Chambers and Partners, a London-based publisher of legal profession guides, recently named the General Commercial Litigation and Labor & Employment Sections, at Ray Quinney & Nebeker, Utah’s best. The ranking will be published in the 2008 edition of Chambers USA, a popular guide to the nation’s top legal professionals.
Litigation: General Commercial
This strong group is recommended for its dedicated handling of securities and antitrust work. It acts for some of the largest companies in the inter-mountain region and has a reputation for its excellent work in the banking area. “Terrific lawyer” James Jardine is the firm’s big name. He handles a variety of commercial litigation matters but is best known for antitrust work. Greggory Savage, formerly of Holme Roberts & Owen, has a commercial practice with an increasing emphasis on real estate litigation. Head of the group Justin Toth focuses on antitrust and security matters, but also has expertise in real estate litigation.
Labor & Employment:
This local firm has the depth necessary to provide clients with a level of specialization and service that “exceeds expectations.” The group of 12 is the largest in the state, giving it the firepower necessary for the most complex cases. Janet Smith is known as a dean of employment law and is a real asset to the team. Though her practice runs across the whole range of employment and labor relations, her specialty is in discrimination and sexual harassment claims. She’s also a “tenacious, tough-as-nails” litigator. Rick Thaler, though less senior, is definitely an up-and-coming name in employment defense litigation.
By far the most talked-about event in the corporate market in Utah has been megafirm Wilson Sonsini’s departure from the state. Having closed its office in Salt Lake City, Sonsini’s transactional group remained largely intact and moved to Ray Quinney & Nebeker. The mixture of RQN’s more traditional practice with Wilson Sonsini’s hi-tech and venture capital work has peers speculating that the firm will continue to grow and become a major player in the market. Mark Bonham is one of the more notable additions to the RQN team. “He’s the best in the region at what he does,” which is a combination of securities, M&A and work for startups and venture capital companies.
The “exceptional lawyers” of this group have an IP litigation practice that focuses on trademarks, copyrights and patents, and which includes all associated work, with the exception of patent prosecution. It represents some of the biggest names in the business, including Microsoft. Arthur Berger is one of the group’s litigation specialists. He has been described as “a real class act; the kind of litigator you wish all litigators could be.” Mark Bettilyon is also “an intelligent, hard-working and formidable” litigator in the eyes of his peers. Commercial litigator Jim Jardine has a strong IP practice. He is adept at speaking to judges and juries, and he can also simplify complex issues and principles in a way that is easily understood by laypeople.
A small local firm, Ray Quinney & Nebeker is one of the oldest in the state, giving it “a solid reputation and stable of loyal clients.” It represents a large number of developers and has expertise in real estate-related finance work. For years, it has counted one of Utah’s largest banks, Wells Fargo, among its clients, and it recently served as general counsel to Saratoga Springs Development in all aspects of a multiuse development project on over 500 acres of the shore of Utah Lake. Ira Rubinfeld is the best-known member of the team. He is a strong transactional attorney who attracts the admiration of peers. As one says: “Negotiating with him is tough because he fights hard, but he always makes it enjoyable.” Utah attorneys also “think the world of” Larry Moore, who represents developers and lenders and also handles a great deal of real estate-related litigation. He is also skilled at planning and zoning work.
The Chambers & Partners research team, based out of the UK, spent a year surveying clients and lawyers across the country to obtain a consistent market view of which firms and lawyers are considered leaders in their field. More than 10,000 interviews were conducted nationwide. Rankings in the directory are assessed on specific criteria, including technical legal ability, professional conduct, client service, commercial awareness, commitment and dedication. This publisher of legal profession guides annually ranks firms and attorneys across the world.