On an annual basis, Chambers Global conducts extensive research and thorough data analysis in compiling their objective list of legal talent available at the highest level of international legal practice. Their research methodology has been independently audited and confirmed to be thorough, robust and complete.
In Chambers' 2002-2003 regional review of international legal talent in the area of "Tax: Chicago," Kirkland & Ellis ranked first. This ranking reflects the opinion of the marketplace as revealed by Chambers' systematic and objective research.
Kirkland partners George Javaras, Jack Levin, Don Rocap, Jeffrey Sheffield and William Welke were selected as leading individuals in this area.
Endorsed to researchers as "a comparatively small but highly competent group of tax lawyers," the firm's tax planning team continues to have an excellent local and national reputation. Built around the firm's unrivalled private equity practice, it is particularly known for its experience in M&A and venture capital matters.
Jack Levin is universally regarded as "first amongst equals" in Chicago. Although he has substantial managerial and lecturing responsibilities, he is an automatic choice to advise on the most complex transactions.
Said by clients to have "an old head on young shoulders," Jeffrey Sheffield has a practice that encompasses advice on corporate, private equity and closely held company matters. Contemporaries regard him as a "fair, sharp and to the point lawyer." His recent representative transactions include the $30 billion GM spin-off of Hughes Electronics and merger with Echostar, and the $3.4 billion sale of Urban Shopping Centres to Rodamco.
"One of the best transactional tax attorneys for private equity work" is Don Rocap, according to some commentators. "A problem solver" who is "crisp in his thinking," he acted for Bank of America in the formation of CIVC Partners Fund II, represented Kendo Laboratory Products in its sale to Revco, and advised TransWestern Publishing on a recapitalisation of its equity ownership and acquisition of WorldPages.
The firm's considerable reputation for a range of corporate tax planning advice is led by "thorough and smart" George Javaras, acclaimed by clients as a "superb technician." He has acted for such blue-chip companies as Philip Morris and United Airlines.
Bill Welke's practice has moved increasingly towards planning for joint ventures and private equity work, including LBOs and venture capital. He earned strong commendation from interviewees for his profound knowledge of international taxation law. He has represented GTCR on a number of matters, Navistar in a joint venture with Ford, and Focal Communications in a debt-equity swap.
Clients: ABN AMRO; Bank One; BCOM3; BP; CIVC Partners; Code Hennessy & Simmons; Dean Foods; Exide; General Motors; GTCR Golder Rauner; Madison Dearborn Partners; Thoma Cressey Equity Partners; TWA; William Blair & Company; Willis Stein.
Reprinted with permission from Chamber's Global: The World's Leading Lawyers 2002-2003