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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

At Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, key areas of expertise include M&A transactions, major financing and refinancing matters, and large-scale development projects, and the team also advises on the financial, tax and environment-related aspects of real estate projects. The New York-based group recently advised Colony Capital on the $17bn three-way merger of Colony Capital, NorthStar Asset Management and NorthStar Realty Finance, a transaction involving $58bn-worth of assets under management. Other notable work included advising HBC on a series of transactions between WeWork and Rhône Capital (including a $500m equity investment by Rhône and the $850m sale of the Lord & Taylor Fifth Avenue building to WeWork Property Advisors) and acting for Paramount in several financings, including its $975m joint venture with Blackstone to refinance One Market Plaza in San Francisco. The team is led by Thomas Henry, who represents domestic and international real estate companies, funds and institutional lenders across the full range of commercial and financing transactions. Other key figures include David Drewes, who has notable hospitality and senior housing expertise, Carly Glover Saviano and counsel Daniel Backer. Janice Levine is recommended for residential matters, financings and leases.

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United States: Dispute resolution

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Corporate investigations and white-collar criminal defense: advice to individuals - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s New York-based Senior Counsel Martin Klotz acted alongside ‘reliable’ practice co-head Michael Schachter for Deerfield Management in a DOJ and SEC insider trading investigation, in which three investment professionals were criminally charged but. They achieved a favorable resolution for the client, which was not found accountable of any misconduct. Schachter also won a reversal and complete dismissal of charges for Anthony Allen, Rabobank’s former global head of liquidity and finance, in a major LIBOR manipulation case before the US Court of Appeals. He is currently defending former Adidas employee, James Gatto, against federal wire fraud and money laundering charges in connection with payments to student athletes to assist in college basketball recruiting efforts. Washington DC-based co-head William Stellmach and the New York-based Amelia Cottrell are also recommended.

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General commercial disputes
General commercial disputes - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Very knowledgeable and responsive’ firm Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provides an ‘excellent service’ in commercial litigation. Tariq Mundiya heads the department, which has a strong track record in high-end litigation, including at trial, and represents both plaintiffs and defendants. Highlights among the team’s recent list of cases includes Mary Eaton representing Citigroup and certain of its current and former independent directors in a shareholder derivative action before the Delaware Chancery Court. Todd Cosenza successfully represented Barclays in a case alleging fraud brought by two Saudi Arabian companies; upholding the trial court’s decision, the Appellate Division, First Department affirmed the dismissal of the case with prejudice. Litigation and antitrust expert Jeffrey Korn is a ‘top-notch lawyer’ and Washington DC-based David Murray is a ‘terrific litigator for programing-related disputes’. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Tariq Mundiya chairs the litigation department at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP from New York and has a track record of success in high-stakes M&A litigation, including the representation of Kenneth Cole in a landmark case concerning the duties of directors in going-private transactions. Todd Cosenza obtained a settlement with no financial liability for Morgan Stanley, which acted as financial adviser to Mavenir Systems during its merger with Mitel Networks; In re Mavenir Systems Inc Stockholder Litigation alleged the client had aided and abetted in breaches of duties of care and good faith.

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Securities litigation: defense
Securities litigation: defense - ranked: tier 2

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provides ‘pragmatic advice and a stellar level of service, always delivering value for money’. Chair of the litigation group Tariq Mundiya in New York focuses on internal investigations as well as securities and corporate litigation. He acted for Clovis Oncology in a $1bn class action arising from an announcement of adverse developments in clinical trials for a new drug. In New York, accounting expert and securities litigation group chair Michael Young and vice-chairs Todd Cosenza and Antonio Yanez are ‘top-notch litigators’. Cosenza is representing Lehman Brothers Holding in ongoing claims related to its sponsorship of 405 RMBS trusts, which are the subject of repurchase claims in excess of $37bn. Young and Yanez defended longstanding client KPMG in the appeal of a verdict in the New York Supreme Court that cleared it of charges of fraud and aiding and abetting. Senior counsel Richard Bernstein in Washington DC is also recommended.

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United States: Finance

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Leonard Klingbaum and Jeffrey Goldfarb jointly lead Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s well-regarded team, which acts for a mix of banks, funds and corporate borrowers. The firm has a strong roster of private equity clients which it regularly represents on their financing needs, including Platinum Equity, Aquiline Capital Partners, and Warburg Pincus. Highlights on this front include advising New Mountain Capital on the financing for its acquisition of cloud software company Sparta Systems. On the borrower side, the firm also represented Brighthouse Financial in connection with the $8.6bn financing to facilitate its spin-off from Met Life. The firm is also increasingly active on the lender side and advised Citibank on a $750m acquisition financing for Roan Resources. Other key partners include William Dye, Michael Niebruegge and Viktor Okasmaa.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s bankruptcy and restructuring practice handles matters for both creditors and debtors and recently acted for the steering committee of high-yield bond holders of CGG in the simultaneous Chapter 11 and Chapter 15 in the US and Sauvegarde proceedings in France: a team led by John Longmire successfully achieved the conversion of $1.6bn high-yield bonds into a majority of equity in CGG as well as a $375m of investment to be backstopped by the steering committee. The group also continues to advise the COFINA Agent on the ongoing effort to reorganize the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and in a company-side representation, Matthew Feldman advised SquareTwo Financial Services Corporation on its pre-packaged Chapter 11, including the confirmation of the plan as well as the successful sale of the debtors’ companies. The practice further advised Secure Point Technologies and affiliates on Chapter 11 proceedings and Total Safety US on its out-of-court restructuring. The firm also continued to defend Lehman Brothers against claims brought by residential mortgage-backed securities trusts relating to mortgage loans issued prior to the company’s bankruptcy. Rachel Strickland and Feldman head the New York-based team, which was further strengthened by the arrival of Brian Lennon from Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Former practice co-head Marc Abrams is another key name.

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Structured finance: derivatives and structured products
Structured finance: derivatives and structured products - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Through a number of key strategic hires, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP established an experienced team of commodity-linked derivatives lawyers in 2017. Paul Pantano and Athena Eastwood joined the firm’s Washington DC office from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, bringing with them particular experience of energy derivatives, including CFTC and Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) investigations. Eastwood is adept in handling compliance and enforcement procedures and has a broad physical commodities practice covering energy, environmental and agricultural assets. Pantano’s clients include the FIA. Counsel Conrad Bahlke, who joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP, has advised United Nations World Food Programme and the African Union on precipitation-based derivatives in insurance transactions.

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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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP often assists with transactional matters arising from insolvency; Houston-based practice co-head Michael De Voe Piazza, who is ‘incredibly smart’, advised the Fulcrum Security holders on the sale of Samson Resources oil and gas assets through the Chapter 11 bankruptcy process. The practice is also noted for its strength in ‘middle-market transactions’. Practice co-head Bruce Herzog divides his time between Houston and New York. Cody Carper joined from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has ‘deep knowledge of the insurance industry’ and benefits from its expertise in representing insurance brokers. It advises individual and corporate policyholders in coverage disputes, as well as insurers as policyholders in coverage disputes with their own insurers. Schlumberger, First Data Corporation and First American Financial Corporation are clients. Department heads Mitchell Auslander and Christopher St. Jeanos in New York are ‘knowledgeable, professional and practical’ and are ‘able to negotiate practical solutions, yet they are equally prepared to go to court if the matter cannot be resolved’.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s ‘impressive’ transactional and regulatory department advises on a range of high-value M&A and capital markets mandates and is noted for its experience in alternative risk transfer solutions. Department co-head John Schwolsky led advice for MetLife in connection with the formation, capitalization and spin-off of its US retail life insurance and annuity operations, which culminated in the spin-off of its subsidiary Brighthouse Financial. Schwolsky is also advising Assurant in its $2.5bn deal to acquire The Warranty Group. Michael Groll and Rajab Abbassi are representing Aetna in its $1.45bn definitive agreement to sell its US group life and disability business to The Hartford. Department co-head Alexander Dye is advising Genworth Financial on its agreement to be acquired by China Oceanwide Holdings Group. Representing Allied World Assurance Company Holdings in its merger with Fairfax Financial Holdings was another highlight for the team. Gregory Astrachan, senior counsel Donald Henderson, Vladimir Nicenko, Allison Tam and Matthew Stern are also recommended among the New York-based team.

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

Alternative/hedge funds
Alternative/hedge funds - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP handles various fund formation and regulatory matters. Key names include James Silk in Washington DC and Joseph Cunningham, Rita Molesworth and counsel Deborah Tuchman in New York. Practice head Barry Barbash, who headed the SEC’s Division of Investment Management, divides his time between the two offices. Lior Ohayon and Brian Greene joined the New York office in mid-2017 from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

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

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP handles a range of work for asset managers, with a number of its lawyers having particular experience on the regulatory front. Margery Neale advised a manager with over $1tn under management on launching 12 funds-of-funds, a money market fund and a bond fund. Senior counsel Rose DiMartino advised a European-headquartered manager on a range of fund matters, and advised New Ireland Fund on negotiations with an activist investor. Elliot Gluck is also a key contact. Benjamin Haskin in Washington DC, Jay Spinola and Georgia Bullitt advised a leading manager on launching its first actively managed ETFs. Neale shares leadership of the practice with former SEC Division of Investment Management director Barry Barbash (who is based in both Washington DC and New York), who advised a fund sponsor on a global restructuring. The team is based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Leading lawyers

Barry Barbash - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Margery Neale - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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Private equity funds (including venture capital)
Private equity funds (including venture capital) - ranked: tier 4

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is a ‘terrific firm that is knowledgeable and client-oriented’. In New York, Arash Farhadieh, who is ‘thoughtful about new opportunities in the market and keenly aware of market trends’, is advising Monarch Alternative Capital on forming a distressed debt fund. Phillip Isom continues to advise ICV Partners, including on forming its fourth mid-market buyout fund, which has a target of $600m. Gordon Caplan is also a name of note. As far as investor representation is concerned, Michael De Voe Piazza (in Houston) and Farhadieh advised Wafra on a co-investment alongside First Reserve. Lior Ohayon, who handles fund distribution work, joined from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP.

Next generation lawyers

Arash Farhadieh - Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

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United States: Labor and employment

Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design
Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: design - ranked: tier 5

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

The four-partner offering at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP represents clients such as Citigroup, Level 3 Communications, Bloomberg and Credit Suisse. Peter Haller led a client’s submission to the DOL for a QPAM exemption, and guided Credit Suisse through the ERISA compliance requirements of its major business lines, such as investment banking, asset management and wealth management. Jordan Messinger is also a name to note. Both named attorneys are based in New York.

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Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional
Employee benefits, executive compensation and retirement plans: transactional - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

The service clients receive at Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘incredible’. The executive compensation lawyers are ‘very accurate, responsive and knowledgeable, raise applicable issues and give sound advice on structuring and compliance’. Jordan Messinger is ‘by far the best’, according to one client; he recently acted for Level 3 in its sale to CenturyLink. Michael Katz advised Colony Capital on its merger of equals with NorthStar Asset Management and NorthStar Realty Finance, while Mark Holdsworth represented Fidelity National Information Services in two transactions including the sale of its majority ownership stake in Capco to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice. All named attorneys are based in New York.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

Corporate governance
Corporate governance - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is ‘excellent in the field - not only do clients get sound advice, the team is able to provide a regulator’s perspective as well as that of what others in the market are doing’. The firm handles a number of special committee representations - Thomas Cerabino led a team advising the special committee of National Interstate Corporation’s board on a merger with another insurer. In the shareholder activism space, the firm frequently acts for hedge funds - Russell Leaf, Michael Brandt and Michael Schwartz advised Twin Haven Capital Partners on a successful campaign to secure three new board seats on Hawaiian Telcom Holdco; Tariq Mundiya and Steven Gartner, who handle work for Third Point Management, and Maurice Lefkort are also key contacts for shareholder engagement work. The named lawyers are located 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 LLP reinforced its already strong M&A practice with a series of lateral hires, including Cody Carper and Kfir Abutbul who joined in Houston from Kirkland & Ellis LLP, and Kevin O’Mara who joined in New York from Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP. The firm has well-established reputation in energy sector deals but also continues to impress in financial services, technology, telecoms and media. In 2017, the firm continued to advise Level 3 Communications on its headline $34bn sale to CenturyLink and represented Allied World Assurance in its $4.9bn merger with Fairfax Financial Holdings. It also advised Assurant on its acquisition of The Warranty Group. Clients praise the firm’s insurance M&A expertise, its ‘flexibility’, ‘excellent response times and excellent industry knowledge’. Other clients include Endurance Specialty Holdings, Jay Alix, Zurich Insurance, The Sterling Group, The Allstate Corporation and a number of prominent private equity houses. Notable partners include heads of department David Boston and Steven Seidman and chairman of the firm Thomas Cerabino. Gregory Astrachan is recommended for domestic and cross-border insurance deals, bringing ‘an exceptionally responsive service, experience, clear guidance and a sense of humor to the most difficult situations’. Houston partner Michael De Voe Piazza is another leader in energy deals. Named attorneys are New York based unless stated otherwise.

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Private equity buyouts
Private equity buyouts - ranked: tier 3

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP has a hugely impressive middle-market practice and has assembled an illustrious client list featuring the likes of Insight Venture Partners, Warburg Pincus, Riverstone Holdings, Aquiline Capital Partners, Genstar Capital, FFL Partners, Court Square and Centerbridge Partners. Fund formation, leveraged finance and financial services regulatory expertise sits alongside the firm’s considerable M&A and buyout experience. The firm recently advised A Place for Mom, a portfolio company of long-term client Warburg Pincus, on its sale to Silver Lake and General Atlantic. It also represented Insight Venture Partners in its investment in Ministry Brands. Firm chairman Steven Gartner and co-chairman Gordon Caplan are big names in the private equity segment, noted for their connections to Warburg Pincus and Insight Venture Partners respectively. Chairs of the private equity practice group Neil Townsend and Jeffrey Poss are also prominent individuals, as is energy sector specialist Bruce Herzog. Kirk Radke is a seasoned professional, especially in the middle market.

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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 runs the gamut of regulatory issues in this space and ‘provides excellent service’, ‘understands the industry extremely well’ and ‘understands its clients’ needs’. Thomas Jones heads the practice and is an expert in common carrier regulations. He advised Level 3 on the FCC’s regulations concerning business data services and on obtaining regulatory approval for its acquisition by CenturyLink. Jonathan Friedman has experience working with cable operators, video programmers and equipment manufacturers. He advised ARRIS on energy conservation regulations involving cable set-top boxes and modems as well as consumer broadband equipment. Daniel Alvarez’s skill-set includes advising on broadband deployment, open internet, cybersecurity and privacy issues. He recently advised Comcast on broadband infrastructure deployment regulations. David Murray is an expert in dispute resolution and represented Comcast Corporation and NBCUniversal Media in arbitration proceedings imposed by the FCC and DOJ following its merger. Michael Hurwitz advised Comcast on regulations relating to net neutrality, the deployment of broadband infrastructure and its merger conditions with NBCUniversal. Hurwitz, Friedman and Murray are ‘very smart’, ‘excellent writers’ and ‘have great analytical minds’. Of counsel Renee Gregory joined the firm from the FCC and is an expert in wireless matters. Michael Jones is also experienced in regulatory issues and advised Comcast and NBCUniversal on the FCC’s spectrum incentive auction.

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 5

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP’s focus areas in its New York-based tax practice include M&A, private equity, partnership, fund formation and corporate reorganization support, especially in the insurance, real estate and technology sectors. Christopher Peters advised Level 3 Communications on its $34bn cash-and-stock acquisition by Century Link, while Henry Cohn assisted Colony Capital with a $17bn three-way merger involving NorthStar Asset Management and Northstar Realty Finance. Another highlight was the firm's work on the exchange offer, tender offer and comprehensive refinancing of client iPayment. James Brown and Joseph Riley moved to Ropes & Gray LLP and Dechert LLP respectively in 2017.

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