The Legal 500

Sidley Austin LLP

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United States

Top-tier recommendations


  • United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate

United States: Finance

Within Bank lending (including other sources of financing), tier 5

Sidley Austin LLP’s sponsor side practice is said to be on the up following the recruitment of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’ Dallas-based finance co-head Angela Fontana and partner Kelly Dybala in 2013. Their arrival gives extra strength to the ‘top-notch’ team, which was already ‘strong across the board’ and particularly well regarded for mid-market work. The practice advises an impressive roster of banks including Wells Fargo, J.P. Morgan, Bank of America and Barclays Bank. An array of talent sits across various offices, including Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Houston, and now Dallas, following the arrival of Fontana. Key partners include James Clark, Robert Lewis and Mark Kirsons in Chicago, and Pamela Martinson in Palo Alto. Clients also single out the ‘smart, efficient, knowledgeable and responsive’ Chicago-based Zulfiqar Bokhari.

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Within Capital markets: debt offerings, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

2013 was an eventful year for Sidley Austin LLP’s capital markets practice that saw it advise on a series of high-profile deals and hire a number of notable practitioners. The recruitment of former chief counsel and associate director of the SEC Thomas Kim in August 2013, provided a significant boost to the team’s regulatory capabilities, while the Houston office, a key source of energy-related deals, expanded through the hiring of Herschel Hamner from Baker Botts L.L.P. and Tim Langenkamp from Andrews Kurth LLP. In New York, James O’Connor represented Caterpillar Financial Services Corporation in 18 medium-term note offerings totaling $4.65bn, and in Chicago Paul Choi, along with newly promoted partner Michael Heinz, advised the manufacturer on its $1.7bn offering to exchange privately issued debentures. New York-based real estate expert Gerard Cummins acted for Starwood Property Trust in two convertible notes offerings totaling $925m. The practice is particularly well-regarded by underwriters, regularly working for international and bulge bracket banks; among recent highlights, the firm represented the underwriters in Morgan Stanley’s offerings of over 620 medium-term notes totaling $17.4bn; advised BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, Mitsubishi Securities, Mizuho Securities and RBS on Daimler Finance North America’s two offerings of notes totaling $6bn; and served as underwriter’s counsel on BHP Biliton’s $5bn notes issue.

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Within Capital markets: equity offerings, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP significantly expanded its capital markets practice in 2013 via internal promotion and a number of lateral hires: Thomas Kim, former chief counsel and associate director of the SEC, joined in August 2013, bringing considerable regulatory expertise; in the Houston office, it hired Herschel Hamner from Baker Botts L.L.P. and Tim Langenkamp from Andrews Kurth LLP, while in Chicago, Michael Heinz made partner. The Houston office is a strong source of energy-related deals, while the New York office’s recent highlights include acting as issuers counsel and selling stockholders’ counsel in TRI Pointe Homes’ $232m IPO; real estate expert Gerard Cummins led on the deal. New York practice head Edward Petrosky worked alongside Jonathan Freedman to advise Deutsche Bank as underwriter on WhiteHorse Finance’s $115m IPO. Jonathan Babb represented provider West Corporation in its $425m IPO, a return to the capital markets for the company following the decision by Thomas H. Lee and Quadrangle Group LLC to take it private in 2006. ‘Versatile lawyerSamir Gandhi is also recommended.

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Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

The restructuring group at Sidley Austin LLP provides ‘outstanding service’ and attracts particular praise for its ‘savvy business sense’ and ability to draw on the team’s ‘deep, collective experience, which allows lawyers to analyze complex problems from numerous angles and promptly provide constructive solutions’. Larry Nyhan is considered a ‘star bankruptcy lawyer globally’ and his ‘heavyweight experience and knowledge adds value to any complex deal’. Nyhan co-chairs the team out of Chicago alongside James Conlan, who is a ‘single-minded and brilliant lawyer that can translate creative solutions into practical advice’. The firm also has significant restructuring capability in its Dallas, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington DC offices. It acts regularly for both debtors and senior debt syndicates and its ‘excellent reputation in contested bankruptcies’ is a significant strength. Among its recent cases, the firm represented Dynegy Holdings in its Chapter 11 proceedings, which involved approximately $6.2bn in total liabilities. It also successfully represented Federal-Mogul Corporation in a case before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, which upheld its right under the bankruptcy code to assign over $1bn in insurance proceeds and rights to a trust established for the benefit of asbestos claimants as part of its confirmed plan of reorganization. Lee Enterprises, Rodeo Creek Gold and US Bank Trust National Association are also recent clients.

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Within Financial services: litigation, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s resources – in its Chicago headquarters and on both coasts, including a nascent Boston offering – are such that it can represent clients in major disputes irrespective of location and size. Praised for its ‘deep subject matter knowledge and good strategic thinking’, the firm handles work across the range of issues affecting clients in the industry, both at trial and appellate level; the firm has one of the ‘pre-eminent Supreme Court practices’. It is representing JP Morgan Chase in a range of MBS-related litigation instigated by investors including Federal Home Loan Banks, led by Robert Pietrzak, Dorothy Spenner and Andrew Stern. Headed by Barry Rashkover, and strengthened by the arrival in April 2013 of ten partners from Bingham McCutchen LLP, the firm also has strong bench strength on the securities enforcement and regulatory side, and is regularly involved in matters before the SEC, CFTC and FINRA. Other recommended partners include Gary Bendinger, for litigation against accounting firms; and Susan Merrill and Neal Sullivan, for SEC enforcement matters.

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Within Financial services: regulatory, tier 4

Closely integrated with the firm’s corporate, finance and litigation practice groups, Sidley Austin LLP’s Washington DC regulatory group provides ‘terrific and user-friendly advice’ to clients across the gamut of issues, ranging from Dodd-Frank compliance matters to the regulatory underpinning of transactions in the industry. Team head William Eckland is regularly at the forefront of the most significant work handled by the group, and advises clients on the development of new products and services as well as handling general advisory matters. New York based Connie Friesen has developed a niche advising international banks on the impact of Dodd-Frank on their operations, and also provides the regulatory expertise necessary to international banks planning to open branches in the US. On the consumer finance side, David Teitelbaum has an excellent pedigree in the field of electronic banking and payment systems. The firm’s already strong broker-dealer practice was enhanced in April 2013 by the arrival of a ten-partner SEC enforcement and regulatory practice from Bingham McCutchen LLP.

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Within Municipal bankruptcy, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

The ‘highly responsive’ group at Sidley Austin LLP is ‘among the best for Chapter 9’. Providing an ‘excellent service’, the practice combines its core strengths in public finance bankruptcy and restructuring to act for major creditors. Of particular note is its work for Assured Guaranty, Stockton’s largest creditors. Based in Los Angeles, Jeffrey Bjork is ‘very good’ and ‘very, very active’ in the field; Washington DC-based Guy Neal and public finance specialist Eric Tashman in San Francisco are also highly recommended. The aforementioned trio continue to advise National Public Finance Guarantee on its pursuit of a $2bn debt in Detroit. Other work has included San Bernardino’s ongoing Chapter 9 negotiations, Harrisburg’s continuing restructuring and Mammoth Lakes’ Chapter 9 filing, which was dismissed in late 2012. The firm’s ‘outstanding pensions expertise’ is anticipated to come increasingly to the fore, particularly following Detroit’s recent ruling on the subject.

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Within Not-for-profit, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘excellent’ 16-lawyer group is praised for its ‘wisdom’, ‘response times’ and ‘sensitivity to the resource limitations’ of not-for-profit clients, culminating in a ‘superior’ service that is ‘absolutely top notch’. Based primarily in Chicago, the team has a strong healthcare practice, and is particularly prominent in the area of association law. Jack Bierig, a leading name within medical law, has an extensive client list that includes the American Medical Association, the College of American Pathologists, the Healthcare Financial Management Association and the National Certification Corporation. Counsel Lynne Fleisher, who ‘has both technical and legal expertise’ that is ‘very valuable’, also works with a number of medical associations. Tax specialist Michael Clark represents trade, professional, and insurance guaranty associations involved in controversies with the IRS. Paul Svoboda acts for the full spectrum of clients, from high-net-worth individuals to major public charities. Recent work includes advising a $7.5bn charitable trust on the legal and tax aspects of setting up an investment program. The firm also assisted a prominent family in establishing a charitable grant program through their private foundation. Other clients include Masonic Homes of California, American Red Cross, Columbia University, The Salvation Army and the YMCA.

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Within Project finance, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Known for its market-leading energy practice, Sidley Austin LLP’s 2012 expansion, which saw it open a new office in Houston and recruiting 12 partners, appears to be paying dividends: the firm’s ‘breadth and depth of expertise’ is ‘truly impressive’. Practice head Irving Rotter in New York has acted for a broad range of lender and sponsor clients; although his primary focus is on oil, gas and alternative power generation projects, he has also acted on major projects in the telecoms and natural resources sectors. In Washington DC, Ayaz Shaikhworks around the clock’ and is praised for his ‘quick and decisive action’. Timothy Moran is advising the lenders on the $2bn financing of Cape Wind, the country’s first offshore wind farm, located on Horseshoe Shoal in Nantucket Sound. Houston-based Cliff Vrielink advised ZaZa Energy Corporation on a joint development and exploration arrangement with EOG Resources in the Eaglebine shale area of Texas. Glenn Pinkerton, Anne Falvey, counsel Gregory McMahon and Michael Duff are also recommended. Clients include First Solar, Cheniere Energy Partners, Blackstone Energy Partners and Dynegy. Michael Joyce moved to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati in February 2014.

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Within Structured finance, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Having spent over four decades in the structured finance space, the ‘exceedingly good’ and ‘consistent’ group at Sidley Austin LLP has the ‘highest level of knowledge, efficiency, ethics and integrity’ and is ‘strong across a number of different areas’. ‘Top playerRenwick Martin in New York, who is ‘very smart and very diverse’, commands ‘the highest respect’ from peers and leads the practice together with Gary Stern in Chicago. On the West Coast, the Midwest and the East Coast respectively, ‘top-notch securitization lawyerDale Lumprovides creative legal solutions’, Robert Robinson handles both securitization and derivatives, and, despite being a transaction-heavy practice, Thomas Brown also has expertise in regulatory matters. The firm is immersed in two relatively new asset forms: energy-efficient loans managed by municipalities and so-called REO-to-rental programs. It advised Deutsche Bank on a landmark single-family rental securitization for funds affiliated with Blackstone. Another growth area has been in mortgage servicing rights. The firm is optimistically looking towards the RMBS space; RJ Carlson advised JPMorgan Chase on its first issuance of mortgage-backed securities since 2007 plus two subsequent issuances at an aggregate transaction value of $1.4bn, and Edward Fine is also an expert in this field. The practice experienced a high volume of CMBS transactions, and often acts as issuers’ counsel, as well as handling a high number of auto loan deals – an area of expertise for Jeffrey Weinstein, who also covers non-traditional assets such as servicer advances. Further highlights include advising Springleaf Financial on the securitization of personal loans originated by various of its branches and valued at $700m, as well as on the securitization of a portfolio of loans acquired by the client from HSBC and totaling $2.2bn. Mark Werner advised Nationstar Mortgage on the issuance of advance receivables-backed lines of credit totaling $4.5bn, and BlackRock on the issuance of advance receivables-backed notes totaling $30m. Carlos Rodriguez is also recommended.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Energy: litigation, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s expansion into the energy litigation market continues apace. Its Houston office has gone from strength to strength since opening in 2012, and the past year saw sustained growth for the practice. It is representing longstanding client ExxonMobil in relation to various pipeline issues, including proceedings before the FERC and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska regarding rates for transportation services in the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS): the issues surround challenges by the state, and others, to the cost-saving plans to the pipeline initiated by its owners, with a decision expected in 2014. The past year also saw a decision in a long-running case for PG&E dating back to the 2000-2001 California energy crisis. At the time, the state saw an 800% increase in wholesale prices and PG&E was the largest purchaser of power, and has since sought to recover the overcharges from sellers; in 2013, a liability decision in favor of the company was issued on the $2bn of claims at stake. Other clients include American Electric Power, Kinder Morgan and the Clean Energy Trust. Eugene Elrod heads the team in Washington DC, which includes standout lawyers Marie Fiala, Mark Glasser and David Lewis.

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Within Energy: regulatory, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s practice has grown rapidly since opening in Houston in 2012, through lateral hires from numerous top energy firms; the most recent addition is Tracy LeRoy from Baker Botts L.L.P.. The firm regularly features in major FERC and federal court disputes, particularly those relating to pipelines. Examples include advising longstanding client ExxonMobil on licensing and building the $45bn Alaska Pipeline Project with TransCanada; the diverse team includes partners from across the energy and environmental practices, including Gene Elrod, Bill Williams, David Lewis and Chris Lyons from energy regulatory; Peter Steenland and David Buente from environmental and Richard Klingler from litigation. The firm also continues to advise ExxonMobil on a range of FERC matters. Another highlight was representing PG&E following the California energy crisis of 2000-01, in a four-month trial at the FERC; in February 2013, the FERC issued a liability decision in favor of the client and its co-litigants in the $2bn claim. The team also includes Peter Keisler and Quin Sorenson.

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Within Energy: renewable/alternative, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP represents developers and financial institutions on various renewable electric generation projects, advising on all aspects including tax, from its recently opened and growing office in Houston. The firm has also represented parties involved with the development of biofuel facilities. The team has experience advising industry participants in public offerings and private placements, M&A, and project finance. Having expanded the office with seven lateral hires, the firm is now in a strong position to build on its renewable expertise. Sergio Pozzerle advised Genneia on the development of over 300MW of wind and solar energy projects in Argentina, and also led a team advising Sempra Energy on the wind turbine and energy storage system procurement and construction of a 24MW project in Hawaii. Head of the project finance and infrastructure practice Irving Rotter advised Exelon Corporation on the acquisition of a 51% stake in several Californian solar energy farms totalling 69MW.

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Within Environment: litigation, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

The ‘top-notchSidley Austin LLP is ‘at the top of the list in the environmental litigation area’, and its service is ‘uniformly excellent’; the firm is noted for its ‘in-depth knowledge’, ‘strategic thinking’ and ‘deep bench of quality lawyers’. 2013 saw it continue its high-profile work across an assortment of areas, including representing ExxonMobil in relation to the rupture of the Pegasus pipeline, spilling 3,500 barrels of crude oil in Mayflower, Arkansas; legal action was brought by the state and the EPA under the CWA and the Oil Pollution Act. The firm was also active challenging California’s cap-and-trade system, acting for the National Association of Manufacturers in claims that the auction was an unconstitutional tax under California law. The practice is also noted for its expertise in CAA matters, including the New Source Review and New Source Performance Standards. David Buente heads the environmental group, and is noted for his ‘legal acumen’ and ‘expertise on criminal defense investigations’. Peter Steenland has ‘top-level skills in both counseling and litigation’, with ‘many years of experience in government and industry’. Pesticides expert Keith Matthews recently joined from the EPA. The lawyers named are all based in Washington DC.

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Within Environment: transactional and regulatory, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP fields an ‘impressive’ environmental team which is particularly noted for its ability to keep pace with developments in the regulatory field. On the transactional side, it advises on due diligence matters, the negotiation of environmental provisions for credit agreements, remediation matters, and compliance issues subsequent to acquisitions. Recent highlights include acting for a lender on the financing of an oil pipeline and rail terminal in the Midwest, and assisting Dynegy Holdings in relation to its bankruptcy proceedings and the related legacy liabilities of its generating facilities. On the regulatory side, it is well versed in Superfund regulation, the NEPA, the CAA and Proposition 65, which is unusual for a firm headquartered outside of California. It was particularly busy in 2013 on climate change matters, including in relation to the EPA’s continued attempts to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from stationary sources, and advises trade associations such as the American Chemistry Counsel and multinationals such as ExxonMobil on the regulations. It is also advising several clients on permitting issues relating to the EPA’s decision to take over authority from the State of Texas to issue greenhouse gas permits; this includes new permit requests and challenges to the EPA’s decision. The team includes a number of well-known figures in the field, notably David Buente and Roger Martella in Washington DC, Judith Praitis in Los Angeles, and Robert Olian in Chicago.

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Within Healthcare: life sciences, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s market-leading group advised major clients on the full array of corporate and regulatory issues, including enforcement issues throughout the product life cycle. Demonstrating the firm’s international capabilities, a cross-office team that included lawyers from the firm’s Beijing and Hong Kong offices, and Chicago-based David Zampa, advised Medtronic on its multi-faceted strategic alliance with Chinese medical device company LifeTech, which included its acquisition of a 19% stake in the company. Washington DC-based Coleen Klasmeier leads the food, drug and medical device regulatory team, focusing on strategy and risk management, as well as FDA-related litigation. David Pritikin, also based in Chicago, chairs the firm’s national IP practice and has been acting on several high-profile Hatch-Waxman cases over the past year, including for Forest Laboratories on its action against seven generic manufacturers. In another example of its broad transactional capabilities, Zampa and Palo Alto-based Deborah Marshall advised GE Healthcare on its investment in NanoString Technologies and its subsequent IPO. Scott Bass and James Stansel co-head the team.

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Within Insurance: advice to insurers, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘extremely strong team’ provides ‘excellent counsel’ across a range of complex coverage cases including asbestos, environmental and mass tort matters, as well as property, casualty and bankruptcy. The group is noted for its reinsurance and appellate capabilities, and represents clients in white-collar criminal defense, investigations, enforcement actions and congressional hearings. Co-chair of the global insurance and financial services practice group Susan Stone divides time between New York and Chicago, and also chairs the reinsurance disputes practice area. Joel Feldman is ‘an exceptional attorney and sets the benchmark for responsiveness and service to his clients’. Alongside the ‘approachable, grounded and focusedEric Mattson, Feldman successfully represented Bankers Life in a case alleging that the company participated in the fraudulent sale of equity indexed annuities to senior citizens. Showcasing its strength in defending insurers against class actions, the practice successfully defended ING against a class action complaint alleging that it participated in ‘additional compensation’ payments to Morgan Stanley for the latter’s brokerage services. The group also obtained a favorable ruling for Chartis, securing a judgment that premiums cannot be deemed unlawful if they were determined in accordance with approved rating systems. Daniel Neppl is ‘extremely efficient in dispute matters’ and William Sneed is praised for his ‘amazing recall of key documents’.

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Within Insurance: non-contentious, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘among the best insurance firms in the US’ and demonstrates ‘strong insurance industry knowledge and acumen’ across a wide range of areas including M&A, reinsurance, captive funds, insurance-linked securities and industry regulation. Matters relating to capital markets are among the firm’s core strengths, and it is recognized as one of the market leaders in catastrophe bonds. Co-heads of the insurance practice Michael Goldman and Perry Shwachman lead ‘a strong global team with quality lawyers’ in Chicago, while ‘exceptionally qualified transactional lawyerJeff Liebmann heads the New York insurance practice. Shwachman, whom clients single out for his ‘extraordinary transactional ability’, led a team of over 130 lawyers in representing Athene Holding in its high-profile $2.6bn acquisition of one of the largest life insurance and annuity operations in the US from Aviva; and in the sale of Aviva USA’s life insurance business to Global Atlantic Financial Group. Alongside New York-based Andrew Holland and Nigel Montgomery in London, Goldman assisted TransRe with the restructuring of its UK operations to be compliant with the EU’s imminent Solvency II directive. Michael Pinsel is regarded as ‘a leader in his field’, and co-head of the firm’s tax practice Laura Barzilai is ‘extremely knowledgeable’.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Patent litigation: full coverage, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is rated for its ‘excellent response times, knowledge and quality of advice’ on patent litigation matters across the hi-tech and life sciences industries, with key clients including Huawei, Johnson & Johnson, Apple and SynQor. It continued representing Microsoft in litigation against Motorola, with a trial determining reasonable and non-discriminatory (RAND) royalty rates in relation to licensing of a SEP portfolio between two parties, which was followed by a later ruling awarding Microsoft $14.5m in damages. The practice achieved an appeal ruling upholding a lower court decision for plaintiff Merck & Co of validity on patents for its anti-cholesterol drugs Zetia and Vytorin, with an injunction blocking Mylan from marketing an approved generic version until 2017. It also defended eBay, Microsoft and Dell against patent infringement claims brought by holding company Kelora Systems. Another high-profile matter was representing Amgen and Hoffmann-La Roche in obtaining dismissal of a case brought by Sandoz regarding blockbuster drug Enbrel, with the district court’s decision being the first-ever judicial interpretation of the Biosimilar Act. Leading names in the Chicago office include IP chair David Pritikin, patent litigator Richard Cederoth, federal litigator William Baumgartner and Constantine Trela. Palo Alto-based ‘sensible and driven attorneyBryan Anderson and Dallas-based Li Chen are also recommended.

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Within Patent litigation: International Trade Commission, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s most high-profile work includes acting for Microsoft in disputes against Motorola, including as respondent in a case before the ITC, obtaining a favorable ruling of non-infringement on all patents asserted before the case was terminated. ITC expert Brian Nester, based in Washington DC, leads on high-tech patent litigation matters, with other key mandates including acting for Apple in another investigation filed by Motorola as well as STMicroelectronics in a case brought by the California Institute of Technology; both were settled before trial. Other representative clients include Huawei, LG Electronics and Research in Motion.

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Within Alternative/hedge funds, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘best-in-class’ hedge funds group bolstered its already deep regulatory capability in 2013 with the recruitment of Joshua Rovine from Blackstone Group, where he headed the compliance division, and Timothy Spangler from Kaye Scholer LLP; both joined the Los Angeles office. It is also expanding its practice outside the US, with Han Ming Ho’s arrival in Singapore from Clifford Chance and Stephen Ross coming on board to co-head the London investment funds team from his previous role as general counsel at Man Group. The group ‘excels at high-end fund formation mandates’; it recently advised III Offshore Advisors on the formation of two single investor funds focused on fixed income strategies, and Anchorage on Anchorage Illiquid Opportunity IV, which is targeting $1bn in commitments through two closings. In addition to regulatory and fund formation capabilities, it is highly regarded for its ‘world-class’ derivatives practice, which focuses exclusively on the buy-side for clients including several of the world’s leading hedge fund managers. Global investment fund co-head Michael Schmidtberger and Benson Cohen are advising Credit Suisse on the ongoing expansion of its HedgeFocus feeder fund platform, while on the fund investment front, David Sawyier was part of a team which advised Grosvenor Capital Management on its seed capital investment in a hedge fund sponsored by Continuum Investment Management. Global co-head William Kerr is ‘at the top of his field’, and OTC derivatives specialist Michele Ruiz is ‘excellent – responsive and quick-minded’.

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Within Mutual/registered funds, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘excellent in all categories’ and ‘truly understands the industry’. The firm augments its significant representation of fund clients, which includes BlackRock Funds, Nuveen Closed-end Funds, and Nomura Closed-end Funds, with a prominent underwriters practice. It advised Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan as underwriters on the $100m IPO of White Horse Finance, a BDC; and acted for Baird and Oppenheimer on the $80m IPO of Garrison Capital. The group also served as underwriters’ counsel on six IPOs by Kayne Anderson with an aggregate value of $700m. On the fund side, the ‘smart, accessible and knowledgeableJohn MacKinnon and Frank Bruno were part of the team that advised BlackRock on the launch of nine new funds, including four geared towards alternative investments. Bruno also advised high-profile new client Prudential Investments on the $780m IPO of the Prudential Global Short Duration High Yield fund.

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Within Private equity funds, tier 5

Excellent in all aspects’, Sidley Austin LLP advised Athyrium Opportunities Associates, a joint venture between Neuberger Berman and Athyrium Capital Management, on the formation of Athyrium Opportunities Fund, a $515 million fund focused on royalty monetization and other structured investments in the healthcare sector. Scott Macdonald and Timothy Clark advised Black River Asset management on the formation of two funds exploring investment opportunities in Latin America and other emerging markets. Alyssa Grikscheit is recommended, as is Susan Lewis, who has ‘fantastic depth of experience’. The firm’s global private funds group was significantly bolstered by the recruitment of Singapore-based Han Ming Ho from Clifford Chance, and Stephen Ross, who co-heads the London investment funds team.

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Within Real estate investment trusts (REITs), Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘number one for REITs’, according to one client. Seven partners devote their time to REIT-related transactions, with three dedicated to tax issues. A mainstay in the space since the industry’s early days, its track record includes advising Kimco Realty Corporation on its 1991 IPO, the first REIT IPO of the modern era, and the team has handled over 364 REIT offerings totalling nearly $101bn over the last 10 years, with a particularly strong share of underwriters’ representations. It also played a significant role in the re-equitization of REITs, handling 34 offerings with a total value of $12.5bn since 2010. Recent highlights include advising Simon Property Group on three offerings totalling $2.3bn, and Starwood Property Trust on three offerings of common stock for $1.9bn; both deals were handled by J Gerard Cummins and Edward Petrosky. The group also advised Healthcare REIT on its $1.9bn acquisition of Sunrise Senior Living, and Starwood Property Trust on its $1.1bn acquisition of LNR Property. A five-partner team advised Latitude Management Real Estate Capital on the formation of its REIT structure to support the acquisition of short-term mortgage and mezzanine loans. The highly regarded Petrosky and Cummins are key partners in a group which also includes David Miller and James O’Connor. Bartholomew Sheehan provides ‘expert advice, anticipating issues and positioning clients for a positive outcome’.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP has a ‘strong team with deep knowledge’ that provides ‘good service’ and ‘value for money’. It has a broad EBEC practice, co-chaired by Matthew Johnson and Robert Ferencz. Beth Dickstein is ‘creative, and respectful of clients’ opinions and feedback’. The firm advised eBay on the compensation and employee benefits aspects of its acquisition of IronPearl, and continues to be the primary ERISA counsel advising McKinsey & Company’s in-house investment team on pension plan investments and all types of ERISA compliance matters. Eileen Liu is also recommended. All named attorneys are based in Chicago.

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Within ERISA litigation, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ERISA litigation group is ‘strong on the subject matter, tough in litigation and very responsive to client input’. The team focuses on class action and other multi-party cases and has an impressive record of success. In 2013 it won two important cases in the Seventh Circuit within a span of three days: American United Life Insurance, where the firm argued the motion for summary judgment and argued the successful appeal in this class action alleging that revenue-sharing violates ERISA; and Marshall & Ilsley, where the firm convinced the Seventh Circuit to adopt the Moench presumption of prudence in a stock drop litigation case. Clients typically instruct the firm in ‘high-profile, eight or nine-digit class action litigation or other bet-the-company litigation as it knows the financial services industry, has wonderful legal skills, and great business judgment’. Anne Rea, based in Chicago, is global coordinator of the ERISA litigation practice, and her team includes Erin Kelly, Chris Meyer and Eric Mattson. The ‘fantasticMark Blocker is a ‘go-to guy for high-profile matters’.

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Within Labor and employment litigation, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP’s labor and employment litigation group is ‘outstanding’. The firm focuses on employment discrimination litigation; class and collective actions; and wage and hour litigation. Clients have included Quest Diagnostics and KPMG. Brian Golddelivers value in a cost-effective manner with speed’; he is based in Chicago alongside John Levi. Los Angeles-based Jennifer Zargarof, Douglas Hart and Jonathan Brenner are also recommended, along with Palo Alto-based Wendy Lazerson.

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United States: Litigation

Within International arbitration, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘exceptional reputation’ is ‘well deserved’, with partner-level expertise in Washington DC, New York and Los Angeles. The ‘superb’ and ‘extremely qualified’ practice grew its commercial arbitration capability in New York with the hire of ‘world-class arbitration attorney’ and ‘sharp strategistLouis Kimmelman and ‘intelligent, capable and hard-working’ counsel Dana MacGrath from Allen & Overy LLP; they brought with them a string of clients and both ‘rank with the highest’. Traditionally the team has mainly acted for investors, but it has broadened its client base and now works for a balanced mix of corporates and governments in both commercial and investment treaty arbitrations. The ‘very knowledgeableStanimir Alexandrov is the head of the firm’s global practice and predominantly takes the lead in investment arbitrations out of Washington, recently representing the Republic of Peru in a $50bn ICSID case, alongside Jennifer Haworth McCandless and the ‘very organized and responsiveMarinn Carlson. On the commercial side, McCandless and Carlson acted for a Russian company in a high-profile €1bn ICC arbitration over the termination of a European nuclear power plant project. Allen Kim relocated to Los Angeles from the firm’s Hong Kong office, and ‘thrives in highly complicated and challenging cases’. Newly promoted partner James Mendenhall has a wealth of experience in bilateral treaty negotiations.

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Within International trade, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

International trade is a major strength of Sidley Austin LLP, particularly in the WTO litigation and trade remedy arena. Key to the firm’s success in the field is practice head Andrew Shoyer, who leads a team of ‘practical’, ‘business-oriented’ professionals and ‘tailors resources effectively, with clients’ overall interests in mind’. Based in Washington DC and leveraging the firm’s resources in Geneva and Brussels, the practice is prominent across the full spectrum of traditional international trade work and acts for a strong mix of clients from various regions and industry sectors. ‘Unsurpassed on the respondent side’, the team continues to advise the Chinese solar industry on imports of solar panels in the US market and anti-dumping and anti-subsidy investigations conducted by the European Commission; the ‘straightforward and pragmaticNeil Ellis, Richard Weiner, Brenda Jacobs and counsel Rajib Pal are leading the advice. Among other highlights on the trade remedy side, James Mendenhall advised MasterCard Worldwide on trade and investment rules on market access and international trade negotiations. The firm continues to gain market share in the WTO dispute space; in 2013, Shoyer, Pal, Weiner and litigator Eric Solovy successfully acted for a complaining party in a WTO challenge to the government of Ontario’s requirements for renewable electricity generation equipment. Robert Torresen and Lisa Crosby regularly advise key client Caterpillar on all aspects of US and EU export control and sanctions laws and regulations. Senior counsel Richard Belanger is also recommended.

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Within Product liability and mass tort defense: automotive/transport, tier 4

Chicago-based Michael Andolina and Eric Mattson are the key names at Sidley Austin LLP, which has represented American Honda in consumer fraud class actions for a number of years. The firm recently secured a dismissal of a nationwide class action on behalf of Honda, in which plaintiffs alleged a motorcycle produced by the company was defective, resulting in unexpected gear-shifting. The firm is also acting as lead counsel for a client in a train derailment matter.

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

Sidley Austin LLP provides an ‘outstanding service’ and ‘outstanding legal and regulatory expertise’. The firm’s broad consumer products offering sees it handling a range of class action and product liability work, including multi-jurisdiction litigation, out of four offices in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC. The team is particularly strong in FDA-related matters, and its experience in false advertising actions is evidenced by its ongoing work for the Dial Corporation in a class action arising from claims that it had misrepresented the efficacy of its antibacterial soup product; the case is being led by Eugene Schoon and Richard Raskin. Kara McCall is leading the defense of Phusion Projects in several personal injury and wrongful death cases throughout the US. Also recommended is the ‘pragmaticMichael Davis who ‘provides effective counsel and representation’.

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Within Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Chicago-based Sara Gourley leads the team at Sidley Austin LLP, and is commended for her ‘strategy’ and ‘tactics’. The firm is acting for Takeda Pharmaceutical Company and Eli Lilly and Company in Actos litigation: as trial counsel in Jack Cooper v Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, a non-suit was granted post-trial, ruling that the plaintiffs’ expert’s testimony should not have been heard by the jury as it was inherently unreliable. The firm is also lead counsel in several other pieces of litigation regarding Actos, with cases pending in numerous state courts. Eugene Schoon is valued for his ‘work with experts’, Craig Knot provides ‘daily support’ and Maja Eaton is also recommended.

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Within Product liability and mass tort defense: toxic tort, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is experienced in advising on asbestos and greenhouse litigation, and the tort team works in concert with the firm’s environmental team. The firm continues to advise long-standing client GE as national coordinating counsel, as well as serving as a member of its trial counsel team in asbestos litigation; it recently obtained summary judgment for the client in an MDL alleging that it was liable for insulation applied to marine steam turbines sold to the US Navy. David Buente, who is ‘one of the best lawyers in this area’, and Timothy Webster, both located in Washington DC, are leading advice to Coronet Industries in a mass-joinder suit in Florida state court, in claims related to purported exposure to chemicals from historic phosphate mining operations.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLPprovides timely responses, deep subject matter knowledge and good strategic thinking’. The practice has four co-chairs: Sara Brody in San Francisco; James Ducayet, who ‘grasps details and also the big picture’, and ‘great strategic thinkerDavid Graham, who ‘brings tremendous perspective and always thinks two moves ahead’, in the Chicago office; and Robert Pietrzak in New York. ‘Excellent communicatorAndrew Stern and Isaac Greaney, ‘an excellent litigator with a strong skill set’, stand out in New York’s ‘deep team with great expertise’. Recent highlights include advising SMART Technologies Corporation and its directors in a class action brought by investors in its IPO. New York-based Gary Bendinger leads a specialist team representing accountancy firms, and Hille Sheppard leads on M&A and D&O matters from Chicago. A strong track record defending Chinese companies continues with matters such as the class action against CNOOC Group relating to offshore oil spills. Norman Blears, ‘one of the top securities litigators in Silicon Valley’, joined from Hogan Lovells.

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Within Supreme Court and appellate, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP provides ‘outstanding service’. An ‘undoubted star’ at the firm is Carter Phillips who has a private practice record of 76 arguments before the Court to date in addition to 25 arguments in the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. Phillips argued In re: Rail Freight Fuel Surcharge Antitrust Litigation on behalf of Union Pacific Railroad Company, BNSF Railway Company, CSX Transportation, Inc. and Norfolk Southern Railway Company, in which the US Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit vacated the district court’s class certification order; the decision signaled a premium being placed on the “rigorous analysis” admonition after Comcast Corp. v Behrend. Peter Keisler argued EME Homer City Generation, LP v EPA before the Court on behalf of Luminant Generation Company; this follows on from a favorable decision from the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit concerning a rule issued that would require electrical utilities substantially to reduce certain emissions in order to reduce ‘cross-state’ air pollution. The firm also achieved a range of victories across numerous appellate circuits in a wide variety of issues, chalking up wins in a False Claims Act suit for Quest Diagnostics and Unilab in the Second Circuit, and a victory on behalf of Somers Dublin Limited in a bankruptcy case before the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Joseph Guerrais an excellent adviser and advocate’; Mark Haddad retains a superb reputation for healthcare appeals; Constantine Trela is a name for IP instructions. One client enthuses: ‘The service could not be better in any respect’.

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Within White-collar criminal defense, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

First-class’ firm Sidley Austin LLP is praised as ‘knowledgeable’ and ‘responsive’, with lawyers who are ‘a pleasure to work with’. The team has been particularly active in the healthcare space, representing Johnson & Johnson in a False Claims Act case in Massachusetts, and a pharmaceutical company in investigations in New York and South Carolina surrounding the off-label promotion of a product. In Washington DC, Mark Hopson and Tom Green are recommended for their ‘deep subject matter knowledge’ and ‘practical’ approach; in a recent case, the pair represented a Swiss banker on charges of conspiracy to defraud the US. Other individual clients include former Freddie Mac CEO Richard Syron, who Hopson, Green and Frank Volpe represented in private securities litigation and SEC enforcement action connected to misleading statements on subprime mortgages, and a hedge fund founder who was represented by San Francisco-based Dave Anderson in an appeal against charges of conspiracy and insider trading. Other key partners include Chicago-based Michael Andolina and John Gallo, and, in Washington DC, Paul Kalb and the ‘highly skilledKaren Popp.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Within Technology: data protection and privacy, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘responsive, knowledgeable’ team has expertise in telecoms and media, financial services and healthcare. Supported by colleagues in the firm’s international offices, it advises on public and corporate policy, cybersecurity and data breaches, FTC and other regulatory investigations and privacy issues arising from transactions as well as privacy litigation. Alan Charles Raul’s ‘high-level government experience helps him approach issues with creativity and confidence’; he leads the team from Washington DC. In 2013, the team added former FTC general counsel William Blumenthal from Clifford Chance, along with former Adobe general counsel Karen Cottle in Palo Alto. Edward McNicholasdemonstrates a high level of subject matter expertise’. In an ongoing matter, the group is representing PointRoll in multi-district litigation regarding alleged circumvention of certain browser settings to enable on-line tracking. The team is also representing two plaintiffs in a significant litigation against the government under the Federal Privacy Act and Stored Communications Act involving alleged leaking of electronic data. Additionally, it is defending corporate clients against class actions alleging TCPA violations. For PayPal, it advised on the privacy due diligence considerations for its acquisition of Venmo and for Disney, it advised on the privacy due diligence for a number of different transactions. Anna Spencer represented new client Adheris Health in its first amendment challenge to the marketing rules implemented under HIPAA and HITECH. Colleen Brown demonstrates ‘confidence in making judgment calls on complex issues’.

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Within Technology: outsourcing, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘absolutely best in class’ when it comes to being‘ highly tactical and exceptionally strategic’; as a result, this ‘strong team provides practical advice’. Outsourcing and IT procurement are particular strengths within the technology and IP transactions practice, which is led by Glenn Nash in Palo Alto. It recently advised Corelogic on its outsourcing services arrangement with Bank of America. Mark Kaufmann in Chicago is singled out for his ‘utmost professionalism and ability to work through tough confrontational issues’. Kaufmann and Jonathan Wagner (also in Chicago) assisted Yum! Brands with a multi-tower, multi-year outsourcing transaction. Los Angeles-based Joshua Hofheimer advised Los Angeles Music Center on an outsourcing transaction with Crown Castle International involving a wide-area wifi and short-range cellular tower system. MasterCard is also a key client.

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Within Technology: transactions, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

At Sidley Austin LLP, Glenn Nash and Jeffrey Rothstein co-head a 55-lawyer technology and IP transactions practice from Palo Alto and Chicago, respectively. Recommended for its ‘leading-edge business knowledge and understanding’, it is considered to be among the ‘best in class’ for advising on complex strategic and business agreements involving IT and IP. Clients range from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, with a particular focus on life sciences, healthcare and financial services. Nash advised CoreLogic on its mortgage services acquisition from Bank of America, and assisted eBay with its $800m acquisition of Braintree. Mark Kaufmann and Jonathan Wagner, who are both based in Chicago, advised Yum! Brands on a transformational multi-tower BPO and ITO transaction with NTT DATA. Stephen Fronk in San Francisco advised Microsoft on distribution agreements with major US film studios. Other instructions came from Smith & Nephew, Roche and Onyx Pharmaceuticals and additional names on its prestigious client list are Adobe Systems, Facebook, Sony and Amazon. Los Angeles-based Joshua Hofheimer is also recommended.

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Within Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s 12-partner communi-cations group is led by David Lawson in Washington DC and David Carpenter in Chicago. The group’s US activity is largely focused on providing regulatory advice to its flagship client AT&T, notably in proceedings before the FCC and the US Congress; Lawson and Carpenter advised it on numerous high-profile, complex and contentious proceedings. These included the spectrum incentive auction, special access services, and gaining regulatory approval for its $1.2bn acquisition of Leap Wireless. Former FCC associate general counsel Mark Schneider, James Young and Ryan Morris are representing News Corp, Fox Television Stations, Inc and The Tribune Company in ongoing challenges to the FCC’s maintenance of rules governing the cross-ownership of newspapers and broadcast properties, and the multiple ownership of television stations. Additionally, Carter Phillips successfully represented News Corp and Fox Television Stations Inc in challenges to FCC rulings concerning its ban on broadcast indecency. Schneider is leading advice to GE Capital, Canyon Partners and other lenders and investors in the industry on the regulatory implications of restructurings and reorganizations – notably the impact of attribution, multiple and cross-ownership, and foreign ownership rules. For United States Cellular, the firm is advising on the FCC’s revised rules with regard to location accuracy for enhanced 911 services and the transition to next-generation 911 services. Other key clients include Neptune Technology Group and Merrill Lynch.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

Within Antitrust, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

The ‘value-for-money’ antitrust practice at Sidley Austin LLP grew in April 2013 with the arrival of former FTC officials William Blumenthal and Kenneth Glazer, among others, to the department. Blumenthal is a ‘strategic thinker’ who ‘can get difficult deals done’, and Glazer ‘brings a strong background from his in-house work’ prior to his tenure at the FTC; both are practising from Washington DC. The practice, which also spans New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Palo Alto, acts across the range of antitrust matters, including government investigations, merger control and private litigation. ‘Fine antitrust litigatorJohn Treece co-chairs the group from Chicago alongside Marie Fiala in San Francisco and Joel Mitnick in New York. In one M&A highlight, the practice assisted AT&T with its proposed acquisition of Leap Wireless, including responding to the DOJ’s second request. On the private litigation side, the team is involved in various prominent class actions, representing Hitachi, among others, in the auto parts cartel; Citigroup in the interchange fee and merchant discount litigation; and Macmillan Publishers in the e-books antitrust litigation. The firm is also involved in the controversial issue of class certification and, on behalf of CSX Transportation, successfully appealed against the certification of a class which brought an action against US railroads’ fuel surcharges. Marc Raven and healthcare expert Ben Keith, both in Chicago, and San Francisco-based Ryan Sandrock are also recommended.

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Within M&A: large deals ($1bn-5bn), Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is ‘excellent in terms of knowledge, responsiveness and practical business advice, and in assigning the appropriate level of lawyers to handle matters – the practice’s intellect is coupled with practicality of the highest order’. Recent work includes advising NV Energy on its $10bn sale to MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway; assisting the Government of Singapore Investment Corporation on the $6.9bn acquisition by an investor group led by Bain Capital and Golden Gate Capital to acquire BMC Software; and acting for the shareholders of Clearwire Corporation in relation to DISH Network’s tender offer. Other highlights included advising SXC Health Solutions Corporation on its $4.67bn acquisition of Catalyst Health Solutions; assisting TRI Pointe Homes on the acquisition of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company; acting for Health Care REIT on its $1.9bn acquisition of Sunrise Senior Living; assisting KapStone Paper and Packaging Corporation on its $1.025bn acquisition of Longview Fibre Paper and Packaging; and advising eBay on the $800m acquisition of Braintree, a Chicago-based electronic and mobile payment company, by its subsidiary PayPal. The Chicago team includes M&A co-head Paul Choi, former M&A co-head Frederick Lowinger, who transitioned to a new role as senior counsel, Thomas Cole, Imad Qasim, Luke Valentino, Larry Barden and Brian Fahrney. Fahrney has represented both acquirors and sellers in a wide variety of public and private M&A transactions, including cross-border transactions, and has substantial experience in the insurance and financial services industries. Gary Gerstman represents purchasers and sellers in M&A involving public and private entities. Michael Gordon is ‘a gifted adviser and strategist – he is aggressive but humble, and worth significantly more than he charges in every instance’. Pran Jha has extensive experience advising companies which develop and market medical products and pharmaceuticals; and David Zampa has for over 10 years focused on strategic transactions for clients in the healthcare technologies and life sciences industries. M&A co-head Scott Freeman, Joseph Armbrust and Gabriel Saltarelli are key New York-based contacts. In Palo Alto, Thomas DeFilippsprovides a level of service that is unsurpassed’, and Deborah Marshall also attracts praise. Karen Dreyfus advises clients across the software, semiconductor, internet, apparel, healthcare, gaming, manufacturing and airline sectors. Sharon Flanagan in San Francisco is well regarded, and Houston-based Cliff Vrielink and Mark Metts are also noteworthy practitioners. Scott Parel, Angela Fontana and Kelly Dybala joined the Dallas office from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP; and Michael O’Brien joined in New York from WilmerHale.

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Within M&A: litigation, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP has extensive experience in handling challenges to M&A deals, covering fiduciary responsibilities and claims involving proxy disclosures, hostile and competing bidders, troubled deals, shareholder suits, related SEC and stock exchange investigations, post-closing adjustments, breach of fiduciary duty suits, appraisal actions, and books and records inspection demands. The practice represented Duke Energy Corporation, and certain current and former officers and members of the board of directors of the company, in lawsuits filed across multiple jurisdictions after the company’s merger with Progress Energy, including a consolidated federal securities class action pending in the Western District of North Carolina and consolidated derivative actions pending in the Delaware Court of Chancery, the North Carolina Business Court and the federal District of Delaware. It also acted for Tellabs and its board of directors in actions pending in Delaware Chancery Court, Illinois state court, and the Northern District of Illinois in connection with a challenge by its stockholders to the acquisition of Tellabs by affiliates of Marlin Equity Partners; the plaintiffs alleged that the directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the proposed transaction, with certain of the actions alleging that the disclosures regarding the proposed acquisition were inadequate. Chicago-based Walter Carlson has served as lead counsel in M&A cases for more than 20 years; Hille Sheppard has represented companies, officers and directors, accountants, and financial institutions in M&A disputes; and Andrew Stern, in New York, regularly represents companies and directors in litigation arising from M&A transactions, and advises companies, boards of directors and others on corporate governance matters and litigation risk.

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Within Private equity buyouts, tier 5

Sidley Austin LLP has built an impressive team and client following in recent years. Clients now include Apollo, Avista Capital Partners and Fortress Investment Group. The firm has recently bolstered its team in Dallas with the arrival of Scott Parel, Angela Fontana and Kelly Dybala from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. It recently advised Harvest Partners and AxelaCare on its acquisition of SCP Specialty Infusion. Chicago partner Chris Abbinante, and Scott Freeman and Matthew Rizzo in New York, are among its senior practitioners.

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Within Venture capital and emerging companies, tier 5

Sidley Austin LLP has made significant progress since establishing a Palo Alto office in 2009. It represents a number of significant growth companies and venture funds, and recently advised Society6 on its $94m acquisition by Demand Media. Hank Barry is a well-known figure in Silicon Valley, with close connections to venture funds such as Hummer Winblad Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital. Deborah Marshall is a life sciences specialist and recently advised GE Ventures on its portfolio investments in HeadSense, Labcyte and NanoString. Tom DeFilipps is another leading figure in the tech space.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Real estate, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘brilliant’ real estate offering is recognized for its ‘sheer breadth and depth of expertise’. Led by Marc Hayutin in Los Angeles, Charles Schrank in Chicago and Alan Weil in New York, it has 75 lawyers in the US with experience advising lenders, investors, owners and developers on a wide range of transactions and disputes, both domestically and internationally. Key instructions included acting for Deutsche Bank on several matters, including advising it and other lenders on the $1.3bn mortgage and mezzanine financing secured by a portfolio of 154 hotel properties in 32 states, and on the CMBS standalone securitization of the $775m mortgage-loan component of the financing. It advised Starwood Property Trust on a $475m construction loan to a joint venture between The Related Companies and Oxford Properties Group for the development of Tower C at Hudson Yards. For Forest City Enterprises, it assisted with the sale of a 49% interest in the New York by Gehry skyscraper to TIAA-CREF and advised on the formation of a new joint venture. Other clients include Wells Fargo, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and KB Home. In California, Aimee Contreras-Camua, Brian Flavell and Paul Walker are ‘exceptional’. In Chicago, Anthony Aiello is ‘highly regarded’ alongside John Chamberlin and John Rafkin. New York-based Jonathan Nunes and Kevin Blauch are also recommended.

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United States: Tax

Within Domestic tax: Central, Sidley Austin LLP is a first tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP is very well established in Chicago, where it has 11 tax partners advising on matters of federal, state and international tax law, and has recently been particularly active in the insurance and energy sectors. Recent work for Sharp Sorensen, who coordinates the firm’s nationwide tax practice, includes advising on the tax aspects of NV Energy’s acquisition by MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company. Suresh Advani represented Tribune and its affiliated debtors in Chapter 11 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware; and Tracy Williams and John Schaff advised on the tax aspects of Athene Holding’s acquisition of a $2.6bn insurance and annuity operation. The firm strengthened its presence in Houston with the hire of Timothy Devetski from Vinson & Elkins LLP.

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Within Domestic tax: East Coast, tier 4

The highly regarded Laura Barzilai and Robert Kreitman co-head Sidley Austin LLP’s New York tax practice. An ‘excellent’ firm, it provides federal tax advice on complex transactions and financing techniques to a portfolio of high-profile clients, as well as assisting on tax controversy matters. The recent expansion of the firm’s M&A and private equity practice, with the lateral hire of six partners, has resulted in an increase in work for the tax practice, which plays a key role in transactions. Recent work includes advising Bank of America Merrill Lynch and other underwriters in connection with the Rule 144A offering by Liberty Interactive of 0.75% exchangeable senior debentures due 2043; Nicholas Brown was the key partner involved. The firm also has a broad SALT practice and handles matters for clients across all states. Other clients include KPMG, BNP Paribas and Citigroup.

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Within Domestic tax: West Coast, Sidley Austin LLP is a third tier firm,

With four tax partners in Los Angeles and two in San Francisco, Sidley Austin LLP handles transactions across the clean technology, renewable energy, real estate, film, investment fund, asset finance and IP sectors. Ivy Jones advised Fortress Investment Group LLC on equity and debt transactions with an aggregate value of $5bn, and Starwood Capital Group on its agreement to acquire LNR Property. Edwin Norris, who is active in hedge funds, cross-border transactions and film industry matters, advised GSO Capital Partners on the sale of one its portfolio companies, Bear Tracker Energy. San Francisco-based Gary Kaplan has extensive experience in cross-border deals, and Michael O’Hara Duff is a key figure in the firm’s renewable energy practice.

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Within Financial products, Sidley Austin LLP is a second tier firm,

Sidley Austin LLP acts for private and sovereign issuers in the US, Asia and Europe, advising on structured notes, swaps, forwards, options, monetization, hedging transactions, and public market derivatives. Robert Kreitman led advice to J.P. Morgan on its first three RMBS transactions of 2013; and he and David Miller acted for Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, J.P. Morgan and Wells Fargo in connection with 17 CMBS issuances totalling $16.9bn. Credit Suisse and UBS are also clients.

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Within International tax, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP has impressive international strength. It assists US multinationals on international tax structures for global business as well as advising foreign companies on the tax implications of doing business in the US, including transactions involving foreign investment in US real estate. Gary Kaplan in San Francisco is very highly regarded in the market, and recently assisted a US private equity fund manager on international structuring and tax planning for the acquisition of a world-class hotel and resort in Brazil. In New York, Laura Barzilai has an excellent reputation and is the tax adviser to the government of Singapore’s GIC Special Investments in relation to its proposed acquisition (as part of an investor consortium) of BMC Software for $6.9bn. Edwin Norris in Los Angeles is also recommended.

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Within Tax controversy, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP provides an ‘outstanding level of service’. Chicago-based Jay Zimbler heads the practice and is recommended, along with Kevin Pryor, for federal tax work. Scott Heyman is noted for SALT work. The trio have ‘superior knowledge’ of tax law, ‘great business acumen’ and ‘the know-how to resolve the toughest issues’. The team has considerable experience in tax controversy, with particular strength in the banking, hedge fund, insurance, telecoms, transport, utilities and food industries. New York-based Laura Barzilai is also recommended, and led advice to Alaska Communications Systems in connection with an IRS audit and appeals in connection with its acquisition of Crest Communications in 2008. Matthew Lerner joined the firm’s Washington DC office in January 2014 from Steptoe & Johnson LLP, and co-heads the firm’s global tax controversy practice.

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