This firm appears in the Who's Who Legal 100 2014
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Willkie Farr & Gallagher celebrated its 125th anniversary in 2013. Established in New York, the firm has been rapidly expanding since the early 2000s opening offices in Milan, Rome, Frankfurt and Brussels to complement its existing European offices in London and Paris. Today, the firm is a “popular choice” for clients with cross-border matters.
|WILLKIE FARR & GALLAGHER|
|Business Crime Defence||2||M&A||1|
|Corporate Tax||3||Private Funds||5|
|Insolvency & Restructuring||2||Real Estate||1|
|Insurance & Reinsurance||4||Telecoms and Media||1|
As of 1 January 2014, Willkie promoted eight lawyers to partner across its corporate and financial services, asset management, competition and communications practices in the New York, Washington and Frankfurt offices. The announcement demonstrates the firm’s commitment to growing its practices and promoting talent at the firm.
|Total Listings in WWL||27||Established||1888|
|Home jurisdiction||US||Total size of firm||550|
|Number of partners||151||Number of offices||8|
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
The private funds practice is “greatly respected” by peers and clients alike. Barry Barbash is co-chair of the firm’s asset management group and advises funds on a variety of transactional, compliance and regulatory matters. Rita Molesworth co-chairs the firm’s institutions/regulatory practice group and is highly knowledgeable on securities laws applicable to hedge funds.
In the area of insurance and reinsurance, Willkie represents domestic and international insurance and reinsurance companies, insurance brokers, policyholders, private equity firms, hedge funds and other insurance industry investors. The firm recently advised the Wright Insurance Group in its $602.5 million sale to Brown & Brown. Key names include Michael Groll and Donald Henderson Jr. Groll represents underwriters, insurance companies and lenders in transactions in the insurance industry and is “first rate” by all accounts. Henderson advises on corporate and regulatory matters for insurance clients including alternative risk transfer arrangements, life settlements and premium finance.
The tax practice comprises of six partners in New York and four partners in the firm’s European offices. In Paris, Marie-Hélène Raffin and Pierre Ullmann are “acknowledged leaders” in the field while Richard Reinhold, chair of the tax department in New York advises on tax matters pertaining to mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, investment funds, corporate restructurings and financing transactions.
Willkie’s competition law practice is also held in high esteem. William Rooney chairs the US antitrust practice group and is a “pre-eminent” practitioner in the field. He handles litigations, mergers, investigations and counselling for clients. Jacques-Philippe Gunther heads the European competition and antitrust practice and divides his time between the Paris and Brussels offices. David Tayar is a “very fine” lawyer located in the firm’s Paris office. He specialises in merger control investigations and also has experience in monopolisation cases and restrictive arrangements.
Head of the compliance and enforcement group Martin Weinstein is a “well-known name” in the field. A former assistant US attorney in the fraud section of the northern district of Georgia, his expertise is “highly sought after”. In March 2012, Peter Burrell joined the firm to head the London compliance and enforcement practice. He specialises in money laundering, bribery, corruption, sanctions and fraud, and conducts internal investigations and defends clients in actions brought by law enforcement and regulatory agencies.
A partner is assigned to each pro bono matter to assist where necessary and time committed to pro bono matters is treated equally to time committed to a fee-paying client. Some of the firm’s activities include representing Habitat for Humanity on a pro bono basis in the securitisation of mortgages to raise millions of dollars for the constructions of new homes and assisting victims of the World Trade Centre attacks by helping them to obtain monetary compensation and providing advice on bankruptcy and trusts and estates matters.
In March 2003, the firm announced the creation of the position ‘director of diversity initiatives’ to head the diversity committee. Projects undertaken at the firm have included working with a diversity consultant to improve diversity awareness, the partner-mentor programme and assigning system.
At present the firm is focusing on its core practice areas and growing its presence in London. The firm is highly opportunistic and considers growth opportunities in offices on a regular basis.
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