Chambers & Partners has compiled their independent and objective list of America's Leading Lawyers for Business based on comments gathered from thousands of interviews with clients and lawyers from Maine to Hawaii. This guide -- which is designed to reflect market opinion -- contains a view of the firms and attorneys who are considered leaders in their field.
In Chambers' 2004-2005 review of national legal talent in the area of "Tax," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
The Firm: The firm's tax group, comprising approximately 20 lawyers, retains a strong reputation for contested tax issues connected with challenges by the IRS and other state and federal authorities. However, it is in the area of tax planning and transactional advice that it particularly stands out. Competitors can only admire the group's "excellent clients" and "tremendous strength," while clients themselves praise this "smart group of guys" for its "prompt, thorough and effective" service. The firm's profile for international work is continuing to expand.
The Lawyers: George Javaras was described to researchers as "one of the country's leading lights" in the area of tax law. He cultivates a universally respected practice focused primarily on transactional tax matters for large corporate clients, including Alcoa and Sara Lee. Celebrated for his "photographic memory" and sure handling of M&A and cross-border trade concerns, Javaras is considered in some quarters to be the "premier tax lawyer" in the USA. He is especially renowned for his involvement in structuring a variety of multibillion-dollar acquisitions and dispositions. Also hailed as "one of the top tax and corporate lawyers in the country," Jack Levin focuses on the tax implications of business planning. He advises on private equity investments, securities transactions, and tax planning for venture capital deals. His stellar reputation has been cemented by his coauthorship of 'Mergers, Acquisitions, and Buyouts,' which was described by one competitor as "the bible for domestic tax issues." Jeffrey Sheffield is widely admired for his "gold standard judgment." He handles a considerable amount of tax planning for public companies, principally GM, as well as venture capital work for BankCapital, both in the USA and the UK. Other clients include DIRECTV and J&B Realty. "Skilled practitioner" Donald Rocap concentrates on work for private equity clients, including advice on both fund formation and investment transactions. Known for "bringing a level of sophistication that's two or three levels up from anybody else," he counts as clients Willis Stein & partners, Vestar Capital Partners and Gryphon Capital Partners. He recently took part in a $10 billion debt restructuring project connected to NRG, and Vestar Capital's $1 billion sale of Michael Foods. William Welke also focuses largely on private equity and venture capital tax matters. Peers noted that he "has become adept at cross-border international tax planning in the context of M&A," particularly buyouts. According to one client, "he knows the tax code inside out" and his "uniquely tailored ideas are nuggets of gold that allow us to differentiate ourselves from competitors." Todd Maynes made a name for himself serving as Kirkland's lead lawyer in the debt restructurings of both United Airlines and Conseco. Interviewees described his bankruptcy-related work as "spectacular." Also know for his astute handling of tax disputes, he maintains a practice that combines both transactional and litigation work for major clients, including GM.
The Clients: GM; Vestar Capital Partners; United Airlines; Conseco; Sara Lee; Alcoa and BankCapital.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers & Partners: America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2004-2005