Sullivan Earns Top Rankings in the 2020 Edition of The Legal 500 United States

Press Release
June 10, 2020

Boston, MA – Sullivan is pleased to announce that its practice groups and attorneys have been highly ranked and recommended in The Legal 500 United States 2020. Peers and more than 300,000 corporate counsel have been surveyed and interviewed globally in the past 12 months to assess law firms’ overall visibility and reputation, culminating in detailed rankings and editorial. The Legal 500 is an independent guide, and firms and individuals are recommended purely on merit.

Sullivan's lawyers received the following rankings in The Legal 500 United States 2020:

Leading Lawyers: The Legal 500’s Guide to Outstanding Lawyers Nationwide

Ameek Ashok Ponda - Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Lewis Segall - M&A: Middle-Market (Sub-$500M)
Joel Telpner - Fintech

Next Generation Lawyers: The Legal 500’s Guide to Up-and-Coming Lawyers Nationwide

Benjamin Armour - M&A: Middle-Market (Sub $500M)
Nicole Crum - Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded Funds

Practice Areas Ranked and Attorneys Recognized

Corporate Governance
Howard Berkenblit, Nicole Crum, David Leahy, David Mahaffey

Environment: Transactional
Victor Baltera, Jeffrey Karp

Fintech
Benjamin Armour, Scott Kaufman, Mari Tomunen, Joel Telpner

General Commercial Disputes 
Jeffrey Gleit, Nicholas O'Donnell, Gerry Silver, Laura Steinberg, Paul Summit

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: Middle-Market (sub-$500m)  
Benjamin Armour, David Danovitch, Angela Gomes, Thomas Huszar, Scott Miller, John Riley, Lewis Segall

Real Estate
John Balboni, Ashley Brooks

Real Estate - Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 
Brian Hammell, David Kaplan, Louis Monti, Ameek Ashok Ponda

Tax - International Tax
Douglas Stransky

Tax - U.S. Taxes (contentious)
Caroline Kupiec, Richard Jones, David Nagle

Tax - U.S. Taxes (non-contentious)
Joseph Darby III, Richard Jones, Ameek Ashok Ponda

Editorial Comments from The Legal 500

Corporate Governance
The team at Sullivan routinely advises on the corporate governance aspects of M&A and securities transactions. Of recent note, the team has been especially active in board refreshment and diversity initiatives, two growing areas of interest in this space. Key figures in the team include Howard Berkenblit, who specializes in the governance aspects of securities transactions, and Nicole Crum, David Mahaffey and David Leahy. Leahy and Mahaffey jointly lead the firm's investment management practice, and Crum is also active in the investment management team, handling governance matters for mutual fund managers, investment advisers and special board committees.

Employee Benefits, Executive Compensation and Retirement Plans: Design
Sullivan provides advisory services on the breadth of employee benefits and executive compensation to REITs, broker-dealers, public companies and financial services clients. Ongoing matters for practice head David Guadagnoli and Amy Sheridan involve designing and implementing deferred compensation arrangements (including compliance with 409A and 457A), assisting with DoL audits, ERISA fiduciary advice on REIT structuring, welfare plan structuring, along with severance and change-in-control negotiations for senior executives. Client testimonials include:

*Always 100% accessible, very solution oriented and no question is too big or too small to tackle.
*The team I work with is extremely approachable and treats me with respect no matter how trivial my inquiries are.
*David Guadagnoli is our main contact and he is a great partner to our firm. He always keeps us up to date on current issues and is extremely detail oriented and thorough in every analysis. He really puts his clients first and is always mindful of deadlines. He is very competent and I have never doubted his advice or recommendations.
*David Guadagnoli has hands-on experience in the areas I have reached out to him for. He offers a common-sense approach and does not try to sell services that aren’t necessary. He is not an alarmist, but is certainly on top of his game.

Environment: Transactional
The environment, energy and natural resources practice at Sullivan is proficient across a range of transactional work, but has particular experience advising on environmental issues arising in the real estate sector. Other areas of activity include permitting and government approvals, as well as environmental due diligence on project development, M&A, commercial agreements, financing and other corporate transactions. Jeffrey Karp leads the team from Washington DC; he advises on environmental compliance both in domestic and cross-border transactions. A name to note is Victor Baltera, who has wider-ranging experience of environmental, zoning and land use issues arising in real estate transactions. Testimonials from clients from include:

*Strengths and key capabilities include being in front of environmental regulatory changes and proactively informing clients and consultants of how those changes may impact transactions and transaction agreements.
*The team is particularly skilled in communicating complicated technical information in narratives that are more easily understood by real estate and corporate environmental department contacts, including focusing consultants on aspects that are mots important for transaction contexts.
*Jeffrey Karp is an excellent advisor.

Fintech
Rated for its 'blockchain expertise,' Sullivan is a firm to note for regulatory advice relating to cryptocurrencies. In addition acting for fintech companies in this space, the group also advises international governments including the Government of the Marshall Islands, which it advised on the development of a sovereign blockchain-based currency. The service group is headed by Joel Telpner and includes corporate partner Scott Kaufman, who heads the emerging companies and venture capital practice, and Benjamin Armour and of counsel Roy Andersen, who specialize in securities law and bank regulatory compliance matters, respectively. 'Excellent' associate Mari Tomunen is another name to note for blockchain and cryptocurrency advice. One client noted, "Mari Tomunen (who is excellent) and Joel Telpner are both very sharp."

General Commercial Disputes
Recent work in this field includes the firm's handling of a case for the Export Import Bank of the Republic of China filed in the Southern District of New York against five sovereign nations for collection of $500m in debt to China; Paul Summit led on this matter. Nicholas O'Donnell has also carved out an impressive niche in Art Law, especially related to the German-speaking world. In a widely publicized case, he is representing the descendants of Jewish art dealers seeking the return of the Nazi-looted Guelph Treasure, a matter now appealed by Germany to the US Supreme Court. Other key lawyers include litigation department head Gerry Silver, nationwide chair of the bankruptcy and restructuring group Jeffrey Gleit and Laura Steinberg, whose practice focuses on complex regulatory and fiduciary issues. Comments from clients include:

*The advice provided is more practical and commercially focused than most other firms with which I’ve dealt. Instead of providing innumerable theoretical scenarios, the advice hones in on the realistic decision points and provides clear direction on the pros and cons of these specific issues. I also very much appreciate the firm’s willingness to put itself on the line by providing its own recommendation on how to proceed.
*Gerry Silver has always provided immediate, personalized attention. He has an in-depth knowledge of our business and many of the business contacts, enabling him to bring a level of advice typically only found with in-house counsel.

M&A/Corporate and Commercial - M&A-Middle-Market (sub-$500m)
Sullivan is noted for its niche expertise in advising Israeli companies on securities offerings on Nasdaq, and in this regard the team often finds itself acting for clients in the tech sector. Further sector strengths include financial services, communications, manufacturing, defense, information storage, life sciences, media and communications, healthcare, and renewable energy. Practice head Lewis Segall has experience of public and private financing transactions, as well as domestic and international M&A. Benjamin Armour is a contact for public company matters and SEC reporting, in addition to his more traditional transactional work. One client noted, "the engagement was brought in on budget," while another stated, "they provided senior level talent who had significant experience and ability."

Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded funds
Sullivan is well known for its solid experience in assisting clients with ETF matters and advising the independent trustees of funds. In the latter space, John Chilton and joint practice heads David Leahy and David Mahaffey provide ongoing advice to the independent directors of the Sierra Income Corporation, a closed-end investment management company. Another name to note is John Hunt, who continues to advise the Pear Tree Funds and its trustees. Nicole Crum and Matthew Van Wormer are also key contacts. 

Real Estate
Sullivan acts for private and institutional investors in joint venture investment and development, and commercial leasing, bringing together expertise in corporate real estate matters with complementary skill sets in land use, zoning and environmental law. Jointly headed by John Balboni and Ashley Brooks, the real estate group also recently launched a dedicated opportunity zone service group, composed of lawyers from the firm's real estate and affordable housing, tax and corporate departments.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Distinguished by its combination of ‘business practicality’ and ‘top-of-the-range industry knowledge’, Sullivan acts across the spectrum of formations and conversions, equity offerings, secured and unsecured financings, M&A, joint ventures, tax compliance and sale-leaseback transactions. The department is also noted for its experience of an impressive variety of real estate sectors, including business and cold storage facilities, communication towers, data centers, hotels, industrial, office, retail, senior living, energy and agricultural properties. Practice co-head Ameek Ashok Ponda is hailed as a ‘go-to on REIT and international tax structuring’; he leads the department together with Louis Monti. Testimonials from clients include the following:

*They act as our company’s primary REIT and international tax structuring counsel. Business practicality combined with top of industry knowledge make them unique.
*Ameek Ponda is the go-to on REIT and international tax structuring matters. He is practical, business-friendly and gets results. Brian Hammell has these same attributes.
*This firm has a good reputation with Singapore based companies forming REIT’s in the USA. We started using them in 2018, and are very pleased with their services.
*David Kaplan is very knowledgeable about the subject matter, and replies to questions promptly. In the area of taxation, he demonstrated that he was more knowledgeable and accurate with his advice than our KPMG REIT Tax Partner.

Tax - International Tax
Sullivan is rated by clients for its 'fantastic network of experts' operating in key jurisdictions around the world. The international tax group is led by Douglas Stransky, who has particular expertise in tax structuring for private investment managers, REITs and other investment funds. In addition to its transactional work, the team has also been active in restructuring foreign businesses in response to the 2017 TCJA. Stransky is also a member of the firm's fintech and blockchain group, and has developed a strong reputation in the taxation of digital assets. Client testimonials include:

*Each attorney has a broad knowledge base that spans many jurisdictions. They have depth in key areas in each jurisdiction. They have a fantastic network of experts with at least one in every jurisdiction I have ever needed from them and we operate in over 30 jurisdictions globally. Depth of local legal and tax requirements typically revolves around M&A type topics, but there are many other topics that they are very fluent in as well. They are always on the cutting edge of new developments.
*Doug Stransky is a fantastic International Tax expert. The key thing for me about Doug is that I do not have to have half a dozen people on the phone to get a multijurisdictional issue resolved.  I can discuss it with Doug, and he will seek out information from experts he needs, and then gets back to you very quickly with an answer.

Tax: U.S. Taxes (contentious)
Sullivan advises businesses and individuals engaged in disputes with the IRS, as well as with state and local tax authorities, in particular the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The firm manages tax controversies at all stages, including ruling requests, audits, and trial and appellate litigation. Leader of the tax group Richard Jones concentrates on state tax litigation, and David Nagle focuses on representing taxpayers in disputes with the IRS and the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. Caroline Kukpiec joined from KPMG in January 2019. 

Tax: U.S. Taxes (non-contentious)
The 'client-centered' tax team at Sullivan is well known for acting for public and private REITs, both on transactions and formations. Primary contacts in the team include joint practice heads Richard Jones and Ameek Ashok Ponda, who is particularly noted for his expertise in REITs taxation, but also has experience of cross-border financing transactions and M&A. Another name to note is Joseph Darby, who acts for corporates and high-net-worth in business and real estate transactions, and is rated in particular for his 'ability to digest new tax legislation.' Client comments include:

*The firm is highly client centered, providing great service, including frequent education sessions for both clients and others in the Boston community.
*Jay Darby is a unique individual with respect to his ability to thoroughly digest new tax legislation and apply it to client’s complex situations.

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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