Since its founding in 1873, Morgan Lewis & Bockius has massively expanded from one office in Philadelphia to 31 offices across three continents. In the United States, there are 17 offices across 11 states.
Focusses / specialisms
The firm has market leading teams in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Firm wide, it is particularly well known for its work in the structured finance and securitization, hedge funds, oil and gas projects and power project practices.
The banking team acts for lenders and borrowers in refinancing, acquisition financing, DIP financing and general working capital financing.
In capital markets, the firm works on the debt, equity and derivatives sides, representing issuers. In debt capital markets, the firm advises clients on investment grade, convertible and high yield bond issuances.
On the equity side, Morgan Lewis acts on common share offerings, at-the-market offerings, private placements, IPOs and secondary offerings. Forward transactions are regularly seen in the derivatives market.
In investment funds, the firm advises investment firms, pension groups, governments and private equity firms in the formation of real estate funds, sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, ETFs, mutual funds and other types of closed and open-ended funds.
The M&A practice acts on the buy and sell side for strategic acquisitions and joint ventures. The firm also has a private equity practice that handles acquisitions and sale related to private equity clients.
In the projects finance and infrastructure practice, the firm advises project developers and financial sponsors in projects in the energy, power and oil and gas industries. Many of these projects have associated acquisition components.
The restructuring and insolvency practice advises creditors and debtors in out of court financial restructurings and Chapter 11 and 15 proceedings.
Key clients for the firm include Wells Fargo, JP Morgan Chase Bank, Bank of America, Descartes Systems Group, Frontage Laboratories, American Water Works, Pioneer Investment Management, California Public Employees’ Retirement Systems, Nuveen, Park Lawn Corp, Broadway Technology, Sabre, National Grid, Prudential Capital Group, Korea Electric Power, QTCB Noteholder Group, Argentine sovereign bondholders and BNY Mellon.
Research period review: 30th edition (2019/2020)
During the research period, the banking practice acted mostly on the lender side in refinancing and general financing. It represents several borrowers in acquisition finance matters.
While the debt capital markets worked mostly on investment grade corporate bond issuances, the equity capital markets primarily guided issuers on public offerings. The team also worked on a forward transaction in the derivatives practice.
The investment fund practice advised a significant amount of pension groups in fund formations.
The M&A team acted on the buy and sell side in majority strategic acquisitions. Many of these transactions were related to transactions in project development.
The private equity team handled acquisitions related to private equity firms on both the buy and sell side.
The projects team saw a lot of projects in the renewable energy and power industries, especially regarding natural gas, solar and wind infrastructure projects.
In restructuring and insolvency, the firm dealt with largely creditors in out of court financial restructurings. It did also assist in several Chapter 11 proceedings.
In terms of lateral moves, banking and restructuring partner Kristen Campana joined the New York office from Proskauer Rose. Pennsylvania based capital markets partner David Schwartz joined the firm from DLA Piper.
The investment management and private equity funds team had a large amount of hires in 2019. Partners Gregg Buksbaum, William Nash III, Courtney Nowell and Alishia Sullivan joined from Squire Patton Boggs while Joel Seow, who further specialized in hedge funds, joined from Sidley Austin. In the same practice, partners Josh Sterling, Paul McCoy and Georgette Schaefer left, with Sterling joining the CFTC and McCoy and Schaefer retiring.
In the corporate practice, partners Mark Gilligan and Jay Gladis joined also from Squire Patton Boggs. The New York office brought over M&A, project finance and infrastructure partners John Klauberg, Michael Espinoza and Charles Vandenburgh from Bracewell. M&A partner Russell Franklin also joined the New York office from Paul Hastings. Also in the M&A practice, Pennsylvania based partner Aaron Suh joined from Dechert. Texas based M&A partner Janice Davis joined the firm from Bracewell.
The project finance and infrastructure practice saw the addition of three partners in 2019: Ayesha Waheed from Latham & Watkins, Chadi Salloum from Akin Gump and Jennifer Josefson from King & Spalding. Project finance and infrastructure partner Marc Reardon retired during this time as well.
Finally, in restructuring and insolvency, partners Kurt Mayr and Jennifer Feldsher moved to Morgan Lewis from Bracewell.
Deal highlights: 30th edition (2019/2020)
American Water Works $1.1 billion dual tranche 3.45% and 4.15% bond issue
CalPERES / Global Infrastructure Partners CalPERS GIP SMA infrastructure fund
ENMAX $959 million acquisition of Emera Maine
Frontage Laboratories Hong Kong Stock Exchange IPO
ION Investment Group $560 million acquisition of Broadway Technology
Insight Enterprises $1.22 billion financing
Walter Energy Chapter 11 proceedings
Client feedback: 30th edition (2019/2020)
“They are subject matter experts in ABL financing, UCC matters, as well as restructuring, workouts, bankruptcy, etc. In addition to their expertise, they are able to bridge between business, credit, and legal considerations in supporting us to serve our customers’ needs. They are integral to the new loan/customer as well as existing customer management process.”
“Easily accessible, practical solutions based on current market conditions as well as workarounds for unique challenges.”
“Attention to detail, amazing customer service and constantly providing added value.”
“Fully understands ABL issues and downside risks in a bankruptcy. Very thorough, knowledgeable and non-confrontational in overall approach.”
“Very experienced group. If the person we are dealing with does not know the answer to a question, they immediately find the right person. Very professional.”
“Very responsive and reasonable on budgets. ETF team understands all aspects of business and regulatory matters pertaining to ETFs – from all sides of the ecosystem – regulators, exchanges, intermediaries, indexes, and business issues.”
“MLB is extremely commercial and responsive. They understand the client and that allows them to address issues impacting the entire firm.”
“They are comprehensive in approach.”
“Business-minded legal advice.”
“The attorneys at Morgan Lewis were always available, responded very quickly, very attentive to our issues, worked very well with all team members, and very skilled in their respective practices. We felt very confident in their work. In particular, their Partner, Jeff Dinerstein went above and beyond to ensure we resolved all issues and met all intended timelines. He is an invaluable member of our M&A team.”
“Lawyers are very knowledgeable, prompt and personable.”
“The project finance group is excellent with prompt service and strong legal advice in a commercial manner focused on getting things completed and resolved in an efficient manner.”
Restructuring and insolvency
“Global footprint and experienced restructuring professionals. Very good value for money, compared to other large international US law firms. Partner led.”