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United States > Industry focus > Energy transactions: conventional power > Law firm and leading lawyer rankings


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  1. Energy: transactions: conventional power
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Latham & Watkins LLPoffers a very high level of service across multi-disciplines’, with Los Angeles-based Jeffrey Greenberg singled out as ‘a top option for project finance deals’; Greenberg and New York-based Christopher Cross advised AES on a private placement, construction loan and liquidity facilities relating to the AES Southland Energy Project in Arizona and California. On the M&A side, recent big-ticket mandates include New York-based co-chair David Kurzweil acting for Energy Capital on the $17bn acquisition of Calpine. Other recommended practitioners in New York are Jonathan Rod, who has ‘unparalleled capital markets execution experience’, and Paul Kukish. Washington DC-based David Schwartz co-chairs the practice. Eli Hunt joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in March 2018.

Bracewell LLP’s deep New York offering is led by highly regarded co-chair John Klauberg, who is advising on a number of the largest M&A deals in the market; he, Frederick Lark and the ‘very responsive’ Elena Rubinov are assisting Hydro One with its $3.4bn acquisition of Avista. Also in New York, Ron Erlichman wins plaudits for his finance work. In Houston, key figures include co-chair Jessica Adkins, who specializes in hedging transactions, and ‘excellent negotiatorRyan Holcomb, who regularly handles M&A of generation assets for Rockland Power.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP’s predominantly Houston-based team continued to be highly active in the M&A space for utilities companies and private equity. Andrew Calder advised Energy Futures Holdings on its merger with a subsidiary of Sempra Energy, and the same lawyer together with Rhett Van Syoc acted for Blackstone Group and ArcLight on the $2.2bn acquisition of four Midwest power plants. Private equity specialist Shubi Arora joined from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

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.

From its New York office, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP handles a high volume of domestic and international finance deals for both lenders and borrowers. Co-chair Jonathan Green advised the institutional investors and commercial bank lenders on the $685m financing of the Carlsbad Energy Center in California; and global practice head

Daniel Bartfeld acted for Macquarie on the financing of a 907MW combined-cycle gas turbine power plant in Mexico. The team is also present in the M&A space, where names to note include the ‘terrific’ William Bice and co-chair Eric Silverman.

Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP provides ‘excellent tax advice on cutting edge issues’, with co-chair Keith Martin singled out as ‘an industry leader’. Of equal repute is co-chair Rohit Chaudhry, whose financing mandates included advising a consortium of lenders on the $2.3bn financing of the Southland repowering project in Southern California. Aside from Washington DC, where both named partners are based, the practice is also present in New York; Todd Alexander and Robert Eberhardt acted for the senior lenders on the $1.6bn financing of the Cricket Valley Energy Center in New York.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP’s diverse practice handles project development, finance and M&A for a range of IPPs, investment funds and Federal entities. In Houston, co-chair Blake Winburne is acting for LS Power on the $480m acquisition of two gas-fired peaking facilities in Pennsylvania and Ohio, while in New York, co-chair Tara Higgins advised GE Energy Financial Services on the sale of a partial stake in the CPV Towantic Energy Center in Connecticut. The other main contact is San Francisco-based co-chair Mark Weitzel.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP’s New York office continued to feature on big-ticket M&A, often with a private equity component. Highly rated practice head David Lieberman is part of a team advising Vistra Energy on its $20bn merger with Dynegy, while Brian Chisling is acting for American Electric Power on the $2.1bn sale of four power plants to a Blackstone and ArcLight joint venture. The team was also busy on bridge credit facilities and bond offerings for the likes of ITC Midwest.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP’s New York-based team handled a number of deals in Latin America, including Christopher Mann acting for Colbún on its offering of notes due 2027. In the US, the firm’s significant investment bank following ensures that the team regularly acts as financial adviser on big-ticket mergers; Joseph Frumkin and Audra Cohen are acting for Morgan Stanley on Dynegy’s $20bn merger with Vistra Energy, and Stephen Kotran is counsel to Goldman Sachs on Great Plains Energy’s merger with Westar Energy.

White & Case LLP enjoyed a strong year for public M&A with Gregory Pryor and Michael Deyong advising Sempra Energy on its $18.8bn acquisition of Energy Future Holdings, and Michael Shenberg is part of a team acting for Calpine on its $17bn sale to Energy Capital. The team is also highly active in the finance space where it acts for the likes of BNP Paribas. Additional contacts in the New York office are global practice head Art Scavone and Elena Millerman, while in Miami Christian Hansen is the name to note.

Baker Botts L.L.P. further developed its practice with a number of hires including

Mark Spivak, who joined the Washington DC office from Vinson & Elkins LLP. Other key figures in Washington DC are practice head Elaine Walsh, who advised Crius Energy on its agreement to acquire US Gas & Electric, and Jay Ryan who was active on various significant cross-border transmission projects for the likes of Blackstone Portfolio Companies. In New York, ‘very good lawyer’ William Lamb advised Westar Energy on its $12.2bn acquisition by Great Plains Energy.

From its New York office, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP handles a strong mix of M&A and financings for key client Berkshire Hathaway Energy and its subsidiaries; practice co-head Peter Hanlon advised the same client on its $18.1bn merger with Energy Future Holdings. The team also handles M&A for private equity, and in one example, practice co-head Nicholas Politan is advising The Carlyle Group on its acquisition of Essential Power. In Dallas, Robert Little was active in the insolvency space.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP’s predominantly Washington DC-based team advises on a broad range of transactions, including M&A, asset auctions, joint ventures, project financings, and major energy project developments. Key figures include global head of energy Lance Brasher, who is based in New York, and Michael Rogan; the latter was part of a team advising Dynegy on its $3.3bn acquisition of the US fossil portfolio of Engie. Also of note is Pankaj Sinha, who acted for Duke Energy on its multibillion-dollar sale of various businesses in Latin America.

At Vinson & Elkins LLP, Houston-based practice head Trina Chandler was highly active on a range of M&A mandates; as well as finalising Riverstone Holdings’ $5.2bn take-private of Talen Energy, Chandler also led a team that advised Tyr Energy on its acquisition of Hickory Run Energy. The practice is also present in New York, where Maritza Okata has expertise in M&A, private equity, and finance transactions.

Baker McKenzie LLP leverages off its impressive international client base to advise on a range of domestic and international projects. Chicago-based Global energy chair James O’Brien handled a number of matters for key client J-POWER USA, including assisting with its acquisition of 50% interests in two of Elwood Energy’s natural-gas-fired peaking facilities in Illinois. In the finance space, New York-based Clyde Rankin assisted Siemens Financial Services with the financing of various power projects in Argentina.

Eversheds Sutherland has a varied client base that takes in IPPs, private equity funds, electric cooperatives and, increasingly, investor-owned utilities. In the Atlanta office, practice co-head Thomas Warren was busy on a number of transmission projects, while global energy co-head Herbert Short advised Goldman Sachs as underwriter on the multibillion-dollar debt restructuring of Basin Electric Power and Tri-State Electric Cooperative. Ram Sunkara and Dorothy Black Franzoni jointly head the team.

At Jones Day, Washington DC-based Gerald Farano and Danielle Varnell regularly handle generation asset purchases and sales for clients such as NRG Energy. South Carolina Electric & Gas Company and OGE Energy are also clients. Houston-based Jeffrey Schlegel heads the team.

At McGuireWoods LLP, Richmond-based energy chair Joanne Katsantonis continued to assist key client Dominion Energy with significant M&A, including advising on the divestiture of its marketing and servicing home protection products and services division. The practice also has a presence in Baltimore, where names to note include Brian Kelly, who advised Tokyo Gas America on a joint venture to acquire the 635MW Empire Generating Station in New York, and office managing partner Cecil Martin.

At Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, Boston-based deputy practice head Richard Filosa is ‘a leading choice’ for project finance. Filosa was also busy in the M&A space where he led a team that included Michael Müller in advising key client Ares EIF Management on the sale of its interest in the Pio Pico Energy Center in California. In other highlights, Marc Reardon (also in Boston) acted for Advanced Power and Cricket Valley Energy Center on the development and financing of an electric generating facility in New York. New York-based James Tynion heads the practice.

In Paul Hastings LLP’s New York office, Robert Leung and Mike Huang handle a broad portfolio of M&A, development and financing work in Latin America. The practice is led from Washington DC by William DeGrandis, whose domestic mandates included advising GridLiance West Transco on its acquisition of $200m of transmission assets from Valley Electric Association.

In 2017 Shearman & Sterling LLP was kepy busy handling a high volume of development and finance remits in Latin America, including New York-based Gregory Tan acting for Y-GEN Eléctrica and Y-GEN II Eléctrica on the financing for the construction of two gas-fired power stations in Argentina. Domestic work included DC-based practice co-head Patricia Hammes acting for the lenders on Helix Generation’s $2.2bn acquisition of 3,950MW of generation resources. New York-based Robert Freedman jointly heads the practice.

Allen & Overy LLP enters the rankings on the back of its international finance work; Washington DC-based Sami Mir is advising lenders on a number of projects, including assisting Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) with the financing of the Qua Iboe combined-cycle gas-fired power plant and associated transmission line in Nigeria. In the domestic market, New York-based co-head Kent Rowey acted for Axium Infrastructure and Engie North America on their successful bid for the long-term lease and concession of The Ohio State University’s utility system. Washington DC-based David Slade jointly heads the practice.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP often features on Latin American mandates and in one example Richard Cooper and Adam Brenneman are acting for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority on the negotiation of potential independent power projects. Capital markets specialists Jeffrey Karpf and Jorge Juantorena are also names to note in the New York-based practice.

At DLA Piper LLP (US), New York-based global energy head Joseph Tato and Washington DC-based Gregory Smith focus on international work; Smith is advising OPIC and CDC Investment Works on the financing for a 50MW gas-fired power project in Guinea. In the domestic market, Washington DC-based Timothy Moran assisted Exelon Generation with the restructuring of its power projects in Texas.

Dentons’ workload includes advising municipals on project issues relating to smart cities, as well as assisting electric co-operatives and utility companies such as Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association with M&A. Washington DC-based global energy head Clinton Vince and LA-based Carl Steen were both active.

At Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, Houston-based Mark Thurber was highly active in the development, financing and sale of power projects, both in the US and in Latin America; Thurber acted for Energia del Caribe on the development of a natural gas power plant in Mexico, and also assisted Emberclear with the sale of a 110MW development-stage gas-fired power plant in Pennsylvania. Houston-based practice head Timothy Unger and Washington DC-based Vera Rechsteiner are additional contacts.

K&L Gates has particular experience in advising electricity companies such as Duke Energy on the construction and operation and maintenance contracts for power projects. In Seattle, practice co-head David Hattery assisted Allete with its drafting of project documentation including the master turbine agreement and forms of turbine purchase. Additional contacts include Eric Freedman (also in Seattle), and Washington DC-based William Keyser, who jointly heads the practice.

Reed Smith LLP handles M&A and project finance for a wide-ranging client base that takes in municipals, international utilities companies, IPPs and equity investors. Key contacts include Houston-based Craig Enochs and Pittsburgh-based Nicolle Snyder Bagnell -

Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP’s New York-based team continued to be highly active in the acquisition of utilities assets for key client JPMorgan Infrastructure Investments Fund. In the finance space, practice head Richard Madris advised MUFG Union Bank on the refinancing of a syndicated credit facility for a portfolio of gas-fired power plants in California owned by GWF Energy.

Industry knowledge is second to none’ at Winston & Strawn LLP where the team regularly acts for IPPs such as NRG Energy and Capital Power; in the New York office Jonathan Birenbaum and newly promoted partner Tara Greenberg advised the latter-named client on its $441m acquisition of Decatur Energy Center. Additional contacts include Alan Hoffman (also in New York), who focuses on project finance, and San Francisco-based energy head Joseph Karp and Lisa Cottle. The practice was enhanced by a number of hires from Norton Rose Fulbright US LLP, including Washington DC-based Patrick Groomes and New York-based Michael Pikiel.

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