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 "Corporate/M&A & Private Equity," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 1
The Firm: Market sources agree that this firm really "owns the town" in the private equity domain. The 500-lawyer Chicago office has captured a national and international profile for fund formations, LBOs and equity investments on behalf of weighty clients the world over. Its work in public M&A should not be overlooked and the smooth handling of the most complex cross-border transactions is assured. As to style, interviewees have highlighted the distinctively assertive approach taken by the corporate lawyers here, mirroring the hard-hitting reputation of the firm's national litigation practice.
The Lawyers: Hailed as a "real legend in the world of private equity," Jack Levin is "a founder of the modern business who has developed many of the legal techniques in the field." This senior statesman maintains an active advisory role in the Chicago office and oversees many of the firm's major M&A deals, LBOs and fund formations. In addition to this aspect of his practice, Levin coauthors a leading M&A text and currently advises the President's Advisory Panel on Federal Tax Reform on business and entity taxation. A current leading light in the private equity world, Kevin Evanich manages a practice focused on fund formation and M&A. A forceful man who "endeavors to pin every point down," his major clients include Code, Hennessy & Simmons, Parthenon Capital and Pfingsten Partners. Recent examples of his work include counseling on the acquisition of the world's largest chain of bowling centers as well as structuring captive mezzanine and novel private equity investment funds. Jeffrey Hammes' abilities in the private equity arena have also hit the headlines this year. Highlights include acting for Bain Capital in the acquisition of Toys 'R' Us, a deal worth $7.4 billion. Recently admitted to the California Bar, he divides his practice between Illinois and the West Coast, serving a diverse set of domestic and international clients. He is also the relationship partner for some of the firm's marquee clients and, as such, his behind-the-scenes workload is particularly valuable. Kirkland & Ellis has further bolstered its strength in private equity this year with the addition of Jon Ballis from Sidley Austin. "An all-around great guy," he is recognized for the high-quality private equity work that forms the bulk of his practice. He has experience of handling multibillion-dollar strategic mergers in a variety of industries. Carter Emerson is a "skilled, calm and even-handed lawyer" whose corporate expertise continues to impress. His general corporate practice featured high-level M&A, securities and LBOs. Sandy Perl is a "marvelous man and a trusted adviser for private equity." His practice highlights over the past year have included advising GTCR Golder Rauner on the $185 million sale of ATM processor Genpass to a subsidiary of Bankcorp. Scott Falk "shows himself to be a first-class lawyer on every deal," agree sources. His depth of experience belies his age, and he is a popular choice among public companies seeking advice on M&A and securities matters. As well as providing counsel to United Airlines on divestitures, the past year has seen Falk closing Adolph Coors's $4 billion merger with brewer Molson Canada. Private equity specialist Stephen Ritchie impresses clients with his ability to achieve "remarkable results on divestitures." His busy practice sees him handling a range of LBO, venture capital and M&A transactions. Finally, Kirkland & Ellis is home to one of the most respected fund formation lawyers in the Midwest. Bruce Ettelson is considered an authority on private equity and venture capital fund formation, and regularly advises the firm's biggest clients in the structuring and creation of their billion-dollar funds. His considerable expertise also extends to investment management and corporate counseling, making him a valuable draw for private equity clients.
Clients/Work Highlights: ABRY Partners; BainCapital; Code, Hennessy & Simmons; Golden Gate Capital; Gryphon Investors; GTCR Golder Rauner; Madison Dearborn Partners; Summit Partners; Sun Capital Partners; Swander Pace Capital and Willis Stein & Partners.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2006 - www.chambersandpartners.com.