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Legal 500 Recommends Seyfarth Shaw as a Leading U.S. Law Firm


 “If I were to rank all firms, Seyfarth Shaw would be at the top.”

Elisa Marks, Senior Public Relations Associate
(212) 218-5273,

Chicago, IL (June 14, 2010)—Seyfarth Shaw LLP, one of America’s leading full-service law firms, is recommended as one of the foremost law firms in the United States in multiple practice areas in the 2010 edition of Legal 500 United States, an independent guide to America’s leading law firms. The firm ranked at the top of the best-in-class rankings in three areas of Labor & Employment Law: Immigration, Labor & Employment Litigation, and Workplace & Employment Counseling. The firm’s national Labor Management Relations Practice Group earned a Tier 2 ranking and the ERISA Litigation Group ranked in Tier 3. Additionally, the national Construction Practice Group earned a Tier 2 ranking for its litigation-related work and the Chicago Real Estate Practice Group earned a Tier 3 ranking. The Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice Group earned a ranking in Tier 4.

For the second year in a row, partners highlighted as “Leading Lawyers” by the guide include: David S. Baffa (Workplace Counseling & Compliance), William P. Perkins (Workplace Counseling & Compliance), Angelo Paparelli (Immigration), and Joel D. Rubin (Real Estate). Additionally, C. Walker (“Chip”) Ingraham (Construction) was highlighted for the first time by the guide.

Labor & Employment: Immigration (Tier 1)
Legal 500 found that clients say “The lawyers are ‘excellent and thorough—and that goes for the immigration paralegals as well,’ and one client commented, “If I were to rank all firms, Seyfarth Shaw would be at the top.”

Further, according to the guide, clients value that the firm’s “‘commitment to process methodology continues, encompassing almost all of the firm’s immigration transactions.’ Clients also commend Seyfarth for offering ‘a one-stop shop within the firm’s business immigration group,’ fielding a workforce authorization team that assists clients in navigating I-9 and related employment authorization issues including E-Verify participation, social security mismatch letter best practices, state level immigration obligations, and ICE raids.”

Complementing the practice group’s overall ranking, Legal 500 researchers highlighted a few of the group’s individual attorneys. Angelo Paparelli was described as “persuasive, knowledgeable, skilled and tenacious,” while Boston partner Dyann DelVecchio was singled out as being “passionate about her work and compassionate towards the foreign workers’ situations,” and “personable and easy to work with.” Atlanta-based James King, the guide pointed out, also comes highly recommended.

Labor & Employment: Litigation (Tier 1)
Clients reported to Legal 500 that “Seyfarth Shaw offers a broad-ranging practice with particular strengths in complex discrimination litigation, wage & hour litigation, and single plaintiff litigation. The team has a solid reputation, with clients commenting that the group ‘has outstanding expertise and experience in labor and employment. It is very thorough and responsive, very proactive and cutting edge in developing systems to handle types of projects and cases,’ and ‘the firm exceeds our expectations in terms of client service. Its devotion to partnering with us goes beyond lip service to truly penetrating what our needs are in addition to representation in court, and then offering its resources and suggestions to help us manage our work better and more effectively. We have found the firm’s quality of advice and litigation to be uniformly excellent across its different offices.’”

In Chicago, Jeremy Sherman, Mark Lies, Gerald Maatman, Ian Morrison and Camille Olson are all singled out for praise by clients. Linda Schoonmaker in Houston, Richard Alfred in Boston and Gilmore Diekmann in San Francisco are all highly regarded.

Labor & Employment: Workplace and Employment Counseling (Tier 1)
Legal 500 reported that “‘this is the firm that gets it.’ ‘It has always provided top-notch service of the highest quality, often with very quick turnaround deadlines. In sum, a great ‘go-to firm’ that I never hesitate in using.’”
In addition to the practice as a whole, Legal 500 singled out several partners who received exceptional praise from clients. The guide noted, “In Chicago, David Baffa ‘is immensely pragmatic and commercially minded and just gets on with sorting out the issues.’ He and Robert Nobile in New York co-chair the WCS group and both lawyers are highly recommended by their clients. Also recommended in this category is New York-based William Perkins. ‘He has a wonderful calming effect on his clients. He also stays calm in very tense situations such as mediations and heated discussions with opposing counsel and that helps him get the results he and his clients want.’ Also highly rated is Condon McGlothlen in Chicago. He is ‘untouchable in the area of reductions in force, ADA, FMLA and disparate impact.’ In 2009, the firm welcomed Minh Vu and Victoria Lipnic as of counsel to its Washington, D.C. office and Robert Stevens to its Atlanta office. Lipnic was previously the U.S. Assistant Secretary of Labor for Employment Standards, where she oversaw the Employment Standards Administration.”

Labor & Employment: Labor Management Relations (Tier 2)
The guide noted that Seyfarth’s “labor-management relations group is one of the very best in the country.” According to Legal 500, “The firm continues to develop depth in the labor relations space including effective collective bargaining expertise. The firm’s attorneys are able to adapt their representation to their clients’ needs. Through the network of offices across the US, their expertise is available in almost every locale. Clients are effusive in their praise. ‘What sets it apart is its focus not only on the results, but also it places great importance on open and effective communication early and throughout the process while keeping in mind aggressive budgets, the bigger picture and the client’s best interests.’ In particular, the firm has extensive experience in the media, retail, hospitality, healthcare, transportation and manufacturing industries and has considerable experience in defending against union corporate campaigns, neutrality and card check demands, consumer boycott activity and other union pressure activities.”

According to the guide, clients “describe the firm as ‘very responsive, thorough and cost effective.’ The firm is also admired for its pragmatic approach. Its attorneys have ‘technical expertise and candor.’ They are ‘willing to give us tough and unpopular advice when necessary’ says one client.” 

Legal 500 also spotlighted five partners in its Management Relations practice. The guide noted, “In Chicago, Bradford Livingston heads the national labor relations practice. Also in Chicago, Kenneth Dolin and David Streck both stand out, with Jeremy Sherman also held in high regard. Peter Chatilovicz in Washington, D.C. is recommended for his knowledge of public sector labor relations.”

Labor & Employment: ERISA Litigation (Tier 3)
Legal 500 pointed out that the firm “may be renowned for its more traditional labor expertise, but there is no denying that it also has an impressive ERISA litigation practice. ‘It offers consistently sound and pragmatic advice’ and ‘continues to make the investment in understanding our business, it is very responsive and very cost conscious’ say clients.”

The guide also noted that “The team of 30 attorneys now has a strong presence in Atlanta, Boston, LA, Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago. Indeed, each of the firm’s offices nationwide includes experienced trial lawyers who have successfully litigated ERISA and other employee benefits cases. The firm is able to leverage the expertise of its benefits and compensation counselors, a group that expanded in March 2009 with the addition of a team of attorneys from Epstein Becker & Green, P.C. The firm has significant in-depth experience in all aspects of benefits litigation, including single-plaintiff and class-action benefit claims, fiduciary duty, discrimination, reporting and disclosure, pension and welfare plan interpretation, executive compensation and stock options, and multiemployer plan claims. The firm’s full-service litigation practice extends to complex issues such as class-action law and procedure, ERISA pre-emption and ERISA’s relationship to state laws, and the nuances of the ERISA remedial scheme.”

The co-chairs of the national practice, New York-based Brian Cousin and Chicago-based Ian Morrison, were highlighted. Clients commented that “Morrison is a ‘smart, hard working attorney who leaves his ego at the door’. Also practicing in the firm’s New York office, Neil Capobianco is recommended.”

Construction (Tier 2)
Legal 500 reported that the firm’s Construction “top-tier’ practice handles dispute resolution in addition to a wide range of non-contentious construction matters. It is highly regarded for its ‘exceptional’ service and experience of matters relating to government contracts. Recent work includes handling multimillion-dollar claims regarding costs, compensation, and defects, and acting as counsel on contract disputes, with many matters involving large, complex claims analyses or surety bond issues.”

Among the firm’s recommended individuals, the guide noted that “[Chip] Ingraham is ‘responsive, practical and straightforward,’ and has served as lead counsel on construction litigation and arbitration across the country. Practice chair Richard McKim Preston has experience of domestic and international disputes and government contracts work. Bennett Greenberg mediates, litigates and arbitrates complex, multi-party construction disputes, while Steven Kmieciak regularly counsels on commercial and government construction contract matters. Joseph Barra and Roger Price provide ‘the highest level of legal representation’ on design and construction disputes.”

Real Estate: Central (Tier 3)
The guide reported that “Seyfarth Shaw’s real estate practice comprises more than 90 lawyers and spans nine states. The firm has reacted to the economic crisis by devoting extra attention to its corporate and institutional clients on distressed loans and properties. Although there has been an increasing focus on restructuring, workouts and enforcement proceedings, the team has continued to carry out transactional work, loan closings, leasing, co-op and condominium work.”

Legal 500 included client feedback, such as from one client who commented that “senior practitioner Joel Rubin ‘knows real estate like no one else – we’ve used him for years and he’s never got it wrong.’ Gregg Dorman is a ‘well known and well respected attorney,’ Dorman currently heads the firm’s new retail and airport development practice. ‘Knowledgeable, timely and very pleasant to work with,’ J. Kelly Bufton has considerable expertise in investor-side instructions including REITs and pension funds. He is also renowned for his knowledge of ERISA and tax-exempt issues.”

Employee Benefits and Compensation (Tier 4)
Legal 500 found that the firm “has an extremely large, Chicago-centered employee benefits and executive compensation practice group, which is also represented at partner level in several locations including Atlanta, New York and Los Angeles. The majority of the 40 partners specialize in the area, although some also litigate in addition to offering advisory practices.”

The guide reported that “clients comment that the ‘service we receive is outstanding, I can count on prompt responses for help and advice,’ and ‘the knowledge of industry practices is very substantial and the quality of the work is excellent’. The group is particularly recommended for instructions in the non-profit sector, and typical instructions include the comprehensive audit and review of a major multi-employer pension plan to ensure compliance with current standards and which investigated such aspects as committee structures, trustee-working practices, and investment policy.

“Recommended lawyers include Chicago-based partner Mary Samsa, who provides ‘practical and thorough advice on retirement and executive compensation’, and of-counsel Joy Sellstrom, who has ‘an in-depth knowledge of welfare benefit laws.’ The March 2009 lateral recruit to the New York office Howard Pianko is ‘particularly good.’ Practice chair Peter Miller brings vast experience and gravitas to the group. Fredric Singerman in Washington, D.C. office is also recommended. The practice group has advised Northrop Grumman, Hilton, Dow, Levi Strauss and Georgia Pacific.”

Published for over twenty years, the Legal 500 series provides the most comprehensive worldwide coverage currently available on legal services providers, in over 100 countries. Used by commercial and private clients, corporate counsel, CEOs, FDs and professional advisers—as well as by other referrers of work both nationally and internationally—the series is widely regarded as offering the definitive judgment of law firm capabilities.

Seyfarth Shaw has over 750 attorneys located in ten offices throughout the United States including Chicago; New York; Boston; Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Houston; Los Angeles; San Francisco and Sacramento; as well as Brussels, Belgium. The firm provides a broad range of legal services in the areas of labor and employment, business services, employee benefits and litigation. Seyfarth Shaw’s practice reflects virtually every industry and segment of the country’s business and social fabric. Clients include over 300 of the Fortune 500 companies, financial institutions, newspapers and other media, hotels, health care organizations, airlines and railroads. The firm also represents a number of federal, state, and local governmental and educational entities. For more information, please visit