Tax: Corporate & Finance - Nationwide
THE FIRM This international goliath has a domestic and global reputation for financial products, taxation issues and M&A work, which sees it placed in the very top tier of US corporate tax firms. The group continues to adapt and evolve according to the new challenges presented by ever-changing domestic and international legislation. Particular growth areas in terms of expertise include the firm's bankruptcy and restructuring-related tax work. In recent highlights, the group advised Google on the tax aspects of its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility.
Sources say: "Very good, very proactive. They do excellent work and are very thoughtful, polished lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Partners operating out of the firm's New York practice include Erika Nijenhuis, William McRae and Leslie Samuels.
THE FIRM This preeminent group extends its expertise to every corner of corporate law and related tax work. It is equally renowned for its general tax expertise, as well as its ability to really home in on specific issues and pioneer new problem-solving techniques. Cravath is able to blend its knowledge of real estate issues and tax to become a real leader in Real Estate Excise Tax matters. Its recent highlights include representing Barnes & Noble in the formation of a strategic partnership agreement with Microsoft. The group has also continued its representation of Starbucks in its continuing investment in its partnership with Square.
Sources say: "We found them excellent - responsive, diligent and thorough. They're very solid in advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Gordon heads the New York-based group.
THE FIRM This world-renowned tax group has an excellent reputation in domestic, international and cross-border tax law. Well known for dealing with particularly complex matters, the group also undertakes cutting-edge and precedent-setting issues. Its expertise in corporate structures, financial products and M&A work is of such a caliber that clients agree it has a well-deserved place as a top-tier firm both in New York and nationwide. Its enviable client roster includes Ford, Credit Suisse and Citi.
Client Service "Top-quality work. They are very time efficient and do their utmost to keep under budget."
Commercial Awareness "They are good at proactively spotting issues and suggesting solutions. The partners with whom I regularly work have learned a lot about our business model, and they tailor their suggestions accordingly."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The firm's New York office is home to several of the firm's big names, including Po Sit, Harry Ballan and Avishai Shachar.
THE FIRM The Kirkland & Ellis tax team has had a busy year, particularly with regards to structuring, private equity and finance matters. The firm's superb Chicago and New York teams provide it with a breadth of practice that sees it attract big-name clients such as Tronox and NRG Energy, and also ensures that the group maintains its national reputation. The tax practice has great expertise in tax planning, and is also highlighted for its knowledge of restructuring matters.
Client Service "Excellent, and very responsive." "Great customer service."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Todd Maynes heads up the department from the firm's New York office. In Chicago, notable practitioners include Natalie Keller and Jeffrey Sheffield.
THE FIRM Skadden has a well-deserved reputation for versatility in counseling on every aspect of tax at both a state and local level. The firm has superb expertise in advising on particularly challenging or novel transactional issues. Skadden also brings together experts from diverse backgrounds, boasting a wealth of experience from across its global network of talent and resources. Current practitioners at the firm include former IRS investigators and controversy judges. High-stake complicated tax controversies, especially those with an international element, are a major strength. Key clients include Yahoo!, Amylin Pharmaceuticals, Fortress Investment Group and the Westfield Group.
Commercial Awareness "Really good tax lawyers who understand how the ideas they're proposing fit within the context of the business deal."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Fred Goldberg and Matthew Rosen lead the practice group out of DC and New York, respectively.
THE FIRM Sullivan & Cromwell has enjoyed a busy year in which not only has the firm built upon its preeminent national name, but also reinforced its position as a global leader in corporate finance and tax work. The group is at the forefront of complicated M&A, capital market and international tax planning matters. Its recent highlights include advising LAN Airlines in its business combination with TAM (Brazil), an engagement involving complex cross-border transactional and restructuring issues. The firm also represented Medco Health Solutions in its $29.1 billion merger with Express Scripts.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The New York-based Ronald Creamer heads the firm's tax and corporate practice groups.
THE FIRM Wachtell is widely regarded as a particularly effective firm for M&A matters, especially those with particularly technical or novel elements. Its relatively compact size is offset by its team's deep expertise in the field. The group is also considered an excellent first choice for a range of spin-off, joint venture, real estate, REIT and restructuring engagements.
Sources say: "They are fantastically good." "They would be in my top five."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The New York-based Deborah Paul and Jodi Schwartz are key partners in the tax team.
THE FIRM Bingham McCutchen enjoys an excellent reputation for both domestic and international tax planning, and is particularly respected for dealing with complex matters involving the interface of partnership and international tax rules. Bankruptcy, restructuring and securitization matters are also considered strong practice areas for the firm. The group recently served as the tax counsel for Energy Transfer Equity Partners in its $5.3 billion takeover of Sunoco. Current clients also include General Mills and Marathon Oil.
Client Service "They are exceptional in their attention to detail, the quality and thoughtfulness of their work product, timeliness and responsiveness."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The DC-based Bill McKee and Will Nelson cochair the tax team alongside Anthony Carbone in New York.
THE FIRM This New York-based firm has a superb international practice, with an excellent reputation for cutting-edge tax advice in both domestic and cross-border transactions. It provides tax counsel on a broad range of subjects, including private equity and hedge fund formations, joint ventures and project finance. The firm is currently acting as special aircraft counsel to American Airlines, and also represented The Carlyle Group in its $3.3 billion acquisition of Getty Images. Other key clients include Kelso & Company, Access Industries/Warner Music, and International Paper.
Sources say: "They have terrific tax expertise that is very proactive and very effective."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice group chair Burt Rosen is based in New York.
THE FIRM This firm maintains a highly respected practice undertaking a broad range of complex tax issues, including planning, bankruptcy and restructuring, corporate, asset management and fund formation. The group has been especially active in the bankruptcy and litigation space, and also on behalf of major financial institutions. Its recent highlights include advising Goldman Sachs on its $1.1 billion agreement to acquire Interline Brands. Thomson Reuters and Merrill Lynch also feature on its enviable client roster.
Sources say: "They advise us on transactions, and the advice they offer is diligent, business-oriented and flawless."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Kaden heads the firm's tax department in DC, while Robert Cassanos is the lead partner in New York.
THE FIRM Gibson Dunn's exceptional depth of expertise sees it undertaking tax counsel for a broad range of clients, ranging from startup entrepreneurs to established multinationals. Its national practice spans both East and West Coasts, and is complemented by regionally renowned offices in Los Angeles, New York, DC and Dallas, overall contributing to a well-deserved national reputation. Its work highlights include acting for Amazon in its $775 million acquisition of Kiva Systems, as well as Hewlett Packard in its $10.3 billion acquisition of Autonomy. The group also represented Kraft Foods in a $6 billion bond offering and spin-off debt exchange.
Sources say: "Very responsive, technically strong, and their fees are reasonable."
KEY INDIVIDUALS On the West Coast, Hatef Behnia, Paul Issler and Scott Knutson remain key contacts, as does David Sinak in Dallas.
THE FIRM This firm has excellent national breadth in the tax sector, with notable teams covering New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, DC, Boston, Chicago and Houston. International tax issues are a particular forte of the firm, especially with regards to Master Limited Partnerships (MLPs) and REITs. In recent highlights, the team provided tax advice to Energy Transfer Equity in its $9.4 billion acquisition of Southern Union Company. Its New York team also recently took the spotlight with its handling of the tax issues relating to Lucasfilm's acquisition by Disney.
Client Service "Excellent. Easy to work with and responsive to phone calls and e-mails, even on short notice. It's clear they value and appreciate their clients."
Commercial Awareness "They think ahead very well and adapt to the way we do business."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Raab is based in New York and chairs the firm's global tax practice group.
THE FIRM This firm's formidable national practice extends across Chicago, DC, New York, California and Texas. Its pioneering work in sophisticated corporate tax structures sees the team sought out by many companies, particularly those based in Silicon Valley, such as eBay and Groupon. Key clients also include Tyco, Johnson & Johnson, and Aon.
Commercial Awareness "I value the knowledge base, experience and practical solutions that MW&E bring in this area."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lowell Yoder is head of the firm's global tax practice group.
THE FIRM Operating out of New York, Paul Weiss has notable strength in tax issues relating to joint ventures, partnerships, private equity and hedge investment funds, spin-offs and REITs. Its recent highlights include acting for Apollo Global Management in its $7.15 billion agreement to acquire all oil and gas exploration and production assets from El Paso. Other clients include Rockstar Bidco and Oaktree Capital Management.
Sources say: "They have incredible depth across the board and the most talented lawyers imaginable."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The department is cochaired by Richard Bronstein and Jeffrey Samuels out of the firm's New York office.
THE FIRM Ropes & Gray's national tax practice has highly respected attorneys in both its Boston and New York offices. The firm maintains superb expertise in M&A, private and public fund formation, as well as in work with sovereign wealth funds. The group also has an excellent reputation for tax counseling in relation to major construction projects and various types of investment. Work highlights include advising Bain Capital on its $1 billion acquisition of a 30% stake in India-based outsourcing company Genpact. It also acted for TPG in its $3 billion acquisition of J Crew Group.
Sources say: "Very good lawyers who have a lot of experience, know and understand the market, and are business savvy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Boston-based Christopher Leich heads up the firm's tax department.
THE FIRM Simpson Thatcher is well regarded by clients for its innovative approach to solving complex transactional and financial tax problems. The group is particularly highlighted for its expertise in fund formation and the tax aspects relating to M&A transactions, as well as cross-border finance issues. Its work highlights include representing Microsoft in its $300 million investment in Barnes & Noble's NOOK business, as well as representing Blackstone Real Estate Partners in various issues, including in acquisition and restructuring deals. Other key clients include Accenture and JPMorgan.
Sources say: "They are excellent in every aspect of the service they provide. Brilliant, and very nice to work with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Todrys heads the practice group from the firm's office in New York.
THE FIRM Weil Gotshal remains a preeminent firm in bankruptcy-related tax issues, with a strong team of practitioners operating out of the firm's hubs in Boston and New York. The group is renowned for its expertise in high-level debt restructuring work. It recently represented Lehman Brothers in its $3 billion purchase of a 53% stake in Archstone, thus acquiring Archstone in its entirety. Other high-profile clients include Goldman Sachs and General Electric.
Sources say: "They are very smart." "I use them a lot because they are top-notch."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The New York-based Kenneth Heitner, Scott Sontag and Martin Pollack lead the firm's tax practice.
THE FIRM Baker & McKenzie is able to boast a far-reaching national and global presence, with its international offices working closely with each other in a cohesive global tax operation. While best known in the controversy and fraud space, the group is also experienced in corporate tax issues, including planning, M&A, cross-border and joint ventures. Notable clients include Boeing, Hershey and Thomson Reuters.
Sources say: "The firm has long been known in the tax arena for its international reach."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Len Terr leads the firm's US tax practice group.
THE FIRM This Houston-based giant has long been respected for its expertise in energy transactions. As such, it is an excellent first choice for advising on tax issues relating to the oil and gas and renewable energy sectors, among others. Its expertise encompasses a range of matters, including MLP, state and local, partnership, M&A and international issues. The group's recent highlights include acting for the Energy and Minerals Group in relation to Tallgrass Energy Partners's acquisition of midstream assets from Kinder Morgan Energy Partners. It also recently represented Marathon Oil in its $3.5 billion acquisition of Hilcorp Resources.
Sources say: "An outstanding service-oriented firm. Collaborative with their clients, and focused on providing quality support and advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The Houston-based Richard Husseini chairs the firm's tax practice.
THE FIRM This New York-based group has specialist knowledge across a diverse tax practice arena, including in bankruptcy and structured finance. The team's strengths in M&A, capital markets and fund formation are also highlighted. Its clients have frequently included a large number of Fortune 100 companies.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in New York, Linda Swartz is chair of the firm's tax practice group.
THE FIRM This DC-based group has broad expertise within the tax arena. The team is particularly highlighted for its tax treatment of innovative financial products, M&A work and tax planning, especially structural tax planning for large multinational companies. The firm provides tax counsel for major sports leagues, including the NFL, NHL and Major League Baseball. Its prestigious client roster also includes Viacom and PepsiCo.
Sources say: "Excellent. Easy to reach, they get back to you right away and are available when you need them. They communicate well and provide accessible research."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Co-heads of department Dan Luchsinger and Reeves Westbrook are notable names at the firm.
THE FIRM Mayer Brown's excellent national tax practice is centered in Chicago and further supported by experts in California and New York. Its expertise covers corporate, individual and partnership taxation matters, and it also enjoys a strong reputation for transactional tax planning and restructuring. High-profile clients include Bank of America, Siemens and Motorola. The firm is also highly regarded for the tax work it undertakes involving the pharmaceutical industry.
Client Service "They combine client advocacy with integrity, and are always there to be of assistance. What impresses me most about the firm is that they are very team-oriented, and have this effervescent desire to collaborate to obtain the best result."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice group leaders James Barry and Jason Bazar, in Chicago and New York, respectively, are highly regarded.
THE FIRM Shearman & Sterling blends national breadth of practice with global scope. Complicated tax-related matters involving cross-border transactions and M&A are particular areas of focus and expertise for the team. The group is also commended for its increasingly strong reputation in minimizing tax costs for companies operating in multiple jurisdictions. The firm recently represented Synthes in its $21.3 billion acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. Key clients also include Dow Chemical, Legg Mason and Marriott International.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The New York-based Laurence Bambino and the DC-based Michael Shulman cochair the practice group. Shulman is also managing partner of the firm's DC office.
THE FIRM Sidley's excellent national practice is especially lauded in Chicago and, increasingly, New York. Its expertise covers the full spectrum of M&A, joint ventures, insurance, leveraged buyouts, spin-offs and recapitalizations. The firm is especially recommended for its superb bankruptcy and restructuring-related tax practice, and also has a solid reputation for REIT-related tax work. The team recently acted as primary issuer's counsel for Starwood Property Trust's REIT tax matters.
Client Service "Outstanding - very responsive. They work quickly to meet deadlines, and they're all really quite good."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sharp Sorensen leads the firm's Chicago-based tax team. He also leads the firm's wider national tax practice alongside Laura Barzilai in New York.
THE FIRM Sutherland Asbill's tax group is highly regarded for its distinguished and sizable state and local tax practice. The team is consistently highlighted for its expertise in complex and large-scale M&A transactions, as well as in international tax issues. Its recent highlights include acting as US tax counsel to TE Connectivity in relation to its EUR1.55 billion acquisition of Deutsch Group SAS. Recent clients also include General Motors, Procter & Gamble and Coca-Cola.
KEY INDIVIDUALS The DC-based Jerome Libin chairs the firm's tax practice group.
THE FIRM The Texas-based Vinson & Elkins enjoys a strong reputation as one of the foremost practices in relation to all aspects of energy-related tax law. The firm has benefited greatly from an upsurge in energy transactions of late, as well as from its increasing prominence in issues relating to private equity and sovereign wealth funds. The team recently provided tax advice to Caiman Energy on the $2.5 billion sale of its Caiman Eastern Midstream assets to Williams Partners.
Sources say: "They have a national tax practice that is well known and respected."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in Houston, George Gerachis leads the firm's tax and employee benefits and executive compensation practice group.
THE FIRM Alston & Bird enjoys a superb nationwide reputation for its tax practice, and in the past year has seen a growth in transfer pricing-related engagements. Its expertise encompasses state and local tax, M&A, cross-border transactions and federal income tax issues, among other matters. Its highly respected Atlanta-based group is further supported by experts in New York and DC. Its enviable client roster includes Honda, UPS and Autoliv.
Sources say: "They provide good technical advice and see things from all different directions, not just what we want to hear. They bring other perspectives."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Henry Birnkrant heads the department from the firm's DC office.
THE FIRM West Coast firm Fenwick & West has a highly respected national tax practice based in California. It enjoys an excellent reputation for tax work involving companies based in Silicon Valley, and is highly recommended for its experience acting on behalf of hi-tech clients, such as Facebook. The group is also well known for its international tax planning and M&A expertise.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in the firm's Mountain View office, David Forst chairs the department.
THE FIRM This tax boutique firm operates out of DC, and also has an office in Los Angeles. The group is recognized for having strength across all types of tax issues, with particular expertise in federal tax matters and taxation relating to employee benefits. Its client list includes a number of Fortune 500 companies.
Sources say: "Well-respected and bright tax lawyers."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stewart Dunn and Carter Hood are both highly regarded at the firm.
THE FIRM Milbank Tweed is an international firm that earns praise for its innovation in complex tax matters. The New York-based group has expertise in M&A work, financial restructuring, project finance, and tax relating to executive compensation and employee benefits. Its client roster includes Google, Arrow Electronics and Lightsquared.
Sources say: "Excellent service - great responsiveness, depth of knowledge and expertise. They give practical advice and creativity in solving complex questions and structures."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The New York-based Bruce Kayle leads the firm's tax practice group.
THE FIRM Fulbright & Jaworski's Texas-based tax team has a leading name in tax issues involving the energy sector. The practice undertakes tax planning, restructuring, M&A, partnership, state and local, transfer pricing and international tax matters. The group's recent highlights include acting for National Oilwell Varco in its $2.5 billion acquisition of Robins & Myers.
Sources say: "They have a good group with good-quality people."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Allender leads the tax group from the firm's Houston office.
THE FIRM Steptoe & Johnson's DC-based group is consistently highlighted for its international tax prowess, and is increasingly highlighted for undertaking tax restructuring, spin-offs, bankruptcies and work with tax-exempt organizations. Key clients include Eastman Kodak, the Government of Puerto Rico and Dish Network.
Sources say: "They really put the client first. They have a great depth of expertise, and this enables them to handle with ease all the work we send them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Based in DC, Philip West chairs the firm's tax practice.
THE FIRM DLA Piper's national tax group continues to gain recognition for its work on behalf of multinational corporations. Its teams in California, Florida and DC form key pillars of its nationwide practice. Its expertise includes private equity and wealth management-related issues, as well as cross-border M&A and transfer pricing matters. Key clients include Nike and Hasbro.
Sources say: "All of the attorneys are stellar. The service received was excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Colker leads the firm's global tax practice out of its Palo Alto office.
THE FIRM King & Spalding has an unparalleled reputation in Atlanta, as well as an increasingly prominent practice nationally. The group provides excellent services, including in transactional issues, fund formations and restructurings. It is especially commended for its expertise in REIT-related matters.
Sources say: "They have strong legal expertise and they understand our goals as a client."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Abraham Shashy leads the firm's tax practice out of its DC office.
THE FIRM Sullivan & Worcester has a strong presence along the East Coast, with teams in New York, DC and Boston. The group boasts a superb international taxation practice, and frequently advises US companies on outbound investments, as well as foreign business with US interests. Its expertise also extends to include mutual funds, tax planning, state and local, and REIT issues. Clients include Iron Mountain, CommonWealth REIT and Teradyne.
Client Service "Excellent client service. I get an immediate high-quality response."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The Boston-based Ameek Ashok Ponda leads the firm's tax department.