THE FIRM This New York firm is traditionally known for representing big banks in the full gamut of lending transactions, but has seen an increase in borrower-based work during the economic downturn. The team advises clients such as JPMorgan Chase, Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs on lending activities including asset-based financings, leveraged spin-offs and innovative structuring. Cravath represented JPMorgan and Citi in connection with $3.5 billion credit facilities provided to Hewlett-Packard.
Commercial Awareness "For time-sensitive matters requiring creative structuring, we will always choose Cravath."
KEY INDIVIDUALS James Cooper is praised for being "calm, creative and nonconfrontational while protecting his clients' interests and getting the job done." Among other things, he advises banking clients on financing M&A, recapitalizations and spin-offs and working capital financings. Robbins Kiessling advises on M&A, syndicated bank financings, leveraged finance, workouts and restructurings and additionally represents lenders in financings for professional sports franchises. Clients deem him "a formidably talented financing partner with great vigor and intensity." James Vardell is primarily focused on syndicated bank financings, including acquisition financings, LBOs, recapitalizations and debtor-in-possession financings, and caters to both lender and borrower clients. He recently represented JPMorgan in connection with $800 million credit facilities provided to Limited Brands. Michael Goldman leads the firm's banking group and concentrates his practice on complex syndicated loan transactions, acquisition and leveraged finance, asset-based lending and securities offerings both domestically and internationally. He recently represented Credit Suisse, HSBC and ANZ in providing a $5 billion bridge loan commitment to Reynolds Group Holdings to finance its acquisition of Pactiv. Deputy presiding partner at Cravath, Allen Parker is described by clients as "an incredibly valuable and reliable partner with a legendary ability to analyze and provide real-time legal feedback shaped by business realities." His experience includes syndicated loan transactions, acquisition financings and leveraged recapitalizations as well as a broad range of corporate advisory matters. George Zobitz is well regarded by peers for his banking practice but has been heavily involved in M&A activity of late. As the market conditions have changed he has refocused his practice on financing matters.
THE FIRM Based in New York and Washington, DC, this firm has a broad-based practice representing blue-chip corporations, financial institutions and private equity funds on a variety of transactions, including M&A, recapitalization, mezzanine and leveraged fund financings. The group represented Virgin Media in refinancing its senior credit facility, comprising a GBP1.67 billion term loan used to repay its previous facility in full as well as a GBP250 million aggregate principal amount revolving credit facility. Key clients include Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, JPMorgan and KKR.
Commercial Awareness "Proactive and very knowledgeable about recent precedents and market norms. Their ability to handle cross-continent work has been a great bonus to us."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Chair of the leveraged finance department, William Reindel is considered "humble, but excellent" by peers. He represents clients such as Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch and Apollo Investment on a broad range of leveraged financing transactions and recently counseled Novelis in connection with its $2.3 billion senior secured credit facilities. Emil Buchman is commended by clients for being "very smart, creative, thoughtful, a strong negotiator and an expert on documentation and evolving market standards." The bulk of his experience relates to the financings of M&A, LBOs, recapitalizations and restructurings.
THE FIRM The New York-based banking and finance lawyers at this international firm are primarily focused in public finance and asset finance transactions, with preeminence in both aviation and shipping finance. Clients include Barclays, Export Development Canada, GE Capital Aviation Services and Finnvera, who they represented in Royal Caribbean Cruise's post-delivery financing of the world's two largest cruise ships, 'Oasis of the Seas' and 'Allure of the Seas'.
Sources say: "This firm provides excellent legal advice and draws upon its vast resources around the country at a very reasonable price, given its size and stature."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Nancy Hengen has extensive experience in commercial vessel finance and Jones Act issues, representing major oil companies, shipping companies and the financial institutions that finance them. She is considered "the preeminent shipping lawyer, the one person to consult on any tricky shipping issues." John Pritchard is unanimously considered "an academic dean of the aircraft finance world and matters concerning the Cape Town Convention." His asset-based finance practice is concentrated on representing lessors, lessees, lenders, borrowers and government guarantors in financings, securitizations and workouts. A former Dewey & LeBoeuf partner, Fred Bass joined the team in September to offer his asset-based financing experience, which includes the financing and leasing of aircraft, renewable energy facilities and satellites. He continues to represent GECAS on a variety of aircraft finance matters.
THE FIRM With established offices in Georgia, Ohio, Texas and New York and a matching network of reputable restructuring teams, the banking and finance services offered by this international firm are extensive. Over the past five years the size of the New York office has doubled, considerably increasing the group's structured and aviation finance capabilities. Jones Day's clients include Bank of America, Jefferies & Company and JohnsonDiversey, which it represented in selling approximately 46% of outstanding common stock to an affiliate of Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, with collateral stretching across 25 jurisdictions.
Client Service "The entire team gives the impression that we are its only client. They never over-lawyer things but clearly have the depth to handle any issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Brett Barragate co-leads the firm's banking and finance practice and splits his time between lender-side syndicated loans, private equity and hedge fund distressed financings and borrower-side leveraged financings. Clients say: "He is responsive, knowledgeable and gives confidence in fair representation of clients. He is always available." Chip Bensinger has experience of a broad range of secured and unsecured lending transactions, particularly acquisition financings, cross-border credit facilities and professional sport franchise financings. He recently represented The Gavilon Group regarding amendments to a $2 billion asset-backed lending revolving credit facility. James Salerno is described by clients as "business-oriented, proactive, responsive and thorough - but always able to keep perspective." He has represented Standard Bank in a number of cross-border energy-related financial transactions, and AREVA in connection with a $2 billion loan guarantee from the US Department of Energy to finance a uranium enrichment plant.
THE FIRM Recognized as one of the largest lateral moves in the leveraged finance market, the arrival of five partners from Latham & Watkins in August 2010 has dramatically increased the finance capabilities of the New York office. Milbank has traditional strengths in project and energy finance on the West Coast and in equipment finance and leasing work on the East Coast. The firm represented JPMorgan Chase as administrative agent for a $6.2 billion syndicated revolving credit facility for Verizon.
Client Service "Extremely impressive - we originally chose them for particular individuals but discovered that their skills ran firmwide."
KEY INDIVIDUALS New arrival Marc Hanrahan leads the global leveraged finance group from New York and has an impressive reputation among key financial institutions. He counsels on LBOs, tender offers and other go private transactions for clients such as Barclays Bank, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs Credit Partners, HSBC and RBS. Clients say he is "very thoughtful, user-friendly and always protecting our business." Jonathan Green represented the lead arrangers in connection with a $240 million financing for Terra-Gen Finance and is considered "outstanding - for acquisitions and project financing we have found him to be one of the best lawyers in the market." Drew Fine chairs Milbank's finance groups and is considered by clients to be "extremely knowledgeable, pragmatic and incredibly responsive." His finance practice is particularly focused on transactions involving aircraft, rolling stock and vessels. Elliot Gewirtz chairs the firm's global transportation finance department and is described by his peers as "a cutting-edge leader" in the aviation securitization and lease financing area. Helfried Schwarz counts financial institutions, airlines and leasing companies among his clients and has recently provided counsel on leveraged lease transactions, aircraft portfolio securitizations and aircraft acquisitions and dispositions. Elihu Robertson leads the firm's transportation and space finance group. His experience lies in enhanced equipment trust certificate transactions, acquisition financings, domestic and cross-border leases, and aircraft engine and flight simulator financings.
Since publication, Elliot Gewirtz has left this practice.
THE FIRM This New York firm is best recognized for its equipment finance and leasing practice, with extensive experience in negotiating and documenting loans to borrowers in all industrial sectors, from aircraft, satellites, manufacturing, oil refining, commodity and specialty chemicals, to cutting-edge technology and business processes.
Sources say: "A deep bench with very active partners in the equipment finance area. They are smart and good to work with."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Bowers is co-leader of the firm's structured finance group. He has experience in ABS transactions involving aircraft, engines, ships and railroad rolling stock and represents underwriters, placement agents, issuers, lenders and liquidity providers. Payson Coleman leads the equipment finance practice and represents airlines, lessors and manufacturers in leasings, financings, acquisitions and restructurings. Michael Schumaecker advises on complex cross-border asset-based financings, trade finance and infrastructure projects. He represents airlines in aircraft sales and acquisitions, operating and finance leases and pre-delivery payment financings and has lately advised on a number of export credit agency financings.
THE FIRM This New York-based firm has a particularly versatile practice and represents lenders, borrowers and financial advisers across all areas of bank finance, including acquisition financings, leveraged lending, workouts, exit financings, Islamic finance, structured financings and investment grade financings. Clients include Bank of America, Royal Bank of Canada and Citi. The team recently advised BNP Paribas Securities, Citigroup Global Markets, Banc of America Securities and Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ as joint lead arrangers and joint book managers of a $5 billion, 364-day credit facility for Toyota Motor Credit and some of its affiliates.
Client Service "This firm offers a high level of service and is very focused on the client."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Head of the finance group, Maura O'Sullivan focuses her practice on acquisition financings, leverage lending, restructurings and asset-based finance. She recently represented Boston Scientific as borrower of a $3 billion multicurrency financing arranged by Banc of America Securities and JPMorgan Securities. Ronald Bayer specializes in secured lending, leveraged acquisition financing and leasing. He represents banks and other financial institutions in secured and unsecured lending transactions, structured financings, workouts and bankruptcies. William Hirschberg has vast experience in all areas of bank financing and keeps a busy practice representing an impressive array of borrowers, credit enhancers, senior lenders, subordinated lenders and sponsors. He has a deep understanding of transactions involving complex cross-border and multijurisdictional issues. Monica Holland represents senior lenders and borrowers for various LBO financings, first and second-lien financings, workouts, debt restructurings and intercreditor issues. Clients praise her intelligence, work ethic and negotiating skills. Steven Sherman divides his time between the San Francisco and New York offices and advises on issues arising from private debt and equity placements, leveraged acquisition financings and tax-advantaged structured financings, among other things. He represented Citicorp as administrative agent in a complex restructuring of Fairmont Raffles Holdings International's secured credit facilities.
THE FIRM This highly respected New York firm continues to impress by way of both its lender and borrower representation, advising financial and investment firms as well as private equity investors, strategic investors and sovereign wealth funds. The team represented JPMorgan Securities and Barclays Capital as representatives of the initial purchasers of $800 million of 9.875% senior notes due 2018, the proceeds of which were used to finance a portion of the acquisition of Burger King by 3G Capital. Simpson Thacher also represented JPMorgan Chase, as administrative agent, in connection with a new $2 billion senior credit facility for Burger King. Other clients include The Blackstone Group, KKR, Silver Lake, Warburg Pincus and Deutsche Bank.
Sources say: "A historical power in finance; it has great lawyers, great experience and a wonderful roster of clients."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Of Francis Huck, peers say: "His combined style, culture and business acumen are unparalleled" and that he is "easy to deal with and a creative legend." He led representation of JPMorgan as lender and financial adviser to Air Products in its offer to acquire Airgas, a transaction worth approximately $7 billion. Clients say that James Cross "thinks outside the box, embraces challenges of the market and is very creative." He represents financial institutions and private equity firms with a focus on debt commitments and credit facilities for leveraged acquisitions. James Knight shows clients "an astonishing level of involvement for a partner" and is described as "wonderfully creative." His practice involves leveraged financings for both lenders and borrowers. He recently led representation of The Blackstone Group in connection with a $1.07 billion credit agreement. The "highly academic" James Buresh primarily advises on issues relating to syndicated lending and high-yield financing. He recently represented JPMorgan and Deutsche Bank as lead arrangers and lenders in connection with $4.15 billion of senior secured credit facilities to finance the acquisition and refinance existing debt of Universal Health Services and Psychiatric Solutions. Marissa Wesely is described by sources as "sharp and experienced." She principally advises equity sponsors and corporate borrowers on leveraged acquisition finance, recapitalization and debt restructuring transactions. Alden Millard represents LBO sponsors and their portfolio companies in a variety of bank financings. His clients include The Blackstone Group, JPMorgan Chase and Thomas H Lee Partners.
Since publication, James Buresh has retired from this practice.
THE FIRM This global firm has great strength in its Chicago, Los Angeles and New York offices. Traditionally known for its representation of strategic borrowers and private equity groups, Skadden is gaining recognition for substantial lender-side work in leveraged finance transactions. The banking group provides counsel on acquisition financings, first and second-lien loan facilities, recapitalizations, asset-backed financings and investment grade financings. Clients include Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs and Coca-Cola.
Commercial Awareness "These lawyers have terrific communication skills and are able to explain complex issues in plain English."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sal Guerrera is described as "extremely thorough and completely dedicated to delivering a good product." He has a broad practice advising both financial institutions and borrowers and issuers on, among other things, M&A financings, first and second-lien financings, and bridge and mezzanine financings. His clients include Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas and AEP Industries. Sarah Ward co-leads the firm's banking group from New York and focuses her practice on leveraged finance transactions. She assisted HCP in its $6.1 billion acquisition of the real estate assets of HCR ManorCare Services, in what was the largest ever US lease transaction, the largest ever follow-on offering by a REIT and the largest real estate deal of 2010. Clients say she is "a wonderful lawyer with terrific communication skills - she is able to explain very complex issues in plain English." Robert Copen represents a variety of clients in connection with syndicated loans, acquisition financings, LBOs, asset-based loans and financial restructurings. Based in Los Angeles, David Reamer represents lenders, investors, borrowers and equity sponsors across a range of industries in transactions ranging from acquisition financings to restructurings and project financings. Clients report that "he is amazing, a top-notch attorney who is great to work with and knows how to get deals executed."
of Linklaters is primarily focused on acquisition finance, infrastructure and asset-based lending with noteworthy cross-border experience. He represented Citibank as lender in $120 million debt restructuring of Interoil Exploration & Production through two separate senior secured loan transactions in Peru and Colombia. Clients say is he "commercially minded, hard-working and able to prioritize risks
." His New York partner, Jeff Norton
, concentrates on sponsor-based acquisition finance and high-yield debt products and is held in very high regard by peers. He has recently represented Société Générale in a series of senior credit and secured loan facilities acquisitions totaling $1.7 billion. Steven Cohen
of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP operates between New York and Charlotte and cochairs the finance practice. He represents foreign and domestic financial institutions in a range of complex financing transactions. Based in Los Angeles, John Hilson
chairs the finance and restructuring practice at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. He represents a variety of lenders in leveraged finance transactions both domestically and abroad. Clients comment that "he has a keen understanding of our business and can quickly translate business issues into an appropriate legal format
." Margaret O'Neil
of King & Spalding LLP is known by clients as "a problem solver
" and for "turning the thorniest legal and business issues on their heads
." She recently represented Bank of America and its joint lead arrangers, RBS and Citi, in connection with a $2.5 billion senior unsecured credit facility for Constellation Energy Group. The "terrific
" Gregory Ezring
recently left the practice at O'Melveny & Myers to join Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. He represents private equity funds and corporations in leveraged finance transactions. Jill Matichak
is a partner in Chapman and Cutler LLP's San Francisco office. Her expertise includes leveraged acquisition financings, second-lien and mezzanine loans and restructurings. She led representation of Wells Fargo in structuring, negotiating and documenting the senior secured credit facility for the acquisition of one of the largest online florists by a large diversified online retail company. Bruce Moorhead
of Hunton & Williams LLP is described by clients as "one of the most pragmatic lawyers I've ever worked with
." His particular focus is on leveraged lending and cross-border financing, representing financial institutions as administrative agents. Marshall Stoddard
recently arrived to head the leveraged finance group at Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP. He advises clients such as Bank of America, Wells Fargo and JPMorgan on a variety of leveraged finance transactions both domestically and internationally. Clients comment that "he has brought together a dedicated team of very skilled attorneys
." Andrew Coronios
, finance practice leader at Chadbourne & Parke LLP, enters the rankings this year owing to some impressive feedback from both peers and clients, who say: "He is incredibly smart, knowledgeable, helpful, responsive and pleasant to deal with. I trust him completely
." John Hoyns
of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP belongs to a "very sophisticated and high-end practice,
" with a particular focus on transportation and equipment finance. His main client is Continental Airlines. Former Cahill attortney Michael Michetti
is now a partner at Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. He is praised by peers and clients for his ability to keep both sides on a transaction happy. His experience includes leveraged financings, recapitalizations and going private transactions. Houston-based Michael Niebruegge
joins Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP from Mayer Brown. He is considered "as good as it gets"
by peers, and has substantial expertise in the energy and mining industries. He represents borrowers, lenders and arrangers in secured lending and structured agreements. Michael Baker
joins Paul Hastings LLP from Shearman & Sterling LLP. He primarily represents senior lenders and borrowers in acquisition and LBO financings, and has a specialty in Canadian cross-border and global financing transactions.