use of its dispersant products during the Deepwater Horizon spill. Christine Rolph and Robert Howard are also recommended.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP provides ‘better value in litigation than the other large international firms’. The firm’s US national securities litigation practice, which spans eight offices, is co-chaired by William Baker in Washington DC, Patrick Gibbs in Silicon Valley and Jeff Hammel in New York. One client rates the team as ‘simply the best complex litigation group I’ve ever worked with - and I’ve worked with several of the most visible practices in New York and worldwide’. The firm has built a significant share of the crossover market between securities class actions and auditor’s liability; it acts for all four of the major accounting firms and achieved impressive results for Ernst & Young and Deloitte in securities class actions related to the first and second-largest bank failures in US history - Washington Mutual Bank and IndyMac Bancorp. ‘Great team leaderJeff Hammel in New York and ‘litigation geniusPeter Wald from San Francisco are representing SLM Corporation (Sallie Mae), the educational loan originator, and certain of its senior executives, in a securities class action alleging, inter alia, misleading disclosures and accounting relating to Sallie Mae’s student loan portfolio.

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Within Supreme Court and appellate, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

At Latham & Watkins LLP, practice head Gregory Garre is ‘terrific and his handling of the recent Fisher case was a very big deal’. This refers to US Supreme Court case Fisher v University of Texas at Austin, a very high-profile Fourteenth Amendment matter, in which the Court considered whether the University is permitted to consider race in its undergraduate admissions decisions; Garre argued the case - in which nearly 100 amicus briefs were filed - in October 2012. Garre also secured a big win in $1bn tax case United States v Home Concrete, a landmark instance involving the limits of the government’s ability to collect tax deficiencies. Garre was also successful on behalf of Cory Maples in the bellwether death penalty case Maples v Thomas. The firm’s appellate division has a national footprint: in 2012 it scored a big win on behalf of Ford Motor Company in a significant preemption case in South Carolina Supreme Court; the firm also won a preemption case on behalf of client Clear Channel in the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Richard Bress and Scott Ballenger also have superb reputations, and are important components of a firm which ‘had a terrific year following previous great years’.

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Within Trade secrets, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

The five-partner trade secrets team at Latham & Watkins LLP stands apart for its international footprint and multi-jurisdictional capabilities. Perry Viscounty, co-chair of the firm’s global IP litigation practice group, and newly promoted partner Jennifer Barry receive plaudits for their ‘level of service, attention to detail, quality of writing and sound business advice’. Together they are representing Chinese firm America Chung Nam (ACN) in a misappropriation case following the departure of two key employees for a rival paper exporting company, which centered on allegations that the departing employees contacted key ACN suppliers despite having no prior relationship with those companies. The case involves evidential issues spanning Japan, South Korea, Spain and China. The team also continues to defend Skullcandy in its well-publicized $10m trade secret dispute against Monster Cable.

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Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 6

Latham & Watkins LLP’s global practice is headed by David Schindler and Steven Bauer, located in Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively. The practice has gone from strength to strength in recent years, building up expertise in a wide range of areas, with healthcare fraud and FCPA matters being particularly key. Its dexterity in the environmental sphere came to the fore when representing PG&E in an investigation following a pipeline explosion in a residential community; the investigation is ongoing, and the firm is also serving as lead counsel in the correlating regulatory investigation and civil trial, which involves 370 plaintiffs. For SCAN Health Plan, it acted in parallel federal and state criminal and civil investigations alleging overpayments by California’s Medi-Cal program going back to 1985, persuading the government to close the criminal matter with no charges, and obtaining a favorable settlement. Other highlights include successfully defending the City of Vernon against allegations of corruption by the District Attorney and the California Attorney General, and it is currently representing a senior Wal-Mart executive in parallel DOJ/SEC FCPA investigations and myriad civil suits arising out of alleged corrupt payments in Mexico. In addition to Shindler and Bauer, recommended attorneys include Washington DC-based managing partner Alice Fisher, Chicago-based Sean Berkowitz and Zachary Fardon, who chair the litigation practice globally and locally, respectively.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s multidisciplinary practice is led by Jennifer Archie and Kevin Boyle in Washington DC. Boyle leads the security and privacy committee, which is responsible for the firm’s global information security and privacy compliance program across its 31offices. The group advises US and multinational clients regarding compliance with federal and state laws and regulations in the EU and other non-US jurisdictions, and advises EU companies setting up in the US and provides transactional support. Key areas of practice include compliance programs, breach response and disclosure. Archie advises leading online brands on data privacy and compliance issues, notably advising Endurance International Group, which provides hosting, domains and online solutions on privacy, marketing and consumer protection. Boyle advised non-profit social entrepreneurship organization Ashoka on global privacy compliance and data security programming. Healthcare clients include the Hospital Corporation of America.

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Within Technology: outsourcing, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP hired Sarah Gagan in Boston from Bingham McCutchen LLP, and Eliot Choy in New York from Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati. The group operates mostly on the customer side, handling big-ticket deals covering ITO and specialist BPO, including asset and fund management outsourcing, finance and accounting, tax compliance, human resources and payment processing. Its strength is underpinned by the firm’s global platform and resources which enable it to handle large-scale, multinational deals supported by expertise in related practice areas, notably intellectual property and advanced technology tools. Allen Klein, who wins praise as ‘qualified and highly skilled, both in terms of industry and legal knowledge’, and his Washington DC team advised Starbucks on mobile payments in its US stores. JD Marple in Silicon Valley, who also represents Facebook, and Jeremiah Wolsk in Washington DC, advised Avery Dennison on five global voice, data and conferencing transactions.

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Within Technology: transactions, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s 55-lawyer team handles M&A, licensing deals and strategic transactions for vendors and customers, offering transactional and IP strength and broad industry expertise, notably in the crossover between media and technology. The group is supported by the firm’s international reach and East and West Coast strength. Christopher Kaufman in Menlo Park and Anthony Klein in Silicon Valley represented Lucasfilm in its $4.05bn acquisition by The Walt Disney Company. Clients recommend the ‘experienced, well-connectedRoxanne Christ in Los Angeles, who focuses on the convergence between media and technology; she advised Chinese online games developer Perfect World on its agreement with US entertainment software and technology company Valve granting Perfect World exclusive rights to operate massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) Dota 2 in mainland China. David Blood, who advised online sports publisher Bleacher Report on its acquisition by Turner Broadcasting System, is ‘one to watch’. Former practice head Glenn Nash joined Sidley Austin LLP in Palo Alto. Clients include Starbucks, Red Leaf Resources, UBS and Copart.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Clients consider Latham & Watkins LLP’s regulatory group in Washington DC is ‘terrific in every way - immediate response, high quality, excellent grasp of subject matter, policy implications and generally good advice’. The firm’s size enables it to handle multiple significant mandates involving communications, finance and M&A. Clients include carriers, satellite and broadcast companies and investors in the telecoms and communications sectors. Practice head John Janka wins plaudits for his ‘unparalleled expertise on satellite regulatory matters’ and his ‘excellent judgment and knowledge of the industry, and the regulatory environment’. Recent mandates include acting as special regulatory counsel in the reorganization of distressed satellite broadband provider LightSquared, and advising on the development and implementation of regulatory solutions to the GPS issues that were raised by the LightSquared dispute. James Barker, Matthew Brill, who is recommended for his ‘deep expertise and real-world, problem-solving attitude’, and Brian Murray represented Time Warner Cable in regulatory matters involving video, voice and broadband internet services. Brill and Barker represent the Competitive Carriers Association, which includes almost all US wireless carriers, before the FCC and other regulatory agencies including proceedings to develop data roaming requirements. Jarrett Taubman was promoted to counsel. The group’s reputation for handling regulatory issues arising from the crossover of media, broadcast and internet services has attracted marquee clients across the broadcast, cable and wireless industries, including Inmarsat, Viasat, Freedom Communications, Comcast and Tata Communications.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: transactional, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s transactional prowess is supported by its global industry group and strength in related practice areas. The core group in Washington DC is supported by regulatory experts and litigators and handles big-ticket international deals, most recently advising Liberty Global on its $23.3bn acquisition of Virgin Media to create the world’s largest broadband company. The ‘highly responsive and thoroughly informed’ group combines transactional and regulatory strength to facilitate a high-volume of deals. Clients include acquirers and providers of telecommunications capacity and related services. Attorneys have broad experience in transactions for the purchase and supply of communications technology and related services including outsourcing, hosting and co-location, licensing and content distribution transactions. Clients describe practice head John Janka as ‘best in the business’, praising his ‘unparalleled market knowledge and deep insightful expertise’. Janka represented GeoEye in its $900m merger with Digital Globe to create a global leader in earth imagery and geospatial analysis and assisted antenna manufacturer Kymeta with a technology development agreement for mobile broadband terminals. David Blood and Alex Voxman in Los Angeles represented online sports publisher Bleacher Report in its sale to Turner Broadcasting System. James Barker and his team advised Yahoo! on its $270m acquisition of data valuation capabilities company interCLICK. The group represented Viasat in two bond offerings totaling $575m, a tender offer for $275m of 6.875% senior notes and refinancing a $325m credit facility. Christopher Kaufman in Menlo Park represented Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley in the Ruckus Wireless initial public offering (IPO). Clients recommend this ‘highly integrated team’ who ‘has a good sense on when to act and how hard to push’. Marquee clients include Arqiva, Time Warner Cable, Cricket Communications and Leap Wireless. Jarrett Taubman was promoted to counsel.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within Antitrust, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Outstanding in all respects’, Latham & Watkins LLP’s lawyers provide ‘a tremendous personalized service’, and their ability to understand a client’s business within a unique industry is ‘nothing short of exceptional’. Work highlights display a diet of antitrust disputes, government investigations and cartel matters. More specifically, the team represented Singapore Airlines Cargo and Singapore Airlines in one of the most extensive global cartel investigations ever initiated, involving multibillion-dollar fines imposed by global competition authorities and criminal charges facing airline executives. It also successfully defended leading musical instrument retailer Guitar Center in a case alleging that the client orchestrated a conspiracy to maintain the retail price of guitars and eliminate discounting of products online. The group also acts for ExxonMobil, Wells Fargo and Oracle, and new client gains saw Union Pacific and the Radio Music License Committee added to the roster. The practice includes highly regarded partners on both the East and West Coast, who reap praise from clients and peers alike. In San Francisco, Daniel Wall is ‘one of the best antitrust lawyers in the country’, Christopher Yates and Al Pfeiffer are also highly regarded, and Niall Lynch recently joined from the antitrust division of the DOJ. In Washington DC, Margaret Zwisler has ‘top-notch knowledge of antitrust’ and is ‘excellent at interfacing with non-lawyer personnel in a manner that is comfortable and informative’. Michael Egge recently relocated to the Brussels office.

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Within M&A: litigation, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

Rated by its peers, Latham & Watkins LLP’s litigators have extensive experience of litigating in deal-related actions. The team handles all types of litigation arising from M&A transactions, including appraisal actions, hostile tender offers, material adverse change litigation, poison pill cases, proxy contests, and shareholder bump-up suits. The practice is well-versed in Delaware law, and has prevailed decisively in M&A litigation that has been filed in the Delaware Court of Chancery and in multi-forum litigation, which is filed simultaneously in state and federal jurisdictions across the country, and has won both at the preliminary injunction stage and at trial.

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Within M&A: mega-deals ($5bn+), Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s client base covers the full range of the market, including leading corporations and financial institutions, as well as active clients in specific industry segments, such as energy, entertainment, financial institutions, healthcare, industrials, manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, semiconductor and technology sectors; and the firm is able to leverage relationships with its public M&A capabilities. The practice represented Watson Pharmaceuticals in its agreement to buy Swiss drug maker Actavis Group, for at least €4.25bn, in a deal that will help Watson cement its status as one of the world’s biggest suppliers of generic drugs; advised Energy Transfer Partners (ETP) in relation to its definitive merger agreement with Sunoco, whereby ETP will acquire Sunoco in a unit and cash transaction that is valued at approximately $5.3bn, the acquisition expanding ETP’s geographic footprint and its presence in the transportation and logistics of crude oil, NGLs and refined products; and acted for Lucasfilm in its $4.05bn acquisition by Disney, the acquisition including the Star Wars franchise, as well as its operating businesses in live action film production, consumer products, animation, visual effects, and post-production audio. The practice also advised in relation to Realty Income Corporation’s acquisition of American Realty Capital, marking the second-largest acquisition of a US real estate investment trust announced in 2012, and possibly the largest, public, triple-net deal ever. Global M&A co-chairs Adel Aslani-Far, in New York, and Mark Gerstein, in Chicago, are recommended. In late 2011, Alan Avery joined the New York office from Arnold & Porter LLP, as a corporate partner, with a particular focus on the financial regulatory industry.

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Within Private equity buyouts, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP has ‘one of the largest and most sophisticated private equity and M&A practices’ and is a ‘major player’ thanks in part to its relationships with bulge bracket clients Carlyle Group, Apollo Global Management, BC Partners and Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co (KKR). The team is ‘very smart’, ‘hard working’ and ‘commercial’, and provides a ‘top service especially on highly complex deals’. It has also successfully inhabited the middle market with clients such as Leonard Green & Partners, One Equity Partners, Riverstone, Genstar Capital, Odyssey Partners and Platinum Equity. For the first three-quarters of 2012, the firm ranked number one in mergermarket’s US private equity buyouts Q3 2012 rankings, with an aggregate deal value of $23.63bn. The transactions team also benefits from the firm’s strong fund advisory practice, as well as its leading private equity finance expertise, which includes bank and bond finance. New York partner Joshua Tinkelman is one of its leading names on the finance side. It has a leading standing in energy, consumer products, retail, industrial, healthcare and financial services, and has experienced notable growth in real estate, life sciences and technology. Led by prominent New York partner Ray Lin, the firm represented BC Partners and Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board on the $6.6bn acquisition of Suddenlink Communications, one of the largest private equity transactions of 2012. In addition, leading New York partner Howard Sobel, who is a ‘really good lawyer’, a ‘top guy’ and has an ‘excellent client base’, advised Leonard Green & Partners on its $1.7bn investment in Savers. The deal involved a composite arrangement with the existing management team, which retained a significant stake in the company and the transaction involved a leveraged acquisition with multiple layers of debt. Other leading partners include Washington DC’s global chair of the corporate department Dan Lennon, who is the relationship partner for marquee client Carlyle. Fellow Washington DC-based global co-chair of the private equity department David Brown is praised by clients for being ‘extremely smart’ and having an ‘exceptional grasp of the issues on deals’, thanks to his ‘in-depth understanding of both the business issues and the legal and contractual issues’. New York’s Ted Sonnenschein is ‘highly intelligent’, ‘hard working’ and ‘very commercial’, and New York partner and co-chair of the team David Allinson is another leading name, recently advising Blackstone Energy Partners on its $1.5bn equity investment in Cheniere Energy Partners.

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Within Venture capital and emerging companies, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP has continued its upward trajectory in the emerging companies and venture capital segment. In 2011, it significantly expanded its offering in Boston and this has led to greater recognition both nationally and globally. Clients regard the team as ‘excellent’, ‘very responsive’ and ‘highly professional’, and commend its ability to ‘bring resources from all over the country’ to support clients. One client says that ‘other firms do not exhibit the same level of professionalism and consistency across the practice that it demonstrates’. This is down to the huge national and international resources that the firm provides, including key support practices. The firm has more than 65 partners that have a strong emphasis on emerging companies and venture capital clients. Its US practice extends across eight offices; Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Boston, Waltham, Los Angeles, San Diego, Orange County and New York. It also has leading expertise in all the key industries in this segment, notably technology, life sciences and cleantech. Clients include Mellanox, OpenTable, MAP Pharmaceuticals, OncoMed Pharmaceuticals, Codexis and Sapphire Energy. The firm is widely renowned for its ability to work with emerging companies at every phase of their development, from early stage through to national and international prominence. It has a leading position in venture-backed IPOs, having advised on the headline listings of Calix, Codexis, Complete Genomics and ZipCar in recent years, as well as many others. Hired in 2011, Boston-based co-chair of the emerging companies department John Chory and Boston partner Susan Mazur ‘understand the needs of the client’, are ‘strategic thinkers’ and ‘very competent’. In Silicon Valley, co-chairs of the group Patrick Pohlen and Alan Mendelson also have fine reputations.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Land use/zoning, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s energy and infrastructure project siting and defense practice group focuses on the development of large-scale projects in California. The team has expertise in climate change, green building and sustainability issues, and maintains a strong record in litigation record, particularly in defending clients against challenges brought on environmental grounds. Current instructions include its work for NBCUniversal on its proposal for a 391-acre site in Los Angeles, a $1bn project requiring multiple agency approvals. It is also currently seeking approvals for a $1bn seawater desalination plant on behalf of Poseidon resources. Other clients include Paramount, Westfield, Marriott International and First Solar. Lucinda Starrett and Jim Arnone are key contacts.

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Within Real estate, Latham & Watkins LLP is a third tier firm,

The 18-partner real estate team at Latham & Watkins LLP expanded in 2012, with the lateral hire of David Broderick and Kevin Ehrhart (formerly head of real estate at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP), with a view to rounding out and adding depth to the finance-strong team, particularly in the booming private equity and REIT areas. The practice is led in the US by global co-chair James Hisiger, who represented General Electric Capital Corporation in the $410m restructuring of four loans secured by 25 multi-family properties across the US. Broderick led on a $2.3bn loan restructuring for PCCP in relation to the Atlantis Paradise Island Hotel, Resort & Casino. Michelle Kelban combined with corporate colleagues to represent the Yucaipa Companies in the $240m acquisition of Soho House, a private members’ club with locations throughout the US and Europe, via a silo structure. Nathaniel Marrs in Chicago assisted Kennedy Wilson in connection with a loan portfolio acquisition from the Bank of Ireland, valued at $1.8bn; the deal involved the implementation of several levels of equity joint ventures and debt financings, and was collateralized by various UK assets.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax: Central, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Latham & Watkins LLP’s five-partner tax team in Chicago is led by Diana Doyle and handles M&A, securities and capital markets-related tax work as well as fielding a solid tax controversy team. Joseph Kronsnoble is a name to note and represented Bank of New York, as indenture trustee, and Wayzata Investment Partners, as majority second line note-holder, in connection with the Chapter 11 restructuring of The Majestic Star Casino. The team is further strengthened with tax partner Timothy Fenn in the Houston office, where the firm concentrates predominantly on energy matters. Fenn provided tax advice with respect to the acquisition of Southern Union by Energy Transfer Equity creating the premier group of integrated midstream companies in the United States natural gas industry. The ‘very innovativeStephen Bowen is also recommended.

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Within Domestic tax: East Coast, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

One of the best’ tax advisory firms, Latham & Watkins LLP handles its East Coast work from the firm’s New York, Washington DC and Boston offices. The practice works closely with the firm’s corporate, finance and litigation teams to give clients a comprehensive service in relation to tax planning for transactions, tax audits and controversies. The ‘excellent’ group provides ‘great expertise and timeliness’ and the Washington DC team was strengthened by the arrival of Miriam Fisher and Brian McManus from Morgan Lewis in March 2012. The pair bring considerable experience in tax controversy and litigation to the firm. Lisa Watts co-chairs the tax department in New York and recently represented The Blackstone Group in its $2bn equity investment in the Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project, the first facility of its kind in the continental US. The ‘excellentDavid Raab is the global chair of the tax department and focuses on corporate and partnership taxation.

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Within Domestic tax: West Coast, Latham & Watkins LLP is a first tier firm,

One of the best tax firms’, Latham & Watkins LLP specializes in M&A, corporate finance and cross-border restructuring. The firm also handles REIT work and controversy for clients. The practice consists of eight partners overall, six in Los Angeles and two in Silicon Valley, and the firm’s impressive West Coast corporate practice provides a constant flow of high-level tax work. Pardis Zomorodi is the local chair for transactional tax, and Samuel Weiner acts as transactional tax chair. Weiner is also co-chair of the firm’s thriving Asian tax practice. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Laurence Stein is a ‘superb M&A tax lawyer’. Stein advised Watson Pharmaceuticals in its acquisition of Swiss drug-maker Actavis Group, confirming its status as one of the world’s biggest suppliers of generic drugs. Other work highlights included advising Yucaipa American Alliance Fund II, LP in its acquisition of Soho House Limited, the UK-based private members club for those in film, media and creative industries.

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Within International tax, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

The ‘excellentLatham & Watkins LLP provides ‘great expertise’ and ‘timeliness’ to clients. The practice works from the majority of the firm’s US offices, with the largest concentrations in Chicago and Los Angeles. The global practice also includes offices in the UK, Germany, France, Spain and Singapore. David Raab in New York is the global tax chair, and DC-based Nicholas DeNovio is the international tax practice chair. The partnership grew with the promotion of Grace Chen in the San Francisco office and Jocelyn Noll in the New York office. The team handles the spectrum of cross-border tax matters with a focus on stand-alone consulting projects and corporate and finance transactional matters. Work highlights included advising Mattel on the tax issues relating to its acquisition of HIT Entertainment for $680m in cash from a consortium led by Apax Partners funds. The deal involved a number of jurisdictions. Laurence Stein in Los Angeles, Cheryl Coe in Washington DC and Lisa Watts in New York are also recommended.

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Within Tax controversy, Latham & Watkins LLP is a second tier firm,

Headed by the ‘innovative and strategicGerald Kafka, Latham & Watkins LLP’s Washington DC-centered tax controversy practice expanded its fraud and FATCA capabilities with the recruitment of two highly regarded tax litigators, Miriam Fisher and Brian McManus, from Morgan Lewis. Both Fisher and McManus focus their ‘very solid’ practice on federal tax controversy and litigation, including complex civil and criminal matters. The ‘great and wonderful’ Fisher’s client base includes energy, communications, media, hospitality, financial services and professional services industries, and global high-net-worth individuals. Acknowledged as one of the next generation’s top tax lawyers, Fisher has a considerable governmental experience. Work highlights included a favorable decision of the US Tax Court allowing an Iberdrola subsidiary's interest deductions relating to more than $1bn of debt, and finalizing agreed administrative settlements with the IRS reversing more than $20bn in proposed adjustments by the IRS for three separate clients.

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