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' 2006 review of national legal talent in the area of "Banking & Finance," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 3
The Firm: The firm's stellar reputation for corporate and private equity work is widely acknowledged as being at the core of its "preeminence on the borrower side of bank financing transactions in Chicago." Representing LBO and private equity clients, a team of more than 20 attorneys is admired by clients and respected by competitors for its capacity to take a tough stance in negotiations, sometimes bringing a distinctive "adversarial style to deals." Lawyers handle the ongoing financing needs of major clients such as Madison Dearborn Partners, Exide Technologies and Summit Partners, while the presence of the firm's mammoth bankruptcy practice ensures the team is also busy with DIP and exit financing.
The Lawyers: Andrew Kaufman is head of the firm's financing and secured transactions practice, bringing "a voice of reason" as well as "a knowledge of all the ins, outs and tricks of trade" to a mix of buyout financing, structured transactions, general corporate and bankruptcy matters. His "outstanding" abilities ensure clients "would use him for every transaction if possible." To give some examples of his work, he recently concluded advice to client Exide Technologies on its bankruptcy and continues to assist it in ongoing financing, and he has been representing Joy Global on a major credit facility. Two further Kirkland attorneys join the rankings this year as a result of commendation from competitors who acknowledge that "they really stand out." Chris Butler's practice focuses on secured and unsecured financing transactions, with an emphasis on leveraged financings and acquisitions. He acted for BainCapital in its acquisition of Toys 'R' Us, involving around $3.9 billion of bank financing. Meanwhile, the "phenomenally talented" Maureen Sweeney was praised for her varied work representing commercial lenders and private equity groups on bankruptcy matters, general corporate work, and secured and unsecured financings.
Clients/Work Highlights: Bank One; NRG Energy; Harnischfeger Industries; Greenwich Capital; Madison Dearborn Partners; World Omni Financial and Great Lakes Chemical.
New York Ranking: 4
The Firm: This firm has "seriously raised its profile in the New York banking market," according to rivals. As one of the most active private equity and LBO practices, the firm is ideally positioned to act as borrowers' counsel for equity investors and buyout sponsors. The team's experience includes the negotiation and documentation of acquisition loans, LBO and mezzanine financings and other bank facilities. The team also represents domestic and foreign leaders.
The Lawyers: Ashley Gregory is the key contact partner in New York.
Clients/Work Highlights: Borrower clients range from Fortune 50 corporations to private equity houses and their portfolio companies, as well as emerging growth companies. Lender clients include banks; pension funds; mezzanine lenders and private equity funds.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2006 - www.chambersandpartners.com.