THE FIRM This stalwart has cemented a position among the elite in the field. It has followed a strategy, made possible by the firm's deep bench, of two separate teams: one for traditional corporate work, and one for alternative entities. It counts ExxonMobil, GM, Morgan Stanley and The Bank of New York Mellon among its clients.
Sources say: "It has an outstanding reputation in the market - the lawyers are knowledgeable, but can explain issues in layman's terms."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Altman heads the alternative entities practice, covering partnerships and limited liability companies, and maintaining a particularly strong reputation for the formation of private equity investment funds. "He is just top of the heap," say sources. Donald Bussard's keen legal mind and practical understanding of clients' wider business interests have won him strong praise. His expertise lies in the representation of corporations, boards of directors and board committees on areas such as M&A transactions, recapitalizations, stock issuances and corporate governance issues. Bernard Kelley specializes in alternative entities and is noted for his role at the forefront of law concerning the subject. Sources praise his diligence and intelligence, and cite his capability across all forms of alternative entity, whether it be limited liability companies, limited partnerships, general partnerships or statutory trusts. Stephen Bigler is noted for his involvement in high-value transactions, recently demonstrated in his representation of ExxonMobil in its $41 billion all-stock deal to purchase XTO Energy. Sources note Mark Gentile for his constructive input to negotiations. A key name in the sector, he focuses on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and recapitalizations. William Haubert focuses on fiduciary duties in relation to transactional and operational matters such as M&A, divestitures, defensive planning, capital-raising transactions and stockholder meetings. James Leyden wins praise for his work in the alternative entities environment. Sources applaud his "encyclopedic knowledge of the law," and say his contribution to developments in the sector is invaluable. Eric Mazie is one of the state's leading experts on statutory trusts. His focus in the area includes advice to issuers, investors, arrangers, underwriters and credit enhancers. Doneene Keemer Damon has also made statutory trusts her personal area of expertise. Gregory Ladner and Srinivas Raju are often seeing work together on a variety of issues. The pair are praised for their "technical competence and responsiveness," and out-of-state attorneys enthuse that "being able to draw on them has really enhanced our practice." Mark Purpura furthers the team's expertise in alternative entities, drawing praise for his legal acumen and keen intelligence. Franklin Balotti is famed for his work developing Delaware corporate law and has built a profile that extends beyond state borders. Jesse Finkelstein's extensive practice incorporates governance, transactional, M&A and control dispute advice. Sources highlight his contribution, not only to his own firm, but to the development of Delaware law as a whole.