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America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2007: Tax

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' 2007 review of national legal talent in the area of "Tax," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.

Chambers' comments:

National Ranking: 1 (Tax: Corporate)

The Firm: This Chicago-based team of 20 lawyers makes a significant contribution to Kirkland & Ellis’ stellar worldwide tax reputation. Recognized as preeminent private equity and bankruptcy practitioners, the “wonderful” and wide-ranging lawyers here are also among the leaders for complex litigation and tax controversy cases. Proficient at handling transactional work, the team is perfectly placed to react to the recent increase in LBOs, and is highly respected both in Illinois and throughout the USA. The “highly regarded” Jeffrey Sheffield is particularly sought after for his transactional tax advice.

Illinois Ranking: 1

The Firm: This Chicago powerhouse maintains its dominance in the tax arena. Always strong, it has benefited from the recent high level of activity in the transactional marketplace by private equity concerns, many of which have long had a relationship with the firm and have, consequently, turned to it for tax advice when undertaking new deals. The “remarkably talented lawyers” here service funds and venture capitalists, assisting them in investing in LBOs, startup companies, workout transactions and real estate interests. Typical examples of the team’s work involve its representation of BainCapital in the joint acquisition of Philips for $10.5 billion, and its assistance to Madison Dearborn in its $1.7 billion merger with The Yankee Candle Company. Peers and clients alike praised the “outstanding team” for its work in the corporate tax environment and admired the extensive list of formidable lawyers that it brings to bear on a variety of matters.

The Lawyers: The impressive figure of Jack Levin looms over the Illinois tax Bar. Over the years he has helped to propel his firm into the upper reaches and made a name for himself in the process. As one commentator stated: “Everyone knows Jack and everyone also knows he’s a byword for quality.” Jeffrey Sheffield is another senior figure in the field. He conducts a range of acquisitions and dispositions for private equity clients such as BainCapital and public companies such as GM, for which he worked on the divestiture of GMAC. Observers point to his “extraordinary talent for getting deals done.” The “easy to work with and fair-minded” Todd Maynes is especially active in the field of tax litigation, tax planning and aspects of restructurings and bankruptcies. “A good guy and a bright attorney,” he has conducted tax disputes on behalf of GM, American Airlines and United Airlines. Donald Rocap is “a comprehensive problem solver” who is especially adept at finding solutions on which all sides of a deal can agree. He acts for many of the firm’s private equity clients, conducting acquisitions and dispositions, arranging debt and equity restructurings and handling workouts. William Welke conducts much of his work for the likes of Madison Dearborn and GTCR, providing advice on a broad sweep of their transactions. He is an important contributor to the corporate cross-border arm of the firm.

Clients/Work Highlights: GTCR, Northwest Airlines and Sara Lee are among the firm's clients.

New York Ranking: 3

The Firm: Another firm that has thrown its weight behind the expanded role of private equity in M&A, Kirkland & Ellis is reaping the benefits of the upsurge in market activity. The tax group, which is increasingly strong in New York, provides “a seamless service” to clients, with lawyers from each of the firm’s offices contributing to the overall effectiveness of its tax advice. The New York office analyzes and helps structure a number of different transactions alongside M&A, including workouts, equity and debt financings, the formation of partnerships and financing arrangements for real estate clients. Its representation of the private equity group spin-off from Citigroup, raising $1.8 billion in new capital, is typical of its recent spate of deals.

The Lawyers: Patrick Gallagher heads the New York tax team and is a “wonderful presence” at the tax Bar. Private equity has dominated his recent workload, although he is also well regarded for his expertise in partnerships. Commentators spoke of him as “someone who solves problems, not someone who creates them.” The “brilliant” Greer Phillips has created a fine practice for himself, planning and structuring cross-border acquisitions and recapitalizations for clients in Europe, Asia, South America and the USA. He is also involved in bankruptcies and financial instruments. Kevin Treesh is “an all-around good guy,” who addresses clients’ needs in domestic and international business acquisitions and dispositions. Steven Clemens advises on a range of transactions, and is making a name for himself in the area of fund formation, representing both fund sponsors and investors.

Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2007 -