THE FIRM This 35-lawyer group is consistently singled out by sources for its deep bench in government relations and enforcement matters. It is heavily involved in working with the regulators as rulemakings follow the enactment of the Dodd-Frank bill and has been active in advising State Farm and TIAA-CREF on matters relating to this legislation. In addition, the team has worked with sovereign banks and wealth funds as the economic outlook has improved. The firm is also handling a large volume of investigations brought by the OTS and other regulators, as well defending class actions on behalf of Visa and Bank of America in the consumer finance arena.
Sources say: "The lawyers are overwhelmingly good, across many different areas in financial services."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Alexander is considered "one of the deans of the industry" by observers. This year clients tapped into his expertise in bank supervision and bankruptcy, and he advised on numerous transactions involving both. Alexander also advised on other matters stemming from bank failures. Kevin Barnard is "a thoughtful and greatly respected attorney." He has led teams on major representations for both AIG and Banco do Brasil this year. Brian McCormally is an enforcement expert who "really knows the regulatory landscape." He also receives strong praise for his client skills: "He knows what kind of solutions work and helps clients through situations that are new to them." Michael Mierzewski is a regulatory expert who has been active advising Visa, among other major clients. Litigator Howard Cayne is considered "very strong for his brief writing skills." Sources praise his technical skill and knowledge of securities legislative developments. Patrick Doyle is widely considered a banking compliance expert. He has been active guiding clients through shelf-chartering applications and Dodd-Frank implementation. David Freeman is also highly regarded as a banking and securities compliance expert, recently leading a team that helped create the largest de novo bank in US history. John Hawke is seen as "a brilliant resource" by sources. He has extensive experience of the regulatory process, previously serving as the Comptroller of Currency.
THE FIRM This 39-strong practice, has an excellent reputation in consumer finance enforcement and regulation. The team has been active defending major clients in a number of substantial class actions, including acting for defendants in the overdraft fees cases consolidated in Florida. It is particularly praised for its creativity and versatility, and has picked up a number of instructions from major trade associations as a result. The team also collaborates closely with clients in connection with the development of new financial products.
Sources say: "The lawyers handle litigation at the cutting edge of the industry."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Kaplinsky is a heavyweight class action litigator who has an excellent reputation for handling large consumer finance cases and for his work as an arbitrator. He is considered innovative, having pioneered the use of arbitration provisions in consumer finance documentation. Jeremy Rosenblum is primarily known for his work with closed-end trusts and short-term loan providers. He acted as principal litigator in a major case concerning the application of Indiana lending laws to loans consummated out of state.
THE FIRM This practice receives high praise for the quality of advice and the level of service it provides to clients. It has been active in supporting major financial institutions, many of which see the team as a key partner in attaining business objectives. On the broker dealer side, the group has been assisting a number of major financial institutions in defending themselves in SEC investigations. It also serves as main regulatory counsel to Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, recently advising on issues relating to the implementation process for going self-clearing. On the bank regulatory side, the team has a strong presence on both the East and West Coasts. It has been heavily involved in Dodd-Frank compliance issues and assisting entities with the purchase of failing banks. This has included representing an investor in First Michigan Bancorp in connection with First Michigan Bank’s acquisition from the FDIC of assets and deposits of the failed CF Bancorp. The firm has also been working with a number of non-US clients. It recently advised Yemeni ministries on the setting up of Yemen's first stock exchange and guided an Asian ecommerce entity through the process of applying for a Californian Internet escrow license.
Client Service "The lawyers made everything seamless. We need a team that allows us to be informed, but that also provides solutions to keep things moving forwards. Bingham provides this."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Hardy Callcott is a broker dealer compliance specialist. "He has deep industry knowledge and good contacts with regulators. His advice is both practical and reliable," according to one interviewee. He has been advising a major US bank in several auction rate securities investigations bought by state attorneys-general. Neal Sullivan heads the broker dealer group and is seen as an excellent manager in addition to being technically astute. He worked with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney on the implementation of a self-clearing program. David Boch is considered to be a "strong technician" who is excellent at maintaining client relationships. He has a strong relationship with Fidelity, providing their investment and brokerage arms with regulatory counsel. James Rockett maintains a diverse practice, and has a reputation as a highly effective M&A attorney. He advised Tri-Valley Bank on its recapitalization in the recapitalization and sale of 90% of its outstanding equity to an investment group.
Since publication, W Hardy Callcott has joined Sidley Austin LLP
Since publication, Neal E Sullivan has joined Sidley Austin LLP
THE FIRM Bracewell & Giuliani has a broad geographic footprint, with a strong team in both Texas and in New York. It is particularly well recognized in the South, where it represents a number of major banks. The team continues to act as regulatory counsel to Lehman Brothers and has assisted several other financial institutions in M&A transactions across the Gulf, from Florida to Texas. It also maintains a well-regarded broker dealer advisory practice in Manhattan, working with high-frequency trading firms, prime brokerage and ATS.
Sources say: "The team is a big deal in the South. It does all of the major Texas transactions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Julian Rainero is a key contact at the firm for broker dealer advice. He is known for his expertise on trading issues, including acting for Credit Suisse, Nomura and Mitsubishi UFJ. Sanford Brown has a strong reputation for regulatory matters in the Gulf region. He has been active in the bank M&A space and is seen to give high quality advice to regional banking clients in and around Texas. William Luedke "knows the Texas market well and maintains strong relationships there." He has an excellent reputation for M&A transactions involving publicly traded banking institutions.
THE FIRM This boutique firm has seen almost exponential growth since it opened in 2009. The firm currently comprises 114 attorneys and is considered an outstanding enforcement action and litigation team. The team's client list reads like a who's who of global financial institutions, including Sallie Mae, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and GE Capital, whom the firm defends in high stakes government investigations and major bet the company lawsuits.
Client Service "I think they are extremely responsive and accessible."
Commercial Awareness "The lawyers are specialists in consumer finance and are providing significant leadership to the industry and their clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS A founding partner of the firm, Andrew Sandler is one of the most highly regarded litigators in the consumer finance space. Clients and peers regularly praise his creativity, with one client commenting: "He's really authoritative and a forceful advocate on your side." He has recently focused on matters related to fair lending, mortgage fraud, privacy and information security, anti-money laundering, and the Bank Secrecy Act. Joseph Kolar is described as "one of America's top mortgage lending lawyers." His expertise includes FHA insured and VA guaranteed single family loan programs, GNMA guaranteed securities programs and the programs and policies of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, as they relate to loan origination, servicing and secondary market transactions. Jeremiah Buckley is seen as an outstanding consumer finance compliance expert. He widely considered an expert on e-delivery of documents, RESPA, and assists clients in defending investigations at state and federal level. Benjamin Klubes is described as "trusted, capable and an excellent lawyer." He has been active in a number of major class actions against consumer lenders. Clinton Rockwell is regarded as one of the next generation of strong consumer finance lawyers. He is an expert in state pre-emption law and regulations pertaining to mortgage lending.
THE FIRM The team is particularly well regarded for its expertise in the broker dealer space. It counsels major financial institutions, such as ABN AMRO, Bank of America, Credit Agricole and Barclays on trading operations. The team has also been extensively involved in advising institutions on Title VII of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Client Service "The lawyers are very congenial to work with and are responsive to all client requests. The team is also more proactive than any other I have worked with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Lofchie is a giant of the broker dealer regulatory Bar and an expert on derivatives law. Sources praised him for this "excellent understanding of the market, fast thinking and creativity." Maurine Bartlett also focuses on regulatory matters for broker dealer clients. She has broad experience of the federal securities laws and regulations, which makes her "an excellent person to bounce ideas off." She has also assisted clients with enforcement proceedings and arbitrations.
THE FIRM Cleary remains a powerful force across the entire spectrum of matters in the financial services space. It has considerable bench strength when it comes to regulatory, enforcement and transactional elements of this sector. The team continues to be heavily involved in some of the industry's most cutting-edge work, including complex, cross-border work. The group remains at the forefront of regulatory advice, continuing to counsel BNP Paribas in its acquisition and integration of Fortis Bank’s operations in Belgium, Luxembourg and the United States. It is also considered a leading light in the enforcement arena, and sees repeat work from major clients. The team represented Bank of America in the acquisition of Merrill Lynch and now represents the merged company in enforcement actions stemming from the merger. It also maintains a healthy broker dealer practice, representing trade organizations, including SIFMA, in dealings with the SEC. On the M&A side, the lawyers handle some of the largest transactional work in the industry. The team has recently acted for Commerzbank on its acquisition of Dresdner Bank, as well as Hartford on its $3.3 billion capital raise.
Commercial Awareness "I highly value the time-sensitive, practical legal advice I have received, including in some very tricky situations. The lawyers have an extremely strong understanding of and sensitivity to business needs."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "enormously respected" Robert Tortoriello is highly regarded for his fixed income and corporate securities advice. He has represented SIFMA in connection with efforts to improve and modernize cross-border regulation of broker dealers by the SEC. One client says: "He has a deep knowledge of the regulatory framework and a long history of practical experience that can be easily applied." Derek Bush often supports Tortoriello on major matters and is tipped by many as a future leading light in the banking compliance space. He has counseled the Institute of International Bankers regarding the effects of US financial regulatory reform on internationally headquartered institutions. Clients praise the quality of his Dodd-Frank related advice. Paul Glotzer is a regulatory specialist. He has assisted Natixis in connection with the formation of BPCE and has been advising a number of other financial institutions on the impact of Dodd-Frank. Giovanni Prezioso is described as "a strong technical lawyer who is very much in demand." He has an excellent reputation as a broker dealer compliance lawyer and securities regulation specialist. Linda Soldo is seen as a "real enforcement specialist" who has been heavily involved in assisting companies with regulatory investigations, particularly regarding subprime mortgages. David Aman is a younger broker dealer regulatory lawyer "with a strong track record in this space." Sources commend his in-depth knowledge of SEC, FINRA and Federal Reserve Board regulation. The highly esteemed John Murphy recently left Cleary to become CEO of Promontory Regulatory Analytics.
THE FIRM The practice has spent the last year consolidating an already strong position in the market. It has made four prominent partner hires from the DOJ, CFTC and the American Bankers' Association, significantly enhancing the firms regulatory and enforcement capabilities. The team is also an acknowledged leader in preemption rules and has been advising the American Bankers' Association as well as a number of national banks on issues in this area. On the enforcement side, it has an outstanding record in assisting financial institutions defend themselves against enforcement actions. It is currently representing a number of clients in investigations by the DOJ, the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC.
Commercial Awareness "Our collaboration with Covington gave us the best chance for success, as well as a seamless working relationship."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jean Veta is a big-ticket litigation specialist, who is praised by clients as being "smart, tenacious, and creative in complex litigation." She is working with a number of financial institutions undergoing investigation by the Federal Reserve Board and the FDIC. Stuart Stock receives high praise as "a strategic thinker" and "one of the few people who can call top-level agency officials and have his calls returned." Mark Plotkin was described by clients as "knowledgeable and practical in his advice." He has been advising New York Life on various aspects of legislation and financial reform. The former Comptroller of the Currency John Dugan has just returned to the firm, adding further depth to an already strong bench.
THE FIRM Davis Polk has really come to the forefront in financial services regulation since the economic downturn. Sources agree that the firm has been little short of spectacular in its response to legislative developments, with its analysis of Dodd-Frank seen as the most authoritative around. The team represents some of the world's largest banks and market participants, including Societe General, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and RBS, as well as SIFMA, on a variety of matters pertaining to rule making procedures at the various regulators. It is also representing financial institutions in a number of high-profile government investigations and enforcement actions, currently acting for Intesa Sanpaolo in an investigation pertaining to dealings in Iran. The team has also landed some of the largest financial M&A transactions since the crisis. It is representing Citigroup on its capital realignment and divestiture program and recently acted for the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in relation to AIG's sale of ALICO and AIA.
Client Service "I have been consistently pleased by the team's ability to provide timely and useful legal services on short deadlines."
Commercial Awareness "It is a class act. The lawyers understand both the legal issues and market factors."
KEY INDIVIDUALS George Bason has a nationwide reputation as a transactional lawyer and has completed some major deals in the financial services arena. He has handled a number of substantial transactions for Citigroup. The "absolutely superb" John Douglas is praised for his market knowledge and experience: "He has a really great feel for the process and what is doable within a regulatory context." He has worked with Green Dot on its merger with Bonneville Bancorp and has worked on several bank recapitalizations and creations of blind pools for troubled banks. Randall Guynn is another influential banking compliance lawyer who assisted Morgan Stanley on its conversion into a bank holding company. Clients were highly complimentary, calling him "the gold standard: an intelligent, experienced scholarly attorney. He is what you think of when you hear the term counselor." Annette Nazareth is a former commissioner of the SEC and a widely recognized name in the financial services industry. Clients praised her "in-depth understanding of regulatory structures and procedures," and her "ability to manage large teams on complex projects to short deadlines." She has spearheaded a number of major policy analyses for some of the largest players and trade associations in the industry. Robert Colby is a former deputy director of the SEC's division of trading and markets, whose reputation since entering private practice has gone from strength to strength. Clients praise him as "an excellent technician with the ability to write clearly and persuasively." Margaret Tahyar moves up the rankings this year, after achieving wide-reaching praise across her regulatory practice. "Her analysis is excellent and she keeps up to date on industry trends," commends one interviewee. Lanny Schwartz is a prominent member of the broker dealer advisory group and has recently played a major role on a number of representations for trade associations. The "excellent and extremely knowledgeable" Luigi De Ghenghi is highly regarded as a banking compliance specialist. He has played a major role in Green Dot's merger and in the representation of Morgan Stanley in front of the Federal Reserve Board regarding China Investment Corporation's investment in the company.
Since publication, Robert Colby has moved in-house.
THE FIRM Debevoise has a high profile in the financial institutions space, with laterals hires over the last few years bolstering their presence. The group has advised a number of major national lending institutions including, Silicon Valley Bank and Fifth Third Bank, as well as trade associations on the implications of Dodd-Frank. However, the team is perhaps best known for its representation of insurers and their related financial services operations. The team has advised on major transactions in this space, including acting for Prudential in its acquisition of AIG Star Life Insurance and AIG Edison Life Insurance. On the enforcement side, the team represents several European banks with US operations, as well as individuals in a number of government claims. It is representing UBS in several investigations, enforcement actions, and acts for Kenneth Lewis, the former CEO of Bank of America, in matters relating to the Merrill Lynch merger.
Sources say: "The lawyers are extraordinarily bright, and have great experience in an array of practice areas."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Lee is regarded as "the strong leader of a strong team." He has been advising large insurance clients on the impact of the Volcker Rule and he has played a prominent role in advising the ACLI on financial regulatory reform. Robert Quaintance is a financial services M&A specialist. He is described as a "smart lawyer whose low key and calm demeanor is appreciated in what can otherwise be contentious and difficult negotiations." Nicholas Potter has considerable experience in financial services M&A transactions, focusing on insurance work. He recently represented Protective Life in its $316 million acquisition of United Investors Life Insurance Company. John Vasily has a wealth of experience representing financial institutions in transactions. As well as working closely with AIG, he assisted Prudential Financial in the sale of its South Korean investment and fund management business to Hanwha Securities. Gregory Lyons brings a wealth of financial regulatory knowledge to the team. He represented Frederal One Bancorp in its acquisition of a thrift in New England and acted for a number of former bankers in a private equity bank deal worth over $500 million. Satish Kini worked closely with Lyons on the private equity deal and is leading a team advising a global financial holding entity in a federal investigation into its data policies. Sources recommend his broad range of regulatory knowledge and experience in domestic and international contexts.
THE FIRM Dechert enters the rankings this year, after several key hires from Fried Frank in 2010. The team has maintained relationships with existing clients and is already making use of the firm's considerable resources. Clients value the team's technical skill and cost-effective approach.
Client Service "The lawyers are consistently excellent. They are speedy, anticipate issues, and I can get hold of them at any time."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Vartanian has a fantastic reputation in the industry and receives outstanding plaudits from his clients. One major client explained that "he has a great combination of attributes: experience, thoughtfulness, and a personable demeanor." He and partner Bob Ledig have been particularly active this year assisting private equity firms in their acquisitions of failed banking institutions from the FDIC. Ledig is particularly praised for his business acumen: "He is able to communicate effectively and concisely, and can understand how legal and regulatory matters fit into the business context." David Ansell was appreciatively described as "a scholarly lawyer who regularly comes up with innovative solutions." He has acted for a number of financial institutions, including Belstar Holdings and Citadel Investments in recapitalizations of banks.
THE FIRM This team has been particularly active in advising on recent legislative changes, particularly relating to the uniform standard of care and the Volcker Rule. The team is also praised for its expert advice on anti-money laundering matters and policy work.
Sources say: "The lawyers are always detailed and thorough in their advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Susan Grafton is a broker dealer adviser who is praised for her breadth of experience and depth of knowledge. She advised numerous clients on the potential effects of the Dodd-Frank bill as it made its way through Congress and continues to work on behalf of clients through the rule-making process. Amy Rudnick is the main point of contact at the firm for enforcement issues. She has particular expertise in anti-money laundering issues, under the Bank Secrecy Act and other statutes.
Since publication, Susan Grafton has joined K&L Gates
THE FIRM The practice has bolstered its bench considerably this year, with the arrival of eight partners from Morrison & Foerster. The team is a strong interdisciplinary group, with substantial experience in compliance and transactional work, as well as a strong reputation for class action defense. It has a strong relationship with Bank of America, advising on issues arising out of its asset management operations. The team has also been active in a number of New England-based financial institution M&A deals, representing Boston Private Financial Holdings in the sale of several arms of its business. Additionally, the group has had a string of notable victories in the consumer finance area. It is representing Countrywide Financial in over a dozen class actions pertaining to unfair lending practices and represents a group of banks including Wells Fargo, Countrywide Home Loans, and First Horizon in MDL concerning foreclosure practices.
Sources say: "It is deep bench of highly experienced practitioners."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lynne Barr is a high-profile consumer banking lawyer. Sources commented that "she is a top-tier attorney with a strong presence." Thomas Hefferon is considered "among the best for consumer finance litigation." He specializes in complex financial services lawsuits and is playing a leading role in defending Countrywide Financial. William Mayer receives high praise for his work in the community bank space and works with a number of sovereign banks. Regina Pisa is the current managing partner of the firm. She continues to maintain an active practice alongside her managerial responsibilities, with a focus on financial institutions M&A.
THE FIRM The team at Hogan Lovells is known for its comprehensive skill set. It has built on its reputation on both sides of the Atlantic since the merger, picking up panel positions advising a number of British and continental European banks on the impact of Dodd-Frank. The team has also seen its stable of clients broaden domestically and received a significant instruction from National Rural this year. It has also been busy defending a number of community banks in a broad range of enforcement actions. Financial institutions M&A is another area of focus. It represents regional and community banks in the divesture of assets, and acts for several strategic acquirers such as StarWood Capital looking to purchase assets.
Client Service "A real strength is that the lawyers are attentive and seamless in their advice."
Commercial Awareness "The team has a real culture of getting the deal done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Stuart Stein "is excellent at relating his work to business and conveying it in a simple manner. The discussion is never esoteric and is always meaningful." He has taken a lead role representing Cornell Companies in its $685 million acquisition by the GEO Group. Daniel Keating assisted on this matter and is praised by clients as an up-and-coming talent. "He really probes and looks at things from every angle to drive the best decisions. He has the client's interests at heart," says one interviewee. Richard Schaberg enters the rankings this year, following glowing reviews from clients. One explained that "he is clear and articulate in negations and in the boardroom." He represented First Chester County Corporation in its $65 million acquisition by Tower Bancorp. He has also spent much of his time this year acting for clients in investigations and enforcement proceedings.
THE FIRM This boutique firm is recognized for its expertise in consumer financial services regulation, with particular knowledge of preemption rules and of state consumer finance laws. The firm has one of the deepest, dedicated benches in the country with over 30 lawyers practicing in this area. It has a broad range of expertise, but is particularly active advising clients on auto finance and mortgage lending arrangements.
Commercial Awareness "The lawyers have the knowledge and experience with both the law and what is unique to the auto market."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Cook has an outstanding reputation for his knowledge of state law, particularly in the area of auto finance. Thomas Hudson is also "a real expert in auto finance who is very congenial and easy to work with." Alicia Tortarolo is considered to be "excellent at working through complex operational challenges to come up with compliant solutions." Her clients include savings associations, credit unions, sales finance companies, and national and state banks.
THE FIRM K&L Gates is one of the premier players in the consumer finance arena, particularly for its mortgage practice. The team has been active representing lenders as the plaintiff's Bar and the government attempt to reduce foreclosures, while also assisting institutions to increase liquidity in the domestic mortgage market. It has also been at the forefront of advising large federally chartered depository institutions such as Bank of America and Everbank, with respect to the changes in federal preemption laws. It is also a leading litigation practice, acting for a number of large domestic lenders in government investigations and class actions relating to fair lending practices.
Commercial Awareness "The lawyers really understand highly complex issues and come up with excellent strategies."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Laurence Platt "has serious gravitas." He is an expert in mortgage-related work, and has assisted multiple investor and loan servicer clients to develop loss mitigation and loan modification programs in response to the foreclosure crisis. Melanie Brody is "an enormously strong lawyer" handling federal and state enforcement and regulatory compliance matters.
THE FIRM The major focus of this group is bank regulatory work, with the enactment of Dodd-Frank taking up a large proportion of recent work. The team has been very busy tracking the bill through congress and advising on various aspects as it has become law. It is assisting five Canadian banks in commenting on rule-making proposals, and is advising a number of European and Asian entities on how the reformed regulatory environment will affect their US operations. The team also advises a number of consumer lenders such as Dell Financial and Capital One on issues pertaining to the growth of their businesses in the consumer lending space. The group has also had a busy year defending banks in enforcement actions, representing UBS in an investigation under the Anti-Terrorism Act and Corus Bank in relation to its failure and closure by the FDIC.
Client Service "The lawyers provide an excellent work product but also circulate a lot of free information to keep people up to speed with legislative changes."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Anenberg is appreciated by clients for being "client focused and proactive in identifying relevant regulatory proposals and explaining their impact." He has been advising Toronto Bank and the US Chamber of Commerce concerning the impact and implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. David Sahr has deep relationships with numerous major institutional clients. Recently, he has been advising a number of foreign lenders and other financial services entities on Dodd-Frank compliance. Broker dealer advisory partner Jerome Roche is considered "very quick on his feet." He has been advising TIAA-CREF on securities matters and numerous non-US bank clients regarding exceptions or exemptions from SEC broker-dealer registration.
THE FIRM This established Gulf-South player has an excellent reputation in consumer finance. It is particularly renowned for its knowledge of state laws and has spent a good deal of the year advising foreign and domestic lenders on their mortgage programs in the light of the Dodd-Frank Act.
Sources say: "The lawyers are experts in consumer finance law and we really rely on them."
THE FIRM The group head Bennet Koren "has a helpful combination of extensive experience and strong communication skills." He has been assisting a variety of clients, including CoreLogic, in modifying their loan programs. Marc Lifset is particularly well regarded for his niche mobile home consumer finance practice. He recently designed a national consumer credit compliance project for Vanderbilt Finance.
THE FIRM The firm has seen an up tick in client demand in light of major legislative changes that affect broker dealers. It has been particularly active advising on market structures, such as stub quotes, dark pools and high frequency trading structures. The investigations side of the practice is also busy and the team has defended a number of clients in SEC probes concerning trading on a variety of exchanges.
Client Service "We see them as knowledgeable, responsive and business minded."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Sharp is a "consummate problem solver. He combines a total dedication to his clients with deep knowledge of securities regulation, commonsense and great judgment." He represents numerous major US and foreign broker dealers and investment advisers, in regulatory matters, transactions and enforcement investigations and proceedings. Wayne Aaron is also recognized as an expert in broker dealer regulation. His expertise includes, advising on trading practices, soft-dollar and directed brokerage programs and regulatory compliance. One interviewee says: "He not only provides answers based on published rules, but also examines problems from the perspective of best practice in the industry."
THE FIRM The group at Morgan Lewis is widely viewed as having an extensive practice in the broker dealer space. It is widely considered a leader, representing SIFMA and the Money Management Institute in the impact of Dodd-Frank as regards industry relations with the SEC. The team also serves as primary counsel to NYSE in connection with obtaining SEC approval of rules and rule changes governing their businesses. It is also counseling a large number of broker dealers and securities firms in relation to compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and the USA Patriot Act.
Commercial Awareness "The lawyers are extremely strong on regulatory matters. Advice tends to be practical rather than intellectual."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Stone "has an impressive range of knowledge on broker dealer and investment adviser issues," praise sources. He is advising several major securities firms undergoing consolidation. Robert Mendelson is a broker dealer and investment funds expert, who is described as "an excellent problem solver." John Ayanian "is a younger partner with excellent knowledge of market structure." He has been handled some major representations for NYSE Euronext.
THE FIRM This team has had a busy year building and consolidating its already extensive banking practice with several major hires. It is primarily known for its prominence in consumer financial matters, and has been involved in some major representations in this area. The team advised a group of credit card issuers in matters relating to late fees under the CARD Act. It has also acted for the Bank of Montreal and Harris Financial Corporation in their purchase of the US and Canada Diners Club portfolio from Citibank. In addition to the strong consumer finance practice, the team represents numerous wholesale banking clients and assists entities in high stakes government investigations.
Client Service "The partners are approachable, sensible people who value their clients and client relationships. Cooperation is the key word."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Fischer is "the leading privacy expert in the country and does a lot of high-level advisory work." In addition to privacy, he focuses on retail financial services, data security and payment system issues. Oliver Ireland has deep experience advising credit card issuers on a range of matters, including consumer protection rules, privacy and payment transactions. Mark Ladner is "a talented litigator," who has represented Bank of America in a number of securities class actions. Henry Fields is praised for his helpfulness and ability to deliver effective solutions to demanding clients. He is based in Los Angeles and has recently represented Service 1st Bank of Nevada in its pending acquisition by Western Liberty Bancorp. Barbara Mendelson is praised by sources as being a well-rounded practitioner: "She sees things from all sides, is extremely pragmatic and very knowledgeable." She has recently advised several US and foreign domiciled banks on merger-related activities. Michael Agoglia is recognized as a leader in consumer class action litigation. He defends a wide range of clients against matters including privacy breaches, unfair business practices and alleged referral schemes. Charles Horn has just arrived from Mayer Brown, adding significant strength to the firm's wholesale banking expertise. Dwight Smith is another new arrival with a significant practice in the community bank space.
Since publication, Dwight C Smith III has left this practice.
THE FIRM Like many leading firms in the bank regulatory space, Paul Hastings has been particularly active advising clients on the implications of the Dodd-Frank bill. In addition to this, the team has also been involved in some major engagements, including acting for VISA in the development and implementation of a world-wide money transfer program. The group also represented funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management in acquiring a $1.7 billion loan portfolio from the FDIC.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gerard Comizio, based in Washington DC, is the chair of the banking and financial institutions practice.
THE FIRM Proskauer enters the rankings for the first time on the basis of strong endorsements of its broker dealer practice. The team has successfully built a profile for securities litigation, enforcement and advisory work. It is defending a number of significant institutions, including BNY Mellon and Oppenheimer in securities litigation and has assisted a number of multinational entities in securities enforcement proceedings.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Kathy Rocklen is representing several multinational lending institutions in FINRA and state Attorney General investigations. One client explained: "She is incredibly smart and tenacious. She is somebody you want to have in your corner."
THE FIRM The team represents a wide range of broker dealer clients, from national institutions to local firms, as well as exchanges and ATS. It has been advising clients on the impact of Dodd-Frank and is preparing comment letters for a number of entities regarding rulemakings from the SEC. The firm also has an active litigation practice, winning a significant victory this year for the Chicago Board Options Exchange.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Laura Pruitt counsels a range of market participants, including broker dealers and investment advisers, on securities law and market regulation. She been active this year representing ATS, particularly electronic trading systems.
Since publication, Laura Pruitt has joined Alston & Bird LLP
THE FIRM The firm maintains a practice that is sophisticated and international in scope, counseling several European banking institutions on the implications of the Dodd-Frank Act for their US operations. It has also advised ICE on obtaining the relevant clearances to become a clearing house and central counterparty for the clearing of credit default swap transactions. In addition, the team has also advised on some major M&A matters, such as the sale by Landesbank Baden-Württemberg of its broker dealer arm to Guggenheim Partners.
Sources say: "It is an innovative team and a go-to for complex matters."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Bradley Sabel is widely praised for his practical experience in regulatory matters. He led the representation of ICE on its acquisition of The Clearing Corporation and the approved application of ICE US Trust. Russell Sacks has recently been made partner at the firm and is considered "incredibly bright and eloquent, with a strong handle on cross-border issues."
THE FIRM This practice is commended for its breadth of expertise across regulatory compliance, broker dealer and consumer finance matters. It addition to a strong domestic base, it maintains a diverse roster of international clients, including China Merchants Bank, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken. The team has also been busy representing JPMorgan Chase, HSBC and GE Capital on rule-makings in front of the Federal Reserve Board.
Commercial Awareness "The team's interest and knowledge of foreign jurisdictions, and their capability in international matters has won our business."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Connie Friesen is praised as "articulate, succinct, and able to deliver results under pressure." She recently assisted the Agricultural Bank of China in their opening of a branch in New York. James Huizinga is a strong transactional lawyer with excellent understanding of the bank regulatory arena. He is representing Citibank in class action litigation and advising on aspects of its card lending business. David Teitelbaum "has the unique ability to communicate complex legal concepts to the non-expert." He represented The Kroger Company in the wind-down of its financial services joint venture with the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and the creation of a new credit card and prepaid card relationship with U.S. Bank. William Eckland has extensive cross-border expertise and assisted the National Cooperative Federation of Korea in the opening of a branch in the USA. Dennis Hensley has a longstanding reputation as a broker dealer expert at the firm. Clients value his "tremendous experience and intelligence." Kevin Campion is a younger partner at the firm and is widely tipped as an up and comer. He is considered an expert in short selling issues and has been active representing SIFMA on related issues.
THE FIRM This group has a strong presence in the areas of compliance and M&A, with over 15 partners regularly advising financial services entities on these matters. The team has been particularly active in the M&A arena this year, advising on both the buy and sell side of a number of significant transactions, particularly with banks who are inexperienced in the FDIC bidding process. It recently represented Bank of Nova Scotia in its acquisition of R-G Premier Bank of Puerto Rico from the FDIC, acquiring $5.6 billion of assets and $2.2 billion of deposits. The group has also been active advising AIG on the sale of several of its assets, including AIG Star Life and ALICO.
Sources say: "We have tremendous respect for the firm. It is one of the best out there for financial services M&A work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Lee Meyerson "is a user-friendly attorney with a sophisticated feel for the regulatory environment." He led the team that acted for the Bank of Nova Scotia in the aforementioned acquisition. Gary Rice is widely seen as providing the team with strong regulatory muscle, and plays a key role in many of the firm's transactions. He played a lead role in the representation of The Carlyle Group in its investment in the common stock of Hampton Roads Bankshares. He worked closely on this matter with Maripat Alpuche, whom observers view as a key part of the team. Ellen Reilly Patterson has significant corporate finance expertise. She played a major part in TD Bank Financial Group's acquisition of The South Financial Group. The "emerging legal mind" Elizabeth Cooper has just been made partner at the firm and is widely considered to be a rising star in the group.
Since publication, Ellen Reilly Patterson has moved in-house.
THE FIRM Skadden Arps is one of the most sophisticated firms in the US for bank regulatory advice. It wins praise for its breadth of practice, including banking compliance, enforcement, M&A and consumer finance matters. On the enforcement side, the group was instrumental in helping Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation reach a favorable settlement with OFAC over alleged violations of US economic sanctions. The team has also been heavily involved in helping financial institutions purchase bank assets through the FDIC. These included advising Oriental Bank and Trust on its acquisition of $1.7 billion in assets in the Puerto Rican bank Eurobank. It has also assisted Morgan Stanley with the chartering of a new bank to house its private wealth management arm. In addition, the team has been defending a large number of private class action suits in the consumer finance space. These include representations of several major banks in connection with fair lending and unfair or deceptive acts. It acted for GMAC Mortgage Bank in the defense of alleged discriminatory lending practices.
Sources say: "The firm is head and shoulders above others when it comes to efficiency and breadth of expertise."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Sweet "is extremely eminent: when he talks, the regulators take note." He represented Citigroup and Primerica in the $230 million sale of common stock and warrants of Primerica to Warburg Pincus. Jamie Boucher has an excellent niche practice representing financial institutions in investigations that involve multiple jurisdictions. She represented Sumitomo in a significant sanctions case. Anand Raman and Joseph Barloon are considered sophisticated litigators, and often work together on major cases. They are representing more than ten banks in supervisory actions and investigations relating to allegations of discrimination and unfair practices by the FDIC, the OCC the OTS and the Federal Reserve. William Rubenstein "is able to accomplish what businesses want to accomplish." He acted for Citigroup in its sale of Student Loan Corporation, including the divestiture of its private student loan business and approximately $32 billion of its assets to Discover Financial Services and Sallie Mae.
THE FIRM Sullivan and Cromwell is one of the giants of the financial services space. The firm has a bench of lawyers that is second to none and has an enviable reputation as a deal powerhouse. The team landed some of the highest profile instructions of the year, including representing Barclays in the $15.2 billion sale of its Barclays Global Investors business to BlackRock. Huge deals are matched by the team's regulatory prowess. It acts as regulatory counsel to some of the world's most sophisticated financial institutions including American Express, Goldman Sachs and The Clearing House, among many others. On the enforcement side, it also takes on major pieces of contentious work, representing Barclays, Goldman Sachs and Wachovia in high stakes criminal and civil proceedings with US government departments and regulators.
Commercial Awareness "The team's expertise, knowledge and unique access to political and corporate decision makers is second to none."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Rodgin Cohen is repeatedly referred to as "a force of nature," and as "arguably the best banking lawyer in America." He is a legendary transactional lawyer, and is also extremely highly regarded for his enforcement and regulatory expertise. He has played a pivotal role in many of the highest profile matters in the industry, including leading the team that acted as counsel for all ten of the largest FDIC purchases last year. He worked with Mitchell Eitel on First Niagara Financial Group's $1.5 billion combination with NewAlliance BancShares, creating a top-25 US bank. Eitel has an outstanding reputation as chair of the group, with sources regularly singling him out as one of "S&C's young superstars." He has been lead counsel to Warburg Pincus in a number of major deals. Michael Wiseman possesses "excellent judgment, experience and knowledge of the regulatory environment," say sources. He has advised several major US lending institutions as they have participated in the government's TARP program. Donald Toumey "has a lot of gravitas at the Federal Reserve," according to clients. He was counsel to Australia & New Zealand Banking Corporation in connection with the settlement of a civil investigation related to US OFAC sanctions. Mark Menting has been building relationships with smaller banks, a sector where the firm is working hard to build a market share. Michael Escue is "an impressive banking lawyer" say clients. He focuses his practice on compliance and regulatory work. On the enforcement side, Karen Patton Seymour comes highly recommended for "her exceptional relationship building and strategic thinking." Samuel Seymour has a strong reputation as a litigator as well as advising clients under investigation.
THE FIRM This DC-based team maintains a broad based regulatory and enforcement practice, with a diverse group of clients. This has recently included the US Treasury Department, Navy Mutual Aid Association and many large banks, such as ING Direct in relation to legislative changes. The team is also handling a significant number of investigations, advising banks nationwide on government enforcement activities.
Sources say: "Every attorney with whom I have had contact with at Venable has been extremely knowledgeable and helpful."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ronald Glancz is a senior partner in the firm's financial services group. He has a particular focus on representing individuals in enforcement actions and government investigations.
THE FIRM Wachtell is seen as one of the preeminent firms in the country for financial services M&A. It has an outstanding reputation as a deal firm, landing instructions in numerous major financial M&A matters. Recently this has included representing Bank of America in its acquisition of Merrill Lynch, and JPMorgan Chase in its acquisition of Bear Stearns.
Sources say: "The group is extraordinary and we would not hesitate to recommend them."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Edward Herlihy is a M&A lawyer with an international reputation, and extensive experience in financial institutions M&A. Richard Kim is widely viewed as the team's substantive specialist on banking regulation, playing an invaluable role for the team on M&A transactions. Nicholas Demmo has experience in public and private company acquisitions, securities offerings, corporate governance matters and joint venture transactions.
THE FIRM Weil, Gotshal combines transactional and litigation strength in what is a compact but highly effective consumer finance practice. Recent matters include the defense of Washington Mutual in a number of class actions in the consumer lending field. On the transactional side, the team advised Advent International and Bain Capital in connection with their acquisition of Worldpay, a transaction with a significant cross-border regulatory component.
Sources say: "The team has an excellent practice in federal matters."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Walter Zalenski is considered by sources to be a goldmine of information on both mortgage-related regulatory work and consumer finance litigation. He was counsel to Fifth Third Processing Solutions in its acquisition of National Processing Company.
THE FIRM White & Case's long relationships with financial institutions and its wide geographical footprint continues to enable the firm to scoop large international instructions. This has recently included acting for a number of Chinese and Taiwanese banks which have engaged in M&A activity. It has also been involved in assisting financial institutions in interpreting and implementing recent financial reform legislation and rule-makings issued by Congress and various regulatory bodies.
Sources say: "This is a big international firm with a strong banking practice and multijurisdictional breadth."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Ernest Patrikis is a bank regulatory expert at the firm. Sources say: "He understands the regulatory process, and the overlap between insurance and banking."
THE FIRM WilmerHale has an extremely broad and well-regarded financial services practice, with a strong focus on broker dealer regulation and consumer finance. In response to the recent surge in regulatory activity, many financial institutions including TransUnion and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas have turned to the team for advice. It has also attracted international clients, recently advising Spanish savings banks on setting up operations in the USA. On the consumer finance side, the firm also has a strong national presence. It acts as regulatory counsel to Barclays, HSBC and JPMorgan Chase, and handled consumer finance-related litigation for all three banks. Its broker dealer practice is also one of the most prominent in the USA. The team is closely integrated with both the banking and the SEC enforcement group, and has been advising large multinational financial institutions and broker dealers under investigation as well as assisting financial services entities to stay abreast of SEC rule-makings. It also represents SIFMA regarding proposed regulation of fixed income research analyst conflicts of interests.
Commercial Awareness "We receive expertly balanced advice with a good reading of the current environment."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Yoon-Young Lee leads the broker dealer practice at the firm. She has an outstanding reputation as a top-end adviser to broker dealers. She has been active representing SIFMA, as well as developing policies and procedures to avoid conflicts of interest for a global professional services firm. Broker dealer partner, Andre Owens was praised by sources for his brief-writing skills and for "his painstaking exploration of information to provide a better understanding of how things work in practice." He is seen as an expert in ATS, market access and dark pools and was recently hired to provide advice on high frequency and algorithmic trading. Russell Bruemmer was commended for his "excellent interpersonal skills." Sources note that his "experience, skills and leadership, were critical for the management of our relationship with the regulators." He focuses on bank regulatory advice, including acting as counsel to First Horizon/FTN Securities. Christopher Lipsett has a fearsome reputation as a litigator, and is involved in consumer litigation for major banks including Barclays and JPMorgan Chase. Bruce Newman is well regarded as both a compliance and enforcement expert. He was recently retained by the US office of a foreign bank to conduct a review of supervisory processes.
Since publication, Christopher R Lipsett has moved in-house.
THE FIRM This team has had a strong year, impressing sources with its broad regulatory expertise. It acts for several trade associations, advising on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act, drafting of comment letters and assisting in other aspects of the rule-making process. The team has also been active in the private equity space, acting for a consortium of private equity houses who invested in a bank holding company.
Sources say: "The real distinguishing feature of Winston & Strawn is perspective."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients praised Christine Edwards for her "extensive, big-picture expertise." She focuses on bank and securities regulation, as well as corporate governance.
of Williams & Connolly LLP has a excellent reputation in the government investigations space. He is particularly well known for representing directors and officers. Darrell Dreher
of Dreher Tomkies Scheiderer LLP is a state compliance specialist in the consumer finance area, whom sources referred to as a "real subject matter expert.
" Jay Fastow
of Dickstein Shapiro LLP has a strong reputation as a litigator in the consumer financial services arena. Dana Fleischman
and Brian Smith
of Latham & Watkins LLP are successfully building a practice at the firm, which has recently been providing a good deal of regulatory advice on rule-makings to trade associations and US-domiciled banks. Donald Lampe
, who joins Dykema Gossett PLLC from Womble Carlyle, "is a fine lawyer, who is involved deeply with consumer financial services.
" He has a particularly strong reputation in the community bank space. Douglas Landy
of Allen & Overy LLP is a well regarded bank regulatory specialist with a strong focus on advising European financial institutions. Paul McCurdy
of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP is a broker dealer specialist. He has been working on a number of alleged insider trading and Ponzi scheme cases. Clients value his extensive market experience. Rodney Peck
of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP receives warm praise for his "wisdom, good judgment, good experience and unflappability." Philip Richter
of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP is a transactional lawyer with significant bank regulatory expertise. Robin Maxwell
of Linklaters is head of the firm's financial regulation group in New York. She regularly advises US and foreign banks on regulatory matters including financial reform, and counsels on regulatory aspects of financial M&A. The acquisition of former Schiff Hardin attorney Howard Kramer
is a notable coup for Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP. Kramer represents broker dealers in investigations and has experience working with regulators as part of the rule-making process. "He is somebody you want to brainstorm with on tough issues."
Since publication, Brian W Smith has retired from this practice.
Since publication, Douglas J Landy has joined Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy LLP