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Legal 500 Ranks 16 Bracewell Practices as U.S. Leaders

HOUSTON The Legal 500 United States 2012 edition has recognized 16 Bracewell & Giuliani LLP practices and recommended 50 of the firm's attorneys. The firm’s energy: litigation practice garnered a Top Tier ranking. Meanwhile, partners Evan Flaschen (Corporate Restructuring) and Sanford (Sandy) Brown (Mergers & Acquisitions) maintained the status of Leading Lawyer in their respective categories.

Additionally, the firm's alternative/hedge funds, capital markets, construction, corporate restructuring, tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, energy (both transactions and regulatory), environmental litigation, financial services, intellectual property (IP), mergers and acquisitions (M&A), project finance, structured finance, and technology practices were highlighted, along with the following attorneys in those categories:

Alternative/Hedge Funds – Cheri Hoff

The firm has developed a “very personalized boutique offering” in the hedge funds space since “strong team leader” Cheri Hoff joined the firm.

Capital Markets: Equity Offerings – Gary Orloff and Michael Telle

The firm is noted as “active in the energy arena.” Michael Telle was recognized for his work on behalf of FTS International in its $1.15 billion IPO, while Gary Orloff advised Kinder Morgan, Inc. in its $3.3 billion IPO.

Construction – Phillip Sampson

The practice is led by Phillip Sampson, who was recognized for his “experience representing both plaintiffs and defendants in state courts, federal courts and before arbitration panels, as well as successfully trying a number of jury and non-jury cases.”

Corporate Restructuring – Renée Dailey, Evan Flaschen (Leading Lawyer), Gregory Nye, and William (Trey) Wood

Evan Flaschen, noted by clients for his “unending energy and sharp focus,” leads this “phenomenally committed” team with partners in Connecticut, New York and Texas. William (Trey) Wood is “outstandingly commercial and technically superb,” while Renée Dailey is recommended for “approaching her tasks with an infectious enthusiasm.”

Domestic Tax: Central – Gregory Bopp, Lance Behnke, Elizabeth McGinley, and James Reardon

This practice (partners in Texas, Seattle and New York) was recognized for its work in the energy industry and with private investment funds, particularly for its “value for money and excellent response times.” Gregory Bopp is “the premier expert on partnership taxation and master limited partnership structuring.”

Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation – Jeleen Guttenberg, Bruce Jocz and Scott Sanders

This “excellent” Texas-based group is led by Bruce Jocz, who has a “broad depth of knowledge and is definitely an expert in his field.” Jeleen Guttenberg has “significant experience in the design and implementation of compensation programs, while the “very experienced” Scott Sanders provides “good practical advice.”

Energy: Litigation – Glenn Ballard, Stephen Crain, Paul Fox, J. Clifford Gunter, Shelby Kelley, Deanna King, and Sandra Rizzo

The group was ranked as a top tier practice for its representation of a “diverse client base,” including new clients such as Anadarko, Direct Energy, Topaz Power, Chesapeake Energy, and Plains Exploration & Production. The team is based in Houston, with attorney presence in six other offices.

Energy: Regulatory – Michael Brooks, Kirstin Gibbs, Mark Lewis, Catherine McCarthy, Kirk Morgan, and G. Alan Rafte

This “excellent” team provides “extremely effective, first-rate guidance and advice,” and works on behalf of such clients as ConocoPhillips and PPL Corporation. Mark Lewis and Kirk Morgan are both regarded as “very seasoned, hardworking, and client focused,” Kirstin Gibbs is “recommended for her vast knowledge of natural gas regulatory issues,” and associate Michael Brooks is an “up-and-coming star.”

Energy: Transactions – Gregory Bopp, John Klauberg, J.J. McAnelly, and G. Alan Rafte

This “first-rate” practice provides “excellent, cost-effective advice and has deep industry knowledge in the oil and gas and electricity sectors,” and has worked on behalf of such clients as Kinder Morgan, Inc., NRG Energy, and Apache Corporation. Section head G. Alan Rafte is “excellent on complex financial instruments and transactions.”

Environment: Litigation – Richard Alonso, Jeffrey Holmstead and Timothy Wilkins

This “excellent” practice is “exceptional on all levels,” and has a particular focus on climate change, air quality, energy policy, energy development, contamination and exposure issues. Austin-based Timothy Wilkins is “phenomenal,” while Washington, D.C. partners Jeffrey Holmstead and Richard Alonso are “superb environmental attorneys” and “specialists in clean air regulations.”

Financial Services: Regulatory – Sanford Brown, Robert Frenchman, William Luedke, and Julian Rainero

“One of the best banking firms in Texas,” Bracewell “knows the regulatory players in the state along with a number of the bank management teams.” William Luedke is “one of the godfathers of banking attorneys in Texas,” and Sanford Brown is “one of the pivotal members of the team.”

"The New York practice specializes in broker-dealer work, an area of expertise that was recently underscored by the firm’s appointment by SIFMA to prepare comments letters on FINRA’s supervision proposal and communications with the public proposal."

Intellectual Property (IP): Patent Prosecution: Utility and Design Patents – Jim Bradley, Albert Kimball, Constance Gall Rhebergen, and Jeffrey Whittle

The practice “consistently performs at a very high professional level, and continues to go from strength to strength.” The team was also recommended for its “impressive client list,” including new client Google, and spans “a diverse range of sectors.” Practice head Jeffrey Whittle is a “key advisor” to The Weir Group.

Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) Middle Market ($500-$999 million) – Gregory Bopp, Sanford Brown (Leading Lawyer) and G. Alan Rafte

This practice’s attorneys are “nationally recognized for their work involving master limited partnerships, matters related to the energy industry – including recent expansion in the electric power industry – and financial institutions,” but also represent “major players” in construction, distribution, maritime, private investment funds, distressed situations/bankruptcy, and hospitality. Attorneys in this practice are “excellent and easy to get along with.”

Project Finance – Heather Brown, Ryan Holcomb, Robin Miles, G. Alan Rafte, Thomas Tomlinson, and Jonathan Wry

The practice provides “excellent service with valuable advice and good response times,” and is “equal in talent and capabilities to other major law firms, but is more efficient and as a result tends to be more cost effective.” G. Alan Rafte is “excellent on complex financial instruments and complex transactions,” Robin Miles is “hugely respected,” and Jonathan Wry, Heather Brown, Thomas Tomlinson and Ryan Holcomb are all “excellent, knowledgeable, and creative lawyers and talented negotiators.”

Structured Finance – Heather Brown, Ryan Holcomb, Robin Miles, and G. Alan Rafte

This “efficient, highly responsive and cost-effective” group is regarded for its “strong expertise” in the energy sector. G. Alan Rafte is “excellent at handling financial instruments and complex transactions,” Robin Miles “always assembles the right team of partners,” and Heather Brown “assimilates the complexities of a structure and is excellent at drafting and reviewing agreements with multiple imbedded subtleties.”

Technology: Transactions – Benjamin Bernell, Edward Cavazos, Andrew Gajkowski, Michael Samardzija, and Jeffrey Whittle

This “excellent” practice group focuses on high-tech and energy-related work, and “was strengthened by the arrival of Benjamin Bernell.” The group also handles energy and clean energy-related deals and matters involving software and video games.