Whiteford, Taylor & Preston and 21 Lawyers Named as Leaders in the Legal Profession by Chambers and Partners

Date: May 31, 2016

Baltimore -- Whiteford, Taylor & Preston is pleased to announce that, in addition to ranking the firm highly in its 2016 list of Maryland's leading firms and business lawyers, Chambers and Partners have added new Whiteford lawyers in Maryland and Delaware. 

The practice group rankings are based on the high rankings of 21 individual lawyers.

In Maryland, the firm is recognized in eight separate categories of practice: Bankruptcy/Restructuring; Corporate/M&A; Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation; Labor & Employment; Litigation: General Commercial; Real Estate; and new for 2016, Real Estate: Land Use; and Intellectual Property. Thomas Barbuti was rated “Senior Statesmen” in the practice area of Real Estate. New additions for 2016 include Deborah Diehl in Corporate/M&A; G. Scott Barhight and John Gontrum in Real Estate: Land Use; and Steven Tiller in Intellectual Property.

In Delaware, Virginia and the District of Columbia, six lawyers were ranked in the area of Bankruptcy/Restructuring and include:  Bradford Englander, Michael Hastings and Christopher Jones in Virginia; Christopher Samis and L. Katherine Good, who were rated “Up and Coming” in Delaware; and David Kuney, as a “Senior Statesman” in DC. 

The quotes below come from sources interviewed by the Chambers researchers; the rest of the descriptive text comes from Chambers' editorial commentary.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring – Maryland

Band 1 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP 
What the team is known for: Highly regarded practice, with a strong reputation for advising creditors, debtors and trustees on a range of restructuring and bankruptcy matters. Represents clients on a number of contentious issues, including asset sales, debtor-in-possession financing and fraudulent conveyance-related matters.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They're detail-oriented, responsive, and persuasive to the court in their arguments."
"They're very fine lawyers, who get the big picture and the minutiae. Very easy to work with."

Work highlights: Advising VFP Investments in various court proceedings across the USA relating to its role as court-appointed receiver for a business in default, a $13 million matter. 
Successfully advised the trustee of RoomStore Furniture on a number of preferential transfer claims, as well as a breach of fiduciary duty case against a former chairman of the board.

Notable practitioners  

Paul Nussbaum is the head of the firm's bankruptcy team, and is known for his work representing debtors and creditors on contentious matters. He recently represented American Bank against claims by Brandt, the plan administrator for Equipment Acquisition Resources seeking to recover $1.5 million in pre-petition transfers, alleging the transfers were made fraudulently.

Kevin Hroblak is the co-head of the firm's litigation team, and is best known for advising on disputes in the bankruptcy sphere. One source describes him as "a tremendous guy: very affable, with a very keen intellect and an incredibly hard worker." Clients say: "He's one of the best, and takes a pragmatic approach." He represented John DeGroote Services, the trustees of BearingPoint, in pursuing claims of violations of corporate fiduciary duties against its former directors and CEO.

Managing partner Martin Fletcher, recognized as an Eminent Practitioner, is praised for his sound litigation skills, one source reporting that he is "very good at managing a case." He handles a range of corporate restructuring and bankruptcy litigation, and maintains a strong reputation for advising trustees in complex liquidations.

Significant clients: CITGO Petroleum, Credit Suisse Securities, Gourmet Express, Monarch Alternative Capital, New England Motor Freight.
Corporate/M&A – Maryland

Band 3 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP 
What the team is known for: Longstanding reputation for advising midmarket businesses in the region on a variety of corporate matters. Especially well known for advising businesses in the technology, life science and energy sectors.

Strengths: (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"Experts in their field, and represent industry leaders. Deep experience in bond financing."
"Strengths are the breadth and depth of the experience and knowledge of the attorneys – they have been able to quickly address our needs regardless of the specifics involved."

Work highlights: Represented the nonprofit retirement community Carroll Lutheran Village on its $49 million bond issuance to refinance the community.

Notable practitioners  

Robert Curran continues to be recognized in the market for his prowess advising on tax, acquisitions, and corporate regulatory matters. He has been active in the market for over 40 years.

Deborah Diehl co-leads the firm's business team, and has been representing businesses on corporate issues for over three decades. One peer rates her as "a very smart and aggressive advocate."

Significant clients: Asbury Communities, Brooksby Village, EPIC Pharmacies, Linden Ponds, Lutheran Village at Miller's Grant. 

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation – Maryland

Band 2 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP 
What the team is known for: In addition to experience advising businesses in the private sector on benefit plans, has a solid track record of acting for local and state governments on retirement and welfare schemes. Also well known for its ERISA litigation prowess. 

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)     

"They are extremely knowledgeable, and stay current on developments and regulations concerning employee benefits."
"Whiteford is responsive, efficient and easy to work with. I am confident the advice will be useful, well researched and practical in terms of application."

Notable practitioners  

Paul Madden has over 40 years' experience advising public and private sector clients on deferred compensation, pension and healthcare plans. One client reports that he is "good at effectively communicating complex matters in ways people understand."

Mary Claire Chesshire advises government agencies, as well as for-profit and nonprofit businesses, on retirement plans, COBRA and ERISA compliance, and deferred compensation planning matters. She is well versed in advising clients in the education sector in particular. One client says: "She is a phenomenal lawyer."

Significant clients: City of Frederick, Hartford Mutual Insurance, Idaho Public Employees Retirement System, McDaniel College, SECU of Maryland. 

Healthcare – Maryland

Notable Practitioners

Rose Matricciani of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP is a former nurse, who draws upon her previous experience in the healthcare industry when assisting clients. Her practice focuses on mergers, joint ventures, fraud and disciplinary issues. 

Intellectual Property – Maryland

Band 2 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP
What the team is known for: Solid reputation for representing clients from large businesses to individual entrepreneurs and inventors from industries including aerospace, technology, utilities and energy. Advises on trade secret, patents, trademarks and copyright issues, among others. 

Work highlights: Acted for MBC Ventures on various patent prosecution and global patent strategy planning matters. Advised Cyber Reliant on patent strategy and prosecution and licensing matters.
Advised Active Minerals on termination negotiations for a senior executive, in addition to providing guidance on employment policies. 

Notable practitioners  

Steven Tiller is well known for taking on contentious IP matters concerning biotechnology, software, network architecture and internet applications. He recently advised Mobillogix in a $5.2 million licensing dispute. Clients say: "He's one of the best, and takes a pragmatic approach."

Significant clients: Evapco, Greatbatch, Mattel, Percona, Williams Scotsman.

Labor & Employment - Maryland

Notable practitioners  

Kevin McCormick of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP is renowned for his broad employment practice. He provides counsel to employers on all phases of the employment relationship to ensure compliance with applicable laws and, when necessary, successfully defends against individual and/or governmental challenges to those employment policies.

Peter Guattery of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP is well known for his expertise in immigration-related matters, and has extensive experience representing employers on claims made by employees in state and federal court. One client describes him as "a client-focused attorney who does a fantastic job."

Litigation: General Commercial - Maryland

Band 3 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP 
What the team is known for: Solid bench with experience representing individuals, SMEs and large corporations on contentious M&A, transaction and professional liability matters. Long history of taking on high-profile disputes, having begun as a litigation boutique firm 80 years ago.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients)

"They're very collegial in their approach and are good writers. They do a fabulous job of putting all the information together." 
"The response times are immediate and rates are fair and negotiable."

Work highlights: Representing Hancock Medical Center in allegations of breach of contract and fiduciary duty, as well as mismanagement brought against a hospital management company, in a $15 million dispute. 

Successfully defended Home Federal Bancorp against a class action suit filed by shareholders concerning the fairness of its merger with another bank.

Notable practitioners  

Practice heads Kevin Hroblak and William Ryan are key contacts at the firm. 

Significant clients: Evapco, Greatbatch, Mattel, Percona, Williams Scotsman. 

Real Estate – Maryland

Band 2 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP 
What the team is known for Highly knowledgeable team with a strong reputation for advising on acquisitions and disposals, major lease transactions and contentious and noncontentious land use matters. Clients include investors, developers and property owners.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They are very well known and well respected in the Baltimore County land development community." 
"Response times are quick, with WTP typically pushing us to get answers to questions to move projects forward."

Work highlights: Advised Exelon Generation on land use issues connected with the placement of wind power generation turbines. Represented continuing care community Broadmead in connection with approvals for its master plan and entitlements for an addition to its facilities.

Notable practitioners  

Thomas Barbuti has over 40 years of experience representing clients on complex real estate transactions, and is praised by peers as "a wonderful lawyer, who works hard and does a good job." He advised Metropolitan Baltimore in a lease for the first three floors of the former Maryland National Bank to be used as a fitness center.

Columbia-based real estate team co-head Joseph Mezzanotte focuses his practice on transactional real estate. He is praised by a client who explains: "His understanding of the marketplace, local connections, wealth of experience, accessibility and overall legal intelligence made for what I thought was exceptional representation." He handles complex leasing, finance and development issues.

Significant clients: Baltimore Gas & Electric, Craftsmen Developers, Florida Rock Properties, KIMCO Realty, Upper Chesapeake Health Systems. 

Real Estate: Land Use – Maryland

Notable practitioners  

G. Scott Barhight is a land use specialist, and is praised by one source as being "very experienced, knowledgeable, and calm under pressure." He advises utilities, builders and national business park developers on issues such as PUD approvals and zoning approvals.

John Gontrum co-chairs the firm's real estate team, and is known as an accomplished land use expert. He recently assisted Constellation Solar in seeking approval for a solar farm in Howard County.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Virginia

Band 2 | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP
What the team is known for: Highly regarded team that advises on a full range of matters including bankruptcy related litigation proceedings. Offers expert services in Chapter 7 and 11 liquidation and bankruptcy cases to creditors, debtors and trustees.

Strengths (Quotes mainly from clients) 

"They are excellent and perform in the best fashion"

Work highlights: Represented a Chapter 7 trustee for a mortgage broker in a matter relating to a large scale Ponzi scheme undertaken by the broker. The team brought a number of claims for fraudulent transfers in order to recover assets for creditors. 

Continues to work with the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Howrey on asset recovery related to the former law firm's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Acted for Acadia Investments in its $50 million Chapter 11 reorganization. 

Notable practitioners  

Bradford Englander focuses on bankruptcy litigation and business restructurings. Sources say he is an "exceptionally bright lawyer" who is "organized, good in court and forceful when he needs to be." 

Roanoke-based Michael Hastings is "excellent, experienced, knowledgeable and very good to work with" according to interviewees. His practice includes dispute resolution in the context of bankruptcy proceedings, as well as assisting businesses with restructurings.

Christopher Jones advises clients on bankruptcy litigation, with a wealth of experience representing creditors' committees in complex proceedings. He is highly regarded by commentators, who say he is "hard-working and talented" and "extremely knowledgeable."

Significant clients: FUJIFILM North America, LS Capital, Armstrong Teasdale, Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Xinergy.  

Bankruptcy/Restructuring – District of Columbia

Senior Statesmen 

David Kuney of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP acts as senior counsel to major creditors, insurance companies and real estate developers on bankruptcies and reorganizations. Mr Kuney's concentration is in representing both debtors and creditors in complex Chapter 11 cases, including complex partnership cases, retail bankruptcies, real estate bankruptcies and corporate cases. He has extensive litigation and appellate experience and has served as lead counsel in both jury and non-jury civil matters throughout the United States.

Bankruptcy/Restructuring – Delaware

Noted Firm | Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP
Clients come to Whiteford, Taylor & Preston for representation and guidance on a wide range of issues critical to achieving their business goals. WTP serves clients throughout the mid-Atlantic region and nationally. Community oriented and culturally diverse, the firm receives exemplary rankings in both US and foreign publications that research lawyers and law.

Up and Coming

Sources say Katherine Good of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP "is fantastic, always on top of stuff and unbelievably organized." She is an up-and-coming figure in the market and has developed an excellent reputation for her expertise in cross-border insolvency cases. 

Christopher Samis of Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP is described by sources for his "very levelheaded approach" and "insights about the substantive issues at hand in the case, about the judge and the jurisdiction." He is counsel to the official committee of unsecured creditors of RadioShack in its bankruptcy case, which is valued at more than $1 billion.

About Whiteford, Taylor & Preston LLP: The over 160 attorneys at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston are dedicated to offering a comprehensive range of business law and litigation service to regional, national and international clients. We deliver sophisticated, cost – effective legal services to innovative start-ups, middle market companies and global enterprises from our twelve offices in Delaware, D.C., Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.