M&A and Governance 2015: Analysis

The newly amalgamated M&A and Governance edition offers one of the most definitive guides to the corporate legal market, featuring over 1,600 leading lawyers from more than 430 law firms across 82 countries.

The upper echelons of the market are dominated by global law firms, which have long established bases in key financial centres around the world. Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer leads our research overall, with its commanding presence in the European market complemented by a number of listings in Asia and the US.

A number of US giants top our research with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett leading the way. Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, Herbert Smith Freehills, Weil Gotshal & Manges, Cravath Swaine & Moore, Kirkland & Ellis, Norton Rose Fulbright and Sullivan & Cromwell also stand out.

An array of European firms excel both regionally and internationally, including Slaughter and May, Uría Menéndez, Arthur Cox, Hengeler Mueller, LAWIN, Chiomenti Studio Legale and NautaDutilh.

King & Wood Mallesons boasts the best Asia-Pacific corporate practice, with multiple listings across Australia and the Far East.

We also select the 10 leading individuals from the international market.

Who’s Who Legal: M&A and Governance 2015
Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
David Katz Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, New York
Faiza Saeed Cravath Swaine & Moore, New York
Nigel Boardman Slaughter and May, London
Mark Rawlinson Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London
Daniel Neff Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, New York
Richard Climan Weil Gotshal & Manges, California
Richard Hall Cravath Swaine & Moore, New York
Eileen Nugent Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom, New York
Martin Lipton Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz, New York
Keith Flaum Weil Gotshal & Manges, California

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is often engaged in the most high profile M&A transactions and its enviable position in the market is reaffirmed by our research, which shows a strong base of market-leading practitioners in key financial centres. The firm is listed 28 times in all, more than any other, and its “dominant” London office sees seven individuals stand out. Mark Rawlinson is often employed for the toughest and most high profile transactions: he is currently advising BG Group on the £47 billion recommended offer from Royal Dutch Shell. He is “in every regard a sensation”, according to one source. Julian Long is described as “a sophisticated, creative and commercially astute” advisor. He focuses on complex domestic and cross-border M&A matters for institutional clients, many of whom are FTSE 100 companies. Alongside them, William Lawes has an “incredible” track record with managing businesses in crises or achieving strategic transformation through hostile or complex M&A.

The firm’s contingent of lawyers in Frankfurt is also “outstanding”. Andreas Fabritius is “one of the most notable corporate lawyers in Germany”. His presence “brings calmness to proceedings with his authority on matters and user-friendly approach”. Christoph von Bülow is “a truly excellent M&A lawyer”, especially in the context of public takeovers. He is especially noted for his experience in dealing with the German regulator. Geert Verhoeven is an “important figure” in the Belgian transactional market, advising domestic and global companies on their transactional needs, as well as on corporate law and governance.

In Hong Kong, Freshfields boasts a top M&A presence. Robert Ashworth is recognised for his ground-breaking work on M&A transactions in Asia. His “sensible, commercially-minded and client-centric approach” earns him plenty of recommendations. Teresa Ko has advised on a number of high profile banking takeovers in Asia. Her “careful fusion of technical and practical advice sets her apart”, according to respondents.

In New York, Peter Lyons, co-head of the firm’s global public M&A group, is hailed for his “deep wealth of knowledge and ability to handle the most complex transactions”. Of his recent notable deals, he advised Zillow on its purchase of Trulia for $3.5 billion.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom performs very strongly in our research with 24 listings across both M&A and corporate governance. In New York, Eileen Nugent is global co-head of the firm’s transactions practice and is a “greatly respected” figure in the market. She advises on a variety of acquisitions and dispositions of companies, subsidiaries and divisions as well as advising clients on corporate governance and conflict-of-interest situations. Peter Allan Atkins is described as a “reactive and efficient lawyer, with exceptional flexibility”. His representative experience includes representing BHP Billiton in its attempted $150 billion acquisition of Rio Tinto and Bell Atlantic Corporation in its $70 billion wireless joint venture with Vodafone AirTouch. Lou Kling advises financial advisors in significant transactions as part of his wide-ranging M&A and governance work. He is praised for “always adding value to the business and strategic analysis”. Paul Schnell has particular experience in major M&A and financing transactions, including 25 deals valued at more than $1 billion each. He is recommended for the “quality of his advice” and “attention to detail”.

In Illinois Charles Mulaney specialises in friendly and hostile M&A, corporate governance and financing. He is seen as a “guru” on disclosure, directors’ duties and shareholder activism and sources state that he is “an absolute pleasure to deal with”.

DC is home to corporate governance specialist Brian Breheny who advises clients on the full range of SEC compliance and governance matters. He is valued for his “solutions-oriented approach”.

Paris-based Armand Grumberg is considered an “expert” in M&A law, and heads the European M&A practice. With extensive experience in strategic and complex cross-border transactions, clients appreciate his ability to “combine excellent tactical and negotiation skills”.

Scott Simpson is praised as a “strategic mastermind” by our sources. From the firm’s London office he advises clients on contested and hostile bids and also advises a variety of public companies on complex governance issues. Michael Hatchard is “very much in demand” thanks to his knowledge of transactions governed by the UK or other European takeover regimes.

In Frankfurt Matthias Jaletzke advises German and international clients on the full spectrum of M&A issues. He boasts an “impressive track record” in matters relating to takeovers, acquisitions, divestitures and joint ventures.

Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz achieves a total of 24 listings in this edition. Stand outs include David Katz, a “tremendous practitioner” who “inspires confidence” in his clients. In recognition of his “prestigious work” Katz has been awarded the title of M&A and Governance Lawyer of the Year 2015. Martin Lipton specialises in advising on M&A transactions, corporate policy and strategy. He is praised for his “astute mind” and is a “celebrated lawyer” at the firm. The “distinguished” Daniel Neff is co-chairman of the executive committee of the firm and has vast experience advising on acquisitions, divestments and mergers. Adam Emmerich continues to impress with his “solutions-oriented approach” to deals. He represents a variety of industries on transactions in the US and globally. “Top talent” Andrew Nussbaum has completed several multibillion dollar cross-border transactions, and is particularly well known for his work in the media and entertainment area. Steven Rosenblum co-chairs the corporate department and concentrates his practice on mergers and acquisitions, buyouts, takeover defence, shareholder and hedge fund activism, proxy fights, corporate governance and joint ventures. Trevor Norwitz is noted for his “encyclopedic knowledge” of corporate law; he advises on mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, hostile takeover bids and defences, proxy contests and joint ventures. Edward Herlihy is co-chairman of the executive committee and a “consummate professional”. He is particularly well known for his work on takeover battles and proxy contests. Co-chair of the corporate group Andrew Brownstein is also recommended. His practice involves high-profile mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance matters.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett performs impressively in our research with 23 listings, reflecting its status as a “major player” for M&A and governance work. The firm has a particularly strong presence in New York with seven practitioners nominated, including the “truly outstanding” Richard Beattie, the firm’s senior chairman who has “extensive experience” in advising private equity clients on a diverse range of mergers and acquisitions such as JPMorgan Chase’s $58 billion acquisition of Bank One. Charles Cogut has a “superb reputation” in the field and focuses on domestic and international complex cross-border mergers and acquisitions, while Alan Klein has a “dedicated practice” focusing on M&A and corporate governance matters; he has represented Microsoft in three major deals in recent years, including its $7.2 billion acquisition of Nokia’s phone business. The “internationally renowned” Lee Meyerson heads the firm’s mergers and acquisitions and financial institutions practices and has advised leading global financial and investment firms on major transactions for over 30 years. Robert Spatt is considered a “leading authority” on M&A and governance issues and advises a diverse range of clients including companies, financial advisors, control stockholders and leveraged buyout firms. In Palo Alto, Richard Capelouto is “highly sought after” for his expertise in M&A transactions and security law issues.

The firm is well represented in London with five practitioners selected for inclusion, including the “incredibly knowledgeable” Derek Baird, who focuses on a broad range of M&A transactions and regularly acts for private equity sponsors. Gregory Conway is managing partner of the firm’s London office and also heads the European practice. He advises private equity clients across Europe and is recommended for his “expert handling” of complex acquisitions. Adam Signy is “hugely respected” by peers and recently advised Arle Capital Partners on the sale of its capital safety group to KKR. David Sneider heads the Tokyo office and is a “bona fide expert” on cross-border M&A transactions involving Japan. In Hong Kong, Christopher Wong has “sector-leading experience” in both public and private M&As.

Slaughter and May garners 20 listings representing its offices in London and Hong Kong. The “pre-eminent” Nigel Boardman is “first choice on every general counsel’s list”. His practice encompasses mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, private equity, public takeovers and issues of corporate governance. He is hailed as a “sensational lawyer”. Frances Murphy has vast experience in corporate transactions and represents companies and investment banks. She is also highly recommended for her “encyclopedic knowledge” of corporate governance issues. Stephen Cooke heads the mergers and acquisitions practice and is best known for his work in relation to takeover bids and other stock exchange matters. The “talented” William Underhill devotes his practice to acting for major corporate clients in transactional and advisory matters while Jeff Twentyman heads the private equity group and is considered “first rate”. In Hong Kong, Benita Yu has a “stellar practice” in mergers and acquisitions; her work includes advising China Resources Gas Group on the US$7.009billion proposed merger with China Resources Power Holdings to form one energy group. In the same office, Neil Hyman is praised for his “tailored advice” and “efficiency”.

Boasting the best corporate practice in the Asia-Pacific, King & Wood Mallesons earns a number of market-leading listings in China, Australia and Hong Kong in our research. The firm’s strong focus on inbound and outbound Chinese deals has seen it take on many landmark transactions in the Chinese market. Head of the firm’s corporate M&A practice group is Xu Ping, who has over 20 years’ experience advising many multinationals as well as large Chinese clients in their cross-border investment, acquisition and restructuring transactions. Sources report that she is an “outstanding corporate lawyer” who knows Chinese and the interregional markets “back to front”. Also in Beijing, Xinyu Liu is “a pragmatic lawyer who provides commercially sensitive advice” on M&A transactions. Mark Schaub is a “valued counsel” on complex M&A transactions for his “excellent negotiation skills”.

The firm’s Hong Kong office increases its presence with three listings. Co-head of the M&A practice group Hayden Flinn is “a very practical corporate lawyer” and “a very strong adviser, who you always get the best out of”. Recent addition Gary Lock is a “font of knowledge” with a great track record of advising on a range of corporate work, which includes foreign direct investment into China for some of Asia’s most prominent corporations.

King & Wood Mallesons performs very well in Australia as expected. Head of the firm’s Australian public M&A group David Friedlander is the lawyer of choice for many corporations and investors in the region. He is “a flawless negotiator” and “he quickly responds and resolves the most complex of issues”, according to respondents. Stephen Minns is a real star of Australian corporate law. He is an excellent advisor for both day-to-day corporate matters and complex M&A deals. Landmark transactions include advising AXA Asia Pacific in relation to its A$14.6 billion acquisition by AMP. Greg Golding is “a fine all-round corporate practitioner”, with “first-rate drafting skills” and “an acute awareness of client needs”.

Uría Menéndez achieves 16 listings in this year’s edition, including the “superb” Christian Hoedl. Head of the M&A and private equity practice, he is seen as a “great asset to any deal” according to our sources. Juan Miguel Goenechea is a “real heavyweight” in this field, selected once again thanks to his “outstanding abilities” in both private and public M&A and governance issues. Rafael Sebastián is a “must for inclusion” thanks to his extensive experience in the market. His client list primarily encompasses Spanish and multinational companies. Salvador Sánchez-Terán is also a “leading lawyer” in the field and divides his practice between M&A, governance and private equity. He is the “go-to” lawyer for corporate transactions involving credit entities. Juan Francisco Falcón is hailed as an “authority” on mergers and acquisitions in the aviation sector and is praised for his “commercial acumen and business nous”. Cándido Paz-Ares is “at the forefront” of the market and boasts a wealth of expertise in mergers and acquisitions. Juan Martin Perrotto is “internationally renowned” for his M&A practice and heads the firm’s Asian practice. He advises on joint ventures, tender officers and transnational mergers, focusing on cross-border investments involving China, Europe and Latin America.

Managing partner Luis de Carlos is “incredibly active” in the corporate governance area and regularly advises clients on related issues.

In the firm’s Lisbon office, Carlos Costa Andrade is a “favourite” among banking clients who appreciate his “fantastic technical abilities” in this sphere.

Seventeen listings represent Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. Victor Lewkow in New York is a “sensational adviser” to corporations and their boards regarding governance issues and transactions. Alan Beller advises on complex governance matters and is a “trusted advisor” to senior officials of both US and non-US entities. Paul Shim’s practice includes both private and public mergers and acquisitions and he is hailed as a “leading talent in the sector”. In Milan, Roberto Casati is a “dedicated practitioner” whose work is “top drawer” while Jan Meyers in Brussels advises on M&A transactions and corporate governance and financial matters. Laurent Legein is “revered” for his “intricate knowledge” of corporate law. Paris-based Pierre-Yves Chabert’s transactions include Lafarge’s 700million euro exchange of Cimpor shares for Brazilian assets of Votorantim in the context of CSN’s hostile takeover for Cimpor.

Herbert Smith Freehills achieves 17 listings in this edition, highlighting its position as a “global powerhouse” for M&A work. Six Australia-based lawyers are nominated, including the “first rate” Rodd Levy, who has “encyclopedic knowledge” of the domestic law affecting company takeovers in Australia. In Sydney, Rebecca Maslen-Stannage regularly advises major Australian and international clients on mergers and acquisitions in the food and retail industries, while the “incredibly talented” Philippa Stone specialises in equity raisings and M&A as well as corporate restructuring for listed companies.

In London, Gavin Davies acts for a range of financial investors and financial institutions on international M&A transactions, with clients full of praise for his “technically astute and diligent approach”. He is joined by the “outstanding” James Palmer, who is the chair and senior partner of the firm and has “extensive experience” of guiding clients through complex M&A transactions. Alexei Roudiak is the firm’s Russian managing partner and head of corporate in Russia, and maintains an “immaculate reputation” for his work for domestic and international clients on all aspects of M&A deals. Ralf Thaeter is the firm’s managing partner in Germany and receives widespread praise for his work on public and private M&A with a particular focus on the gas and power sectors. In Hong Kong, Tommy Tong comes “highly recommended” for his advice to financial institutions and private equity funds on mergers and acquisitions.

Weil Gotshal & Manges also performs well and earns 16 listings in this edition. Richard Climan is a “huge name” in the market and works from the firm’s Silicon Valley office. He has particular expertise in the technology and life sciences sectors and is regarded as a “highly intelligent and capable” lawyer. Keith Flaum handles acquisitions of publicly traded companies and cross-border acquisition transactions and is highly rated for his “distinguished” practice. James Griffin’s recent experience includes representing Oracle Corporation in its acquisition of MICROS Systems for $5.3 billion. He garners praise for his “shrewd negotiation skills” and applies “fantastic resolve” to his cases.

In New York, co-head of the M&A practice Howard Chatzinoff stands out thanks to his “top-notch skills” in corporate and securities law. He has represented a significant number of big-ticket clients, including the likes of General Electric and CBS. The “talented” Michael Aiello represents acquirers, targets, buyout groups and investment banks in complex domestic and international negotiated and unsolicited M&A transactions. He is seen as an “exceptional” lawyer in New York and is praised for his “outstanding business acumen”.

London-based Michael Francies is a “fantastic aid” to private equity funds and alternative providers of capital and provides “first class advice” on M&A transactions and joint ventures.

Gerhard Schmidt is a “star” in the firm’s German offices who is known for his “excellent comprehension of the complexities in large cross-border transactions”.

Catherine Dixon in Washington, DC is a “guru on corporate governance” and is recommended for her “encyclopedic knowledge” of the rules related to SEC disclosure and related compliance matters.

Cravath Swaine & Moore maintains a dominant position in corporate advisory work, which includes Heinz’s $60 billion mega-merger with Kraft. Its New York office, in particular, stands out for its excellence. Raking in 13 listings for both M&A and corporate governance, the New York office fields the very best corporate lawyers. Faiza Saeed, co-head of the firm’s M&A group, is “one of the very first names that come to mind in connection with M&A and governance law.” She is known to be “a composed and intuitive negotiator” and “a practical and commercially-responsive counsel.” Richard Hall heads the M&A practice for EMEA. Both in general corporate advice and acting as lead counsel on complex deals he is “unquestionably brilliant”; peers add that he is “a refined strategic thinker”. Co-head of the corporate department Scott Barshay has been one of the lead counsel in the Kraft Heinz Company merger. Over the years he has been typically involved in landmark M&A deals and other significant corporate matters. Clients praise his “supreme intelligence, practical style and the unrivalled commercial application of his advice.” Robert Townsend, co-head of the M&A group, “is truly fantastic”. His “close attention to detail” and his “harmonisation with clients” are skills earmarked for special praise. In London, the “excellent” David Mercado focuses his practice on European and Latin American M&A transactions. He has counselled a number of intuitional corporations in complex, high-profile matters. Peers state that he is “an exceptionally bright and hands-on corporate lawyer, who is full of knowledge.”

Kirkland & Ellis garners 14 listings this year across the firm’s US and Hong Kong offices. In New York Sarkis Jebejian is a “first-rate” individual specialising in domestic and cross-border M&A. His “big ticket client list” includes the likes of Accenture, BAE Systems and the independent directors of General Motors. The “eminent” Daniel Wolf represents public and private companies and private equity firms in domestic and international transactions. His experience includes representing Blackstone Group in its approximately $26 billion acquisition proposal for Dell, and Avis Budget Group in its unsolicited $1.5 billion offer to acquire Dollar Thrifty Automotive Group. David Fox boasts over three decades of experience and comes “highly recommended” for his experience of contested and cross-border M&A and “sound counsel” of boards of directors and senior management in connection with crisis situations.

Chicago-based Scott Falk specialises in M&A and securities offerings for public company clients who is “much admired” by his peers. Jack Levin’s “stellar practice” encompasses mergers, acquisitions and buyouts, and handles transactions ranging from several million dollars to over $7 billion.

In Hong Kong, Nicholas Norris is a “stand-out” practitioner who has recently represented the likes of Novel Sunrise Investments Limited in its acquisition of shares in SouthGobi Resources Ltd. He is praised by both clients and peers for his “sharp intellect”.

At Norton Rose Fulbright, 11 lawyers receive 14 listings between them. Kevin Cron is head of corporate, M&A and securities in South Africa and is based in Johannesburg. He receives “high praise” for his “brilliant work” and is described an “excellent all-round corporate lawyer”. John Elliott recently joined the firm in Sydney and specialises in public listed company takeovers, majority shareholder sell-downs, mergers and spin-offs. In London Chris Pearson is recognised for his “great track record” in handling mergers and acquisitions transactions. He is also known for his corporate governance and advisory work, with clients describing him as “very attentive”. Robert Engbloom QC is deputy chair – Canada, and acts as lead counsel on a number of significant transactions. He has a “hands-on approach” that wins much favour with clients. Head of Latin America Elisabeth Eljuri also heads the corporate department in Caracas. She is an “active lawyer” who enjoys a “prestigious international reputation”.

Sullivan & Cromwell boasts 14 nominations in our research this year, with a strong contingent of New York-based lawyers. Francis Aquila is widely recognised as “one of the world’s finest M&A lawyers”, having acted for an impressive range of clients including Amgen, Kraft Foods Group and Navistar. The “truly outstanding” Joseph Frumkin has acted in some of the most high profile mergers and acquisitions in recent years and represents a wide range of parties including buyers, sellers and special committees. James Morphy focuses on a range of M&A transactions including both hostile and friendly acquisitions, and is recognised for his “phenomenal negotiation skills”, while George Sampas co-heads the firm’s private equity group and is praised for his “solution-driven approach”. In Los Angeles, Alison Ressler is a “true authority” on M&A and corporate governance who advises US and foreign corporations and private equity investors on high value and complex deals. Richard Morrissey heads the firm’s London office and is praised for his “truly international practice”; he regularly acts in major cross-border mergers across a diverse range of industries including retail and life sciences. He is joined by the “well reputed” Timothy Emmerson, who heads the firm’s European M&A practice and has years of experience in advising corporate and private equity clients on complex M&A transactions.

Arthur Cox’s corporate practice is the best in Ireland, according to our research. The firm’s deep bench of market-leading practitioners are often engaged in the country’s most significant transactions, including Actavis’ $66 billion White Knight acquisition of Allergan, and they receive effusive praise from the legal community. The “experienced and knowledgeable” Declan Hayes is “a longstanding figurehead” in the market, with a particular expertise in insurance mergers. John Matson advises Irish and particularly international clients in domestic and cross-border M&A. Clients speak highly of his “practical and shrewd advice”, as well as his “hands-on” approach. In recent years the “excellent” Geoff Moore has been advising life sciences and financial services companies on M&A and corporate governance matters, which has included a leading role in the Actavis’ Allergan acquisition and Covidien’s $43 billion takeover by Medtronic. Ciarán Bolger receives a number of ringing endorsements for his “first-rate, commercially-minded practice”. He has been a lead counsel in a number of significant domestic and cross-border transactions, including KKR’s acquisition of Avoca Capital. Colm Duggan continues to be an “influential figure” in Ireland’s corporate landscape. His “strategic and tailored advice is a valuable tool in complex transactions”. Padraig O’Riordain specialises in regulated sectors, advising a range of public companies, private companies and State-related entities on their strategic, transactional and regulatory issues. One respondent noted that “it is clear he has expansive regulatory and commercial knowledge and at all times he remains level-headed”, which makes him “a top advisor”.

LAWIN, the giant of Baltic-based corporate legal counsel, collects an impressive number of listings. In Lithuania, managing partner Rolandas Valiunas is “the very first name that comes to mind for corporate governance and M&A transactions”; sources add that “his experience and expertise in the region is unsurpassed”. Dovile Burgiene, head of the Lithuania corporate and M&A practice group, has advised on many of the Baltic’s most high-profile transactions. She is praised for employing “a great cross between creativity and practicality”.

In Latvia, managing partner Filips Klavinš has vast experience advising and negotiating complex corporate transactions, as well as in day-to-day governance. He is “certainly a leading figure in the field”, according to peers. Head of both the Latvian and the Baltic-wide corporate team, Raimonds Slaidinš is “a diligent counsel” with “client’s best interests at heart”.

Peeter Lepik is LAWIN’s managing partner in Tallinn, whose “deep wealth of knowledge and natural skills as a negotiator” ensure that he is “top of the list” for corporate and transactional advice in the country.

Richards Layton & Finger is a leading Delaware law firm and rates highly in this edition with 13 listings. Stephen Bigler is a “fount of knowledge” on the General Corporation Law of the State of Delaware and related fiduciary issues. He is considered a “major player” in the market thanks to his expertise across the spectrum. Mark Gentile also advises corporations, officers, directors, board committees and stockholders in connection with M&A and governance activity and is “greatly respected” in the market. His experience includes representing Allergan in connection with its $66 billion sale to Actavis and its successful defence of a $45.7 billion unsolicited hostile tender offer by Valeant Pharmaceuticals. Gregory Williams chairs the firm’s corporate department and is a “renowned” figure in the market. His practice includes representing committees of boards of directors formed to negotiate transactions or investigate alleged corporate wrongdoing.

Executive vice president Gregory Varallo is a “star litigator” who has appeared before the courts in Delaware and throughout the US. Significant matters include lead trial for Goldman Sachs Group in connection with challenge to worldwide compensation. The “hugely talented” Jesse Finkelstein provides governance, transactional, M&A and control dispute advice to clients. Donald Bussard has a wide-ranging practice and is praised for his “exceptional handling” of stockholder meetings and governance matters.

JunHe Law Offices garners 13 listings. Qi (Adam) Li is recommended for his “business acumen”, he assists clients in meeting their business needs through building strategies. He has counselled companies, funds, financial institutions, governments and NGOs from around the world. Sang Binxue is a “well reputed name” in China and abroad. He advises on cross-border transactions and brings experience from working in California and Hong Kong, as well as Shanghai to his clients’ deals. Audrey Chen is a “talented negotiator” with experience across a broad range of industries. The “esteemed” Fang He employs a “forensic approach” to matters. She handles a large number of inbound and outbound deals, negotiating with other parties and designing deal structures.

NautaDutilh performs well in this edition with 12 listings across Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. The firm has a “market-leading” Dutch practice with five lawyers selected for inclusion across our M&A and governance research, including the “exceptional” Leo Groothuis who advises domestic and international corporations and financial institutions in a variety of complex M&A transactions. Hein Hooghoudt has “considerable experience” across the full range of M&A and governance matters, with clients praising his “dedication to excellent client service”. Christiaan de Brauw is a “real favourite among clients” for his expertise in public M&A, with a particular focus on advice to major life sciences companies. In Brussels, Dirk van Gerven is recognised by peers as “one of the leading players in Belgian M&A law”, with a practice focusing on advice to large companies regarding high profile acquisitions and corporate restructurings. Luxembourg-based Margaretha Wilkenhusyen focuses on cross-border mergers and acquisitions and is described by peers as a “first rate” practitioner in the field.

Baker Botts achieves 12 listings in our research, with all but one of the nominated individuals based in Texas, where the firm is reputed as a leading firm for M&A work. In Houston, Andrew Baker is the firm’s managing partner and regularly acts for public and private companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions; he is described as “undoubtedly one of the US’s leading M&A lawyers”. He is joined by the “top notch” David Kirkland, who chairs the firm’s corporate practice and has many years of experience in acting for corporations and investment banking firms in mergers and acquisitions. Stephen Massad is “highly sought after” for his expertise in corporate transactions for global clients in the oil and gas, power and chemicals sectors, while Theodore Paris is recognised as a “superb negotiator” when representing parties in complex and highly technical mergers and acquisitions. The “exceptional” David Pommerening heads the firm’s corporate department in Washington, DC and has long-term experience in M&A transactions in the energy and communications industries.

Chiomenti Studio Legale is the “premier firm” for national and international institutional, financial, insurance and industrial groups in Italy. Michele Carpinelli is a longstanding figure at the forefront of Italian corporate law and he regularly receives praise for his “expertise and efficiency in complex transactions”. Carlo Croff is an “influential and effective counsel” in proceedings, who brings with him “a calm and knowledgeable level-headedness, which is one of the reasons why clients love him”, according to peers. Luca Fossati is a “very strong lawyer”, who is “committed to seeing the deal through”. He deals with all issues that come up during corporate transactions “seamlessly”, according to one effusive respondent. Alongside them, Filippo Modulo is “a definite inclusion” for his work in transactions and general corporate governance matters. He “always satisfies the client’s documentation, regulatory and commercial needs.”

Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison achieves 12 listings including the “tremendous” Toby Myerson. He co-leads the firm’s global M&A practice and specialises in advising corporations, financial institutions and investment banks on high-profile mergers and acquisitions. His “impressive client roster” includes the likes of Citigroup and Rothschilds. Fellow co-head Robert Schumer provides “first class” counsel to a diverse range of clients on governance, fiduciary duty and M&A. He is also “well versed” in contested matters including unsolicited offers and proxy contests.

In Delaware Stephen Lamb has “vast experience” in corporate law and governance issues arising out of both transactional and litigation contexts. He is considered by many to be a “dean of the Delaware bar”.

London-based David Lakhdhir acts for European and Asian companies acquiring US companies in public and private transactions and is seen as “one of the foremost” advisers on global transactions. He also advises on large-scale international joint ventures involving a combination of countries from around the globe.

Hong Kong is home to the “brilliant” Jeanette Chan who heads the China practice group. Her practice focuses on foreign direct investment into the PRC, and she is described as “sharp and insightful” by both her peers and colleagues.

Linklaters is represented by 12 listings. Richard Godden in London is a “notable practitioner” who has advised Deloitte on the acquisition of Monitor, G4S on the issues arising from problems with its Olympic and electronic monitoring contracts, and the UK government on the possible privatisation of Urenco. Another London partner, Charles Jacobs, also comes highly recommended for his “innovative work”. Matthew Middleditch in Hong Kong provides “bespoke solutions” and has an “impressive roster of clients”. The “outstanding” Ralph Wollburg in Dusseldorf is a “guru of corporate law”. He regularly advises on mergers and acquisitions, public takeovers and German stock corporation law.

Wilmington-based firm Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell achieves an impressive 12 listings in this year’s research, demonstrating its “considerable expertise” in M&A and governance, with a particular focus on corporate restructurings. Frederick Alexander is a “leading authority” on M&A and governance matters in the US who regularly advises boards of directors and committees on merger negotiation and other major transactions. The “truly exceptional” Andrew Johnston advises corporations on a wide range of transactions and governance issues including business combination transactions and hostile takeovers. William Lafferty has a “hugely respected practice” focusing on M&A transactions for private equity firms and corporate litigation relating to mergers and acquisitions and proxy contests; he is described as a “superb litigator”. Gilchrist Sparks is “nationally renowned” for his expertise in litigation arising out of complex mergers and acquisitions, while Patricia Vella is a “leading expert” in advising publicly traded and privately held corporations on corporate governance matters.

Over half of Hengeler Mueller’s lawyers are dedicated to M&A, with a number of its top lawyers listed in this edition. A combination of quality and quantity ensures the firm is often the first port of call for corporate advice in Germany. Maximilian Schiessl has been instrumental in many of the firm’s most significant M&A transactions. According to peers he is “a faultless corporate lawyer”. Hans-Jörg Ziegenhain is described as “a fantastic dealmaker and a brilliant adviser on highly technical issues”. Rainer Krause sits on the firm’s India desk and is a highly sought after practitioner for his “superb regulatory and commercial knowledge, which is practically supplied in governance and high end deal making.” In issues of corporate governance, Michael Hoffmann-Becking “is one of the very best boardroom advisors”, according to one source; another adds that “his command of compliance and due diligence matters is exceptional”.

Due Diligence Accountants

For the first time, our research identifies 203 specialists from 45 countries who were highly recommended for their vital work in minimising transaction risks and maximising their value.

The top tier of the research is dominated by the ‘Big Four’, as one might expect. PricewaterhouseCoopers leads the field with 48 experts selected for inclusion from 26 countries, with KPMG similarly well represented with 40 accountants included from 23 jurisdictions. Ernst & Young and Deloitte also score highly with 31 and 30 nominees apiece.

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