Publications & News

WilmerHale Reflects on a Successful 2007

February 5, 2008

Dear Clients and Friends,

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in 2007--a year in which we were privileged to enjoy challenging work, great client relationships and a remarkable community of alumni and friends. We measure our success by the successes we achieve for our clients, and it was a year of significant accomplishments, thanks in large part to all of you. We are pleased to share with you some of the highlights of the past year, as we look forward to helping you achieve your goals in the year ahead.

In 2007, we were able to meet our clients' most pressing challenges by drawing on our key strengths--our unique blend of litigation, securities, corporate and intellectual property capabilities, high-level government experience, and deep industry and regulatory expertise. And we were able to build upon these strengths, growing our core practices and expanding their geographic reach. We added securities firepower in California, where we established a presence in Los Angeles, boosted our corporate practice from New York to Beijing, and enhanced our intellectual property and regulatory practices firmwide, ensuring that we will be able to serve you ever more effectively in the years to come.

The needs of our clients are complex, and it was with great passion and determination that our interdisciplinary teams embraced the challenges of the past twelve months. Our litigators began the year with a $51 million jury verdict in January for Loral Space and Communications in a breach of contract action. Less than 48 hours later, we secured the first in a string of major wins for Broadcom in its intellectual property litigation offensive targeting Qualcomm's licensing stranglehold over the global wireless telecommunications industry, a campaign featured in December's American Lawyer magazine.

In May we secured a $103 million False Claims Act verdict--the fourth largest US jury verdict in 2007, as reported by Bloomberg--in a complex bid-rigging case concerning US Government-funded construction projects in the Middle East. Our Foreign Corrupt Practices Act practice--which now counsels approximately 50 US and foreign companies, many of them household names--handled several prominent, ongoing SEC/DOJ enforcement matters and guided clients through internal investigations evaluating the adequacy of their anticorruption controls. Meanwhile, our premier international arbitration practice successfully handled a number of investor-state, telecommunications and energy supply arbitrations throughout the world. Finally, in the culmination of a banner year, our "powerhouse IP litigation group" earned the American Lawyer's highest accolade--"IP Litigation Department of the Year."

Our industry-leading securities practice concluded a number of Board-directed inquiries into options backdating issues, including the high-profile report associated with UnitedHealth Group. The firm has also been retained in other options matters involving more than 40 companies. Mid-year, our client Citigroup Global Markets and other underwriter defendants achieved a major Supreme Court victory relying on the implied immunity defense formulated by the firm in antitrust class actions relating to IPOs underwritten during the late 1990s technology boom. Throughout the year we obtained favorable results for our clients in securities class actions involving Boston Communications Group, Organogenesis, Red Hat and Sonus Networks. We are currently defending leading financial services firms against lawsuits and regulatory investigations concerning subprime and other structured finance products.

Although challenging market conditions prevailed for much of the year, our corporate practice handled 13 IPOs and 24 follow-on and 144A placements in 2007. Our corporate lawyers also completed more than 250 venture capital financings, nearly 100 M&A deals and hundreds of technology, licensing and similar agreements, and continued to provide leading-edge corporate governance and disclosure advice to our roster of more than 125 public company clients in the United States and Europe. More than 25 of our 2007 M&A transactions were valued in excess of $100 million, including Kronos' $1.8 billion acquisition by Hellman & Friedman, and EqualLogic's pending acquisition by Dell for $1.4 billion--the largest cash purchase price ever paid for a private venture capital-backed company. The firm's bankruptcy and appellate lawyers won an important victory for various securities trade organizations when a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York reversed a bankruptcy court decision that threatened to cause massive disruption in the secondary markets for trading distressed debt.

Our regulatory practice secured antitrust clearance for Statoil's merger with Norsk Hydro's petroleum activities--the largest merger in Norway's history--which created the world's largest offshore production group in a deal worth an estimated 23 billion euros. We followed up on our successful representation of Lucent in the 2006 CFIUS review of its merger with Alcatel by advising Alcatel-Lucent on the implementation of its National Security Agreement, and grew our CFIUS practice into one of the most sophisticated practices of its kind in the United States.

In 2007 our intellectual property practice--which now includes more than 140 lawyers and technology specialists who hold scientific and technical degrees--filed close to 2,000 patent applications and more than 920 trademark applications worldwide. We secured over 450 trademark registrations and more than 390 patents, including 170 US patents, on innovations that span the technological spectrum. Many companies and investors turned to us for due diligence advice in transactions that involved complex IP and licensing considerations.

Our commitment to pro bono--recognized in another top 10 ranking in the American Lawyer's pro bono survey--found its most significant expression this year in the work of our lawyers on behalf of foreign citizens imprisoned indefinitely at Guantanamo Bay. In July, we testified before the House Armed Services Committee on the need to restore habeas corpus protections. In December, marking the culmination of our efforts in what the National Law Journal has lauded as "perhaps the most important habeas case in modern history," we argued Boumediene v. Bush/Al Odah v. U.S. before the Supreme Court.

We were pleased that in 2007 the firm moved up to 8th position on the American Lawyer's A-List, which measures overall excellence, including financial success, commitment to pro bono, workforce diversity and the training and development of younger lawyers among the largest 200 firms in the United States. Our lawyers across all disciplines were again prominently ranked in Chambers USA, Chambers UK and Chambers Global. The inaugural edition of Chambers Europe ranked a number of our international arbitration and European regulatory lawyers as leaders in their fields, while members of our corporate and private equity practices were recognized in the first edition of Chambers Asia.

But, in the end, our success is only determined by the quality of our work and service, and your satisfaction with our efforts. As we begin a new year, we reaffirm our commitment to continually enhancing the caliber of our services, deepening our client relationships and keeping the lines of communication open so that we may better meet your needs.

We thank you for the opportunity to work with you and look forward to sharing another successful year.

 

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William F. Lee and William J. Perlstein,

Co-Managing Partners | WilmerHale