The Legal 500

Greenberg Traurig LLP

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United States

Top-tier recommendations

  • United States: Real estate and construction > Real estate


United States: Finance

Within Corporate restructuring (including bankruptcy), tier 4

Lawyers at Greenberg Traurig LLP are ‘prompt, informed and to-the-point’. Miami-based co-chair Mark Bloomis outstanding in every respect’ and New York-based co-chair Nancy Mitchell is ‘always one step ahead’. Keith Shapiro co-chairs the group from Chicago and is also highly regarded. Throughout the firm’s network of 29 domestic offices, the team is regularly instructed by the full spread of debtors, creditors, lenders and investors to advise on bankruptcy and restructuring issues. In a recent headline case, it acted for FriendFinder Networks in its Chapter 11 restructuring, which involved over $520m in secured debt. The firm also advised James Feltman as the examiner in the highly contentious Chapter 11 of Fisher Island. Among the group’s other key engagements, it represented the unsecured creditors’ committees in the Buccaneer Energy, Piccadilly Investments and Sears Methodist Retirement System bankruptcies. Clients also single out Diane Vuocolo in Philadelphia, who ‘gives 100% to achieve the client’s aims’, and New York-based Maria DiConza.

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Within Structured finance , tier 4

Led out of New York by Mark Michigan, Greenberg Traurig LLP represents stakeholders across almost every asset class in the mortgage, asset-backed, municipal and structured products markets. This breadth of expertise ensures that the firm is closely attuned to market developments and is able to implement novel structures for new asset classes that are brought to market. In addition to conventional ABS deals, Michigan is also well-versed in future flow securitizations, as well as the securitization of property tax liens. Chicago-based Trent Murch handles securitization transactions collateralized by credit card receivables, auto receivables and equipment receivables and handles a significant amount of work for the financial services arm of agricultural and construction equipment business CNH Industrial. Todd Miller is based in Florida and focuses on the auto sector, in addition to credit card securitizations and timeshare loan agreements.

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United States: Industry focus

Within Energy: regulatory, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a third tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP advises a wide range of clients in the natural gas, oil and power industries on regulatory issues before the FERC, state public utility commissions and appellate courts. Energy co-chair Kenneth Minesinger, Howard Nelson and Patrick Pope, all based in Washington DC, are representing El Paso Natural Gas in an ongoing rate case under Section 4 of the Natural Gas Act at the FERC, proposing an increase in its base tariff rates. Minesinger and Nelson also represented ANR Pipeline Company in a filing to recover the cost of off-system capacity through an account tracker. Douglas Atnipp co-heads the energy and natural resources practice from Houston. Gregory Lawrence recently joined from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP.

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Within Energy: transactions, tier 4

Greenberg Traurig LLP continues to further enhance its bench strength in the oil and gas industry in addition to its shale gas, wind, solar and other renewables expertise. The highly experienced William Garner, based in Houston, led advice to Texas LNG as project counsel on the $1bn liquefied natural gas export project being developed in Texas. Frank Bradley, also in Houston, led a team advising Liberty Energy on its investment in Laredo Energy V to finance the development of various oil and gas prospects worth $140m. Other clients include JPMorgan Chase. Houston-based Douglas Atnipp is co-chair of the energy and natural resources practice and has a busy transactional practice.

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Within Environment: litigation, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a third tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP covers regulatory, civil and criminal litigation, and has a ‘strong expertise in alternative dispute resolution strategies’. The team covers large CERCLA cases and has handled an increased number of mixed claims. It is currently defending Coronet Industries in mass tort claims over alleged wrongful death, personal injury, medical monitoring, and property damage through water, soil and air contamination in the vicinity of a former manufacturing facility, involving over 1100 plaintiffs. David Weinstein, based in Tampa, chairs the global environmental litigation and toxic tort group, which entails a number of well-known experts: David Mandelbaum (Philadelphia) is an ‘impressive lawyer’ and experienced in superfund litigation, John Voorhees (Denver) is ‘very approachable and experienced’, and Frank Citera (Chicago) is renowned for his toxic tort and product liability work. It has recently added three partners: Christopher Bell joined the Houston and Washington DC offices from Sidley Austin LLP, Nicholas Secco joined the Tampa and Chicago offices from Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Craig Richardson joined the Denver office as former GC of El Paso’s pipeline group.

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Within Healthcare: health insurers, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a second tier firm,

Truly nationwide in character, Greenberg Traurig LLP has deep knowledge of state-level regulatory and reimbursement issues and strong experience in healthcare reform. The firm is advising EmblemHealth on the consolidation of four affiliated physician practice groups in New York City and Long Island, while in Hawaii (the first state to file a declaration initiating the process) it is advising Hawaii Health Connector on federal and state issues regarding the implementation of the state’s health insurance exchange. In Texas, it is assisting the Texas Association of Health Plans with the implementation and analysis of the PPACA, and advising a Big Five insurer on its opening of service provider facilities; the firm also counts another Big Five client among its roster. In a further demonstration of cutting-edge work, the firm assisted a nascent insurer with the licensing to sell insurance on the New York health exchanges. Key figures in a sizeable group are Tricia Asaro and Harold Iselin from the firm’s highly regarded Albany office; Washington DC-based Nancy Taylor, Michael Cherniga in Tallahassee; and Thomas Bond and Michael Malone in Austin and Dallas respectively.

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Within Healthcare: service providers, tier 5

Greenberg Traurig LLP fields ‘a broad, deep and geographically dispersed team of experts’, with one client describing it as ‘the most cost-effective firm (of any size) we have used’. Its Texas group attracts considerable praise with the ‘very knowledgeableMichael Malone (Dallas), the ‘exceptional’ Joseph Coniglio (Austin), and the ‘superbWilliam Sultemeier (Houston) singled out. Truly national in nature, other key individuals include Nancy Taylor (Washington DC), Michael Cherniga (Tallahassee) and Frank Serbaroli (New York). Highlights included advising Gentiva Health Services on its $1.8bn merger agreement with Kindred Healthcare and representing CityMD in its acquisition of Premier Care. Taylor and Cherniga co-head the group.

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United States: Intellectual property

Within Copyright, tier 5

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s Ian Ballon, who splits his time between the firm’s Los Angeles and Silicon Valley offices, focuses on technology and internet-related copyright litigation. Ballon recently acted for Google in its dispute with Oracle regarding copyright infringement claims stemming from the use of Oracle’s Java application programming interfaces for Android.

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Within Trademarks: litigation, tier 5

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s practice, led by Susan Heller in Los Angeles, is particularly noted for handling trademark disputes in the technology sector. Herbert Finn in Chicago successfully defended Google against trademark infringement claims from Erich Specht, in which the Seventh Circuit confirmed an earlier court ruling that the plaintiff had abandoned his Android Data trademark. Steven Wadyka in Washington DC obtained injunctive relief for plaintiff TracFone Wireless in a trademark infringement and dilution suit against American Wireless. Other instructions came from Ralph Lauren, Kellogg, Hero Nutritionals, and WW Grainger.

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United States: Labor and employment

Within Employee benefits and executive compensation, tier 4

The ‘very responsive’ team at Greenberg Traurig LLP is strong in the areas of multi-employer and cafeteria plans, and ERISA fiduciary considerations, and application of the HIPAA privacy requirements. Headed by New York-based Jeffrey Mamorsky and ‘top’ attorney Leslie Klein in Phoenix, the team is also experienced in the redesign of retirement plans, ERISA compliance as well as M&A-related negotiations. ‘Future star’ Magan Ray in Silicon Valley counts Google, Xilinx and Republic Services as clients. For Martin Resource Management, the firm advised on a second-stage transaction with its ESOP matters, enabling the client to become a fully employee-owned company.

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Within Immigration, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a second tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP regularly advises businesses on strategic immigration planning, and this experience has led to a string of new instructions for EB-5 matters. The firm, which has its global headquarters in Miami, acted for the City of Miami on its application to develop an EB-5 regional center, which is one of the few government-owned regional centers and is expected to stimulate economic growth in the city. It continues to advise oilfield services companies on obtaining exemptions and letters of determination from the US Coast Guard for temporary foreign national employees. Immigration compliance is another active area for the firm. Laura Reiff, is a ‘leading light on policy matters’; she and Martha Schoonover co-head the team from Virginia, where Pamela Mak, who has experience of due diligence investigations for M&A and restructuring, is also based. Ian Macdonald is a key name in Atlanta. Kate Kalmykov, who divides her time between the firm’s New York and New Jersey offices, was promoted to the partnership in 2014 and is very strong on EB-5 work.

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Within Labor and employment litigation, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a third tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP has 120 fee-earners dedicated to employment litigation spread across some 30 offices in the US. It covers the full panoply of employment law, from discrimination litigation to single plaintiff-cases, as well as wage and hour litigation and benefits-related matters. During the period under review the firm was active in an impressive amount of precedent-setting litigation; in one example, widely esteemed Los Angeles-based attorney Mark Kemple successfully obtained a denial of class certification on behalf of Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center, in which the court held that establishing that two-thirds of a class is resident Californian is not in itself sufficient to establish citizenship. Praise abounds for lawyers at this firm: in New Jersey, Kristine Feher is ‘extremely intelligent, highly motivated, and has an excellent demeanor in the courtroom’ and Robert Bernsteingets results’, in New York, Jonathan Sulds is ‘in a class by himself’, Peter Zinober in Tampa, ‘has a very strong understanding of the processes and procedures at the NLRB and has good relationships with officials at the Board, David Long-Daniels in Atlanta is ‘very adept at building consensus’, Jerrold Goldberg in New York ‘is not only a superb lawyer with extensive knowledge in his field, but he is a responsive and practical adviser for us from a business perspective’.

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Within Labor-management relations, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a third tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP recently represented two well-known transportation companies in collective bargaining negotiations and employment and labor litigation before the NLRB, successfully forcing a union to withdraw all remaining unfair labor practice charges. The team is also experienced in representing management before the National Mediation Board and EEOC, among others. New York-based Jonathan Sulds, Atlanta-based Erik Rodriguez, Miami-based Joseph Fleming and Boston-based Terence McCourt are recommended.

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Within Workplace and employment counseling, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a third tier firm,

The service provided by Greenberg Traurig LLP is of the ‘highest level’; it provides ‘great rates’ and inspires ‘great confidence’. Washington DC-based Johnine Barneshas a wonderful reputation in the DC metro region – she is a very skilled advocate who will call day or night to respond to an issue, and has always helped to make the best and right decision’. Barnes continues to represent TV One LLC and Bayhealth Medical Center in various matters, including training for the latter on new policies and procedures implemented with revisions to the employee handbook. The group also has expertise in workplace safety and environmental laws. Also on its client roster are a large package delivery provider, The Hillsborough County Civil Service Board and Scottsdale Lincoln Health Network. Wendy Lario and Kristine Feher in New Jersey, and Philadelphia-based Kelly Dobbs Bunting, are recommended.

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United States: Litigation

Within Commercial litigation, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a second tier firm,

Commercial litigation is the heart and soul’ of Greenberg Traurig LLP, which is ‘one of the top firms because of the personalities, compassion and expertise of its lawyers in complicated matters’. Alan Mansfield in New York and ‘first-tier trial lawyerPhilip Sellinger in New Jersey co-chair the global litigation team, which has widespread geographical presence and ‘strong knowledge of local jurisdictions’. Mansfield is defending Hearst Corporation against a predatory pricing suit filed by the San Francisco Examiner. The firm has additional outstanding practitioners across the country, including Hilarie Bass in Miami, who secured dismissal with prejudice of claims of unjust enrichment and gross negligence against hedge fund manager Paulson Advisors LLC, William Clayton in Fort Lauderdale, who secured a complete defense verdict for longstanding client Jack Boyle, Los Angeles-based Jeff Scott, who advises major entertainment-sector clients, and Mark Tratos in Las Vegas, who has ‘extensive experience and litigation expertise’.

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

Greenberg Traurig LLP has an excellent track record in both tobacco and other consumer products defense work. Jordan Grotzinger and practice co-chair Rob Herrington (both in Los Angeles) recently represented dietary supplement manufacturer FRS in a putative national class action filed against it and its former endorser Lance Armstrong; as lead counsel, they filed a successful motion to dismiss and, following the plaintiffs failure to amend and proceed with their theories, the case was dismissed with prejudice. The firm continues to represent Lorillard extensively and has recently had numerous successes in Engle progeny cases for the client. Harrington and fellow co-chair Alan Mansfield (New York) both draw on a wealth of trial experience.

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Within Product liability and mass tort defense: pharmaceuticals and medical devices, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a second tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP continued to attract a range of high-profile work from key client Medtronic, with recent success including its defense of a product liability case in which the plaintiff alleged injury following the use of a Medtronic spinal cord stimulator; a motion to dismiss with prejudice was granted by the Louisiana state court. The firm continues to serve as national counsel to CR Bard in major transvaginal pelvic mesh litigation, which involves over 13,000 cases consolidated into an MDL in West Virginia; in addition to undertaking extensive discovery work, the firm tried and resolved a number of bellwether cases in 2014 and continues to represent the client in key litigation at appellate level. The ‘highly impressiveLori Cohen heads the practice from Atlanta. Tampa-based Nicholas Secco joined the team from Kirkland & Ellis LLP in April 2014.

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

Greenberg Traurig LLP complements its excellent environmental practice with an impressive mass tort and class action offering. The firm is well-versed in large-scale defense work, as illustrated by its continued role defending various clients in the MTBE groundwater contamination MDL, with Washington DC-based Brent Allen leading on the matter. In Tampa, practice chair David Weinstein and Christopher Torres are representing Coronet Industries in litigation brought by 1,100 plaintiffs alleging various harms and damages claims in relation to purported groundwater, surface water, soil, and air contamination in the area surrounding the client’s manufacturing facility. The team was bolstered by the arrival of product liability trial expert Nicholas Secco in 2014, who joined the Tampa office from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

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Within Securities: shareholder litigation, tier 4

The practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP has ‘top talent and well respected lawyers’ – among them co-chairs Bradford Kaufman in West Palm Beach and, in New York, William Briendel, who leads on broker-dealer matters, and Robert Horowitz. Briendel and Los Angeles-based Paul Schumacher defended Deutsche Bank Securities against a claim for Standard &Poor’s put-option losses. Richard Edlin, who chairs the broader litigation practice from New York, obtained dismissal of a $1.16bn claim by MBIA Insurance for client JPMorgan Chase in a mortgage-backed securities lawsuit. Also recommended are Hilarie Bass, who advised Paulson & Co, and David Coulson in Miami, Joseph Coates in West Palm Beach, Steven Malina in Chicago, Terry Weiss in Atlanta and George Sullivan in White Plains.

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Within Supreme Court and appellate, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a third tier firm,

Elliot Scherker’s team at Greenberg Traurig LLPdoes extraordinary work’ on account of its ‘ability to understand the issues in depth, and present them simply, clearly, and in a compelling fashion to the court’. The firm has an impressively varied docket and recently prevailed on a number of labor and employment appeals including on behalf of Mia Resorts in the Third Circuit, and also lodged an important amicus brief before the Supreme Court on behalf of the National Federation of Independent Businesses in Noel Canning v NLRB. The firm also won a major $145bn reversal on appeal for Lorillard Tobacco. Scherker ‘has a clear and analytic mind, and an affable personality’.

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Within Trade secrets, tier 4

Kurt Kappes in Sacramento and Rich McCrea in Tampa jointly head the team at Greenberg Traurig LLP which has grown tremendously over the last 10 years to comprise 90 fee-earners with involvement in matters across the country. William Briendel is ‘highly recommended’. The firm is currently representing RadioShack and Joseph Magnacca in Walgreens v Magnacca and RadioShack, in defense of allegations that Magnacca breached the non-solicitation provision in his employment agreement by soliciting other employees to leave Walgreens and work at RadioShack; injunctive relief was successfully secured for the client, as well as a $1.8m award. Other clients include NFP and Air Express International.

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United States: M&A/corporate and commercial

Within M&A: large deals ($1bn+), tier 7

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s extensive geographic reach and internal resources ensure that it is exposed to significant deal flow; this ranges from classic mid-market M&A right up to bulge-bracket transactions. On high-value and bet-the-company deals, New York partners David Schwartzbaum and Dennis Block have exceptional reputations. Schwartzbaum is co-chair of the firm’s global M&A steering committee, and is a leading figure when it comes to representing major New York-based financial advisers; in 2014 he advised JP Morgan as the financial adviser to PetSmart on its $8.7bn sale to a consortium led by BC Partners. Block, the senior chairman of the firm’s global M&A practice, advised Gentiva Health Services on its $1.8bn merger agreement with Kindred Healthcare. Gaming, media and entertainment, real estate, and logistics and transport are key sectors the practice. Other key members of the department include Chicago’s Peter Lieberman and global corporate and securities chair Gary Epstein who splits his time between Miami and Tel Aviv.

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United States: Real estate and construction

Within Construction, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a second tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP, practice, which is co-chaired by Robert Epstein and Robert Brams, has 32 partners and is spread across 31 offices across the US. Brams and Michael Schaengold joined the firm in 2014 from Squire Patton Boggs. It has specific experience in major infrastructure projects globally, and advises major developers, government bodies and owners on complex construction matters. The firm excels in disputes – its strong team of litigators it is renowned for obtaining results for large defect and delay claims for clients – and cross-border transactions. It is also handling a number of domestic construction developments through foreign investors and contractors. In a recent highlight, it was instructed as national construction counsel for Canon’s $300m capital improvement and expansion projects throughout the US.

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Within Land use/zoning, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a second tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s land use attorneys ‘provide really thoughtful advice and insight’ and ‘understand the broader political, governmental and community environments that land use decisions are made in’, The team is particularly active in developments in New York and Florida: a team in Fort Lauderdale recently advised B & H Fort Lauderdale on land use and environmental permitting issues pertaining to a 64-unit condominium project on the oceanfront at Hallandale Beach. Fellow co-chair Jay Segal is also recommended and Nick Hockens is ‘superb across the board’; both are based in New York. Debbie Orshefsky recently left the firm.

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Within Real estate, Greenberg Traurig LLP is a first tier firm,

Greenberg Traurig LLP has ‘a strong national practice’, which has ‘excellent in-depth expertise for real estate matters across the country’, and is noted for its ‘broad national reach’. The department is headed by New York-based Robert Ivanhoe, who is ‘focused and hardworking’, and Chicago-based Corey Light, who is ‘highly regarded’; most of the department’s lawyers are based in the New York, Miami and Chicago offices. Ivanhoe advised Peak Hotels & Resorts Group as lead investor in the $358m acquisition of Amanresorts, while the ‘excellentStephen Rabinowitz in New York led work for SL Green Realty and its joint venture partner, The Moinian Group, in the $470m sale of 180 Maiden Lane in Manhattan. Headline work also included advising Kimco Realty on the $222m sale of a nine-property retail portfolio in Mexico and acting for BioMed Realty Trust on its $308m investment in two office buildings in New Haven, Connecticut. The ‘highly regarded team’ also includes Phoenix-based Rebecca Burnham, Gregory Fishman in Los Angeles and Chicago-based James Caserio.

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United States: Tax

Within International tax, tier 4

Greenberg Traurig LLP utilizes a multi-office team across the US and Europe to provide comprehensive international tax advice to clients. Corporate and international tax specialist Mary Voce chairs the group from New York. Seth Entin in Miami has experience advising on federal income tax in an international context and Ozzie Schindler, also in Miami, brings tax planning expertise. Kenneth Zuckerbrot is a notable name in New York, acting for public and private corporations on inbound and transactions. Robert Simon is a contact in Washington DC/Denver.

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Within Tax controversy, tier 5

Greenberg Traurig LLP’s ‘effective and highly professional’ tax controversy group covers the whole gamut of SALT and federal tax disputes. Clients include national and foreign companies, partnerships and individuals. New York-based co-chair of the global tax group Barbara Kaplan has advised clients in federal tax examinations prompted by treaty disclosures of offshore activities, and has represented numerous clients in federal tax audits, IRS appeals and trust fund recovery penalty cases. Michelle Ferreira and Bradley Marsh, both in San Francisco, are other key names to note. David Bunning has left the firm to become an administrative law judge at the New York City Tax Appeals Tribunal.

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