Sullivan Earns Top Rankings in the 2019 Edition of The Legal 500 United States

Sullivan Press Release
May 30, 2019

Boston, MA – The Legal 500 United States has recommended 11 of Sullivan's practice areas and 45 of its lawyers in the 2019 edition, including Ameek Ashok Ponda, Lewis Segall and Joel Telpner, who each received a "Leading Lawyer" ranking.

Two lawyers are named to the "Next Generation Lawyers" list and included in The Legal 500 United States 2019 Guide to Up-and-Coming Lawyers Nationwide: Benjamin Armour (M&A/corporate and commercial-middle-market (sub-$500m)) and Nicole Crum (Investment Fund Formation and Management: Mutual/registered/exchange-traded funds). 

The rankings in The Legal 500 focus on the bench strength of the teams within law firms. Responding to feedback from general counsels, who regularly assess the quality of the team as a whole – Legal 500 has included for the first time, a list of rising stars among associates. Sullivan's Avi Rao has been selected as a "Rising Star."

Practice Areas Ranked and Attorneys Recognized

Dispute Resolution - General Commercial Disputes
David Nagle, Gerald Silver, Laura Steinberg

Industry Focus - Environment - Transactional
Victor Baltera, Jeffrey Karp

Investment Fund Formation and Management - Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded Funds
John Chilton, Nicole Crum, John Hunt, David Leahy, David Mahaffey, Matthew Van Wormer

Labor and Employment - Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans/Design
David Guadagnoli, Amy Sheridan

M&A/Corporate and Commercial - M&A-Middle-Market (sub-$500m)
Benjamin Armour, William Curry, Avi Rao, Lewis Segall, Carol Wolff

Media, Technology and Telecoms - Fintech
Scott Kaufman, Joel Telpner

Real Estate
Ashley Brooks, John Gahan III, Karen Kepler, Adam Weisenberg

Real Estate - Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Howard Berkenblit, Lindsey Getz, Louis Monti, Nicole Rives, Avi Rao, Ameek Ashok Ponda, John Steiner

Tax - International Tax
Ameek Ashok Ponda, Douglas Stransky

Tax - U.S. Taxes (contentious)
Judith Edington, Richard Jones, David Nagle, Daniel Ryan

Tax - U.S. Taxes (non-contentious)
Christopher Curtis, Brian Hammell, Richard Jones, Ameek Ashok Ponda, Daniel Ryan

Editorial Comments from The Legal 500

Dispute Resolution - General Commercial Disputes
The lean team at Sullivan is capable of handling a range of commercial disputes around the US; standout areas include tax, art and tech-related litigation. Elsewhere, David Nagle and the team successfully represented Delta Dental in litigation involving insurance premium excise tax before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Gerry Silver heads the practice, and Laura Steinberg is another key contact.

Industry Focus - Environment - Transactional
Sullivan covers environmental matters arising from climate-related business and technology transactions, energy and infrastructure projects, regulatory compliance, contaminated property remediation, and brownfield redevelopments. The team assisted the Ascendas-Singbridge Group with the environmental due diligence of its acquisition of a portfolio of 33 office properties containing approximately 3.3m rentable square feet in Portland, Raleigh and San Diego; it also assisted Cronin Holdings with the environmental permitting of a proposed development of a 22-story mixed-use tower on Boston Harbour. Key contacts are Jeffrey Karp in Washington D.C. and Victor Baltera in Boston. 

Investment Fund Formation and Management - Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded funds
Sullivan fields 'highly experienced lawyers,' who 'will do whatever it takes to get the job done.' The team's core strength lies in advising the independent trustees of funds, and is also noted for assisting clients with ETF mandates. In an example of the latter, David Mahaffey acts as counsel to ETF Managers Trust and the Trust's adviser, ETF Managers Group, having recently assisted with the organization of three new series of the trust, including ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF, which marked the first US ETF to primarily invest in cannabis companies and related businesses. David Leahy is 'highly experienced in the mutual funds field,' and continues to advise the trustees of the Legg Mason Partners Funds Fixed Income Funds, with $94bn under management. Boston-based John Hunt and John Chilton advise the Pear Tree Funds and First Western Funds, respectively. Other notable names include Nicole Crum and Matthew Van Wormer in New York. Other than Hunt in Boston and Van Wormer in New York, the team is based in the Washington D.C. office.

Labor and Employment - Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans/Design
Sullivan's practice received client praise for its expertise in ERISA matters including prohibited transactions, Title I fiduciary and other compliance issues. Practice head David Guadagnoli and Amy Sheridan also advise on healthcare reform and HIPAA privacy and security requirements, IRAs, deferred compensation agreements and ESOP plans for large and small employers. The team’s client base includes Iron Mountain, ING, Cambridge Trust and The RMR Group.

M&A/Corporate and Commercial - M&A-Middle-Market (sub-$500m)
Sullivan 'provides amazing quality of service and expertise that is always on-point and with a practical business grounding.' The team's clients include large public companies with aggressive acquisition programs, buyout firms, foreign enterprises expanding into the US, and technology companies and family-owned businesses seeking liquidity; it is also well known for advising some of the country’s largest public and private REITs in M&A and regularly works alongside the firm's tax planners on corporate transactions and M&A deals. In addition, the practice has carved out a niche representing Israeli companies in securities offerings on Nasdaq as well as other corporate work in the US. The team assisted Delaware corporation Newbury Taleo Group, which specializes in talent acquisition solutions, with its stock sale to Evolutionary Systems, a subsidiary of Evosys. Lewis Segall heads the corporate and M&A practice group; his clients include companies in the renewable energy, advertising, healthcare, communications, manufacturing and software industries. Other key attorneys are the 'standout attorney' Wiliam CurryCarol Wolff, who is highly rated for advising privately held middle-market companies on domestic and cross-border M&A, joint ventures and investments; and Benjamin Armour, who advises clients through all stages of the corporate life cycle. The associate to note is Avi Rao

Media, Technology and Telecoms - Fintech
Led by corporate and finance partner Joel Telpner, the team at Sullivan has particular expertise handling matters relating to blockchain technology, including cryptocurrency. The practice advised Oneiro on all stages of the launch of a new cryptocurrency, ndau, including commercial and regulatory issues associated with its ICO. In another work highlight, Telpner led a team which advised Gibraltar Stock Exchange on regulatory matters relating to the launch of the Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange, the first regulated and licensed token sale platform and digital asset exchange operated by an EU-regulated stock exchange. Other key names to note include head of emerging companies and venture capital practice Scott Kaufman who joined the practice.

Real Estate and Construction - Real estate investment trusts (REITs)
Sullivan's Boston-based group advises on REIT formations and conversions, debt and equity offerings, financings, real estate acquisitions, M&A, joint ventures, tax compliance, and sale-leaseback transactions. It regularly provides REIT and tax counsel for the largest public REIT in the country, American Tower Corporation; other clients include Hospitality Properties Trust, Senior Housing Properties Trust and Government Properties Income Trust (GPIT). The team advised GPIT on its merger agreement with Select Income REIT. Louis Monti leads the REIT practice group, Ameek Ashok Ponda directs the tax department, John Steiner co-directs the real estate department and Howard Berkenblit leads the capital markets group. Nicole Rives and Lindsey Getz are also experienced attorneys, Avi Rao is a highly regarded associate.

Tax - International Tax
Practice head Douglas Stransky concentrates on international tax planning. Ameek Ashok Ponda is another key name and acts as tax counsel to a number of REITs including, American Tower Corporation, Equinix and Iron Mountain. Olympic Games consultant The Broadstone Group is also a client. Ponda and Stransky are based in Boston. 

Tax: U.S. Taxes (contentious)
Sullivan represents companies and individuals in state and local tax matters against the IRS, with a particular focus on Massachusetts. The practice handles tax controversies at all stages, including ruling requests, audits, administrative appeals, and trial and appellate litigation. Daniel Ryan and practice lead David Nagle represented Delta Dental, a large dental insurance business with 74 million customers, in litigation seeking a multimillion-dollar refund of insurance premium excise tax from the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Other key names include Judith Edington and Richard Jones.

Tax: U.S. Taxes (non-contentious)
Sullivan's tax attorneys are ‘very responsive, knowledgeable and always up-to-date with the latest tax developments’. The team has a strong focus on REIT mandates, but also advises on estate planning, and domestic and international M&A transactions. Ameek Ashok Ponda acted for Government Properties Income Trust in its merger with Select Income REIT, and is also advising Zayo Group Holdings on its ongoing exploration of conversion to a REIT. David Nagle and Christopher Curtis have considerable experience in transactional tax matters, tax planning for corporations and private individuals, and advocacy before federal and state tax authorities. Further, the team assisted American Tower Corporation, Equinix, Iron Mountain and several other large public REITs on REIT conversions, related tax structuring and financing matters. Brian Hammell and Daniel Ryan were promoted to partner in January 2018. 

About Sullivan
Sullivan & Worcester (Sullivan) is a leading AmLaw 200 law firm. With over 200 attorneys in Boston, London, New York, Tel Aviv and Washington, DC, Sullivan guides organizations that are rewriting the rules. Sullivan’s clients, including Fortune 500 companies and emerging businesses, rely on Sullivan’s strategic vision, comfort with complexity and intense focus on results. As a global law firm, Sullivan’s reach extends beyond the United States. With international practices in the United Kingdom and Israel, Sullivan has represented clients around the world and has a deep bench for working on a variety of matters and issues affecting clients globally. 

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