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Morrison & Foerster LLP

425 MARKET STREET, SAN FRANCISCO CA 94105-2482, USA
Tel:
Work +1 415 268 7000
Fax:
Fax +1 415 268 7522
Email:
Web:
www.mofo.com

Top-tier Firm rankings

Firm Rankings


United States: Antitrust

Cartel
Cartel - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP focuses on IP-related antitrust matters. It is particularly well known for its expertise in the hi-tech and media industries, but the client base is broader than that and includes companies in the healthcare and autoparts sectors. The group was also involved in price-fixing matters related to the drywall, semiconductors and freight forwarding industries. The practice was bolstered by the arrival of trial lawyer David Cross from Crowell & Moring LLP. Stephen Smith is the co-chair of the global antitrust group. Roxann Henry is recommended, and another name to note is Jeff Jaeckel. Stephen Freccero left the firm to work as a judge at Marin County Superior Court. All attorneys are based in Washington DC except where otherwise stated.

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Civil litigation/class actions
Civil litigation/class actions - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The lawyers at Morrison & Foerster LLPdo an outstanding job at gaining knowledge of their clients’ industries and of the specifics of their businesses’. Leveraging the firm’s Japanese network, new hire David Cross in Washington DC is representing Sumitomo Electric Industries and certain of its subsidiaries in the defense of price-fixing class actions brought by direct and indirect purchasers of autoparts, specifically wire harnesses. The practice, headed by global antitrust co-chair Stephen Smith, has a broad client base that includes Continental Building Products, Amadeus IT Group (hi-tech is particular sector strength) and JPMorgan Chase. Stephen Freccero and Paul Friedman in San Francisco, and Sean Gates and Michael Miller, located in Los Angeles and New York respectively, are other names to note.

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Merger control
Merger control - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP obtains merger clearance for a considerable number of clients, particularly those operating in the life sciences, financial services and hi-tech industries. Jonathan Gowdy advised Pinnacle Entertainment on the antitrust aspects of Gaming Leisure Properties’ proposed acquisition of its real estate assets for $4.75bn. The list of key clients also includes Fujifilm and Deere & Company. Head of department Stephen Smith is ‘always available to provide quick advice’.

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United States: Dispute resolution

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

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Appellate: courts of appeals - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘very strong’ appellate practice is headed by the ‘exceptionally talented and incredibly dedicated advocate’ Deanne Maynard and Joseph Ralmore, who is ‘an expert in healthcare and telecoms’. IP litigation is a key area for the firm, which represented Sandoz in a landmark Federal Circuit case against Teva Pharmaceuticals. Further success was achieved in the IP space for Sotheby’s in a case concerning royalties, where an en banc Ninth Circuit ruled that the California Resale Royalties Act violates the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by regulating sales beyond the state of California. The firm also handles product liability litigation and recently successfully represented 16 food manufacturers in a labelling dispute with the Environmental Law Foundation; Michèle Corash argued the case.

Leading lawyers

Deanne Maynard - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Financial services: litigation
Financial services: litigation - ranked: tier 5

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Headed out of New York and San Francisco by David Fioccola and James McGuire respectively, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s 14-partner team is particularly accomplished at handling consumer finance litigation and agency investigations/enforcements. Along with Jim McCabe, McGuire is representing Capital One in enforcement actions brought by the Attorney General relating to alleged unfair and deceptive practices it engaged in regarding the sale of payment protection insurance. The duo also successfully concluded litigation for Capital One and US Bank in class actions relating to alleged excessive overdraft fees. Michael Agoglia is recommended for his ‘tactical nous’ and along with the recently promoted Angela Kleine concluded the representation of JPMorgan Chase in its high-profile mortgage modification litigation.

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Leading trial lawyers

Arturo González - Morrison & Foerster LLP: San Francisco-based practice head Arturo González has an excellent track record in high-stakes trials. He has won three damages awards of more than $1bn, most notably on behalf of Cypress Semiconductor, where he secured the dismissal of trade secrets allegations. Trade secrets is an area of strength and, in recent years, he has successfully defended a major health maintenance organization against trade secret misappropriation, breach of contract and other allegations. González has also worked on cases concerning antitrust, employment, constitutional and tax matters.

Leading trial lawyers

Arturo González - Morrison & Foerster LLP

Rachel Krevans - Morrison & Foerster 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 1

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The busy aviation practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP is active in airline accident and product liability litigation, and has expanded its practice to encompass regulatory advice on unmanned aerial systems (UAS); William O’Connor, who divides his time between Los Angeles and San Diego, is a key contact in this regard. O’Connor and San Diego-based practice co-head Don Rushing are defending Honeywell in a wrongful death suit following a Learjet 25 crash which caused the death of all seven occupants including well-known Mexican pop singer Jenni Rivera. The pair was also retained by Earthship Productions in a case concerning an allegedly defective Robinson R44 helicopter. San Diego-based James Huston is co-head of the practice alongside Rushing. Of counsel William Janicki moved to Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis LLP in August 2015.

Leading lawyers

Don Rushing - Morrison & Foerster LLP

James Huston - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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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 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s product liability group is led by San Diego-based Erin Bosman, whose experience includes handling high-stakes consumer product recalls and investigations conducted by the CPSC. Bosman and James Huston are currently representing Fitbit in a putative class action claiming that Fitbit’s sleep-tracking function is not as accurate as sleep monitoring medical devices. San Francisco-based William Tarantino and Michael Steel are representing Lumber Liquidators in a major MDL comprised of over 130 class actions, as well as a number of investigations, regarding claims that Lumber Liquidators’ laminate flooring emitted unsafe levels of formaldehyde, which is in violation of the California Air Resources Board’s requirements. Other clients include Costco, California Natural Products and Sears Holdings.

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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

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s product liability group is headed by Erin Bosman, who has a strong experience in representing clients as national coordinating and trial counsel in class actions, as well as MDL proceedings. She and trial veteran James Huston continue to defend Fresenius against over 2,000 individual claims alleging the off-label use of psychiatric medication metoclopramide causes significant side effects. Senior associate Julie Park is also highly regarded. Clients of the practice include MicroPort Orthopedics and McKesson. All lawyers mentioned are based in San Diego.

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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 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP regularly handles environmental and tort liabilities arising from chemical exposure, in addition to which it has strong experience in representing corporations in regulatory and enforcement matters. Los Angeles-based Peter Hsiao is currently representing Curtimade Dairy and the Dairy Industry Environmental Coalition in a lawsuit filed by the city of Corcoran under the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) alleging groundwater contamination arising from the clients’ use of nitrate fertilizers. In San Francisco, Michael Steel, Michèle Corash and of counsel Robin Stafford successfully obtained summary judgment for over 30 clients dismissing an action alleging that titanium dioxide (a key ingredient in cosmetics and sunscreens) increases risk of cancer. Other clients include BASF, California Natural Products and Lumber Liquidators.

Leading lawyers

Michèle Corash - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Securities litigation - defense
Securities litigation - defense - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP is known for ‘a client-oriented approach to costs and logical strategic planning’. Securities litigation, enforcement and white-collar criminal defense team co-chairs Jordan Eth in San Francisco and Joel Haims in New York, working with Dan Marmalefsky in Los Angeles, represented BlackBerry in multiple securities fraud class actions, and secured dismissal of a case alleging misstatements to investors. Another highlight for Eth and San Francisco-based Anna Erickson White was the defense of Yahoo! in a case arising from its ownership of a stake in Alibaba Group. Judson Lobdell served as co-lead lawyer in the representation of Countrywide directors, executives at SunPower Corporation and many others. In Palo Alto, Darryl Rains and Erik Olson are recommended.

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White-collar criminal defense
White-collar criminal defense - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP represents a large number of companies and company executives in major criminal investigations before the SEC and DOJ. The firm is frequently sought out to conduct complex cross-border investigations into potential FCPA violations. Clients include the former COO of Barclays Jerry del Missier and Terry Christensen, a commercial litigator being represented by Dan Marmalefsky and George Harris - based in Los Angeles and San Francisco respectively - in an appeal against a conviction for conspiracy to wiretap. Practice head Carl Loewenson is based in New York. His highlights included representing a foreign bank in investigations relating to Iran sanctions. Charles Duross from the Washington DC office is highly recommended.

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United States: Finance

Capital markets: debt offerings
Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to managers - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘very knowledgeable, experienced and responsive’ capital markets group handles a substantial amount of investment grade work. Led by the ‘highly experienced’ James Tanenbaum, who ‘gives excellent and valuable service’, the team advises issuers and underwriters on, among other things, Rule 144A/Regulation S offerings, continuous debt offerings, covered bonds and complex hybrid securities such as convertibles. In a recent matter, the ‘brilliant’ Anna Pinedo assisted Incapital with the establishment of a continuous registered debt offering of $40m of InterNotes by Alcentra, a business development company (BDC); this was notable as BDCs do not typically issue debt securities. In addition to acting for financial services clients such as Incapital, Capital One and Bank of Nova Scotia, the firm is noted for its experience in the REITs and life sciences arenas; Alexandria Real Estate Equities and Bacterin are recent clients. Ze’ev Eiger is also recommended.

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Capital markets: equity offerings
Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Capital markets: equity offerings - advice to managers - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s strong IP practice gives the capital markets group notable capabilities in the life sciences, medical device and biotech fields, with the team also attracting a number of impressive mandates in the REIT space. In Washington DC, Justin Salon assisted Sandler O’Neill & Partners and SunTrust Robinson Humphrey with Community Healthcare Trust’s $144m IPO of common stock, while in San Francisco, Brandon Parris and Andrew Winden acted for Elevate Credit in its IPO of shares, which is expected to raise upwards of $100m. New York-based Anna Pinedo advised Raymond James & Associates as sole underwriter in C1 Financial’s $22m offering of common stock, and, along with Edward Welch, was also retained by a number of underwriters, including Merrill Lynch, UBS Securities and Morgan Stanley, on Capital One Financial’s $500m offering of depository shares. Other key clients include Citigroup, Equity Residential and AutoZone.

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Capital markets: global offerings
Capital markets: global offerings - advice to corporates - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Capital markets: global offerings - advice to financial institutions - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP is ‘very much in tune with the tone of the markets’, providing ‘a world-class service level’. Headed by the New York-based James Tanenbaum, the capital markets group has strong expertise in advising on cross-border IPOs, private placements and global covered bonds, often acting for Canadian and European clients. Highlights in 2015 included advising Dutch company Mobileye on its $822m follow-on equity offering and assisting Icelandic bank Íslandsbanki with a $750m global medium-term note program update. In Canada-based mandates, the team acted for National Bank of Canada Financial, BNP Paribas Securities and Citigroup Global Markets as lead managers in National Bank of Canada’s $750m covered bond offering, and also advised WR Hambrecht + Co as sole underwriter on the $76m IPO of the British Columbia domiciled company XBiotech.

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Financial services: regulatory
Financial services: regulatory - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Spread across its East and West coast offices, Morrison & Foerster LLP’s team provides ‘very clear guidance’ to domestic and foreign financial services entities seeking advisory, enforcement and transactional expertise. ‘A dominant force’ in the consumer finance space for a number of years, the firm provides ‘strategic and pragmatic advice’ to clients across the most pressing issues in the sector, including on the rapidly evolving laws relating to credit cards and mobile payments. The ‘excellent’ Richard Fischer has a longstanding reputation in the retail space and has advised a raft of major credit card issuers on regulatory changes over the years, as well as providing expertise on privacy issues. Obrea Poindexter also has an excellent reputation for consumer finance work; she heads the firm’s nascent mobile payments practice as well as jointly leading the overall financial services regulatory team. Donald Lampe’s expertise spans mortgage and fair lending, and representing banks and non-banks in matters involving the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB). Formerly at the CFPB, of counsel Leonard Chanin is also a valuable resource to clients in their dealings with the agency. Outside the consumer finance space, Los Angeles-based partner Henry Fields is regularly engaged in financial services M&A activity. The ‘very knowledgeable’ Barbara Mendelson regularly advises foreign banks on the regulatory aspects associated with their US operations, and along with Marc-Alain Galeazzi, recently advised a Japanese G-SIB on the impact of various aspects of Dodd-Frank on its US footprint.

Leading lawyers

Henry Fields - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Project finance
Project finance: advice to lender - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

With the promotion of Jeffrey Kayes in the firm’s San Francisco office, Morrison & Foerster LLP now counts 14 partners and senior counsel among its US project finance team, though practice head Michael Graffagna is based in Tokyo. Jeffrey Chester advised Oak Creek Energy Systems on the financing and sale of a 149MW wind power project in Tamaulipas, Mexico to GS Infrastructure Partners and GBM Infraestructura, constituting the first investment in a Mexico wind project by a Mexican fund. On the sponsor side, Chester and Jana Mansour assisted Apex Clean Energy with securing a $397m construction loan from a six-lender syndicate for a 300MW wind farm based in Oklahoma. Kayes and Jonathan Melmed acted for First Reserve in the purchase of Kingfisher Wind, an Oklahoma wind energy project, for $500m; the project is expected to produce enough energy to power 100,000 homes. The two lawyers handled the construction loan, leverage loan and tax equity aspects of the deal, as well as the acquisition itself. The team also handled several solar power projects, assisting the International Finance Corporation with its investment in Sunpreme. Jonathan Melmed advised National Bank of Canada and SunLife on financing Axium Infrastructure and MetLife’s $450m acquisition of several of Ontario’s solar power plant facilities from Recurrent Energy. Additionally, for the Department of Energy, the team handled the provision of over $1.6bn in loan guarantees to subsidiaries of BrightSource Energy for three solar projects in the Mojave Desert.

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Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate
Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s New York-based team has attracted keynote creditor roles in some of the most important insolvencies of the last two years, with some notable recent successes acting for unsecured creditors in major energy cases. The firm assisted such a group in preventing court approval of an unfavorable restructuring agreement in the Energy Future Holdings bankruptcy, and in relation to Patriot Coal bankruptcy, it represented the official unsecured creditors’ committee in significantly altering the terms of a DIP facility. It also continues to assist the unsecured group under Walter Energy’s $3.1bn restructuring plan. In two notable cross-border mandates, Lorenzo Marinuzzi, Brett Miller and Jennifer Marines are acting for Hovensa in its US Virgin Islands filing, while Gary Lee and John Pintarelli are assisting Landsbanki with winding-up proceedings subsequent to its 2009 Chapter 15 filing. Lee and James Peck lead the practice.

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Structured finance
Structured finance - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The ‘always available team’ at Morrison & Foerster LLP continues to be at the forefront of the development of new financial products and counts among its clients an impressive number of financial institutions. In addition to product development, it regularly advises on transactions and regulatory matters. Areas of activity include registered and exempt products, retail-oriented products and bespoke institutional financial products. Relying on the firm’s extensive tax expertise, the team is well placed to provide product structuring, regulatory and transactional advice in the US, Europe and Asia. On the derivatives side, David Kaufman, Julian Hammar and Robert Fleishman continued their collaboration with clients working in physical commodities to develop one-off, commodity-linked structured products such as first lien and letter of credit-backed commodity hedging facilities, commodity-linked loan structures and long-term commodity supply. Anna Pinedo was part of the team advising Artivest Advisors on the SEC-registration of shares of beneficial interest in Managed Emerging Markets Trust, a commodity pool sponsored by the client. In the structured products field, the team has been advising issuers and underwriters in connection with the SEC’s latest ‘sweep letter’ on exchange-traded notes. An outstanding roster of clients includes Bank of America, BNP Paribas, Goldman Sachs and Nomura Securities.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy: litigation
Energy: litigation - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP represents a wide range of electricity and natural gas market participants and individuals in FERC and CFTC enforcement proceedings. Washington DC-based senior of counsel Robert Fleishman - who heads the team with Robert Loeffler - defended ETRACOM and its primary trader Michael Rosenberg in a FERC enforcement investigation arising from alleged manipulation of the California electricity market. The official unsecured creditors’ committee of Texas Competitive Electric (TCEH) retained the team to act as lead counsel in a bankruptcy case in which the debtors, the committee and numerous creditor groups entered into a new restructuring support agreement.

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Energy: regulatory
Energy: regulatory - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP covers state and federal regulatory matters and represents its clients before the FERC, CFTC and the NERC. With deep expertise in the renewable energy industry, Miles Imwalle and Christopher Carr led advice to EDF Renewable Energy on all permitting aspects of a 115MW photovoltaic solar facility proposed in Kern County, including water quality, local zoning and planning compliance. The team, which is led by senior counsel Robert Loeffler and senior of counsel Robert Fleishman, is also experienced in representing electricity and natural gas participants in FERC and CFTC enforcement proceedings. For example, Fleishman represented Etracom in a FERC enforcement investigation into alleged manipulation in Californian electricity markets.

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Energy: renewable/alternative
Energy: renewable/alternative - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The team at Morrison & Foerster LLP, which is headed by Susan Mac Cormac, handles M&A and financing advice across all energy sectors. On the M&A side, the team assisted Apex Clean Energy with the sale of 300MW Balko Wind to D.E. Shaw. On the financing side, Jeffrey Chester led advice to Apex Clean Energy regarding the construction of the Kay Wind 300MW wind farm in Oklahoma, which included a syndicated loan, and mezzanine debt financing from Ares Capital. Jeff Kayes was promoted to the partnership and Irv Hepner joined the team as of counsel.

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Environment: litigation
Environment: litigation - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

At Morrison & Foerster LLP, the environment and energy practice is led by the San Francisco-based Christopher Carr and benefits also from the experience of Michèle Corash. The team is best known for its expertise in chemical exposure litigation, air quality and greenhouse gas litigation, and water controversies, especially in the state of California. In a recent highlight, the team successfully represented 16 food manufacturers, including Gerber, J.M. Smucker and Dole Foods, in a Proposition 65 trial initiated by the Environmental Law Foundation claiming failure to disclose the presence of traces of lead in baby foods, 100% fruit juices, and packaged fruit and vegetable products; the decision was affirmed by the California Court of Appeal and the California Supreme Court denied a review. In other matters, it is defending Sierra Pacific Industries before the Ninth Circuit against the Center for Biological Diversity and others in a challenge to the approval of a CAA permit for a biomass facility emitting greenhouse gas. The team also acts on behalf of 15 Bay Area municipalities in several administrative and judicial proceedings regarding water pollution control requirements. Washington DC-based Joseph Palmore is the main contact.

Leading lawyers

Michèle Corash - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Environment: regulatory
Environment: regulatory - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Spread across offices in San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and Washington DC, the environmental practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP is well regarded for its climate change, natural resources, chemicals in consumer products, green chemistry, and Proposition 65 expertise. The team is providing strategic advice to a coalition of owners and investors regarding sea level rise legislation proposed by the state of California. It is also advising some of the largest retailers, including Costco, Sears and Kmart, regarding ambiguities and contradictions in the state of California’s hazardous waste regulations. San Francisco-based Chris Carr heads the team.

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Healthcare: life sciences
Healthcare: life sciences - ranked: tier 5

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The life sciences team at Morrison & Foerster LLP has notable strengths in patent prosecution, licensing and other transactional matters, and litigation, including product liability defense. Its client list features a number of industry leaders, including Gilead Sciences, Sanofi and Celgene. The group also assists Genentech on a wide range of patent matters and, in 2015, San Francisco-based practice head Michael Jacobs and Matthew Kreeger successfully represented the client in inter partes reviews targeting patents that protect Genentech’s blockbuster cancer therapeutic, Kadcyla. Showcasing its capability in the transactional space, it advised Catalyst BioSciences on its reverse merger with Targacept, and assisted Auris Surgical Robotics with its $150m series C financing. Catherine Polizzi in Palo Alto, David Doyle in San Diego and Van Ellis in Washington DC are also recommended.

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United States: Intellectual property

Copyright
Copyright - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The ‘very good’ practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP is best known for litigation in the technology sector. Los Angeles-based Benjamin Fox successfully represented the internet service providers Verizon Communications, Cox Communications and Bright House Networks in an appeal regarding the downloading of copyrighted material by their customers. San Francisco-based Michael Jacobs acted for VMware in a software copyright and breach of license dispute with Phoenix Technologies. Jacobs also represented Autodesk in a software copyright dispute. Besides litigation, the practice regularly advises on a variety of copyright issues, not only for technology companies but also for many clients in the entertainment and arts business.

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Patent litigation: International Trade Commission
Patent litigation: International Trade Commission - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP maintains a strong client base within the internet, consumer electronics and life sciences sectors, and the team is ‘composed of strong advocates with significant knowledge and experience’. ITC practice chair Brian Busey has notable expertise in high-stakes Section 337 cases, and successfully defended Kyocera Corporation in an infringement suit brought by Technology Properties Limited, obtaining a non-infringement verdict on the asserted microprocessor patent. Busey also acted for Huawei Technologies, defending against FlashPoint Technology’s assertion that Huawei infringed three patents related to electronic imaging devices. Other notable figures in the Washington DC office include Hector Gallegos and Daniel Muino, and IP co-chair Rachel Krevans is the key contact in the San Francisco office.

Leading lawyers

Brian Busey - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Patent litigation: full coverage
Patent litigation: full coverage - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP provides ‘both practical and cutting-edge advice to deal with complicated patent issues’, and the team ‘comprises strong advocates with significant knowledge and experience’. Michael Jacobs has ‘outstanding communication skills’, and recently represented Microscan Systems in a series of patent cases related to barcode scanner technology, securing a $4.4m damages award. Practice head Rachel Krevans has strong experience in handling patent matters across numerous sectors; recent highlights include representing Sandoz in a high-profile case brought by Amgen, winning a judgment allowing the client to launch its biosimilar of the Zarxio infection drug. The group also secured a Federal Circuit win on behalf of NuVasive, successfully overturning a $101m patent verdict favoring Warsaw Orthopedic. Leading figure Harold McElhinny splits his time between San Francisco and Tokyo, and Vincent Belusko is the key contact in Los Angeles.

Leading lawyers

Harold McElhinny - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Patents: portfolio management and licensing
Patents: portfolio management and licensing - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s patent group operates from seven of its US offices and fields a number of well-regarded practitioners who have strength in the biotechnology sector. It also has substantial experience acting for clients involved in electronics and nanotechnology. Otis Littlefield, who splits his time between San Francisco and London, is recommended, as is Palo Alto-based Catherine Polizzi, who has particular expertise in the life sciences field. Polizzi is assisting Genentech with IP protection, negotiating complex services, licensing and outsourcing agreements in its establishment of relationships with Chinese medical institutions and service providers. Palo Alto-based Mika Reiner Mayer and James Mullen work regularly with Gilead Sciences and are advising on its HIV patent portfolio (including conducting due diligence in connection with potential acquisitions) and its oncology patents. Peter Yim and Michael Ward are also recommended.

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Patents: prosecution (including re-examination and post-grant proceedings)
Patent: prosecution (including re-examination and post-grant proceedings) - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP has a strong practice, with over 100 PTO-admitted trial lawyers and patent prosecutors, and it experienced representing both patent owners and petitioners in various types of proceedings. Its core strength is in California, with practitioners in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Los Angeles and San Diego counseling and representing clients drawn mainly from the hi-tech, life sciences, cleantech and consumer products sectors, including the likes of Genentech, Netlist and Yamaha. Los Angeles’ Mehran Arjomand co-heads the firm’s inter partes review and post-grant practice, and regularly handles adversarial proceedings at the PTO, including PTO proceedings co-pending with litigation. San Francisco-based Otis Littlefield counts Novartis among his clients and advises the company on a wide range of matters, including development of patent strategies, drafting and prosecuting patent applications, and performing IP due diligence assessments, as well as developing IP strategies for several of its vaccines and handling all of its personalized medicine IP work. Mika Reiner Mayer heads the medical device patent practice from Palo Alto, and is acting for Gilead Sciences on its high-profile oncology and HIV portfolios. James Mullen, Catherine Polizzi, Peter Yim, Michael Ward and Jie Zhou are also recommended.

Leading lawyers

Michael Ward - Morrison & Foerster LLP

Peter Yim - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Trade secrets
Trade secrets - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s sizeable trade secrets group, led by Northern Virginia-based Daniel Westman and Bryan Wilson in Palo Alto, spans the firm’s IP, employment and commercial litigation practices. It assists clients in every aspect of trade secrets protection, the implementation of information security programs and tailoring of company policies. The team is well versed in trade secret arbitration and litigation; Palo-Alto-based Kenneth Kuwayti represented EnergySolutions in Utah state court in a case against Kurion alleging that the defendant and two of its key executives misappropriated technologies relating to the treatment of radioactive nuclear waste that were owned by the plaintiff. In another important matter, San Francisco-based Harold McElhinny and Louise Stoupe from the Tokyo office assisted Toshiba win a multimillion-dollar settlement in its trade secret misappropriation claim against South Korea-based SK Hynix.

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Trademarks: litigation
Trademarks: litigation - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s team ‘is very effective in handling complex trademark matters’, according to a client. San Francisco-based Jennifer Lee Taylor is a ‘levelheaded and effective negotiator and litigator’ and has particular expertise in non-traditional marks, trademark dilution and reverse confusion cases. Recent highlights include representing NOVADAQ, which uses the SPY mark for medical fluorescence imaging, in a reverse confusion case against competitor Karl Storz regarding its launch of a product under the name SPIES. She also acted for MI Technologies in obtaining a temporary restraining order against Electrified Discounters regarding infringement of the OSRAM trademark for projection lamps. Los Angeles-based Benjamin Fox represented the Swiss jewelry and watch maker Philippe Charriol in litigation against its former US distributor A’lor, after the defendant launched a competing brand.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Mutual/registered funds
Mutual/registered funds - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Jay Baris heads the practice at Morrison & Foerster LLP, which attracts mandates from a range of industry players including investment advisers, registered investment companies, independent directors, investors and underwriters, among other clients. Reflective of the group’s wide-ranging expertise, its varied workload includes the formation and structuring of closed-end funds and unit investment trusts (as well as their financing), advice on ‘40 Act regulatory and disclosure matters, as well as investment manager and investment company M&A. It is particularly adept at advising operating companies and holding companies on seeking exemption from the requirement to register as investment companies. Baris, Kelley Howes and Matthew Kutner are acting as fund counsel to The Victory Funds, assisting the client with various corporate, regulatory, governance and litigation matters. Other key figures include Barbara Mendelson, Darryl Rains and Murray Indick. Randall Fons has retired from private practice.

Leading lawyers

Jay Baris - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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United States: Labor and employment

Employee benefits and executive compensation
Employee benefits and executive compensation - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP is noted for advising technology sector clients on the executive compensation aspects of high-value transactions. Recent work includes advising SoftBank on the executive compensation elements of its role in a $1bn preferred offering of stock in peer-to-peer lending platform SoFi. The firm also advised Saba Software on its $400m sale to Vector Capital and ON Semiconductor on its purchase of Fairchild Semiconductor. Away from the technology sector, the firm has a strong practice in private equity acquisitions; New York-based Domnick Bozzetti advised Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners on its purchase of Holtwood for $860m. San Francisco’s Paul Borden, who advises on 401(k) plans, pension schemes and employee stock ownership plans (ESOPs), is also a key contact. Michael Frank joined Sidley Austin LLP

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: large deals ($1bn+)
M&A: large deals ($1bn+) - ranked: tier 6

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s ‘level of service is top notch, both in terms of responsiveness and also in terms of the quality of the advice’. In particular, the ‘business acumen is high and business needs are taken into account, making the advice practical and useful’. Overall, it is ‘consistently a top performer’ and ‘a great resource, particularly for highly technical issues’. The firm is best known for its work in the technology sector, but beyond that, real estate and REIT deals are a growing area, especially from its New York and Washington DC offices. Energy, life sciences and healthcare are also key strengths. In 2015, the team advised Henry Nicholas, the co-founder and former CEO of Broadcom, on Broadcom’s headline $37bn acquisition of Avago Technologies, one of the largest-ever technology deals. It also represented VMware on Dell’s $67bn acquisition of VMware’s parent company EMC; VMware is a publicly traded company, and the deal involved EMC issuing tracking stock in VMware. The firm was also engaged by VMware to advise on its joint venture with EMC to create a new cloud services business. San Francisco’s Robert Townsend and Eric McCrath are co-chairs of the global M&A group along with Spencer Klein in New York and Lawrence Yanowitch in Northern Virginia. Townsend is an ‘extremely talented senior M&A lawyer with broad experience across all types of transactions’ and is ‘great at navigating the board through all the issues’. Palo Alto’s Charles Comey and San Francisco’s Michael O’Bryan are also highly regarded, and the latter is described as ‘a very seasoned M&A lawyer with a depth of technical expertise’. Other clients include AmREIT, Brookfield Renewable Energy Partners and SoftBank.

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Venture capital and emerging companies
Venture capital and emerging companies - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The team at Morrison & Foerster LLP possesses ‘phenomenal business acumen’, coupled with ‘instant response times’. The team covers all areas of technology, including life sciences, fintech and cleantech, and advises start-up companies throughout their life cycles as well as investors. The ‘competent and effective’ Murray Indick in San Francisco arrived from Crowell & Moring LLP to become joint head of the firm’s emerging companies and venture capital practice, joining Northern Virginia’s Greg Giammittorio and San Diego’s Steve Rowles. In Palo Alto, senior counsel Mike Phillips advised Mirantis on its $75m Series B-2 preferred stock financing, with Intel Capital as the lead investor. Rowles handled South Korean e-commerce company Coupang’s Class G preferred unit private placement round, led by BlackRock Private Equity Partners, among others. Other clients include Credit Shop, Axel Springer and Higher Learning Technologies. Washington DC’s Stephen Thau has a ‘fierce intelligence’ and ‘first-class demeanor’; he regularly advises on public and private financings, strategic alliances and mergers and acquisitions. San Francisco’s John Campbell is also well regarded.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Advertising and marketing
Advertising and marketing - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s team is highly regarded for its contentious work, which includes a notable consumer class action focus. The firm is strong on the West Coast, with key offices in San Francisco and Los Angeles, and also has a regulatory presence in Washington DC, led by of counsel Julie O’Neill. O’Neill recently advised clients on how to comply with new online and social media laws and regulations. San Francisco-based practice chair Tiffany Cheung is noted for her experience in TCPA litigation, and recently advised 24 Hour Fitness, Sears Holding Company and Nuance Communications, among others, in class action litigation alleging TCPA violations. Further highlights for the team included representing Uber in a government enforcement action alleging that the client made misleading statements regarding the measures it takes to ensure customer safety. William Stern and Rebekah Kaufman, both in San Francisco, led on that matter. Kaufman is also representing FanDuel in several multi-district class actions involving allegations of false advertising and misuse of confidential information. Los Angeles-based David McDowell represented Netflix, H&R Block and others in a putative class action brought by several groups acting for vision and hearing impaired customers alleging that the clients do not provide sufficient access for disabled individuals.

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Cyber law
Cyber law - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The Morrison & Foerster LLP team ‘is at the top of the game, especially in the storm that is privacy law’. Miriam Wugmeister and Andrew Serwin, who are based in New York and San Diego respectively, lead the team, and along with Nathan Taylor in Washington DC and Christine Lyon in Palo Alto, they are commended for their ‘sensible privacy program counseling, and data breach expertise in both domestic and international matters’. Washington DC-based Rick Fischer is recommended for his knowledge of US financial privacy and policy. The team is representing CVS before the FTC and the Office for Civil Rights in a consent decree and resolution agreement arising from allegations related to information security.

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Technology: data protection and privacy
Technology: data protection and privacy - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s team ‘has incredibly deep industry knowledge’, according to sources, and is praised for ‘always focusing on pragmatic business answers and never answering academically’. Regulated industries with online aspects is the team’s niche, and team heads Andrew Serwin in San Diego and Miriam Wugmeister in New York have strengths in cybersecurity and privacy class actions respectively. Recent engagements include advising a US manufacturing company on data protection issues relating to its e-commerce site, including cookie compliance and online behavioral advertising.

Leading lawyers

Andrew Serwin - Morrison & Foerster LLP

Miriam Wugmeister - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Technology: outsourcing
Technology: outsourcing - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s team is led by Christopher Ford in Washington DC, and acts for clients such as Novartis, Warner Music Group, Mount Sinai Hospital, Visa and SoftBank. The team is advising audio advertising services provider XAPPmedia on technology transactions relating to its end-to-end advertising service for internet radio publishers and advertisers. John Delaney in New York and Russell Weiss in Los Angeles led advice to a unit of the Japanese telecoms company SoftBank in its acquisition of international streaming television company DramaFever. Ford is working with the London office to advise NNIT, a Danish IT services provider, on the terms of its outsourcing agreement with AstraZeneca and on other issues relating to its establishment and incorporation in other EU jurisdictions. New York-based Vivian Hanson, who is fluent in Japanese, has extensive experience in outsourcing, technology transfer, licensing, and SaaS.

Leading lawyers

Christopher Ford - Morrison & Foerster LLP

John Delaney - Morrison & Foerster LLP

Vivian Hanson - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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Technology: transactions
Technology: transactions - ranked: tier 1

Morrison & Foerster LLP

At Morrison & Foerster LLP, the highly regarded Tessa Schwartz leads the team of 41 lawyers from San Francisco, which regularly advises clients in financial services, life sciences and biotechnology, and online media. In recent work, Schwartz advised Yahoo! on its acquisition of Media Group One, a German online publisher, working on the IP transactional aspects of the deal, and handled online advertising company Unified Social’s partnership with iHeartMedia. The highly experienced New York-based John Delaney, along with Tessa Schwartz and William Schwartz, acted for Autodesk in its acquisitions of Synthicity and TeamUp Technologies. In Palo Alto, Stephanie Sharron advised Visa on its negotiation of a partnership agreement with Google for its Visa Digital Enablement Program, a digital payment service for Android Pay. Rufus Pichler led on AccuWeather’s cross-border joint venture with commercial Chinese weather company Huafeng Media Group, advising on the deal’s licensing agreements. Dropbox, Levi Strauss and Netflix are key clients for the firm. Other key figures in the practice are Vivian Hanson in New York and Aaron Rubin and Rufus Pichler.

Leading lawyers

John Delaney - Morrison & Foerster LLP

William Schwartz - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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United States: Real estate and construction

Land use/zoning
Land use/zoning - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Particularly noted for its California-based practice, the team at Morrison & Foerster LLP advises on a range of high-profile development projects. It is advising Sand Hill Partners and Vallco Property Owner on a high-value mixed-use town center project in Cupertino. It is also advising Panoche Valley Solar on approvals for a solar project in San Benito County. Apple, EDF Renewable Energy and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan are also clients. Practice head Chris Carr is based in San Francisco, along with David Gold, Miles Imwalle and senior counsel Zane Gresham.

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Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP 44-partner practice advises a full range of clients, including lenders, developers, equity investors and equity REITs. In New York, practice co-chair Mark Edelstein specializes in debt finance work, and recently advised Wells Fargo and Bank of America on a $640m loan to finance the construction of three large multifamily, mixed-use buildings in Long Island City. In another piece of work, Edelstein and Jeffrey Temple acted for the New York Wheel Company in connection with investment financing related to the construction of the New York Wheel. In Los Angeles, key players include practice co-chair Marc Young and Tom Fileti. Fileti in particular has been active on a number of significant matters, including advising UDR on a series of development joint ventures with MetLife relating to apartment projects in California. The practice also handles corporate transactional work and in one standout deal advised Global Logistic Properties on the acquisition of a $4.5bn US logistics portfolio from Industrial Income Trust. Thomas McGovern and two other lawyers relocated from the New York office to the firm’s newly opened office in Boston.

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Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) - ranked: tier 3

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The team at Morrison & Foerster LLP has grown thanks to the recent arrival of Lauren Bellerjeau from Hogan Lovells US LLP to the firm’s Washington DC office, which boosts its corporate finance and M&A capabilities. Recent matters include practice chair David Slotkin advising Global Logistic Properties on its $4.55bn acquisition of a US logistics portfolio from Industrial Income Trust, and on its co-investment with Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC Private to purchase Blackstone’s US industrial real estate portfolio for $8.1bn. Other clients include Equity Residential, Whitestone REIT and MedEquities.

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United States: Tax

Financial products
Financial products - ranked: tier 2

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP’s financial products team is ‘outstanding and very knowledgeable on current legal events’. Its lawyers advise clients on debt and equity offerings, hybrid securities and structured products, among other things, and its expertise in bank regulatory, corporate and securities law makes it attractive to clients seeking to develop new and innovative financial products. The practice works for Residential Capital on the tax implications of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, which include asset sales and the creation of a liquidation trust; co-head of team Tom Humphreys and Remmelt Reigersman lead the advice. The firm also advises container lessor Textainer Group in relation to its international tax structure, securities offerings, credit facilities and container acquisitions. Other clients include Bank of America, BMO Structured Products and Royal Bank of Canada.

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International tax
International tax - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster LLP provides ‘great turnaround times’ and demonstrates ‘strong depth of knowledge’. It advises domestic and international corporations on the structuring and implementation of acquisitions and dispositions, as well as financial products. San Francisco-based Bernie Pistillo advised VMware in relation to its proposed but cancelled joint venture with EMC Corporation, and acted for SoftBank in its $250m investment in Legendary Entertainment. Thomas Humphreys in New York heads the team alongside David Strong, who operates out of the firm’s New York and Denver offices. Also based in New York is Remmelt Reigersman, who is ‘knowledgeable, prompt and has a strong knowledge of the structured products market’. Of counsel Joy MacIntyre in San Francisco is also recommended.

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

Morrison & Foerster LLP

Superior firmMorrison & Foerster LLP has ‘vast knowledge of the tax issues and experience with opposing attorneys’, which provides clients ‘with a very high comfort level on the big-dollar, high-risk issues.’ The sizeable practice, led by Craig Fields and Thomas Humphreys in New York and David Strong in Denver, represents clients in audits, appeals and litigation, and also handles transfer pricing matters, both in a planning capacity and in the controversy context. In a case that attracted wide media coverage, the team successfully represented Netflix after the Kentucky Department of Revenue assessed the client for various utility-type taxes on the basis that the streaming service is a multichannel video programming distributor (MVPD); following a persuasive representation, the Kentucky Board of Tax Appeals held that Netflix does not qualify as an MVPD. Senior counsel Paul Frankel in the New York office is very experienced.

Leading lawyers

Paul Frankel - Morrison & Foerster LLP

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US taxes: non-contentious
US taxes: non-contentious - ranked: tier 4

Morrison & Foerster LLP

The ‘excellent’ lawyers at Morrison & Foerster LLPput their clients first and are always available when needed’, and provide advice on local, state and federal tax issues. Thomas Humphreys and Remmelt Reigersman acted for Bank of America as special tax counsel as the bank exchanged 400m shares of its common stock for preferred stock and trust preferred securities. Humphreys and Reigersman also advised the official creditors’ committee regarding Energy Future Holdings’ $40bn bankruptcy. The department has offices in New York, where practice heads Craig Fields and Humphreys are based; San Francisco, Sacramento, San Diego, and Denver, where David Strong, co-head of federal tax, is based.

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