- Antitrust and Competition
- Bankruptcy and Restructuring
- Capital Markets
- Emerging Growth/Venture Capital
- Entertainment and Digital Media
- Government Contracts,
- Intellectual Property
- International Trade and Investment
- Labor and Employment
- Patent Litigation
- Public Company Corporate Governance and Compliance
- Real Estate, Land Use
Chambers & Partners Ranks Sheppard Mullin In 2011
Chambers and Partners 2011 highly ranked various Sheppard Mullin practice groups and attorneys:
The Firm: This firm's antitrust practice encompasses matters involving M&A, class actions and criminal grand jury proceedings. It is also sought after to advise on international antitrust enforcement, pricing practices and product distribution, as well as IP matters and consumer protection issues. The group has made a name for itself in recent years representing SAMSUNG and its entities in a range of national and international cartel matters, including the criminal and civil CRT and SRAM cases. Other significant work includes representing the Digital Cinema Initiative in antitrust matters and acting on behalf of new client China Mobile with respect to international antitrust and IP matters.
Sources say: "A fine, hard-working group; the lawyers are personable, highly responsive and always easy to work with."
Key Individuals: Gary Halling leads the firm's antitrust and trade regulation practice group. He continues to be well regarded for his substantive cartel work and is described as "an excellent tactician with a solid, no-nonsense approach." James McGinnis comes recommended for his expertise in antitrust litigation, particularly in the international arena. He wins praise as a "shrewd, strategic and goal-oriented attorney."
The Firm: This sizable team is backed by the firm's full-service capabilities and resources, and handles a broad range of debtor, creditor committee and lender representations. The group has an impressive client roster that includes a substantial number of major banks and financial institutions, such as Comerica and Union Bank. Highlights include representing the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the asbestos bankruptcy case involving Plant Insulation.
Sources say: "A strong group of lawyers that is consistently ahead of the curve."
Key Individuals: Michael Ahrens is a "tremendously energetic and zealous advocate; a real go-getter." He represents a range of debtors, lenders and committees, and recently acted for a federal receiver for the assets of Lone Dove Petroleum. He also led the aforementioned matter involving Plant Insulation.
Capital Markets: Debt & Equity
Louis Lehot of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP joins the rankings this year, after impressing clients with his "intellect, pragmatism and market knowledge." He is representing Energy and Power Solutions in its pending IPO. (Note: Lehot represented RealD in its 2010 IPO and secondary offerings.)
The Firm: Market sources recognize this group for both the high quality and the remarkable range of its work; its client base encompasses a variety of owners, contractors, subcontractors, design professionals and government agencies. It has built an excellent reputation for litigation, arbitration, mediation, contracts and mechanics’ lien law across a breadth of public and private projects.
Sources say: “This highly regarded firm houses an excellent group of attorneys."
Key Individuals: Harold Hamersmith is the department’s leading individual and clients laud him as "a very detailed and focused attorney who offers tremendous knowledge of the construction process." He has recently been involved in various public work and project counseling matters.
Corporate/M&A Southern California; Corporate/M&A Venture Capital
The Firm: The firm has a strong footprint in midmarket M&A, and is focused on the health, entertainment, media, new media and aerospace industries. With a buoyant venture capital practice, it also represents public and private countries of all sizes from startups to multinationals.
Key Individuals: Lawrence Braun is "very focused, creative and well thought of," according to market reports. His practice encompasses general corporate law, corporate finance, securities, and M&A transactions, where he recently represented Kapp Insurance in its sale to Ascension Insurance. David Sands works with emerging companies, and also has a strong reputation for entertainment transactions, recently representing Banijay Entertainment in its acquisition of Bunim-Murray Productions.
The Firm: This team is particularly well versed in soil and groundwater contamination, hazardous waste, and air quality issues. It also handles land use, entitlement and regulatory permitting and compliance, and it has represented clients before federal, state and local agencies.
Sources say: “It is amazingly knowledgeable and effective at dealing with the environmental issues affecting California businesses."
Key Individuals: Randolph Visser is well respected for his broad spectrum of expertise, with a particular specialization in air quality, water rights and permitting. Clients praise his "excellent communication skills and exceptional knowledge base.” He recently represented a major Southern California steel processing facility in a case relating to air quality, hazardous waste, water quality and water rights compliance.
The Firm: This group represents both hospitals and physicians in a range of transactional matters and is increasingly active in enforcement activities and compliance programs for its clients. It also has an active cutting-edge healthcare information technology practice.
Sources say: "They are extremely responsive - I can pick up the phone and know that they will be there for me in an instant."
Key Individuals: Kenneth Yood, who joined the firm from Fulbright & Jaworski in 2009, specializes in regulatory compliance and reimbursement. Observers view him as "one of only a few lawyers in the state with this particular expertise" and praise his "thoughtful, timely and responsive approach." His practice also covers fraud and abuse, licensing and certification. Eric Klein heads the practice and is particularly strong in large transactions, having recently represented Talbert Medical Group in its merger with Healthcare Partners, the second largest physician group in California. Sources say: "In addition to his wonderful grasp of the law, he understands the medical issues and the business aspects - this is a real gift."
Intellectual Property: Patent
Stephen Korniczky recently joined Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP from Paul Hastings. Clients are impressed by his "extensive knowledge of patent law and litigation strategy," while also commenting that he is "aggressive, creative and always looking for opportunities to apply settlement pressure on the other side."
IT & Outsourcing
The Firm: This group has substantial experience in structuring and negotiating a comprehensive range of outsourcing arrangements in both ITO and BPO. It also advises companies of all sizes from across the IT sector and related industries.
Sources say: “Their advice is sound, their work product is crisp and their responsiveness is excellent.”
Key Individuals: Brian Pass has a strong focus on Internet and e-commerce related issues as part of his work on technology and media transactions. He is “very smart and responsive as well as thoughtful on both business and legal issues.” Riaz Karamali advises both large, established companies and startups in technology-related outsourcing agreements. Shaalu Mehra recently joined the practice from Perkins Coie. He focuses on the representation of clients in large-scale multinational outsourcings, covering an array of ITO and BPO transactions.
Labor & Employment
The Firm: This team provides a comprehensive service to employer clients, including counseling on day-to-day human resources matters and litigating before state and federal courts, as well as administrative agencies, on matters ranging from single plaintiff sexual harassment cases to administrative hearings before the Labor Commissioner. The group also continues to be much sought-after by clients in the restaurant trade and healthcare sector.
Key Individuals: The "highly knowledgeable" Richard Simmons represents high-profile clients in significant class actions and has recently defeated class certification in several alleged misclassification claims. Los Angeles-based Charles Barker wins praise as "an assured performer who really instills confidence in his clients." He acts on behalf of management in labor and employment matters, including the defense of discrimination claims and unfair labor practices. Tracey Kennedy has significant trial experience, having argued wage and hour cases before the California Supreme Court and Los Angeles Superior Court, in addition to triumphantly defending against discrimination and harassment claims on behalf of employer clients. Michael Gallion has a noteworthy background in handling complex litigation, including California wage and hour class actions and discrimination class actions on a nationwide scale. Sources praise his “winning combination of excellent technical knowledge and extensive practical experience.”
Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations
Bryan Daly and Peter Morris are both at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP. Daly is regularly involved in government investigations and civil litigation, and Morris's practice focuses on white-collar defense and complex business litigation, often with a securities or health care twist.
Media & Entertainment: First Amendment Litigation
The Firm: This team is recognized for its expertise across the gamut of media and entertainment cases, including IP and First Amendment disputes. It works with a range of clients, including major motion picture studios, TV networks, and financiers. Recent work includes defending the Naked Women's Wrestling League against publicity rights and contract claims asserted by Carmen Electra arising out of a contract according to which she was to provide commentary and promotional activities for pay-per-view naked wrestling bouts.
Sources say: "Not only do they have genuine entertainment litigators, but they have genuine trial lawyers."
Key Individuals: Marty Katz cochairs the practice, and has a considerable profile in this sector. "He's the lead guy there, and he's very good," said a source. James Chadwick operates out of the firm's Silicon Valley office, and works with a range of media and technology clients across the full range of First Amendment and copyright matters. Guylyn Cummins maintains a very traditional media practice, and works with a number of San Diego-based publishers. Peers acknowledge that she is "a tremendous media litigator."
Media & Entertainment: Transactional
The Firm: The team here offers the full spectrum of media and entertainment services, including financing, production and distribution, IP, mergers and acquisitions, and corporate finance advice. Its client base is equally varied, encompassing motion picture studios, TV networks and a range of other media and entertainment companies. Market commentators cite the team’s role as entertainment counsel to Comcast in the high-profile joint venture to acquire a majority interest in NBC Universal as proof of its prominence in the sector.
Sources say: "A real go-to for financing transactions within this space."
Key Individuals: Robert Darwell chairs the firm’s media and entertainment practice group and is routinely lauded for his expertise in international transactions. Thomas Glen Leo is "a prominent financing lawyer in the sector."
Real Estate: Zoning/Land Use
The Firm: This highly regarded group continues to grow an impressive reputation for the strength of its land use and CEQA expertise. It is also skilled in PPPs, infrastructure projects, leasing and affordable housing, and it regularly represents high-profile lenders.
Sources say: “We would recommend it without reservation; one of the state's top teams."
Key Individuals: Partner Robert Thompson excels at land use, redevelopment and transactional work, in which he "displays great judgment and diligence, and works very effectively." He recently represented the University of California, San Francisco in connection with the development of a $200 million neurosciences research and clinical facility. David Madway's particular expertise lies in CEQA compliance work, public development transactions and redevelopment.
Private Equity: Venture Capital Investment
Don Williams' practice includes venture capital and private equity financings, public offerings, and mergers and acquisitions. He recently joined the firm's Shanghai office from Wilson Sonsini. He is a fluent Mandarin speaker and works with domestic companies doing business in the USA, and American companies coming into China. He has represented private and public companies, including Tencent, Bridge Pharmaceuticals and Google.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Donald Klawiter of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is particularly well known for his expertise in cartel matters. Clients appreciate his skill and his demeanor, saying he is “an utter gentleman in dispute matters.”
Corporate/M&A & Private Equity
Lucantonio Salvi of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP splits his time between Washington, DC and Brussels, and has particular expertise in private equity and bankruptcy-related matters. Sources say he is "a superb legal technician who knows how to get the deal done and is well positioned to handle issues arising in a multijurisdictional business."
Advertising: Transactional & Regulatory
The Firm: At Sheppard Mullin, the advertising, marketing and promotions team and its equivalent entertainment, media and technology group work in close collaboration. The firm is acknowledged as a clear leader for endorsement, sponsorship, and sports and entertainment marketing agreements. The group acts as counsel to MillerCoors in all of its sports marketing ventures, and represents ESPN in its sports programming initiatives.
Sources say: "Vast experience in advertising matters."
Key Individuals: New York-based Ben Mulcahy and Los Angeles-based Robert Darwell cochair the advertising group.
Government: Government Contracts
The Firm: In the past year the group engaged increasingly in investigatory work regarding alleged false claims and other white-collar defense matters. The group also took on work relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and overseas clients, as well as cost disallowance work. The group's mainstay remains in bid protests however, and in the past year it represented ICx Nomadics in challenging the Navy's award of a sole source contract to a competitor.
Sources say: "One of the best for bid protests."
Key Individuals: John Chierichella won effusive praise as a top-quality government contracts lawyer with a wealth of experience, and sources concur that he's "an outstanding lawyer who does a great job." He is best known for his expertise in bid protests and False Claims Act-related matters, as well as his work with Northrop Grumman.
International Trade: Export Controls & Economic Sanctions
John Scott Maberry of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP "does a very thorough job of analyzing the issues and providing practical advice in very complex areas of the law." His practice covers trade remedies and FCPA matters, and he is also particularly renowned for his prowess in export controls and sanctions matters.
Intellectual Property: Trade Mark & Copyright
Paul Garrity of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP is adept at handling disputes involving trademark infringement, trade secrets and copyright infringement. He also counsels clients on the establishment, exploitation and maintenance of IP portfolios, including clearance and prosecution.
Media & Entertainment: Music
Kenneth Anderson of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP advises a number of major media and entertainment clients. Recently, he acted as general counsel to Ben Folds in negotiating his various television, music publishing and recording agreements. He also counseled the Beastie Boys in their new publishing agreement with Universal Music Publishing Group.