Sullivan Earns Top Rankings in the 2021 Edition of The Legal 500 United States

Press Release
June 9, 2021

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 2021. 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 2021:

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, Domenick Pugliese

Environment: Transactional 
Victor Baltera, Jeffrey Karp

Scott Kaufman, Douglas Stransky, Joel Telpner

General Commercial Disputes
Patrick Dinardo, Nicholas O'Donnell, Gerry Silver, Laura Steinberg

M&A: Middle-Market (sub-$500m)  
Benjamin Armour, Oded Har-Even, Lewis Segall

Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded Funds 
John Chilton, Nicole Crum, John Hunt, David Leahy, David Mahaffey, Domenick Pugliese, Matthew Van Wormer

Real Estate 
Ashley Brooks, Karen Kepler, Jennifer Schultz

Real Estate - Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) 
Louis Monti, Ameek Ponda, Nicole Rives

Tax - International Tax 
Douglas Stransky, Ameek Ponda

Tax - U.S. Taxes (contentious) 
Richard Jones, David Nagle, Daniel Ryan, Laura Steinberg, Paul Summit

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

Editorial from The Legal 500

Corporate Governance
Split between Washington DC, Boston, and New York, Sullivan acts for a varied mix of public and private companies, non-profit organizations, and mutual fund boards. It focuses on internal governance issues, regulatory compliance, investigations, and shareholder engagement matters. The team’s recent work reflects its ability to advise clients on their securities offerings, disclosure issues, and compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and the Dodd-Frank Act; capital markets group leader Howard Berkenblit is a go-to adviser in this field, and is also a key contact for Israeli companies. Nicole Crum chairs the corporate governance and board advisory group and has extensive experience advising domestic and foreign clients in the financial services sector. David Mahaffey, David Leahy and Domenick Pugliese are all key contacts for investment management advice.

Environment: Transactional
The firm is particularly noted for its ability to assist with environmental due diligence and regulatory issues in the context of REIT transactions. The team boasts additional strength in land use and environmental permitting matters in connection with real estate development projects. Washington DC-based Jeffrey Karp
heads up the department that has recently bolstered its focus on the renewable energy project development front. Victor Baltera in Boston has extensive experience overseeing the environmental aspects of real estate and business transactions. 

One client noted: "Incredible personal touch. The attorneys at Sullivan are as interested in me as a person as they are in my legal challenges and opportunities. It is a big firm with an old fashioned small practice feel."

Sullivan has a strong focus on the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry, representing governments, leading digital currencies, start-ups and established enterprises. Based largely in New York, the 'professional and responsive' team is praised for its 'deep knowledge in cross-border taxation and asset tokenization'. Practice chair Joel Telpner is 'constantly on the bleeding edge of legal perspective as it relates to digital assets'. Other key team members include corporate partner Scott Kaufman, who leads the firm's emerging companies and venture capital practice, and Boston-based Douglas Stransky, who advises on related cross-border tax issues. Scott Kaufman was noted as a key lawyer in the group. Testimonials from clients include:

"Joel is constantly on the bleeding edge of legal perspective as it relates to digital assets. They take sound legal practice and consideration for difference in technology to set the standard for global regulators."
"Joel Telpner is really the best in the digital asset space right now. He has a deep understanding of the technology, industry and laws. His insights are often followed by much larger firms and global regulators."
"The team is headed by Joel Telpner who has been in capital markets for a long time and knows everything about the industry. When he shifted more into fintech focused aspect of financial services, it did not take him too long to become a force. I always have comfort dealing with his company that I can let him tell me what I need to be concerned with in order to proceed."

General Commercial Disputes
Sullivan has particular expertise in securities, insurance and tax litigation, but is also active in employment, trade finance and breach of fiduciary duty claims. Laura Steinberg stands out for her extensive experience in shareholder disputes and matters involving complex fiduciary issues. Practice head Gerry Silver has experience in financial services, IP, employment and insurance coverage disputes. Patrick Dinardo is noted for his expertise in bankruptcy and debt restructuring disputes. Nicholas O'Donnell was noted as a key lawyer in the group.

M&A: Middle-Market (sub-$500m)  
The firm advises on a wide variety of M&A and corporate matters, including governance, compliance and disclosure, stock exchange listing standards and REITs. The firm has carved out a niche representing Israeli companies in securities offerings on the Nasdaq; New York-based Oded Har-Even, who handles numerous public offerings and other corporate work for Israeli companies in the United States, is the key name here. Group lead Lewis Segall regularly advises a range of clients encompassing financial institutions, private equity groups, family-owned businesses, family offices and other investors. Benjamin Armour focuses on corporate and securities law, representing public and private companies in M&A and SEC reporting. 

Mutual/Registered/Exchange-Traded Funds 
The firm has an experienced team in assisting funds and their trustees, independent directors and investment management companies. Co-leader of the firm's investment management group, David Mahaffey,
along with partners Nicole Crum and Matthew Van Wormer, advise the Independent Trustees of the John Hancock Funds, a fund group sponsored by the insurance giant John Hancock. Jointly leading the practice is David Leahy, who has handled recent matters for the independent directors of the Legg Mason Closed-End Funds. Other names to note include John Chilton, John Hunt in Boston and Domenick Pugliese in New York. Client testimonials include:

"Our team led by David Leahy provides outstanding counsel and advice to the Independent Trustees. They have an excellent understanding of the mutual fund industry and our role. They also are responsive to any request and proactive in imparting knowledge to the Trustees."
"Knowledge of the Industry and the law. Excellent advice. Proactive in providing the Trustees with ideas/suggestions. Extremely responsive. David Leahy and John Chilton are our contacts and we are very pleased with them."
"Strong knowledge of the law and regulations. Practical in application and reacting to business needs."

Real Estate
Sullivan has been making significant strides in the development space over recent years, frequently acting for Greater Boston-based developers in affordable housing, life science, student housing and mixed-use projects. Ashley Brooks' practice spans the full range of commercial transactions including sale-leasebacks, workouts, fund formation and portfolio deals. A notable feature of the practice is its dedicated practice group for Opportunity Zones; in this regard, its lawyers have participated in several national thought leadership initiatives. Karen Kepler is noted as a key lawyer in the group. Jennifer Schultz was recognized as a Rising Star for her work in the Land Use/Zoning area.

Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs)
Sullivan runs a diverse transactional practice covering REIT formations and conversions, equity and debt offerings, real estate acquisitions and dispositions, M&A, joint ventures, tax compliance, and sale-leaseback transactions. Moreover, the group has experience working across a variety of structures, including both UpREITs and DownREITs. It also operates within various specialist asset classes such as cold storage, wind and power infrastructure, distributed antenna systems, and vineyards. Boston-based co-head Ameek Ponda directs the firm's tax department and focuses on M&A and cross-border transactions. Louis Monti jointly leads the practice group. Nicole Rives was noted as a key lawyer. Clients commented:

"The team’s strength lies in its responsiveness to and speed within which the respective counsels revert to us with advice and solutions to complex legal and commercial issues."
"Compared to other US law firms, S&W has demonstrated a deep understanding of internal billing processes and payment requirements and their conduct is evidenced of the firm being interested in building a business partnership with our organization for a long time."

Tax - International Tax
The international tax professionals at Sullivan assist US-based companies with outbound investments, expansions, restructuring, IPOs and a range of other corporate transactional and operational matters across EMEA and Asia-Pacific. Boston-based practice head Douglas Stransky and Ameek Ponda also have expertise in public REITs, advising on matters including general tax compliance, acquisitions and disposals, equity and debt offerings, and secured and unsecured financing. The team also advises high-profile individuals and executives on cross-border estate planning and pre-residency tax structuring. Client testimonials include:

"There are three key components that differentiate Sullivan & Worcester. One, response time is incredibly fast. Two, expansive network of handpicked quality contacts in almost every jurisdiction. Three, broad knowledge of subject matter combined with ability to manage multijurisdictional teams of lawyers."
"I trust them. They have never steered me wrong."

Tax - U.S. Taxes (contentious)
Richard Jones is a standout name for SALT controversy proceedings, particularly for corporates with substantial Massachusetts-based operations. Criminal tax matters are handled by David Nagle and trial lawyer Laura Steinberg; ongoing defense mandates in this space include litigation under the False Claims Act for high-profile telecoms clients. Software and technology are also sectors of focus. Daniel Ryan is noted for IRS appeals, investigations and penalty negotiations at the state and federal level. All named attorneys are based in Boston.

Tax - U.S. Taxes (non-contentious)
Sullivan's Boston-based tax department acts for some of the largest public and private REITs in the market. The team is also sought out by a number of private investment funds and multinational corporations for advice on various state and local tax matters, including acquisitions, joint ventures, and securities offerings. The practice is jointly led by Ameek Ashok Ponda, a REIT structuring expert, and Richard Jones, who concentrates on state tax litigation and transactional planning. 

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