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Schiff Hardin LLP


  • Willis Tower
  • Chicago
  • USA
  • IL 60606

Banking & Finance - Illinois

THE FIRM Schiff Hardin is known for its skill representing financial institutions, particularly banks, on regulatory and enforcement matters. In addition, the group represents borrowers and lenders across the full spectrum of secured lending, and is also noted for its strengths in project and structured finance. A recent highlight saw the team represent John Hancock Life Insurance in the monetization of the value of Bell Canada's investment in the joint sponsorship of the National Hockey League.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The highly regarded Scott Pickens concentrates on the representation of creditors in financing transactions, and is also sought for his expertise in workouts. 

Ami Scott is noted for her strengths in acquisition and lending transactions, including working capital facilities. 

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Illinois

THE FIRM Longstanding Chicago firm Schiff Hardin is a new entrant in this year's rankings. The group represents a wide range of clients including debtors, lenders and creditors' committees. Recent representations include acting for Amalgamated Bank as indenture trustee on a matter relating to large real estate developments, and Raymond Professional Group in its Chapter 11 proceedings.

Sources say: "Seamless as a team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Fisher focuses on acting for a variety of lenders and financial institutions in workouts and reorganizations. Sources describe him as "a calming influence," with one interviewee mentioning: "He did a great job for us in a complex and nasty situation."

Communications - Illinois

THE FIRM This firm is noted for its strength in the Illinois telecom space, and its team of experienced lawyers impresses with its breadth of expertise in regulatory, contentious and transactional matters. Its attorneys are well versed in acting on behalf of clients before regulatory bodies as well as state and federal courts. The team also offers an in-depth understanding of commercial realities that influence the shape of interconnection agreements.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Owen MacBride is a highly regarded figure in the firm's energy and public utilities practice group, and in his work on behalf of telecom carriers he has been involved in a variety of regulatory proceedings and has structured numerous intercarrier agreements.

Construction - Illinois

THE FIRM Schiff Hardin continues to have a strong national practice and its attorneys remain active on national and international projects. It is particularly active in the energy and utilities sectors and has specialist lighting knowledge. It was recently retained by Alliant Energy as part of its billion-dollar environmental retrofit projects at four coal-fired power generation facilities spanning several states. Notable clients of the firm also include Kansas City Power & Light, Genon Energy and Constellation/Exelon Power.

Sources say: "They remain at the top of their class." "Even though they are a large firm, they provide a boutique firm experience."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "absolutely wonderful" Mark Friedlander is particularly experienced in advising clients on project delivery and construction methods and covers transactional and litigation construction work. He has recently pioneered a popular new business structure for design-build projects.

Kenneth Roberts specializes in project controls and procurement contracts, with an emphasis on acting for owners in the energy industry. He has a wealth of experience of both alternative dispute resolution and power plant construction.

"Perennial all-star for construction" Paul Lurie is described by market sources as "one of the seminal leading mentors of the construction industry." He contributes over 40 years of experience to his dispute avoidance and resolution and contract negotiation assignments.

Corporate/M&A - Illinois

THE FIRM Schiff Hardin has a full-service approach that sees it represent private and public companies in M&A across the gamut of sectors from healthcare to telecoms. The group is particularly known for its capable handling of complex matters and its securities strength.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Stephen Dragich is a key contact at the firm.

Energy & Natural Resources - Illinois

THE FIRM The team at this firm enjoys a longstanding reputation in the Illinois market for its high-quality advice to industry participants on all areas of regulatory law. It recently represented North American Electric Reliability in developing and filing a revised definition of 'Bulk Electric System' with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very responsive and analytical" Owen MacBride is "extremely diligent and comprehensive in representing clients before the ICC," according to commentators. His recent highlights include representing Rock Island Clean Line on its application before the ICC for certification as a public utility.

Environment - Illinois

THE FIRM This well-reputed team is conversant on all aspects of environmental law, ranging from compliance counseling to toxic tort litigation. The group has attracted the business of clients from a wide range of industry backgrounds, such as real estate development, electric generation and chemical manufacturing. Recent matters include defending Midwest Generation against claims brought by the EPA. 

Sources say: "Excellent responsiveness, really strong client service, and well-credentialed people with great experience."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Renee Cipriano is renowned as an "excellent advocate." Her ability to speak in business terms without "overcomplicating or legalizing matters" is much appreciated by her clients.  

Stephen Bonebrake has been responsible for some of the team's biggest matters this year, including the successful conclusion of a consent decree negotiation on behalf of client North Indiana Public Service Company. 

Litigator Russell Selman is noted for his broad environmental practice and strong grasp of issues surrounding Superfunds.

Gabriel Rodriguez heads the environment group, and is well regarded for his representation of gas and electric companies in the region. Observers comment that he is a "prominent name" in the Illinois environmental Bar.

Former EPA administrator Francis Lyons recently joined the team from Bryan Cave. Lyons has substantial experience handling a whole range of environmental matters, from regulatory compliance to brownfield redevelopment.

Insurance - Illinois

THE FIRM This practice focuses on a range of corporate, litigation and regulatory matters within an insurance context, but earns particular recognition in Illinois for reinsurance. The team has recently been involved in a number of reinsurance disputes, especially in the areas of toxic and asbestos torts, workers' compensation and London market arbitrations.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources say David Spector is the person to call on "if you're looking for someone that can do it all, someone that's bright, articulate and dedicated and who has the complete set of skills." As well as leading the way in reinsurance, he is also vastly experienced in insurer solvency and coverage litigation.

Antony Burt has a particular focus on reinsurance and insurance insolvency, but also handles complex litigation including professional liability disputes.  

Dennis LaGory has deep expertise and experience in reinsurance issues as part of a broad practice which also incorporates professional liability and coverage litigation.

Labor & Employment - Illinois

THE FIRM This group undertakes work for both private and public companies on the gamut of labor and employment and benefits matters. Sources are appreciative of the firm's interest and commitment to achieving clients' goals.  

Sources say: "They provide a wide range of expertise and are always diligent in their work."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Patricia Costello Slovak "provides no-nonsense yet expert advice on a variety of employment and HR issues," say sources. She handles labor and employment matters and is praised by sources for her "deep knowledge, wide-ranging experience and responsiveness."

Ralph Morris focuses his practice on advising employers on measures to avoid harassment issues. He is also experienced in the mediation and arbitration of employment issues.

Max Brittain has expertise representing management before the NLRB and EEOC as well as state and federal agencies. He has handled agency charges for Ameristar Casino and the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Steven Catlett recently joined the firm from Sidley Austin. Catlett handles the defense of class action and multiparty litigation in trade secrets claims as well as ERISA, wage and hour and employment matters. 

Litigation - Illinois

THE FIRM The diverse practice is particularly well known for its white-collar work, offering noted expertise in the representation of clients before state and federal agencies such as the FBI, SEC and DOJ. The commercial litigation team handles a broad range of concerns including class actions, fiduciary matters and trade secrets. Key mandates have seen the team defend breach of contract and copyright infringement claims.

Sources say: "Very smart people working for the best interests of the client."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Ronald Safer is "a very fine lawyer indeed" and "an absolute, consummate gentleman," according to sources. He specializes in white-collar defense work and civil litigation mattes. Sources go on to comment that he is "relentless in his advocacy for clients."

Patricia Holmes handles internal investigations and white-collar criminal trials. Sources commend her rapport with clients and several note their "high regard for her." 

Matthew Crowl is "very smart, experienced and knowledgeable" according to sources. He is also noted for his work pertaining to internal investigations and criminal proceedings.

Barry Alberts handles civil litigation matters, including professional liability claims and securities fraud. He represents a broad spectrum of clients, including law firms, directors and corporations.

Wealth Management - Nationwide

THE FIRM This Chicago-based practice has a longstanding reputation in the sector and has bolstered its national offering with the addition of attorneys in its Atlanta and San Francisco offices. The team prides itself on being able to represent a whole range of clients, including owners of closely-held businesses, large families, entrepreneurs, senior executives, private equity and hedge fund principals, and financial institutions.

Sources say: "The turnaround has been good even during this busy period, trust documents are very well written and they provide good advice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Abendroth is the leading figure in the firm's trust and estates practice. Clients appreciated that "he's calm and patient, explains things very clearly and has a lot of experience."

Much-respected partner David Hodgman maintains an active practice. He advises clients on probate, estate planning, private foundations and trust disputes.

Construction - New York

THE FIRM This highly regarded boutique offers experience across the full range of construction matters, but has seen an increased focus on litigation over the past year. The group regularly represents a broad range of clients, including subcontractors, contractors, developers and owners, in matters including dispute resolution, project counseling and insurance litigation.

Sources say: "We were very impressed with the knowledge and advice that we received from the firm and would highly recommend it." "They are truly experts in the construction field."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Gary Rubin is involved in a number of arbitrations and mediations for clients, and also recently handled the renegotiation of a multibillion-dollar project for a public authority. Interviewees describe him as "level-headed and very professional."

Sayward Mazur is well known and widely recognized as an "outstanding lawyer in both litigation and arbitration." Peers highlight his "keen sense of what's important and what's not," and would readily refer matters to him in the case of a conflict. Mazur recently succeeded in a major arbitration, achieving a $12 million award for his client.