Cross Borders With Confidence
Making high-impact business decisions has never been more challenging.
The stakes are higher and the risks run deeper. The speed at which critical decisions need to be made in our global, interconnected world makes it increasingly difficult to operate with confidence.
We create positive impacts on business outcomes by providing you with the intelligence, expertise, and experience you need to make the right decision—confidently.
Our market-leading lawyers in the US and around the world can assemble and collaborate to solve your most consequential issues, offering global perspective, regional expertise, and sophisticated advice that crosses jurisdictions.
Recent US achievements
Freshfields’ Latin America international arbitration team dominated in the newly released Chambers Latin America 2018 International Arbitration rankings. The firm achieved Band 1 for ranked firms, and Nigel Blackaby was named a “Star Individual” (above Band 1) in the individual rankings. Sylvia Noury appeared in Band 3, and Noiana Marigo in Band 5.
Chambers praised the team for its “deep bench and cutting-edge Latin America-related practice,” for “routinely assist[ing] with some of the largest and most high-profile disputes in the region, most recently involving Ecuador, Venezuela and Colombia,” and for its “notable experience in expropriation issues, defending industry giants in cases against states and state-owned entities.” The team was praised also for its “distinct expertise in investment and commercial arbitrations in a broad range of sectors, including oil and gas, construction and telecommunications,” and for being “outstanding all round – proactive, creative and personable.”
Chambers highlighted the team’s representing ConocoPhillips in an ICSID investment treaty arbitration against Venezuela brought forth by various Dutch subsidiaries as a result of Venezuela’s expropriation of three high-value oil investments, and its acting for ENGIE, Aguas de Barcelona and Interagua on an arbitration regarding the expropriation of a water and waste water treatment concession in Argentina under the France-Argentina and Spain-Argentina BITs. Significant clients mentioned included América Móvil, Crystallex International, Glencore, Rusoro Mining and Total.
Global arbitration head Nigel Blackaby received client praise as “the ultimate rainmaker on Latin American cases” and “the full package of a magic circle partner – legal skills, business acumen and cultural sensitivity to Latin American issues.”
Partner Sylvia Noury is praised as a well-recognized practitioner deeply respected by her peers, who describe her as “excellent – extremely smart and dynamic.” Chambers pointed to her significant expertise in commercial and investment treaty arbitrations in emerging markets, and her regularly acting on energy, natural resources and telecommunication disputes.
Sources praised Noiana Marigo as “very smart, responsible and competent,” with one adding: “I trust her judgment.” Another commentator notes: “She is a first-rate arbitration lawyer; she is very strong with witnesses, academics and clients.”
Freshfields’ recent representation of Smiths Group in its $723.7m acquisition of Morpho Detection demonstrates our strength in advising global clients in highly complex, multijurisdictional transactions. Smiths Group is a global technology and engineering firm originally established in the UK in 1851, and its subsidiary Smiths Detection is a leader in products and services that detect explosive, chemical and radioactive materials, and contraband. Smiths Detection sells its products in virtually every country in the world, and has approximately 2,300 employees. Morpho Detection, a California-based subsidiary of Safran Group, a French public company, manufactures and supplies detection systems and services to improve mission-critical security at airports, borders and other high-risk critical infrastructure sites such as nuclear power plants, military installations and government buildings. Also a global business, Morpho Detection derives nearly 40 percent of its revenues outside the United States and sees its technology used in more than 175 countries.
Smiths succeeded in the acquisition, signing the deal in April 2016. Then Freshfields’ leading antitrust team helped Smiths navigate regulatory approvals, which involved investment and/or antitrust filings in eight jurisdictions. Both the European Commission and US antitrust authorities viewed the acquisition as eliminating competition in certain parts of the threat detection industry. In January 2017 we secured approval from the European Commission allowing the transaction to close conditional on a post-close divestment of Morpho Detection’s explosive trace detection business. The firm then turned to approvals from the United States, where we received a similar conditional clearance in March 2017, which allowed Smiths to complete the acquisition of the Morpho Detection Business. Finally, we advised Smiths in the sale of the Trace Business to OSI Systems, Inc. This sale was conditional upon regulatory approval in Portugal as well as the approval by the EC and DOJ of OSI as a suitable purchaser. On July 7, 2017 Smiths completed the sale of the Trace Business to OSI for $75.5m.
The Freshfields team was led by M&A partner Mitchell Presser and also included Tax partner Robert Scarborough, Employment and Benefits partner Howard Klein, and Antitrust partner Mary Lehner.
US senior associate Natalia Zibibbo has been named a “Rising Star” by Law360 in the category of International Arbitration. The distinction is reserved for lawyers under 40 years old whose “accomplishments transcend their age.”
Natalia joined Freshfields in 2008 and has worked on more than 15 high-profile commercial and investment treaty arbitrations, primarily in Latin America. You can read the complete list of 2017 Rising Stars here.
Freshfields was recognized for its exceptional cross-border abilities with the award for “Private Equity Team of the Year” at the 2017 Transatlantic Legal Awards. The awards, presented by Legal Week and American Lawyer, celebrate firms and in-house teams with strong presences in both the US and the UK, taking into account notable transatlantic deals, overall firm strategy and individual achievement.
The award recognized Freshfields for advising Formula One Group (F1) and CVC Capital Partners on the sale of F1 to Liberty Media, a transaction with an enterprise value for F1 of $8 billion and an equity value of $4.4 billion.
Valerie Ford Jacob led the deal from the US side and Charles Hayes from the UK side. Congratulations to both, and to their teams on both sides of the Atlantic, for their delivery of outstanding cross-border client results.
An amicus brief prepared by Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer was cited twice by the US Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in their recent decision condemning the Trump administration’s proposed travel ban – one of only a handful of briefs the court referred to in the high-profile matter, which attracted contributions from dozens of other firms representing a variety of state and local governments, academics, and other public interest organizations.
The Court voted to uphold a lower court’s opinion enjoining the proposed ban, which would restrict entry to the United States for residents of six predominantly Muslim countries. Freshfields filed the brief on behalf of the Cato Institute, the prestigious American think tank that focuses its research on issues affecting personal freedom. The Freshfields brief took an analytical, research-driven view of the proposed ban, focusing on its lack of factual credibility.
One element the Freshfields argument addressed – mentioned by the concurring judges in their opinion – was that the ban’s authors cited as justification for the proposed ban the example of a two-year-old immigrant to the United States who, many years later, became radicalized and engaged in terrorist activity. Since the ban addressed only border immigration, not other systemic forces that might stop young adults already in America from adopting radical political beliefs, Freshfields argued that the example did not bolster the proposed ban’s goal of reducing domestic terrorism.
A team culled from Freshfields’ New York and Washington, DC offices authored the brief, including senior associates David Livshiz and Peter Jaffe and associates Lauren Kaplin and Karen Wiswall. Their work was overseen by litigation partner Dan Braun and counsel Brent Wible. Freshfields, a global leader in cross-border law, now has nearly 200 lawyers, including 37 partners, in the United States.