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Tax

The following firms boast a high percentage of the worlds leading tax practitioners who counsel multinational corporations on highly complex matters, including general tax planning, transfer pricing, tax issues deriving from M&A and corporate restucturings, and structuring financial products.

1 Loyens & Loeff

2 Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

3 Baker & McKenzie

4 Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom

5 Davis Polk & Wardwell

6 Allen & Overy

7 KPMG

8 Linklaters

9 PricewaterhouseCoopers

10 Cravath Swaine & Moore

11 EY

12 Sullivan & Cromwell

13 Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton

14 Slaughter and May

15 Kirkland & Ellis

16 Withers

17 Debevoise & Plimpton

18 Pinheiro Neto Advogados

19 Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira

20 Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados

Loyens & Loeff is our Corporate Tax Law Firm of the Year for a sixth time due to the incredibly high regard in which its lawyers are held. The firm boasts one of the largest tax practices in Europe and beyond, with over 230 lawyers offering clients “bespoke solutions” and a “vast pool of experience” to draw on. Present work includes acting as lead Dutch tax adviser to Liberty Global relating to the 50:50 joint venture with Vodafone International Holdings to merge their operating businesses in the Netherlands.

Our Corporate Tax Lawyer of the Year Jeroen Janssen is “truly skilled and creative” within his tax advisory work, offering clients “fantastic advice” on matters relating to the energy sector. He has an established, international practice and frequently advises clients from Israel and Brazil, and has worked in the US and UK as well as the Netherlands. Maarten van der Weijden is commended by peers and clients alike for his “solutions-oriented approach” to Dutch corporate tax issues in international structuring and financial products. Based in London and Luxembourg, Peter Adriaansen boasts an “internationally renowned” practice specialising in Luxembourg and Dutch international consultancy relating to private funds and joint ventures. Saskia Lust is head of the firm’s private client team in Belgium and specialises in international asset and inheritance planning, particularly international estate planning with respect to immigration and emigration.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has built its “unrivalled reputation” in the market by offering clients an “impressive depth of knowledge” across the legal market, with 350 of the “leading practitioners in the world” based at the firm. Offering clients advice across tax consultancy, structuring, transfer pricing and VAT, the firm is a “one-stop shop” for tax advice.

Murray Clayson specialises in international tax and all aspects of financing transactions and corporate structuring, banking and financial markets taxation, tax disputes and transfer pricing. A “true leader” in the market, he is recommended for both his advisory and controversy practices. Helen Buchanan assists clients with complex tax issues, handling advisory and contentious matters. A qualified mediator, she is a “top name” with an “impressive reputation”. In Germany, Stephan Eilers is a tax structuring “genius”. Based in the firm’s Cologne office, he advises on tax issues related to M&A transactions, IPOs and double taxation and treaty issues, with an emphasis on the UK, US and China. The firm’s only US nominee, Robert Scarborough in New York, helps clients to structure and close a wide range of complex financial and corporate transactions in tax-efficient ways. He is a “major player” who is praised for his “exceptional handling” of client matters.

Baker & McKenzie are one of the world’s largest law firms, which is reflecting in its tax offerings, with almost 600 practitioners specialising in the area across many of its 77 offices around the globe. The firm assists clients in making sure that they comply with all relevant tax legislation and codes, while also ensuring that their tax structures are as efficient as possible. It has recently advised CHS on the formation of its strategic venture with CF Industries and Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Partners in its acquisition of Upper Peninsula Power Company and accompanying tax liabilities.

Richard Lipton receives praise for his “inspired” tax-planning advice for corporations, partnerships and limited liability companies on matters ranging from partnership structuring to real estate transactions. Juliana Cangussu Dantas is qualified in Dutch and Brazilian tax law and heads the firm’s Latin America desk. She provides strategic direct tax and legal advice to clients ranging from multinational companies to funds and family offices, impressing with her “global outlook”. Managing partner of the Madrid office, Luis Briones is praised for his “superb” tax advisory and controversies work, advising both Spanish and multinational companies on international tax planning. Ashley Crossley is head of the firm’s Europe and Middle East wealth management practice group and is regarded as a “bona fide expert” in the sector by peers.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom is a “very highly regarded” provider of tax advice, with over 120 practitioners handling all aspects of the sector including M&A, transfer pricing, international tax planning and disputes. The firm recently advised Citi on its intended sale of its consumer banking operations in Brazil, Argentina and Colombia and represented Stryker Corporation in its $1.28 billion acquisition of Physio-Control International.

Hal Hicks is an “excellent all-rounder” and features in both the advisory and the controversy sections of this publication. His representative clients include Coca-Cola, Schering-Plough and BlackRock. Stuart Finkelstein is noted as a “top-rated lawyer” with an advisory practice that spans across a wide range of tax matters, including mergers, acquisitions and divestitures as well as corporate restructurings. The “brilliant” Kirk Wallace has a broad advisory practice and frequently acts as counsel to underwriters and collateral managers in the structuring, offering and restructuring of a number of bond, loan and debt obligation securitisations.

Davis Polk & Wardwell is a “major player” in the corporate tax field, with over 60 practitioners offering clients advice in domestic, cross-border and international tax law matters. The firm has recently been involved in Shire’s $54.8 billion acquisition by AbbVie and Sinopec’s $5 billion notes offering, and enjoys longstanding relationships with clients due to its “creative solutions” and “efficient service”.

Lucy Farr concentrates on taxation of corporate finance, derivatives and structured finance. Her work on complex matters is both “comprehensive and technically excellent” and she is “a true asset to the firm”. Michael Farber advises clients on a variety of domestic and international transactions, including mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures and securities offerings and is a “seasoned expert” in the field. The “unbeatable” Jonathan Cooklin concentrates on corporate tax and corporate tax planning, including tax aspects of corporate finance and private equity work. He is described as a “pleasure to work with”.

Allen & Overy boasts the reputation of “one of the world’s best law firms” and this reputation particularly rings true for its tax work. The firm aims to offer clients a seamless multi-jurisdictional tax advisory service, with over 100 tax specialists across its global network. The firm’s ability to “help with any tax issue wherever it occurs” is a “winning formula” according to clients.

Jean Schaffner heads the firm’s Luxembourg tax practice and is also a member of its global tax board. He advises various international investment banks on tax structured finance schemes and impresses clients with his “can-do attitude” and “unrivalled reputation”. Lydia Challen specialises in all aspects of corporate tax, including M&A, corporate reorganisations and private equity and is “worth her weight in gold” according to clients. Godfried Kinnegim is the head of the Amsterdam tax department, and is recommended for his “calm demeanour” and “straightforward and practical advice”.

KPMG is one of the world’s leading professional services firm, and one which is increasingly looking to bolster its legal capabilities, particularly in the tax sector. With a huge network of both legal and accounting expertise to draw upon, clients are more and more turning to the firm for all stages of their tax requirements.

Peter Blessing is a “shining star” in tax advisory work, with clients praising his “ability to get to the heart of an issue” and “technical expertise”. Thomas Wessel is the principal-in-charge for the firm’s Washington-based national M&A tax group, and is commended for his “finely tuned skills” and “strategic approach”.

Linklaters boasts over 120 tax experts through which it aims to integrate innovative tax structuring expertise with its “market leading” advisory skills to give clients a comprehensive cross-border tax service. The firm has advised Swiss Re on Europe-wide reorganisation of reinsurance business and Anglo American on its £2.5 billion demerger of Mondi and the listing of Mondi on the LSE and the JSE by way of dual-listed company structure.

Dick Hofland is a “dean of the tax bar” in Amsterdam, specialising in domestic and international tax law, focusing on high-end transactions and tax-planning in M&A. Jens Blumenberg in Frankfurt is recommended as a “leading light” in the European tax market and is recommended for both advisory and controversy work. Gordon Warnke in New York is head of the firm’s US tax practice and possesses “excellent attention to detail”. Clients benefit from his “vast experience”.

PricewaterhouseCoopers is a “frontrunner” in the legal tax market, drawing on its “leading reputation” and “impressive pool of talent” across the world to offer clients a comprehensive service.

James Wilson is a “thought leader” at the Canadian tax bar, specialising in corporate reorganisations, M&A and financial products and structures. Douglas Ewens QC in the firm’s Calgary office is a “famed practitioner” with “unbeatable market experience” in representing major energy and resource corporations as well as financial institutions. Samuli Makkonen specialises in financial services in Helsinki and is noted for his “sensible advice” and “impressive record”.

Cravath Swaine & Moore is a “cut above the rest” when it comes to its tax practice, with the firm offering clients a “bespoke service” and “the finest solutions”. The firm recently represented Shire in its $32 billion combination with Baxalt and Bank of America as arranger of a $4 billion unsecured revolving credit facility for Alphabet and its wholly owned subsidiary, Google.

Michael Schler in New York is a “thought leader” in the market, with peers describing him as a “definite inclusion on any list”. His work on both advisory and contentious matters is “unsurpassed” and clients laud his “problem-solving abilities”. Andrew Needham is “well versed” in tax advisory work in M&A, spinoffs, private equity and hedge funds, and is a “top choice” for many. Stephen Gordon is head of the firm’s tax department, and advises clients on the tax aspects of M&A and other major transactions, including spin-offs, international restructurings and corporate joint ventures. 

E&Y is an “integral fixture of the tax landscape” with a vast global network of advisers and legal professionals offering clients a true “powerhouse of knowledge” and the “best solutions” to navigating today’s complicated global tax market.

David Garlock specialises in the taxation of financial products and is recognised for his “sterling reputation”; clients describe him as being “in a league of his own”. Eric Solomon advises clients on a wide range of transactional and tax policy issues and is a “true legend” with over 30 years of experience in the tax market. Karen Sowell is noted for her “tailored advice” on a broad range of transaction-related tax liabilities and always offers “the highest-quality service”. 

The tax practice at Sullivan & Cromwell is “first-rate”, with the firm offering clients “truly innovative” solutions to tax-planning and controversies. The firm recently represented AIG and ALICO Holdings in the sale of American Life Insurance and Delaware American Life Insurance to MetLife for approximately $16.2 billion and UBS on the tax issues relating to its issuance of $2 billion of contingent capital notes.

Andrew Solomon has a broad-based practice, involving both tax planning and dispute resolution and is a “very effective tactician” and the “lawyer of choice” for many we spoke to. Ronald Creamer Jr is head of the firm’s tax group and also leads the group’s M&A practice. He is a “trailblazer” in the field of cross-border transactions, and his “calm and reasoned approach” helps to “set him apart from the crowd”. Basil Zirinis III represents individuals, fiduciaries and family-controlled businesses throughout the world in a broad range of matters and is praised as an “incredibly talented” private client practitioner.

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton provides clients with a service that is “second to none”, with 20 “dedicated” tax specialists across its New York and European offices. In recent mandates the firm acted as counsel to Google in its $12.5 billion acquisition of Motorola Mobility and advised SABMiller in its $12.3 billion acquisition of Foster’s Group.

Erika Nijenhuis focuses her practice on US income tax, with an emphasis on financial products and international tax planning matters. She regularly advises financial institutions and other domestic and foreign clients and is a “quick thinker” with “extensive experience”. James Peaslee is a leading tax attorney at the New York bar and is lauded by clients for his “reasoned approach” and “clever solutions”.  The “superbly talented” Leslie Samuels specialises in international and domestic taxation, as well as related matters such as mergers and acquisitions, new financial products and foreign direct investment in the United States.

Slaughter and May boasts a “highly specialised” tax team, with eight partners and around 20 further practitioners handling all corporate, commercial and financial transaction related tax matters. The firm has recently assisted in First Nationwide’s successful defence of an appeal to the Court of Appeal by HMRC and advised Direct Line Insurance Group on its IPO.

Steve Edge is one of our most highly regarded advisory specialists. He offers “detailed solutions” on the tax aspects of private and public M&A, disposals and joint ventures and on business and transaction structuring. Sara Luder is head of the firm’s tax practice and is described by peers as a “force to be reckoned with” and “in a league of her own”. Another “leading light” is Tony Beare, who is a “true expert in the field”, especially on tax aspects of structured finance and M&A transactions. Mike Lane’s practice covers all direct taxes and he has extensive experience in advising on M&A, capital markets transactions, group reorganisations and structured finance.

Kirkland & Ellis offers clients some of the “leading names in the market” and boasts an “enviable client list”. The firm has assisted on M&A matters for General Motors and Bain, contested tax matters for AT&T and United Airlines and advised some of the world’s leading high-net-worth individuals in tax and trust matters.

Jack Levin concentrates his practice on complex business transactions, including M&A, buyouts, private equity and venture capital investing. He also has experience as a litigator, and is recommended for his ability to “make complex matters seems simple”. Todd Maynes PC is a “solutions-finder” who focuses his practice on the tax aspects of debt restructuring, bankruptcy and tax litigation. David Handler specialises in trusts and estate planning and is praised for his “great flair” and ability to “always find a solution to any problem”.

Withers is our firm of the year of private client work, cementing its reputation as “the leading destination for trust and estate planning advice”. The personal tax team consists of over 150 lawyers whose “dedicated experience and expertise” makes the firm a “first port of call” for many high-net-worth individuals and trusts.

Dawn Goodman delivers “brilliant advice” to clients who include asset holders, trustees and other fiduciaries and is particularly noted for her “astute legal mind”. She is joined by the “unflappable” Filippo Noseda who is praised by clients for his “meticulous” approach to cases. Sophie Dworetzsky’s “pre-eminent practice” focuses on structuring tax-efficient remuneration and family offices, and sophisticated remittance planning.

Debevoise & Plimpton prides itself on its ability to assist clients in the most complex of transactions and challenges, through solving problems and managing risks. Its tax group is based across New York, London and Paris, and consists of over 40 experts handling matters across the US, Europe, Latin America and Africa.

Andrew Berg is a “true grandfather of the tax bar in New York”, with his extensive experience in transactional matters making him a “legend” in the sector. Peter Schuur advises on a broad range of M&A transactions, with a focus on corporate transactions in the insurance industry. His “international outlook” and “personable” nature are praised by those we have spoken to. Seth Rosen is noted for his “finely tuned skills” in insurance related tax matters while Gary Friedman “really knows his stuff” on multi-jurisdictional M&A and financing tax liabilities.

Pinheiro Neto Advogados is an independent full service Brazilian firm which is lauded for its “fantastic” ability to translate the Brazilian legal environment for the benefit of foreign clients. The firm’s tax group advises companies on the resolution of a variety of issues, whether in the advisory or litigation area, judicial or administrative and is “invaluable” to many.

Ricardo Luiz Becker is a “stellar” tax adviser who “always gives 110 per cent” to client matters and is praised for his “high-quality solutions”. Luciana Rosanova Galhardo specialises in the tax liabilities of M&A deals and is recommended for her “encyclopaedic knowledge” of the field. Giancarlo Chamma Matarazzo has a diverse practice advising clients on the taxation of M&A transactions and tax planning related to domestic and international tax law.

Cuatrecasas Gonçalves Pereira is a leading firm in Spain and Portugal and beyond, with further offices across Europe, Africa, the Americas and Asia. This global reach from “what still feels like a local firm” allows it to focus both on client satisfaction and service while also offering “some of the best” international tax planning advice in the market, with its tax team boasting over 100 “leading individuals”.

Sonia Velasco is recommended for her “sound advice” on tax cases in the tourism and TMT sectors, where she is viewed as a “distinguished player”. Diogo Ortigão Ramos is head of the firm’s tax practice in Portugal. He is a “true leader in the field”, advising on corporate restructuring, financial transactions, and real estate investment structuring. Andrés Sánchez López is noted for his “fantastic” work involving foreign investment in Spain, as well as Spanish investment in Latin America and beyond.

Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr e Quiroga Advogados is a Brazil-based full service firm, which is praised for its “outstanding” tax capabilities. The firm defends clients in cases brought by tax authorities, advises in connection to direct and indirect liabilities and the interpretation and application of tax legislation.

Roberto Quiroga Mosquera “expertly advises” domestic and foreign clients on a wide range of tax matters, including tax implications of M&A, corporate restructurings, capital markets and cross-border transactions. Luiz Felipe Centeno Ferraz boasts an “intricate knowledge” of structuring tax-efficient investments, public and private M&A, domestic and cross-border tax and transfer pricing. Andrea Bazzo Lauletta assists clients on a variety of tax-related issues arising from capital markets and financing transactions, foreign investments in Brazil, and Brazilian investments abroad. She is described by clients as a “trusted adviser” who “continues to impress”.

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