Despite recent defections, the Kirkland & Ellis tax team remains a key player both in Chicago and nationally for tax planning in relation to venture capital and M&A transactions. Off the back of the firm's enormous reputation in private equity, the tax group have cornered the market in advising private equity, LBO and buy-out companies on tax planning and fund formation. Tax litigation is also a forte, and the team has been involved in a number of recent trials and arbitrations, particularly in relation to consolidated returns and transfer price planning.
Although more active on securities and venture capital transactions, Jack Levin, "the ace of them all," is widely recognized for his years of experience in the tax field. Admirers rate him as "one of the finest tax lawyers in the US." Don Rocap, "Levin's heir apparent," now heads the firm's LBO tax practice, and recently represented Vestar Capital Partners, Willis Stein & Partners, and Code, Hennessy & Simmons on the formation of private equity funds valued at $2 billion, $1.5 billion, and $1 billion respectively. The "talented" Bill Welke has advised on new funds created by Madison Dearborn, GTCR and Thoma Cressey.
In addition to its formidable private equity focus, the firm's tax group has an established reputation in corporate tax planning, advising on M&A, joint ventures, spin-offs and divestitures. Senior partner George Javaras is considered to be "in the top echelon of Chicago corporate tax lawyers." He is widely recognized for representing the multi-national corporations such as Sara Lee, Alcoa and Leo Burnett, in addition to advising the Chicago Board of Trade.
"Well respected" Jeff Sheffield maintains a general corporate tax practice, and has specific experience of divestitures and spin-offs, particularly in the automobile industry, where he has a close relationship with General Motors.
Clients: Bain Capital; GTCR Golder Rauner; Madison Dearborn Partners; General Motors; USG Corporation; Thoma Cressey Equity Partners; Bank of America; Sara Lee; Alcoa; Willis Stein & Partners; Pittway Corporation; Code, Hennessy & Simmons; Vestar Capital Partners; CAN Insurance.
Reprinted with permission from Chamber's Global: The World's Leading Lawyers 2001-2002.