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Practice Area Definitions: USA

Below are the legal practice area definitions and regional variations used by Chambers to rank lawyers and law firms in the USA Guide.


Antitrust covers the body of laws that prohibits anti-competitive behaviour (monopoly) and unfair business practices - this includes practices that hurt business, consumers, or both, or that generally violate standards of ethical behavior. Antitrust litigation and M&A-related competition work are both included in the Chambers guides.

Appellate Law

This chapter covers the preparation, drafting and delivery of briefs before the appellate courts (state supreme courts, circuit courts and the US Supreme Court). Also includes interlocutory appeals and writs. Chambers USA features a Nationwide table of law firms who field teams of appellate lawyers. It also ranks appellate lawyers in each state where there is a prominent appellate bar.

Arbitration (International)

This chapter features advice on the resolution of disputes by one or more neutral parties, either an arbitrator or an arbitration panel. Many contracts - including those imposed on customers by many financial and healthcare organisations - require mandatory arbitration in the event of a dispute.

Examples of the institutions include AAA (American Arbitration Association), ICC (International Chamber of Commerce), ICSID (International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes) and LCIA (London Court of International Arbitration.)

Asset Finance

Finance linked to the purchase or construction of a distinct asset or set of assets (typically ships, aircraft or rolling stock).


Aviation includes both finance, regulatory and litigation matters. Finance concentrates on the advice to manufacturers, purchasers and investors (such as hedge and private equity funds) on the sale, leasing and acquisition of portfolios of aircraft. Also includes the 2001 UNIDROIT Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, or Cape Town Convention, which relates to the electronic registration of aircraft interests.

The Aviation Litigation table covers traditional accident defense litigation, including advising aviation insurers on coverage and other issues, as well as productliability claims and general commercial disputes affecting the aviation industry. The Aviation Regulatory table spans representation before the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and other federal administrative agencies.

Key issues include the reauthorization of air traffic control systems and their funding. Also covers issues of congestion, and the Open Skies talks between the USA and the European Union.

Banking & Finance

This section covers lending transactions and recognizes those working on behalf of lenders and borrowers. Both banks and alternative lenders, such as credit funds, are recognized as lenders. Transactions may include acquisition financings, refinancings and general lending. All structures and methods of credit facility are relevant to this chapter.

In states where Project Finance is not recognized separately, such work may be submitted to that state's Banking & Finance section. While the financing of property transactions may be relevant as part of a broad practice, firms or lawyers with a financing practice which revolves entirely around this should submit to the relevant Real Estate section. Where a specific Real Estate Finance section exists covering the same geographical area, property work should not be included in Banking & Finance submissions..


The focus is on corporate bankruptcy and restructuring and the legal processes related to distressed businesses, which can either be reorganized or go into liquidation.

Also, especially in the current economic environment, the chapter includes lawyers who advise on acquisition opportunities that arise out of distressed businesses. Lawyers in this chapter assist clients such as corporate debtors, investors and asset purchasers; secured and unsecured creditors and creditors` committees, bondholders, insurers; directors of distressed companies and any other interested parties incorporate restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings.

In addition to transactional work, bankruptcy also covers any related litigation, such as disputes between such parties in connection with distressed companies and Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 processes.

Cannabis Law

This section encompasses the full spectrum of work involving companies in the cannabis industry. Ranked firms and lawyers will show strong ties to the sector. Types of work may include, but are not restricted to; M&A and financings; intellectual property for cannabis-based products and medicines; and regulatory compliance and litigation, on either a state-wide or federal basis.

Capital Markets

Chambers guides cover key areas of capital markets either as distinct tables or under the wider umbrella. The areas include: Debt & Equity; Derivatives; Securitisation; Structured finance (repackagings, other synthetic products).

Equity Capital Markets includes advice on equity offerings transactions such as: Initial public offerings, follow-on offerings, right offerings; capital increases; ADR/GDR offerings; accelerated bookbuilts; block trades.

Debt Capital Markets covers legal advice on the following transactions: investment grade debt offerings (stand alone bond issues; MTN programs, Commercial Paper programmes); equity-linked offerings (regulatory capital, convertibles and exchangeable offerings) and High Yield debt offerings.

Derivatives includes the regulatory and transactional legal advice regarding derivatives products. These include: Exchange-traded derivatives; OTC derivatives; Securitized derivatives; Interest rate, currency, equity, credit and commodity-linkedproducts. Law firms advise on product development and regulation; market regulation; structuring and documentation of transactions, related tax issues and derivatives litigation.

Securitization covers the entire range asset classes, including (among others): Commercial loans; derivatives exposure; bonds and corporate debt; project cash flows; trade receivables; credit card and trade receivables; commercial and residential mortgages; life insurance and annuities; auto loans; CDOs (both cash and synthetic) and CLOs.

Structured products also encompasses repackagings; and hybrid synthetic and structured note products

Climate Change

This practice area covers a range of regulatory, transactional and litigation work in a specific climate change context. Regulatory work such as compliance program design and implementation, as well as operational and project related compliance advice is a central aspect of work in this area. This area also covers representation of clients in proceedings before domestic and foreign government panels, agencies and regulatory bodies; including handling rulemaking challenges. Climate change related government relations and policy advice work is also covered here. Climate change litigation and carbon markets transactions are also important in this practice area.


Construction covers contractual advisor work within the construction industry for both the suppliers (eg developers, contractors, engineers and architects), and those clients employing these types of companies eg corporates or state authoritieson their building plans. Our construction sections cover both litigious and non-litigious matters.

Corporate Crime & Investigations

While Chambers recognizes that there is some crossover with this nationwide section and state Litigation: White-Collar Crime sections, there are some key differences. This area focuses just on institutional representations rather than individual, and considers both civil and criminal investigations. It highlights practices demonstrating strength in internal and external investigations, including those taking place across a range of regulated industries such as healthcare.

Corporate / M&A

This broad category covers both public company and private equity (including venture capital) matters. The chapter includes company acquisitions, dispositions and related financing arrangements, capitalizations, entity selection and formation, operating and partnership agreements, securities and governance matters.

Also covers those transactions designed to help restructuring within companies and their subsidiaries by change of ownership. Priority is placed on primary representatives, those acting for buyers and sellers, whilst those acting for financial advisors, underwriters and the banks financing such transactions are also considered.

Crisis Management

This table consists of leading private practice lawyers who play a key role in mobilising firm resources and managing multidisciplinary teams to advise corporate and individual clients following catastrophic events, regulatory actions, compliance failures and broader corporate crises. This research will aim to highlight lawyers who are considered a first choice to quarterback a corporate response to a crisis, without necessarily fronting the client’s criminal defence legal team.

Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation

This section covers the full range of matters involving employee benefits and compensation plans including advising on the design and implementation thereof, as well as related taxation issues. It also includes advice on executive compensation agreements and benefits matters pertaining to corporate transactions. Moreover, it includes contentious matters pertaining to the implementation of benefit plans. Please also see ERISA litigation for disputes brought under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974.


Although Chambers is aware of the overlap with Projects and project financing, the energy chapters focus on corporate / commercial, regulatory and capital markets issues arising from the energy sector. These include the regulatory components of M&A and other transactional work, pure regulatory work related to the application for licenses and compliance and enforcement with regulatory bodies. Our Energy section is divided into the following subsections:

Energy: Electricity (Finance)

This practice area covers capital markets-related financing in the electricity space. The type of work considered here includes electricity bond structuring, private equity financing in the electricity space and utility rate securitizations. Clients in this area are exclusively electric utilities and the financing parties on the other side. We also consider capital markets-derived financings in support of power portfolio transactions and electricity M&A relevant here. This practice area does not include project financing structures, which are covered in the separate relevant projects sections.

Energy: Electricity (Regulatory & Litigation)

This section covers all regulatory work and associated regulatory litigation concerning the power sector, including compliance work, and FERC and other government investigation and enforcement actions as well as related appellate proceedings.

Energy: Electricity (Transactional)

This section covers M&A, A&D, joint ventures strategic alliances and corporate financing work as well as wholesale and retail energy trading and market transactions in the traditional power and renewable energy sectors. Clients typically include generation and transmission owners, utilities, yield cos and energy majors.

Energy: Mining & Metals (Transactional)

Work covered in this practice area includes exploration, development and production agreements as well as transactions pertaining to royalties, sales structures and taxation. Engineering, processing and refining contract work is also included in this subsection.

Energy: Nuclear (Regulatory & Litigation)

This practice area concerns all regulatory and litigation issues pertaining to the nuclear industry with particular focus on proceedings before the NRC. Work includes licensing and operation, reactor oversight, enforcement and compliance, whistle-blower statutes and non-retaliation policy, as well as nuclear waste and fuel procurement issues.

Energy: Oil & Gas Litigation

This practice area covers contentious matters, principally in the up-stream oil and gas industry, particularly pertaining to issues arising in shale plays across the USA. Work covered in this section includes subsurface and surface rights disputes; lease interpretations and litigation concerning traditional and novel lease forms; nuisance claims; royalty class actions; contentious work concerning the rule of capture; and further disputes stemming from horizontal drilling and other industry developments. Regulatory litigation is covered in Nationwide: Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation) and Texas: Energy: State Regulatory & Litigation (Oil & Gas) while large scale commercial litigation affecting energy companies and energy industry participants is covered in Texas: Litigation: Energy & Natural Resources and other state litigation sections.

Energy: Oil & Gas (Regulatory & Litigation)

This practice area covers regulatory work in the oil & gas industry at a federal level as well as regulatory litigation. Work can include regulatory compliance advice, approval proceedings, and regulatory litigation before FERC and the DOE as well as any related appellate work including pipeline emission matters and rate disputes. Clients typically include pipeline and LNG facility operators but also include any company interacting with the regulated side of the oil & gas industry.

Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional)

This subsection covers oil & gas industry-specific transactions as well as large corporate transactions for oil & gas industry clients. Types of work typically include M&A between large oil majors, joint venture agreements, service contacts and A&D including portfolio transactions. Clients include oil & gas majors, producers, pipeline companies, services operators and petrochemical companies. This subsection also includes LNG-specific transactions.

The environment chapter features both litigation and advisory / transactional support to clients. This includes general corporate issues, (eg due diligence on mergers), the development of brownfield sites, and pollution issues.

`Traditional` environment work includes regulatory compliance, litigation and enforcement actions related to air, water, wetlands, waste and endangered species.

We also feature advice to corporate and financial clients on the environmental aspects of M&A, financings, securities offerings and other transactions, which involve due diligence and environmental insurance issues.

ERISA Litigation

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) is the federal statutory framework that governs the administration of employee benefit plans and the rights of the beneficiaries under the plan.

The interpretation and enforcement of the Actis handled by the US Department of Labor and the Internal Revenue Service.

Financial Services Regulation

Banking Compliance

This section covers regulatory compliance work and advisory matters on behalf of banks, bank holding companies and other systemically important financial institutions. Areas include Dodd Frank compliance, including Volcker, resolution planning, SIMI designation, enhanced prudential standards and anti-money laundering. Also covered are other regulatory frameworks such as Basel III. The section also covers engagement with the rulemaking process, including comment letters, lobbying, etc.

Banking Enforcement & Investigations

This section covers the handling of regulatory investigations and enforcement actions on behalf of banks, bank holding companies and other systemically important financial institutions. Actions may originate from all parts of the US regulatory apparatus. This includes, but is not limited to, actions brought by the Federal Reserve, SEC, OCC, CFPB and OFAC, and may also include matters with a parallel DOJ investigation. Internal investigations into banking operations and regulatory procedures are also covered here.

[*Note: Broker-dealer enforcement matters are NOT included in this section.]

Broker Dealer (Compliance & Enforcement)

This section covers the full range of regulatory matters specific to the broker dealer industry. Firms are ranked according to their ability to handle both compliance and enforcement matters; individual attorneys may be ranked either for their compliance work, or for their enforcement work, or both. Compliance covers areas such as Dodd Frank and Volcker compliance for broker dealers, including SEC compliance for traders and investment banks. It also covers matters under SROs such as FINRA. Enforcement covers investigations and enforcement actions brought by the full range of regulatory bodies overseeing the broker dealer industry, as well as internal investigations.

Consumer Finance (Compliance & Litigation)

This section covers matters pertaining to the regulation of the consumer finance sector. Firms are ranked according to their ability to handle both compliance and litigation matters; individual attorneys may be ranked with for their compliance work, or for their litigation work, or both. Compliance covers all aspects of compliance with CFPB and state regulations regarding consumer lending, including matters pertaining to mortgage lending, credit cards, autofinance and other forms of consumer credit. Litigation covers the defense of class actions or significant single plaintiff suits on behalf of mortgage lenders and servicers, credit card issuers and other providers of consumer credit. Issues often featured include fair lending cases, False Claims Act litigation and cases concerning unfair and deceptive practices.

Financial Institutions M&A

The Financial Institutions M&A table covers all M&A (including proprietary deals, joint ventures, IPOs, etc) involving financial institutions. This can include M&A involving banks, credit card companies, insurance companies and other types of financial institution. Lawyers and firms who are ranked in this section are assessed both in terms of their deal making strength and in terms of their handling of the regulatory aspects of such transactions.

Food & Beverage

This chapter focuses on legal advice surrounding FDA matters, concerning all food, including dietary supplements as well as meat and poultry, which the USDA scrutinizes. Issues relating to the FTC also feature, such as consumer protection and advertising and point of sale concerns.

Regulatory concerns such as health claims, IP issues are key areas in this sector, and the chapter also features commercial issues such as taxation, franchise arrangements and antitrust. Legal issues surrounding so-called functional foods (also known as nutraceuticals), foods marketed as having specific health benefits or effects and blurring the lines between foods and medicines are also covered.

The chapter also covers significant litigation and legislation in the beverage alcohol sector, relating to the ability of wineries and other vendors to make interstate sales of wine to both consumers and retail customers.


This section includes those acting for Franchisees and Franchisors and covers both transactional and contentious work. On the non-contentious side, this includes setting up a franchise arrangement, expanding a system and closing down arrangements. Disputes arising from the sector such as disputed closing down of a system or contractual obligations.


This chapter has three main components: Government Contracts, Government Relations and Political Law.

The Government contracts section refers to supply contract arrangements (with, for example, Army, Navy, Airforce, Department of Homeland Security) and bid protests before the agency forum, General Accountability Office (GAO) or Court of Federal Claims (CFC). Litigation arising from the sector includes costs disputes, matters relating to the False Claims Act, other contractual disputes (such as late completion and overrun costs). Other non-contentious issues include services contracting, scheduling issues and organisational conflicts of interest.

The primary focus of Government Relations is the legislative lobbying conducted by qualified lawyers for a range of corporate and some nonprofit clients, such as hospitals and universities. This is usually either regarding a specific proposal for legislation (eg Asbestos reform) or ongoing appropriations work. This work crosses industries from defence to education.

Political Law features advice on the organisation and financing of elections campaigns (McCain-Feingold Act) as well as advice to corporations and independent advocacy groups on their election activities. Contentious matters include challenging decisions by election authorities (such as the Federal Election Commission).


Healthcare covers a wide range of work, including transactional, advisory, and contentious matters. Transactional work is primarily the sale and purchase, of some or all of a health system or health insurance company. Law firms advise on antitrust issues and assorted regulatory matters for clients such as hospitals, health systems and insurance companies.

Litigation includes matters like qui tam (whistleblower) suits and the defence of parties involved in federal investigations. Advisory and regulatory compliance matters include Medicare Part D, the subsidizing of drugs through the federally-run Medicare program. Also covers Stark Law, which governs referrals of physicians accepting Medicare and Medicaid funds, and the False Claims Act (FCA).

This chapter also features advice on pharmaceutical and medical products regulatory issues covering the drugs and devices approved by the FDA. Please also see Product Liability for litigation arising from pharmaceutical and medical devices defects.The regulation of these areas also features in our life sciences chapter.

Hedge Funds

This section covers hedge fund formation and launches, spinouts, strategic acquisitions, distressed debt investments and restructurings.


Law firms featured in this section provide advice on all aspects of inbound and outbound immigration, such as work permits and visas, workforce mobility, HSMP and other legislative and regulatory changes. Chambers UK also features Personal Immigration, which includes student, asylum / refugee and publicly funded immigration issues.

Information Technology

Information Technology focuses on the start-up, development and finance of technology-based businesses, advising start-up or later stage enterprises, venture capital investors, and other financial investors. Issues include private and public capital raisings, joint venture agreements, share listings, corporate governance and M&A.

Insolvency / Corporate Recovery

The focus is on corporate insolvency and restructuring and the legal processes related to distressed businesses, which can either be reorganised or go into liquidation. Also, especially in the current economic environment, the chapter includes lawyers, who advise on acquisition opportunities that arise out of distressed businesses.

Lawyers in this chapter assist clients such as corporate debtors, investors and asset purchasers; secured and unsecured creditors and creditors' committees, bondholders, insurers; directors of distressed companies and any other interested parties incorporate restructurings, bankruptcy proceedings.

In addition to transactional work, bankruptcy also covers any related litigation, such as disputes between such parties in connection with distressed companies and, in the USA, Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 processes.


Insurance includes both contentious and non-contentious insurance and reinsurance matters. On the contentious side, we feature coverage claims litigation, broker`s negligence and both 'facultative' and 'treaty' reinsurance disputes. There is also an element of professional negligence issues arising from insurance disputes.

On the non-contentious side, we include all forms of M&A, capital raisings, demutualisations and other regulatory issues.

Intellectual Property

Intellectual Property covers disputes related to patent, copyright and trademark infringement. Litigation concerning trade secrets also features. We also feature related issues such as licensing and IP commercialization (US patent prosecution).

International Trade

Customs – This section covers a range of issues including customs planning, compliance and enforcement. Typical highlights will include customs valuations, voluntary disclosures and representation before the CPB. Common clients will include domestic importers.
Export controls and economic sanctions – The export controls and economic sanctions area of research revolves around trade controls affecting multinational clients, many of whom operate in the financial, oil and gas, defense and technology sectors. Matters that we take into consideration include compliance programs in connection to US trade controls and economic sanctions restrictions, export licensing issues, internal investigations and enforcement issues. Work highlights often relate to key regulations such as EAR and ITAR, in addition to OFAC-related matters. 

Trade policy and trade remedy – This section includes issues such as WTO and other treaty-based trade and investment disputes, bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, and market access issues. Clients will include large corporations and national governments. In terms of trade remedies, we primarily focus on cases before bodies such as the ITC, DOC and Court of Appeals. This includes antidumping and countervailing duty cases, and we welcome both petitioner and respondent-led highlights. Common clients include domestic and international manufacturers, industry associations and national governments.

CFIUS – A niche area that focuses on national security as it relates to transactions and investments. Typical highlights include obtaining CFIUS approval on behalf of foreign companies buying and investing into the US. We also take into account FOCI mitigation work and SSA’s.

Investment Funds

The Nationwide sections which make up Chambers’ investment funds coverage are listed below, with some differences in the categorisation on a state-wide level.

In California, all venture capital work, including both transactions and fund formation, is covered by the Venture Capital section.

In Massachusetts, formation of both venture capital and other private equity funds, for both sponsors and investors, qualifies for Private Equity: Fund Formation. Hedge and registered funds, including related regulatory compliance, are covered in Hedge & Mutual Funds.

Investment Funds: Venture Capital Fund Formation

The nationwide section covers venture capital fund formation work for sponsors; it does not cover investments made by funds (see Startups & Emerging Companies) or Limited Partners (see Investor Representation).

Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation

The entirety of private equity sponsor-side fund formation work, with the exception of venture capital funds, is covered in this section. Funds covered include, but are not limited to; buyout, secondaries, hybrid and debt funds. The formation of sector-focused funds, such as those investing in real estate and infrastructure, is also covered here.

Investment Funds: Investor Representation

All work for Limited Partners, including institutional investors and secondaries funds, is covered here. Typical examples of work involve contributing capital to funds in their formation and the acquisition and sale of secondary interests.

Investment Funds: Regulatory & Compliance

This section covers regulatory and compliance work for non-registered funds, including SEC and CFTC matters.

Please note: Regulatory compliance issues under the 1940 Act related to registered funds are covered in the Investment Funds: Registered Funds section.

Investment Funds: Hedge Funds

This section covers hedge fund formation and launches, spinouts, strategic acquisitions, distressed debt investments and restructurings. SEC and other regulatory compliance is not covered here, but rather in Investment Funds: Regulatory & Compliance.

Investment Funds: Registered Funds

This section covers a broad range of registered funds, including mutual funds. It encompasses fund formation and transactional work, as well as regulatory compliance issues under the 1940 Act. Work for business development companies and both open and closed-ended and exchange traded funds (ETFs) is also covered.

Islamic Finance

Sharia-compliant work such as acquisitions, forming funds to invest in real estate and commercial properties, issuing of Sukuk.

IT & IT Outsourcing

The IT industry crosses a range of business sectors, whether it involves global communications networks of large multinationals, or internal data storage systems of small owner-managed businesses.

The Chambers IT chapters are always evolving to track current trends, but major outsourcing agreements consistently feature. The chapter also includes 'convergence'; the coming together of content (such as voice or data), transmission of that content (such as broadcast, satellite or Internet)and terminals receiving that content (such as TV, PC or mobile handset).

Labor & Employment

In Chambers USA, Labor - as distinct from employment - represents corporates in their dealings with union issues, collective bargaining agreements and strike avoidance. Also covers OSHA (occupational health and safety act) and proceedings before NLRB- National Labor Relations Board.

Employment covers both contentious and non-contentious employment matters relating to day to day business issues as well as mergers and takeovers. Includes employment litigation related to sex, race, age discrimination. In the USA, this also includes class action suits, and the avoidance of class action certification.

Includes workforce redundancies and employment issues related to the merger of two companies. Lawyers also advise on the writing of policy handbooks for major corporates and HR training.

Leisure & Hospitality

This is an industry section covering all strands of legal services carried out for clients involved in the Leisure industry, ranging from ranging from hotels and amusement parks to casinos. The key strands of legal advice related to real estate, employment and OSHA, corporate / commercial matters and financing.

Life sciences

Life sciences focuses on the commercialisation of life sciences products (pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnology programs etc). IP issues dominate as large pharmaceuticals seek to obtain innovative, impending blockbuster drugs from biotechs and other pharmaceutical companies. Also includes the licensing and acquisition of new products from other sources (often smaller biotechs to larger suppliers).

This chapter includes advice on FDA issues and the increased focus on drug and device safety, which also appears in Healthcare. Litigation cenetring on claims of product liability can be seen in the National Products Liability chapter of Chambers USA.


The Chambers USA litigation chapters focus on commercial proceedings before state and federal court, circuit courts and US Supreme Court. The work covers the full course of a dispute such as pre-trial negotiations, documentation and preparation for trial, summary judgement motions, trial, appeals and enforcement proceedings. Chambers USA focuses on two main types of litigation: commercial disputes before civil courts and white-collar crime, including government investigations. Alternative dispute resolution, involving non-court mediation is also featured. Many commercial contracts contain arbitration clauses, which are handled by commercial litigators. Chambers USA has also identified those firms which field arbitration specialists. Please refer to the National: International Arbitration table for further information. In the USA, the Bar is sufficiently specialised for Chambers USA to identify litigators by the sector in which they practice. Areas such as Insurance, Construction, Environment, IP and Media all contain litigators who are experts in their field.

Litigation: White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations

Our White-Collar Crime & Government Investigations research will cover both individual representations and company representations. Work typically undertaken in this section will include external and internal investigations, enforcement proceedings, white-collar criminal trials and appeals. Attorneys will generally represent individuals or companies involved in matters investigated by bodies such as the DOJ, US Attorneys' Offices, state AGs and Congress committees. These investigations and enforcement proceedings may involve a range of issues, including insider trading, healthcare fraud, antitrust issues, corruption allegations and FCPA breaches.

We also have a standalone FCPA section, as well as a Corporate Crime section - FCPA work should be prioritized in the FCPA rather than the state White-Collar tables, and Corporate Crime focuses on institutional representations (excluding individual-only mandates). There are also sections like Healthcare and Antitrust that will cover some of the work that comes up in White-Collar.

Litigation: General Commercial

Our definition of general commercial litigation will always take into consideration the other practice areas that we cover in a given state. It is therefore a fairly broad interpretation of commercial litigation, perhaps more easily defined by what is not included within it. If, for example, we are looking at a state where we have coverage of IP, antitrust and bankruptcy litigation in standalone tables, we would not expect too much of this work to be included in a commercial litigation table and would be looking more for business disputes such as breach of contract claims. The work should be civil, and should involve disputes between business entities.

Litigation: Securities

If we have states with separate securities litigation rankings for firms, you should be able to see on the research schedule that you can submit to these separately. If we have smaller states with just a commercial litigation table, you can include securities litigation in the commercial litigation submission. For the full definition, please refer to Securities: Litigation below.

Media & Broadcasting

The media market has many different facets. Chambers guides have attempted to highlight lawyers who have an understanding of the issues related to key sectors such as Advertising, Film & Television; Music, Publishing and Theatre.

Within these sectors, we spotlight those lawyers, who concentrate on either contentious or non-contentious matters. Litigation includes: copyright and contractual disputes (either representing studios,producers or talent); First Amendment litigation; IP and trademark disputes; antitrust and; matters arising from film finance.

On the non-contentious side, Chambers includes: production; financing and distribution concerns; IP; licensing and; supplementary rights planning.

Native American Law

Firms operating in this area represent tribes or private companies or state governments in their dealings with tribes. Gaming law and regulatory work and casino development have traditionally been key areas of this market. There is also a growing emphasis on land, energy, water rights and environmental matters.

Natural Resources

The Natural Resources sections focus on mining and minerals exploration, development and production agreements, including royalty issues, project finance, taxation and other financing arrangements. Engineering, processing and refining contracts, sales structures and environmental issues are also covered.

Privacy & Data Security

The US Privacy and Data Security section covers compliance with a vast array of US federal and state privacy and information management laws. At the federal level, such laws are predominantly sector-specific and include the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Financial Services Modernization Act, the Health Insurance Portability and AccountabilityAct (HIPAA), the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (CAN-SPAM) Act and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).

At the state level, a particularly notable area is advice on data security breaches and on the ramifications and requirements of various state data breach notification laws. Such data security breaches can also attract the attention of various state Attorneys General and federal bodies such as the FTC, which can lead to firms being required to represent clients in investigations, enforcement actions or litigation.

Work of an international nature can include advising clients with multinational operations on data security issues relating to cross-border transfers of data, such as in large-scale outsourcing transactions involving a number of countries, and on global or multi-jurisdictional privacy compliance programmes.

Private Equity: Buyouts

This section focuses on the transactional aspect of private equity funds work. It takes into account LBO, M&A, recapitalization and restructuring-related matters at both the high-end and mid-market level.

Private Equity: Fund Formation

This section covers the formation of private equity funds, ranging from LBOs, secondaries and infrastructure funds, to hybrid funds, mezzanine and distressed debt. Particular attention is paid to the sponsor side, because this incorporates the actual structuring of the fund.

Products Liability

This chapter encompasses legal claims that allow an injured party to recover financial compensation from the manufacturer or seller of a product. This can include faulty brakes, contaminated food and medicine lacking appropriate label warnings.

Law firms advise manufacturers, distributors, suppliers retailers and others who make the product available to the public. It also covers toxic tort, relating to the exposure to chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs or occupational hazards. Most pharmaceutical claims are mass tort cases, because drugs are consumed by thousands of people. Occupational toxic tort cases occur where industrial and other works have been exposed to toxic chemicals.

Most of the law in this area has traditionally arisen from asbestos exposure.


Projects: Power, Projects: Oil & Gas and Projects: Mining & Metals are firm only tables. Individual lawyers who practice across these three areas are recognized in the overall projects table. This section may include projects practitioners with broad-based projects expertise who are also ranked in Projects: LNG, Projects: PPP or Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy. Please see the sub-section definitions below for the type of work covered by practitioners ranked in this section.

Projects: Agency Finance

Firms highlighted in this section are exclusively those with significant capabilities in the agency financing space. This practice area covers energy and infrastructure project financings with involvement from US based and international agency lenders, including development finance institutions (DFIs), export credit agencies (ECAs) and multilateral agencies (MLAs).

Projects: PPP

This practice area covers Public Private Partnership (PPP/P3/PFI) financing structures for infrastructure projects, principally in the transportation sector such as bridges, roads and airports as well as social and service infrastructure projects including military housing, hospitals and parking garages when financed as a PPP. This section also includes the growing area of sale and purchase of PPP contracts. We do not consider PPP work outside of the Projects context in this section.

Projects: Oil & Gas

This practice area includes all Oil and Gas project financing and development work in the Upstream, Midstream and Downstream sectors. We also consider DrillCo structures applicable here. Typical projects include petrochemical facilities, pipelines and shale gas extraction assets. LNG-specific projects are considered separately in Projects: LNG.

Projects: Power

This practice area covers traditional power generation projects; coal, gas and combination fired power plants; electricity transmission projects and energy storage solutions. This practice area does not include renewables work. Only project financing work is considered in this category.

Projects: Power & Renewables: Transactional

This practice area covers transactional work pertaining to traditional power and renewable energy projects. Specific matters highlighted here include the acquisition and divestiture of existing projects and stakes in project companies as well as project portfolio transactions. PPP projects work is covered separately in Projects: PPP and all other transactional matters in the Energy Industry are covered in Energy: Electricity (Transactional) and Energy: Oil & Gas (Transactional).

Projects: Renewables & Alternative Energy

This practice area covers renewable energy projects including solar, wind, hydro-electric, biomass and other sources of power generation. Projects covered typically range from utility scale solar and wind facilities to community level generation. This section is focused on generation asset projects also includes related transmission and energy storage projects. We also recognize expertise in renewable project-specific tax credit financing.

Projects: Mining & Metals

This table focuses on mining and metals projects including the financing of new projects and the refinancing of existing projects. This table recognizes US-based mining project expertise in international jurisdictions.

Projects: LNG

This practice area includes all LNG-specific project financing and development work for new LNG facilities as well as expansion of existing LNG facilities. Typical projects include USA-based LNG export terminals, LNG pipelines and other midstream assets and FSRUs. We also recognize work concerning international LNG facilities.

Real Estate

Corporate matters related to real estate include M&A of large real estate holding companies, complex fund and REIT transactions, private equity and public securities. These real estate lawyers are distinct from pure corporate lawyers in that they typically come from a real estate background, have an understanding of the underlying asset and do aspects of `dirt law` real estate for their clients.

In the USA, zoning and land use specialists often form an identifiable category. They perform an important role in major developments, advising on zoning regulations and municipal restrictions used by some cities to control development within their borders. Easement and eminent domain (or condemnation) is also covered.

Real estate finance matters are also included. Lawyers do not need to act exclusively for lenders but should have a healthy lender client base which gives them the volume of work in this field. Some of these lawyers will also handle aspects of complex debt capital markets - such as securitization - but the decision to include them in a real estate table will be based on their understanding of the underlying asset.

The structuring and transactional advice provided to REITs (real estateinvestment trusts) impacts on our real estate tables. For attorneys who practice exclusively in the field of REITs, please also considered the Chambers USA National REITs table or the Chambers Global `Global REITs` table. However, Chambers real estate chapters will always cover this part of the market.

Registered Funds

This section covers a broad range of registered funds, including mutual funds. It encompasses fund formation and transactional work, as well as regulatory compliance issues under the 1940 Act. Work for open and closed-ended and exchange traded funds (ETFs) is also covered.


This chapter features structuring and transactional advice related to specialist real estate investment trusts. Includes: IPOs, going private transactions, joint ventures, M&As, REIT formation and investment work, restructurings, REIT tax issues, litigation, 144As that involve REITs, financings, Special Committee representations and UPREIT and DOWNREIT structure implementation.


Retail is an industry table covering law firms which have developed a track record in serving the needs of large national retailers. Naturally, real estate, planning and land use matters will feature prominently, but the firm must also advise on franchise, IP, trademark and e-commerce matters.

Furthermore, it should ideally demonstrate aptitude in employment matters and be able to respond to the majority of tax, advertising and regulatory and consumer protection issues, as well as disputes both nationally and internationally.

Securities Litigation

Securities Litigation includes: insider trading; shareholder disputes; contested merger and acquisition bids; reorganisations and restructurings; corporate governance disputes; director, officer, issuer and investment dealer disclosure and; liability matters and other non-compliance matters.

Corporate governance disputes arise where it is alleged that management has breached the rights and responsibilities agreed with shareholders.

Securities Regulation

Securities Regulation covers advisory and enforcement matters, internal audits and investigations before the SEC. These include SEC investigations into accounting irregularities, mortgage and credit market matters, short selling, auction rate securities and matters related to financial fraud. Clients include accounting firms, corporates, investment funds and broker-dealers.


Shipping & maritime litigation involves breach of charter-party disputes, cargo and bills of lading claims, the arrest of vessels and cargoes, marine insurance claims, collision, salvage and environmental liabilities. On the non-contentious side, law firms advise on contractual arrangements for construction, financing and registration of vessels, customs and licensing, and documentation relating to charter-parties and bills of lading.

Startups & Emerging Companies

Nationwide Startups & Emerging Companies covers work on behalf of emerging growth companies, start-ups, individual investors and VC funds. It does not include VC fund formation (See Investment Funds: Venture Capital Fund Formation). Work might include early and late-stage venture financings, venture capital partnerships, regulatory compliance issues, other advisory work, and IPOs. Emerging markets of focus include technology, life sciences and clean energy.


Tax covers transactional and controversy-related work (the latter area is reviewed at a national level). Tax on the transactional side covers corporate partnerships structures, tax planning, spin-offs and negotiating tax-free acquisitions.

Tax controversy encompasses any contentious tax issue, predominantly at the federal court stage. This includes tax-based litigation, IRS examinations (usually concerning federal income tax issues) and tax shelter investigations. This section also takes into account transfer pricing.

Technology & Communications

Technology focuses on contractual agreements in the technology field, often outsourcing contracts between large corporates and suppliers of IT services. Chambers guides also include transactional matters such as M&A and financing in this chapter.

Law firms often work with investors or start-up enterprises on a range of business issues including employment law, strategic alliances and joint ventures, stock exchange listings, mergers, acquisitions and corporate governance issues.


The telecom section concentrates on a range of legal issues arising from the heavily regulated areas of telecommunications and broadcasting.

Work includes transactional and litigation advice to telecoms companies, wireless operators, TV and / or radio broadcasters and the regulatory issues that such companies face. These issues might be government-sponsored inquires, investigations or compliance proceedings. Other matters include interconnection and resales laws, multimedia agreements and licensing activity.


Transportation is a broad industry category, which covers a number of discrete specialisms: Aviation includes both finance, regulatory and litigation matters. Finance concentrates on the advice to manufacturers, purchasers and investors (such as hedge and private equity funds) on the sale, leasing and acquisition of portfolios of aircraft. Also includes the 2001 UNIDROIT Convention on International Interests in Mobile Equipment, or Cape Town Convention, which relates to the electronic registration of aircraft interests.

The Aviation Litigation table covers traditional accident defense litigation, including advising aviation insurers on coverage and other issues, as well as product liability claims and general commercial disputes affecting the aviation industry. The Aviation Regulatory table spans representation before the Department of Transportation (DOT), the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the Surface Transportation Board (STB) and other federal administrative agencies. Key issues include the reauthorization of air traffic control systems and their funding. Also covers issues of congestion, and the Open Skies talks between the USA and the European Union.

The Rail section includes advice to both railroads and the shippers. Key issues include rail rates litigation, fuel supply / surcharges and proceedings before the Surface Transportation Board.

Shipping finance, litigation (such as cargo claims and contractual disputes) and regulatory matters are treated in separate tables. Shipping finance includes advice to the traditional bank market as well as hedge and private equity funds looking for new investment opportunities.

Nationwide: Transportation: Road (Automotive)

This practice area covers a range of transactional and contentious work pertaining to the automotive industry. Matters highlighted here often include vehicle and product safety, franchising, environmental and labor and employment issues in the automotive sector. This section also covers autonomous vehicle issues and other matters at the intersection of technology and automotive work. Clients typically include automotive parts and vehicle manufacturers, transportation companies, technology companies and industry associations. 

Nationwide: Transportation: Road (Carriage/Logistics)

Firms and attorneys highlighted in this practice area are those offering significant capabilities in transactional, regulatory and contentious issues affecting road carriage and logistics operations. Work typically includes the acting for trucking companies, logistics providers, customer groups and industry associations in regulatory compliance; government investigations and enforcement actions; major accident litigation; freight related contracts and disputes; and other logistics and transportation agreements


The travel industry table encompasses legal advice on a broad array of market pressures including regulatory compliance on consumer safety, foreign personal injury litigation, and environmental concerns.

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