Chambers USA Awards for Excellence 2013

Chambers USA Awards 2013

On May 23rd, over 500 guests gathered at Cipriani 42nd St in New York for Chambers and Partners' seventh annual 'Chambers USA Awards for Excellence'. These awards shine a spotlight on the firms and individuals that have excelled above all others in the US legal market over the period 2012-13.

The results are not simply tied to the rankings in Chambers USA. They also reflect a law firm's recent achievements, which may include, for example, significant new matters handled during the past twelve months, expansion into a particular practice area, or the recruitment of high-profile partners.

We were also honored to recognize the careers of 3 luminaries in their respective fields. Donald Francis Donovan of Debevoise & Plimpton and John Halvey of NYSE Euronext both received Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession Awards, and Jerold Oshinsky of Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman received a Lifetime Achievement Award. 

For the full USA Awards 2013 shortlist click here.


2013 Categories and Winners

LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Jerold Oshinsky, Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman LLP

Jerold Oshinsky, in the words of one client, “invented the world of modern policyholder-side insurance coverage.” He co-chairs Jenner & Block’s Insurance Litigation and Counseling Practice and is a first port of call on sensitive coverage cases for corporate giants like Monsanto, Hercules, Pfizer, WR Grace and Merck, among many others. He has been an instrumental force in asbestos and environmental liability cases over the past decades, and has also emerged as a go-to adviser for universities, including Duke and Penn State, in coverage matters that have drawn the attention of the media worldwide. Sources are effusive in their praise of his knowledge, judgment, enthusiasm and demeanor. In the words of one client: “He really transcends the field. He knows everything and is not only tremendously knowledgeable, but is diplomatic and statesmanlike in his approach. He is outstanding and humble at the same time.” Oshinky has also mentored and advanced the careers of numerous attorneys at several law firms throughout his distinguished career.


In more than three decades of legal practice, Donald Francis Donovan of Debevoise & Plimpton has established himself as one of the world’s foremost experts in international arbitration and public international law. A client sums him up as “A model of what a top international arbitration lawyer ought to be: brilliant, hands on, accessible, client friendly and very hard working. He's spectacular.” Donovan is a true luminary of the international Bar and has appeared before the US Supreme Court and the International Court of Justice. He has represented clients, and sat as an arbitrator, in proceedings under ICSID, ICC and ICDR rules, and he is well-known for handling a wide range of both commercial disputes, international law matters and human rights work. Praise for his talents comes from around the world: “One of the best lawyers you could wish for,” and “One of the best advocates you will ever see.” He currently serves as President of the American Society of International Law.


John K. Halvey has served as General Counsel of NYSE Euronext since 2008 and is also a member of the company’s Management Committee. He has had a distinguished legal career and is widely acknowledged as a thought leader in technology and outsourcing law. Halvey honed his skills in private practice at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy. At Milbank, Halvey was rated as a Star Individual for many years by Chambers & Partners,. He has maintained an enormous amount of respect in the market, with peers describing him as “legendary” and “the godfather of outsourcing.” Halvey was also in a business role at Safeguard Scientifics where he managed the corporate development functions of a technology holding company. Halvey now manages the legal, government affairs and security departments of one of the world’s largest financial service organizations, and his position allows him to capitalize on his “business acumen, experience and knowledge” and ability to “manage a huge magnitude of complex work.”

Awards by legal practice area

ADVERTISING: Davis & Gilbert LLP

The comprehensive advertising practice is home to a vast reservoir of talent, with its attorneys particularly singled out for their responsiveness, and for the practical and business-focused nature of their advice. The group is well equipped to handle the full range of advertising law matters for companies/firms in a variety of industries, acting for a prestigious client roster including Apple, TBWA\CHIAT\DAY, Discover and Gap.

ANTITRUST: Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Gibson Dunn fields one of the most acclaimed antitrust teams in the market. While the team is applauded for its strength across the board in this area, its expertise in litigation and cartel-related matters is particularly lauded. Its recent highlights include acting as trial counsel for Apple in the eBooks antitrust litigation.

BANKRUPTCY: Morrison & Foerster LLP

Morrison & Foerster's momentum in the bankruptcy arena continues, following its appointment as lead counsel to the Chapter 11 trustee of MF Global Holdings and its high-profile role as lead counsel to ResCap. The group has quickly established itself as a major player on both the debtor and creditor sides, with representations of the unsecured creditors' committees in the PMI, Pinnacle Airlines and Ambac Financial Chapter 11 cases highlighting the latter.

CONSTRUCTION: Peckar & Abramson, P.C.

Peckar & Abramson stands as one of the country's best, largest and furthest-reaching construction law firms. While possessing a leading practice acting on behalf of construction managers and contractors, the firm is also an excellent first choice for all types of regulatory and transactional concerns, and for cutting-edge counsel on sector developments and emerging issues affecting the construction industry.

CORPORATE/M&A: Kirkland & Ellis LLP

This national giant has enjoyed an impressive year, with a series of high-value deals showcasing its strength in M&A from its offices in New York, California, Illinois and Washington, DC. For example, the team represents 3G Capital in its $28 billion acquisition, alongside Berkshire Hathaway, of HJ Heinz, and represented Blackstone in its competing bid for Dell.


The benefits team at Skadden has enjoyed a standout year, with a keen focus on M&A-related compensation and benefits work on behalf of private equity groups and public companies. Recent highlights include acting for Sprint Nextel on the employee benefits and executive compensation issues relating to its sale of a 70% stake to SoftBank in Japan for $20 billion.


Vinson & Elkins continues to dominate the energy legal market and maintains its presence at the top of the oil and gas industry in transactional, regulatory and contentious matters. Among many recent highlights, the firm represented Denbury Resources in a $1.6+ billion exchange transaction involving the sale of its Bakken assets in North Dakota and Montana to ExxonMobil and its wholly owned subsidiary XTO Energy.


This team has impressed sources with its tremendous depth of expertise at all levels of practice. Its power work follows the firm's wide-reaching global approach, enabling it to appear in major matters, such as working on behalf of Jamaica Power regarding the developing and finance of Jamaica's first gas-fired power project.

FINANCE: Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP

Cravath is a juggernaut of the US financial sphere, regularly representing systemically important financial institutions in lending transactions of every type, including complex acquisition, multicurrency and multijurisdictional financings, as well as offering borrower-side representation to corporate clients and private equity firms in every industry. The firm also represents issuers and underwriters in a full range of offerings and placements. Longstanding financial institution clients include JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs.

HEALTHCARE: McDermott Will & Emery LLP

This preeminent group is home to an impressive wealth of talent and is well equipped to handle the gamut of healthcare matters, from M&A and joint ventures to regulatory compliance issues. Among its recent highlights is the billion-dollar affiliation of Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services, two major nonprofit health systems, to create a fully integrated nonprofit, charitable healthcare system serving numerous communities in the Northwest.


A powerful presence on both coasts and in the Midwest, Jenner & Block has firmly established itself as one of the strongest policyholder practices in the country. The team's prowess in sophisticated, high-stakes proceedings was recently exemplified by its representing Penn State University regarding coverage for the Sandusky scandal, its obtaining a substantial D&O summary judgment victory for HSBC, and its securing an insurer-funded D&O settlement for another client in a high-profile derivative matter.

INSURANCE (INSURER): Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP (insurer)

Longstanding market-leading expertise in both direct insurance and reinsurance has enabled this well-established representative of the industry to enjoy another stellar year. Its presence at the very top of the insurance legal world is confirmed with the representation of Travelers for the past 25 years and in a number of complex insurance coverage matters this year.


Debevoise is a long-established powerhouse in the international arbitration arena, tackling the most complex commercial and investor-state disputes with leading expertise and aplomb. Examples of its recent high-profile work include acting for Occidental and Perenco in ICSID arbitrations brought against the Republic of Ecuador, and representing Tethyan in disputes with the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.


Arnold & Porter is increasingly prominent in the international trade arena, receiving glowing market feedback for its work on trade remedies cases and export controls and trade sanctions compliance. A blue-chip client roster includes more than half of the top ten aerospace and defense companies, top financial institutions and universities, the government of Israel, the Province of Alberta (Canada), Wieland Werke and the World Intellectual Property Organization.


Sidley's stellar investment funds team is singled out for its excellence in regulatory issues and its superb technical expertise. With the capacity to serve clients with in-depth coverage in every substantive investment management, fund and derivatives discipline, Sidley has the ability to counsel clients on the most complex of structures. Sidley counts a range of sophisticated clients in its roster, including many of the largest alternative and traditional funds in the US and the world.


MoFo's impressive nationwide IP practice has reveled in another extraordinary year, leading several game-changing IP matters for technology and life sciences companies, including the most closely watched patent, trademark and trade dress case of the year. A series of high-profile clients benefit from the team's extensive skill in prosecuting and litigating IP matters across the United States and worldwide.


Paul Hastings is perennially counted among the elite labor and employment practices. The firm's expansive offering includes market-leading teams on both the East and West Coasts, while multinational clients are equally keen to tap into the firm's global capabilities. Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline and AIG feature highly on its enviable client roster.


Chairman of Dechert Andrew Levander is commended for his ability to handle the most complex and significant cases, including the trials of white-collar matters, and to operate seamlessly at the intersection of securities and commodities law and white-collar criminal defense. Highlights from his recent work include his representation of former MF Global CEO Jon Corzine in matters related to its collapse, and of former Barclays CEO Robert Diamond in connection with the Libor scandal.


Jim Quinn operates out of Weil’s New York office, and has for years been recognized as one of the country’s leading trial lawyers. His practice spans the full range of litigation. His significant matters over the past year include successful representation of CBS in a multibillion-dollar securities class action, ongoing representation of a Germany-based ticketing company in a multimillion-dollar international arbitration, and a three-month jury trial.

MEDIA: Davis Wright Tremaine LLP

Davis Wright Tremaine represents clients in media, intellectual property and First Amendment litigation throughout the United States, routinely acting on behalf of the country's leading media companies, including the Associated Press, Cablevision, News Corporation, NBCUniversal, Time Warner, the Tribune Company and Viacom.


Sidley Austin is widely recognized as a leading member of the product liability elite, operating at the forefront of challenging litigation involving industry giants and emerging companies. Its expertise spans risk management counseling, pretrial resolution, trials and appeals, with particular focus on prescription drug and medical device personal injury litigation, class action consumer fraud litigation and torts in the environmental and energy space.

REAL ESTATE: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Real estate is a true cornerstone of this respected firm. Its outstanding nationwide practice is underpinned by a network of highly regarded teams and leading practices in New York, Chicago and in its Florida heartland. Its illustrious client roster includes SL Green, Starwood Capital, Kimco, Invesco and Square Mile Capital. Recent instructions include the $1.1 billion purchase and financing of the Sony Building in New York and the $3.3 billion acquisition of supermarket chains from Supervalu.


Gibson Dunn’s stellar securities advisory and enforcement practice is engaged in some of the most challenging and significant matters of recent times. The firm houses an impressive team of highly regarded former senior officials from several government and regulatory agencies, including the SEC, CFTC, FINRA and DOJ. With coast-to-coast coverage and a diverse clientele, it represents notable clients, including UBS, JPMorgan, Johnson & Johnson, Bloomberg and General Electric.

TAX: Bingham McCutchen LLP

An undisputed leader in tax controversy work, Bingham McCutchen is increasingly renowned as a formidable force in transactional tax issues. In addition to its preeminent expertise in transfer pricing, the firm has an excellent reputation for its technical advice regarding partnership, joint venture, corporate/M&A, energy and international tax issues.

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Client Service Awards

Client Service awards go to firms who have been consistently singled out by clients during the course of our research for the quality and range of their client service. We don’t give out client service awards every year in every country, but we believe that this year the following awards are thoroughly deserved:

Energy Projects: Oil & Gas - Andrews Kurth LLP

Andrews Kurth's impressive reputation in oil and gas law has been cemented by its recent activity in a series of major projects, including in work for Sabine Pass Liquefaction relating to a $3.6 billion LNG export project financing. The team also represents a raft of major industry players such as BP, Duke Energy and Hilcorp Energy.

Energy Projects: Power (including Renewables) - Winston & Strawn LLP

Market commentators have the utmost respect for Winston & Strawn's renewables practice, and highlight its recent spate of impressive work in the wind, solar and hydroelectric project spaces. The team has recently acted on behalf of Atlantic Wind Connection on a proposed $5 billion offshore transmission grid, and for leading companies participating in the development, finance, purchase and sale of solar projects across the country.

Real Estate: Sullivan & Cromwell LLP

This preeminent New York firm enjoys a fantastic reputation for a broad range of real estate-related work. The team is trusted by some of the nation's foremost financial institutions, funds and other investors to handle their most significant transactional matters. Its key real estate clients include Vornado, Goldman Sachs (and its sponsored funds), General Growth, the New York Football Giants and ING.

Product Liability: Pepper Hamilton LLP

This renowned group is well versed in complex product liability litigation, and is particularly esteemed for its adroit handling of pharmaceutical and medical device-related disputes. It remains a popular choice for key clients and continues to act as national counsel for numerous pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical device companies in their most challenging litigation and investigations.

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