Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has taken home overall prize in The Recorder’s Corporate Department of the Year contest, which honors firms whose California lawyers worked on the biggest, most complex and trendsetting deals this past year. Sidley Austin and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which both worked on blockbuster deals of their own, are finalists in the overall competition.

Winners were also named for seven corporate specialties, including U.S. M&A, cross-border M&A, capital markets, corporate governance, venture capital, emerging companies and tech transactions. The Recorder is also recognizing three in-house lawyers who made pivotal contributions to deals last year, and 13 trusted advisers—individual lawyers who get the first call from clients contemplating transformational transactions.

Honorees will be recognized at an event at the Hilton San Francisco on Nov. 16. Details on the event will follow.


Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher: Helped BWAY Corp. nab Germany’s Mauser Group in a complex cross-border $2.3 billion deal just days before Mauser’s IPO. Also represented sellers St. Jude Medical and Group Health Cooperative in a pair of blockbuster health care deals. Displayed overall excellence in cross-border and domestic M&A.


Sidley Austin: Shaped Lagunitas Brewing Co.’s ability to operate independently within acquirer Heineken, counseled Adobe Systems Inc. in its strategic alliance with Microsoft, helped Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers transfer administration for top-level domain names away from the U.S. government.

Simpson Thacher & Bartlett: Handled Dell’s $67 billion acquisition of EMC, represented underwriters in $100 billion Apple Inc. public offerings and Microsoft in $36.75 billion in debt offerings.

Capital Markets

Wilson Sonsini: Advised GoDaddy in complex follow-on and repurchase deals, Mulesoft Inc. in its IPO and Tesla in common stock and convertible senior note offerings.

Corporate Governance

Latham & Watkins: Represented coffee company Farmer Bros. Co. in a proxy fight, real estate investment trust Hudson Pacific Properties on its largest acquisition and Motorcar Parts of America engage with an activist shareholder.

Cross-Border M&A (co-winners)

Latham & Watkins: Helped Allergan sell its $40.5 billion generic drug business to Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., advised Broadcom on its $5.9 billion acquisition of Brocade and represented Caesars Interactive Entertainment in the $4.4 billion sale of its social and mobile games business.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom: Represented Netherlands-based NXP Semiconductors N.V. in the largest ever semiconductor deal, its $47 billion acquisition by Qualcomm Incorporated,  Intel in its $15.3 billion acquisition of Israel-based Mobileye, and London-based XIO Group in a $1.1 billion all cash deal to acquire marketing data and analytics company JD Power.  

Emerging Companies

Cooley: Repped C3 IoT on its Series E financing, Quanergy Systems Inc. on its Series B, and Intarcia Therapeutics Inc. in its Series EE closings.

Tech Transactions

Sidley Austin: Primarily for navigating the Internet Corporation For Assigned Names and Numbers top-level domain transfer, but the firm also represented Adobe Systems Inc. in its strategic alliance with Microsoft and Hewlett Packard Enterprise’s acquisition of SGI.

US M&A (co-winners)

Sullivan & Cromwell: Handled Amazon.com Inc.’s $13.7 billion acquisition of Whole Foods, represented AT&T in its $108.7 billion agreement to acquire Time Warner and Bayer in its $66 billion acquisition of Monsanto Co., the largest all-cash M&A deal of all time.

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom: Represented a special committee of SolarCity’s board in its $2.6 billion sale to Tesla Motors, Intel in its $4.2 billion rollout of McAfee, and AdvancePierre Foods Holdings in its $4.2 billion sale to Tyson Foods.

Venture Capital

Cooley: Represented Venrock, Upfront Ventures and Menlo Ventures in fund closings­—all drawing $400 to $450 million a piece.

Trusted Advisers

Craig Adas, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, for a series of leveraged buyouts and dispositions for Genstar Capital and others.

Atif Azher, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, a go-to partner for Centerbridge, SilverLake and Dell.

Karen Ballack, Weil, Gotshal & Manges, for handling the IP- and technology-related aspects of Yahoo’s operating business spin-off and sale to Verizon.

Carissa Coze, Jenner & Block for work on innovative sports and broadcasting technology deals for Fox Entertainment Group and investors in SportsMedia Technology.

Jorge del Calvo, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, for representing InvenSense and Applied Micro Circuits Corp. in sales, and a Chinese investment fund in its acquisition of a California-based semiconductor company.

Tom Duley, King & Spalding, for advising life sciences companies, including SciClone Pharmaceuticals Inc. in a licensing deal to develop and distribute a new therapy for cancer patients in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam.

Kenton King, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, for handling huge, market-shaping deals for NXP Semiconductors and Intel.

Julian Kleindorfer, Latham & Watkins, for representing Digital Realty Trust in a $7.6 billion merger with DuPont Fabros Technology Inc., creating the nation’s second-largest data center REIT.

Eric Krautheimer, Sullivan & Cromwell, who handled megadeals for Amazon.com Inc. and AT&T.

Jamie Leigh, Cooley, for representing Uber Technologies Inc. in its joint venture in Russia and providing hostile takeover defense for Medivation Inc.

Kevin Kennedy, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, for handling major debt offerings involving Apple Inc. and Tesla.

Alison Ressler, Sullivan & Cromwell, for a laundry list of deals including advising Waymo, Google’s self-driving car division, in becoming an independently governed legal entity.

Andor Terner, O’Melveny & Myers, represented Alaska Air Group in its $4.6 billion acquisition of Virgin America, creating the fifth-largest domestic airline, and represented Sabra Healthcare REIT in a $7.4 billion merger, one of the largest health care REIT transactions of the year.

In-House Impact Award Winners

Patrick Bombach, Intel Corp., for playing central roles in the company’s $16.7 billion acquisition of Altera, the $4.2 billion spinout of McAfee, and most recently, its $15.3 billion acquisition of Mobileye, signaling Intel as a serious player in the autonomous car race.

Todd Hamblet, Uber Technologies Inc., for going from term sheet to signed deal in its agreement with Yandex, the “Google of Russia”—a deal valued at $3.4 billion.

Seth Weissman, formerly of SolarCity, for structuring the special board committee which navigated the closely watched Tesla acquisition.

Updated 9/17/17: Due to an editorial error, The Recorder previously published an incomplete list of honorees.