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Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

787 SEVENTH AVENUE, NEW YORK, NY 10019, USA
Tel:
Work +1 212 728 8000
Fax:
Fax +1 212 728 8111
Web:
www.willkie.com

United States

Real estate
Real estate - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s active REIT client base ensured that the practice was busy on a number of a major transactions. Practice chair Thomas Henry represented Colony Capital in the $17bn three-way merger of Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management Group and NorthStar Realty Finance, and also acted for key client Paramount Group in its $521m acquisition of One Front Street in San Francisco. David Drewes advised Washington Prime Group on the sale of seven of its open air properties to a joint venture with O’Connor Mall Partners. On the debt finance side, the team’s work encompassed a mix of loan acquisition work - such as advising Colony Capital on the acquisition of a $133m mortgage loan secured by an office campus in Purchase, New York - and borrower mandates. In an example of the latter, Drewes acted for the Generation Companies in its $215m recapitalization, which included a $146m mortgage loan from Blackstone. Other recommended attorneys in the practice’s ‘deep bench’ are newly appointed partner Carly Glover Saviano and counsel Daniel Backer. All named attorneys are based in New York. Eugene Pinover left for DLA Piper LLP (US).

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United States: Dispute resolution

Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense
Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense - ranked: tier 5

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Lawyers at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLPprovide an excellent overall level of service, showing excellent knowledge and good judgment’. The ‘phenomenalMichael Schachter heads the practice from New York and is representing Rabobank’s former global head of liquidity and finance, Anthony Allen, on appeal, having represented him in a federal criminal trial for Libor manipulation in the Southern District of New York. Colleagues in that city include Amelia Cottrell, while William Stellmach is based in Washington DC. The firm represents individuals and companies from a broad range of industries in SEC and DOJ investigations and trials. KPMG is a client.

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General commercial disputes
General commercial disputes - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

The ‘very responsive’ team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has a broad commercial litigation practice and is particularly noted for trial work. It is regularly engaged by household-name companies as well as individuals in high-stakes litigation. Recent cases include New York-based Todd Cosenza’s successful defense of Barclays in litigation brought by MBI International seeking billions in damages concerning alleged bribery; the New York Commercial Division rejected the claims. In Washington DC, David Murray, Michael Hurwitz and ‘first-rate legal mind’ and senior counsel Richard Bernstein are recommended. Tariq Mundiya chairs the litigation department from New York.

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M&A: litigation: defense
M&A: litigation: defense - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

New York-based Tariq Mundiya, chair of the litigation department at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, helped demonstrate the firm’s strong presence in the M&A litigation space with his representation of Kenneth Cole in a case brought by minority shareholders challenging his going-private transaction for Kenneth Cole Productions. The $100m action was dismissed by the New York Court of Appeals. He also achieved a settlement for software company Kony Inc in a minority shareholder action in Texas and Delaware. Todd Cosenza, who defended Morgan Stanley in a breach of fiduciary duty action relating to Mitel Networks’ $560m acquisition of Mavenir Systems, is also recommended.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

At Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, New York-based accounting expert and securities litigation practice chair Michael Young is ‘clearly a leader in his field, combining real trial experience with organizational talent’. Washington DC-based senior counsel Richard Bernstein’s highlights included representing Facebook in a consolidated securities class action concerning its IPO under the Securities Act of 1933. Todd Cosenza in New York handles securities class actions as part of his complex financial litigation practice. He has secured numerous victories for Lehman Brothers Holdings, the most recent being the successful motion to expunge RMBS claims relating to 726,000 loans. Martin Seidel joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

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United States: Finance

Capital markets: debt offerings
Capital markets: debt offerings - advice to issuers - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

In a significant highlight, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP acted for Teva Pharmaceutical Industries in three multi-tranche, multi-market offerings of senior notes to finance its pending acquisition of Actavis Generics; Jeffrey Hochman led the firm’s advice on the $15bn bond sale. In addition to its notable strength in life sciences matters, the firm also leverages its funds expertise to advise private equity sponsors and portfolio companies on debt matters. Cristopher Greer jointly heads the capital markets team and assisted Joseph T. Ryerson & Son, a portfolio company of Platinum Equity, with its $650m senior secured notes offering. Gregory Astrachan leads the department alongside Greer.

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Commercial lending
Commercial lending: advice to borrowers - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Commercial lending: advice to lenders - ranked: tier 5

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has a ‘strong, accomplished, multi-disciplinary team’ that represents a broad mix of private equity sponsors, corporate borrowers and lenders and which is commended for its ‘24/7 availability and ability to advise not only legally but also business-wise’. Key people include the ‘very knowledgeableMichael Zinder and William Hiller, who alongside practice vice chair Jeffrey Goldfarb are praised for their ‘endless knowledge and experience, their ability to solve issues and take all the bumps out of the road’. Other key partners include practice chair Leonard Klingbaum, Michael Niebruegge, who is noted for his restructuring advice, particularly in the energy sector, and Viktor Okasmaa, who was recently recruited from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP. Recent highlights include advising Teva Pharmaceutical Industries on the financing of its $40.5bn acquisition of Allergan. On the direct lending side, the firm advised GSO Capital Partners on a $550m loan to finance Scyamore Partners’ acquisition of Belk.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has advised debtors and creditors in a number of high-profile bankruptcies and in energy cases representing financial institutions. Ana Alfonso has been representing banks as administrative agents in a number of high-profile cases, including to the $1bn pre-petition second lien term loan lenders in the Samson Resources bankruptcy, the first lien holders in the respective Goodrich Petroleum and Energy XXI Chapter 11 case. In a high-profile company-side engagement, the team represented CORE Media Group in the AOG Entertainment ‘American Idol’ bankruptcy filing and reaching final approval of the plan of reorganization. The firm has also been representing Nortel Networks UK Pension Trust and the Board of the Pension Protection Fund in a case that has seen emerging law on allocation theory. In the Chapter 15 proceedings of Pacific E&P, the firm represents PricewaterhouseCoopers as the court-appointed monitor and authorized foreign representative, which involves a complex restructuring of around $5bn of debt involving US, Canadian and Colombian law. Marc Abrams has a substantial cross-border practice and represents AHMSA in its emergence from Mexican bankruptcy and with its Chapter 15 case in the US. Matthew Feldman leads the business reorganization and restructuring team alongside Abrams.

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United States: Industry focus

Energy transactions: oil and gas
Energy transactions: oil and gas - ranked: tier 5

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Private equity specialist Bruce Herzog and oil and gas transactions expert Michael de Voe Piazza head Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s department from Houston and New York respectively. Both partners assisted Liberty Oilfield Services with its purchase of Sanjel’s fracturing, coiled tubing and cementing assets. Other clients include Sage Midstream Ventures and Carnelian Energy Capital.

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Insurance: advice to policyholders
Insurance: advice to policyholders - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Insurance recovery is a primary focus at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, with bankruptcy liability cases, catastrophe insurance matters and E&O coverage disputes all areas of expertise for the practice. The team represented Cameron International in arbitration and multi-district litigation concerning coverage disputes with its insurers regarding Deepwater Horizon, recouping $250m for the client. It is also acting for Marsh USA in several property coverage cases concerning losses incurred by Hurricane Sandy, including litigation over the application of policy sub-limits for flood damage. Willis Towers Watson, First American and Crystal & Company are also on the client roster. Mitchell Auslander and Christopher St. Jeanos head the practice from the New York office.

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Insurance: non-contentious
Insurance: non-contentious - ranked: tier 1

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s deep bench of insurance specialists provides expertise in regulatory and transactional matters, and excels in big-ticket M&A matters, risk transfer mandates and private equity investments for reinsurers, brokers and funds. Gregory Astrachan advised Credit Suisse on its CHF220m offering of operational risk notes to Operational Re, including assisting with the transfer of some of its prospective operational risk to multiple hedge funds. Senior counsel Donald Henderson and Allison Tam are assisting Medical Liability Mutual Insurance Company with its proposed acquisition by Berkshire Hathaway and planned demutualization to a stock company. Other highlights included assisting Assurant with the $975m sale of its employee benefits business to Sun Life of Canada. Aegon, Chubb and WR Berkeley are also on the client roster. Alexander Dye and John Schwolsky head the practice, which saw Matthew Stern promoted to partner. All lawyers mentioned are in the New York office.

Leading lawyers

Alexander Dye - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

John Schwolsky - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Michael Groll - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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United States: Investment fund formation and management

Mutual/registered funds
Mutual/registered funds - ranked: tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘excellent: highly responsive, with very knowledgeable and experienced partners and associates’. The firm handles a variety of matters including ETF formation, ’40 Act regulation, fund mergers and products at the interface of registered and alternative funds. Margery Neale, who has expertise in business development company matters, and Barry Barbash head the team, which includes Rose DiMartino, ‘a very experienced practitioner’ who handles SEC regulation, fund mergers and secondary offerings, among other matters. Benjamin Haskin and Dianne O’Donnell, who handle the structuring and formation of ETFs, are also recommended. Apart from Barbash and Haskin, who are located in Washington DC, named lawyers are based in New York.

Leading lawyers

Barry Barbash - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Margery Neale - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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Private equity funds
Private equity funds - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

From its New York office, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP handles a range of fund formation mandates, with particular strength in energy-focused fund work. Phillip Isom assisted Post Oak Energy Capital with forming a $600m energy fund and advised Bridge Growth Partners on its debut fund, which raised $410m. In an illustration of the firm’s ability to handle multi-jurisdictional mandates, Isom and Arash Farhadieh advised Sun Mountain Capital Advisors on a Mexico-focused fund-of-funds. Adrienne Atkinson is also recommended. Other clients include Ares Capital Management and Springbok Energy Partners.

Next generation lawyers

Arash Farhadieh - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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United States: Labor and employment

Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions)
Employee benefits and executive compensation (transactions) - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s New York-based executive compensation team is led by Michael Katz and advises clients such as Citigroup, Aberdeen and Bloomberg on ERISA obligations and benefits plans in connection with corporate transactions. Jordan Messinger, John Schwolsky and Laura Delanoy advised MetLife on the sale of its retail adviser arm to MassMutual. The firm also assisted Colony Capital in its $17bn cross-border merger with NorthStar, and MedAssets with its sale to Pamplona. Peter Haller is also a key contact.

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Employee health and retirement plans
Employee health and retirement plans - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Michael Katz leads the four-partner employee benefits and executive compensation team at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Following the DOL’s redefinition of fiduciary duty, Peter Haller is advising Credit Suisse and other financial services clients on reviewing the retirement plan products they offer investors. The firm is also representing Aberdeen Asset Management in ERISA compliance issues associated with the management of large separate account mandates, private funds and bank collective trusts. Attorneys are based in New York.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

Corporate governance
Corporate governance - ranked: tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s highlights included securing the dismissal in the New York Court of Appeal of a case against its client Kenneth Cole, which was brought by shareholders challenging its going-private transaction. The firm also advised the special committee of the board of directors of WuXi Pharma Tech on a leveraged buyout and acted for the special committee of the board of National Interstate in its proposed merger with Great American Insurance Company. It assists the boards of several funds with a broad range of routine and specialized matters. Key figures in the corporate governance area include corporate and financial services lawyer Steven Gartner and litigator Tariq Mundiya, who together head the practice, as well as Barry Barbash, Margery Neale and Michael Schwartz. All are based in New York.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLPprovides an excellent service’, is ‘very quick to respond’, ‘very knowledgeable about current events and market terms’, and has ‘great depth in its energy practice’. The firm has made considerable headway in the energy sector following the launch of a Houston office in 2014, having built on the already impressive standing of legacy New York partner Bruce Herzog, who now splits his time between the two offices. The firm is also active across multiple industry sectors and is frequently engaged in high-value deals. In 2016, it advised Level 3 Communications on its proposed $34bn sale to CenturyLink, and assisted Colony Capital with the three-way merger of equals between Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management Group and NorthStar Realty Finance, creating Colony NorthStar. Key partners include heads of department David Boston and Steven Seidman and chairman of the firm Thomas Cerabino. ‘Excellent’ Houston partner Michael De Voe Piazza is recommended by clients for energy deals. Named attorneys are based in New York unless stated otherwise.

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Private equity buyouts
Private equity buyouts - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘always solid’, ‘best in class’ and has ‘extremely good lawyers’ that provide ‘fast responses’. Clients also highlight the firm’s expertise in fund formation and it has impressive credentials in asset management regulation as well as solid leveraged finance capabilities. The firm has an extensive list of private equity clients, which includes Insight Venture Partners, Warburg Pincus, Riverstone Holdings, Aquiline Capital Partners, Genstar Capital and Friedman Fleischer & Lowe. The Houston office, which launched in 2014, has had tremendous success in energy sector transactions for private equity houses, in part thanks to the presence of Bruce Herzog; he has a close connection with Riverstone Holdings and recently advised the client on the $2.7bn sale of its stake in Vantage Energy to Rice Energy. Scott Miller joined the Houston team from Bracewell LLP in 2016, and another key name in that office is Michael De Voe Piazza, who has an ‘outstanding ability to see transactions through his client’s eyes and do everything possible to secure a maximum beneficial outcome’ and uses ‘cool-headed rationale and logic to prevail over the counterparty’. Firm chairman Steven Gartner and co-chairman Gordon Caplan are key members of the private equity team, along with co-chairs of the private equity practice group Neil Townsend and Jeffrey Poss, and seasoned figure Kirk Radke.

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United States: Media, technology and telecoms

Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory
Telecoms and broadcast: regulatory - ranked: tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s ‘top-notch team’ combines an ‘unsurpassed knowledge of the communications industry’ with ‘an ability to really understand its clients’ and provides ‘responsive, insightful and nuanced advice’. The practice continues to advise flagship client Comcast in a range of matters; recent examples include ‘real expertMichael Hurwitz advising on the compliance aspects of its merger with NBCUniversal, Jonathan Friedman representing the client in the FCC’s set-top-box proceedings aimed at promoting retail competition in the pay television provider market, and practice head Thomas Jones (who clients single out as ‘one of the best lawyers in the telecoms space, particularly in common carrier regulation’) and Daniel Alvarez acting for the client in the FCC’s broadband customer proprietary network information proceedings, which aims to protect the privacy of internet users. Level 3 Communications is also a key client and Jones is representing it in tariff review proceedings, and is also advising it on the regulatory elements of its acquisition by CenturyLink. Other clients include Incompas, National Cable & Telecommunications Association and BT Americas.

Next generation lawyers

Daniel Alvarez - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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United States: Tax

US taxes: non-contentious
US taxes: non-contentious - ranked: tier 6

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s multi-disciplinary tax team works closely with the firm’s other departments to provide tax structuring and risk allocation advice to local and international clients. In a notable mandate, the practice advised banking and payments technology solutions provider FIS on its $9.1bn acquisition of financial software company SunGard and assisted Assurant with tax issues arising from the $940m sale of its employee benefits business to Sun Life Assurance. The firm also acted for Schroders Investment Management North America on tax structuring and regulatory issues concerning the formation of an insurance-linked securities fund enabling US and Canadian investors to access collateralized reinsurance and other forms of insurance risk. James Brown and Christopher Peters lead the practice.

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Further information on Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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United States

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