The Legal 500

Sidley Austin LLP

555 WEST FIFTH STREET, LOS ANGELES, CA 90013, USA
Tel:
Work +1 213 896 6000
Fax:
Fax +1 213 896 6600
Web:
www.sidley.com

United States

Top-tier recommendations

Recommendations

  • United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > Antitrust
  • United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts > M&A: litigation
  • United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate

United States: Finance

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

Sidley Austin LLP provides clients with ‘an extremely competitive and good-value’ team, with ‘a deep bench’ that will ‘work to protect the banks and also provide sound advice as to negotiation’. Group head James Clark and Mark Kirsons are, according to the banks, both ‘great with our clients. They are very firm, however, not with an arrogant or derisive attitudes’. The ‘direct and to the pointRobert Lewis is also commended for his ‘very sound legal advice’ and ability to ‘delegate work to less expensive associates to keep bills reasonable’. Zulfiqar Bokhari and Pamela Martinson are also praised for their ‘depth of knowledge, sound advice and guidance’ and ‘ability to separate business issues from legal issues quickly and succinctly’. The firm’s work is primarily bank led, with major clients including Bank of America, Wells Fargo Bank, Barclays Bank and JPMorgan. A significant highlight was representing Wells Fargo Bank as administrative agent on a $1bn senior secured revolving credit facility to General Growth Properties Limited Partnership. The firm is well placed across much of the US market, with strong practices in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Houston, and has one of the most active national practices for mid-size transactions.

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

Renowned for its ‘great work’, the team at Sidley Austin LLP demonstrates broad capabilities in the debt capital markets, and regularly acts as issuer and designated underwriters’ counsel in debt offerings. The group has experience across the US and wide-ranging expertise, from the financial sector to REITs. Key practitioner Edward Petrosky benefits from ‘decades of experience’, and the team also fields the ‘attentive, thorough and practicalCraig Chapman, and Samir Gandhi, who is ‘unequivocally a top lawyer’. James O’Connor is also recommended, and together with Petrosky, he advised the underwriters on a $400m notes offering by Flower Foods. Petrosky also acted as underwriters’ counsel in O’Reilly Automotive’s $300m notes offering, and a $300m notes offering by Land O’Lakes (together with Gandhi). Other highlights included Bartholomew Sheehan III advising the underwriters on CommonWealth REIT’s $175m notes offering, and Chapman acting for the underwriters with regard to four MTN offerings totaling $1.8bn by Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. In San Francisco, Eric Haueter acted as underwriters’ counsel in Occidental Petroleum’s $2.2bn senior notes offering. On the issuer side, the Chicago-based team handled several matters: Larry Barden advised Owens Corning on its $600m notes offering, and Paul Choi advised Caterpillar Inc on its $1.5bn notes offering. From New York, Jonathan Miller acted for Colgate-Palmolive regarding two MTN offerings totaling $1bn. San Francisco-based Sharon Flanagan is recommended alongside William Massey in New York.

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

The ‘overall capital markets service is very good’ at Sidley Austin LLP and the ‘response times, business acumen and industry knowledge are all strengths’ of the New York-centred practice. The team handles IPOs, secondary offerings, preferred stock and other hybrid capital instruments, and all other types of equity transactions on behalf of both issuers and underwriters. Recently, the team acted as underwriter’s counsel in connection with a $1.75bn offering of notes, a $1.25bn offering of common stock and a $914.2m offering of common stock by Simon Property Group. J Gerard Cummins worked on the transactions along with Edward Petrosky. Petrosky and New York-based colleague Samir Gandhi are singled out for ‘their subject matter expertise’, with one client stating that the pair’s ‘decades of experience have come through for us on dozens of tough deals’. They recently acted as agents’ counsel in connection with a $275.5m at-the-market offering of common stock by Home Properties in May 2012. Bartholomew Sheehan III is also recommended, and recently acted for the underwriters in connection with a $200.5m offering of common shares by Government Properties Income Trust. Robert Mandell and Chicago-based Larry Barden are also highly regarded.

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Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP is commended for ‘having a combinational of traits that render the firm unparalleled’ and those traits include ‘raw intelligence combined with a pragmatic approach to problem-solving and a ceaseless work ethic’. Clients also highlight its ‘depth of collective experience’ and certainly the Chicago-headquartered practice is a ‘very talented, business savvy and attentive team’ that is supported by platforms in Los Angeles, New York and Washington DC. Joint group heads James Conlan and Larry Nyhan have ‘expansive experience and bankruptcy knowledge combined with the willingness to roll up their sleeves and achieve practical solutions’ and oversee a group of lawyers that ‘give great advice and proactively anticipate areas of need’ . The firm has secured an impressive number of major debtor-side instructions over the past two years and it represented the debtors in the Chapter 11 cases of Dynegy Holdings, Tribune Company and The Flintkote Company. In a recent high-profile creditor mandate, the firm is advising Credit Suisse as administrative and collateral agent for a $1.7bn prepetition secured facility and a $400m DIP loan to Hawker Beechcraft, in the Chapter 11 cases of the American aerospace manufacturing company. Bojan Guzina is a ‘rising star that is wise beyond his years’ and Matthew Clemente is also recommended.

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

Sidley Austin LLP provides a ‘smart, strategic, efficient, creative and professional’ offering across the panopoly of disputes including securities class actions, ERISA litigation, SEC enforcement, M&A litigation and accountant’s liability. With lawyers spread out on both coasts as well as benefiting from a strong presence in the firm’s traditional Chicago heartland, the firm is well placed to handle litigation irrespective of location. New York-based Robert Pietrzak has ‘a wealth of knowledge about the industry’ and heads up the firm’s global securities litigation group. Regularly called upon to advise financial institutions on some of their most significant litigation, along with Dorothy Spenner, he recently represented six major investment banks (including Citigroup and Deutsche Bank) in the IStar securities class action. The same combination is also currently engaged by JPMorgan Chase to defend it in a number of its MBS cases. On the West Coast, the ‘excellentSara Brody handles a plethora of securities litigation including her recent work on behalf of underwriters in litigation relating to bond offerings made by Wachovia. The ‘persuasive and strategicGary Bendinger regularly handles work within the industry as part of his broad-ranging litigation practice and is particularly noted for his excellence at handling securities disputes on behalf of accounting firms. On the regulatory and enforcement side, former SEC lawyers Paul Gerlach and Barry Rashkover have excellent credibility before the agencies and were recently strengthened by the arrival of a team of ten partners from Bingham McCutchen LLP including ‘quintessential regulatory enforcement lawyerSusan Merrill and ‘strategist and tactician’ Neal Sullivan.

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Within Financial services: regulatory, tier 5

Benefiting from an ‘unparalleled scope and breadth’, Sidley Austin LLP’s six-partner Washington DC-based team works closely with complementary practice areas such as corporate, finance and litigation to provide a ‘high-quality’ service to clients across the panoply of regulatory matters, ranging from Dodd-Frank counselling and compliance to the regulatory factors associated with transactions in the industry. Clients are appreciative of the group’s ‘user-friendly style’ and ability to ‘deliver conclusions in a manner that both in-house counsel and non-legal staff can appreciate and use without the need for "Rosetta Stone" interpretation’. The ‘extraordinary bank regulatory specialist’ William Eckland heads the team and handles transactional and general advisory work for both domestic and international clients. He is acting as underwriters’ counsel to Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Sandler O’Neill in connection with the sale of TARP shares held by the US Department of Treasury. New York-based Connie Friesen handles work exclusively for foreign financial institutions and continues to be particularly busy advising Chinese banks on their US expansionary plans including China Construction Bank, China Merchants Bank and Agricultural Bank of China. The team is also strong on the consumer finance side and is recommended for its work in the credit card space. David Teitelbaum spearheads the firm’s work within the consumer finance space and is advising First Data on the regulatory issues associated with its payments and network businesses. Praised for his ‘very broad set of specialities’, James Huizinga is also regularly engaged by clients within the consumer finance arena, both in a transactional setting and in a pure compliance manner. John Van De Weert is also recommended and ‘is an exceptional technician with a comprehensive grasp of the nuances of financial services practices and delivery’. Clients include Citibank, Morgan Stanley, Green Dot and Natixis.

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

Though Sidley Austin LLP does not have a dedicated practice group dealing with distressed municipalities, it is ‘doing a very good job in Stockton’ where it argued that the city does not meet the definition of insolvency. The firm has been involved in several creditor representations, and municipal bankruptcy expert Jeffrey Bjork, who has a varying number of associates and support from other departments at his disposal, is getting noticed. He acted for bond insurer Assured Guaranty in pending Chapter 9 cases Stockton, CA and San Bernardino, CA. The firm also represented Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort in the, eventually dismissed, Chapter 9 case of Mammoth Lakes. With the combined expertise of its established public finance, international bankruptcy and restructuring practices as well as its first-class appellate practice, the firm is well suited to play a bigger role in the municipal market in the future. Eric Tashman, a public finance partner in San Francisco, and Washington DC-based bankruptcy litigator Guy Neal regularly support Bjork in the municipal arena.

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

Sidley Austin LLP made a significant investment in its project finance and infrastructure group through the recruitment of 12 partners, including seven in its newly opened Houston office. The team, headed by the highly regarded Irving Rotter, has particular strength representing sponsors and lenders in oil and gas and alternative power generation projects, and is able to call upon its full-service offering and presence in key global locations where necessary. In New York, a team led by Rotter represented Exelon Generating in its $1.36bn acquisition of Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One from First Solar, and Houston-based attorney Glenn Pinkerton acted for Cheniere Energy Partners in its $2bn sale of new senior subordinated paid-in-kind units to Blackstone Energy Partners. Also in Houston, Cliff Vrielink acted for electric utility company Dynegy in the sale of its Danskammer and Roseton power plants located in New York, a complex transaction that involved bankruptcy matters and an existing sale and leaseback structure for the assets. Another highlight saw a team led by the Washington DC-based Timothy Moran represent the lenders in the financing of the Cape Wind project, which will be America’s first offshore wind farm. Also recommended are Anne Falvey and counsel Gregory McMahon in New York; Michael Joyce and Michael Duff in Los Angeles; and Ayaz Shaikh in Washington DC.

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘large number of knowledgeable partners provides a breadth of experience not found in most other firms’. Clients also comment on ‘the effective balancing of partners and junior resources to achieve efficiency and good value’. Renwick Martin in New York and Gary Stern in Chicago co-head the structured finance and securitization group. In a busy year for CMBS, New York’s Kevin Blauch and Jonathan Nunes represented Morgan Stanley in connection with two issuances of commercial mortgage-backed securities with a combined value of $2.4bn. Also in New York, Ellen Pesch has represented a number of domestic and international banks in derivatives transactions involving complex financing, structured finance and securitization elements. In the strong Chicago office, Jeffrey Weinsteinhas an excellent grasp of the business concepts, which helps a smooth and efficient execution’. In San Francisco, in addition to a large auto-loan practice, Dale Lum specializes in the use of structured financings in mergers and acquisitions and hedge fund and private equity transactions. The firm’s clients include Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse and Nomura.

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United States: Industry focus

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s full service energy practice has seen explosive growth since its Houston office opened in February 2012, with over 30 new recruits (including 12 partners) joining from a range of other high-profile firms including the defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. Former Baker Botts L.L.P. heavyweight Mark Glasser has extensive experience in federal and state prosecutions and is highly recommended. Tracy LeRoy, also formerly of Baker Botts L.L.P., was made partner in December 2012 after joining as counsel earlier in the year. LeRoy’s experience includes disputes relating to royalties, leaseholds, drilling, oil and gas exploration, and production. Glasser and LeRoy are representing a special committee formed by the board of directors of an international oil company to investigate allegations of fraud and breach of fiduciary duty. James Rice was appointed as the practice’s joint global coordinator in 2012, following David Hill’s move to NRG Energy. Rice’s broad oil and gas expertise includes exploration, production, midstream activities and petroleum refining. The firm is handling increasing numbers of shale disputes, and David Lewis and Eugene Elrod are part of a six-lawyer team defending ExxonMobil in FERC and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska in connection with its part ownership of TAPS. Issues at stake in the cases include the State of Alaska’s opposition to TAPS’ owners spending over $700m to reconfigure the pipeline. Elrod and others also successfully settled ExxonMobil Pipeline Company (EMPCo)’s dispute with the US Department of Interior over the transfer of crude oil inventory in its pipeline. The firm has been acting for PG&E before FERC since 2000 regarding issues concerning the California energy crisis. Marie Fiala defended the company against the State of California’s claim for the recovery of more than $400m in profit from the sales of Bonneville Power and Western Area Powers’ administrations, which was finally concluded in 2012. The firm has been active in groundbreaking climate change litigation, and successfully defeated a class action by Hurricane Katrina victims against Duke Energy. Other clients include American Electric Power, Clean Energy Trust, Commonwealth Edison, Exelon, Kinder Morgan, Explorer Pipeline, and National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

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

Since the opening of its Houston office, Sidley Austin LLP’s energy practice has seen significant growth, with the recruitment of over 30 attorneys from six major law firms as well as the defunct Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. The firm continues to feature in major FERC and federal court disputes, particularly in pipeline-related matters. Practice co-chair Eugene Elrod and others are representing major client ExxonMobil Pipeline in ongoing FERC and the Regulatory Commission of Alaska (RCA) proceedings, relating to disputed rates increases for TAPS, in which it has an ownership stake. The practice has been acting for PG&E in FERC and court proceedings since the beginning of the California electric crisis in 2000. Most recently, Stan Berman, Marie Fiala and Amy Lally represented the client, alongside the state of California and other parties, in successfully pursuing the United States for over $500m in windfall profits from the sales of Bonneville Power Administration and Western Area Power Administration. William Williams, Lorrie Marcil and Chris Lyons represented Explorer Pipeline in a petition to FERC requesting approval of its priority access to capacity and committed rates, relating to a new pipeline extension project. Other clients include American Electric Power, Clean Energy Trust, Duke Energy, Kinder Morgan, Luminant, and National Petrochemical and Refiners Association.

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

With the recent arrival of seven lateral partner hires to its new Houston office Sidley Austin LLP is developing a prominent position in the energy sector. Glenn Pinkerton and Sergio Pozzerle, who joined from Vinson & Elkins L.L.P. and McDermott Will & Emery LLP respectively, have brought particular expertise in renewable energy projects, adding to the practice’s strong resources in New York and Washington DC. Pozzerle is currently representing Genneia in the development of over 300MW of wind and solar energy projects in Argentina; and Sempra Energy in the wind turbine and energy storage system procurement and construction relating to a 24MW wind project in Hawaii. Head of the project finance and infrastructure practice Irving Rotter advised Exelon Generating on its acquisition of a 51% stake in several Californian solar energy farms aggregating 69MW. Anne Falvey in New York represented developer KDC Solar in a tax equity financing with a US bank for multiple solar projects. Michael Joyce, a recent arrival from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, represented Goldman Sachs in its financing of rooftop solar systems to be installed by SolarCity Corporation on residential, commercial and military housing units.

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

At Sidley Austin LLP, ‘the breadth and depth of the expertise is truly impressive’. The environmental practice fields ‘excellent litigation attorneys’, including counsel Peter Steenland, who is noted for ‘30 years of hands-on NEPA experience’. The wider practice has four global co-heads, including Judith Praitis and Robert Olian. It continues to advise TransCanada on environmental issues pertaining to the highly publicized Keystone XL oil pipeline covering 2,000 miles to link Canada and the US. The firm has good CAA expertise, and continues to defend members of the oil industry against ambitious climate change nuisance claims, brought by private individuals alleging that GHG emissions intensified Hurricane Katrina in 2005. The case, Comer v Murphy Oil Co, was brought before several courts and the firm won dismissals at first instance in the District Court, on appeal before the Fifth Circuit and in petition to the US Supreme Court. The firm also won a favorable decision for Luminant Generation Company against an EPA ruling that required electricity utilities to substantially reduce certain emissions in a wider attempt to curb air pollution across states. The DC Circuit dismissed the rule on the basis that it exceeded the EPA’s authority. The firm opened a new office in Houston in 2012 to serve the firm’s energy clients in Texas.

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

Sidley Austin LLP has ‘one of the top three environmental practice groups’ in the US, and is ‘at the top of those firms in the national environmental market’. Clients also state that ‘the breadth and depth of the firm's expertise is truly impressive’, and ‘invariably responds within the time required’. Its competence in regulatory matters leads to significant representations in major state cases, which often have precedent-setting results. This included advising on California’s efforts to links its groundbreaking cap-and-trade program with other international climate change programs, and on California and Oregon’s Low Carbon Fuel Standards. New clients in this area over the area include Western States Petroleum Association and La Paloma generating power plant. The firm was also retained by three multinationals - Pratt & Whitney, Airbus and PPG - to advise on climate change regulatory and legislative matters in the US and abroad. On the transactional side of the practice, Laura Leonard often leads on representing matters involving SEC disclosures, due diligence and compliance. In recent cases, Leonard assisted a private equity firm on two transactions in the healthcare industry, which closed in 2012. Other clients include GlaxoSmithKline, AES Solar and Morgan Stanley. The environmental team contains four global coordinators, including Judith Praitis and Roger Martella. Its committed attorneys are ‘experts in their fields’, ‘have substantial practical experience’, ‘good relationships with agency staff’ and ‘meet their commitments’. Senior counsel Angus Macbeth is ‘exceptionally perceptive’.

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

Sidley Austin LLP is, according to one client, ‘simply the best’ and, in FDA-related matters, ‘has few serious competitors’. Washington DC-based group co-head Paul Kalb is ‘an excellent FDA defense litigator’; Chicago-based fellow co-head Richard Raskin is ‘very good on antitrust’ issues; and Coleen Klasmeier, also based in the capital, is ‘a walking dictionary of FDA case law’. On the transactional side, David Zampa advised Medtronic on its strategic alliance with Chinese medical device company LifeTech Scientific Corporation; and San Francisco-based Sharon Flanagan and Chicago-based Jeffrey Rothstein advised Roche on its joint venture with Versant Ventures and Inception Sciences to create a hearing loss drug. Among several litigation matters, Klasmeier won a high-profile pro bono case - Beaty v FDA - against the FDA on behalf of ‘Death Row’ prisoners in Arizona, California and Tennessee regarding the importation and use of an unapproved lethal injection drug. Other lawyers include group co-heads Scott Bass and James Stansel; pricing and fraud and abuse specialist Meenakshi Datta; antitrust and patent expert John Treece; and New York-based regulatory partner Diane McEnroe. The group is also well known for its IP and product liability litigation practices.

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

Clients consult Sidley Austin LLP because it has ‘the smarts and the resources to do it right, whether the goal is settlement or trial, no matter the jurisdiction’. Its historic strength in reinsurance matters, class action claims and white-collar criminal defense is broadening with increasing work in high-value direct coverage, P&C and bankruptcy. The group consists of ‘critical and creative thinkers’, who provide ‘fantastic spot-on advice’ and are true ‘trial lawyers rather than “paper litigators"’. The practice is particularly strong in Chicago. Daniel Neppl is ‘finely tuned to detail’, ‘technically adept’ and has ‘invaluable organizational skills’. The highly regarded Thomas Cunninghamconsistently brings the desired result’, and William Sneed is also recommended. ‘Exceptionally capable’ co-chair Susan Stonecuts through issues very quickly’ and is ‘great on her feet in court’. She recently represented Chartis/AIG in a case involving workers’ compensation insurance premiums. Another highlight was the successful defense of an ERISA class action against American United. Work continues for key clients Hartford and Liberty Mutual, longstanding clients Aon and CNA, and also Trustmark. Ronie Schmelz left the firm to join Edwards Wildman Palmer LLP.

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

Peers and clients alike recognize Sidley Austin LLP as one of the ‘best firms in this practice area’. It provides ‘a high level of service with good response time and knowledge of the insurance industry’. The ‘practical and flexible’ insurance team has ‘excellent depth of talent’. Eighteen partners work exclusively on insurance matters and clients struggle to ‘single out anybody’ as ‘all perform well’ and form ‘true partnerships with clients’. Chicago-based Michael Goldman, co-chair of the global insurance and financial services group, demonstrates ‘tireless work ethic’. He represented TransRe in connection with a series of merger matters, an example of the firm’s capacity to handle complex multijurisdictional transactions. Fellow co-chair Perry Shwachman is handling both the sale of Hartford’s retirement plans business and the new business arm of its individual annuity operations. Jeff Liebmann represented the New York Superintendent of Financial Services in a heavily contested 11-day trial about his petition for an order of liquidation of ELNY. While Bobbi Anderson went in-house to work as general counsel for one of the firm’s clients, the practice recruited two new partners in New York from Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP: Andrew Holland brings insurance regulatory and corporate expertise, and Kirk Lipsey specializes in M&A and joint venture transactions.

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Within Overview,

Within the legal market, the implosion of Dewey LeBoeuf LLP’s renowned insurance practice continues to make its mark with some of its most prominent partners settling at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP and Patton Boggs LLP, and others at Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP, Mayer Brown, Clifford Chance, Hogan Lovells LLP, Sidley Austin LLP, and DLA Piper.

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United States: Intellectual property

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s patent litigation team is ‘business focused, has in-depth industry knowledge and a deep bench of litigators’ which can handle matters for leading names in hi-tech and life sciences sectors as well as offering expertise on finance industry-related patent matters; it has represented Genentech, J&J, GSK, Microsoft, RIM and HP. David Pritikin (‘efficient, practical, lots of pharma experience’) led for Merck as plaintiff in a successful Hatch-Waxman dispute against Mylan, obtaining a ruling of patent validity for the client’s blockbuster cholesterol drugs. In the technology space, the firm is representing SynQor on an appeal brought by a group of defendants in challenging the lower court decision to award the client $110m in damages. The practice is also handling pending federal appeal and district court matters for LG Electronics. Bryan Anderson is also recommended.

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

Sidley Austin LLP continued representing Microsoft in high-profile ITC investigations against Motorola, including successfully obtaining a finding that Motorola smartphones infringe on a Microsoft patent for generating and scheduling meeting requests. It defended LG Electronics against an investigation brought by Walker Digital asserting a patent against Blu-ray disc players, and acted for STMicroelectronics as respondent to a case filed by the California Institute of Technology alleging infringement of patents for image sensing technology. Brian Nester, James Bradley and David Pritikin are key attorneys.

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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 clients don’t hesitate to choose the ‘incredibly deep’ alternative funds team ‘every single time’. In addition to its team spread across New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Los Angeles, the firm’s global reach gives it access to a total in excess of 120 corporate, securities and derivatives lawyers across its international network, a strong attraction to clients who appreciate the ability to tap into ‘the resources of a huge firm if necessary’. In addition to advising investment management firms and industry association such as the Managed Funds Association on the ongoing regulatory issues stemming from The Dodd-Frank Act and the Volcker Rule, the team has also been advising on the implication of the European Union’s Alternative Investment Managers Directive. On the fund formation front, highlights included representing Panning Capital Management, a startup alternative asset management business, on its organization and the launch of its inaugural hedge fund, and represented Credit Suisse Securities (USA) in the expansion of its HedgeFocus feeder fund platform. Practice co-head William Kerr is ‘a great lawyer; he is not excitable, and he makes his point subtly, but he is always right’. Fellow co-heads John MacKinnon and Michael Schmidtberger also come highly recommended, as do Bradley Howard, ‘fantastic fund tax lawyer’ Bridget O’Neill, and the newly promoted Michele Navazio, who has ‘built out a great niche derivatives practice for himself’. Douglas McCormack joined from his former role as director of the legal and compliance department at BlackRock, and Timothy Clark, former head of Covington & Burling LLP’s private funds practice, joined to head the firm’s private equity formation practice in New York.

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

Sidley Austin LLP fields a ‘solid team with lots of bench strength’, and ‘insights and experience that compare favorably with other firms’. It sits within its broader investment management practice, which gives it the ability to call on its alternative funds, derivatives, tax and structured finance capabilities for registered funds using alternative strategies or focusing on alternative asset classes. It is also a key player in the money-market arena, where it represents some 40 registered money funds with aggregate values exceeding the $100bn mark. In addition, its strength in the capital markets arena means it is a regular fixture for underwriter representations, including acting as underwriters’ counsel on the IPOs of two business development companies, and two offerings by Kayne Anderson MLP Investment Company. The team is also well positioned to take advantage of the boom in ETFs thanks to Michael Schmidtberger’s expertise in the area; in 2012, he represented BNP Paribas in relation to the pending registration statements for two commodity futures-based ETFs, and represented Deutsche Bank in the expansion of its commodity futures-based ETF platform. Schmidtberger co-heads the practice alongside William Kerr and John MacKinnon, who ‘communicates a deep knowledge and understanding of the industry and relevant legal and regulatory issues, is always on top of developments in the legal and regulatory environments, and is exceptionally wise’. Frank Bruno is also recommended for his veteran industry knowledge, and the team was joined in 2012 by Douglas McCormack, former director of legal and compliance at BlackRock.

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s REIT practice is ‘excellent in all respects’. It is predominantly focused on underwriter representations, and has a track record dating back to Kimco Realty Corporation’s IPO in 1991, which was the first REIT IPO of the modern era. In 2012, it acted as underwriters’ counsel on 44 deals with an aggregate value of $16bn, making it the most active underwriter-side practices in the market. Highlights included acting for the underwriters on Select Income REIT $197.8m IPO, and in a notable issuer-side representation, representing Starwood Property Trust on its $471.5m and $363.8m offerings of common stock. It also acts as designated underwriters’ counsel to Simon Property Group, and in 2012 acted in the $1.75bn notes offering, as well as the $1.25bn and $914.2m offerings of common stock. It also acts as agents’ counsel on a number of at-the-market (ATM) offerings, which included Essex Property Trust’s ATM $614.9m offering of common shares, and Home Properties’ $275.5m ATM offering. New York-based co-heads J Gerard Cummins, Edward Petrosky and David Miller are recommended, as is Bartholomew Sheehan III.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 4

At Sidley Austin LLP, Matthew Johnson and Robert Ferencz’s EBEC practice is experienced at working with the Treasury Department, the IRS, the DOL and the PBGC and is employee benefits counsel to the retirement plan offered to members of the American Bar Association. The firm represented AT&T in a request to the DOL for a prohibited transaction class seeking approval for AT&T to contribute preferred equity interests in its wireless business to its pension trust; and advised Morningstar on its request to the DOL to amend an individual prohibited transaction exemption that is widely used in most mortgage-backed securities deals sold to pension plans. Other clients include the Kodak Retirement Income Plan, McKinsey and eBay. Beth Dickstein and Eileen Liu are also recommended.

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

Sidley Austin LLP has a special focus on class action and other multi-party cases. The firm has represented employers, pension plans, board members, trustees, administrators, broker-dealers and other clients in trial, bankruptcy and appellate courts throughout the country, up to and including the US Supreme Court. On a winning streak, the firm recently represented the defendant in McCorkle v Bank of America in which the plaintiffs alleged that participants in the Bank’s pension plan were entitled to substantially greater benefit payments than those provided under the plan. In 2012, the Fourth Circuit unanimously affirmed the district court’s dismissal of key claims. In another matter, Leimkuehler v American United Life Insurance, the firm successfully defended an ERISA class action alleging that American United, which provides record-keeping and other administrative services to 401(k) plans, breached its fiduciary duty by accepting ‘revenue sharing’ payments from mutual fund companies - what plaintiff calls ‘kickbacks’. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of American United, holding that it was not a fiduciary under ERISA in any relevant way. Anne Rea’s impressive ERISA litigation team includes Priscilla Ryan, Mark Blocker, Erin Kelly and Eric Mattson, all of whom are recommended.

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Within Labor and employment litigation, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP is representing Quest Diagnostics in a wage and hour class action filed in the District Court in Florida on behalf of sales managers across multiple states; and is defending KPMG against a series of wage and hour putative class actions asserting claims for unpaid overtime compensation under the Fair Labor Standards Act and laws of various states. The Central District Court of California recently granted KPMG’s motion for partial summary judgment, finding that the named plaintiff was properly classified as exempt under the professional exemption of the FLSA. The court then denied conditional FLSA certification of a putative class of unlicensed auditors in light of the summary judgment ruling. The firm then repeated its success in California in a similar litigation in the Southern District of New York where it won summary judgment for KPMG. Brian Gold, Jennifer Zargarof, Douglas Hart, Jonathan Brenner, Wendy Lazerson and John Levi are all recommended.

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United States: Litigation

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

With ‘top-level industry knowledge’ and ‘excellent service’, Sidley Austin LLP has ‘extensive capabilities’ of both investor-state and international commercial arbitration at an array of arbitral institutions. A varied caseload includes representing sovereigns such as Costa Rica, Peru and Turkey; and on the investor side, US and Canadian investors against Poland (among other mandates). On the commercial front, representations include a number of arbitrations on behalf of UCR at the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce (SCC); a Korea-based multinational in a case arising from a long-term supply agreement; and the developer of a Latin American biofuels project in a dispute with a contractor to be heard under ICC rules. Other work includes cases in the hydrocarbons, manufacturing and finance sectors. Coupling his ‘deep knowledge and experience in the area of bilateral investment treaty litigation’ with his ‘particular understanding of state-owned organisations in developing countries’, the ‘prompt and efficientStanimir Alexandrovacts as if the clients concerns were his own’. Also an experienced arbitrator, he is ‘supported by a capable team’ that includes the noteworthy Jennifer Haworth McCandless and Marinn Carlson, ‘both of whom demonstrate in depth knowledge of the subject law’. With a further two arbitration-dedicated partners (plus one counsel) in the Washington DC office, along with international commercial arbitration team members in the Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Palo Alto, the team has ‘sufficient depth to ensure timely continuity’ in the handling of matters. It’s ‘a very good outfit with very good lawyers - they are brilliant’ comment clients.

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

Traditionally strong in WTO matters, the ‘excellent’ and ‘extremely responsive’ practice at Sidley Austin LLP also advises on trade remedies, export controls, economic sanctions, CFIUS and customs issues. Richard Belanger is ‘an outstanding customs and trade attorney’ and ‘a strategic thinker who can operate effectively at any level - with customs officials, senior trade staff in both the House and Senate, and with trade professionals in the private sector’. James Mendenhall is representing Loral Aerospace on CFIUS matters and the ‘proactiveLisa Crosby continues to advise a number of multinationals on export controls and economic sanctions. ‘Superb’ and ‘energetic’ team head Andrew Shoyer is representing Grupo Transmerquin in the use of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and other treaty-based protections to address the alleged unfair treatment of US exports of caustic soda in Mexico. The firm’s Geneva office continues to be crucial in its WTO work, with the Washington DC and Geneva offices recently collaborating on work for Airbus. Richard Weiner and Neil Ellis are recommended. Rajib Pal was promoted to counsel in January 2012.

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

Traditionally strong’ and ‘very deep’, Sidley Austin LLP is well regarded for its ability to handle large-scale multi-district litigation. Eric Mattson and Michael Andolina recently represented Honda in five vehicle class actions. They also defended the same client in a consumer fraud claim concerning the paint used on Honda’s cars and advised it in US and Canadian litigation concerning the company’s lawnmower products.

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

Sidley Austin LLP has an active product liability practice in Chicago and Los Angeles, and also earns praise for its advice in FDA-related matters, which is an area of expertise for the firm. Bayer provided the practice with a number of new instructions in consumer fraud cases and recently also sought guidance in class action litigation concerning alleged false advertising of a probiotic supplement. Kara McCall led the defense of NBTY against similar claims pertaining to the marketing of its joint-comfort glucosamine supplement. McCall and practice head Michael Davis represented Owens Corning in the US Supreme Court to defend against defective design, warranty and advertising-related claims relating to its shingle business. The team also has a substantial roster of pharmaceuticals clients including AstraZeneca, which Mark Haddad and Paul Zidlicky advised in appellate litigation before the Kentucky Court of Appeals concerning an alleged drug fraud.

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘excellent’, ‘highly experienced’ team gives ‘terrific’ advice on litigation strategy. Team members demonstrate ‘good industry knowledge’ as well as ‘deep expertise’ in the growing area of consumer fraud. Among the area’s ‘best attorneys’, Maja Eaton has a track record of handling asbestos claims for major healthcare clients, and acting for GE Healthcare in litigation concerning Omniscan, an injectable contrast agent used in MRI scans, which allegedly caused patients to develop nephrogenic systemic fibrosis (NSF). Eaton recently helped the client win dismissal of a number of long-running multi-district claims against it. One significant appellate matter saw the team assist Schering Corporation with gaining affirmation of a favorable summary judgment pertaining to a prescription medicine. Debra Pole is a highly regarded trial attorney alongside ‘experienced litigator’ and tactician Sara Gourley, who recently advised Grunenthal International in potential thalidomide litigation, and also acted for Armour Pharmaceutical Company in litigation concerning blood derivative products used to treat hemophilia. Eugene Schoon, Catherine Valerio Barrad and Rebecca Wood were key figures in a team instructed to defend Bayer HealthCare at state and federal level in litigation relating to Trasylol. Other clients include AstraZeneca and Merck Sharp & Dohme.

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

Sidley Austin LLP advises major energy companies and chemicals producers in mass tort and class action litigation over contamination, harmful exposure and remediation. David Buente and Timothy Webster were part of a team that advised Coronet Industries on a mass joinder toxic tort suit in state court in Florida. Robert Olian, William Dickett continued to represent BP in state and federal court enforcement litigation under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act with regard to alleged contamination at a refinery in Illinois. Duke Energy and General Electric are other notable clients.

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

Sidley Austin LLPis among the top law firms in the country - its lawyers are smart, strategic, efficient, creative, thorough and professional’. Securities litigation group lawyers are housed in offices nationwide; Chicago takes the lead in issuer cases and New York tends to take financial services instructions. The firm has a strong regulatory group and a specialist team handles accountancy firm representation. Building on the firm’s solid track record of assisting China-based companies, co-chairs Sara Brody in San Francisco and Robert Pietrzak in New York, are currently representing China Green Agriculture in a consolidated securities class action alleging securities fraud. Highly rated Andrew Stern in New York is leading the defense for Japan’s Norinchukin Bank in consolidated class action suits alleging illegal collusion to manipulate LIBOR. Gary Bendinger provides ‘strategy, presentation style and persuasiveness’, and Hille Sheppard, recommended for directors’ defense, is ‘thorough, analytical and persuasive’.

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

ExcellentSidley Austin LLP has had a superb year both before the Supreme Court - winning five out of six cases, and scoring a solid result in the sixth - and in the appellate space, with wins in a range of industries including healthcare, energy, and IP. Carter Phillips is a ‘superstar’ whose ‘strength is delivering excellent results’. Phillips recently handled his 100th appeals case; he has also conducted 76 arguments before the US Supreme Court. Phillips’ recent arguments - each of them wins - include: Southern Union Co v United States, a Sixth Amendment case in which the firm represented the plaintiff; FCC v Fox Television Stations, in which the Court decided the defendant client had fallen foul of unconstitutionally vague indecency standards; and Salazar v Ramah Navajo Chapter, a landmark win for the contractual rights of Indian tribes. Appeals-wise, Phillips teamed up with Joseph Guerra - ‘one of the best’ - to represent three former executives of the Purdue Pharma Company in the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit in Friedman v Sebelius, in which it was ruled that the US Department of Health and Human Services had wrongly excluded the firm’s clients from federal healthcare programs; the firm’s regulatory expertise makes it ideal for such instructions. The firm is also pushing hard in the energy space, and recently opened a new office in Houston in order to service an increase in petroleum clients. Mark Haddad is known for healthcare work; Constantine Trela is respected for IP instructions; Peter Keisler is widely well-regarded for energy and environmental work. One client states, ‘you simply cannot get better than this’.

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

With critical mass throughout the country, Sidley Austin LLP’s ‘top-notch’ group ‘stands out’, particularly in the healthcare arena. For institutional firm client Bayer, it recently obtained two important victories in qui tam cases; one involved the drug Baycol and the other involved YAZ and Yasmin. Other highlights included representing former AIG executive Christian M Milton in a criminal securities fraud case, securing a favorable deferred prosecution agreement. FCPA-related matters included defending a former sales manager of Control Components against alleged conspiracy to bribe foreign officials; an initial prospect of more than 25 years in prison was reduced to three years’ probation. Key partners in Washington DC include Tom Green, who is ‘as good as they get’; he and Karen Popp are ‘very strong’, and Kristin Graham Koehler has ‘excellent judgment, is extremely practical, and a true pleasure to work with, especially in difficult situations’. One client said the team ‘impressed so much that more work has been sent its way’. Elsewhere, Dave Anderson and Joshua Hill (a former federal prosecutor recruited by the firm in 2012) in San Francisco, and Kimberly Dunne in Los Angeles, are also recommended.

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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 team is supported by the firm’s international footprint and broad expertise in the telecoms and media, financial services and healthcare sectors. 2012 saw particular activity in cybersecurity, information security and data protection as well as regulatory and compliance issues. Practice head and ‘tremendous leaderAlan Charles Raul in Washington DC advises on cybersecurity and data breaches, assists companies responding to FTC and other investigations and handles privacy litigation. Former Congressman Rick Boucher advises on congressional and strategic policy. Raul and Edward McNicholas who is appreciated for his ‘broad, deep expertise’, are representing internet advertising company, Pointroll, a subsidiary of Gannett, in multi-district litigation regarding alleged circumvention of Safari browser privacy settings to enable on-line tracking. McNicholas and his team continue to represent leading telecom entities in the National Security Agency Telecommunications Records multi-district litigation involving over two dozen national class-action lawsuits concerning the unlawful disclosure of communications to government agencies. The team assisted Disney with privacy due diligence relating to transactions. Anna Spencer advised Dantom Systems and DPC Holdings on HIPAA compliance. John Van De Weert advises on financial privacy.

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Within Technology: outsourcing, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP’s technology transactions practice has particular strength in outsourcing, focusing on highly customized deals. Mark Kaufmann and Jonathan Wagner in Chicago assisted OneAmerica Financial Partners with the long-term outsourcing of its IT infrastructure and operations areas to T-Systems North America, a subsidiary of Deutsche Telekom. Jeffrey Rothstein and Tim Swan advise Iridium Satellite on technology-related agreements including a development agreement with Boeing for a novel global positioning service, and licenses with various value-added resellers of Iridium products. Other key clients include CNO Financial and Grosvenor Capital Management.

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

Sidley Austin LLP recruited Glenn Nash in Palo Alto, former practice head at Latham & Watkins LLP as co-head of its 46-lawyer technology transactions group alongside Jeffrey Rothstein in Chicago. The group advises on complex strategic and business agreements involving IT and IP across a broad range of industries with particular strength in life sciences, healthcare and financial services Rothstein advised longstanding client Smith & Nephew on its $782m acquisition of the wound care business of Healthpoint Biotherapeutics. Together with David Zampa, he advised GE Healthcare and Microsoft of Caradigm on establishing a joint venture to develop a new healthcare IT system, including complex license agreements. Mark Kaufmann and Jonathan Wagner continued to represent OneAmerica Financial Partners in the outsourcing of its IT infrastructure and operations to Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems North America. Joshua Hofheimer in Los Angeles advised NexSteppe on a sorghum seed collaboration with Pioneer Hi-Bred. A prestigious client list includes Avanade, Morgan Stanley, Monsanto Company and LG Life Sciences.

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s communications group has 15 partners in Chicago and Washington DC, where it has close ties to the communications bar, and is led by David Lawson, who has represented AT&T for over a decade, notably in regulatory proceedings before the FCC and the US Congress. The group’s US activity is largely focused on providing regulatory advice to its flagship client. Lawson and David Carpenter in Chicago advised AT&T on numerous matters including wireless regulation and roaming rights, privacy and data protection matters relating to wireless handsets and location-based applications, cybersecurity, intercarrier compensation disputes, class-action disputes concerning alleged price fixing, and the auction of wireless spectrum for broadband services. Carter Phillips and Mark Schneider, a former FCC associate general counsel, are representing News Corporation, Fox Television Stations, and 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. The firm acted as lead counsel representing media property owners in the industry appeal of the FCC’s media ownership rules, before the 3rd Circuit. Phillips represented News Corporation and Fox in challenges to FCC rulings concerning its ban on broadcast indecency. Schneider advises GE Capital, Canyon Partners and other lenders and investors in media and telecommunications on the regulatory implications of restructurings and reorganizations, notably the impact of attribution, multiple and cross-ownership, and foreign ownership rules; acted for United States Cellular on the FCC’s revised rules with regard to location accuracy for Enhanced 911 services and the transition to next-generation 911 services; and advised Tribune Company on proposed changes to the newspaper broadcast cross-ownership rules.

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United States: Mergers, acquisitions and buyouts

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

Sidley Austin LLP bolstered its antitrust group through the addition of William Blumenthal and Kenneth Glazer, who previously led the antitrust departments at Clifford Chance and K&L Gates respectively. The ‘excellent’ practice provides sound advice’ from offices in Washington DC, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Palo Alto. Recommended for its specialist expertise in the pharmaceutical sector, the ‘very responsive’ team recently acted for Astellas Pharma US in a class action brought by a Florida hospital, alleging that the client had violated Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act and Florida antitrust statutes. The firm is also highly respected for its experience in the technology arena, where it represented Microsoft in antitrust-related patent and breach-of-contract actions; and the financial services sector, where it acted for Citigroup in a putative class action relating to the setting of Visa and MasterCard interchange fees. Supported by strong teams in London and Brussels, the US antitrust practice includes key figures such as Marie Fiala, who is ‘particularly thoughtful, strategic, and persuasive to courts’; and Joel Mitnick, who acts for a number of China-based clients. John Treece and Marc Raven are also commended as ‘excellent lawyers with very sound, technical knowledge of the antitrust area’. In 2012, Ryan Sandrock and Ben Keith made partner; Sandrock has extensive experience in handling price-fixing government investigations and private class actions, and Keith is well regarded for antitrust disputes in the healthcare sector.

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

Sidley Austin LLPgives solid advice, with an eye not only to legal risks but also to business needs’. Other clients say that the practice provides ‘excellent legal service, paired with a reasonable approach in terms of fee amounts, making it a very valuable option for M&A work’. The practice represented the special committee of Kenneth Cole Productions, the global fashion and apparel company, in a going-private transaction, led by the company’s chairman and chief creative officer, Kenneth Cole; advised SXC Health Solutions in its $4.67bn acquisition of Catalyst Health Solutions; was counsel to Nationstar Mortgage in the purchase of various MSRs from Aurora Bank FSB, the transaction valued at $1.95bn; acted for Magnetar Capital as an equity investor in Tallgrass Energy Partner’s $1.8bn-valued acquisition of Kinder Morgan Operating; and advised Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana in its $1.238bn sale to Companhia de Bebidas das Americas (AmBev). Mid-market highlights for the group included advising KeyBank in its $725m acquisition of US Bank National Association. New York-based Scott Freeman and Frederick Lowinger, in Chicago, are the department heads. New York-based Joseph Armbrust, Chicago-based Imad Qasim, Paul Choi, Larry Barden and Thomas Cole, Palo Alto managing partner Thomas DeFilipps, and Deborah Marshall, in Palo Alto, are rated advisers; San Francisco and Palo Alto-based Sharon Flanagan is ‘very easy to work with, responsive, knowledgeable, keeps very cool under pressure, and handles negotiations well’. Luke Valentino, in Chicago, was elevated to the partnership; and Cliff Vrielink joined the Houston office from Vinson & Elkins L.L.P..

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

Sidley Austin LLP has extensive experience in handling litigation concerning all types of challenges to M&A, including advice on fiduciary responsibilities, and claims involving proxy disclosures, hostile and competing bidders, troubled deals, shareholder suits, related SEC and/or stock exchange investigations, post-closing adjustments, breach of fiduciary duty suits, appraisal actions, and books and records inspection demands. The team represented Walgreen in litigation that arose out of its acquisition of drugstore.com; acted for Alberto Culver, and its board of directors, in the defense of shareholder litigation that challenged Unilever’s acquisition of Alberto Culver; and advised Duke Energy Corporation, the largest utility in the US, and certain of its directors, in six shareholder derivative suits, all asserting claims that the directors breached their fiduciary duties in connection with the replacement of the company’s CEO, following the closing of a merger with Progress Energy Corporation. Chicago-based Walter Carlson regularly serves as lead counsel in M&A, and corporate control, litigation in state and federal courts; Richard Kapnick represents clients in M&A disputes; Hille Sheppard acts for companies, and boards of directors, in litigation arising from M&A transactions and corporate governance issues; and Andrew Stern, in New York, is also an experienced attorney.

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United States: Real estate and construction

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

The ‘very responsive’ and ‘knowledgeable’ 73-lawyer team at Sidley Austin LLP has bases in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles along with a small Washington DC presence. Notable for its capital markets and financing experience, it has particular strength advising lenders and investors, and is globally co-ordinated by Marc Hayutin, Charles Schrank and Alan Weil, with support from Chicago real estate group head Anthony Aiello (following the departure of Lee Smolen in September 2012). Weil advised Forest City Enterprises on the sale of a 49% interest in New York by Gehry, Manhattan’s tallest residential tower. Chicago partners John Chamberlin and the ‘very experiencedJohn Rafkin acted for Wells Fargo in a number of performing and non-performing loan portfolio purchases; these included acquisitions of loans from Allied Irish Banks and Bank of Ireland with a combined aggregate face value of over $2.2bn. Alongside Los Angeles colleagues Brian Flavell and Aimee Contreras-Camua, Schrank acted for Bank of America and Deutsche Bank in the origination of $503m mortgage and mezzanine financing secured by 261 restaurants across 34 states; and Schrank and Contreras-Camua, along with Kevin Blauch and Jonathan Nunes, acted for Deutsche Bank in the origination of $975m of mortgage and mezzanine financing secured by 168 hotels - both deals involved the securitization of the mortgage loans and sales of the mezzanine debts. Paul Walker and Mark Rogers advised Oaktree Capital Management on a $550m CMBS acquisition. Other notable clients include Starwood, Credit Suisse, Deloitte and Drawbridge (Fortress).

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United States: Tax

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s full-service Chicago practice is led by the ‘excellentSharp Sorensen. The 21-strong tax team’s significant client portfolio includes Fortune 100 companies and numerous large privately-held companies, which the firm advises on a variety of transactions and financing techniques, as well as representing them in significant federal and state tax controversies. The firm advised GE Healthcare on the formation of Caradigm, its publicly announced medical software joint venture with Microsoft. Suresh Advani advised on the tax aspects of the deal. In other work Tracy Williams and John Schaff advised Athene Annuity & Life Assurance in its acquisition of deal for Presidential Life; the deal will secure Athene’s entrance into the New York life insurance market.

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Within Domestic tax: East Coast, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP has ‘dedicated partners who work efficiently and provide clear and strategic advice’. Top-notch’ partner Laura Barzilai co-heads the New York practice with Robert Kreitman. The firm provides ‘quality advice, timeliness’ and ‘value for money’ and covers the spectrum of tax matters for a broad client base. The firm has continued to broaden its private equity practice and represented JPMorgan and the other underwriters in connection with a $3.95bn increase in the Walt Disney Company’s global medium-term note program and the public offering of $1.4bn of global notes. The team also advised TSG Consumer Partners in its agreement to sell Yard House USA to Darden Restaurants. Barzilai also advised on the tax aspects of the firm’s advice to Avaya in its acquisition of Radvision, an Israeli company cross-listed on the NASDAQ and Tel-Aviv stock exchange. The team in New York was strengthened with the arrival of Christian Brause as tax counsel in October 2012, bringing considerable experience in domestic and international transactions; Brause was formerly an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

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

The West Coast tax team at Sidley Austin LLP, chaired by Edwin Norris in Los Angeles, increased substantially in 2012. Sean Moran and Michael Duff, both previously at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, joined the Los Angeles office. Moran brings considerable experience in innovative structures to finance projects in the renewable energy field, as well as in fossil fuel and other infrastructure assets and Duff has extensive experience structuring complex partnerships and limited liability companies. In San Francisco, the ‘excellentGary Kaplan and counsel William Needle joined from Arnold & Porter LLP. The firm represented Square Trade, a provider of warranty services for electronic goods, in connection with a $238m equity investment in Square Trade by investment funds managed by Bain Capital.

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

Sidley Austin LLP’s tax practice is praised for its ‘responsiveness, good value for money and very good client services’, attracting large and small companies, private equity funds and other financial sponsors for its preeminent global M&A and private equity practice. Laura Barzilai and Robert Kreitman co-head the national tax practice in New York. The ‘very creative, user-friendly, with good knowledge of his clients’ productsRobert Kreitman is recommended for his expertise in residential and commercial mortgage-backed securitization, asset-backed and structured finance.

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Within International tax, tier 5

Sharp Sorensen in Chicago and Robert Kreitman lead Sidley Austin LLP’s national tax practice. The firm’s international capability has been significantly strengthened with the arrival of the ‘extremely competent and knowledgeableGary Kaplan and counsel William Needle from Arnold & Porter LLP in April 2012. Needle impresses clients with his knowledge of corporate and tax aspects of private foundations. Christian Brause also joined Sidley as counsel in the New York office. Firm clients include Starwood Property Trust and Avaya. Laura Barzilai is also recommended.

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Within Tax controversy, tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP’s broad practice has considerable strength in tax controversy matters. The team handles federal and SALT issues and represents clients at all stages of the administrative process, from audit to administrative appeal, and before local trial courts through to the US Supreme Court. The firm’s impressive corporate client base provides the tax practice with a constant flow of work. Jay Zimbler, in Chicago, is a key partner in tax controversy and led the representation of Principal Life Insurance in the US Federal Claims Court in a case involving tax refunds in relation to several separate investments. Laura Barzilai co-heads the tax practice and has a strong reputation in contentious matters as part of a broader practice.

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