THE FIRM This 13-partner team is lauded as a leading one-stop shop for clients seeking counsel on a broad range of tax issues. It offers expertise on every kind of transaction, domestic as well as cross-border, and also houses attorneys skilled in tax litigation, state and local taxes and executive compensation. Clients commend the impressive bench strength and continuity of lawyers it provides. Recent highlights include advising Liberty Media on its split-off of the businesses, assets and liabilities currently attributed to its Liberty Capital and Liberty Starz interactive and tracking stock groups.
Sources say: "I have never met a Skadden lawyer who was subpar – they are all great! Top-flight and highly respected."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice co-head Matthew Rosen offers superior expertise on a broad range of tax issues, but is particularly skilled in cross-border and domestic restructurings, acquisitions and divestitures. His notable highlights include representing Sara Lee in the proposed tax-free spin-off of its international coffee and tea businesses. He is praised as "one of the very top tax lawyers practicing in the US – very smart, articulate, hard-working and devoted to advancing his client's interests."
Edward Gonzalez is admired by peers for his "terrific and strong" tax practice, which focuses on cross-border financial transactions, private equity investments, M&A and tax controversy work. He also advises foreign corporations on structuring their investments in the USA, recently advising Colombian Cementos Argos and its subsidiary Argos USA on its $760 million acquisition of Lafarge's southeastern US cement and ready-mix businesses.
Stuart Finkelstein handles corporate finance transactions, M&A, spin-offs, joint ventures and restructurings. He recently represented BankUnited in its $71 million proposed acquisition of Herald National Bank. "He is an unbelievably unique guy who has the expertise and all the technical skills, but also has a heart of gold and is so nice to deal with; you can't find anyone that you would enjoy working with more," praised one happy client.
Diana Lopo "is able to spot issues across not just tax but also different practice areas," say sources. Joint venture formations, tax-free reorganizations, LBOs and spin-offs form the core of her practice. She recently represented New Cotai Holdings in connection with the acquisition by Melco Crown Entertainment of a 60% stake in Macau Studio City.
Dean Shulman has a fantastic reputation for tax work relating to tax-free spin-offs, LBOs, IPOs, real estate transactions and fund formation. Major highlights from the last year include his representation of BlackRock in its $1.5 billion offering of notes.
Kirk Wallace is applauded by clients for his ability to combine a pragmatic approach with solid business understanding and high technical competency. "Kirk is the best tax lawyer I have ever talked to; he is smart, quick and proactive," said one impressed interviewee. Wallace has a broad tax practice but is particularly adept at handling financial product development and structured finance transactions. He recently represented Hubbard Broadcasting in its acquisition of 17 radio stations from Bonneville International, a transaction valued at approximately $505 million.
Victor Hollender earns accolades for his fantastic work on behalf of both domestic and international corporations. He is particularly skilled at advising on and structuring a wide range of financial products, hybrid capital and derivative transactions. his notable recent highlights include advising Venezuelan company Empresas Polar on its joint venture with PepsiCo and Grupo Embotelladoras Unidas to create a nationwide beverage company in Mexico.
Sally Thurston focuses on advising multinational clients on cross-border transactions and investment structures, including M&A, spin-offs, joint ventures and restructurings. Peers note: "She is fantastic and clients really like her; her command of the law is excellent and she is also quite pragmatic." She recently represented Norwegian oilfield service company Seawell in its $25.5 million acquisition of Universal Wireline from Patterson-UTI Energy.
David Rievman is highly recommended for his expertise in cross-border transactions, including M&A, joint ventures, financial restructurings and recapitalizations, financings and divestitures. His recent highlights include representing American Express in its $150 million acquisition of software provider Accertify.
Steven Matays handles complex domestic and international business transactions, including joint ventures, M&A, spin-offs and debt and equity offerings. "He is technically very strong and also has great business judgment," said one client, adding: "He knows a lot of areas really well and I always get an answer from him." Matays's recent work highlights include representing DISH Network in its $1.4 billion acquisition of 100% of the equity of DBSD North America.