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Jones Day Deepened M&A Bench to Score LAW FIRM OF THE YEAR

The law firm added M&A attorneys in high-growth areas, including Europe, Latin America and the energy sector

One of the most active law firms in the middle market, Jones Day deepened its dealmaking bench in 2014 by adding partners with expertise in high-growth areas, such as Europe, Latin America and the energy sector.

Since the second half of 2013, the entire professional services industry, including law firms, investment banks and accounting firms, has been understaffed, explains Jones Day partner Robert Profusek. As M&A began to pick up over the last two years, the firm hired 25 M&A partners, and in that time, also promoted 10 M&A attorneys from associate to partner.

One region where it grew was Amsterdam. "A lot of activity runs through Amsterdam, and we think it will be an important hub for M&A activity, partly because of tax advantages," Profusek says. The firm tapped partner Marcel van de Vorst, along with team members Marc Rijkaart van Cappellen in 2013, followed by Johan Kleyn and Floris Pierik. The goal, Profusek says, is to provide counseling to even more acquisitive companies on a global scale. One deal was Pittsburgh-based live event company NEP Group Inc., which Jones Day advised on the acquisition of Faber Audiovisuals in the Netherlands.

Another bet was in the oil and gas sector. As explorers look for ways to offset losses from declining gas prices, Profusek foresees an uptick in deals. Jeff Dinerstein and Arthur Nathan left their posts at Haynes and Boone to join Jones Day's Houston office as partners in May, kicking off what turned out to be a busy set of months with numerous energy deals. The firm guided Castleton Commodities International LLC in the acquisition of a gas-processing facility in New Mexico from Anadarko Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: APC). Then in June, the firm advised Atlas Resource Partners on a $420 million purchase of energy interests in Colorado.

Chicago is also a top priority for additional growth. Ever since Jones Day first opened the office in 1987, there has been cooperation between the Windy City's locale and the firm's other locations. It became a go-to law firm for the Riverside Co., which has an office in Chicago. In November, Jones Day represented Riverside on the acquisition of Fisher Unitech, a 3D printing service, followed by the purchase of educational service Training Factor, in December.

In September, Jones Day announced that three partners were joining the firm's M&A practice. Dubbed the trans-Atlantic trio, Michael McGuinness and George Flemma are based in New York, and Benedict O'Halloran is in London. McGuinness, who headed up the Latin America practice at Shearman & Sterling LLP, is an answer to the uptick of M&A in Central and South America. Flemma and O'Halloran were each previously at General Electric (NYSE: GE). Flemma is focused on sourcing deals in the oil and gas segment, while O'Halloran sources deals in the U.K.

Currently, Jones Day touts more than 6,700 completed transactions worldwide since 2000 and a presence in 41 offices.