International

Overview

A New Approach

International practices at American law firms traditionally rely on expensive foreign offices whose costs drive up legal bills for their clients. Schiff Hardin is pioneering a new approach. Our International Client Service Group represents foreign companies doing business in the United States, but we work with attorneys at partner firms outside the United States to serve U.S. clients operating abroad. In this way, we provide all our clients with the most effective, efficient and economical legal representation.

An International Team Counseling Foreign Clients

With lawyers in New York, Washington, D.C., Chicago and San Francisco, our International Client Service Group regularly advises companies from abroad in virtually all legal issues they face in the United States. Many of our attorneys are bilingual or multilingual and are trained in one or more foreign legal systems. They serve as U.S. outside General Counsel for our foreign clients, managing and supervising their corporate, commercial, employment, intellectual property and, of course, litigation work, often assisted by Schiff Hardin attorneys and professionals from our offices in Ann Arbor, and Lake Forest.

In addition to several large multinational corporations, we advise many mid-sized and smaller foreign companies, investor groups and individuals in all legal matters relating to their business activities in the United States.

Our thorough familiarity with foreign civil law legal systems and business cultures make us uniquely sensitive to the requirements of clients from abroad. It also allows us to offer practical and efficient solutions to both legal and business problems that take into account not only the latest developments in U.S. law and practice, but also any special legal requirements of the client’s country.

Connecting U.S. Companies to a Worldwide Legal Network

We believe that the best way to assist domestic clients doing business outside the United States is to team with major law firms in foreign jurisdictions.

We have strong relationships with senior partners at a select group of foreign firms that understand the global compliance needs of U.S. companies, allowing us to tap the abilities of top specialists in their fields to deliver high-quality added-value work in a seamless manner. This “best-friends” approach is the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner of providing international legal services, one which allows us to make referrals on a case-by-case basis without having to maintain foreign offices whose costs are always, ultimately, supported by clients.   

  • Experience

    We have assisted foreign clients in a wide range of industries with issues relating to U.S. investments, transactions, litigation and business activities. Our experience includes helping:

    Biotech

    • The European and U.S. affiliates of a publicly-held Australian biotech company in a joint venture with a Canadian group of companies and a friendly bid for a publicly-held U.S. pharmaceutical company
    • A British biotech company in several rounds of global private placements, the U.S. legal aspects of its IPO in the U.K., and in the purchase of technology assets from a U.S. company in proceedings under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

     

    Chemicals

    • The world’s largest chemical company (headquartered in Germany) and its Dutch and U.S. affiliates in litigation involving contamination of commercial rice seed stocks by another company’s genetically modified organisms
    • The same German chemical company and its United States affiliates in multiple lawsuits involving injuries allegedly caused by inhalation of toxic vapors used in the food industry
    • A U.S. affiliate of the same German chemical company in numerous lawsuits throughout the United States involving various business lines (including coatings, urethanes, catalysts, intermediates, agricultural products and biotechnology)
    • A Canadian affiliate of the same German chemical company in a dispute over the sale of foam insulation panels

     

    Commodities

    • France’s national sugar producer in a dispute in New York
    • A major steelmaker with operations in Europe in connection with a potentially sensitive magazine article

     

    Electronics

    • A leading European electronics equipment company in developing patent risk management strategies for reducing the risk of patent infringement issues or litigation before selling products or performing services in the United States. Representation includes involvement in all phases of a product’s life cycle – product conception, design, development, manufacturing and sales – and providing product clearances, freedom-to-operate opinions, noninfringement analyses and patent invalidity studies.
    • The largest German electronics manufacturer and its U.S. affiliates in personal injury actions around the country involving automotive safety equipment
    • The largest German electronics manufacturer and its U.S. affiliates in various disputes around the country involving, among other things, its airport solutions, transportation, conveyance systems, automotive, power plant, building systems, and medical and radiologic equipment businesses

     

    Energy, Public Utilities, Oil and Gas

    • The world’s largest independent operator of tank storage facilities headquartered in Europe in private debt financings in the United States
    • A European electric utility company in the issuance and sale in the United States under Rule 144A of more than $5 billion in debt securities and the establishment of a Medium Term Note Program
    • A German corporation in a joint venture with a U.S. developer and manufacturer of industrial grade equipment for the energy efficient transformation of waste, including sludge from waste water treatment facilities, into dried powder that can be used as fuel in the generation of electricity
    • A German manufacturer of proprietary mounting and tracking systems designed to generate superior yield from solar panels in joint ventures and distribution arrangements with U.S. manufacturers of solar panels
    • A leading French company specializing in secured power supply and manufacturing of low voltage power security switches and devices in general U.S. corporate matters, including the bankruptcy of one of its major customers

     

    Financial Institutions

    • A Swiss bank in the establishment of a U.S. subsidiary and the acquisition by the subsidiary of a minority interest in a U.S. registered broker-dealer
    • A publicly-held Swiss investment company in several of its activities in the United States, including its listing on the New York Stock Exchange
    • The U.S. branches of several major French banks in their lending, enforcement and general commercial and corporate activities in the United States, many of which involved the banks’ French and European customers
    • A prominent financial firm and one of its English principals in connection with false material being anonymously posted to websites from the United States

     

    Food and Beverage

    • The largest European company in the bakery industry in setting up its operations in the United States and advising on general corporate, employment, tax and commercial matters
    • An Italian private equity group in a dispute resulting from the group’s substantial investment in a U.S. chain of theme restaurants

     

    Household

    • Germany’s largest manufacturer of kitchen cabinets in negotiations for the acquisition of two U.S. kitchen cabinet manufacturers
    • The U.S. affiliate of a Swiss-owned group of companies engaged in designing and selling cutting edge household utensils in the successful defense of class action litigation
    • A Swiss manufacturer of water purification equipment in the acquisition of a U.S. company engaged in the same line of business, and the restructuring and eventual resale of the U.S. subsidiary
    • The U.S. indirect subsidiary of a major Swiss furniture design firm in connection with real property and related litigation in New York

     

    Industrial Equipment

    • One of the world’s largest manufacturers of industrial and automotive bearings (headquartered in Germany) in litigation in the United States involving the failure of bearings
    • A leading European manufacturer of fragrance raw materials for the perfume industry in setting-up its operations in the United States
    • A leading German heavy industry and technology company in the prosecution of U.S. patent applications in a number of product areas, including medical devices and high technology equipment
    • The holder of the French monopoly for the manufacture of gun powder and explosives in its prolonged negotiations that ultimately led to the divestiture of its U.S. business
    • The French leader in conveyor belts for the cardboard industry in a joint venture with its U.S. partners
    • A large German manufacturer of industrial valves in patent prosecution and pre-litigation matters
    • A German manufacturer of excavation equipment in personal injury litigation
    • A German manufacturer of connector pins used in the automotive industry in a dispute involving defective pins

     

    Media and Entertainment

    • A German leader in the interactive entertainment industry in negotiations for a joint venture with a Silicon Valley-based developer and publisher of video games
    • A group of Swiss investors in its investment in a California-based film production company
    • Switzerland’s largest manufacturer of newspaper printing and sorting machines in negotiations for the acquisition of a competitor’s U.S. operations
    • Europe’s largest photo finishing company in the acquisition of a U.S. photo finisher

     

    Medical Devices and Products

    • A leading European manufacturer and worldwide distributor of medical devices in the strategic divestiture of its neurosurgical business division in the United States, in the restructuring of its sales force and distribution network in the northeastern United States and in complex litigation with some of its U.S. distributors
    • A Swiss manufacturer of artificial hip joints in its friendly bid for a publicly-held U.S. corporation
    • A French leader in medical devices in the acquisition of a U.S. neurosurgical business and of a $50 million U.S. business involved in the manufacture and distribution of medical devices

     

    Professional Services

    • A prominent French executive recruiting firm with offices in Paris, London, Milan, Rome, Frankfurt and Brussels in the dissolution of its former partnership in the United States and subsequent re-establishment in the United States through a new American merger partner and formation of a new U.S. subsidiary
    • An internationally known French architect and his firm in several high-profile design projects in various parts of the United States, including a recently settled multi-million dollar breach of contract claim arising out of a multi-billion dollar construction project in New York City

     

    Retail, Fashion and Luxury Goods

    • Europe’s largest “cash and carry” retailer in the sale of its U.S. operations to U.S. management in a leveraged buyout transaction
    • The U.S. affiliate of a major European group in the sportswear industry in the restructuring of its bank and trade debt following the bankruptcy of the European parent company, and the U.S. law aspects of the sale of the European manufacturing affiliate of the group to an Austrian purchaser
    • A Swiss investor group in private equity investments in several U.S. consumer goods companies
    • A leading French manufacturer and supplier of fashion clothing in its corporate restructuring in the United States
    • A leading French manufacturer and supplier of luxury upholstery in expanding its distribution network in the United States
    • A well-known French jeweler in the establishment of its U.S. operations and the long-term lease and ground-up renovation of a Madison Avenue townhouse that is now the jeweler’s U.S. flagship store
    • A globally recognized Italian designer brand in a broad range of matters, including trademark and copyright infringement litigation, anti-counterfeiting work, commercial litigation, and employment counseling
    • A prominent Italian fashion and luxury goods brand in connection with the acquisition of a potential retail location in Chicago, in personal injury litigation, and in a contract dispute
    • A group of Italian jewelry firms in commercial litigation

     

    Technology

    • A German company that delivers system technology for maritime applications in its acquisition of all outstanding shares of a U.S. designer and supplier of roll stabilization and heel control systems
    • A French leader in humanoid robotics with setting up its operations in the United States and advising on general corporate, employment, tax and commercial/licensing matters
    • A leading French software publisher and engineering services company specializing in output document management solutions in general corporate, employment, tax and commercial/licensing matters in the United States
    • A German company that is a world leader in high-speed electro photographic and inkjet printers in extensive patent and trademark prosecution and pre-litigation matters

     

    Telecommunications

    • A French telecommunications company in a joint venture with a U.S. provider of long-distance telecommunications services
    • The U.S. subsidiaries of an Austrian company in several licensing transactions for advanced wireless communications technology
    • A leading French telephone service provider in the termination of the long-serving president of its U.S. subsidiary

     

    Transportation

    • A group of shareholders in the sale of Europe’s largest aircraft maintenance company with worldwide operations to a German private equity fund
    • A German corporation in the elevator component industry in the acquisition of the elevator division of a U.S. competitor
    • A French public company in purchasing the assets of a U.S. leading spare parts manufacturer for the automotive industry

     

    Travel and Leisure

    • Europe’s largest operator of timeshare vacation resorts in its bid for the European vacation properties of a U.S. competitor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy
    • A British firm developing property in the Caribbean in obtaining evidence for use in litigation there

     

    Trusts and Estates

    • Two offshore trusts established for the benefit of a European family in the simplification of their structures, which originally consisted of more than twenty corporate entities in eight jurisdictions, and in protracted but ultimately successful negotiations with dissident family beneficiaries
    • Several European high-net-worth individuals in their investments in Manhattan real estate, including the establishment of offshore trust structures to minimize the tax burden on these investments
    • The U.K. beneficiaries of a French decedent whose estate required ancillary administration in New York state in their claims against an attorney for malpractice in connection with payment of taxes and otherwise in Supreme Court and Surrogate’s Court
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