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Most innovative North American law firms 2015: Protecting clients business

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Award level
Firm
Originality
Rationale
Impact
Total innovation score
Comment
StandoutSullivan & Cromwell991028The firm won a victory for Standard Chartered Bank and the wider New York banking system by confirming the status of the "separate entity" rule. This protects banks from being forced to hand over assets in overseas branches to judgment creditors in New York.
StandoutAkin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld910827The firm reinvigorated a stalled effort to pass the Tribal General Welfare Exclusion Act and used this to renegotiate with the Internal Revenue Service. This protected the Seneca people from an unfair tax audit while also protecting the sovereignty of the tribe. Commended: Allison Binney
StandoutSkadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom99826Lawyers protected hedge fund Stillwell Value from a Securities and Exchange Commission action by arguing that the administrative forum used was unconstitutional.
Highly commendedBaker McKenzie88925The firm, with co-counsel Mayer Brown, protected technology client Altera and the wider industry from unreasonable Treasury regulations.
Highly commendedCooley89825Lawyers protected Gilead’s rights to a multibillion-dollar Hepatitis C drug. Commended: Michelle Rhyu
Highly commendedCooley99725Representing energy company Kinder Morgan, the firm refocused a lengthy litigation from the amount of rent owed to the underlying right to collect that rent.
Highly commendedMayer Brown88925The firm used procedural tool Article 77 to an unprecedented level representing the Bank of New York Mellon, winning court approval for an $8.5bn settlement.
Highly commendedFreshfields Bruckhaus Deringer89724Lawyers won a surprise acquittal for former UBS banker Raoul Weil. They negotiated with the Swiss government to allow defence witnesses to testify from Switzerland.
Highly commendedGibson, Dunn & Crutcher78924The firm litigated on behalf of financial service company CLS to overturn an insufficiently detailed patent to a computer programme.
Highly commendedPillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman89724The firm guided FireEye to being the first cybersecurity product certified and protected from some liabilities under the anti-terrorism Safety Act. Commended: Brian Finch
CommendedDLA Piper78823Lawyers overturned a decision not to liquidate two insolvent Pennsylvania long-term-care companies. This avoided a lengthy three-year appeals process.
CommendedKirkland & Ellis79723Lawyers established that raisin farmer Marvin Horne should be protected from an unconstitutional agricultural control order.
CommendedPaul Hastings78823By applying a high-stakes litigation approach, lawyers secured a first win for a branded drug company at the Inter Partes Review, a new forum for challenging patent validity.
CommendedLatham & Watkins78722The firm established the the London Metal Exchange was carrying out regulatory and not commercial activity and was entitled to protection under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act.
CommendedMayer Brown78722In protecting UCB and Schwartz Pharma from the practice of alleging injury from a branded drug where only the generic had been used, lawyers convinced over 100 courts to rule in their favour.
CommendedProskauer Rose77822Lawyers convinced the Supreme Court to adopt a standard that struck a balance between the Court’s appetite for change and protecting their healthcare client Biosig’s patent.
CommendedVinson & Elkins68822Lawyers argued before the Supreme Court that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act applies only to criminal claims, protecting logistical services company KBR from civil claims.
CommendedWhite & Case78722Lawyers thwarted a “product hopping” challenge by pharma company Mylan to a patent held by their client Warner Chilcott / Actavis. Commended: Mark Gidley
CommendedCovington & Burling68721Representing Eli Lilly in the antidepressant Cymbalta litigation, lawyers forced an individual case approach to avoid a threatened massive litigation.
CommendedDavies Ward Phillips & Vineberg68721Won exoneration for client Bruce Walter, accused of insider trading and acting against the public interest by the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC).
CommendedDickstein Shapiro78621Lawyers proved that an unsigned document filed with the Court was authorised. This created the potential for $1.5bn to be returned to the General Motors bankruptcy estate.
CommendedHausfeld78621Lawyers established that the National Collegiate Athletics Association was not above antitrust laws and that athletes should be compensated with the full cost of college attendance.
CommendedJenner & Block76821Representing Fox Network, the firm argued that Aereo's transmissions to subscribers over the internet represented an illegal transmission of protected works.
CommendedPaul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison68721Lawyers ended a decade-long litigation and saved Pfizer from a multibillion-dollar exposure by taking an aggressive approach to the testimony of the plaintiff's loss causation expert.
CommendedSkadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom77721When DuPont was faced with a takeover bid from a previously undefeated activist-investor, lawyers fought it off by galvanising smaller shareholders to vote.
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