Chambers & Partners has compiled its 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' 2008 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: Tier 2
The Firm: Considered the "top firm in the country for private equity work," this legal juggernaut is seen by peers as having a "strong financing department" and an "outstanding group of lawyers." Clients enthusiastically recommend the outfit, emphasizing that the attorneys' "completely trustworthy judgment, strong documentation and practical and commercial approach to cases result in its ability to achieve business goals in a structured legal framework." The team recently assisted TOUSA, a homebuilder and financial services company, in the negotiation of a $1.2 billion revolving facility. This transaction arose out of a distressed situation. Users of this well-established outfit commented that the firm's "excellence in all respects of service and delivery" means that it provides "definite value for money."
The Lawyers: One observer summarized the market's view of Andrew Kaufman by noting that in "any transaction with him, one is bound to learn something new," making it a "treat to deal with him either as client or peer: he is simply one of the best attorneys in the city." The "tenacious and impressive" Linda Myers enters the rankings based on widespread market admiration. Clients like the fact that she "makes herself available, no matter what," while always "picking up on points that may not necessarily be on the page." Competitors were equally impressed with her "extremely thorough representation of clients' interests." Peers say they are "always happy to work alongside" Maureen Sweeney. This "exceedingly bright young partner" acts for corporate and private equity borrowers, as well as lenders, in a variety of debt transactions. Commentators also recommended her for loan workouts. Another lawyer recommended here is Christopher Butler, who receives "positive reviews from everywhere."
Clients/Work Highlights: The firm has strong experience in supporting sponsored clients in proceeding with financings for acquisition buyouts, financing in distressed situations and, increasingly, companies re-financing an existing facility. Recent clients include United Airlines in various refinancing operations, Bally Total Fitness in its debt and exit financing and Bain Capital in a $2.6 billion senior financing.
Banking & Finance: Acquisition Finance
New York Ranking: Tier 3
The Firm: This firm has established a solid reputation with private equity sponsors seeking counsel for their LBOs. The firm's M&A practice provides a healthy flow of acquisition finance assignments and interviewees believe that the firm is at its best in midmarket deals. The lawyers are tough negotiators who "defend their clients' interests valiantly," and with "a practical approach to doing business," the team is valued for its commercial sense and steadfast counsel. The private equity practice is complemented by strong bankruptcy capabilities, which will stand the firm in good stead in the face of changing market conditions and many companies' increased need to restructure their debt obligations. Contacts at the firm include partner Joshua Korff.
Clients/Work Highlights: The firm's client roster includes leading private equity houses and their portfolio companies.
National Ranking: Tier 4
The Firm: Best known for its excellent relationships with private equity sponsors, particularly marquee clients such as Bain Capital, this finance practice has impressed sources with its practical, commercial focus and technical legal skills. From its Chicago office, the group recently assisted TOUSA, a homebuilder and financial services company, with negotiation of a $1.2 billion revolving facility. This matter — which arose out of a distressed situation — exemplifies the firm's ability to pool expertise across practice areas, most significantly from its world-renowned bankruptcy and restructuring practice. Andrew Kaufman heads the financing and secured transactions practice.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008 — www.chambersandpartners.com.