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 "Tax," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 1
The Firm: This firm's Chicago office is "a high-energy and extremely motivated place, where people give 110%," according to clients. They add that "the pace and caliber of the work sees Kirkland & Ellis attract the best talent." The firm is renowned for its expertise in the private equity and venture capital arena, a reputation that is complemented by its broader deal record for large companies, both public and private. Bankruptcy matters are also handled with consummate ease. All this provides ample opportunity for the firm's tax attorneys to flex their muscle. The tax controversy and litigation practice also attracts major clients.
The Lawyers: Interviewees were quick to extol Jack Levin as "a shining star without any question," speaking of his tax expertise in the same breath as his universally admired private equity and corporate skills. In addition to working on numerous acquisitions and fund formations for Madison Dearborn Partners and Willis Stein, he advised Concord EFS in its acquisition by First Data. "Tremendous," "first-rate" and "excellent" are a few of the superlatives that flooded in for Jeffrey Sheffield. He acted for Bain Capital in its buyout of chemical distribution company Brenntag and steel trader Interfer from Deutsche Bahn. He also advised GM in its sale of Hughes (now known as DIRECTV) to News Corporation. "Problem solver" Donald Rocap attracted the accolade "tax guru. He is always coming up with great ways to structure deals." He recently worked on Code Hennessy & Simmons' acquisitions of AMF Bowling Worldwide and The Hillman Companies, as well as the investment by Oaktree Partners in Spirit Airlines. Rocap has numerous fund formations to his name, including Code Hennessy & Simmons Fund V and Gryphon Partners III. Clients applauded "outstanding" William Welke as "creative and very skilled at structuring." Peers reiterated this praise in their admiration of his "understanding of how to integrate structure with the goals a client is trying to achieve." He advised Madison Dearborn Partners in its acquisition of Boise Cascade's paper, forest products and timberland assets and GTCR in the setting up of its Fund VIII. "Careful and analytical" Todd Maynes was also felt to be a key member of the team. His practice is increasingly focused on tax litigation and the tax aspects of bankruptcy. The list of high-profile names seeking his counsel includes United Airlines, Alcoa and Conseco. On behalf of the latter company he achieved a successful closing agreement with the IRS in September 2004, regarding the tax treatment of the loss on its investment in Conseco Finance. George Javaras is much mourned following his death in 2004. He was widely admired as one of the US's leading tax lawyers.
The Clients: Madison Dearborn Partners; GTCR Golder Rauner; Goense Bounds; Summit Partners; Parthenon Capital; Bain Capital; ChipPAC; Concord EFS; GM; United Airlines; Conseco; Alcoa; Northwest Airlines; American Capital Strategies; Code, Hennessy & Simmons; Vestar Capital and Willis Stein.
New York Ranking: 4
The Firm: "One of the market leaders" for complex litigation, the group's tax practice is constantly involved in prominent controversies such as challenges by the IRS, various state tax authorities and foreign entities. But its strength in litigation does not deflect from its command of transactional matters. In this arena, the firm often attracts a flurry of tax planning activity as related to domestic and international M&A, buyouts, restructurings, REIT, bankruptcy and financings. It recently advised on the $750 million acquisition of IMG by Forstmann Little and separately handled the $1.2 billion acquisition of Stelmar Shipping by Fortress.
The Lawyers: Clients commended Patrick Gallagher for his "truly outstanding" experience in M&A and bankruptcy matters. He is also respected for his involvement in the formation of US and offshore private equity funds. The "thoughtful and careful" Greer Phillips effectively steers clients through complex cross-border transactions. In addition, his consistent success with regards to financial products has earned a loyal following.
The Clients: The team advises a wide range of companies from the USA, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2005 - www.chambersandpartners.com.