Giant among Mortals
Kind of like Oprah or Beyoncé, Skadden is a
giant among mortals. Known by its one name, it sits atop its world,
continuously topping the AmLaw 100 as one of the most profitable
law firms. It was the first law firm to report $1 billion in annual
revenue-now an industry brass ring. But it's not just about the
money or numbers-Skadden consistently draws top accolades from the
most esteemed rankings: Chambers, The American
Lawyer, The National Law Journal, and the
Financial Times. The firm also gets regular annual kudos
from industry-specific publications-such as Corporate Board
Member's ranking of "America's Best Corporate Law Firms"-and
Much of Skadden's ethos can be attributed to
Joe Flom, who started at Skadden three months after its 1948
founding (legend has it that Flom's early wages came from a weekly
pinochle pot) and whose name graced the door a mere 13 years later.
Flom-who was active in the firm almost up until his passing, at 87,
in February 2011-participated in most of the major M&A deals of
the 70s and 80s, establishing Skadden's hard-nosed style and
building a reputation for aggressive strategies. Flom also
spearheaded the firm's practice diversification efforts from its
original M&A base, and Skadden now boasts top-notch
restructuring, capital markets, IP, white-collar defense, and
commercial, securities, and products liability litigation groups.
In recognition of Flom's imprint on the legal industry, The
American Lawyer named him one of "The Lawyers of the Century"
Multifaceted as it is, Skadden's forte is
still M&A. Deals such as DuPont-Conoco, U.S. Steel-Marathon
Oil, and most notably the 1989 takeover of RJR Nabisco launched the
firm onto the top rung of American law firms. Recent notable
M&A deals handled by the firm include representing DuPont in
its $130 billion merger of equals with Dow Chemical and EMC Corp.
in its $67 billion sale to Dell. It's not surprising then that
Skadden became the first law firm to ever handle over $1 trillion
in global announced M&A deals in a single year (2015) and that
it's consistently ranked in the top tier for M&A by
Chambers USA, Chambers Global, U.S.
News-Best Lawyers, and The Legal 500. In 2016,
Chambers USA gave the firm an Award for Excellence for
having the nation's top M&A practice.
Skadden has closed hundreds of complex, path-breaking and
first-of-their-kind transactions throughout North America, Latin
America, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East involving
energy-related and other infrastructure facilities. Recent notable
representations include First Solar in the formation and IPO of
8point3 Energy Partners, the first-ever joint venture-sponsored
yieldco; South Korea's Hanwha Q CELLS in the largest solar panel
supply agreement completed to date; L1 Energy in its $1.6 billion
acquisition of E.ON E&P Norge AS, an owner of Norwegian North
Sea oil and gas exploration and production assets; Google in a tax
equity investment in Utah solar project Red Hills; and Pattern
Energy Group in obtaining a credit facility for the development of
one of the largest solar projects in Latin America. In 2015,
Skadden was selected as one of Law360's Project Finance
Groups of the Year, in recognition of its "well-earned reputation
as a go-to firm for energy and other companies that need creative
financing to get big projects done."
Don't be deceived by Skadden's M&A
foundation-the firm's litigators are first-rate. The firm
successfully negotiated nonprosecution agreements while navigating
numerous complex and novel legal issues in the U.S. and Switzerland
for 10 of 80 Swiss banks in connection with the Department of
Justice's Swiss Bank Program. Skadden also raised a novel legal
challenge addressing the constitutionality of the SEC's use of
administrative law judges on behalf of Stilwell Value LLC and its
principal and managing member. The firm also has an active London
dispute team and a top-ranked Asia Pacific international
arbitration and litigation group, and has handled major matters
stateside for the likes of Barclays, BlackRock, Crédit Agrícole,
Daimler, Deloitte, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG, Pfizer, Société Générale,
Skadden has been an MVP in recent high-profile
sports litigation. After an audio tape of former LA Clippers owner
Donald Sterling making racist remarks made its way to the media,
the NBA fined Sterling $2.5 million banned him from the NBA for
life, which prohibited his participation in the business operations
or management of the Clipoers. When Sterling challenged the fine,
ban, and the sale of the Clippers to Microsoft's Steve Ballmer,
Skadden convinced the federal district court to dismiss the charges
against the firm's clients, the NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver.
The firm also secured precedential rulings in a Third Circuit
affirmance and a permanent injunction on behalf of the NCAA, NBA,
NFL, NHL, and MLB, which successfully thwarted a years-long attempt
by the state of New Jersey to bypass clear restrictions on sports
gambling in state casinos and racetracks.
For 16 consecutive years-every year the rankings have been
published-Skadden has been named the top U.S. law firm in
Corporate Board Member magazine's annual survey of
"America's Best Corporate Law Firms." The annual survey asks
directors of publicly traded companies to weigh in on current
governance and legal matters and recognizes firms providing the
"highest caliber of legal advice and consulting."
High Five That Brand
Skadden has taken the top spot for five consecutive years in the
"BTI Brand Elite 2016: Client Perceptions of the Best-Branded Law
Firms" report, based on interviews conducted by BTI Consulting
Group, Inc. with more than 600 corporate counsel.
Navigating Neutral for Swiss Banks
Skadden was at the forefront in steering foreign financial
institutions through the U.S. Department of Justice's Program for
Non-Prosecution Agreements or Non-Target Letters for Swiss Banks.
In 2015, a cross-border team from the firm's D.C., New York,
London, Frankfurt and Munich offices successfully guided 10
participating banks through the requirements of this
first-of-its-kind program, advising on numerous complex and novel
legal issues presented in the U.S. and Switzerland, and securing
non-prosecution agreements on behalf of all its clients.
Triple Crown for Innovation
For the third time in six years, the Financial Times'
"Innovative Lawyers" report named Skadden the most innovative law
firm in North America. The firm has ranked either first or second
in each of the FT's six annual U.S./North America
"Innovative Lawyers" reports-an accomplishment no other firm comes
close to matching.
Taking Noble Global
Skadden was among those honored with the "Global Citizenship
Award (Grand Prize)" at The American Lawyer "Global Legal
Awards" for its role representing Indian guest workers in the
largest series of labor trafficking cases in U.S. history. The firm
also garnered four other awards recognizing "the most distinguished
international work," including "Global Dispute of the Year,
Investigations"; "Global M&A Deal of the Year, China"; "Global
M&A Deal of the Year, Ireland"; and "Global Pro Bono Dispute of
For the fifth consecutive year, Skadden was named among BTI
Consulting's "Fearsome Foursome"-the four elite law firm litigation
practices that general counsel would "least want to face across the
table in litigation"-in a survey of more than 300 corporate counsel
at the world's largest companies. The "Litigation Outlook 2016"
survey also noted Skadden as one of three "powerhouses" in BTI's
Securities and Finance Litigation category for five years running.
Skadden is the only firm named to both lists in all five editions
of the report.