11 Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom
In 2015, Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom made history by becoming the first law firm to advise on more than $1 trillion worth of M&A deals in a single year – an enormous feat for any firm in today’s competitive marketplace. Under the leadership of executive partner Eric Friedman the firm continues to further its mission to provide the highest quality legal service to clients, attract and develop top legal talent, and maintain its deeply rooted commitments to pro bono and diversity and inclusion.
- Capital Markets
PEOPLE AND PRACTICES
The firm’s stellar M&A practice topped the leaderboards in 2015, ranking first by value globally and in the US according to Bloomberg, mergermarket and Thomson Reuters. One of the highlight transactions saw the firm advising DuPont on its combination with The Dow Chemical Company in an all-stock merger of equals.
New York-based Peter Allan Atkins advised on the deal, he has vast experience in the mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance fields, and is a “top talent”. Clients praise his “sound judgment” and “strong negotiation skills”. Also in New York, global co-head of the transactions practices Eileen Nugent is a “leading figure in the market” due to her “experience, expertise and commercial savvy”. Fellow co-head Scott Simpson in London is “technically brilliant” on transactions. He has experience advising clients on cross-border mergers and acquisitions, including contested and hostile bids. He also advises public companies on complex corporate governance issues. Michael Hatchard is head of the English law practice at the firm and clients praise his “diligent manner” and “quick turnaround”. Head of Skadden’s European M&A practice and leader of the Paris office Armand Grumberg is a “revered practitioner”.
For the first time Skadden is our Capital Markets Law Firm of the Year in recognition of the high regard in which its lawyers are held. Moreover, New York-based partner David Goldschmidt is recognised as the leading capital markets lawyer in our research attesting to his “sterling reputation”. Goldschmidt represents banks and issuers in a range of financing matters including IPOs, private placements of debt and equity securities, and international securities offerings. He is a “leading authority” on REITs and advises in connection with capital market transactions. Gregg Noel heads the firm’s West Coast corporate finance practice and is highly sought after by clients for his advice on public offerings, private placements, dispositions, corporate restructurings, and M&A. Frankfurt-based Stephan Hutter stands out for his debt and equity capital markets work which is described as “highly innovative”. Adrian Deitz in Sydney co-heads the corporate finance group and is renowned for his capital markets work including representing the Commonwealth of Australia in relation to the Australian government’s guarantee of Australian bank and state government bond offerings.
Skadden utilises its global resources to assist clients in multijurisdictional investigations worldwide. Many of the practitioners are former prosecutors and regulators bringing with them vast experience and insight. Last year, Skadden represented JPMorgan Chase & Co in connection with the resolution of a complex investigation by the US DoJ into foreign exchange spot trading and sales practices. Leading figures John Carroll, Warren Feldman and Patrick Fitzgerald were involved in the matter. Carroll in New York provides “detailed and no-nonsense advice” in relation to investigations into financial fraud, corrupt payments, online gaming and other matters. Feldman is by all accounts “outstanding” and clients benefit from his 30 years’ experience in regulatory enforcement, white collar criminal matters and internal investigations. Fitzgerald is a former US attorney for the Northern District of Illinois and brings vast trial experience to his cases. Clients praise him as a “great tactician”.
Skadden’s latest Pro Bono Report highlights the growing level of pro bono work being carried out in its European offices – the number of hours has increased by nearly 400 per cent since 2010. Elsewhere the firm continues in its ongoing efforts to assist those individuals and groups unable to afford legal services. One such project is the Clemency Project which began in 2014 when senior Justice Department officials announced that President Obama was interested in securing pro bono representation for federal prisoners who might have received lesser sentences for their crimes had they been sentenced under current statutes rather than those in effect at the time of their incarceration. To qualify, prisoners must have a non-violent criminal history without significant gang ties before and during their time in prison, they must have served at least 10 years of their sentence and they must have demonstrated good behavior while incarcerated. Throughout 2015, around 100 Skadden attorneys teamed up to represent over 50 inmates whose eligibility they agreed to review.
The global diversity coordinating committee facilitates the implementation of proactive recruitment, retention and promotion policies with the aim of increasing diversity across all the firm’s offices and practice groups. Skadden collaborates with affinity groups at more than 24 law schools throughout the country, and is deeply committed to the retention and advancement of female lawyers. At present, 19 per cent of partners, 44 per cent of associates and 35 per cent of counsel are women.