Sidley Austin LLP > New York, United States > Firm Profile

Sidley Austin LLP
NEW YORK, NY 10019
United States

M&A/corporate and commercial > Shareholder activism Tier 1

Clients appreciate the ‘extremely nuanced‘ advice from the team at Sidley Austin LLP, which handles the gamut of shareholder activism matters for board members. One client dubs leadership duo Kai Liekefett and Derek Zabatwo of the best lawyers in America‘, lauded for ‘their ability to see around all dangerous corners and guide corporate strategy to the most successful outcome‘. Liekefett is based in New York and focuses exclusively on shareholder activism and takeover defense. In two decades of practice, he has worked in the UK, Germany, Hong Kong, and Japan, and is one of the most prolific advisors on proxy contests, including a high percentage of the market’s late-stage contests. Zaba, who is based at the Palo Alto office, also fully dedicates his practice to shareholder activism and has quickly established himself as one of the go-to lawyers in the field. Beth Berg (Chicago) is a senior figure with broad corporate law expertise, younger partners Leonard Wood (Houston) and Jessica Wood (New York) are also active in the shareholder activism space, and the New York office was further bolstered in January 2024 by the promotion to partner of Reuben Zaramian, who focuses on shareholder activism and corporate governance.

Practice head(s):

Kai Liekefett; Derek Zaba


‘Kai Liekefett and Derek Zaba are two of the best lawyers in America. Not only because of their knowledge of the law as it relates to shareholder activism, but also because their ability to see around all dangerous corners and guide corporate strategy to the most successful outcome is second to none.’

‘The advice from the Sidley team in managing shareholder activism issues is extremely nuanced, and their communications with me, other executive officers, and directors are top-notch: very responsive, at the appropriate level of detail, and delivered always with an eye toward the specific business issues we are facing and how that impacts both the advice and the timing of actions.’

‘Derek Zaba and Leonard Wood are very responsive and also helpful in creating a record of board action in case the activists take us down a different path than the one we’re trying to follow. They always have an eye toward anticipating litigation and a potential full-on proxy fight, while trying to avoid those outcomes.’

‘High-quality, tailored advice. Always available. They are part of the team, not only outside advisors.’

‘The team stand out for their skill, experience and practicality.’

Key clients

The New York Times Company

Nordstrom, Inc.

Emerson Electric Co.

Alkermes plc

Freshpet, Inc.

LivePerson, Inc.

Splunk, Inc.

Rogers Corporation

Texas Pacific Land Corporation

Pitney Bowes, Inc.

Purple Innovation, Inc.

Cutera, Inc.

Avantax, Inc.

Enhabit, Inc.

Global Net Lease, Inc./The Necessity Retail REIT

Warner Music Group Corp.

Fidelity National Information Services, Inc.

UBS Puerto Rico Family of Funds

On24, Inc.

Work highlights

  • Represented The New York Times Company in its defense against an activist campaign by celebrity activist hedge fund ValueAct Capital Partners.
  • Advised Freshpet in defense of a proxy contest launched by JANA Partners and related litigation.
  • Represented biopharmaceutical company Alkermes against activist hedge fund Sarissa Capital.

Dispute resolution > Appellate: courts of appeals / Appellate: supreme courts (states and federal)

Dispute resolution > Product liability, mass tort and class action - defense: consumer products (including tobacco) Tier 3

Environment > Environment: transactional Tier 3

Finance > Structured finance: securitization Tier 3

Media, technology and telecoms > Cyber law (including data privacy and data protection) Tier 3

The privacy and cybersecurity team at Sidley Austin LLP leverages its data breach incident response experience to offer proactive breach counseling, compliance advice and support in government investigations. The Washington DC-based team is co-headed by David Lashway and Alan Charles Raul; Lashway is noted for his cybersecurity expertise, including crisis management, misinformation and trade secret theft, while Raul advises a range of tech, telecom, software and financial clients experiencing major cyber and privacy incidents, bolstered by his experience in government work. Colleen Theresa Brown is a go-to for litigation and regulatory defense, alongside assessing the privacy and cyber risk in data-heavy acquisitions. John Woods is recommended for cyber resilience advice and data governance matters. Sean Royall departed the team in August 2023.

Practice head(s):

David Lashway; Alan Charles Raul

Other key lawyers:

John Woods; Jennifer Seale; Jonathan Wilan; Colleen Theresa Brown

Key clients



Fidelity family of companies


DXC Technology Co.

Hilton Worldwide

Palo Alto Network, Inc

Marriott International, Inc.

OneMain Holdings, Inc.

SES Space & Defense

Work highlights

  • Acting as outside privacy and cybersecurity counsel for numerous leading global clients.
  • Representing multiple clients on their exposure to the recent MOVEit data breach (a hydra-headed breach centered on a single American software maker compromising data at more than 600 organizations worldwide).
  • Serving as lead counsel to multinational industrial technology giant ABB on cybersecurity matters with respect to the investigation and response to a global ransomware matter impacting systems directly or indirectly associated with critical infrastructure in 130 countries.

Finance > Capital markets: equity offerings

Latin America: International firms > City focus - Miami Tier 1

Sidley Austin LLP’s launch of a Miami office in July 2022 saw the arrival of the well regarded Juan Delgado and a team, featuring managing associate Axel Miranda, from Morrison Foerster. Prior to becoming part of the firm’s significant move into Miami, the pair already had a track record in Latin America venture capital and emerging company transactions, including investments by SoftBank Latin America Fund; notably, following Delgado’s arrival, the firm was appointed to SoftBank’s outside counsel panel. The team is also noted for corporate restructurings and M&A transactions, with their past experience (prior to joining the firm) including advising SoftBank on a $48m Series B financing for Colombian e-commerce platform Laika, with participation from Delivery Hero, JAM Fund and FJ Labs, and angels Carlos Garcia (Kavak), Emil Michael (Uber) and Pedro Garay (GBM). Further afield, the practice is also active in Brazil, Mexico and other smaller markets in the region.

Practice head(s):

Juan Delgado

Key clients

Grupo Aeroméxico

Avianca Holdings

SoftBank Latin America Fund

Sky Harbour

Work highlights

  • Advised SoftBank in a Series B financing round for Incode, a next-generation identity and authentication platform for global enterprises.

Latin America: International firms > Compliance and investigations Tier 3

Sidley Austin LLP has a fine reputation in Latin America, including for corporate crime investigations and engagement with US government agencies. It has a long track record in FCPA investigations and is also recognised for sanctions cases. The firm is home to a number of former federal prosecutors and former officials from the DOJ and SEC. The team frequently represents clients in headline investigations by the DOJ and SEC. The Latin America corporate crime team includes New York partners Timothy Treanor and Michael Mann, along with Dallas partners Paige Holden Montgomery and David Silva; Treanor is a former federal prosecutor and is especially active in anti-corruption and white-collar defence work in Latin America, and led the team that represented CONCACAF in the DOJ’s global investigation into corruption in world football.

Practice head(s):

Timothy Treanor; Karen Popp; James Cole; Douglas Axel; David Hoffman; Yuet Ming Tham; Daniel Rubinstein


It is a firm that is characterised by having professionals with outstanding experience and extensive knowledge of law.

In my opinion, Sidley Austin’s Compliance and Investigations practice has a very multi-disciplinary and competent group of lawyers with large experience in different types of enforcement investigations in Latin America. They are used to dealing with different authorities in the context of negotiations.

Tim Treanor and Mike Mann are very experienced lawyers with great ability to understand the client’s issues and address then in the best way possible.

Great level of sophistication, experience, and market awareness.

Michael Mann. A very talented and sophisticated white collar lawyer, highly experienced in dealing with complex cross-border investigations.

Key clients

CONCACAF (The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football)

Bodega Latina Corporation


Grupo Popular


3M Company

Vida Panamá

Exxon Mobil Corporation

Vantage Deepwater Petroleum Company

PACC Offshore Services Holdings

JPMorgan Chase & Company

Franqui Francisco Flores de Freitas

HSBC Monitor

Arthur J Gallagher & Co.

Tyson Foods

Fedex Corporation


Work highlights

  • Represented Stericycle in coordinated settlements resolving FCPA charges with the DOJ and SEC, and local corruption charges with Brazilian authorities.
  • Represented 29 Panamanian entities that have been sanctioned by the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).
  • Represented CONCACAF in the DOJ’s global investigation into corruption in world football.

Latin America: International firms > Corporate and M&A Tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP is best known for cross-border M&A, fund formation and energy deals. With the launch of a Miami office and the arrival of Juan Delgado and a team from Morrison Foerster in July 2022, the firm is now a considerably more significant player in venture capital and emerging company transactions in the region – in part as a result of its appointment as a panel firm for SoftBank Latin America Fund. The firm continues to be active in Latin America fund formation, including growth capital and impact investment funds. It also remains prominent in oil and gas transactions in Brazil. In addition to Brazil, Mexico and Colombia are key jurisdictions for the practice – although it is also active in a number of other smaller markets in the region. New York partner Alyssa Grikscheit is a leading figure in fund formation in Latin America; while Boston partners Alexander Temel and Daniel S Rawner are noted for M&A and private equity. Miami-based managing associate Axel Miranda  is another key figure for venture capital and emerging company transactions. Since publication, Alexander Temel has moved to Paul Hastings LLP.

Practice head(s):

Alyssa Grikscheit


‘Sidley’s team accopmanied us through a sell-side process, where they participated in all phases of the project (from open bid, to closing). Their level of expertise in helping us guide the process was extraordinary. The process was particularly challenging, since we had multiple (3) jurisdictions, with multiple firms involved across several disciplines. Sidley acted as the head of counsel for all our advisors and helped us navigate the process from start to finish.’

‘Alexander Temel and Daniel Rawner are incredibly talented lawyers. They were very helpful in navigating the business side of things (negotiation). They always had a clear understanding of the implication of things and helped us a lot with our internal decision making process.’

Key clients

Darling Ingredients

Davidson Kempner Capital Management

Crescera Investimentos

China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Company

Napier Park Global Capital

SoftBank Latin America Fund

United Airlines Holdings

Univision Communications

Vinci Partners Investments

Work highlights

  • Advised Darling Ingredients on its agreement to buy Brazilian company, Gelnex, for $1.2bn in cash.
  • Advised Brazilian alternative assets manager, Crescera Capital on the formation of Crescera Growth Capital Fund V, a growth equity fund seeking commitments to invest in mid-market growth capital investments in Brazil.
  • Represented United Airlines in connection with its interests in Avianca Airlines.

Latin America: International firms > Projects and energy Tier 4

Sidley Austin LLP’s Houston office is well connected to the Latin America region, particularly in the oil and gas, offshore and renewables segments. It also has strong LNG and renewables expertise in its New York and Washington DC offices. The firm remains especially active in the development of Brazil’s offshore oil and gas sector, along with mining projects in the jurisdiction and solar projects in Chile. A fluent Spanish and Portuguese speaker, Brian Bradshaw is a seasoned practitioner in the oil and gas, LNG and power sectors across the region. Timothy Chandler is a fluent Portuguese speaker and specialises in Brazil-related oil and gas, power, mining and infrastructure transactions.

Practice head(s):

Brian Bradshaw

Key clients

China National Oil and Gas Exploration

Development Company (CNODC)

Denham Capital Management

Barra Energia

Denham Capital Management

Work highlights

  • Advised China National Oil and Gas Exploration and Development Company (CNODC) on its participation ( through its Brazilian subsidiary), in the development and production of the Búzios field in Brazil’s Santos Basin pre-salt, the largest discovered deepwater field in the world.
  • Advised Denham Capital’s portfolio company, Serra Verde, on a $150m investment by Vision Blue Resources and The Energy & Minerals Group.
  • Advised Barra Energia on the development of Brazil’s offshore Atlanta Field.

Latin America: International firms > International arbitration

Sidley Austin LLP remains active in both investor-state and commercial arbitrations, most notably in the energy, construction, financial services, mining and real estate sectors. In state representation, the firm has acted for the Republic of Peru in a series of cases, and also has successfully defended the Republic of Colombia. New York and Singapore-based partner Tai-Heng Cheng has represented a number of Asian clients in cases against Latin American states, while New York partner Simon Navarro handles a mix of commercial and investor-state work, particularly in representing Spanish and European clients in energy disputes against Latin American entities. Former (international arbitration) senior managing associate María Carolina Durán and counsel Courtney Hikawa left the firm in August and October 2023, respectively.

Practice head(s):

Tai-Heng Cheng


The Sidley Austin team is discerning, skilled and highly trained.

The Sidley Austin team is without a doubt the best in the business when it comes to investment arbitration. We act as their local partners in various ICSID arbitrations and the quality of their work and dedication to cases is unmatched.

The Sidley Austin team is highly trained to resolve complex issues in complex disputes. Their lawyers are very skilled and understand the perspectives of international arbitration very well.’

Key clients

PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH)

TC Energy Corporation

The Republic of Peru

Work highlights

  • Obtained a victory for PACC Offshore Services Holdings (part of the Kuok Group of Singapore), in an investment treaty arbitration against Mexico administered by ICSID under UNCITRAL Rules (ICSID Case No. UNCT/18/5), which concerned the expropriation of the claimant’s investment in the Mexican offshore marine services industry.
  • Represented long-time client the Republic of Peru in successfully limiting the ICSID tribunal’s award to just 5% of the more than $150m in damages sought by Autopista del Norte S.A.C. (AUNOR)  for alleged cost overruns incurred by AUNOR and its subcontractor, OHL Construcción, in relation to the upgrading of a stretch of the Pan-American Highway; the Tribunal agreed with Peru on various aspects of the dispute between the parties regarding the quantification of damages, including the applicable interest rate and the application of taxes.
  • Representing Peru in a pair of parallel ICSID cases brought separately by US (majority) and Netherlands (minority) shareholders in a copper mining project in connection with billions of dollars in taxes imposed on portions of the project; Freeport-McMoRan v. Republic of Peru (ICSID Case No. ARB/20/8) and SMM Cerro Verde v. Republic of Peru (ICSID Case No. ARB/20/14)).

Singapore > International arbitration

The practice at Sidley Austin LLP has ‘great experience in investment arbitrations‘, acting on high-value, cross-border mandates. Blue-chip clients, governments, and multinational corporations all rely on the expertise of the team in many industries, including life sciences, energy, technology, and shipping. The ‘extremely talented, charismatic, and brilliant‘ New York-qualified Tai-Heng Cheng leads the team, and is a ‘very effective advocate who reads the tribunal well‘. Jennifer Lim  and Meera Rajah  are other key names in the team.

Practice head(s):

Tai-Heng Cheng

Other key lawyers:


‘Sidley Austin is a blue chip dispute resolution and international arbitration practice and is led by the extremely talented, charismatic, and brilliant Tai-Heng Cheng.’

‘Tai-Heng Cheng is the consummate lawyer. Highly intelligent and formidable, he is world-class. Puts his heart into an assignment and is a very effective advocate who reads the tribunal well. A great person to have in your corner in any complex dispute.’

‘Tai-Heng Cheng is well-versed in international arbitration and has great experience in investment arbitrations’

‘Sidley Austin provides prompt and excellent service.’

‘Partners Tai Heng-Chang and Jennifer Lim are highly recommended and very easy to work with.’

Key clients

I-Mab Biopharma Co., Ltd.

PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH)

PT J ResourcesNusantara

Tennor Holding B.V. (Lars Windhorst)

Work highlights

  • Successfully represented PACC Offshore Services Holdings (POSH), part of the Kuok Group of Singapore, in an investment treaty arbitration against Mexico, administered by ICSID under the UNCITRAL Rules, in connection with the expropriation of claimant’s investment in the Mexican offshore marine services industry.
  • Successfully represented PT J Resources Nusantara in a US$600 million SIAC arbitration against another Indonesian company Pani Bersama Tambang (PBT), a subsidiary of Indonesia’s Merdeka Copper Gold and secured a swift and favourable outcome for our client.
  • Successfully represented life sciences company I-Mab Biopharma Co., Ltd. (“I-Mab”), a public company based in China and the U.S., in a multi-year long, hard fought, nine-figure international arbitration against Tracon Pharmaceuticals (“Tracon”).