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Alston & Bird


  • One Atlantic Center
  • 1201 West Peachtree Street
  • Atlanta
  • Georgia
  • USA
  • GA 30309
  • Tel:(706) 596-3388
  • Email:Contact Us
  • Managing Partner: Richard R Hays
  • Number of partners: 347
  • Number of other lawyers: 471
  • INTERNATIONAL OFFICES The firm also has an office in Brussels.

Firm Overview:
Alston & Bird is a major US law firm with more than 800 attorneys offering services in virtually every practice area, from antitrust to wealth planning. For 14 consecutive years, Alston & Bird has been ranked on the ‘Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For’ list.

Main Areas of Practice:
Capital Markets/Mergers & Acquisitions:
The firm’s attorneys have extensive experience with complex mergers and acquisitions, spin-offs, goingprivate transactions, joint ventures and similar transactions for clients in a broad range of industries, representing bidders, target companies, stockholders, boards of directors and financial advisors. Alston & Bird lawyers have been involved in all aspects of leveraged buyouts and distressed sales and can handle the acquisition and financing of public and nonpublic companies of any size. Global outsourcing is a strength of the firm as well.

Energy & Sustainability:
Alston & Bird provides energy industry clients with nationally recognized expertise in virtually every aspect of the law affecting the energy industry, from electric and natural gas regulation and project development and financing to carbon management, energy supply transactions and public policy.

Financial Services:
The firm’s banking, insurance, investment management, broker-dealer, mutual fund, payment systems and alternative investment vehicle clients are provided a wide range of corporate governance,merger and acquisition, regulatory, litigation, securities and structured finance services.T he Payments Group has global experience in all sectors of the industry, including merchant acquiring, card issuing, mobile payments, ecommerce, card schemes and payment networks, gift cards, healthcare payments and B2B payments.

Global Finance:
The firm’s finance attorneys represent domestic and foreign financial institutions, underwriters, alternative investment funds and other providers and servicers of debt capital. The firm represents the most active issuers, originators, servicers, trustees, master servicers, fund managers, investors, rating agencies and insurers. The firm has extensive experience in structuring and closing transactions with complex structures in a wide variety of asset classes.

Alston & Bird is home to one of the most extensive, full service healthcare practices in the United States, comprised of over 100 lawyers with demonstrated corporate, securities, merger and acquisition and regulatory compliance expertise, including former health policy and enforcement experts from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the US House of Representatives, the US Senate and the White House.

Intellectual Property:
Numbering more than 160 lawyers,Alston & Bird’s IP practice is one of the largest and most highly regarded in any general practice firm in the United States. The group provides a full range of intellectual property services, including patentability and prosecution, litigation, patent maintenance, counseling regarding infringement avoidance, and validity and infringement studies and opinions.

Legislative & Public Policy:
Alston & Bird’s legislative team is uniquely positioned to advise clients in a bipartisan, bicameral manner on public policy issues. The firm represents clients before Congress, the executive branch and regulatory agencies.

Alston & Bird’s 330 litigators have litigated in virtually every major industrialized jurisdiction, including those in Latin America, Europe and Asia. The firm’s litigation experience includes antitrust, bankruptcy, construction, environmental and land development, ERISA, international trade and regulatory, labor and employment, securities, products liability and class actions.

Real Estate Finance:
Alston & Bird’s more than 60-attorney, industry-focused real estate investment and finance practice provides the full range of capabilities needed to serve sophisticated clients. It handles massive multiproperty and multijurisdictional transactions, while maintaining specialized expertise focused on specific property types. In addition,with a leading real estate capital markets practice, the group is poised at the intersection of the industry,where assets meet capital.

With more than 80 tax lawyers, Alston & Bird has one of the largest and most acclaimed law firm tax practices in the United States, providing coverage in international, federal, state and local taxation; employee benefits; executive compensation; wealth planning; exempt organizations; and transfer pricing.

International Work:
Alston & Bird’s multidisciplinary team has structured deals and handled disputes around the globe. The firm’s international practice has extensive experience in planning, structuring and implementing business deals in virtually every major commercial jurisdiction in the world. The firm can find and help select the best local counsel, as well as help determine the optimal structure, for business transactions abroad, whether it involves an acquisition, joint venture, licensing arrangement, technology transfer, manufacturing contract, distribution agreement or other arrangement.

Aflac, Assurant Inc., Bank of America, The Boeing Company, Dell Inc., Delta Air Lines, Inc., The Dow Chemical Company,Genuine Parts Company, IMERYS, McKesson Corporation, Mohawk Industries, Inc., Nokia, The Prudential Insurance Company of America, Sabre,Tenet Health care Corporation, Toyota, UnitedHealth Group, UPS and Wells Fargo.


  • One Atlantic Center,
  • 1201 West Peachtree Street,
  • Atlanta,
  • Georgia
  • USA
  • GA 30309-3424
  • Tel +1 404 881 7000
  • Fax +1 404 881 7777
  • Email : info@alston.com
  • Website : www.alston.com
  • 333 South Hope Street,
  • 16th Floor,
  • Los Angeles,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 90071-3004
  • Tel +1 213 576 1000
  • Fax +1 213 576 1100
  • 275 Middlefield Road, Suite 15,
  • Menlo Park,
  • California
  • USA
  • 94025-4004
  • Tel +1 650 838 2000
  • Fax +1 650 838 2001
  • 2801 Townsgate Road,
  • Suite 215,
  • Westlake Village,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 91361
  • Tel +1 805 497 9474
  • Fax +1 805 497 8804
  • The Atlantic Building,
  • 950 F Street NW,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20004-1404
  • Tel +1 202 239 3300
  • Fax +1 202 239 3333
  • 90 Park Avenue,
  • 18th Floor,
  • New York,
  • USA
  • NY 10016-1387
  • Tel +1 212 210 9400
  • Fax +1 212 210 9444
  • Email : info@alston.com
  • Bank of America Plaza,
  • 101 South Tryon Street,
  • Suite 4000,
  • Charlotte,
  • North Carolina
  • USA
  • NC 28280-4000
  • Tel +1 704 444 1000
  • Fax +1 704 444 1111
  • Email : info@alston.com
  • 4721 Emperor Blvd,
  • Suite 400,
  • Durham,
  • North Carolina
  • USA
  • NC 27703-8580
  • Tel +1 919 862 2200
  • Fax +1 919 862 2260
  • Email : info@alston.com
  • 2828 N. Harwood Street,
  • Suite 1800,
  • Dallas,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 75201
  • Tel +1 214 922 3400
  • Fax +1 214 922 3899

Construction - California

THE FIRM This strong construction offering acts for clients on all stages of the construction process, from planning and contract negotiation to the eventual resolution of disputes. Its client base includes contractors, subcontractors, owners and program managers. One key area of focus for the firm is public infrastructure, and the team has expertise in projects relating to utilities, energy, health, education and transportation. Recently, the team represented Tenet Healthsystem Hospitals, Seville Construction Services and Miller Brothers Investments.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Observers highlight Christian Roux as "an excellent litigator who is firm but fair." He currently represents such clients as OnisLiving and Gateway Science and Engineering. 

Environment - California

THE FIRM This strong environment practice is well regarded for its expertise in the fields of green chemistry, infrastructure and energy. Recently, the team advised Fortune 500 company Sempra Energy on a large-scale sediment cleanup project and the development of renewable power generation projects. The firm's client base includes a number of high-profile names, including Occidental Petroleum, Southern California Edison and the Federal Realty Investment Trust.

Sources say: "A terrific group of lawyers, no question about that."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sharon Rubalcava is known for her prowess as an air quality attorney. Market sources consider her "probably one of the best in this arena. She's down to earth, liked by regulators and very good at explaining situations to her clients. She continues to impress."

Jocelyn Thompson has extensive experience advising clients on CEQA and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). She handles work relating to hazardous waste, clean air and clean water legislation and coastal development.

The impressive Peter Nyquist recently acted for DIRECTV on a number of environmental matters, including the planned acquisition and development of a new headquarters on a former brownfield site. He is described by sources as "extremely reasonable and results-oriented."

Ward Benshoof enjoys an excellent reputation for his strengths as a litigator and his experience of matters relating to the CEQA. "He is tenacious and really knowledgeable in the field," interviewees say.

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation - District of Columbia

THE FIRM Alston & Bird offers clients a broad range of services, with particular emphasis on ERISA litigation, executive compensation and health and welfare issues. The group also contains expertise in actuarial issues and related litigation. The team recently advocated for the State of Florida to address the alleged unconstitutionality of its 2011 pension law. The firm's ongoing clientele also include Hilton Worldwide, Coca-Cola and Bank of America.

Sources say: "The breadth and scope of their knowledge and expertise was remarkable."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Schendt is a favorite with clients for both his expertise with qualified plans and his considered counseling. "Not only is he a good legal tactician and adviser but he is also politically sensitive to the needs of an internal client: he is very considerate of the in-house lawyer and their position in the company and the politics that go with that," say clients.

Antitrust - Georgia

THE FIRM One of the undoubted leaders in both civil and criminal antitrust litigation in the Georgia market, this group receives rave reviews from commentators for the capability of its attorneys and the overall strength of the practice. It continues to represent an impressive roster of blue-chip clients, including Dell and Nokia, the latter of whom it has acted for in the LCD antitrust class action litigation alleging price-fixing. In addition, it recently represented auto safety parts manufacturer Autoliv in a government investigation.

Sources say: "They were outstanding. We were able to draw on their knowledge, experience and global network and they delivered a result that was far beyond our expectations." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources are quick to flag up the excellent Randall Allen as a "very talented and skilled" antitrust litigator. In addition to his antitrust work, he also undertakes general commercial litigation, practicing out of both Atlanta and Silicon Valley. Among his recent highlights is acting for Mohawk Industries in two cases concerning alleged anticompetitive conduct.

Adam Biegel has built an excellent profile in antitrust law which belies his years. He is described as "well plugged in and very knowledgeable" by commentators, particularly in relation to his familiarity with the workings of the DOJ.

Head of the practice Teresa Bonder is highly regarded both as a "tremendous case manager" and also for her "top-notch" litigation skills. Lately she has represented First Multiple Listing Service in defense of a class action alleging that real estate commissions were fixed by various firms.

"Very, very good" trial lawyer Michael Kenny undertakes antitrust work as part of a general commercial practice, which also includes financial services and trade secrets litigation. He has recently acted for SunTrust Banks in defense of a class action alleging that the setting of interchange and merchant discount fees by the Visa and MasterCard credit card networks was in violation of Sections 1 and 2 of the Sherman Act.

Peter Kontio has worked on many of the group's biggest cases lately, including acting for Nokia and Equifax, the latter of whom he represented in a purported conspiracy against one of its customers. He is highly regarded among sources, particularly for his "understated and focused" approach to matters.

Banking & Finance - Georgia

THE FIRM Alston & Bird has a reputation for fielding high-quality lawyers and working on many of the state's most prominent cases. In addition to maintaining its traditional strength in lender and borrower representation, the firm has earned additional commendations for its burgeoning regulatory practice, which now services several of the region's leading banks. In terms of lender representation, Wells Fargo and SunTrust remain marquee clients, with both seeking the firm's counsel in connection with various complex matters over the past year.

Sources say: "The attorneys were extremely pragmatic and real problem solvers. They didn't get bogged down in details that were irrelevant to what the clients were trying to accomplish. They're very user-friendly."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Rick Blumen is cochair of the firm's international finance and debt products group. He is considered to be "the best leveraged finance lawyer in Atlanta" by many sources. He garners strong feedback, eliciting praise for his work ethic and the ease with which he is able to connect with clients. He recently assisted SunTrust with its underwriting of EW Scripps's $212 million purchase of nine television stations.

Paul Cushing is held in high esteem by many peers who praise his proficiency in acting on behalf of financial institutions. He has particular strength in overseeing loans made to REITs, exemplified by his representation of Wells Fargo in extending a $483.5 million loan to Rouse Properties.

Market opinion of Richard Grice is one of unanimous acclaim, with interviewees hailing his "subject matter knowledge" and "superb attention to detail." He handles a wide range of borrower representations and recently assisted Graphic Packaging with the negotiation and execution of a $2 billion senior credit facility.

Mark Kanaly is very "highly regarded" and is singled out for praise on account of his ability to "get great results for clients." He has been invaluable as the firm has gained traction within the regulatory arena.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Georgia

THE FIRM Alston & Bird's bankruptcy practice continues to justify its strong position in the Georgia marketplace. Its attorneys are credited with being particularly proficient litigators, adept at representing a gamut of different clients in the courtroom. Renowned for its aptitude at dealing with either domestic or national matters, the Atlanta-based team is comfortable undertaking both creditor and debtor representations across a wide range of industries. Its recent work highlights include representing Sea Launch Company in its Chapter 11 proceedings.

Sources say: "I am impressed with both the depth and experience at Alston & Bird generally, and by their ability to bring the right person and experience level to any given issue."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The preeminent Dennis Connolly draws effusive praise from one peer, who remarks: "If I could choose anyone to hire, it would be him." He was lead partner in the Sea Launch Company case.

Grant Stein is identified as being "elegant in his presentation." "I like the way he thinks ahead and anticipates issues," said one source, "rather than merely responding to initiatives from our adversaries." Recently, he was involved in the representation of Dell, Bank of America and US Bank in relation to the ongoing Lehman Brothers bankruptcy case.

Acknowledged by sources as an "excellent bankruptcy attorney," John Weitnauer remains one of the firm's leading bankruptcy practitioners. He recently led the team that served as debtors' counsel to Scovill Fasteners in its recent Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

Jason Watson is "great to work with," say sources, and commended for his almost instinctive ability to forge a "good relationship with clients and opposing counsel." He is currently providing representation to Synovus Bank as it seeks to recoup over $100 million of outstanding loans.

Construction - Georgia

THE FIRM This group is widely recognized as a significant player in the Georgia market and throughout the Southeast. It offers assistance in all areas of construction law, typically to owners and contractors, and is regularly engaged by significant clients including GenOn Energy, Skanska USA Building and AIG Global Real Estate. It has recently been acting on behalf of Superior Rigging in a complicated dispute regarding the Miami Marlins baseball stadium.

KEY INDIVIDUALS John Spangler is seen as a "top-notch lawyer" by impressed clients. He was lead partner in representing DACA in a $3.5 million case against the general contractor in the construction of Mayport Naval Air Station.

William Hughes offers full coverage of any construction-related issue. He has significant experience in the Chinese and South American markets, but is also active domestically. He recently represented ReEnergy Holdings in its project to convert a coal-fired power station to use sustainable fuel.

Corporate/M&A - Georgia

THE FIRM Firmly established as one of Georgia's preeminent corporate and M&A practices, Alston & Bird retains its premier billing. The group has enhanced its reputation through its involvement in a number of sophisticated and high-profile transactions. Indicative highlights include its representation of AuthenTec in its $365 million sale to corporate giant Apple, a role which also serves to exemplify the firm's impressive standing in the technology sector. Other key clients include Graphic Packaging International and Home Depot.

Sources say: "Alston & Bird is world-class." "They really focus on the relationship with the client and not solely on the next big deal."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources identify Hill Jeffries as an "excellent securities and M&A attorney," in particular. He played an integral part in providing counsel to Genuine Parts in relation to its investment in Exego Group.

Teri McMahon is frequently called upon to represent private equity firms, such as MSouth Equity Partners, in a variety of transactional matters. She is lauded as a "great lawyer." 

William Scott Ortwein combines an active Georgia practice with a strong presence in both the New York and Chicago legal markets. He is commended for demonstrating familiarity with a number of different industries, and has garnered a solid reputation as an "excellent lawyer." He continues to serve as lead partner in the firm's representation of AuthenTec.

Randolph Moore recently led the team acting on behalf of Whitney Holding Company as it negotiated the sale of a banking subsidiary to Mississippi-based Hanock Holding Company. He is noted for the quality of his work on behalf of financial institutions, and is praised as "hard-working, loyal and dedicated." 

Energy & Natural Resources - Georgia

THE FIRM Alston & Bird's energy team is renowned for its public power work. In this area, it regularly handles acquisition, operation, hedging and management matters for some of the sector's largest entities. A significant highlight of late is its assistance of Public Gas Partners in the establishment of additional natural gas suppliers.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Della Wager Wells is highly regarded for her experience as bond counsel. She counts Municipal Electric Authority, Municipal Gas Authority of Georgia and Public Gas Partners as clients.

Environment - Georgia

THE FIRM Alston & Bird offers a far-ranging environmental practice. The team is well equipped to service clients in environmental compliance, enforcement and litigation matters. It is also highly regarded for its work in land use and development. Significant clients include Cabot, AMAVC Chemical and Electrolux. The team has recently been representing the Municipal Electric Authority of Georgia in the development of two additional nuclear reactors at Plant Vogtle.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Douglas Arnold is an "incredible resource," according to commentators. He recently represented logistics giant UPS in regulatory and compliance matters regarding air and water emissions.

The "excellent" Lee DeHihns is considered to be "a real statesman of environmental law." He recently assisted King America Finishing with enforcement proceedings arising under the Georgia Water Quality Control Act (GWQCA).

Healthcare - Georgia

THE FIRM This nationally recognized healthcare practice continues to offer clients a very high level of service which is commensurate with its stellar reputation within the legal industry. Both the transactional and regulatory elements of healthcare law are capably undertaken by this Atlanta-based group, enabling representation of a diverse and substantial client base. The firm recently represented global medical technology giant Getinge in a number of substantial acquisitions, the largest of which was the purchase of Atrium Medical in a $680 million deal.

Sources say: "Their attorneys have an excellent grasp of the industry and are superb at what they do."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Mitch Mitchelson has been singled out by his peers as one of the state's leading healthcare fraud attorneys. He frequently adopts an adversarial position to the government, defending companies against which accusations of fraud have been made.

According to one source, Michelle Williams is "not only substantively strong, she is also very knowledgeable and consistent." She is particularly well versed in regulatory matters and is perceived to be both "analytically strong" and "a good advocate for her clients." 

Donna Bergeson is known for her proficiency in both litigation and regulatory compliance matters. She works closely with Emory Healthcare in connection with a number of pre-existing and proposed joint ventures.

Steven Pottle is a respected transactional attorney with an in-depth knowledge of the healthcare industry. He is described as a "deal facilitator" by sources and was integral in the firm's recent representation of Getinge, assisting the Swedish-based firm in a series of strategic acquisitions.

Immigration - Georgia

THE FIRM Recommended for its corporate immigration capabilities, Alston & Bird is engaged by a diverse range of clients to undertake matters pertaining to regulatory compliance. The firm also has strong international links and is proficient in assisting corporations with the nuances of L-1 visa applications. The Georgia team continues to work closely with UPS, advising the logistics behemoth on the specifics of both its immigration policy and employment verification compliance, among other things. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Eileen Scofield "does a great job on the I-9 side and on workforce authorization," say sources, and is "nationally known within compliance." Her recent clients include UPS, Rose Acre Farms and Sidel.

Intellectual Property - Georgia

THE FIRM The Atlanta office of this well-regarded national firm offers a range of IP services, including patent and trademark portfolio management, as well as transactional, licensing and advertising work. It has particular strength in patent litigation, and has recently represented such clients as The Home Depot, Merial and Kids II. It also acted for Georgia-Pacific on 11 patent infringement actions against competitors, gaining a general exclusion order at the ITC.

Sources say: "The IP team there is a powerhouse."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Patrick Flinn is recognized by sources as "an IP litigation leader in Atlanta." He has a particular focus on patent litigation in fluid mechanics and hi-tech sectors, including software, optics and telecommunications.

Frank Smith has a "stellar reputation" for his disputes-focused practice, which covers patent, copyright and antitrust matters. He was lead counsel on the 11 actions for Georgia-Pacific.

Labor & Employment - Georgia

THE FIRM This Atlanta-based behemoth continues to act on behalf of a range of illustrious clients across the full spectrum of employment issues. The team is especially noted for its work on large collective action lawsuits; in one highlight it advised Prudential Insurance in relation to an alleged breach of the FLSA. OSHA work is another area of acknowledged strength.

Sources say: "They're excellent." "Really good problem solvers - they handled any problems that arose masterfully."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Steve Ensor is skilled in the intricacies of ADA and is "highly regarded within the legal community." He works extensively with UPS, ensuring that the logistics giant continues to comply with the ever-changing ADA landscape.

Lisa Cassilly is singled out by sources as being "one of the top performers in her field." She is noted for her proficiency in the representation of executive interests and is regularly sought out to conduct internal investigations.

According to one commentator, Clare Draper is "outstanding; he's one of the best labor and employment practitioners I've ever known." Another source hails his ability to "pick and choose the right battles, weighing the business interests of a case against the legal aspects." He continues to act on behalf of Global Payments in an ongoing discrimination case. 

The vastly experienced Thomas Kilpatrick retains a core expertise in labor negotiations. He counsels clients in a variety of related areas, ranging from union avoidance to negotiating collective bargaining agreements.

"Go-to attorney" Charles Morgan is heralded for his "excellent judgment." As one source noted, "he adopts a business-oriented approach to each matter." He is known for his expertise on OSHA.

Clients are unanimous in their positive appraisal of Robert Riordan. He's perceived to be "delightful to work with," as well as "extremely communicative and a good strategic thinker." He attains further praise for his familiarity with the FLSA; recently acting for Prudential Insurance on the aforementioned matter.

Glenn Patton was recently engaged by UPS as it sought to implement a centralized FMLA protocol. He has a notably diverse practice and he is called upon to dispense advice in relation to both traditional labor and employment matters.

Litigation - Georgia

THE FIRM This leading litigation practice continues to set the standard for excellence within the state. The team is acclaimed for its ability to serve high-end clients; its continued representation of Dell, McDonald's and Nokia both establishes the validity of this assertion and demonstrates the firm's prominence within the higher echelons of the corporate world. While commercial litigation remains the team's core focus, it does possess additional strength in the white-collar crime arena, thus boasting a diversity that few other regional practices can rival.

Sources say: "There's no question that they're an excellent litigation practice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS According to sources, white-collar crime specialist Michael Brown is a "sharp, bright and effective attorney." He formed part of the team that provided counsel to Autoliv throughout a recent government investigation.

William Mitchelson is a highly competent white-collar criminal lawyer with a practice geared toward companies in investigation. He garners particular praise for his work in the healthcare sector.

"First-class" litigator Judson Graves is singled out by one interviewee as being a "superb lawyer in all respects." His is a broad practice, with a strong focus in medical malpractice defense.

Cochair of the firm's general commercial litigation practice, Todd David recently distinguished himself by obtaining a favorable verdict in a $37 million arbitration proceeding. "For securities fraud and class action cases, he is the gold standard in town," enthused one client.

Cari Dawson elicits praise for her "outstanding command of case law" and impresses clients with her intelligent approach toward litigation. She continues to act on behalf of Toyota Motor Sales in a complex consumer class action case.

The "outstanding" James Grant is held in high regard for his ability to expediently "bring people to a consensus." He is further commended for his ability to "acknowledge the weaknesses of cases" and formulate his arguments accordingly. 

Michael Kenny is recommended for his ability to handle complex commercial litigation matters. In the words of one peer, it is his "combination of energy, intellect and creativity that sets him apart."

Peter Kontio commands an admirable reputation for both his civil and criminal litigation capabilities, servicing what one source terms an "impressive portfolio of clients." He is currently representing Syniverse Technologies in its attempts to dismiss a series of class action lawsuits. 

John Latham is a skilled and talented attorney who focuses his practice on securities litigation. Market commentators are unanimous in their favorable assessment of his courtroom capabilities, with his impressive track record drawing particular praise. 

Bernard Taylor is "well respected for his legal acumen and is a familiar player in the civic activities of the community." According to one peer, "he's reached an experience and comfort level in the courtroom that is magical and fun to watch."

Real Estate - Georgia

THE FIRM This outstanding team continues to be involved in a number of Georgia's most valuable and prominent commercial real estate matters. The group recently advised Paramount Group on its $158 million acquisition of 2099 Pennsylvania Avenue. It has also represented Bank of America in the enforcement of a mortgage loan. It serves a number of other illustrious clients, including KPMG and Industrial Developments International.

Sources say: "An excellent firm with excellent lawyers."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Timothy Pakenham is an experienced practitioner who covers a broad range of real estate issues. Impressed clients believe him to be "incredibly knowledgeable on issues surrounding real estate." He recently represented Metropolitan Life Insurance in its acquisition of Reynolds Plantation.

Mark Rusche is acclaimed by the wider market as "an excellent lawyer" and is valued for his expertise in leasing. He led the firm's representation of SHP IV in the $100 million acquisition of three senior housing projects in Florida.

James Farris is particularly renowned for his skills in joint ventures in the real estate sphere. He recently assisted Industrial Developments International with a complicated $200 million joint venture with a state pension fund.

As co-leader of the firm’s real estate finance and investment group, Allison Ryan is involved in some of its most valuable work. She was the lead partner in both the Paramount Group acquisition and the Bank of America matter.

Tax - Georgia

THE FIRM Underpinned by an extensive bench of talented attorneys, this firm's preeminent taxation practice justifiably retains its position among the market leaders. The team has an almost unparalleled depth and has the requisite expertise to handle international tax, federal income tax, and state and local tax matters. The group represents a selection of Fortune 100 companies, with corporate behemoths Walmart, Delta Air Lines and UPS regularly seeking out the firm in connection with a variety of complex issues.

Sources say: "They have a very solid federal and state tax practice within Georgia."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Renowned as a dean of the state and local tax Bar in Georgia," John Coalson continues to earn unanimous approval from interviewees. One source claimed that he has one of the strongest practices within the state, while another highlighted his proficiency in unclaimed property matters.

Sam Kaywood enjoys a strong relationship within the legal market and is regularly engaged by several of the state's largest corporations. "I'd use him for any international tax matter," noted one commentator.

Michael Petrik, known for his dexterous handling of state and local taxation matters, commands an "impressive standing within the community" and is perceived as "very technically proficient." He is further recommended for his ability to undertake complex multistate work.

According to one client, Benjamin White is a noted "problem solver." He is said to exhibit a "high degree of expertise" and to be "highly responsive to a client's needs." He is particularly well versed in the area of tax exemption and continues to work closely with Georgia Aquarium. 

Lauded for both his "great technical skills" and his transactional capabilities, Andy Immerman remains active in connection to a number of federal tax matters. He is said to be an "extremely bright and talented" practitioner.

Mary Benton primarily handles tax controversy and litigation matters and is hailed as a "super lawyer" by her peers. She recently represented Health Management Associates in a number of tax assessments.

Leading associate Clark Calhoun is said to "provide a lot of technical guidance" and is widely regarded as a "good technical writer." He is primarily engaged in connection to state and local tax controversy matters.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM This Atlanta-based team has an impressive reputation for its representation of substantial nonlisted REITs nationwide. Its recent highlights include representing Cogdell Spencer on its $780 million merger with Ventas. Other key clients include Duke Realty, RREEF America Property Income Trust and NorthStar Healthcare Income Trust.

Commercial Awareness "They have been extremely professional and highly execution-oriented."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Rosemarie Thurston is "highly organized and efficient" and is commended by clients for her "in-depth knowledge of REITs." Her clients include Clarion Partners Property Trust and Jones Lang LaSalle Income Property Trust.

Jason Goode is a "highly creative thinker" who is further praised by clients for his impressive industry knowledge. He is a corporate lawyer with a focus on REIT-related transactions.

Energy & Natural Resources - Nationwide

THE FIRM Alston & Bird earns unanimous client and peer praise for its comprehensive regulatory practice, specifically its ability to handle transmission-related matters. The team regularly acts for some of the largest industry participants, including FirstEnergy, California ISO and enXco. Notably, it recently assisted National Grid with making FERC applications in order to obtain permissions concerning a $2 billion transmission line project.

Sources say: "The attorneys are great to work with, smart, and possess a very strong understanding of the industry."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers have a "very high opinion" of "excellent lawyer" Kenneth Jaffe, while clients applaud him for his "broad knowledge of FERC rules and precedent and his ability to offer creative solutions to problems." Recent examples of his work include leading the team on the National Grid matter, and he is also representing FirstEnergy in a number of FERC and appellate matters.

"Great lawyer and great gentleman" Sean Atkins continues to represent a range of electric utilities in complex matters and is currently helping California ISO with regulatory compliance and litigation arising out of a transmission planning matter.

ERISA Litigation - Nationwide

THE FIRM Alston & Bird has an impressive track record of employer stock cases, and maintains a strong appellate practice. It continues to represent a range of high-profile clients including Delta Air Lines, Nokia and AIG/FSC Securities. The team's recent work includes representing Prudential Financial in the defense of a large number of ERISA claims on a nationwide basis.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Douglas Hinson handles all aspects of ERISA litigation for clients from a wide range of industries. He is lauded by market commentators as "a great lawyer – his resume speaks for itself."

Patrick DiCarlo has represented some of the nation's largest employers, and has notable experience in ERISA litigation. His recent work includes representing Delta Air Lines in a class action concerning amendments made to the company retirement plan.

Financial Services Regulation - Nationwide

Government - Nationwide

THE FIRM The legislative and public policy group at Alston & Bird has a strong bench that provides strategic counseling to clients including Experian, Navistar and the National Geographic Education Foundation. The firm also represents Safeway, having provided assistance in tax and pensions issues, as well as advising the company in debates relating to healthcare reform, derivatives reform, climate change and food safety.

Sources say: "They have very good FTC, corporate and lobbying practices in DC."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Jones is leader of the group and has personally counseled Safeway as outlined above, in addition to assisting Autoliv in communications with the Department of Defense, Department of Energy and Nuclear Regulatory Commission. Sources have been impressed: "He is energetic, willing and happy to help."

Healthcare - Nationwide

THE FIRM This fine group continues to be in much demand for its transactional and regulatory prowess. In recent work, it has acted for Getinge in several large-scale acquisitions, including the $680 million purchase of Atrium Medical. Issues relating to antitrust, insurance and FDA are also well-known areas of expertise. The practice also counts Emory Healthcare, Preferred Care Partners and PSS World Medical among its clients.

Sources say: "They have a broad base of healthcare knowledge that makes them an invaluable resource."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jennifer Butler is a key contact at the firm.

International Trade - Nationwide

THE FIRM Customs and export matters form the dual mainstays of this group's practice, and the firm's experience covers a broad swath of trade areas. Highlights include representing PPG Industries in connection with the obligations of its nonprosecution agreement with the DOJ. Customs mandates include the submission of prior disclosures, enforcement defense and ongoing strategy development. The group's varied client roster includes names such as Bayer, UPS and the government of the Russian Federation.

Sources say: "The customer service is good and they work well together."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Kenneth Weigel's "well-rounded" practice includes both export compliance advice and high-stakes customs matters.

Thomas Crocker has decades of experience in export regulations and enforcement, and, according to sources, is a renowned adviser on sanctions.

On the customs side, Jon Fee's practice includes criminal investigations and Trans-Pacific Partnership strategy as well as general compliance advice.

Outsourcing - Nationwide

THE FIRM Alston & Bird offers a full spectrum outsourcing practice, and is notable for its international capabilities. The team is predominantly focused on customer-side representation, but has significant supplier-side capability. Clients are drawn from the insurance, supply, logistics and financial services space. The group recently advised Sabre Holdings in connection with an $800 million IT infrastructure transaction with HP.

KEY INDIVIDUALS James Harvey was recently part of a team advising the State of Georgia in connection with the outsourcing of its electricity grid to GE's cloud-based smart grid system. Market observers attest to his continuing prominence in the outsourcing community. 

Privacy & Data Security - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm's privacy and security practice is characterized by its international expertise, with lawyers regularly handling data protection matters in Asia, Latin America and the EU. The team also provides experienced counsel on cyber-risk, breach management, regulatory compliance and privacy litigation. Members of the practice are regularly retained by blue-chip clients such as UPS and Experian. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Keating concentrates his practice on guiding clients through the impact of pending and enacted legislation at national and EU level. His clients include UPS, for which he acts as global privacy counsel.

Paul Martino handles complex data protection compliance initiatives on a global scale. Recent work highlights include advising the National Retail Federation on a variety of public policy and federal legislative issues.

Tax - Nationwide

THE FIRM Alston & Bird enjoys a superb nationwide reputation for its tax practice, and in the past year has seen a growth in transfer pricing-related engagements. Its expertise encompasses state and local tax, M&A, cross-border transactions and federal income tax issues, among other matters. Its highly respected Atlanta-based group is further supported by experts in New York and DC. Its enviable client roster includes Honda, UPS and Autoliv.

Sources say: "They provide good technical advice and see things from all different directions, not just what we want to hear. They bring other perspectives."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Henry Birnkrant heads the department from the firm's DC office.

Corporate/M&A - North Carolina

THE FIRM Alston & Bird retains a 15-strong team in its Charlotte corporate practice and is highly regarded for its private equity expertise. Recent work includes representing The Gores Group in the $380 million acquisition of Elo Touch Solutions from TE Connectivity. Other clients include The Carlyle Group, Pamlico Capital and Ridgemont Capital.

Sources say: 

"Excellent. Very good at what they do."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Bryan Ives has a varied practice. In addition to his tax background, he has extensive experience in dealing with M&A, private equity and corporate governance.

Mark Kelly leads the firm's private equity practice and handles public offerings, private financings, M&A and general corporate matters. He is described as "an incredibly experienced private equity adviser who is very familiar with LBOs and public-private transactions."

Intellectual Property - North Carolina

THE FIRM This firm has offices in Charlotte and the Research Triangle and retains a well-established IP practice. A substantial team across the two offices handles a range of services including patent prosecution, IP litigation, counseling and licensing. The firm has recently represented clients such as BB&T, North Carolina State University and Carolinas HealthCare System. It handles the patent prosecution matters for clients including Electrolux both in the USA and abroad.

Sources say: "They are impressive in their ability to provide sound legal counsel with a very high level of quality on any IP-related front." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Co-leader of the patent prosecution group, Guy Gosnell focuses on patent law with a particular expertise in dealing with electronic and computer technology products.

Michael McCoy has a diverse practice covering the full range of IP services including trademarks, patents, trade secrets and unfair competition. He has a significant focus on the IT and software industries and has recently represented Navico, handling all of its IP matters.

Murray Spruill concentrates on patent law and is particularly recognized for his expertise on issues pertaining to the biotech, biochemical and pharmaceutical industries. A source commented: "His professionalism and legal acumen are unparalleled."