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Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

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Paul Wessel

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Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP


Paul Wessel leads Weil’s Executive Compensation & Benefits group. He focuses his practice on handling executive compensation and employee benefits matters for public and private companies, boards of directors and compensation committees, private equity firms, corporate executives and management groups. Mr. Wessel regularly counsels clients in connection with mergers and acquisitions, initial public offerings, spinoffs and other capital markets transactions, management buyouts, ESOP transactions, and bankruptcy and restructuring matters. Mr. Wessel also advises on federal tax law, ERISA, labor and employment law, and securities law relating to compensation and benefits matters.

United States: Labor and employment

ERISA litigation

Within: ERISA litigation

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP recently bolstered its ERISA litigation practice with the promotions to partner of Jared Friedmann and Adam Banks, who operate respectively within the complex commercial litigation and appellate litigation groups. The team is currently representing the University of Miami in a putative class action filed by a former ‘voluntary faculty’ staff member claiming the university breached its fiduciary duties when it denied the claimants the opportunity to participate in a number of plans open to regular employees. The team also represented an insurance company in a nationwide class action related to the inflation rider on its long-term care insurance policies, and continues to counsel an investment management entity on its response to a series of DoL subpoenas in the context of its investigation into a pension plan. Other key clients include Genworth, UnitedHealth and Washington Mutual. The New York-based team is led by Nicholas Pappas, Jeffrey Klein and Paul Wessel.

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Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional

Within: Leading lawyers

Paul Wessel - Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP

Within: Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP’s corporate-driven practice handles the executive compensation and employee benefits issues surrounding M&A transactions, restructurings and bankruptcy filings for a client roster including Sanofi, Walgreens Boots Alliance and SoftBank. The transaction committee of the board of directors of Reynolds American engaged the firm to oversee its $60.5bn sale to BAT, and practice head Paul Wessel is advising Scripps Networks on its merger with Discovery. Amy Rubin is acting for Westinghouse Electric in its Chapter 11, and recently assisted InVentiv Health with its $4.6bn merger of equals with INC Research. Sarah Downie and Michael Nissan are also names to note. All named attorneys are based in New York.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

M&A: large deals ($1bn+)

Within: M&A: large deals ($1bn+)

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is experienced handling large-cap and transformative deals as well as hostile takeovers, takeover defense and activism defense work. The team operates at ‘a very high level’, is ‘time efficient’ and ‘has an ability learn from past experiences’. ‘Billings are reasonable for the high level of service and expertise’, according to one client. The firm has one of the world’s leading restructuring and bankruptcy practices and, as a result, has a leading presence in distressed M&A deals and transactions linked to bankruptcies. In 2017, the firm advised Reynolds American’s transaction committee of the board of directors on the company’s $60.6bn sale to British American Tobacco, and assisted Scripps Networks Interactive with its $14.6bn merger with Discovery Communications. It also advised Procter & Gamble on a recent proxy contest with an activist investor. Corporate department chairman Michael Aiello is ‘practical’, ‘pragmatic’ and ‘has earned an enormous amount of respect’. Frederick Greenbrings level-headedness and business savvy that multiplies his legal expertise’, with one client suggesting that his attributes were integral to keeping an especially tense and vulnerable transaction on course. Howard Chatzinoff and Michael Lubowitz are also key names, and Jackie Cohen is ‘responsive, available, always calm with a very high level knowledge and experience’, and is ‘open minded and able to work on international transactions with an ability to manage all sorts of cultural expectations’. Matthew Gilroy is another emerging talent, and Marc Silberberg and Paul Wessel are praised by clients for their expertise in M&A-related tax and executive compensation respectively. All named partners are based in New York.

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