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' 2005 review of national legal talent in the area of "Corporate/M&A & Private Equity," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 1
The Firm: While the Chicago office reigns supreme for a private equity practice unanimously recognized as "second to none," strength in corporate finance, M&A and public company matters is also in evidence. Clients told researchers the attorneys "give high-quality advice and high-quality service across the board." Housing approximately 500 lawyers, Chicago remains the largest of the firm's offices. However, the firm is not one to rest on its laurels; 2003 saw the opening of a 40-attorney office in San Francisco.
The Lawyers: According to clients, the firm is "full of stellar lawyers." Jack Levin remains "a legend in his own time." Known far and wide as the practice's "guru," Levin is revered among interviewees as "the godfather of venture capital in the Midwest." He acted in First Data's acquisition of Concord EFS and recently worked on numerous acquisitions and fund formations for Madison Dearborn, Willis Stein, Code Hennessy & Simmons, GTCR Golder Rauner and other private equity funds. Kevin Evanich attracts admiration from rivals who hold him up to be "at the top of his game." Private equity work forms most of his practice. Evanich represented Code Hennessy & Simmons in its acquisition of AMF Bowling Worldwide and in the going-private transaction of Gundle, a manufacturer of landfill liners. He also represented AMF Bowling Worldwide in the sale of its UK bowling business. "Responsive, practical and extraordinarily knowledgeable" Carter Emerson's corporate practice goes from strength to strength. He continues to represent Exide on corporate matters following its exit from bankruptcy and is advising Terra Industries on corporate and M&A matters related to its acquisition from bankruptcy of Mississippi Chemical. As a founding partner of the San Francisco office and "a strong advocate for negotiating deals," Jeffrey Hammes divides his time between Illinois and California, catering to a client list that spans the East and West coasts. Sample work includes acting for Golden Gate Capital on its LBO of Leiner Health Products for $650 million. He also advised Bain Capital on its acquisition of $200 million of WorldCom bonds in connection with the restructuring of WorldCom (now called MCI). "Exceptional" Scott Falk's "experience is considerable for someone at his point in his career," according to clients. He has made his mark as "someone who is more than a technical analyst because his business skills are very well developed." Falk has recently been involved in the closing of the Concord EFS merger with First Data and in settling antitrust litigation brought by the DOJ. He has also handled various asset divestitures and securities transactions for United Airlines. "The iron fist in the velvet glove," Sandy Perl is a "great negotiator who knows how to make transactions happen." Recurring feedback from clients was that Perl "truly cares about the whole transaction and the client's interests rather than just the outcome." He advised American Capital Strategies on its purchase of the Kester division from Northrop Grumman, and also on its purchase of nSpired Natural Foods. Perl also acted for Liberte Investors (now known as First Acceptance) in its acquisition of USAuto Holdings, a deal which was financed in part through a public rights offering. Widely respected as "one of the premier private equity lawyers for fund formation," Bruce Ettelson has "extraordinary technical competency" and "really understands the market." He advises a glittering array of clients including Vestar Capital Partners, Madison Dearborn Partners and Swander Pace Capital. Representative work includes acting for Madison Dearborn Partners in Fund V, which is likely to be targeting over $4 billion. He has also acted for the management team of Soros on its private equity spin-out, likely to close in the first quarter of 2005. William Kirsch has left the firm to become president and CEO of Conseco.
The Clients: The firm has attracted such new clients as Paul Capital Partners and Parthenon Capital. Other clients include: Concord EFS; Madison Dearborn Partners; GTCR; Adams Street Partners; Pfingsten Partners; Goense Bounds; Thoma Cressey Equity Partners; Exide; New Zealand Telecom; William Blair & Company; American Capital Strategies; Kraft; BainCapital and Thayer Capital.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2005 - www.chambersandpartners.com.