The Legal 500

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

1540 BROADWAY, NEW YORK, NY 10036-4039, USA
Work +1 212 858 1000
Fax +1 212 858 1500

United States

Top-tier recommendations


United States: Antitrust

Within Cartel, tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP acted for a number of clients in some of the major cartel investigations in the grand jury investigation into alleged price-fixing by manufacturers of CRTs, with counsel Lindsay Lutz in the driving seat, who was also involved in the In Re Capacitors Antitrust Litigation. New York-based Mark Hellerer is ‘experienced, effective and has good judgment’, and Timothy Russo, also in New York, is ‘very responsive’ and an ‘added value to the team’. Both recently represented a major international electronics company in the TFT-LCD Antitrust Litigation. The team is led by Roxane Polidora, and Andrew Lanphere was promoted to partner; Michael Kass left the team to join VLP Law Group LLP. All attorneys are based in San Francisco, except where otherwise noted.

[back to top]

Within Civil litigation/class actions, tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s antitrust and competition team is led by Roxane Polidora. The practice mainly focuses on contentious matters, working for a wide range of domestic companies as well as a growing Japanese client base. AT&T, Headwaters, and The Home Depot are key clients of the firm, which recently also acted for Safeway after the company had been sued by four fuel retailers due to an alleged violation of California’s Unfair Competition Law. Terrence Callan represented several US and Japanese senior executives of an international company in the CRT civil class action. Other key attorneys are New York-based Fusae Nara and Jacob Sorensen, and Andrew Lanphere who was promoted to partner. Michael Kass left the team to join VLP Law Group LLP. All named attorneys are based in San Francisco except where otherwise noted.

[back to top]

United States: Finance

Within Asset finance and leasing, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a second tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has invested heavily in its transportation finance team in recent years. San Francisco-based co-head Thomas Zimmer, who heads the team with New York’s Mark Lessard, is a fairly recent arrival, and his presence was augmented by a team of lawyers from DLA Piper in London to ensure that the firm now offers a truly international practice. This can be seen in its broadening client base as well; the firm has a good track record serving banks and airlines, and is now doing an increasing amount of work for aircraft lessors such as GE Capital Aviation Services and BBAM. Zimmer is particularly active on the aircraft lessor front, and the firm’s advice to Global Jet Capital on its $2bn formation as a new financing and leasing vehicle for corporate jets was a significant highlight. The firm also represented Ethiopian Airlines in the $1.1bn financing of one Boeing 777 and ten 787 aircraft supported by Ex-Im Bank. On the lender side, the firm represented a syndicate of senior and junior banks including BNP Paribas, Natixis and Helaba, on the first-ever commercial financing for Spirit Airlines Inc, in a $400m loan covering ten A320 and A321 aircraft. Other key partners include Charlotta Otterbeck and Michael Schumaecker for ECA financing and capital markets work, and William Bowers and Peter Morgan for capital markets and structured finance.

[back to top]

Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), tier 6

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s ‘extremely good team’ provides ‘solid advice based on reasoned judgments’. Instructions are largely drawn from the financial institution sector and the firm shines in complex and contentious bankruptcy matters. In a recent example, San Francisco-based group head David Minnick is defending Wells Fargo in litigation relating to its nationwide policy for handling the bank accounts of individual debtors who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In New York, Deryck Palmer is a key name and is advising Berger Group Holdings in its $1.1bn global out-of-court restructuring plan. In addition to its West and East Coast practices, the firm fields significant restructuring capability in its Houston office.

[back to top]

Within Project finance, tier 5

A ‘go-to firm for project finance’, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is ‘very, very good’ in this area. The group’s attorneys are ‘responsive, business-minded, creative and innovative’ and are noted for having good knowledge of their clients’ businesses as well as the industry as a whole. Among recent work examples, it advised Western Refining on the acquisition of controlling interests in Northern Tier, a refining and marketing company with oil refinery and numerous pipelines, terminals and retail outlets in the US. Chevron is a key client; among many matters for the company, the firm advised it on an agreement to loan $2bn to Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA to finance an increase in production capacity at the Petroboscan heavy crude joint venture in Venezuela, and advised one of its subsidiaries on an agreement with Argentine oil company YPF to further the development of shale oil and gas resources from the Vaca Muerta formation. For Tenaska, it advised on the refinancing of CSolar South, a 130MW solar photovoltaic power project developed by its subsidiary, CSolar Development, in California; the refinancing was done through the issuance of long-term notes placed by Barclays and MUFG. Houston-based John Mauel and newly promoted partner Julie Mayo, who was also recently appointed co-leader of the energy industry team are also recommended.

[back to top]

United States: Industry focus

Within Energy: regulatory, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP stands out for its extensive and lengthy representation both of sources of capital for energy companies and also the oil, gas and power companies themselves. Michael Hindus led a team successfully representing Valero Energy before the California Public Utilities Commission as intervener in an application of San Pablo Bay Pipeline Company for its approval of tariffs, and won refunds in excess of $35m as a result of overcharges by the San Joaquin Valley Crude Oil Pipeline. Washington DC-based David Lewis, along with Jay Silberg, led advice to PPL Corporation in preparing an application for a construction permit and operating license for a new nuclear plant. Washington DC partner John O’Neill led a team advising Florida Power & Light Company on the preparation of the combined construction permit and operating license application for a multibillion-dollar nuclear plant, including representing the client in the NERC licensing processing and negotiation of the EPC contract.

[back to top]

Within Environment: litigation, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Led by Los Angeles-based Christopher McNevin, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has recently launched an environmental enforcement strategies group which aims at avoiding enforcement actions. The team has ‘in-depth knowledge of federal regulatory programs’ such as the ESA; in this matter it advised Duke Energy concerning two sturgeon species allegedly endangered through dams in the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin, an issue that could have been questioned in litigation during the dam relicensing process. It successfully challenged CAA regulations concerning solid waste incineration at publicly owned treatment works on behalf of the National Association of Clean Water Agencies, arguing that the standards lacked technical support. The firm has a longstanding client relationship with Chevron and a number of energy, particularly oil and gas, companies on its roster. Washington DC-based Sheila Harvey ‘has considerable knowledge and expertise in regulatory and litigation matters’ and is a ‘trusted adviser’, San Francisco-based John Hansen is a ‘true CAA specialist’, and Houston-based Jerry Ross is highly recommended. Matthew Morrison joined the Washington DC office from his post as deputy director of the Office of Criminal Enforcement, Forensics, and Training at the EPA.

[back to top]

United States: Intellectual property

Within Patent licensing and transactional, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a second tier firm,

With more than 100 IP attorneys spread across eight US offices, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has expertise across a range of different industries, including electrical and mechanical engineering, chemistry, biology and physics. In McLean, firm-wide IP practice head Jack Barufka has extensive experience representing Fortune 500 companies. Within the team, Jim Gatto is assisting VoiceBox Technologies and Geofeedia with the licensing of their patent portfolios. Northern Virginia-based Jean-Paul Hoffman advises on open source software matters and on the IP aspects of mergers and acquisitions. Los Angeles-based Evan Finkel handles all aspects of patent issues with an emphasis on computer-related technologies and consumer electronics. Other names to note are John Wetherell and David Jakopin, based in San Diego and Silicon Valley respectively. Representative clients include BNY Mellon, Oddz and Kabam.

[back to top]

Within Patent prosecution: utility and design patents , Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s ‘excellent’ group provides high-level advice to a wide range of US and international clients. It has been advising VoiceBox Technologies on IP strategy since its inception, and is currently assisting it with pursuing new patents and further developing its company patent program. Jack Barufka and San Diego-based Benjamin Esplin have extensive experience in post-grant proceedings. John Wetherell, also in San Diego, has experience obtaining US and foreign protection for biotechnology clients. James Gatto is assisting Oddz and Geofeedia with the development of their IP portfolios and strategies. Bryan Collins and Emily Bell are further named to note. Named attorneys are based in Northern Virginia unless otherwise specified.

[back to top]

Within Trademarks: litigation, tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s Bobby Ghajar in Los Angeles has handled several high-stakes litigation and appellate matters as well as TTAB proceedings. Recently, he has been representing Spin Master in a suit against competitor Brix N Clix regarding infringement of the plaintiff’s Flutterbye Flying Fairy doll trade dress. Previously, Ghajar successfully preserved the validity of the ‘Would You Rather…?’ mark for the same client, winning $8.6m in damages against Zobmondo!! Entertainment LLC.

[back to top]

United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

The nine partners at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s EBEC practice in New York are experienced in handling qualified and non-qualified retirement plans, drafting and negotiating employment agreements and structuring executive equity programs. Transaction-related EBEC work in particular is growing. Practice head Susan Serota regularly advises banks, foreign governments and plan administrators. For Clearwater Paper Corporation, Peter Hunt amended the bonus pools and performance criteria of its annual incentive bonus plan. Scott Landau advised Sweden-based Atlas Copco on the EBEC aspects of its $1.6bn acquisition of Edwards Group. Mark Jones in Los Angeles is providing ongoing advice to CareFusion regarding the restructuring of fiduciary oversight committees, new health programs under the ACA, and post-acquisition benefit plan mergers.

[back to top]

United States: Litigation

Within Commercial litigation, tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is ‘excellent in every way, as good as any other firm out there’. Deborah Baum in Washington DC is ‘the whole package, working extremely well under pressure with great practice and strategic insights’. Highlights include New York-based Frederick Brodie’s representation of Mitsui Oil Exploration Company in oil spill litigation.

[back to top]

Within International trade, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Lawyers at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP have the ability to ‘continually exhibit extraordinary expertise and deliver an excellent product’. Clients draw particular attention to the firm’s ‘top-notch experience in export control and FCPA matters’ but the firm also regularly handles trade remedy proceedings and CFIUS issues. Stephan Becker heads the Washington DC-based group and is working alongside Sanjay Mullick to advise Mexico’s Secretary of Commerce as outside US counsel in a wide range of NAFTA and WTO matters. On the export controls side, Nancy Fischer receives rave reviews for her ‘unsurpassed knowledge of the area’ and Christopher Wall is also recommended.

[back to top]

Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLPworks expertly across the waterfront of SEC investigations, shareholder and derivative litigation’. ‘A miracle worker in the most difficult of cases’, San Francisco-based Sarah Good is ‘an exceptional attorney of the highest caliber, brilliant on substance and practical in execution’. Also in San Francisco is Bruce Ericson, who co-chairs the practice with Good, represents the CEO of Hewlett-Packard in huge class action and derivative cases relating to the Autonomy acquisition. 30-year litigation and enforcement veteran David Furbush is also recommended.

[back to top]

Within White-collar criminal defense , tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s white-collar practice has once again been active in the international arena, seeing business generated from its substantial Tokyo office and also representing several Swiss banks as part of the DOJ’s program for non-prosecution agreements. Mark Hellerer co-leads the practice from the firm’s New York office and mainly handles international work for financial institutions while in Washington DC, practice co-head William Sullivan concentrates on international criminal cartel enforcement, securities regulation and the FCPA. Sullivan recently represented Jared Abbruzzese, a key witness in two high-profile public corruption trials involving former New York Senate Majority Leader, Joseph Bruno. Also in Washington DC, Thomas Hill represented the Victaulic Company in a lawsuit involving allegations of customs fraud filed by a qui tam relator under the FCA. In San Francisco Marc Axelbaum is a name to note.

[back to top]

United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

Within M&A: middle-market (sub-$500m), Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a second tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s Washington DC-based Christopher Zochowski and Robert Robbins are ‘excellent attorneys who ensure things go smoothly’. The team advised Landon IP, an international patent services provider, on its sale to CPA Global; advised Vistronix on the acquisitions of NetCentric Technology and Kimmich Software Systems; and acted for Validity Sensors, a biometric fingerprinting authentication company, on its sale to Synaptics. It also assisted PLX Technology with its $309m sale to Avago Technologies, and acted for Synnex Corporation on its $505m acquisition of IBM’s customer care business processing outsourcing services division. Standout figures include Craig Chason and Steven Meltzer in North Virginia, Silicon Valley-based Jorge del Calvo, and Allison Leopold Tilley and James Kelly in New York.

[back to top]

Within Venture capital and emerging companies, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is best known for its West Coast practice, primarily in Silicon Valley and San Diego, though it also has a thriving practice in Northern Virginia and New York. The Silicon Valley team was reinforced in 2014 with the hire of Armando Castro from DLA Piper and Alan Kalin from the now defunct Bingham McCutchen LLP. The firm continued to work on headline transactions including financings for Achates Power. Other clients include A Place for Rover, Apigee, Cubex, Link Restaurant Group, Clinkle and Embarke. Key partners include Silicon Valley’s Stanley Pierson, Jorge Del Calvo, Allison Leopold Tilley and Tom Thomas. San Diego’s Christian Salaman is also highly reputed.

[back to top]

United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Cyber crime, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a first tier firm,

Having launched its cybersecurity team in 2013, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP continues to impress with its increasing depth in cybersecurity issues. The leaders of the firm’s multidisciplinary privacy and data protection practice are Deborah Thoren-Peden and senior counsel Catherine Meyer, who are both based in Los Angeles. The team is advising new client Elance-oDesk on various cybersecurity and data privacy issues arising out of the merger of Elance and oDesk. Mercedes Tunstall joined the Washington DC team, having previously been head of privacy and data security at Ballard Spahr LLP. Tunstall is also a former staff attorney at the FTC, where she investigated the Commission’s first internet hijacking case, and thus bolsters the team with her longstanding knowledge of cyber crime. Brian Finch also joined the Washington DC office, and is a leading figure on the SAFETY Act (Support Anti-terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies). Finch acts for clients such as the Department of Homeland Security, Congress and the Department of Defense.

[back to top]

Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a second tier firm,

The multi-disciplinary privacy and data security practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is led by Deborah Thoren-Peden from the Los Angeles office, which advises clients across a range of sectors on data usage. Also in Los Angeles, senior counsel Catherine Meyer has experience advising on the right to financial privacy, customers’ privacy rights under federal and international statutes, and providing assistance where customers’ personal information is compromised. A leading figure in the cybersecurity space, Brian Finch joined the Washington DC office in May 2014 where he advises on matters relating to the Department of Homeland security (where he previously worked), Congress and the Department of Defense, and is also a leading authority on the SAFETY Act. The team recently advised Blackhawk Network on a mix of state, federal and international laws and regulations.

[back to top]

Within Technology: outsourcing, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a first tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has a dedicated team of strategic outsourcing lawyers who provide cost-saving advice. James Alberg, Aaron Oser and Robert Zahler are the key contacts. Alberg represents customers in large-scale multinational ITOs and BPOs with a particular focus on the financial services and information industry. Oser is head of the firm’s legal and consulting global sourcing practice and handles a wide range of technology-related transactions. Zahler has a particular focus on structuring telecoms and managed network service transactions, developing systems integration and custom system contracts, protection of IP rights and licensing of computer software. Michael Steinig left to join Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, and Michael Murphy also left the firm in 2014. However, cloud expert Benjamin Dean was recently promoted to the partnership. All individuals mentioned are based in Washington DC unless otherwise stated.

[back to top]

Within Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s department head Glenn Richards is a regulatory expert in the field of IP communications, and the group also has extensive experience in the wireless broadband space. In particular, reallocating/increasing sharing of spectrum has been a growing focus for the team, and a key client in this area is LightSquared, which called upon the firm when deploying a nationwide ground-based 4G wireless network. The team also advised the same client on a number of other regulatory matters including routine spectrum and facilities licensing issues as well as compliance matters under the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA), Universal Service Fund, Customer Proprietary Network Information (CPNI) and other carrier regulations. John Hane, who was involved in the work for LightSquared, also assisted LIN Media with major carriage negotiations with some of the largest cable and satellite television providers, and defended both LIN Media and Sinclair Broadcast against efforts by the cable and satellite industries to have the FCC introduce new rules limiting the flexibility of broadcasters in these negotiations. Other work examples for the team include advising the Advanced Television Broadcasting Alliance on its loss of spectrum rights in broadcast incentive auctions, and advising Media General on its planned merger with LIN Media. Richards, Hane, Scott Flick, and Bruce Jacobs are the names to note.

[back to top]

United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a second tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s team is chaired by John Heisse from San Francisco; he is supported by a team of 13 partners considered to be the ‘highest level of caliber’. Within the group is ‘exceptional business acumen’, and the ability to handle both complex contentious and transactional matters; ‘the firm has deep resources to draw from when new, novel, demanding or complex issues arise’. Clients range from heavy infrastructure to public transport, higher education, and commercial development. It recently acted for Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in a $4bn arbitration regarding defects in replacement steam generators for a nuclear power plant in Southern California. In 2014, Washington DC-based Melissa Lesmes became vice-chair of the construction counseling and dispute resolution practice. David Dekker, also in Washington DC, was selected to the firm’s board of directors in May 2014.

[back to top]

Within Land use/zoning, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a second tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP represents a diverse client base in a broad range of matters pertaining to development projects. Recent highlights include representing the Bohemian Club in administrative proceedings to obtain approval of a non-industrial timber management plan for selected harvest of portions of Bohemian Grove and assisting Barrett Block Partners with obtaining entitlements for an office and residential project. Robert Herr is the key contact.

[back to top]

Within Real estate, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is ‘excellent for complex real estate deals’, and has attorneys based in New York, Washington, DC, Northern Virginia, Texas, Los Angeles and San Diego. Highlights included advising Barrett Block Partners on a $250m mixed use project in downtown San Francisco, which was led by department head Robert Herr and the ‘very experienced’ Rachel Horsch, who also advised Shorenstein Properties on the $300m financing, renovation and operation of Market Square in San Francisco. Houston-based Laura Hannusch, who is highly regarded, led advice to Crescent Real Estate Equities on the $1.2bn sale of two Texan commercial office properties – Greenway Plaza ten-building complex in Houston and 777 Main, a 40-story tower in Fort Worth – to holding companies owned by Cousins Properties. Other noteworthy attorneys include Eric Kremer in San Diego and David Miller in McLean, Virginia. Marc Shapiro and Jill Block joined Mayer Brown in August 2014.

[back to top]

Within Real estate investment trusts (REITs) , Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP is a third tier firm,

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s highly established REIT practice has significant expertise and experience in DownREIT matters. The 15-strong team has been particularly active on the M&A front, where it advised on several multimillion-dollar acquisitions, but also increasingly acted on a number of start-ups. Clients include Boston Properties, Federal Realty Investment Trust and Washington Real Estate Investment Trust. Washington DC-based Robert Robbins and Jeffrey Grill are the practice co-heads. Wendelin White joined Morris, Manning & Martin, LLP.

[back to top]

United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax, tier 8

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s tax lawyers in California focus on M&A, dispositions, joint ventures and structuring, while areas of expertise for their counterparts in New York include securitizations, complex extensions of credit, structured finance, international transaction planning, and energy tax credit planning. New York lawyer Harsha Reddy led the firm’s representation of Morgan Stanley in a $485m royalty monetization by Theravance and, together with Hugh Dougan, represented Consumers Energy in a $378m offering of senior secured securitization bonds by its special purpose entity. Also recommended are Jeffrey Vesely and Julie Divola in San Francisco, Dana Newman in Los Angeles and Brian Wainwright in Silicon Valley.

[back to top]

Within Tax controversy, tier 5

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP’s tax practice handles various domestic, international, SALT matters for a broad range of clients. Several of the team’s lawyers bring to bear valuable experience gained within government. Annie Huang successfully represented a high-net-worth individual in a claim that resulted in 90% reduction of a $37m tax bill. Previous highlights for the group successfully represented the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Francisco in a tax dispute with the City and County of San Francisco. The team is led from New York by James Chudy, and San Francisco-based SALT practice leader Jeffrey Vesely is also recommended, as is William Bonano who is an expert in international and controversy tax matters.

[back to top]

Further information on Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP

Please choose from this list to view details of what we say about Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP in other jurisdictions.


Offices in Shanghai and Beijing


Offices in Tokyo


Offices in London

United States

Offices in Houston, New York, Washington DC, Sacramento, Palo Alto, Costa Mesa, San Diego, Los Angeles, McLean, San Francisco, Austin, Palm Beach, and Nashville

Legal Developments worldwide

Legal Developments and updates from the leading lawyers in each jurisdiction. To contribute, send an email request to