THE FIRM This leading practice has the breadth and depth to act as a 'one-stop shop' for financing matters. The team acts for both lenders and borrowers, and its client portfolio includes some of the world's largest banks. Sources note that the team is becoming increasingly active on behalf of asset managers, hedge funds and debt and equity funds.
Sources say: "It is a first-rate firm, with some of the best attorneys around."
KEY INDIVIDUALS John Mendez is global cochair of the firm's banking group. Peers describe him as "a superb lawyer and formidable competitor." One client enthused: "He is the best banking lawyer I have ever dealt with – he combines high-quality technical skills with commercial and lateral thinking." He is a popular choice with major international banks such as UBS and Goldman Sachs. John Jameson was involved in the Live Nation Entertainment syndicated revolving credit facility. Glenn Collyer is "a very experienced and knowledgeable practitioner." He recently advised on the creation of a new revolving credit facility for Pinnacle Entertainment. Gregory Robins is a "commercially minded attorney who understands the business risks within the wider market." He is a noted player in the leveraged finance area, and proves popular with investment banks, commercial banks and private equity funds. His clients include Goldman Sachs and Oaktree Capital Management.
THE FIRM Bingham McCutchen has banking and finance lawyers in Los Angeles, San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The group is commended for its work in a broad range of areas, including syndicated loans and asset-based lending. The team acted as counsel to Bank of America in its provision of a $600 million syndicated unsecured term credit facility for AECOM Technology.
Sources say: "The lawyers care about their work and their clients - they provide high-quality legal services in a timely manner."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Peter Carson excels in syndicated loans, particularly on behalf of major banks. Peers describe him as "a solid and detail-oriented attorney." Seasoned practitioner George Hisert cochairs the banking and leveraged finance practice group. Sources praise his "incredible wealth of experience." Sandra Lee Montgomery represents Wells Fargo Capital Finance and other asset-based lenders in leveraged finance transactions. Observers praise her strength in technical matters, particularly in the technology and manufacturing sectors. Mark Spitzer is praised as “a practical and pragmatic lawyer; he is an expert in commercial loan transactions." James Rockett cochairs the firm's financial institutions corporate and regulatory group. His recent work highlights include representing banks, such as the Carpenter Community BancFund and Bank of San Francisco, in offerings, private placements and recapitalizations.
THE FIRM The team at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher continues to thrive despite the departure of prominent attorney Brian Kilb. The practice group is best known for representing borrowers and private equity firms. The team has also seen an increase in refinancing work inspired by low interest rates.
Sources say: "If you ask them to do something it gets done and gets done well - they provide valuable, consistent advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Linda Curtis is well known for her work in leveraged financings, debt transactions and restructurings. One source enthused: "She is fantastic. She has a wide range of expertise and helps you think of things you haven't thought of yourself. I would use her a million times over." She recently acted for Del Monte Foods in two significant debt offerings. Commentators describe Cromwell Montgomery as "practical and efficient - he always gets to the point very quickly." He has been busy acting for clients Lake Las Vegas and Entravision in exit financings and credit facilities. Jeff Hudson is noted for his expertise in debt capital markets transactions, acquisition financing and restructurings. Peers and clients say: "He is a bright, knowledgeable and realistic finance lawyer." Aurora Capital is a key client.
THE FIRM Paul Hastings has doubled the size and scope of its finance practice over the past five years. The team is spread throughout the firm's offices in Los Angeles, Orange County and San Francisco. The practice group is seen to be particularly strong in asset-based loans.
Sources say: "A very thoughtful and collaborative team that works extremely well together - they understand and care about our business."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients describe John Hilson as the 'go-to' lawyer for asset-based loans. Sources say: "He is one of the finest banking lawyers in the state." He has a large cross-border element to his practice. Clients say they have nothing but high praise for Jennifer Yount, who recently advised Wells Fargo in the arrangement of a large syndicated credit facility for a prominent regional airline. Peter Burke has experience in a broad range of industry sectors. Commentators report: "He is a very solid lawyer who is becoming an increasingly important player." Katherine Bell is recognized as "a tenacious and practical rising star." She advises clients on leveraged finance, asset-based finance and structured finance.
THE FIRM Buchalter Nemer is well known for representing lenders in asset-based loans. The team wins praise from clients for its regional expertise. Clients include major banks like Union Bank, Wells Fargo and East West Bank.
Sources say: "They really understand our industry and are able to identify issues in a succinct manner - they provide clear advice that we can use from a business perspective."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients report that Robert Davidson is "skilled at negotiating and drafting agreements; he keeps a level head at all times." He advises on all aspects of secured and unsecured financial transactions for major lending institutions and corporate borrowers. Farhad Bahar is firmwide cochair of the banking and finance practice group. He is particularly highly regarded for his expertise in secured and unsecured loans and asset-backed finance. He proves particularly popular with clients in the field of film finance. Matthew Kavanaugh is highly regarded for equipment financing. Sources praise him as "extremely adept at negotiating intercreditor agreements." Clients say that William Schoenholz "can cut through the minutiae and drill down to the key issues." He is retained by a variety of institutional investors, including banks and funds. Ariel Berrios is singled out for his work in cash flow and asset-based lending for technology companies. Clients report: "He completely understands the commercial as well as legal aspects of a transaction." He regularly advises on cross-border transactions. Anthony Callobre, a recent recruit from Bingham McCutchen, represents banks in syndicated credit facilities and large loan transactions. He is particularly experienced in the engineering, construction and entertainment industries.
THE FIRM Clients say they go to Morrison & Foerster for its excellent reputation and stay because of its solid lending practice, broad expertise and international capabilities. The group is particularly strong in Northern California, where it is praised for IP, cleantech sector and global vendor financing. Clients include JPMorgan Chase, Bank of the West and Cadence Design Systems.
Sources say: "An exceptional and incredibly responsive firm; it can provide support overseas."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jill Feldman is extremely active in finance work relating to the cleantech and renewable energy sector. Clients say: "She is a very impressive legal adviser; she goes above and beyond to meet her client's needs." Daniel Leventhal is described as "a superb lawyer." He has a strong cross-border practice and divides his time between San Francisco and London.
THE FIRM Sullivan & Cromwell's California banking and finance team is very much incorporated into the firm's national practice, with partners in Los Angeles and New York cooperating on key deals. The group advises both borrowers and lenders, and Goldman Sachs is a long-standing client.
Sources say: "A solid practice; the team is undertaking high-profile work."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Hydee Feldstein is highly regarded for debt work in the leveraged finance area. Interviewees say: "She is extremely smart and dedicated to her clients - she comes up with innovative solutions to problems."
Since publication, Hydee R Feldstein has retired from this practice.
THE FIRM From its offices in Los Angeles and Silicon Valley, McDermott Will & Emery handles syndicated financings and restructurings for key financial clients such as HIG Capital, GE Capital and JPMorgan Chase. The group is also highly regarded for financing work in the healthcare sector.
Sources say: "The lawyers are easy to work with and focused on getting the deal done."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Rosenbaum is an asset-based lending expert. Sources report: "He has excellent legal and business sense, and is available 24 hours a day." He advised JPMorgan Chase in connection with the provision of a $45 million capital call bridge loan facility. Jean LeBlanc focuses on debtor-in-possession, post-formation financing and restructuring work. He is a key contact for GE Capital and recently acted for it in its role as agent in a $25 million senior secured revolving credit facility.
THE FIRM The recent hiring of Eric Reimer is a sign of the firm's increasing activity in this area. Sources see his appointment as a major boost to the team. The practice group excels in entertainment finance. It is also noted for its work on the private equity side, where the team represents funds such as Beach Point Capital Management and Freeman Spogli.
Sources say: "The partners don't overcomplicate the deals - they listen to what we want and are very good at keeping us informed."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Tom Baxter is highly regarded for his skill in navigating technical issues. Clients say: "He knows our business and style; he has a constructive approach to getting the deal done." He represented private equity firm Vance Street Capital in financing its acquisition of ASC Group. Eric Reimer recently joined the firm from Goodwin Procter. He divides his time between Los Angeles and New York. Clients say: "He is very practical from a business perspective, and is very good at applying the law to commercial issues." He is commended for his work in the private equity arena.
THE FIRM This leading East Coast firm has been growing its presence in California and is active in midmarket and private equity work. It has an impressive track record in entertainment and sports financing. The team represented JPMorgan Chase, Citibank and Bank of America as co-lead arrangers for a $450 million secured credit facility used to acquire the Chicago Cubs.
Sources say: "A good firm making significant headway in the market - they represent their clients very well without being overly aggressive."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Weise is an expert on the UCC and advises on complicated regulatory matters. One client reports: "He is a very personable attorney who can take something complex and break it down into something we can easily understand." Commentators describe Neil Cummings as "an extremely responsive and creative practitioner - he can always come up with solutions to the problems we face.” He is head of the Los Angeles finance group and represents banks, funds and borrowers.
THE FIRM The California branch of Shearman & Sterling plays a significant role in its solid national finance practice. The group is noted for its work with commercial and investment banks in the syndicated lending market. The team recently represented Capital Access Network in an amended and restated $172.5 million securitization facility. Other key clients include Barclays, Bank of America and Morgan Stanley.
Sources say: "They offer a very high-level, client-oriented service and are willing to work on any issue."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Steven Sherman acts on a range of secured financings, workouts and project financing. Commentators praise him as "a very practical attorney who is always up to speed with what is going on in the market." Work highlights include acting for CIT Healthcare as administrative agent in a credit facility valued at $131 million.
of Chapman and Cutler LLP is "a terrific lawyer who is beloved by her clients."
She represented Wells Fargo as agent in a number of multimillion-dollar secured acquisition financings and credit facilities. Jan Harris Cate
of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is highly regarded by clients and peers alike. She is commended for her extensive work with long-standing client Union Bank. She has also seen an increase in bankruptcy deals involving large institutional lenders as agents. Reed Smith LLP's Susan Alker
is considered "a very down-to-earth and reasonable attorney
." She regularly advises on acquisition financings, and recently assisted Toyota in securing a $5 billion credit facility. Christopher Kirkham
joined Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati from O'Melveny & Myers in early 2010, and then moved to Kirkland & Ellis in April 2011. He is known as "a talented, efficient and knowledgeable finance lawyer who is a key player in the leveraged finance market
." Peers rate Neil Rust
of White & Case LLP as "a fine lawyer with a great deal of technical expertise.
" He is praised for his ability to combine his skill in finance matters with a deep knowledge of M&A. Gary D. Samson
of McGuireWoods is heralded as "an adept, detail-oriented lawyer."
He advises on asset-backed lending and general commercial lending matters. Samantha Good
of Kirkland & Ellis LLP is known for her lending experience in both San Francisco and Los Angeles. Clients report: "She is very tenacious and can achieve overwhelmingly successful outcomes
." She counts Oaktree Capital Management and Golden Gate Capital as key clients. Don Weaver
of SNR Denton is recommended for his skill in structured finance and asset-backed finance. He has a deep understanding of the energy and renewable energy sector. Brian Kilb
is a recent addition to Liner Grode Stein Yankelevitz Sunshine Regenstreif & Taylor LLP, having left Gibson Dunn at the start of 2011. Described as a "deep thinker who has a first rate intellect,"
he focuses on representing lenders and borrowers in leveraged acquisitions and other loan transactions. Former MoFo attorney Pauline Stevens
, now of Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP, is best known for representing financial institutions and investors in debt financing transactions and financial product development. Marshall Stoddard
recently joined Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP from Dewey & LeBoeuf. Peers say that he is "a very solid banking lawyer."
He splits his time between Los Angeles and New York and is a popular choice for banking clients, including Wells Fargo and Bank of America.
Since publication, Jan Harris Cate has left this practice.