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Sidley Austin LLP

Chicago

Sidley Austin LLP - Chicago
  • One South Dearborn
  • Chicago
  • Illinois
  • USA
  • IL 60603
  • Tel:312 853 7000
  • Fax:312 853 7036
  • Web:Visit website
  • Chairman of Executive Committee: Carter G Phillips
  • Chairman of Management Committee: Charles W Douglas
  • Number of partners worldwide: 666
  • Number of lawyers worldwide: 1747
  • INTERNATIONAL OFFICES The firm also has offices in Beijing, Brussels, Frankfurt, Geneva, Hong Kong, London, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

Firm Overview:
Sidley Austin is one of the world’s premier law firms,with a practice highly attuned to the ever-changing international landscape. The firm has built a reputation for being a powerful adviser for global businesses, with approximately 1700 lawyers in 19 offices worldwide. Sidley maintains a commitment to providing quality legal services wherever they are needed, offering advice in litigation, transactional and regulatory matters spanning virtually every area of law. The firm’s lawyers leverage their diversity of knowledge and wide-reaching legal backgrounds with a dedication to teamwork, collaboration and superior client service. Sidley values the recognition it has received in response to its leadership in its wide cross-section of legal services around the globe. These accolades, which come from professional peers, publications and industry journals and clients in numerous industries, include: 
• Received the most first-tier national rankings of any US law firm in the 2013 US News – Best Lawyers ‘Best Law Firms’ survey for the third consecutive year and each year since the survey’s inception 
• One of just three firms to have been in the top 10 of the BTI Client Service rankings every year since the inception of those rankings in 2001 
• Consistently ranks among the top global capital markets firms in the Thomson Reuters league tables 
• Named a finalist in the American Lawyer Litigation Department of the Year 2012 
• Received the Most Innovative Gender Diversity Initiative Award at the first Chambers USA Women in Law Awards in 2012 
• Received a ‘perfect’ 100 score on the Human Rights Campaign’s 2013 Corporate Equality Index (CEI) report. Sidley has received ‘perfect’ 100 scores on each report since 2008 
• Named as one of the top 25 national corporate law firms in Corporate Board Member magazine’s 2012 survey of corporate directors and general counsel 
• Named USA Law Firm of the Year for 2011 and 2012 in the Who’s Who Legal Awards 
• Recognized in four categories of the Law360 Practice Groups of 2012 award series: Appellate, Environmental, International Trade and Life Sciences 
• Only law firm with top tier Life Sciences rankings across three continents in the Practical Law Company (PLC) Life Sciences Handbook 2012. Also ranked among the world’s top five firms for both its life sciences industry practice and its life sciences regulatory practice

Main Areas of Practice:
Accountants/Professional Service Firms Liability
Antitrust/Competition
Appellate
Banking & Financial Services
Communications Regulatory
Complex Commercial Litigation
Corporate Governance & Compliance
Corporate Reorganization & Bankruptcy
Emerging Companies & Venture Capital
Employee Benefits
Energy
Environmental
ERISA Litigation
Executive Compensation
Financial Services/Consumer Class Actions
Food, Drug and Medical Device Compliance & Enforcement
Food, Drug & Medical Device Regulatory
Global Finance
Government Strategies
Healthcare Insurance
Insurance/Reinsurance Disputes
Intellectual Property Litigation
International Arbitration (Commercial and Treaty)
International Trade
Investment Funds, Advisers & Derivatives
Labor, Employment & Immigration
Life Sciences
M&A & D&O Litigation
M&A
Privacy, Data Security & Information Law
Private Equity
Products Liability
Project Finance & Infrastructure
Public Finance
Real Estate
SEC Enforcement Securities
Securities & Futures Regulatory
Securities Litigation
Tax
Tax Controversy
Technology Transactions
Transportation
Trusts, Estates & Not-for-Profits
White Collar: Government Litigation & Investigations

Areas of Practice

  • Accountants/Professional Service Firms Liability
  • Antitrust/Competition
  • Appellate
  • Communications Regulatory
  • Complex Commercial Litigation
  • Corporate Governance & Compliance
  • Corporate Reorganization & Bankruptcy
  • Emerging Companies & Venture Capital
  • Employee Benefits
  • Energy
  • Environmental
  • ERISA Litigation
  • Executive Compensation
  • Financial Institutions Regulatory
  • Financial Services/Consumer Class Actions
  • Food, Drug and Medical Device Compliance & Enforcement
  • Food, Drug & Medical Device Regulatory
  • Global Finance
  • Government Strategies
  • Healthcare
  • Insurance
  • Insurance/Reinsurance Disputes
  • Intellectual Property Litigation
  • International Arbitration (Commercial and Treaty)
  • International Trade
  • Investment Funds, Advisers & Derivatives
  • Labor, Employment & Immigration
  • Life Sciences
  • M&A & D&O Litigation
  • M&A & Private Equity
  • Privacy, Data Security & Information Law
  • Products Liability
  • Project Finance & Infrastructure
  • Public Finance
  • Real Estate
  • SEC Enforcement
  • Securities
  • Securities & Futures Regulatory
  • Securities Litigation
  • Tax
  • Tax Controversy
  • Technology Transactions
  • Transportation
  • Trusts, Estates & Not-for-Profits
  • White Collar

Branches

  • One South Dearborn,
  • Chicago,
  • Illinois
  • USA
  • IL 60603
  • Tel 312 853 7000
  • Fax 312 853 7036
  • Website : www.sidley.com
  • 555 West Fifth Street,
  • Los Angeles,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 90013
  • Tel 213 896 6000
  • Fax 213 896 6600
  • 1001 Page Mill Road,
  • Building 1,
  • Palo Alto,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 94304
  • Tel +1 650 565 7000
  • Fax +1 650 565 7100
  • 555 California Street,
  • San Francisco,
  • California
  • USA
  • CA 94104
  • Tel +1 415 772 1200
  • Fax +1 415 772 7400
  • 1501 K Street NW,
  • Washington, DC,
  • District of Columbia
  • USA
  • 20005
  • Tel 202 736 8000
  • Fax 202 736 8711
  • 470 Atlantic Avenue, 4th Floor,
  • Boston,
  • Massachusetts
  • USA
  • MA 02210
  • Tel +1.617.273.8183
  • Fax +1.617.273.8188
  • 787 Seventh Avenue,
  • New York,
  • USA
  • NY 10019
  • Tel +1 212 839 5300
  • Fax +1 212 839 5599
  • 717 North Harwood,
  • Suite 3400,
  • Dallas,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 75201
  • Tel 214 981 3300
  • Fax 214 981 3400
  • 1000 Louisiana Street,
  • Suite 6000,
  • Houston,
  • Texas
  • USA
  • TX 77002
  • Tel 713 315 9000
  • Fax 713 315 9199

Antitrust - California

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's antitrust practice covers a broad range of areas and industries, with clients ranging from electronics firms to insurance companies. One of its strengths is in the pharmaceuticals sector, where it represented AstraZeneca against an allegation of conspiracy among major manufacturers. The team also represented Johnson & Johnson in a case alleging collusion with a nursing home provider.

Sources say: "They provide a unique combination of substantive legal advice with experience in the regulatory world."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Marie Fiala is a litigator specializing in complex commercial cases, with a practice covering antitrust and energy. She has 35 years' experience in the field.

Senior counsel Samuel Miller is a "knowledgeable and reliable" practitioner who has a broad litigation practice including white-collar, securities and antitrust work. He has continued his relationship with Microsoft as a counsel on antitrust matters, and also lectures at Berkeley Law School.

Banking & Finance - California

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's LA-based branch frequently works with regional and national banks that are actively involved in commercial lending. Established clients include Silicon Valley Bank, which the firm represented in a number of matters including a $72.5 million senior secured credit facility for Francisco Partners' recapitalization of T-System. Other key clients include Merrill Lynch, Citi and BNP Paribas.        

Sources say: "Their attorneys have great expertise. A valuable and standout team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Recognized by observers for her strength in commercial lending, Pamela Martinson has worked for decades on the West Coast and has developed an especially strong relationship with Silicon Valley Bank, which she represented in the matter listed above. 

Practice head Moshe Kupietzky is widely praised for his tremendous intelligence and market experience. He frequently leverages off his strong corporate practice to act as borrowers' counsel to clients such as ROM Corporation, which he advised on tens of millions of dollars in loans and facilities recently. 

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - California

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's California-based corporate reorganization and bankruptcy team covers the gamut of bankruptcy-related representation. The group is able to draw on the firm's global network of offices, from Chicago to London, all of which work collaboratively to achieve the desired solutions for clients. As an example, Sidley has been acting as debtor's counsel to Dynegy Holdings during its highly publicized New York-based bankruptcy. The team is also representing building company Flintkote in its bankruptcy.

Sources say: "They are extremely responsive; we feel like we are a priority for them and it makes a difference. What we like is they are not just technical, they have that rare business judgment as well; they come up with business solutions." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Havel is one of the most senior members of the team. He is regularly singled out for his even-keeled manner and technical know-how in complicated situations. He is particularly adept in bankruptcy matters that relate to real estate. 

Jeffrey Bjork has played a significant role in the debtor representations of Dynegy and Flintkote. He has developed a strong following in Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcies. Interviewees are quick to emphasize that "Jeff is creative, passionate and extremely service-oriented."

Jennifer Hagle acts across the spectrum of bankruptcy and restructuring mandates, and has particular expertise in representing lenders. As one impressed source put it: "She is technically top-notch and represents us very well in a group setting; in dealing with investors, companies and creditors she takes control of meetings and expresses our viewpoints."

Impressed commentators single out Joel Samuels for praise, noting that "he is one of the smartest people I've met; he knows the Bankruptcy Code inside and out." He is regularly identified as an expert in acting for secured creditors and in conducting bankruptcy litigation. 

Kevin Lantry is praised for his contributions to the Tribune and Dynegy debtor representations, an area where he is particularly adept. Interviewees appreciate his foresight in implementing strategic objectives.

Capital Markets - California

THE FIRM This team is held in high esteem for its representation of corporates and underwriters on an array of capital markets transactions including IPOs, offerings of convertible debt, and investment-grade and high-yield debt offerings. The firm represents names like Barclays Capital, eBay and SMART Technologies. Recent highlights include representing Corsair Components on its $97 million IPO. 

Sources say: "I am impressed with the level of service and quick response time."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Eric Haueter is "able to overcome issues easily as he has a great breadth of knowledge," avers one impressed source. He represents underwriters and issuers in a range of transactions including recently acting for the underwriters in the $600 million offering of notes by Sempra Energy.

Sharon Flanagan is "highly practical and thoughtful about the issues" and is commended by interviewees for her technical expertise. She recently represented the underwriters in a $359 million offering of common stock and a $450 million offering of senior notes by HCP.

Corporate/M&A - California

THE FIRM This M&A group maintains a definitive presence across the state, with deal activity centered around its offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Los Angeles. In a recent cross-border highlight, the team represented Synopsys in its acquisition of Japanese company Inventure. In another significant deal, the team advised eBay on its acquisition of mobile payment service Zong. Other clients include Century Park Capital Partners, Roche and Genentech. 

Sources say: "A powerful team that I would recommend without reservation to anyone. They understand my priorities, are cost-effective and always have my back."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very bright" Moshe Kupietzky recently represented ROM Holdings in its acquisition of Prime Design, and acted for Berkley Operations on the sale of its agricultural thermoforming subsidiary to bakery packaging manufacturer Peninsula Packaging.

Sharon Flanagan is "an absolute rock star of a corporate attorney." Clients say she "provides solid, pragmatic business law guidance and is incredibly responsive and also a pleasure to deal with. She is the person you want to call to achieve your business objectives."

Intellectual Property - California

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's California IP practice operates out of offices in Los Angeles, Palo Alto and San Francisco. The team primarily focuses on patent litigation for plaintiffs and defendants in a range of industries, including e-commerce, computer ware, mobile communications, business methods, biotech and medical devices. Key clients include Apple, AT&T, Deutsche Bank and Genentech.

Sources say: "They're great. They get good results, they're cost-effective, they're very knowledgeable about the law and they're easy to work with."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeffrey Olson is an IP litigator focusing on patent infringement disputes. He also litigates trade secrets and trademark cases. His practice includes counseling on licensing, due diligence and patent procurement.  

Sources say Patricia Thayer is "very impressive, hard-working, very smart and well thought-of." She specializes in patent litigation in life science technologies, including medical devices and biopharmaceuticals. She recently represented Conceptus in a patent infringement case relating to its Essure contraceptive procedure, resulting in a jury award of $18.8 million for her client.

Vernon Winters joined Sidley Austin's San Francisco office from Weil, Gotshal & Manges in early 2012. Clients say he is "a very sophisticated and smart lawyer, and very responsive." He focuses on patent matters in the hi-tech field and Intel is a key client.

Rollin Ransom has "extraordinary technical and substantive knowledge" in trademark and copyright infringement matters. He is focused on internet and entertainment issues. Clients say he is "a very calm, responsive and intellectual litigator."

Litigation - California

THE FIRM Sidley Austin enters the table having garnered considerable feedback from the market. The Los Angeles office plays an integral role in the firm's highly respected national appellate group, with its California practitioners experienced in cases at state, federal and Supreme Court levels. High-profile matters include the representation of W. Scott Harkonen, former CEO of InterMune, in the highly publicized appeal against his conviction for wire fraud.  

Sources say: "Absolutely excellent work. They are extremely responsive and able to focus immediately on the issue. Their drafting skills are superb."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Haddad led the team in the representation of W. Scott Harkonen, and is a global coordinator for the national appellate group. Sources relate that he is "an excellent speaker who doesn't get rattled in any way."

Litigation - California

THE FIRM This firm is equipped with a strong group of litigators renowned for their strength in handling a broad range of disputes. The team is adept at securities matters, notably for its expertise in assisting Chinese companies involved with US securities violations. It enlisted the strength of its national network when handling a series of complex shareholder cases on behalf of SMART Technologies. Goldman Sachs, Citibank, Wilshire Bancorp and China Green are some of the firm's notable clients.

Sources say: "They truly have defined the meaning of going above and beyond."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sara Brody splits her practice between the San Francisco and Palo Alto offices and serves as a global coordinator for the firm's securities litigation practice. She represented the former CEO of Diamond Foods in various derivatives and securities class action matters and parallel government investigations, and assisted with the SMART Technologies litigation matters.

Norman Blears recently joined the team from Hogan Lovells US. Blears focuses on complex securities litigation, for which "clients hold him in high regard." He acts for Dendreon on litigation relating to Provenge, a cancer drug. He heads the California securities practice.

Litigation - California

THE FIRM This team is noted for its white-collar criminal defense work. It is able to draw on the firm's extensive national network in successfully representing clients and major corporations. It continues to handle a number of matters such as trade secret thefts, FDA fraud, and FCA and FCPA issues.

Sources say: "They do not leave any stone unturned."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Kimberly Dunne cochairs the firm's white-collar practice and has an enviable background of serving as the Chief of the US Attorney Office's Public Corruption and Government Fraud section in the Central District of California. "She has been very good to work with and she consults me on the right things," praises a client. She is especially noted for her recent work in advising on qui tam and FCPA matters.

Real Estate - California

THE FIRM This is a very well-regarded firm that combines expertise in complex financing transactions with strong litigation capabilities. Clients benefit from the close links maintained between the real estate practice and lawyers from the firm's bankruptcy, tax and environment groups. The team currently advises Credit Suisse on $250 million of syndicated senior debt secured by a ski resort project. It also recently acted for GE Capital on the proposed sale of a $343 million mezzanine loan. Other major names represented by the firm include Wells Fargo, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank and Oaktree Capital Management.

Sources say: "Their lawyers are insightful, responsive and helpful, and I've been very impressed with them."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Distressed real estate expert Paul Walker wins praise from market sources for being "rock solid and always having his finger on the pulse." "He is fantastic, extraordinarily knowledgeable in the field and very well respected. He is very focused on details and a great overall practitioner," add commentators.

The highly regarded Marc Hayutin regularly handles a range of high-value financing transactions and disputes. "I am consistently impressed by how, when new twists and turns come into play, he has a knowledge base of that particular issue. He is also very good at explaining complicated points," says one source.

Observers highlight Scott Cooper as "a very practical lawyer with a no-nonsense approach." "He is very analytical, very bright, understands his area of expertise very well and gives good sound legal advice," according to sources. He is currently advising a major life insurance company on a number of mortgage loans.

Environment - District of Columbia

THE FIRM The environmental team at Sidley Austin is known for its impressive expertise in clean air matters. Notable highlights include acting for diesel engine manufacturer Cummins on CAA compliance issues relating to vehicle emissions, fuels and additives. The large group has an excellent reputation for its prowess in litigation, and regularly defends utilities in clean air matters in the district courts. It also represents federal, state and local governments and national trade associations, regularly undertaking work relating to the energy, transport, telecommunications and banking sectors. 

Sources say: "Sidley Austin's senior partners are the best in the business and are always available when you need them." "Very strong competitors on clean air work."

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Buente is viewed as one of the top environmental practitioners in DC. He recently acted for Coronet Industries on a high-value dispute arising from wrongful death and personal injury claims.

James Bieke is an experienced Superfund specialist who acted on the Hudson and Housatonic River Superfund sites. "He is one of the most brilliant and hard-working people I've ever met. He is very good at understanding the science behind environmental law," one source said.

Samuel Gutter is a well-regarded CAA and Superfund expert with extensive experience within the EPA.

Roger Martella earns high praise from market sources for his environmental work. "He is one of the next generation. He has a body of government experience and good insight, and is regarded as a credible person to represent industry people."

Timothy Webster has an impressive reputation for his work as an environmental litigator. His capabilities are strengthened by considerable experience in the DOJ.

Healthcare - District of Columbia

THE FIRM Sidley Austin continues to impress observers in the DC healthcare arena. The firm handles the full range of matters, including regulatory compliance, litigation, governmental investigations and FDA-related work. Recent matters include representing Celgene in a DOJ investigation concerning the promotion and marketing of products. The firm has also acted for SXC Health Solutions in its $4.4 billion merger with Catalyst Health Solutions. Other clients include Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Roche Diagnostics. 

Sources say: "Sidley Austin has deep expertise in healthcare matters."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Investigation and enforcement specialist Paul Kalb is a "client-focused, results-oriented and pragmatic" attorney, and an "extremely good strategic thinker," say sources. He heads the firm’s national healthcare practice and is global coordinator of its life sciences practice.

The "very prompt and responsive" Raymond Bonner heads the firm’s food, drug and medical device compliance and enforcement practice. His areas of focus are governmental investigations, enforcement and litigation.

Coleen Klasmeier heads the firm’s food, drug and medical device regulatory practice and is an authority on FDA regulatory matters. Sources attest that she is "a walking dictionary of FDA law."

William Sarraille handles a broad spectrum of healthcare matters, including Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement, internal investigations, litigation and healthcare contracting. Sources describe him as a "terrific regulatory healthcare lawyer" with a "wide range of experience."

Scott Bass heads the firm’s global life sciences team and is recognized for his handling of FDA regulatory and enforcement issues. He is particularly noted by market observers for his representation of dietary supplement manufacturers.

Intellectual Property - District of Columbia

THE FIRM Sidley Austin is considered a go-to firm for sophisticated patent infringement cases by some of the best-known and largest IP-heavy blue-chips in the world today. Aside from patent litigation in district and federal courts, the team is expanding its ITC capability and is developing expertise and experience in the life sciences sector to supplement its already powerful command of consumer electronics technologies. Clients include Apple, Conceptus and Genentech.

Sources say: "They have a lot of very, very skilled attorneys, so they are able to handle very large matters and multiple matters."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeffrey Kushan heads the IP practice in Washington, DC. He divides his workload between life sciences litigation and IT and electronics litigation, with a stronger emphasis on the former. He has recently presided over high-value actions for clients Apple and Genentech.

Joseph Micallef's practice is predominantly geared toward life sciences patent cases, although he has successfully tried cases involving patents arising from all manner of scientific disciplines.

Litigation - District of Columbia

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's DC litigation practice handles an impressive range of commercial, securities and white-collar criminal defense matters. It houses more than 200 litigators and is an integral part of the firm's wider global network, allowing for a truly multijurisdictional service. The team's recent work includes representing Bank of America in a number of investigations into mortgage securitization. Other clients include Tyson Foods, KPMG and Johnson & Johnson. 

Sources say: "They have a deep, talented bench of former prosecutors and regulators from across the US and the globe." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Senior counsel Thomas Green is highly respected for his leading white-collar criminal defense practice and extensive trial experience. His recent work includes representing the former CEO of Freddie Mac in several securities disputes and an SEC enforcement action.

Mark Hopson is the managing partner of the firm's DC office and is highly regarded for his expertise in white-collar criminal defense matters. His notable experience as a trial lawyer is particularly highlighted by market commentators. His recent work includes representing several pharmaceutical companies in a number of extensive FCPA investigations.

Kristin Koehler enters the rankings having earned significant praise for her white-collar criminal defense practice. She is also noted for her experience in civil litigation. Clients particularly commend her responsiveness and practical approach to handling matters.

Telecommunications - District of Columbia

THE FIRM The team is well known for its stellar appearances before the FCC and federal district and appellate courts, and also offers full regulatory counsel and transactional advice. AT&T continues to retain the firm on regulatory matters, and the team has recently worked with News Corporation and Fox Television Stations on media ownership appeals and indecency litigation.

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Lawson "quickly gets to the heart of the matter and is willing to do the work necessary to provide the legal product I need in a timely manner - and sometimes with absurd deadlines placed on him," reports one satisfied client. Lawson is well known for the caliber of his work for AT&T, which he has advised on a range of regulatory proceedings related to competition matters.

Mark Schneider continues to be highly regarded for his regulatory expertise. He has recently represented U.S. Cellular in matters involving compliance with regulations pertaining to the provision of 911 service.

Carter Phillips maintains an excellent reputation among peers and clients, particularly for his appellate work. He has recently acted for News Corporation and Fox Television on challenges to the FCC's rules governing the cross-ownership of newspapers, broadcast properties and multiple television station ownership.

Antitrust - Illinois

THE FIRM With a good crop of litigators, this firm remains one of the stronger groups in the Chicago antitrust arena. A substantial proportion of its work comes in pharmaceutical and related IP matters, with recent cases including acting for AstraZeneca against a class action alleging sham patent litigation, and representing GlaxoSmithKline in the sale of various drug rights.

Sources say: "Great firm, great reputation, with a diverse antitrust practice." "Excellent – their response time is very good."

KEY INDIVIDUALS John Treece is a highly experienced attorney who is "smart, witty and impressive" and "good with the big picture," according to sources. He recently represented SSAB Swedish Steel in the steel litigation class action, and AstraZeneca in the sham patent litigation matter.

Jack Bierig is an adept litigator with a particular focus on healthcare work, which sees him undertake a wealth of IP work alongside his antitrust caseload.

General commercial litigator Charles Douglas is noted for his vast range of antitrust experience and is currently defending AT&T Mobility in a class action relating to the alleged forced use of text message codes to increase revenue.

David Graham has recently acted for Citi in a case concerning the alleged setting of Visa and MasterCard fees. In addition to antitrust work, he also has expertise in securities.

Banking & Finance - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin maintains its position as one of the leading banking and finance practices in Illinois. The team acts for lenders, sponsors and borrowers on matters covering the gamut of financing activities and financial instruments. A recent highlight saw it act for JPMorgan Chase as an administrative agent on a $2 billion senior multicurrency revolving credit facility. Wells Fargo, BNP Paribas, GE Capital and Citi are also counted among the group's distinguished client base.

Sources say: "Always first-class." "Really critical to our success."

KEY INDIVIDUALS In a recent highlight "fabulous lawyer" James Clark worked with US Bank as administrative agent on a $450 million acquisition loan facility for Graco.

The "phenomenal" Michael Gold has expertise in debt restructuring on behalf of debtors and lenders. He is also well versed in matters involving syndicated finance, and recently acted on behalf of GE Capital on $99.5 million of senior secured acquisition financing facilities.

Zulfiqar Bokhari focuses on the structure and syndication of senior credit facilities, including recapitalization and bridge credit. "He's both efficient and practical, and, substantively, he knows his stuff," note observers, who go on to say that "he does a great job of understanding customer service from our perspective." He led on the JPMorgan Chase matter.

Mark Kirsons handles transactional structured finance, lending and asset securitization for a wide range of clients. He elicits particular praise for his ability to "adapt very easily," and is singled out as "extremely bright and very accommodating."

Bruce Bernstein is recognized for his wealth of experience in the banking and finance arena, and in particular for his skill in restructuring work and secured transactions.

Sources describe Allison Satyr as "knowledgeable, creative and always available." She represents both borrowers and lenders in a wide range of matters, and recently acted for JPMorgan Chase as an administrative agent on a CAD250 million senior term loan facility.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's growing Chicago-based bankruptcy group has excellent national and international capabilities. The team has earned its reputation as one of the leading firms in restructuring matters by successfully acting for large and mid-sized companies. Recent noteworthy debtor representations include Dynegy Holdings, Tribune Company and RH Donnelley Corporation.

Sources say: "A top-notch, go-to firm"

KEY INDIVIDUALS  James Conlan cochairs the firm's corporate reorganization and bankruptcy group and has been described as a "very smart, very practical, good all-around lawyer." He has recently been involved in the group's representation of Dynergy Holdings in its substantial Chapter 11 proceedings, and also represented RH Donnelley.

Bryan Krakauer is experienced in all manner of financial restructuring and corporate reorganization. He and Conlan were both involved in the renowned Tribune Company Chapter 11 proceedings.

Lawrence Nyhan is "top of the food chain" and "one of the best in the business," according to clients. He cochairs the practice group alongside Conlan. Nyhan's recent highlights include his representation of Smurfit-Stone Container in its insolvency matters.

Communications - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin remains a firm of choice for wireless and wireline providers, satellite carriers and broadcasting stations. The communications regulatory practice represents clients on a domestic and international scale, and the group is well known for its work with major television networks. Over the past twelve months its lawyers have represented clients in a series of significant matters relating to the evolution of wireless technology, and they offer a particularly broad expertise in this area. Clients include Merrill Lynch, GE Capital and U.S. Cellular.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The excellent David Carpenter remains an outstanding figure in telecom, with peers attesting to the breadth of his regulatory expertise. Sources also note: "As long as you have David Carpenter you certainly have significant strength." He is singled out for his stellar appellate practice, which has included representing AT&T in a number of novel matters over the past year.

Corporate/M&A - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin remains one of the market's most dominant and successful forces, and its team continues to represent clients such as Aon in some of the most complex cases. The group has a successful history of advising private and public entities, including financial sponsors, boards of directors and committees, on a diverse array of M&A work. In addition, the team also advises clients on a range of private equity transactions, as illustrated by the team's representation of CHS Capital in its acquisition of Dura-Line. Other recent highlights include its representation of Nationstar Mortgage in the purchase of mortgage servicing assets and corresponding servicing receivables of Residential Capital.

Sources say: "The quality and breadth of expertise is first-rate." "Established top-quality corporate firm."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "terrific" Thomas Cole is praised for his communication skills, which are "inherently calming even in the most tumultuous of situations." He focuses on corporate governance matters as well as M&A for public companies. He is also described as "a household name among CEOs," principally for his skill in "helping corporations and boards see a clear path through difficult situations."

The "supersmart" Frederick Lowinger is the first port of call for many sources, who reserve particular praise for his understanding of the most complex matters. He recently led the team acting for Central Vermont on its $720 million sale to Gaz Metro.

Paul Choi has a wide-ranging corporate practice that sees him represent clients in debt and equity offerings and all aspects of M&A. He is particularly lauded for his solution-oriented approach to matters. He recently led the team acting for Commercial Metals on the defense of a hostile takeover bid by Icahn Enterprises.

The highly regarded Imad Qasim handles matters such as corporate governance, joint ventures and M&A. In a key mandate, he formed part of the team representing ITT in the company's acquisition of YSI Incorporated.

Clients appreciate Jeffrey Smith's "bright, common-sense" approach. He focuses on sophisticated commercial transactions, and has a strong background in multijurisdictional and cross-border cases.

Larry Barden handles securities, private equity and M&A matters for public and private companies. Sources describe him as "a steady presence in stressful situations," who is "unflappable in difficult negotiations."

Energy & Natural Resources - Illinois

THE FIRM This team is recognized for its transactional work as well as its state and federal regulatory advice to a range of market participants, including energy companies, lenders and investors. Recent highlights include advising Enbridge on the development of pipeline projects to transport Canadian and Bakken Formation oil to Illinois and other markets.

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Terrific lawyer" Richard Astle recently represented Exelon Generation on investments made by its nuclear decommissioning trust funds. He is a respected option for public utility companies and others on a range of corporate and financing matters.

Darryl Reed advised Commonwealth Edison on appeals in the Illinois Appellate Court related to the ICC's order approving an increase of $155.7 million in annual revenue through new electric distribution rates. His clients include a number of electricity, gas and pipeline companies.

Environment - Illinois

THE FIRM Offering wide-ranging expertise on environmental matters, this firm is commended as a significant force in the market. The 16-strong Chicago team represents the likes of BP, GE and Jupiter Aluminum across the board on transactional matters, Superfund cleanups, environmental criminal investigations and Clean Air Act litigation.  

Sources say: "A leading firm in terms of scope, quality and ability to handle any type of environmental matter."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Department head Robert Olian inspires confidence from all quarters: "There's nothing he can't handle, he's great," states one observer. He wins respect for his skillful handling of environmental criminal investigations.  

James Cahan is identified as a "very good Clean Air Act lawyer." He has recently been retained by Solvay Specialty Polymers and Martin Marietta Materials regarding enforcement actions under the Clean Air Act.  

Byron Taylor "is excellent in understanding a variety of potential issues and concerns and then working with me to determine the best course of action," notes one impressed interviewee. He is noted for his expertise in environmental litigation. 

Healthcare - Illinois

THE FIRM This 21-strong Chicago team handles work across the board and has particular expertise in pharmaceutical and medical device work. The team's expertise has seen it recently represent GlaxoSmithKline in a DOJ investigation concerning a filed False Claims Act qui tam action. Allergan, Novo Nordisk, Henkel and Sunovion are among the group's other key clients.

Sources say: "One of our preferred providers – excellent, excellent lawyers." "They're fantastic: we've had a long relationship with them and they've been great."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "highly skilled and extremely responsive" Richard Raskin is head of the Chicago healthcare team. He specializes in antitrust, fraud and abuse, and managed care matters and also maintains a fine track record for his work in federal and state investigations.

The "terrific" Honey Skinner undertakes work involving the representation of healthcare providers before government agencies. She also has a well-established reputation for her expertise in certificate of need matters. 

Insurance - Illinois

THE FIRM This international firm has a large reinsurance dispute resolution department which handles a range of domestic and cross-jurisdictional claims. The practice also includes a dedicated insurance and financial services team which acts for a variety of clients on the full range of transactional and regulatory issues. The group is known as a market leader in catastrophe bond transactions, having continued to be involved in a number of such matters recently.

Sources say: "They are fine lawyers who are consistently good."

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Sneed is known for his methodical and analytical approach to reinsurance disputes, with sources describing him as "a very effective advocate." Recently, he successfully defended a claim at trial on behalf of TIG brought by Transport Insurance.

The "brilliant" Susan Stone is known for her strong links with the insurance industry. She has recently been involved in matters for key client Trustmark, in addition to various arbitration cases.

Thomas Cunningham is "energetic with a good demeanor – he has a very strong set of people skills." He recently succeeded in defending Transatlantic Reinsurance in a matter brought against it by Allstate.

Daniel Neppl is commended by sources for being "very secure in his own skill set and confident without being arrogant – bright, articulate and absolutely committed." He has been involved in a number of recent reinsurance arbitrations.

Insurance and financial services group cochair Michael Goldman is known for being a "hard-working and bright" lawyer. In the past twelve months he led the team in a $3.4 billion matter on behalf of Transatlantic surrounding regulatory issues arising from its proposed merger with Allied World Assurance.

Perry Shwachman co-heads the insurance and financial services team. He recently represented Liberty Life Insurance in a reinsurance matter involving $3.1 billion of liabilities.

Michael Pinsel represents the insurance industry in a range of transactional and regulatory matters. He has been particularly active in a number of catastrophe bond transactions.

"Fine regulatory lawyer" Kenneth Wylie is well known for his deep experience across the range of insurance regulatory matters. He has been involved in the firm's advice to the insurance industry on the impact of the Dodd-Frank Act. 

Anthony Ribaudo recently represented UBS in a $397 million Regulation A-XXX letter of credit solution matter for Pacific Life Insurance. His broad practice also takes in securities, M&A and private equity. 

Intellectual Property - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin continues to be heralded by sources as a leading firm in the Chicago IP market. Clients particularly praise the firm's dedication to their needs, along with its deep bench of experienced practitioners. The practice is focused on patent litigation in the electronics, computer software, telecom and life sciences sectors, and is also known for its leading appellate group. Key clients include Merck, BlackBerry, and Microsoft.

Sources say: "The level of service and expertise at Sidley are unsurpassed."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Well-regarded patent litigator Richard Cederoth is praised by market commentators as "a really thorough lawyer." His practice covers software, computer and semiconductor technologies.

National IP practice chair David Pritikin has extensive experience in patent cases covering software, semiconductor and medical technologies. He enjoys a fine reputation as a "terrific lawyer."

Labor & Employment - Illinois

THE FIRM This respected international firm covers a full range of employment, employee benefits and executive compensation matters. It frequently advises clients on issues arising from ESOPs during acquisitions and LBOs. This strength saw the team advise Fortune Brands and its spin-off venture Fortune Brands Home & Security on the implementation of their respective compensation and benefit plans after the spin-off. The team's client roster includes AT&T, Booz Allen Hamilton, eBay and The ServiceMaster Company.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Priscilla Ryan is praised by market observers for her depth of knowledge and client relationship skills. She is noted for her expertise in ERISA litigation and executive compensation.

Stewart Shepherd focuses on executive compensation and benefits matters arising from M&A. He has a specialty in transactions prohibited by ERISA and matters relating to committees of 401(k) plans.

Beth Dickstein undertakes work on fiduciary matters, frequently advising clients in relation to investment plans and compensation plans.

Brian Gold heads the Chicago labor and employment team and handles a broad range of matters including collective bargaining and industrial labor litigation.

Litigation - Illinois

THE FIRM The Sidley Austin litigation team offers exceptional depth and expertise across the board. A key mandate for the group has been its representation of Microsoft in a high-value breach of contract claim against Motorola. The team also represented SMART Technologies in a putative securities class action. Other clients include Bayer HealthCare and Bank of America.

Sources say: "They are very effective courtroom advocates who deliver significant courtroom victories."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Walter Carlson is head of the Chicago financial and security litigation group and an expert in cases involving securities fraud and fiduciary duty issues. He is also experienced in representing corporations and their directors in SEC investigations. 

Global coordinator of Sidley's complex commercial litigation practice, William Conlon focuses on criminal investigations and civil matters, including class actions.

Charles Douglas's areas of focus include antitrust, securities and commercial litigation. Sources speak highly of his commitment to client service and name him "a power hitter."  

Market observers note that David Graham "has the capacity to understand complicated facts and get right to the heart of the matter extremely quickly and incisively." He handles matters such as consumer class actions, fiduciary issues and M&A litigation.

Constantine Trela is chair of the appellate practice group and part of the Sidley team representing Microsoft in a breach of contract case brought against Motorola Mobility. His practice covers a broad range of commercial arenas.

Former US Attorney Scott Lassar handles all aspects of white-collar work, including investigations of companies. Sources report "tremendous respect" for his abilities.

John Gallo is "very smart, very deliberate and very good at weighting arguments," according to sources. He has represented criminal defendants, institutional clients and clients in grand jury investigations.

Media & Entertainment - Illinois

THE FIRM This litigation powerhouse has established a strong presence within the media and entertainment space, acting for a distinguished roster of clients including Northwestern University, the Chicago Tribune and the Illinois Civil Justice League. Recent highlights have included handling matters involving defamation, First Amendment and copyright infringement litigation. The group is also renowned within the community for providing numerous nonprofit organizations with legal advice on a pro bono basis.

Sources say: “They are a great firm – top-tier! They are very effective and form deep relationships with clients.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Seasoned media and entertainment litigator Richard O'Brien elicits much praise for his experience, efficiency and proactive approach to matters. He recently obtained a victory in the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of longtime client the American Civil Liberties Union.

The highly regarded Eric Mattson is particularly noted for his journalistic background, which has afforded him an in-depth understanding of the media arena. In a recent case highlight, he defended Northwestern University in a defamation suit brought against the institution.

Real Estate - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin is a truly international firm with an offering of 28 real estate lawyers in its Chicago office. The team has a well-established reputation for excellence within restructuring and workouts, and is also very strong with acquisitions. The group recently acted for Starwood Property Trust on the purchase of 26 mortgage loans from Citibank and Citicorp. Representative clients also include KKR, JPMorgan Chase, Drawbridge (Fortress) and Deutsche Bank.

Sources say: "Comprehensive, thorough, diligent and high-quality. An extremely value-added firm that provides terrific transactional guidance and advice."  

KEY INDIVIDUALS Anthony Aiello is head of the firm's Chicago real estate group. His practice encompasses workouts and restructurings, as well as leasings, acquisitions and dispositions. He is also active in real estate financing matters, representing a range of lender clients in structured finance matters. 

Charles Schrank has the respect of his peers and clients, many of whom single out his knowledge and thorough approach. He has expertise in structured finance matters, as well as restructurings, acquisitions, disposals and workouts.

Tax - Illinois

THE FIRM This team has a thriving transactions and controversy practice and also comes recommended for its expertise in low-income tax credit matters. In a recent highlight, it handled all the attendant tax issues involved in Western Union's acquisition of the global payments division of Travelex Holdings. Other standout work saw the team advise Takeda Pharmaceutical on its purchase of URL Pharma. Tyson Foods, SXC Health Solutions, Exelon and GE are among the group's other high-profile clients.

Sources say: "The attorneys we use are very knowledgeable. I have recommended them and will continue to do so." "Tremendous as a team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "top-notch" Sharp Sorensen handles federal tax concerns and transactions, and recently advised McGladrey & Pullen on the tax issues involved in its acquisition of RSM McGladrey. He also led on the Western Union matter.

Jay Zimbler also undertakes federal tax matters, but focuses particularly on income tax and contested issues. He recently represented Principal Life Insurance in a tax refund case.

Suresh Advani is an expert in federal income tax and has extensive knowledge of asset securitization and securities offerings. Recent work has seen him handle the tax issues involved in GE Healthcare's formation of Caradigm, a medical software joint venture with Microsoft.

Lee Christie comes particularly recommended for his tax work in the insurance arena, and advises on transactions and controversy matters. He assisted Cigna with its recent acquisition of ARG's Great American Supplemental Benefits Group.

Tracy Williams is similarly noted for her expertise in tax matters concerning insurance companies, and recently represented Chartis and Zurich in state insurance retaliatory litigation across the nation.

Technology - Illinois

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's technology practice offers specialist knowledge in IT procurement and outsourcing, life sciences transactions, and digital media and entertainment. In the past year it has advised GE Healthcare on the formation of its medical joint venture with Microsoft, and also acted on behalf of GlaxoSmithKline in a copromotion agreement with Auxilium Pharmaceuticals.

Sources say: "A firm that offers not only strong legal counsel, but practical business advice as well."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources describe Mark Kaufmann as "an exceptional lawyer who stays on top of the developments in his specialty." He is noted for his expertise on acquisitions, outsourcing, licensing and infrastructure transactions. Recent work has included representing OneAmerica in the long-term outsourcing of its IT infrastructure and operations to T-Systems.

Practice head Jeffrey Rothstein is well known for his strengths in domestic and international transactions and has a wealth of experience in matters relating to medical device, pharmaceuticals, biotech and satellite technology. Interviewees draw attention to his "deep subject matter expertise, business acumen and superior negotiation skills." He lead on the GE Healthcare and GlaxoSmithKline matters.

Associate Tim Swan is recognized as a rising star and elicits particular praise for his client-friendly attitude and solution-oriented approach. He is noted for his expertise in IP and technology-related transactions, and works with clients from a range of fields, including IT, financial services, telecom and biotech.

Antitrust - Nationwide

THE FIRM This group is predominantly active in antitrust litigation, although it is also able to undertake sizeable transactional work for clients. It has a solid presence in both Illinois and California, and covers all aspects of antitrust work for clients based across the country. The US-based practitioners can also draw on the global strength of the firm's antitrust team when handling transactional, regulatory and litigation work. It continues to represent Macmillan in the ongoing eBooks litigation as well as acting for Citi in the payment card interchange fee suit.

Sources say: "They're thorough, fast, efficient professionals who go above and beyond."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The Sidley antitrust practice group is run by the triumvirate of Marie Fiala in San Francisco, Joel Mitnick in New York and John Treece in Chicago.

Appellate Law - Nationwide

THE FIRM This highly regarded group of experienced practitioners is capable of handling a broad spread of cases, and has deep-rooted expertise in appearing before all levels of state and federal appellate court. The group recently achieved a victory for Fox Television Stations after a ruling by the Supreme Court determined that certain indecency standards applied by the FCC were unconstitutionally vague.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Carter Phillips is one of the leading lights of the appellate Bar, described as "a truly unique talent" whose incredible expertise sees him appear frequently before the Supreme Court. He recently obtained the reversal of a ruling made by the federal appeals court against Southern Union Company, which had found his client guilty of storing mercury without a permit. Carter argued that it is the jury, rather than the judge, who has the power to increase the fine set in a criminal case.

Peter Keisler is singled out as "one of the most extraordinary advocates" for his outstanding work on behalf of clients from a wide range of industries. His recent work includes successfully representing transportation company CSX in a case concerning the top level of compensation for disabled workers. 

Banking & Finance - Nationwide

THE FIRM With a stellar presence in Illinois and strong banking and finance teams in New York, California and Texas, Sidley Austin has an impressive nationwide footprint. This practice is well equipped to advise clients from all areas of the market in the full gamut of financial transactions. Recently the group has been particularly busy assisting financial institutions, such as JPMorgan, Wells Fargo, US Bank, Bank of America and Barclays, in a multitude of transactions.    

Sources say: "They offer consistent quality. They do not let a deal become adversarial and take a cooperative and consultative approach to prevent issues."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Chicago-based James Clark "is integral to us in managing our relationship and brings valuable skills to the table," asserts one impressed client. He recently advised US Bank as administrative agent in a $450 million acquisition loan finance.

Senior counsel Rory Kelleher remains an experienced authority for the firm in the equipment finance and leasing space, specifically within the field of aviation finance.

Angela Fontana recently joined the team from Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP. Fontana is hailed as "a very dynamic sponsor lawyer and a real force to be reckoned with." While at her prior firm she represented General Growth Properties in a $1 billion revolving credit facility for GGP Limited Partnership and related entities.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's corporate reorganization and bankruptcy practice provides high-level representations in complex issues across a national network of teams spanning Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. Each branch works collaboratively with the others, increasing the expertise and resources available to tackle any issue, whether it be for debtors or creditors. In recent highlights, the group represented Dynegy Holdings in its high-profile Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

Sources say: "They are extremely responsive; we feel like we are a priority for them and it makes a difference. What we like is they are not just technical, they have that rare business judgment as well; they come up with business solutions."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very smart and practical" Lawrence Nyhan is based in Chicago and cochairs the firm's corporate reorganization and bankruptcy practice. He is described by sources as "a great bankruptcy strategist with immense experience and terrific judgment," with others noting that he is "very responsive and service-oriented; one of the very best in the business."

James Conlan cochair's the group alongside Nyhan and is also based in Chicago. Interviewees recommend him as a "smart, aggressive and creative" lawyer. He is a specialist in advising distressed companies looking to restructure and masterminded Sidley's representation of Dynegy Holdings.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM The group at Sidley Austin is a favored choice of issuers, underwriters and other market participants on a range of transactions including IPOs, ATM offerings and investment grade senior and subordinated debt matters. It has recently represented the underwriters in resales by the US Treasury of TARP preferred stock in more than 30 financial institutions. Other key clients include Aon, Caterpillar Financial Services and eBay.

Sources say: "They have much experience in the markets and are a proactive and practical team."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Highly practical lawyer" Edward Petrosky is well thought of by interviewees for his focus on finding solutions for his clients. He was recently designated underwriter counsel on two notes offerings by Simon Property Group totaling $3 billion.

Samir Gandhi recently represented the underwriters in ABB's $2.5 billion notes offering. He frequently advises clients in the financial services, industrials and clean energy sectors.  

Eric Haueter is commended by sources for his accurate business-oriented advice on a range of capital markets transactions. His highlights include representing the underwriters in Occidental Petroleum's $2.15 billion offering of senior notes.

James O'Connor recently represented Deutsche Bank as underwriter in Flower Foods' $400 million notes offering. One client said: "His counsel is not only practical, but highly detailed, understandable and presented in a way that makes it easier for an in-house counsel to do his or her job."

"Fantastic lawyer" Norman Slonaker is a "highly smart man and a gentleman, to boot," sources say. He was underwriters' counsel on an offering by 3M of $650 million of 1.0% notes due 2017, and $600 million of 2.0% notes due 2022.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm is respected by interviewees for its knowledgeable and multidisciplinary representation of buy-side clients on derivatives matters, including the negotiation and modification of platform trading agreements. It is also a frequent choice of market participants on structured product matters. Clients include III Offshore Advisors, BlackRock and Wells Fargo.

Commercial Awareness "They have a strong awareness of our business needs - their advice is reliable, reasoned and solid, and they exercise good judgment."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Sackheim represents the Managed Funds Association on OTC derivatives issues. Market commentators praise his knowledgeable and experienced approach.

Robert Robinson is a member of the team advising investors and counterparties on issues arising from the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. He also has an extensive cross-border transactional practice.

Ellen Pesch co-heads the firm's OTC derivatives cross-practice area team. She frequently handles derivatives, structured finance and securitization transactions for both domestic and international banks.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM This popular and highly acclaimed firm earns the respect of the business community for its representation of underwriters and issuers on IPOs and debt and equity offerings including at-the-market offerings. It is representing the underwriters on Spirit Realty Capital's potential IPO and PennyMac Investment Trust on its $222.5 million offering of common shares. Other key clients of this team include Banc of America Securities-Merrill Lynch and Aviv Healthcare Properties.

Client Service "They are highly knowledgeable within securities law and within REITs and have been highly responsive to us in all the transactions."

Commercial Awareness "They provide candid advice with a lot of context."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Gerard Cummins "understands all aspects of the REITs space," market sources report approvingly. He recently advised Starwood Property Trust on its $471.5 million offering of common stock.

Edward Petrosky recently advised the underwriters on a $351 million common stock offering by Home Properties. He co-heads the firm's capital markets group.

Bartholomew Sheehan is "highly practical" and "quickly grasps the central issues and highlights them on our behalf," appreciative sources report. He recently advised the underwriters on an $85 million offering of preferred shares and a $114.4 million offering of common stock by Pebblebrook Hotel Trust.

Capital Markets - Nationwide

THE FIRM This team earns strong market endorsement for the high quality of its technical abilities and commitment to client service. Recent highlights include representing JP Morgan Securities and other financial institutions in the issue by Santander Drive Auto Receivables Trusts of multiple tranches of fixed-rate notes secured by over $4 billion of auto loans. The team also counts Deutsche Bank, Citi and GE Capital among its clients.

Client Service "From senior partners to junior associates, Sidley's attorneys are exceptionally responsive and resourceful." "Everyone at the firm is client service-oriented and is focused on moving to solutions, not simply identifying issues."

Commercial Awareness "They come at things from an understanding of what our business is and from a highly commercial perspective, but they are not a firm who gloss over real issues – they are real lawyers."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Pioneer of securitization" Renwick Martin is a "legend" in the industry, sources say. He has recently represented JPMorgan Securities in four tranches of fixed-rate notes totaling $998.9 million issued by John Deere Owner Trust 2012 backed by sale and loan contracts for construction and agricultural equipment.

Kevin Blauch is "highly effective" in representing clients on all CMBS transactions. Recent highlights include advising Morgan Stanley on two issues of CMBS by MSBAM series 2012-C5 totalling $1.353 billion, and MSC series 2012-C4 totaling $1.098 billion.

Carlos Rodriguez is widely respected by market sources for the high quality of his advice on a range of securitization and structured finance matters. He has notable expertise in RMBS and CMBS transactions.  

Gary Stern is rated by market sources for the strength of his representation of lenders in transactions related to a variety of asset classes including auto loans, equipment leases and timeshares. He is based in the firm's Chicago office.

Willis Buck "comes at everything from a practical perspective," impressed market sources report. Sources speak with particular admiration of his expertise in auto leases and loans, commercial paper and credit card receivables.

Kevin Hochberg is praised by sources for his technical expertise. He represented American Electric Power in an issue of senior secured transition bonds backed by payments from retail electric customers.

"Star in the auto world" RJ Carlson recently represented JPMorgan on three ABS issues of fixed rate notes totaling $3.5 billion by Volkswagen Auto Lease Trust and Volkswagen Auto Loan Enhanced Trust.

Dale Lum represented Mercedes-Benz Financial Services USA on the offering in four tranches of fixed-rate notes backed by auto leases totaling $1.4 billion. He is based at the firm's San Francisco office.

The "smart and practical" Giselle Barth has advised JP Morgan Securities on the issue of $1 billion of fixed-rate notes backed by interests in automobile leases issued by BMW Vehicle Lease Trust series 2012-1. Clients say: "Her knowledge of the markets and the law is a tremendous asset."

Climate Change - Nationwide

THE FIRM The climate change team at Sidley offers experience across a broad array of issues, including regulatory counseling, permitting and transactional matters. It has also significantly expanded its renewable energy practice recently. The group is frequently involved in major litigation taking place in this area, and recently defended key EPA CAA decisions relating to the regulation of renewable biofuels and biomass on behalf of the National Alliance of Forest Owners. Other notable clients include Chevron, American Chemistry Council and PPG Industries.

Client Service "The service is excellent; they've got a really deep breadth of resources."

Commercial Awareness "A very solid practice. They have a lot of really great lawyers who handle things well - excellent client service and commercial awareness."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "wonderful" Roger Martella is described as "a really top-notch lawyer," who is "always trying to think of creative solutions." He provides regular counsel to companies on ways to address issues posed by climate change.

Corporate/M&A - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm's representation of prominent players across a diverse range of industries has earned it considerable market recognition. It maintains a dominant position in its native Illinois and has robust practices in Texas, California, New York and Washington, DC. New York and Chicago lawyers recently pulled together on a mandate by Athene Annuity & Life Assurance to represent it in its $415 million acquisition of Presidential Life.

Sources say: "We are happy with them, they are very smart, experienced and client-focused and we have gotten very good results."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Co-heads of the M&A and private equity group Scott Freeman and Frederick Lowinger are based out of the firm's New York and Chicago offices respectively.

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation - Nationwide

THE FIRM This well-known firm has a wide range of executive compensation and employee benefits expertise, which covers qualified retirement plans, welfare plans, ERISA litigation and executive compensation. The team acts as primary outside counsel for eBay, and recently advised the company on the reorganization of its equity compensation plans. Other notable clients include Aon and AT&T. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Priscilla Ryan is a "very good and careful lawyer," who is singled out for her client relationship skills. Working out of Chicago, she focuses on employee benefits matters, including plan design and implementation. She recently advised RR Donnelly & Sons in connection with the new requirements imposed on group health plans by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

Energy & Natural Resources - Nationwide

THE FIRM This strong group is principally known for its expertise in the realm of oil and gas regulatory and litigation matters, focusing largely on the representation of major oil pipelines. The team continues to represent ExxonMobil Pipeline in various FERC proceedings including a challenge to the rates for transportation services over the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System. Other work has involved helping the likes of Explorer Pipeline, Mobil Pipe Line and Magellan Pipeline file petitions for declaratory orders at FERC. 

Sources say: "Very high-quality, professional and knowledgeable about energy issues."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Very good lawyer" Stan Berman is highlighted by observers for his strong litigation and regulatory capabilities in the power arena. He is currently acting for Pacific Gas on high-profile litigation relating to the California electric crisis FERC litigation. 

Market sources single out Eugene Elrod as a leading figure in this field. He is very well respected among peers, with one saying that in a conflict situation, "I would always ask Gene Elrod first."

Another key member of the oil and gas team is the "terrific" William Williams. He specializes in representing interstate oil and gas pipelines in FERC-related matters, including enforcement proceedings. He is currently helping Explorer Pipeline with its efforts to obtain a declaratory order from FERC.

"Exceptionally able lawyer" Christopher Lyons offers clients considerable expertise in a variety of oil and gas regulatory and litigation matters. Over the past year he has been involved in several of the firm's most significant mandates for an enviable roster of clients including ExxonMobil, Enterprise Products Pipeline and Mobil Pipe Line.

As one loyal client puts it, James Rice is "a very thoughtful negotiator" who "helped us understand the ins and outs of the oil and gas industry." His practice involves representing energy companies such as Grupo Transmerquim in a broad array of transactions ranging from joint ventures to bank financings and debt restructurings.

Environment - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's impressive environmental group is one of the largest in the country, and it saw further expansion in the past year, with the opening of a new, strategically located Houston office. Sources hold the team in high regard and particularly praise its deep bench's ability to handle any type of environmental matter effectively. The team has been highly active on significant litigious issues, including successfully representing a number of utility companies in the high-profile Comer v Murphy Oil case involving claims relating to greenhouse gas emissions. Its enviable client list also includes BP, Chevron, Morgan Stanley and ExxonMobil.

Commercial Awareness "They prepare excellent and timely work that really adds value to our business."

Client Service "Excellent lawyers focused on providing excellent client service across a wide spectrum of areas and issues."

KEY INDIVIDUALS The environmental group is jointly led by Robert Olian from the Chicago office, Judith Praitis from the California office and David Buente in Washington, DC. Olian primarily focuses his practice on contentious matters relating to enforcement. Praitis advises clients on the permitting and compliance of water, air and waste management. Buente offers a broad base of experience in Superfund, CAA and toxic tort issues.

ERISA Litigation - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin has a well-established ERISA litigation practice, with a notable presence in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. Its expertise spans a wide range of matters in the field, and the experienced practitioners have significant litigation capabilities. The team's recent work includes successfully representing American United Life Insurance in an ERISA class action. It also successfully defended a class action on behalf of Exelon.

Commercial Awareness "I have not found a topic they did not have complete expertise in, or at least burgeoning expertise. They're involved in cutting-edge matters which they are able to address in a very constructive way. Their knowledge of the industry is extraordinary."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Blocker has extensive experience in representing trustees in breach of fiduciary duty claims, and handles a wide range of ERISA class actions. Clients state: "He is incredibly prepared and has very strong analytical powers and an understanding of complex matters. He is also very personable, and able to relate complex information by distilling it into something simple."

Anne Rea has acted as counsel for a number of defendants at trial and appellate level. She is the global coordinator of the firm's ERISA litigation group.

Financial Services Regulation - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's national financial services practice advises both US and foreign financial institutions on a range of issues, from discrete projects to ongoing compliance matters. The team has been acting for UBS and Morgan Stanley in relation to the impact of the Truth in Lending Act exemption changes brought about by the Dodd-Frank Act. On the consumer side, the firm enjoys a strong reputation in the credit card space with recent clients including MasterCard and Green Dot. The firm's greatest strength is arguably in the broker-dealer arena, where its dedicated team represents some of the leading brokerage firms before securities regulators and advises them on the full spectrum of compliance considerations. Notable clients in this area include BNP Paribas Securities Services and Goldman Sachs. Shortly before going to print, Sidley welcomed a sizeable broker-dealer team from Bingham McCutchen.

Sources say: "Sidley has a deep bench in broker-dealer regulatory advice and a top-notch transactional practice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Eckland has vast bank regulatory expertise and provides a range of advice to domestic and international clients on compliance matters. He provides "sophisticated analysis and is excellent at understanding how the banking regulators view the market," say sources. 

James Brigagliano is considered to be a "real asset" to the firm's broker-dealer regulatory practice and brings with him a considerable amount of technical experience in securities and market trading. "In addition to his extensive and invaluable contacts in the regulatory world, he has unique insights into recent regulatory initiatives," say sources.

Kevin Campion is a respected broker-dealer regulatory attorney. He provides broad advice including SEC and FINRA research rules, record keeping and registration matters, and is considered to have extensive knowledge of short sale regulatory requirements.

Dennis Hensley has significant experience in advising clients on compliance and enforcement matters in the broker-dealer space. Recently he acted for a sovereign wealth fund on its purchase of a broker-dealer business.

Consumer finance compliance and litigation expert James Huizinga provides "an extraordinary synthesis of the law and the facts," note interviewees. He recently represented the Consumer Bankers Association in its response to proposed CFPB rules affecting prepaid credit cards.

David Teitelbaum's experience and expertise cover a wide range of regulatory matters, notably with respect to the consumer finance arena. He has particular knowledge of electronic payment systems and is considered to be an "extremely smart and capable lawyer" who is "technically excellent, practical, responsive and efficient."

Connie Friesen advises clients on bank regulatory compliance matters. She has an active practice advising foreign-based financial institutions particularly from Europe, China, Singapore and Australia on their US expansion plans and regulatory compliance.

Hardy Callcott has a strong reputation in broker-dealer advisory and compliance matters. He is recognized for his work on transactional matters and his solid regulatory practice. At his previous firm he represented Citigroup Global Markets in the settlement of a number of FINRA inquiries.

Former FINRA head of enforcement Susan Merrill is described as a "fantastic" attorney who is thought of highly for her knowledge and understanding of the regulatory enforcement process."Her ability to communicate with the regulators and know who to reach out to is a real strength," says one respondent.

Neal Sullivan maintains a strong reputation in the broker-dealer compliance and enforcement arena. Sources attest that he "communicates our message and helps us to understand what the regulatory concerns are." He is a global coordinator for the firm's securities and derivatives enforcement and regulatory practice.

Healthcare - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's broad-ranging practice covers the full spread of healthcare work, from governmental investigations, disputes and transactions to regulatory compliance and enforcement, FDA issues and antitrust matters. Recent work has seen it represent Medtronic in a complicated strategic alliance transaction involving LifeTech Scientific. In a another highlight, it is acting for Celgene in a DOJ investigation concerning the promotion and marketing of products. It also counts SXC Health Solutions, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Roche Diagnostics as key clients.

Sources say: "Sidley Austin has deep expertise in healthcare matters."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Terrific regulatory healthcare lawyer" William Sarraille is widely respected for his expertise in fraud and abuse matters and issues relating to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement.

Insurance - Nationwide

THE FIRM With nine offices nationwide, this insurance outfit is seen to be expanding on a global scale. Market commentators praise the firm for its high standing in reinsurance and insurance bankruptcy-related matters. The group recently secured a win for TIG Insurance in the California Court of Appeal in a reinsurance dispute with Transport Insurance Company.

Client Service "They are willing at any time to make accommodation to provide us with the advice we are seeking." "We have significant contact with them and are able to obtain advice we need on a very quick basis."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Chicago-based attorney Susan Stone is considered "very prominent" in the reinsurance arena. She recently acted for Chartis/AIG in an appellate case involving workers' compensation insurance premiums.

Insurance - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm has moved to expand its team and maintain an imposing presence in both the Midwest and in New York. Sidley Austin has particular strength in M&A, life settlement insurance, insurance securitisation and private equity funds. One recent highlight is the firm's representation of Transatlantic Reinsurance in a $3.4 billion merger deal with Alleghany Corporation. The team regularly represents a series of major industry clients and financial institutions, including Aegon, UBS and Morgan Stanley. 

Client Service "They provide strong legal advice tailored to the goals of our firm, and they provide excellent responsive service."

Commercial Awareness "The key factors that we enjoy in dealing with them are their authority and their judgment. Their depth of understanding of issues and judgment is excellent, and comes from deep, deep experience."

KEY INDIVIDUALS New York insurance practice head Jeff Liebmann is particularly experienced in life insurance and insolvency matters. Clients are impressed by his knowledge base and remark how "he has it at his fingertips, and is very on top of things."

Jonathan Freedman is active in the insurance insolvency, regulatory and life fields, and sources have "tremendous respect for him." He has recently assisted Credit Suisse Securities in a $300 million senior notes issuance by Montpelier Re. He is also based in New York. 

Co-head of the firm's global insurance and financial services group Michael Goldman is a known and respected player in the market, particularly in his Chicago base. He recently acted as lead counsel in Transatlantic Reinsurance's merger transaction with Alleghany.

Chicago partner Perry Shwachman debuts in the nationwide rankings following strong market feedback. He is a renowned practitioner in the insurance and reinsurance finance space.

Intellectual Property - Nationwide

THE FIRM This global firm has talented IP lawyers based all over the country, and its litigators fight some of the toughest actions. The IP group is particularly well known for its depth and breadth of expertise and trial experience in cases involving life sciences and consumer electronics. One highlight saw the team win a Bench trial on behalf of Merck, upholding the validity of a patent covering the client's blockbuster drugs Zetia and Vytorin.

Client Service "I have used patent prosecution firms and several litigation firms and the level of service and expertise at Sidley is unsurpassed."

KEY INDIVIDUALS David Pritikin in Chicago chairs the firm's national practice. 

International Arbitration - Nationwide

THE FIRM The heart of Sidley Austin's US-based international arbitration practice rests in Washington, DC, but it draws strength from an impressive network of offices across the globe. The celebrated group has a successful investment treaty practice, evidenced by its continued representation of the Republic of Peru in two ICSID arbitrations, one of which involves defending against a $2.5 billion claim regarding coastal properties. The team also conducts commercial arbitrations, most recently involving Korean, Russian and Latin American companies.  

Sources say: "They are experts in the field. They understand the process, the issues, the players and how to win." 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Stanimir Alexandrov has an excellent reputation for his impressive investment treaty expertise. He represents both investors and states, and also handles complex commercial arbitrations. He is recognized as having "tremendous experience and unique insights specific to international arbitration that have proven invaluable."

Louis Kimmelman recently joined the team from Allen & Overy. Kimmelman is an "outstanding advocate" who is respected by market sources for his extensive experience across the board in international arbitration. He is described as a "really practical attorney" whose strategic approach is particularly appreciated by clients.

International Trade - Nationwide

THE FIRM WTO work is a particular forte of this practice, which also handles a high volume of trade remedies, policy and sanctions work. The team continues to advise Airbus on an ongoing WTO dispute, and represents LG Electronics in antidumping and countervailing investigations into refrigerators imported from South Korea and Mexico. The firm's customs practice is also well regarded for its work on issues such as duty drawback and Trans-Pacific Partnership negotiations. Recent mandates include litigation regarding tariff classification for GE.

Commercial Awareness "First-rate commercial awareness." "This work requires good insights and knowledge, and we use Sidley for that."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "An outstanding customs and trade attorney," Richard Belanger receives praise for both his detailed understanding of complex customs issues and his strategic thinking when navigating matters more widely.

Andrew Shoyer is regarded as a standout practitioner, especially in the field of WTO litigation. One source comments: "You can't touch him for WTO matters."

Clients appreciate Lisa Crosby's commitment to their export controls and sanctions mandates. She receives excellent feedback for "her reliable, practical legal advice," and is described as "very responsive and diligent." 

International Trade - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm continues to represent top-level manufacturers of portable devices and associated software in multiple patent litigation cases. Clients in the smartphone arena include Microsoft and Research In Motion. In other areas, the team represented LG Electronics in defense of a claim brought by Walker Digital over Blu-ray disc players.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Brian Nester is held in high regard by peers, who commend his active practice and specialized skills: "He's an excellent lawyer and has a tremendous amount of ITC experience."

Investment Funds - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin receives outstanding endorsements from the market for its leading hedge funds practice. The team's longstanding representation of a diverse and sophisticated client base, which includes the likes of The BlackRock Funds and Marathon Asset Management, has earned it the respect of key industry players. Lawyers have recently been busy with several ongoing projects, including the expansion of Credit Suisse's HedgeFocus feeder platform. The team remains impressively well informed on the impact of regulatory changes across the investment management industry.   

Commercial Awareness "I think they have a better handle on the market than almost anyone out there, and they are very deep on the regulatory and compliance side."

KEY INDIVIDUALS William Kerr "makes everything very seamless and easy," according to happy clients. His recent work includes acting for Deutsche Bank London on the formation of a capital fund aimed at seed managers of hedge funds.  

David Sawyier receives glowing endorsements from market sources for the "incredibly high quality" of his practice. "It is like working with someone who has 100 years of experience," said one client.

Talented attorney Michael Schmidtberger is held in high esteem for his "fabulous judgment," and regularly represents major names in the hedge funds world such as Credit Suisse and Morgan Stanley. Clients are quick to praise his "very broad view of the market and regulatory landscape."

Investment Funds - Nationwide

THE FIRM The impressive registered funds group at Sidley Austin is consistently at the forefront of industry developments, regularly handling matters connected to alternative investment vehicles, business development companies (BDCs) and money market funds. Clients benefit from the vast knowledge base of Sidley's global registered funds team, which is well equipped to work alongside the US team on cross-border issues. The group provides ongoing counsel to a range of mutual funds players such as BlackRock, Ironwood Capital Management and new client Prudential Investments. 

Commercial Awareness "The benefits are their expertise in the field and ability to apply that knowledge. The combination of technical expertise and practical application adds true value to the client."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Frank Bruno "is one of the best technical resources in the industry," and "instills high levels of confidence" in his clients. Major names such as BlackRock regularly call upon his expertise in the mutual funds area.  

Co-head of the practice group John MacKinnon possesses "gravitas based on years of experience." He represents the likes of Mirae Funds in its investment management matters.

Leisure & Hospitality - Nationwide

THE FIRM This experienced hotel group represents owners, operators and financial institutions in a wide variety of acquisitions, transactions and restructurings, in addition to handling licensing and management agreements. The firm recently represented GE Asset Management in the modification and sale of an $80 million mezzanine loan related to three hotels.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Weil is a real estate lawyer with a great deal of experience in hospitality financings and acquisitions. He recently represented Starwood Property Trust in the purchase of a $35 million participation interest in a subordinate loan secured by a ski resort complex.

Robert Maganuco handles hotel financing and restructuring deals. Sources say: "He is the kind of guy that focuses on getting a deal done; he knows his stuff and doesn't have to hesitate."

Life Sciences - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm has a broad practice in life sciences and has offices in DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Palo Alto, Chicago and Dallas. It is particularly known for its strong regulatory and IP work, while corporate, transactional, litigation and investigations are also key areas of activity. Notable clients include Bayer HealthCare, Genentech, GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer.

Commercial AwarenessCreative in finding solutions.” "Their knowledge of this industry is high.”

KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Bass is head of the life sciences team at Sidley Austin and specializes in FDA regulatory and enforcement matters. His practice covers audits and investigations into such areas as off-label promotion, pharmacovigilance, and fraud and abuse. Clients say he "offers valuable perspectives on FDA law."

Coleen Klasmeier is head of the food, drug and medical device regulatory practice at the firm, and "a walking dictionary of FDA case law," according to one happy client. Klasmeier's practice is focused on advising manufacturers on FDA issues and also includes compliance, enforcement, transactional and litigation work.

Privacy & Data Security - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's privacy, data security and information law practice is shaped by a team of interdisciplinary lawyers who have wide-ranging expertise on a global scale. The breadth of knowledge on offer includes cyber-security, data protection and health-related privacy matters. Clients are drawn predominantly from the healthcare, financial, telecommunications and media sectors.

Client Service "Sidley is highly capable, and very responsive and client-friendly. They combine deep and technical knowledge of the law with a sense of the need for its practical application."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Peers applaud the highly respected Alan Raul, describing him as a true "ambassador" for the privacy sector. He is particularly active in data breach and cyber-security matters and related litigation.

Edward McNicholas wins praise for his "depth of experience and ability to bring technology issues together to provide information we can act on." The FTC specialist continues to be involved in a wide range of privacy matters.

Products Liability - Nationwide

THE FIRM This firm offers a high level of expertise in both trial and appellate work, and is particularly experienced in class action and pharmaceutical matters. It acts for Armour Pharmaceutical on allegations that blood derivatives used by hemophilia patients transmitted HIV and hepatitis C. Consumer fraud class action work is a growing area for the firm, which obtained a motion to dismiss for American Honda Motor in a case concerning the paint used on the manufacturer's automobiles. The group also has substantial experience in environmental, aviation and food product litigation. 

Sources say: "A terrific products department." "Their legal reasoning and research skills are superior."

KEY INDIVIDUALS "Marvelous courtroom lawyer" Debra Pole is renowned for her effectiveness in a trial setting and her ability to present facts persuasively. "She is a consistently good mass tort defense attorney," say sources. She is acting on the Fosamax class action litigation on behalf of Merck.

Highly regarded Sara Gourley is a "good strategic thinker" and is particularly lauded for her work in the pharmaceutical sphere. Current highlights include representing Armour Pharmaceutical in blood derivatives litigation.

Eugene Schoon also receives praise for his strategic skills, and is described as "one of those guys who can do anything – write, argue a motion or appeal, take a deposition, and try a case." He is currently handling a number of matters for Bayer, including the Yasmin and YAZ litigation.

Maja Eaton is praised as being "very good with clients and thinking ahead to the big picture." Clients appreciate her business acumen and deep understanding of the product liability arena. She currently acts for GE and Schering on a range of complex matters.

David Buente is acclaimed as an expert on environmental law, earning praise as the "best in class when it comes to environmental enforcement matters." He has considerable experience in climate change litigation. 

Michael Davis is highly regarded for his product liability work, which encompasses pharmaceuticals, chemicals, consumer and food products. His recent highlights include representing Beiersdorf in consumer fraud class action litigation.

Projects - Nationwide

THE FIRM This group is a popular port of call for renewables-related projects. It has recently been busy with solar matters, acting on behalf of an enviable roster of clients including AES Solar Power, KDC Solar and Exeron Generating. The team is also well versed in advising clients on power concerns, and recently assisted a sovereign wealth fund in acquiring a sizable share in two power plants. 

Sources say: "The team is very skilled in this field and brilliant at negotiating with counterparties. They are also very responsive."

KEY INDIVIDUALS According to clients, Sergio Pozzerle "is one of the best lawyers in the renewable energy space. If something was very complicated, new or difficult, we would use Sergio because he is the best we know."

Glenn Pinkerton's clients say he is an "experienced and sharp lawyer." He is singled out by peers for his expertise in electrical power projects.

Irving Rotter "has been an absolutely invaluable, reliable and expert adviser," report clients. Over the past year, he has acted for the likes of Alaska Communications Systems Group and Chamisa Energy.

Real Estate - Nationwide

THE FIRM The real estate group at Sidley Austin is highlighted for its expertise in capital markets transactions, and across a range of complicated financing structures, including secured and unsecured credit facilities, mezzanine loans and CMBS. It represents developers, owners, lenders and investors in an array of issues throughout the USA and overseas. The team recently assisted Starwood Property Trust with the purchase and financing of 26 performing mortgage loans from Citibank.

Sources say: "They're very good at what they do – it's a very high-quality practice."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Alan Weil in New York, Marc Hayutin in Los Angeles and Charles Schrank in Chicago are the global coordinators of the firm's real estate practice.

Securities - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin has a distinguished national securities regulation practice with a large team housed in its New York, Chicago, Washington, DC and Los Angeles offices. It works with financial institutions, including banks and brokerage firms, to ensure their compliance with SEC and FINRA rules including requirements under the JOBS Act. Its specialist team, peppered with former in-house regulatory counsel, is noted for having strength in guiding clients through enforcement and ongoing representations before agencies including the CFTC, DOJ and SEC. The litigation team acts for major investment banks, public companies and advisory firms on federal class actions, shareholder litigation and excessive fee litigation. 

KEY INDIVIDUALS Herbert Janick has a fine reputation as a securities enforcement attorney. One interviewee describes him as "thorough and detail-oriented,” while he is commended for his ability to “interact with regulators and know when it is appropriate to be forceful and when to be accommodating."

Dennis Hensley is a seasoned securities professional with a deep knowledge and understanding of the regulatory environment. He advises financial institutions on the full range of enforcement and compliance matters.

Senior counsel Joseph McLaughlin is "simply one of the very knowledgeable people who understands the industry, the questions and the issues," say sources. He advises clients on regulatory issues and international securities offerings. 

Neal Sullivan represents clients in federal securities actions, in which he is considered to also play a strong role at a state level. Sources report that he is “just a great lawyer.” 

Barry Rashkover is based in New York and has been active in defending clients against regulatory actions relating to MBS and short selling. "You'd be in good hands with him," comments one peer. 

Enforcement attorney Nader Salehi "knows the industry well and is very client-responsive," notes one source. Another reports: "He is a great lawyer for regulated investments, and is easygoing, detail-oriented and has great understanding."

Michael Wolk is a regulatory attorney whose practice focuses on guiding clients through securities investigations brought by agencies including the SEC and FINRA.

Tax - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley's excellent national practice is especially lauded in Chicago and, increasingly, New York. Its expertise covers the full spectrum of M&A, joint ventures, insurance, leveraged buyouts, spin-offs and recapitalizations. The firm is especially recommended for its superb bankruptcy and restructuring-related tax practice, and also has a solid reputation for REIT-related tax work. The team recently acted as primary issuer's counsel for Starwood Property Trust's REIT tax matters.

Client Service "Outstanding - very responsive. They work quickly to meet deadlines, and they're all really quite good."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Sharp Sorensen leads the firm's Chicago-based tax team. He also leads the firm's wider national tax practice alongside Laura Barzilai in New York.

Transportation - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin has an outstanding reputation in the rail sector. It has developed a reputation as a go-to firm for high-value matters before the Surface Transportation Board (STB), the Department of Transportation (DOT) and other bodies, while it also enjoys a powerful reputation for rail-related litigation. Recent highlights include advising RailAmerica on its $1.39 billion acquisition by Genesee & Wyoming. An impressive client list also includes CSX Transportation, Canadian Pacific Railway and Norfolk Southern.

Client Service "They are willing to enter into alternative fee arrangements, depending on productivity and results."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Paul Moates heads the transportation group. He handles both regulatory work and litigation, and is described by sources as a "very creative and very thorough" attorney who "thinks strategically." He recently advised CSX Transportation on its proposal to reconstruct a 19th-century railroad tunnel.

Paul Hemmersbaugh handles regulatory matters and litigation for railroad clients. Clients report that he is "very thoughtful and very energetic" and name him as a "super lawyer."

Terence Hynes is a "great name" for STB work, according to market commentators. Recent highlights include representing Canadian Pacific Railway before the STB in a complaint concerning Class I railroads.

Wealth Management - Nationwide

THE FIRM Sidley Austin maintains a strong foothold in the market, with 18 lawyers across its New York, Chicago and San Francisco offices. It is well equipped to represent clients in all aspects of estate planning, trust and estate administration and litigation, as well as private foundations and public charities work.

Client Service "We've worked with them for numerous clients – turnaround is very quick and clients really like them."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Susan Bart is an esteemed partner based in the Chicago office and is "extremely knowledgeable about the estate and trusts area," say sources. She has a broad trust and estates practice and currently serves as the Illinois state chair of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel.

Sources describe New York-based partner Susan Harrington as "a very skilled practitioner" who can "relate to the clients very well, in a down-to-earth manner. Talking about planning can be very technical but she is able to put things into layman's terms and understand their needs."

Jordan Klein heads the firm's wealth management group. He "is very good with clients, very efficient and very practical, and provides really great client service and follow-up," according to market observers.

Corporate/M&A - New York

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's eight-partner New York M&A and private equity group acts on the full range of private and public M&A, as well as unsolicited takeover proposals and defense work. It attracts work from clients such as BNP Paribas, AIG, Morgan Stanley and the Government of Singapore's sovereign wealth fund, the GIC. Highlights include representing Cerveceria Nacional Dominicana in its $1.248 billion sale to Ambev, and acting for Compass on its acquisitions of various tech companies.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Scott Freeman heads the department.

Insurance - New York

THE FIRM This established firm has a standout reputation for insurance transactional and regulatory work. The team has an active practice in M&A, life insurance, insurance-linked securities, private equity funds and annuities. Recent highlights include assisting Apollo Unit on a $1.8 billion deal to acquire the US operations of major British insurer Aviva. Other key industry clients include MetLife and Swiss Re.

Sources say: "The key factors that we enjoy in dealing with them are their authority and their judgment. Their judgment is excellent because of their very deep experience."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Jeff Liebmann is an expert in life insurance transactions, and is considered by peers to be one of the strongest insurance insolvency practitioners in town. He recently represented Goldman Sachs Group in connection with a longevity reinsurance transaction to provide coverage for pension liability of Prudential Financial's subsidiaries. 

Jonathan Freedman concentrates on insurance insolvency, regulatory and life insurance work. He is held in fine regard by market commentators.

Michael Madigan's experience in insurance-linked securities "makes him the authority on structuring issues." He has particularly strong expertise in catastrophe bonds.

Intellectual Property - New York

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's New York-based IP team undertakes sophisticated and high-stakes patent litigation, with a focus on life sciences, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals and medical dressings, although the group also handles disputes concerning cutting-edge electronics and circuitry as well. Key client names include ConvaTec, LSI, Merck and Johnson & Johnson.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Beck chairs the New York IP department, and mainly focuses on biotechnology and pharmaceutical patent litigation. He recently acted for ConvaTec in a case mounted by Wake Forest University regarding the rights to a negative pressure wound treatment. 

Latin American Investment - New York

THE FIRM This firm is particularly active on matters in the Dominican Republic, acting for several of the country's leading corporates. It advised Banco Multiple Leon on a potential investment by multiple European investment funds, and also acts as counsel to Cervecería Nacional Dominicana on several ongoing matters. Its clients elsewhere in the region include Colombia's Asesorias e Inversiones, which it advised recently on US regulatory issues.

KEY INDIVIDUALS Alyssa Grikscheit is described by sources as "an excellent negotiator" and "very business-oriented." She recently advised Banco BBM on the foundation of its BBM Brazil Equity Fund for overseas investors.

Senior counsel Andrew Quale continues to advise Cervecería Nacional Dominicana and its parent company E. Leon Jimenes on the $1.1 billion partial sale of CND to an affiliate of Ambev.

Litigation - New York

THE FIRM Sidley Austin's respected and expanding group of litigators in New York is noted for its strength in securities and commercial litigation. Its attorneys are experienced trial lawyers, and have played a key role in cases across a broad spread of sectors. The broad-based securities practice is complemented by a strong regulatory and enforcement group. In recent highlights, the team represented The Norinchukin Bank in class actions regarding claims of manipulation of the LIBOR rate.

Sources say: "A top-notch firm that delivers a top-notch product."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Robert Pietrzak is an expert in securities litigation, and is praised by sources for his impressive client roster and extensive experience in the field. He recently defended Principal Financial Group against claims regarding management fees.

Barry Rashkover is highly regarded for his notable experience in securities enforcement matters, and also undertakes significant white-collar criminal defense and civil litigation.

Gary Bendinger continues to impress sources with his broad litigation practice, which covers both commercial and securities disputes, as well as regulatory matters. He is praised as being "amazing in trial." 

Real Estate - New York

THE FIRM The diverse practice group at Sidley handles a wide array of complex and often high-profile transactions. One highlight saw the group represent Drawbridge Special Opportunities Fund with regards to a $355 million construction loan origination and syndication, for two Boston office building developments. Key clients also include MetLife Real Estate, Starwood Property Trust and Forest City Enterprises.

KEY INDIVIDUALS The "superb" Alan Weil is "very calm, very thoughtful and very focused on getting deals done," according to sources, who also describe him as "a wonderful person to work with." He has been representing Agricultural Bank of China, in connection with its first US bank operation, negotiating the lease for 277 Park Avenue.

Tax - New York

THE FIRM This firm's admirable eight-partner tax group attracts recognition for its growing presence in this practice area. Its broad federal tax practice incorporates tax matters relating to structured finance, M&A, capital markets, securities and investment funds, while its state and local tax activities cover property taxes, telecommunications, banking and state income tax. The team is also noted for its solid tax controversy expertise. Its distinguished clients include JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs and Bank of America. 

Sources say: "They are fantastic. They take the time to understand issues and make a sensible, logical solution." "They offer understanding and simplicity: practical solutions that bring economic value at a reasonable cost."

KEY INDIVIDUALS Laura Barzilai co-heads the firm's tax group. She has considerable federal income tax experience, including in restructurings and cross-border M&A transactions, and in state and federal controversies. She is "very nice to deal with: smart and practical and able to negotiate a deal that is fair," say sources. 

Fellow practice group co-head Robert Kreitman specializes in finance, credit derivatives and securitization. He is praised for his ability to carry out innovative transactions. His recent highlights include representing ANZ, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, National Australia Bank and Westpac Banking in the establishment of global covered bond programs.

Richard Leavy is praised for the quality of his state and local tax practice. Within this area he handles litigation, controversy and planning. "He is very creative and smart, and has seen and done a lot," states a peer; "that experience serves him well in terms of serving his clients." 

Intellectual Property - Texas

THE FIRM Sidley Austin continues to go from strength to strength in its IP presence in Texas, where it has offices in Dallas and Houston. Patent litigation is a universally acknowledged strong suit, with a particular focus on hi-tech patents for electronic engineering, telecom and semiconductors, as well as pharmaceutical, medical devices and biologics.  

KEY INDIVIDUALS James Bradley heads the IP department in the Dallas office. His primary area of focus is patent litigation, typically relating to rights to developments in semiconductor, telecom and oilfield technologies. 

Li Chen is a widely respected lead litigator and trial lawyer with "good strategic vision." He mainly specializes in patent disputes, and also advises on IP transactions and strategy. In addition, he is much sought for advice concerning Far Eastern technology markets. 

Charles Cotropia is best known for his longstanding expertise and success in managing copyright, trademark and trade dress litigation and trials brought before the federal courts and the USPTO.

Steven Malin is admired for his ability to assimilate and simplify complex technological details in IP disputes of all kinds – hard and soft IP – and litigates cases across an admirable range of technology and industry sectors.