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Editorial

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  1. General commercial disputes
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Who Represents Who

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Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has a strong reputation for handling high-end, complex commercial litigation across various fields. Highlights in 2017 included Evan Chesler, David Marriott and David Greenwald’s representation of Alcon Laboratories in over 50 putative class actions which were centralized in Florida federal court concerning claims brought under the Sherman Act and antitrust and unfair competition laws; the same team also represented Alcon in Utah federal court and at the Tenth Circuit challenging the constitutionality of a state statute affecting contact lens manufacturers’ unilateral pricing policies. Personnel developments for the firm, which is well known for not hiring laterally, included the promotion of Rory Leraris to partner and the admission of Marriott to the American College of Trial Lawyers. Other key figures at the New York firm include J Wesley Earnhardt and Darin McAtee, who has significant trial expertise in state and federal courts and arbitration.

Trusted Advisor - with Finnegan

IP specialist Finnegan detail how their collaborative approach makes for a unique culture which is designed to allow them to work with clients in a way which is cognizant of the challenges facing all companies today.

Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP regularly has a hand in the most high-profile commercial disputes in the US market. Financial services disputes are a mainstay, and although the huge volume of work stemming from the 2008 financial crisis is winding down, the team’s prominence in this area ensures a steady flow of major cases. A case in point was Brian Weinstein’s representation of Morgan Stanley in a case before the New York Court of Appeals hinging on the ‘sole remedy’ provision in RMBS contracts. The firm’s litigators are well equipped to handle cases with high stakes; in a recent matter, Michael Carroll and Frances Bivens defended Albemale in a fraud and breach of contract case brought by Huntsman concerning the $1bn sale of a chemical business. Professional liability is another sweet spot and the firm is regularly engaged by law firms and accounting firms; Paul Spagnoletti is a key contact in this area. Benjamin Kaminetzky’s practice takes in commercial disputes and bankruptcy litigation.

The ‘very business-orientedDebevoise & Plimpton LLP is a strong brand in the market. The team has a broad commercial litigation practice and is adept at handling domestic and cross-border disputes; though its US lawyers are concentrated in New York and Washington DC, the team regularly handles litigation across the length and breadth of the country. Healthcare litigation is a particular strength; for key client Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), Maura Monaghan has been handling class action lawsuits in Missouri, Florida and California. Insurance is another sector focus, where recent highlights included Maeve O’Connor’s representation of a group of defendants in one of the closely watched ‘shadow insurance’ lawsuits brought by private plaintiffs. Other leading litigators in the department include Shannon Rose Selden, Mark Goodman - who chairs the group alongside Monaghan - and Jyotin Hamid, who is praised for his ‘very practical approach to problem solving’. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP’s highly regarded litigators have vast trial experience and include many former high-ranking prosecutors. The already sizable team saw further growth in 2016 and 2017. In a headline-hitting civil fraud case in which the SEC had sought a lifetime bar and the largest individual disgorgement in the history of SEC administrative proceedings, New York-based Randy Mastro successfully represented Lynn Tilton, winning a complete dismissal in September 2017. Another recent success came in the form of a Fifth Circuit victory on behalf of Delta Air Lines, where the court affirmed a preliminary injunction preserving the airline’s right to continue operating at Dallas Love Field airport; Dallas-based Robert Walters and William Dawson were the lead lawyers. Theodore Boutrous jointly chairs the group from Los Angeles. Orin Snyder, Reed Brodsky and Mylan Denerstein are among the other key litigators in New York. In February 2018, former CIA general counsel Caroline Krass left the firm’s Washington DC office take up the position of senior vice president and general counsel, general insurance, as well as deputy general counsel at AIG.

Among the best for highly complex and potentially "bet the company" legal issues’, Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s litigation team is ‘client-oriented, creative and smart’. With 500 attorneys in the litigation practice firmwide, it is one of the largest groups in the market. Of particular note is the team’s broad experience in state and federal courts - including at appellate level - and in arbitration proceedings. A team that includes Mark Filip, Donna Welch, Leslie Smith and Jennifer Levy is representing Allergan in the closely watched opioids investigations, which span state and federal governmental investigations, congressional inquiries and civil lawsuits. Elsewhere, James Hurst and Andrew Kassof secured a victory for Abbott Laboratories in a False Claims Act (FCA) jury trial in the Northern District of Texas, which was affirmed by the Fifth Circuit in May 2017. Richard Godfrey is a ‘brilliant class action lawyer’. Andrew McGaan and Washington DC-based Eugene Assaf are also recommended. Above-named partners are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated. In April 2018, star litigator Sandra Goldstein joined from Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP.

The ‘knowledgeable and thorough’ New York-based team at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP is well versed in high-profile controversies and investigations which gain nationwide attention. In 2017, such engagements included acting as lead counsel to 21st Century Fox in the internal investigation of claims against former Fox News CEO Roger Ailes by female colleagues, and the investigation of claims related to former Fox News TV personality Bill O’Reilly; the legal team included Lynn Bayard, David Brown, Michele Hirshman, Daniel Kramer, and veteran litigator Theodore Wells. Other clients include Deutsche Bank, ExxonMobil and the NFL. Jay Cohen is noted for his ‘good instincts and good judgment’. Jack Baughman, Jaren Janghorbani, firm chairman Brad Karp and litigation co-chair Michael Gertzman are names to note.

Litigation firm Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP has a superb reputation for its advocacy in complex litigation on behalf of both defendants and plaintiffs. IP litigation is among the firm’s best known strengths and, in January 2018, the firm looked to build upon this reputation by announcing the opening of a new office in Boston with a focus on IP. Patrick Curran4, who is transferring to the Boston office from New York, is a key contact. San Francisco-based Charles Verhoeven is leading a case on behalf of Alphabet’s self-driving car company Waymo in a trade secrets and patent infringement case against Uber. Also among the firm’s top litigators are Christopher Tayback, A William Urquhart and John Quinn in Los Angeles, William Burck, who splits his time between New York and Washington DC, and New York-based Kathleen Sullivan, who has a notable appellate practice.

Uniformly excellent in all respects’, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP acts for household-name companies from various industries, including Pfizer and Travelers. Another high-profile client is Twitter, which practice co-chair Jonathan Youngwood and Palo Alto-based James Kreissman have been representing in a consolidated securities fraud class action and related derivative action in the Northern District of California. In 2017, the arrival of John Terzaken from Allen & Overy LLP further bolstered the firm’s antitrust litigation practice, and the hire of Michael Osnato from the SEC served to reinforce its government investigations and litigation practice. Stephen Cutler joined from JPMorgan Chase in 2018. In other developments, Linton Mann III, Washington DC-based Abram Ellis and Palo Alto-based Stephen Blake were promoted to partner. Chet Kronenberg in Los Angeles, Mary Beth Forshaw and Lynn Neuner are ‘highly experienced, strategic and client-focused lawyers’. Paul Curnin jointly chairs the practice. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

Top-tier’ firm Sullivan & Cromwell LLPprovides excellent representation technically, while also taking a pragmatic approach’. The litigation department had another outstanding year, with highlights including its work as national coordinating counsel for Volkswagen in a host of litigation and investigations arising out of the emissions scandal; Robert Giuffra and Sharon Nelles had leading roles. In another significant case, Garrard Beeney obtained an $814.9m arbitration award for client BlackBerry in a dispute with Qualcomm, representing one of the highest commercial arbitration awards on record. Renata Hesse, formerly the head of the antitrust division at the Department of Justice, joined the Washington DC office in 2017. David Tulchin is recommended. Other distinguished litigators at the firm include David Braff and Richard Pepperman II; Thomas White is another lawyer making his mark in the team. Above-named partners are based in New York unless otherwise stated.

Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLPstands very strong’ in the US litigation market. The team remained busy throughout 2017 and was on track for another solid year in 2018, with several cases set to go to trial. The firm distinguishes itself for having a large number of partners with significant trial experience; among the names to note are Diane Sullivan (who splits her time between New York and Princeton), David Lender, David Yohai and Miami-based ‘experienced partnerEdward Soto. Sullivan and Soto were part of a team that also included Princeton-based Allison Brown which represented Repsol in a dispute concerning the pollution of the Passaic River in New Jersey; after almost a decade of litigation, the team secured a successful close to the case in fall 2017. Elsewhere, Yehudah Buchweitz represented Showtime Networks in a breach of contract case against Charter Communications, which reached an amicable settlement in May 2017. Silicon Valley-based David Singh made partner in January 2017. Named attorneys are based in New York unless otherwise indicated.

Pre-eminent litigation firm Williams & Connolly LLP provides an ‘unparalleled service’ in complex commercial disputes. From its sole office in Washington DC, the partners handle breach of contract, securities, corporate and financial litigation - including disputes with billions of dollars at stake - in numerous jurisdictions throughout the country. The firm is acting as lead counsel to Cardinal Health in the sprawling opioids investigations and litigation; Enu Mainigi is the lead partner. In a significant victory for debt purchasers, Kannon Shanmugam successfully represented Santander before the US Supreme Court in a case which considered whether financial institutions which purchase consumer debt and then attempt to collect that debt are considered ‘debt collectors’ under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Nicholas Boyle is a ‘gifted business lawyer’ and Bryan Wilson is a ‘very creative litigator’. Robert Van Kirk and Dane Butswinkas jointly head the department.

The ‘very professional’ litigators at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLPthink strategically’ and have ‘excellent courtroom demeanor’. The firm has particular renown in the financial services space and has played a prominent role in the defense of financial institutions in litigation arising out of the Madoff fraud and bankruptcy. Most recently, Thomas Moloney led a team which secured the successful dismissal of claims against client HSBC brought by investors in Madoff feeder fund Hermes. BNP Paribas is another key client; a team including Jonathan Blackman, Lawrence Friedman and Carmine Boccuzzi have been defending the banking group in lawsuits brought after its guilty pleas to sanctions violations involving transactions with Iran, Sudan and Cuba in 2014. Jeffrey Rosenthal, Meredith Kotler and Rishi Zutshi are other key contacts. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Dechert LLP’s commercial litigation team is ‘highly responsive, well equipped and focused in its engagements’. In a significant move, Christina Guerola Sarchio joined the firm from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; she brings an exceptional class action practice and notable trial expertise, complementing the department’s already significant trial capabilities. In a high-profile engagement, Andrew Levander, Linda Goldstein and Nicolle Jacoby are representing Fox News Network in sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases. Other leading partners in the team include litigation chair Matthew Larrabee, cross-border insolvency expert Dennis Hranitzky, Los Angeles office managing partner William Oxley and Philadephia-based Steven Bizar, who is ‘uniquely skilled in his ability to address highly complex matters in a manner that is consumable by all interested parties’.

The sizable litigation group at Greenberg Traurig, LLP has significant geographic reach and litigates cases around the country. It is well versed in ‘bet the company’ disputes in diverse sectors, including healthcare, financial services and energy. A New Jersey-based team led by practice co-chair Philip Sellinger was retained to represent Marriott Ownership Resorts and several related entities in a putative class action that concerns timeshare resorts in 11 states. Houston-based Mary-Olga Lovett secured a complete victory for MotherRock in a case brought by certain investors alleging fraud, negligent misrepresentation and breach of fiduciary duty, among other claims. Alan Mansfield jointly chairs the practice from New York, where Richard Edlin is also based.

Jones Day’s extensive office network gives the firm significant geographic reach nationally and internationally. With a large team of litigators, the firm has the breadth and depth to handle any potential commercial dispute; particularly busy areas in 2017 included antitrust, consumer fraud, False Claims Act (FCA) and pharmaceutical litigation. In an illustration of the team’s trial prowess, it won a patent infringement jury verdict on behalf of Merck subsidiary Idenix Pharmaceuticals against Gilead; Atlanta-based Stephanie Parker led the team, which also included Anthony Insogna in San Diego and Cleveland-based Calvin Griffith. John Majoras, who splits his time between Washington DC and Columbus, heads the department with Parker, which has seen notable growth through lateral hires and internal promotions. In a significant move, Matthew Papez joined in Washington DC from Kirkland & Ellis LLP.

At ‘outstanding’ firm Mayer Brown, ‘the lawyers are all superb, with great depth, including at the associate level’. The team has an impressive track record representing leading technology companies in antitrust, privacy and class action cases; Edward Johnson, Lee Rubin and Donald Falk in Palo Alto, the ‘very professional’ John Nadolenco in Los Angeles and New York-based Lauren Goldman have been taking key roles in such high-stakes cases. The firm’s highly regarded appellate practice is another distinguishing feature. Key contacts in Washington DC include Reginald Goeke, ‘brilliant strategist and counselorEvan Tager and Archis Parasharami, who has a ‘calming presence’. Highly experienced litigator Lori Lightfoot is based in Chicago.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP stands out for the breadth of its commercial litigation capabilities. With litigators based on the East and West coasts, it has the scope to handle complex disputes on multiple fronts, affecting companies in various sectors of the economy. 2017 saw the team achieving a string of successes; for longstanding client Union Carbide, a cross-office team led by Morton Dubin and Kristen Fournier in New York and Orange County-based Khai LeQuang secured a major victory in asbestos-related litigation, receiving a jury verdict in the client’s favor. Other litigators who have obtained impressive results for clients recently include Richard Jacobsen and Peter Bicks in New York and Barry Levin, who splits his time between New York and San Francisco. Christina Guerola Sarchio moved to Dechert LLP.

Leading multinational companies and financial institutions turn to Paul Hastings LLP for representation in a diverse range of commercial litigation. Among the firm’s key US offices for litigation are New York, Chicago, Washington DC and Houston. Samuel Cooper is a key figure in Houston, where energy litigation is especially active. New York is the base for global litigation chair Barry Sher and global vice-chair of litigation Kurt Hansson. Leading litigators on the West Coast include Dennis Ellis in Los Angeles and John Phillips in San Francisco.

Proskauer Rose LLP has a ‘deep bench of talented partners who have strong analytical, brief writing and trial skills’. It distinguishes itself from others in the market through the breadth of its commercial litigation practice. Sports litigation is a standout area; clients in this space include major US sports leagues. In the closely followed talc litigation, Bart Williams and Manuel Cachán in Los Angeles secured a complete defense verdict for Johnson & Johnson in a jury trial in St Louis. In New York, Bradley Ruskin and Margaret Dale negotiated a settlement on behalf of T-Mobile in a dispute with Experian following a security breach in 2015. Employment litigation is another strength, where Elise Bloom is recommended. Timothy Mungovan is ‘thorough, detail-oriented and disciplined’ and Stephen Ratner is praised for his ‘excellent judgment and wisdom’. The highly experienced Brendan O’Rourke jointly heads the litigation practice.

Shearman & Sterling LLP excels in complex financial products litigation, though its client base extends beyond the financial services sector to include US and non-US companies in the healthcare, technology and automobile industries, among others. It also has experience representing high-ranking individuals. In a recent example, Adam Hakki and Jaculin Aaron represented former CEO and director of Providence Service Corporation Warren Rustand in shareholder derivative litigation. Deputy litigation head Richard Schwed has broad experience in state and federal courts and arbitration. Above-named partners are located in New York, which is the firm’s main base. In Washington DC, the firm hired several commercial and antitrust litigation specialists including Ryan Shores from Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP. Daniel Laguardia is a key contact in San Francisco.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP is widely recognized for its litigation prowess. Financial services sector disputes feature regularly at the firm; in a recent highlight, Boris Bershteyn secured an affirmance at the Second Circuit upholding a lower court’s dismissal of a putative class action against client JPMorgan Chase. In 2017, after several years litigating in state and federal courts, Lauren Aguiar and a team achieved a global settlement for client Fresh Del Monte Produce which reconfirms its rights to the well-known ‘Del Monte’ trademark. Also in New York are highly regarded litigator Jonathan Frank and Maura Barry Grinalds, whose practice takes in commercial and securities litigation and international arbitration.

White & Case LLP is recommended for its ‘outstanding expertise, responsiveness and devotion to its clients’ interests’. Its global litigation capabilities are a major draw for large companies with multinational operations, particularly in the technology sector. Bryan Merryman and Rachel Feldman in Los Angeles represented Time Warner Cable, Saveology.com and Elephant Group as defendants in a putative class action alleging violations of the California Invasion of Privacy Act that sought to recover over $1.85bn on behalf of the putative class. In New York, global chair of commercial litigation Glenn Kurtz and Douglas Baumstein are ‘top-notch partners’ and Washington DC-based international disputes specialist Claire DeLelle is ‘very calm and measured’. The firm bolstered its cybersecurity and national security practice with the hire of Steven Chabinsky in Washington DC from cybersecurity technology company CrowdStrike.

WilmerHale’s team of ‘very talented lawyers’ is noted for its ‘creative arguments’ and ‘terrific knowledge of the New York courts’. In addition to its work in New York, the group also has vast experience litigating cases in courts across the country, with recent cases spanning California, Texas, Arizona and Massachusetts, among others. New York practice head Charles Platt is the lead lawyer for Cigna in a nationwide breach of contract class action. ‘Great communicator’ Hallie Levin in New York has ‘excellent courtroom presence’. American College of Trial Lawyers fellow Howard Shapiro chairs the litigation department from Washington DC, and other accomplished litigators include Noah Levine in New York, John Butts in Boston and Washington DC-based David Ogden.

Extraordinary’ firm Winston & Strawn LLP receives accolades for its ‘excellent client service, strategic advice and execution’. The firm opened an additional Texas office in Dallas in 2017, expanding its presence in the state; the ‘simply excellent’ team there includes Steven Stodghill, Thomas Melsheimer and John Sanders. The firm’s roots are in Chicago, where many of its leading litigators are based, including co-chairs Stephen D’Amore and George Lombardi, though it has dispute resolution experts stationed in several key jurisdictions in the US. In June 2017, the team secured a major win for BPI in a defamation lawsuit against American Broadcasting Company; after several weeks of trial in South Dakota, the case settled. In Los Angeles, ‘smart and tireless litigatorGayle Jenkins is recommended.

In 2017, Arnold & Porter’s sizable team of litigators was kept busy on a high volume of jury and bench trials as well as arbitrations. The firm has established itself as a destination for high-profile companies in crisis incidents and has also established a good track record in the defense of class actions. In recent work, New York-based Michael Schissel represented CA Technologies in a trade secrets and breach of contract suit appealed to the Second Circuit. Kenneth Chernof in Washington DC and James Herschlein in New York chair the department.

Antitrust, securities, professional liability and insurance litigation are sweet spots for Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP, which is also renowned for its First Amendment practice. Highlights in the latter field included Joel Kurtzberg and senior counsel Floyd Abrams’s representation of Ocean Spray Cranberries in negotiations with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concerning the constitutionality of regulations on food labels. Herbert Washer heads the litigation department, and Tammy Roy and Jonathan Their are also noted. All named attorneys are based in New York.

Dentons’ extensive office network sees it litigating in various states across the country, while its cross-border capabilities allow it to handle commercial litigation with international elements. It achieved a significant victory for the Cowlitz Indian Tribe in a case before the District Court for the District of Columbia concerning the Department of the Interior’s ability to take land into trust for a tribe that was federally recognized after 1934; litigator Kenneth Pfaehler worked alongside Native American law expert Heather Sibbison. In ongoing matters, Chicago-based Natalie Spears and New York-based Sandra Hauser are representing Condé Nast in a consumer privacy class action filed in the Southern District of New York. Tami Lyn Azorsky heads the team. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC except where otherwise indicated.

Excellent litigation shopJenner & Block LLP is noted for its ‘superb judgment on strategy in large, contested litigation’. With its roots in the city, the firm is ‘very knowledgeable about the courts and judges in Chicago’, though it litigates complex cases throughout the country. Craig Martin led a team which represented Aon Hewitt in a professional liability suit brought by the University of California; after eight weeks of proceedings, the case was settled favorably during trial. In Los Angeles, Rick Richmond is a ‘superb trial counsel’; in Washington DC, Michael Lowman is a ‘seasoned and experienced counselor’. Ross Bricker, Joseph Gromacki and April Otterberg also receive praise. Above-mentioned partners are based in Chicago unless otherwise stated.

With a strong focus on high-stakes litigation, Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP is a ‘top-notch firm’ and is particularly well regarded for its private equity disputes practice. New York is home to many of the firm’s attorneys, though it also has accomplished litigators in San Francisco, Houston and elsewhere. In a dispute that has received considerable press attention, Mark Ressler is representing the State of Hawaii in a software implementation lawsuit filed against Ciber. In another closely watched case, ‘effective leaderMarc Kasowitz is defending AMC in an action concerning contingent compensation for The Walking Dead series. ‘Trusted adviser’ Paul O’Connor III has a ‘very international practice, which gives him an unusually good ability to see the different angles to a case’. Jennifer Recine and Michael Bowe are ‘stellar lawyers’, each possessing ‘extraordinary insight, thoroughness and fantastic oral advocacy’.

King & Spalding LLP is active in litigation in various forums, including trial and appellate courts, and before government agencies and regulatory bodies. Its broad practice sees it handling litigation across the country, including cases with cross-border elements. In the fallout of a cybersecurity incident that attracted significant media attention, Equifax retained the firm, led by Atlanta-based Phyllis Sumner, to represent it in an array of consumer class actions, congressional hearings and investigations. In professional malpractice disputes, it is a ‘go-to firm’; recommended partners James Cusick and James Capra are experts in this field. Former US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois Zachary Fardon joined in 2017 to head the firm’s new Chicago office. Richard Marooney’s practice takes in business litigation in the energy, accounting and financial services industries, among others. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

Among the highly experienced attorneys at New York-headquartered Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP are former federal prosecutors, teachers at leading law schools and fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers. In February 2017, Philip Kaufman secured a victory for client Elizabeth Elting, co-founder and co-CEO of TransPerfect Global, when the Delaware Supreme Court upheld the Court of Chancery’s decision ordering the sale of the company and awarding the client $7.1m in legal fees and expenses. Daniel Goldman is another key figure in the team, having won several high-profile cases on behalf of clients in recent years. Barry Berke and Gary Naftalis lead the team, which also includes accomplished litigator Kerri Ann Law and recommended partner Alan Friedman.

Latham & Watkins LLP’s ‘ability and willingness to step in to assist on such a wide range of issues is one of the features which sets the firm apart’. The ‘quick’ and ‘high-quality’ team is well known for its trial and litigation prowess and high-profile clients. ‘Good communicatorChristopher Harris in New York is ‘able to achieve good results’; he chairs the practice alongside Sean Berkowitz in Chicago and Jake Ryan in San Diego. The department saw continued growth throughout 2017; key hires included Leslie Caldwell and Elizabeth Deeley in San Francisco from the DOJ and Kirkland & Ellis LLP respectively and former deputy white house counsel Nicholas McQuaid in New York. Century City-based Laura Washington made partner in 2018. Jeff Hammel (New York) and Peter Wald (San Francisco) are also recommended.

High-profile clients choose Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP for representation in complex commercial litigation. It is particularly active in the financial services and insurance fields, where clients include Credit Suisse, Citigroup and AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company. For Hartford Funds, Sean Murphy and Robert Hora secured a significant victory at the District Court of New Jersey in a mutual fund ‘excessive fee’ lawsuit brought against the client. In personnel developments, former chief of the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force Katherine Goldstein joined in 2017. Rising stars in the team include Atara Miller and Jed Schwartz. Among the department’s highest-profile litigators are Daniel Perry, George Canellos and Scott Edelman. All named attorneys are based in New York.

The ‘top professionals’ at Reed Smith LLP are ‘responsive, experienced and thorough’. The sheer size of the firm’s litigation department - which includes a high number of litigators in the US as well as internationally - gives it an edge, allowing it to handle a broad number of disputes arising in various jurisdictions in the US and abroad. The firm’s international profile and footprint attracts a number of multinational clients, including leading companies in the food and beverage, healthcare and TMT sectors. Miami-based Ed Mullins, Philadelphia-based Thomas Suddath, and Christopher Healy and Steven Cooper in New York are recommended. Peter Ellis in Chicago chairs the complex litigation group, which also includes Carolyn Short and Wayne Stansfield in Philadelphia.

The ‘very professional, responsive and accessible’ litigation group at Steptoe & Johnson LLP expanded significantly in 2018, adding a seven-lawyer team in San Francisco from Sedgwick LLP led by class action specialist Stephanie Sheridan; and in 2017, American College of Trial Lawyers fellow Joe Caldwell joined the Washington DC office. The firm’s judgment enforcement team is highly regarded and partners Michael Baratz and Steven Davidson are key figures in this space. Other partners receiving praise are ‘excellent trial lawyers’ Reid Weingarten and New York-based Michael Miller, the ‘thoughtful and dependable’ John Frey in Chicago, as well as Filiberto Agusti, Brigida Benitez and Phoenix-based Karl Tilleman. Named attorneys are based in Washington DC except where otherwise indicated.

Pre-eminent litigation firm Susman Godfrey LLP is ‘in a category of excellence far superior to hundreds of other firms’. The ‘dedicated team’ is hailed for its trial capabilities and ‘truly prepares for trial’, according to clients. In a trial challenging Harris County’s bail system for people arrested for low-level offenses, Neal Manne represented plaintiffs pro bono along with Civil Rights Corps and the Texas Fair Defense Project; in a precedent-setting decision, a Houston federal judge struck down the Texas county’s bail system. Other clients include Chevron, Amazon.com and Walmart. In Houston, Stephen Susman, Justin Nelson, Alexandra White, Max Tribble and Brian Melton are recommended. In New York, Arun Subramanian is a rising star.

Shareholder, M&A, financial and securities litigation are the standout areas at New York-based Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. Thanks to its consistent track record in the area, the team is a prominent name for corporate governance and takeover cases. Jonathan Moses and William Savitt head the litigation department, which is regularly called upon by financial services and corporate clients in high-stakes cases, with the values in dispute often exceeding the $1bn mark. Other key figures in the department include Carrie Reilly, Stephen DiPrima and John Savarese.

Allen & Overy LLP excels in complex disputes with cross-border elements. The firm bolstered its litigation and investigations practice in 2017 with the hires of former Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP partners Gregory Mocek and Anthony Mansfield in Washington DC as well as Eugene Ingoglia from Morvillo Abramowitz Grand Iason & Anello P.C.. In recent highlights, Pamela Chepiga secured the dismissal of claims brought by a Curacao-based company against client Deutsche Bank. Jacob Pultman leads the team, which also includes Michael Feldberg. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

Bracewell LLP is notable for its prowess in energy-sector litigation, though its commercial dispute capabilities extend to various industries. 2017 was another steady year for the practice; highlights among its substantial case list include its representation of BMC Software in a case against IBM concerning highly sophisticated software products; Sean Gorman and Christopher Dodson are leading the case, which is ongoing. In an illustration of the firm’s strength and reputation in Texas, Gorman was retained by the City of Houston in a breach of contract and fraudulent inducement case against Genuine Parts Company. Andrew Zeve is also recommended. Stephen Crain is the firm’s litigation chair. All named attorneys are based in Houston.

Gibbs & Bruns LLP provides a ‘consistently outstanding level of service’ and ‘does a particularly effective job of communicating with its clients, even when those clients are part of a large group’. With its roots in Houston, the firm has a pre-eminent reputation in energy litigation, though its strength in general commercial litigation sees it taking on cases in forums throughout the country. The firm also stands out for its trial work. A team including Mark Giugliano, Anthony Kaim and Jeffrey Kubin has been representing Chevron in a dispute arising out of its withdrawal from ownership of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System; the team has obtained a string of successes for Chevron in the case, which is now pending a petition for review with the Texas Supreme Court. Other notable litigators include founding partner Robin Gibbs, Scott Humphries, Aundrea Gulley and ‘star partnerKathy Patrick.

Hogan Lovells US LLP excels in class actions and multidistrict litigation (MDL). For key client Anthem, the team secured a victory before the Connecticut Supreme Court in a class action trial in 2016; it also defended Anthem and its affiliates in a consolidated MDL arising out of a major cyberattack; Washington-DC based Craig Hoover and Desmond Hogan led on both cases. In a demonstration of its strong Latin America practice, the team was retained to represent IBM México in a $4.5bn dispute pending in the Southern District of New York against Iusacell; Daniel González and Richard Lorenzo are the lead partners. Houston-based Maria Wyckoff Boyce receives strong praise.

Noted for its ‘swift and strategic advice’, K&L Gates has an impressive trial record. It is particularly adept in IP, insurance and environmental disputes, though its broad commercial litigation practice sees it handling a diverse range of cases for clients in various industries. The firm’s headquarters are in Pittsburgh, where Carolyn Branthoover, Thomas Birsic, Nicholas Ranjan and Patrick McElhinny are based. Other key hubs include Seattle, Boston, Newark and Los Angeles. From the latter office, Timothy Pierce is representing Kadena Pacific in a dispute arising out of a contract for a medical facility project; the case is against Global Modular and its insurer, which have filed a petition for review at the California Supreme Court.

California, Illinois and Florida are key hubs for McDermott Will & Emery LLP, which has added new litigators across its network, including Michael Austin and Eliot Burriss - both formerly at DLA Piper LLP (US) -in Miami and Dallas respectively. Healthcare litigation is a mainstay; highlights in 2017 included Los Angeles-based Charles Weir representing St. Joseph’s Health in litigation with Meritage Medical Network concerning the former’s physician network. In the high-profile concussion cases, Chicago-based William Schuman is acting as Illinois counsel to the NFL. Los Angeles-based Russell Hayman and Jon Dean are recommended.

The lawyers at ‘first-rate firmMorgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP are noted for their ‘highly collaborative working’ and ‘creative solutions to complex issues’. Among a string of successes for the firm in 2017, Gregory Parks and Ezra Church represented Aramark at the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which granted the motion to dismiss a class action alleging violations of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. New York-based Susan DiCicco heads the department. Michelle Pector, who has a strong profile in technology, energy and healthcare litigation, joined the Houston office in 2017 from Baker & Hostetler LLP. Co-head of the New York litigation practice Michael Kraut is ‘adept in navigating difficult issues with adverse counterparties’; ‘go-to trial lawyer’ Troy Brown in Philadelphia ‘is in an elite class of attorneys’.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP’s merger with Chadbourne & Parke LLP in 2017 further cemented its extensive litigation capabilities. The combined firm has a long history of litigation and trial work and continues to be retained by clients in high-stakes disputes. Energy, sports, technology, and healthcare and life sciences are among the firm’s sweet spots. A team of Houston litigators led by Layne Kruse obtained summary judgment for client Robert Bosch Tool Corporation in an antitrust conspiracy case. From the Dallas office, Richard Krumholz and Beau Cox - who was made partner in 2018 - have been representing Freeman Resources in long-running litigation concerning a 2008 transaction with Chesapeake. Among the firm’s best known litigators are Austin-based M Scott Incerto as well as Thomas McCormack and Thomas Hall in New York.

A ‘go-to’ firm for complex commercial litigation, O'Melveny & Myers LLP is ‘consistently responsive and reliable’. 2017 was a busy year for the team, which handled a range of disputes spanning insurance, antitrust, bankruptcy and healthcare, among others. In a headline-making case, it was retained as lead trial counsel to defend AT&T’s $84.5bn acquisition of Time Warner in an antitrust lawsuit brought by the DOJ; Daniel Petrocelli is leading on this matter, with Randall Oppenheimer and Washington DC-based Katrina Robson also playing key roles. Richard Goetz co-chairs the litigation practice alongside Oppenheimer; other key litigators include Dawn Sestito and Sabrina Strong. Named attorneys are based in Los Angeles except where otherwise indicated.

Ropes & Gray LLP is notable for its track record in litigation for private equity firms. Healthcare litigation is another standout area; in one recent highlight, a cross-office and cross-practice team represented American Kidney Fund in a litigation effort against the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services concerning an interim final rule enacted that would impact on dialysis patients and providers; the Eastern District of Texas granted a preliminary injunction freezing the rule indefinitely; Jeffrey Bushofsky in Chicago and Timothy McCrystal in Boston were the lead partners. Jane Willis and Gregg Weiner head the commercial litigation group from Boston and New York respectively; New York-based Robert Fischler is also recommended.

Standout areas at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP include real estate litigation, investment fund and private equity disputes, shareholder activism and antitrust litigation. Other leading law firms also turn to the team for representation in complex commercial disputes. Robert Abrahams obtained a favorable decision for Springer Science + Business Media in litigation concerning its US headquarters. Elsewhere, Robert Ward has been representing three private equity firms in breach of fiduciary duty claims against another private equity house in the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, Third Circuit and Delaware Chancery Court. Michael Swartz is another key contact. Named attorneys are based in New York.

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP has a broad commercial litigation practice that sees it taking on insurance disputes, consumer class actions, employment disputes and real estate litigation, among others. Highlights among its extensive recent caseload include Miami-based Laura Besvinick successfully representing ZTE USA and its Chinese parent corporation; following a victory in international arbitration, Besvinick went on to obtain wins at the Ninth Circuit, Eleventh Circuit and the Eastern District of Washington. Elsewhere, James Bernard obtained the dismissal of a federal securities lawsuit brought against client Grant Thornton International. The department is led by Charles Moerdler and Alan Klinger. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

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.

Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP is notable for its trial expertise. From its offices in Denver and Chicago, the team handles high-stakes litigation across the country. Jeffrey Hall represented Elliott Associates and other hedge funds in litigation against AbbVie arising out of the aborted acquisition of Shire, and Mark Levine acted as co-lead trial counsel to DuPont in patent litigation against Unifrax in which DuPont won a multimillion-dollar jury verdict. Adam Hoeflich, Sean Gallagher and Philip Beck are other key names in the team. All named attorneys are based in Chicago.

Excellent commercial litigation boutiqueCohen & Gresser LLP is ‘easily a match for the big firms’ and has a ‘business model which enables it to take on a variety of matters in a cost-effective manner’. Nathaniel Read ‘rolls his sleeves up and gets fully involved while keeping his eye firmly on the bigger picture’; Daniel Tabak is ‘a tenacious advocate but also an able negotiator’. The ‘superb’ Melissa Maxman is highly recommended; Maxman is the managing partner of the Washington DC office, which handles a range of antitrust and commercial litigation. Lawrence Gresser and Mark Cohen are the co-founders of the firm. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

Cooley LLP has extensive technology litigation expertise and is regularly sought out by leading TMT companies for representation in complex disputes. It had another successful year in 2017. Among its victories, Angela Dunning and Jessica Valenzuela Santamaria in Palo Alto represented Blurb in a copyright suit brought by PETA concerning the well-known series of photos known as the ‘monkey selfies’ taken by a crested macaque; PETA appealed the dismissal of the suit to the Ninth Circuit, after which a settlement was reached. San Diego-based Steve Strauss obtained a complete victory for client Rancho Valencia Resort Partners in a private nuisance and tort dispute.

A high proportion of Crowell & Moring LLP’s lawyers are focused on litigation. With an extensive office network in California as well as offices in New York and Washington DC, the firm is active in litigation nationwide. It is particularly renowned in healthcare litigation; in recent work, a cross-office team represented eight Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies in an antitrust MDL. Washington DC-based Mark Klapow and Los Angeles-based Jennifer Romano head the practice, which expanded in 2017 with the hires of Valerie Goo and Kent Goss in Los Angeles and IP and cybersecurity expert Gabriel Ramsey in San Francisco from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP.

Eversheds Sutherlandprovides the highest level of service’ and ‘its advice is always thoughtful’. Education and insurance litigation are mainstays at the firm; clients include Connecticut Hospital Association and the State of Florida. For the latter, Rocco Testani has been acting as lead counsel on a constitutional challenge to Florida’s K-12 public school system, which is pending before Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. Professional liability litigation is another strength, where Amelia Toy Rudolph is a key contact. Co-practice head Thomas Curvin and counsel Valerie Sanders are recommended. Above-named partners are based in Atlanta.

The ‘astute, highly responsive and knowledgeable’ team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP provides a ‘fantastic level of service’. Its US attorneys are based in New York and Washington DC, from where they handle a range of antitrust, M&A, bankruptcy and securities litigation, often with cross-border elements. Among Linda Martin’s extensive caseload in 2017 was her successful representation of KLX Inc and its CEO and CFO in a securities fraud class action in the Southern District of Florida; the court granted the motion to dismiss with prejudice. Timothy Harknessis exceptionally bright and a real expert in litigation strategy’. Senior associate David Livshiz also receives praise.

Herrick, Feinstein LLP has extensive experience in the New York state courts and also practices in New Jersey and before federal courts. It has a particularly strong reputation for high-stakes real estate litigation, but other areas of strength include employment litigation, where Carol Goodman has an active practice, and art law and recovery, where Lawrence Kaye is a key player. Therese Doherty moved to Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. in 2017. Ronald Levine co-chairs the department alongside Goodman.

Litigation- and investigation-focused firm Kobre & Kim shines in multi-jurisdictional disputes, often involving multiple proceedings in several countries. Fraud and insolvency disputes are particular sweet spots. New York and Miami are key hubs in the US; its litigators in these offices work in close collaboration with the firm’s lawyers overseas. A cross-border team including co-founder Steven Kobre and Robin Rathmell has been representing Chevron in global litigation and enforcement strategy against companies accused of funding and supporting fraud against the client. Co-founder Michael Kim is highly experienced in government investigations, asset forfeiture and recovery and bankruptcy.

Multinational financial institutions often turn to the litigation team at Linklaters LLP to resolve complex cross-border disputes. New York-based James Warnot and a team is representing Société Generale in several class actions relating to the sprawling foreign exchange benchmark rates litigation. Elsewhere, dispute resolution head Adam Lurie (New York and Washington DC) is acting for Holtec International in a cross-border defamation and tortious interference suit filed by an Italian company. Warnot, Lurie and New York-based counsel Brenda DiLuigi are representing Stillwater Mining Company in an appraisal action brought by dissenting shareholders following the merger between Stillwater and Thor Mergco.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP has numerous offices in California and New York, and is well equipped to handle cases filed in these key jurisdictions in particular. The firm also has several notable litigators in Chicago, particularly with financial services litigation expertise; Richard Gottlieb - who splits his time between Chicago and Los Angeles - is a key figure in this field. In a high-profile case, Los Angeles-based Matt Kanny and Washington DC-based Benjamin Chew are representing Johnny Depp in a lawsuit against his former business managers alleging professional negligence, breach of fiduciary duty and fraud. Other areas of strength include patent litigation and appellate work.

The ‘professional’ team at McGuireWoods LLP had a standout year in 2017, securing several victories for its clients in litigation concerning product liability, environmental law, RICO actions and a host of breach of contract disputes. Healthcare and financial services are key sector strengths. For one financial institution, Pittsburgh-based Issac deVyver recently defeated a motion to certify a putative class action lawsuit. Financial services and fintech specialist David Reidy7 in San Francisco is ‘a master of his craft’. Other key names in the sizable team include Cheryl Haas in Atlanta and Bryan Fratkin in Richmond.

Michelman & Robinson, LLP has a strong presence in California, with litigators based in its Orange County, Los Angeles and San Francisco offices. The team continues to handle a number of consumer class actions, particularly those involving alleged violations of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. Los Angeles-based Sanford Michelman is representing Outcome Health in opposing class certification of one such case. Insurance litigation is another focus area, where Todd Stitt and Mona Hanna have substantial experience. Jeffrey Farrow is another key contact. Named attorneys are based in Orange County except where otherwise indicated.

Top-notch’ litigation firm MoloLamken LLP has seen significant growth since its establishment in 2009, driven by expanding demands from clients, which include major corporations and high-profile individuals. In recent developments, former federal prosecutor Megan Cunniff Church joined the Chicago office and international arbitration expert Rémy Gerbay joined in New York from London’s Enyo Law LLP. The highly regarded Steven Molo led a New York team that included Robert Kry and Jessica Ortiz in representing two Teva subsidiaries in a fraud and breach of contract case concerning a $2.3bn acquisition of a Mexican pharmaceutical company. Co-founding partner Jeffrey Lamken is based in Washington DC.

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, LLP has a broad and busy commercial litigation practice. The firm saw significant growth in 2017, opening a new Miami office with six former Boies Schiller Flexner LLP attorneys. Markenzy Lapointe, who joined the office at a later date from the same firm, comes highly recommended. In other developments, securities litigator David Lisi joined in Silicon Valley from Greenberg Traurig, LLP. Kenneth Taber in New York and Kirke Hasson in San Francisco are key names in the department.

The ‘extremely client service-oriented, extraordinarily smart and hardworking’ litigators at Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLPare strategic and tactical and give thoughtful and practical advice’. The firm has a strong reputation in the financial services sector, where clients include banks, hedge funds, broker-dealers and insurance companies, among others. Steven Paradise successfully defended Carrera Holdings and Carrera SpA before the New York Supreme Court in a case against plaintiff International Finance Corporation. Shari Brandt is ‘a stellar attorney’. H Rowan Gaither and Jeffrey Lehtman head the practice from New York and Washington DC respectively.

Sullivan & Worcester LLP provides an ‘excellent’ service, particularly in cross-border litigation and investigations. Gerald Silver heads the department, which is equipped to handle a range of litigation concerning securities, real estate, art law, professional liability and other areas. Highlights include the ongoing representation of Comcast in approximately 15 False Claims Act cases; Laura Steinberg in Boston is the lead partner. The team is also active in the financial services space, where clients include Credit Suisse and American Financial Resources. Franklin Velie and Jonathan Kortmansky receive praise. Named attorneys are based in New York except where otherwise indicated.

Thompson & Knight LLP is highlighted for its ‘deep knowledge’, ‘excellent service’ and ‘exceptional value’. With a long history and four offices in the state, Texas is the firm’s key market, though it handles cases in forums across the country. Of particular note is the firm’s trial expertise; in a recent case, a team co-led by Dallas-based Robert Vartabedian prevailed before the Texas Supreme Court on behalf of BP America in a case brought by Red Deer concerning whether a lease produced in paying quantities. Greg Curry heads the practice from Dallas, where key lawyers Jennifer Rudenick Ecklund and Nicole Williams are also based.

Vinson & Elkins LLP demonstrates ‘a thorough understanding of the business realities’. The Houston-headquartered firm maintains a prominent position for energy litigation, though the breadth of its commercial litigation capabilities is notable. In a recent highlight, Jim Thompson and Phillip Dye secured a victory for client Antero Resources Corp when a Colorado federal jury awarded it just over $60m in a breach of contract case against a New Jersey company. Dallas-based Matthew Moransees the big picture from a business standpoint and is excellent at navigating towards the best possible outcome’.

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