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Most Highly Regarded Firms: Mergers & Acquisitions 2010

This edition features 585 lawyers across 77 jurisdictions recognised for their outstanding expertise in M&A. Several of the firms we feature boast a wealth of international talent practising in the world’s largest markets, who have been tasked with navigating clients through the treacherous economic conditions.

The International Who's Who of Mergers & Acquisitions Laywers 2010
Most highly regarded individuals
David Katz Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, New York
Rodgin Cohen Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, New York
Martin Lipton Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, New York
Nigel Boardman Slaughter and May, London
Richard Hall Cravath Swaine & Moore, New York
Charles Cogut Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, New York
David Friedlander Mallesons Stephen Jaques, Sydney
George Bason Jr Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, New York
Stephen Cooke Slaughter and May, London
Maximilian Schiessl Hengeler Mueller, Düsseldorf


Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP has the most lawyers listed. Featuring 15 lawyers across four jurisdictions, this global heavy-weight possesses depth and breadth of legal expertise. At its New York headquarters, senior corporate partner Roger Aaron and co-head of the firm’s private equity group Eileen Nugent are recognised by their peers for their outstanding work. Joining them on the list, Peter Allan Atkins is hailed as a “dean of the New York bar”; a lawyer with an excellent reputation who counts BHP Billiton among his impressive client list. Internationally respected Paul Schnell and Morris Kramer provide further expertise and Lou Kling is applauded as one of the best at this eminent firm. On the West Coast, Kenton King is renowned as “top-tier” for his work in technology deals. He is joined by the “very capable” Brian McCarthy who appears in the publication for the first time this year and whose clients include Activision and MGM Grand. In Chicago, William Kunkel is well recognised for his excellent work and Charles Mulaney again recommended as one of “the best”.

Outside the US, the firm maintains a stronghold in London with the likes of practice leader of the English law facility Michael Hatchard and co-head of the global transactions practice Scott Simpson. Leading the firm’s M&A practice in Paris, Pierre Servan-Schreiber receives international acclaim. Nicholas Norris is a “top lawyer in Hong Kong”. With such a strong network of legal expertise, the firm retains its status as a premier corporate powerhouse.

Closely following, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP makes an impressive showing. Twelve lawyers in seven jurisdictions feature in the following pages, four of whom are based in the magic circle firm’s London offices. Mark Rawlinson, William Lawes, Barry O’Brien and Edward Braham were among those receiving the highest praise from their peers for their outstanding experience and first-rate legal know-how. Freshfields’ European M&A practice is similarly strong. Robert Ashworth provides expertise in Asia and is a “top lawyer” in Hong Kong.

Linklaters LLP also displays international clout with 11 lawyers listed in six jurisdictions. The firm is at its strongest in London, with a formidable five-strong team making the list. David Cheyne and Matthew Middleditch are heralded as “sensational” lawyers, Charles Jacobs and Jeremy Parr commended as “brilliant” and Richard Godden admired as another “big name at a market-leading firm”.

Allen & Overy LLP continues to operate at the very top tier, with nine lawyers listed across seven jurisdictions. The firm’s widespread success is demonstrated by the likes of the “exceptional” Mark Wippell and Alan Paul. Michael Parshall’s expertise in Australia underlines the firm’s recent expansion into the region. The firm’s excellent practice in the Netherlands is noted Jan Louis Burggraaf and Johan Dirk Kleyn, among others, receive international recognition. Dirk Meeus is recommended in Belgium, as is Khalid Garousha in the UAE.

White & Case LLP’s global presence is also reflected across the following pages. In Hungary, István Réczicza is a recognised name, as is Mark Polonsky in Russia. In Sweden, Claes Zettermarck is regarded as particularly strong with a good reputation and in Mexico, Alberto Sepúlveda Cosío is acknowledged as one of the very best for M&A work.

Shearman & Sterling LLP also excelled in our research. With six lawyers featured the firm enjoys an excellent global reputation. In London, European corporate group partner Creighton Condon is hailed an outstanding lawyer who impresses contemporaries and clients alike. He has advised Viacom, Citigroup and SmithKline Beecham in its business combination with Glaxo Wellcome. The firm benefits from similar expertise with “top” M&A lawyers Peter Lyons and John Madden in New York, and Steve Camahort and Michael Kennedy in California. In Germany, Georg Thoma is a “prominent” M&A lawyer and received numerous recommendations.

International powerhouse Clifford Chance LLP also performed excellently in our research with six lawyers listed in five jurisdictions. In London, Guy Norman and David Pudge received the most nominations for the firm and in Hong Kong, Roger Denny is regarded as another “top M&A lawyer”. The firm boasts further recommendations with Marc Bartholomy in Russia, Nick Fletcher in Ukraine and Simon Clinton in the UAE.

At Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP, Victor Lewkow is highly recommended. Described as “outstanding”, his name has featured in “next to about every deal for the past 20 years”. In Belgium, Laurent Legein and Jan Meyers also come with excellent reputations.

Simpson Thacher and Bartlett LLP also prominently features with five lawyers listed in New York. Leading the team, the “excellent” and universally respected Charles Cogut is another “dean of the New York bar”. John Finley is a highly respected name and Richard Beattie a “brilliant lawyer”. Robert Spatt commands international acclaim and Alan Klein is praised as “very, very effective”. In Japan, David Sneider received recommendations from both domestic and international counsel.

North America

A cornerstone of the New York M&A bar, Wachtell Lipton Rosen and Katz LLP stands unrivalled in stature with nine superstars listed. Heading the team, David Katz is universally recognised as truly outstanding and earns the title “Who’s Who Legal M&A Lawyer of the Year” for the second consecutive year. His expertise is matched only by “dean of the takeover bar” Martin Lipton. The immensely experienced Richard Katcher is an invaluable asset to the firm in his role as counsel and “superstar” Daniel Neff is another of the leading lights. The firm stands out for its pre-eminent M&A practice and received more votes in total than any other.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP also features highly at the top of the M&A list. “Dean of financial M&A” and senior chairman of the firm, Rodgin Cohen’s exceptional calibre needs no introduction with a client base that runs the length of Wall Street.

James Morphy is “terrific” and is joined by Frank Aquila in our list. Described by one client as a “gifted cross-border transactional lawyer with capabilities across multiple industries”, Aquila is further commended for his responsive and creative approach.

At Cravath Swaine and Moore LLP, Richard Hall and Allen Finkelson are labelled “outstanding”. Faiza Saeed appears once again in our listing and remains very highly regarded.

At Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, the “superb” global head of mergers and acquisitions, George Bason, is a renowned name “without whom any discussion of the M&A scene in New York would be simply incomplete”. Widely respected internationally, Exxon Mobil, PepsiCo and the Federal Reserve Bank of New York are just a few of the names that feature in his remarkable client list.

In Washington, DC, Alston & Bird LLP’s Dennis Garris is a “go-to guy” for many of our sources. At Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Stephen Glover and Howard Adler are recommended. William Curtin III is a highly recommended name at Hogan & Hartson LLP.

The West Coast of the United States houses a number of high-profile lawyers who have been recommended for their expertise. In California, Richard Climan is among the very best again this year, his recent lateral move bringing further expertise to Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP’s strong M&A practice. Climan’s partner Keith Flaum maintains an outstanding reputation as an M&A leader. At Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, name partner Larry Sonsini is noted as a “very important practitioner”. Latham & Watkins LLP is the only firm to again have three lawyers feature in the California section this year with Christopher Kaufman, Peter Kerman and Paul Tosetti receiving high praise. In Illinois, global chair of Latham & Watkins’ mergers and acquisitions group and “world-class corporate lawyer” Mark Gerstein is recommended.

Other members of the Chicago Bar stood out in our research. Sidley Austin LLP is among the leaders, Thomas Cole, Frederick Lowinger and Imad Qasim forming a highly recommended trio. At Winston & Strawn LLP, Robert Wall is commended for his work on behalf of investment banks and Mayer Brown LLP’s Scott Davis deservedly features again this year. He is joined on the list by “senior statesman and excellent lawyer” Herbert Wander at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP, whose in-depth understanding of the M&A market in Chicago is admired by many.

Our research also identifies the biggest and best names to operate in the thriving Canadian market. Leading the field, Clay Horner at Osler Hoskin & Harcourt LLP features in the top tier of our research for Canada. Having advised on deals including Seagram/Vivendi, Imasco/BAT and Newbridge/Alcatel, Horner enjoys widespread international recognition. Stikeman Elliott LLP has four lawyers listed. In Quebec, John Leopold received a torrent of praise from some of the most prominent M&A names, with many attesting to his “outstanding” calibre.

Blake Cassels & Graydon LLP has four partners listed. David Jackson is a familiar name that has been highly recommended again this year. At Goodmans LLP, fellow repeat performers Jonathan Lampe and Stephen Halperin are both “excellent” while at Torys LLP, Peter Jewett is described as “leading” for M&A. Representing Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP on the list, William Ainley is another that many M&A specialists deem to be “excellent”. McCarthy Tétrault LLP also enjoys another successful year, with three acclaimed lawyers featuring on the following pages.


Although a number of international players enjoy strongholds in the London market, the firm that received the most local nominations by far is Slaughter and May. With nine names featuring at the very top of our research, the sheer depth and quality of expertise at the firm is illustrative of its exceptional reputation. Nigel Boardman has become synonymous with first-class M&A work and is one of the most influential figures in the corporate sphere. Stephen Cooke is another distinguished “top-drawer” name who advised Cadbury on Kraft’s recent hostile bid. The “brilliant” William Underhill also appears on our list, underlining the breadth of legal expertise at the firm. With so many high-quality nominees, the firm retains its place as one of the leading firms in the City.

Elsewhere, Herbert Smith LLP’s James Palmer is placed at the “absolute top” by our sources. At Macfarlanes LLP, Charles Martin is described as a “great lawyer” at the uppermost tiers of the M&A list and is joined by Ashurst LLP’s Adrian Clark who, alongside Charlie Geffen, is hailed as another standout dealmaker.

Bredin Prat tops the French list with an unparalleled six lawyers listed and the most recommendations for any French firm. Didier Martin receives high praise, with a long list of lawyers attesting to his legal acumen. Olivier Assant and Sébastien Prat join him in the top tier and Jean-François Prat is a “real star of the Paris market”.

Youssef Djehane of Gide Loyrette Nouel AARPI is hailed as a “leader of the M&A field” with the “excellent” Olivier Diaz at Darrois Villey Maillot Brochier is similarly well regarded.

Stibbe performed well in our research again this year with three lawyers listed. Jan Peeters is the most recommended lawyer for M&A in Belgium. His colleagues Heleen Kersten and Fons Leijten in the Netherlands also fared well with several nominations each. At NBGOlex, founding partner Roel Nieuwdorp is applauded as an “unstoppable, incredible guy”.

In the Netherlands, two firms shine at the very top of our research. De Brauw Blackstone Westbroek LLP has four lawyers listed for their M&A expertise with Arne Grimme and Bernard Roelvink particularly commended.

NautaDutilh fields a very impressive team, with four lawyers selected. R Hein Hooghoudt and Erik Hammerstein received the most recommendations for the Netherlands, performing excellently for the second consecutive year.

In Germany, our research identifies Hengeler Mueller as the leading firm. Top of the list, Maximilian Schiessl is described as a “superstar for German M&A” and his partner Oleg de Lousanoff is also praised for his practice. Gleiss Lutz sees the “fantastic” Christian Cascante and Gerhard Wegen highly commended by domestic and international players. P+P Pöllath + Partners enjoyed similar success with Reinhard Pöllath hailed a “master genius” for M&A.

In Austria, Christian Herbst at Schoenherr Rechtsanwaelte GmbH is a “standout name”. Michael Kutschera at Binder Grösswang Rechtsanwälte is highly recommended. Florian Khol also performed excellently again this year. At Dorda Brugger Jordis Rechtsanwälte GmbH, Christian Dorda is highly respected by his contemporaries and head of M&A Martin Brodey is also well regarded.

Uría Menéndez sees six lawyers feature. Christian Hoedl led in the research, closely followed by “leading lawyer” and “heavyweight” Salvador Sánchez-Terán. At Garrigues, Ramon Bustillo is selected in Madrid, alongside Fernando Vives. Founding partner of Pérez-Llorca Pedro Pérez-Llorca features prominently in our findings again this year with significant nominations from his European counterparts.

At Gianni Origoni Grippo & Partners, Francesco Gianni is an “absolute superstar”. Bonelli Erede Pappalardo Studio Legale and Chiomenti Studio Legale also performed strongly in our research. At Bonelli, Umberto Nicodano is described as “absolutely outstanding” by his competitors, Franco Bonelli “excellent” and fellow partner Sergio Erede heralded as “one of the best in Italy”. Representing Chiomenti, Michele Carpinelli is another recognised M&A leader in the Italian market.

A&L Goodbody performed the best out of an excellent Irish list with five lawyers featuring. At the top tier, Michael Greene received the most nominations for Ireland. Eithne FitzGerald is a highly recommended name and is accompanied by the “excellent” John Given. Brian O’Gorman at Arthur Cox is “one of the best”. Three other lawyers from the firm also make the grade, including the “excellent” Colm Duggan. At McCann FitzGerald, Barry Devereux is a “star”.

Topping the list in Finland, Tomas Lindholm at Lindholm Wallgren, Attorneys Ltd is a “very well-known, wonderful lawyer” and received the most nominations in our local research.

Roschier excelled again this year with five lawyers listed in Scandinavia. In Finland, managing partner Ulf-Henrik Kull maintains his excellent reputation alongside Lennart Simonsen and Jon Unnérus. In Sweden, Jens Bengtsson and Axel Calissendorff are well regarded. In Norway, Kim Dobrowen at Advokatfirmaet Thommessen AS received the most votes, closely followed by Svein Gerhard Simonnæs at Bugge Arentz-Hansen & Rasmussen. Klaus Søgaard at Gorrissen Federspiel received the most nominations for Denmark again this year, closely rivalled by Bech-Bruun’s Søren Meisling and Kromann Reumert’s Henrik Møgelmose.

Rest of the World

Indian heavy-weight Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & performs excellently with the “well regarded” Cyril Shroff and Shardul Shroff both receiving many nominations. At Desai & Diwanji, Apurva Diwanji was highly regarded, as was Mohit Saraf at Luthra & Luthra Law Offices. AZB & Partners were also highly recommended in our research, with Zia Mody a “clearly well-regarded” name.

In Singapore, Allen & Gledhill’s Lucien Wong is commended as a “very famous and impressive player”. At Stamford Law Corporation, Suet-Fern Lee is another “well-known, top-tier” name with a plethora of international recommendations. At WongPartnership LLP, Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara is consistently recommended.

Akira Kawamura at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune received the most nominations for Japan. Fellow partner Osamu Hirakawa also received very high praise. At Mori Hamada & Matsumoto, Harumichi Uchida is another well-regarded name with particular strength in the IT and telecommunications sectors.

In South Africa, Bowman Gilfillan has three nominees again this year with Ezra Davids topping our research alongside Jonathan Schlosberg and Carl Stein. At Webber Wentzel, Christo Els is another excellent name to make an impact on the South African market. Described as “very pleasant to deal with and extremely constructive”, one prominent source noted the speed at which he has risen to the upper ranks of the profession as a marker of his talent. John Bellew is another highly regarded name at the firm. Close competitor Deneys Reitz Inc sees industry expert Kevin Cron listed again this year. Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr also features significantly with Peter Prinsloo, Chris Ewing and Jo Neser all making the grade.

The M&A scene in Australia is a little more mixed than in previous editions, with four firms competing for the top spot. First place is retained by Mallesons Stephen Jaques, where the “fantastic” David Friedlander practises; three other names from the firm are on the list, including the “absolutely brilliant” Tim Bednall. Clayton Utz sees national chair of mergers and acquisitions group Rodney Halstead excel in our research, his colleague John Elliott also well known. Garry Besson and Gary Lawler from Gilbert + Tobin also make the list. Allens Arthur Robinson sees four lawyers named. Jon Webster is an acclaimed “first-class” name as is the “terrific” Guy Alexander.

Marval O’Farrell & Mairal takes the first three places in our Argentine research with Héctor Mairal receiving the most nominations again this year. Máximo Luis Bomchil at M & M Bomchil also stands out.

The most nominations in Brazil were received by José Roberto Opice at Machado Meyer Sendacz e Opice Advogados. At TozziniFreire Advogados, José Luis de Salles Freire and Syllas Tozzini are both described as “fine lawyers”.

Carey y Cía sees managing partner Jaime Carey listed in the top tier for Chile. Cristián Eyzaguirre of Eyzaguirre & Compañía also features on the list again this year.

Rafael Robles Miaja of Robles Miaja Abogados is “first-rate” in Mexico. Founding partner of Galicia Abogados SC, Manuel Galicia, is another favourite with clients, as is the highly commended Eduardo Siqueiros of Barrera Siqueiros y Torres Landa SC and Luis Nicolau at Ritch Mueller SC.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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