Award Chambers & Partners

America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2010: Corporate/M&A

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' 2010 review of national legal talent in the area of "Corporate/M&A," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.

Chambers' comments:

Nationwide Ranking: Tier 3

The Firm: Kirkland & Ellis is preeminent between the coasts for private equity work. The Chicago and New York offices are two of the most significant in its six-strong network. In recent times, the firm has taken steps to broaden its corporate transactional expertise, adding two prominent practitioners from Skadden Arps in New York. Work highlights include acting for NRG Energy on the successful repulsion of a hostile takeover attempt by Exelon and advising Constellation Energy Group on its high-profile $4.7 billion merger agreement with MidAmerican Energy Holdings Company (MEHC). The team then advised Constellation on the termination of this merger and a $4.5 billion joint venture with a subsidiary of EDF.

Sources Say: "Flexible in terms of staffing and good at ensuring that we have the right attorneys working with us. This makes them very cost effective."

Key Individuals: The firm added David Fox and Daniel Wolf from Skadden Arps in New York, which will make it "an increasing force in public M&A."

New York Ranking: Tier 3

The Firm: The New York office of this Chicago-headquartered firm has rapidly ascended to prominence. Best known for its prowess in the private equity sphere, where it is regarded as pre-eminent, the firm has established itself as a mainstay in some of the biggest corporate M&A transactions. Recently, it has been especially active in the distressed acquisition arena, handling a range of matters connected with bankruptcy and restructurings. The New York team received a significant boost in 2009 in the form of David Fox who, along with Daniel Wolf, joined from Skadden Arps. Work highlights for the group include acting for Apax Partners LLP on the $571 million back-end merger of Bankrate and advising NRG Energy on the successful rebuttal of a hostile takeover attempt by Exelon.

Sources Say: "Extraordinarily creative, both in defense of our interests and in their approach to our capital allocation and financings. We have complicated corporate indentures and credit agreements which you have to really understand to be able to advise on deals, and these lawyers form a true partnership with our team."

Key Individuals: David Fox's arrival from Skadden Arps "will propel Kirkland to a new place, giving the firm the M&A expertise to further balance out its private equity strength," interviewees report. He brings with him a particularly strong Israeli practice, as well as clients including BHP Billiton, Avis Budget Group and Wyndham Worldwide. Stephen Fraidin is "a seasoned and experienced transactional lawyer who is well respected in the M&A community; he has a lot of gravitas, which we value," clients say. He is playing a lead role on behalf of Rothschild in its sale of Cedar Fair LP to Apollo Global Management.

Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2010 —