At a Glance
The money’s good
“Everyone wants you to do well and are appreciative when you do”
Supportive, friendly environment
“Historically not much diversity in the workload but I think that is changing”
”It can be difficult to compete with some of the UK firms”
About Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson LLP (Europe)
With just 500 lawyers, Fried Frank is smallish by some measures, but it remains an international legal power that excels in corporate, tax, litigation and real estate work. The firm has a long transatlantic history: its London office, established in 1970, was one of the first European offices of a US law firm.
An impressive crew
Fried Frank traces its history to the turn of the 20th century, with such predecessor firms as Riegelman & Bach, Reigelman Hess & Strasser, and Strasser Spiegelberg Fried and Frank. Famous partners include Sam Harris, who worked for the US Securities and Exchange Commission during its start in the New Deal era of the 1930s and later helped the United States prosecute war criminals in the Nuremberg trials, and Sargent Shriver, a former US ambassador to France well known for directing the Peace Corps in the early 1960s. Growing from its roots in New York City’s German-Jewish business community, the firm established itself in the nation’s capital, opening a Washington DC office in 1949. From its perch inside the Beltway, the firm built a robust business in Indian Claims Act matters, later adding specialties in regulation and enforcement, tax, government contracts and white-collar crime. By 1971, name partners Walter Fried, Hans Frank, Sam Harris, Sargent Shriver and Leslie Jacobson were all on the masthead.
Unlike many of its rivals in the post-WWII era, Fried Frank grew without the support of a few major legacy clients. Instead, the firm worked on a case-by-case basis, representing the likes of Getty Oil, General Electric, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. In the 1980s the firm earned household-name status with its representation of Ivan Boesky; Fried Frank partner Harvey Pitt was by Boesky’s side as he pleaded guilty to the SEC’s insider trading charges.
Adopting a global outlook
By the 1990s—following several periods of rapid growth—Fried Frank was advising nearly all of the major investment banking firms and broker-dealers. Fried Frank was also representing major accounting firms and insurance companies in securities regulation, compliance, and corporate governance matters—the firm was involved in nearly every high-profile securities enforcement matter—while also building a solid reputation for M&A business. International expansion has been a key component of the firm’s strategy, and London was Fried Frank’s first stop. Today, Fried Frank has seven offices, one in each of the world’s key strategic financial centres: New York, Washington, London, Paris, Frankfurt, Hong Kong and Shanghai.
Small office, big cases
Since the start of the 21st century, Fried Frank’s Europe offices have undergone some changes, with lawyers from three major teams, including bankruptcy and capital markets, departing the Paris and Frankfurt offices. London, however, has seen major growth, with the office adding lawyers who specialise in complex corporate transactions, financial services industry regulation, litigation and antitrust.
Fried Frank’s London lawyers continue to focus on the firm’s key areas of strength: M&A, capital markets, finance and real estate. Some very large matters have come out of the relatively small office, including M&A work for Goldman Sachs and AEA Investors. The firm acted for Permira Advisers in connection with a deal that took News Corporation’s public subsidiary, NDS Group, private, and has handled a number of transactions for Virgin Media, including a £1.5 billion bond issue, part of a debt restructuring programme; the $8.8 billion NTL Incorporated merger with Telewest that created the predecessor company to Virgin; the £962 million acquisition of Virgin Mobile; and the sale of Virgin Media Television to British Sky Broadcasting.
Eye on pharma
In April 2011, a cross-departmental team from the firm’s London, New York and Washington DC offices helped pharmaceutical giant Merck conclude a $430 agreement to acquire Inspire Pharmaceuticals. Inspire is a specialty pharmaceutical company that develops and markets ophthalmic products.
Two months earlier, Fried Frank represented Goldman Sachs and Credit Suisse in connection with their work as financial advisors to Genzyme Corp, which was purchased by Sanofi-Aventis SA for approximately $20.1 billion, making the transaction the second-largest biotech deal in history.
In February 2011, the firm helped complete another pharma merger when Axcan Holdings, Inc, a US-based company that makes drugs for gastrointestinal conditions, acquired Eurand NV for approximately $587 million. Fried Frank represented Goldman Sachs as financial advisor to the Amsterdam-based Eurand, a specialty pharmaceutical company, which develops products for the treatment of cystic fibrosis and gastrointestinal-related diseases.
A ripping good yarn
In May 2011, Fried Frank advised a group of banks including UBS, CCB International and Bank of America Merrill Lynch in connection with the $383 million Hong Kong IPO of Billion Industrial Holdings Limited, a chemical fibre manufacturer based in China. Billion Industrial Holdings develops and manufactures polyester filament yarns for sale to fabric and textile manufacturers.
In another transaction drawing on lawyers from the London, Hong Kong and New York offices, the firm advised UBS AG, Hong Kong Branch, in connection with the issuance of $300 million of senior notes in January 2011 by Hopson Development Holdings Limited, one of China’s largest property developers.
99 City Road
London EC1Y 1AX
Phone: 44 (0)20 7972 9600
Chairperson: Valerie Ford Jacob
Robert O. Edwards, Esq.
Director of Attorney Recruitment & Development
Tel: 1 212 859 8671
New York, NY
London, United Kingdom
Hong Kong, Hong Kong
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