Hill Ward Henderson and its attorneys drew praise for the eleventh consecutive year in the 2012 edition of the Chambers USA Guide: America's Leading Business Lawyers, published by Chambers & Partners. Chambers researchers spend a year conducting thousands of in-depth interviews with key in-house counsel, firm clients, and leading private practice attorneys in each U.S. state to obtain a consistent market view of which firms and attorneys are considered leaders in their field.
Hill Ward Henderson’s Commercial Litigation, Corporate, and Real Estate practice groups all received top Hill Ward Henderson’s Commercial Litigation, Corporate, Real Estate and Tax practice groups all received top rankings within the state of Florida in the Chambers USA 2012 Directory.
Published editorials praise the firm's practice areas as follows:
- Commercial Litigation -
"This Florida-based full-service law firm is praised for catering to all clients’ needs. The talented team is well equipped to handle a variety of complex commercial disputes and business tort litigation across the state, and is acknowledged for its strong trial skills. Recent work highlights include defending OSI Restaurant Partners against various contract and fraud-related claims made by its California franchisee, seeking damages in excel of $200 million. 'An excellent shop; we think very highly of them.'"
- Corporate/M&A -
"This firm had another excellent year with impressive growth across its corporate team. The team is well known for its work on M&A and private equity deals, and is also highly regarded for its involvement in significant venture capital transactions. Notably, it acted for an investor group with respect to its purchase of preferred equity from St. Petersburg-based Tower Cloud, and advised Tampa-based social networking company Blirt on its formation and initial fund-raising round. The firm also represented Technology Research in its $50 million acquisition by Coleman Cable. 'A top-notch firm – they provide great counsel for tremendous value.’ ‘They are very responsive and have a ‘get it done’ attitude – they think in solutions.'"
- Real Estate -
"The firm is able to handle complex transactions for its investor, property owner and financial institution clients. The group represents parties on transactional and land use real estate, overseeing acquisitions and dispositions, as well a leasing, zoning approvals and development. The firm is also engaged in real estate financing work and has recently handled a $33 million refinancing for the owners of a major office building in Fort Lauderdale. 'They are an extension of what we do on a daily basis and are involved in everything we do – we consider them our business partners.'"
- Taxation -
"This Tampa –based team enters the rankings following high caliber client commentary on its broad based tax practice. In addition to its widely recognized strength in employee benefits and trust and estate planning, the firm also offers tax planning and advice in connection with M&A, joint ventures, partnerships, spinoffs and real estate transactions. 'The quality of their work is uniformly excellent. I recommend them all the time.'"
Published editorials praise the firm's attorneys as follows...
- Benjamin H. Hill, III
Founding partner Benjamin Hill, III is widely respected for his trial skills, with commentors agreeing that 'he has amazing ability and his reputation is very well founded.' He has particularly strong experience in complex general commercial, professional liability and product liability matters, and has been defending Wyndham Worldwide in a putative class action brought by 14 hotel franchisees alleging breaches to its customer loyalty program.
- David T. Knight
David Knight leads the commercial litigation group and is respected as 'a phenomenal lawyer.' According to clients, he is 'more than capable,' and 'adds lots of local knowledge.' He successfully defended Martin Marietta against a breach of contract claim relating to the purchase of lime rock quarries in Florida.
- Dennis P. Waggoner
Dennis Waggoner is recognized as an 'excellent lawyer' and impresses clients and market commentators with his strong experience and trial skills. He leads the firm’s litigation group and acted as lead counsel in defending OSI Restaurant Partners. He also defended Raytheon in a class action relating to groundwater contamination emanating from one of its facilities located in Pinellas County.
- David S. Felman -
The experienced Dave Felman is well known and respected in the Florida legal market. He regularly acts for clients such as Ballast Point Ventures, including in relation to its investment in Tower Cloud, and earns praise for his 'outstanding general knowledge.'
- Alton C. Ward -
Practice co-head Alton Ward earns accolades for his exceptional strength in employee benefit matters. He regularly counsels clients on 401(k) plans, profit sharing plans, retirement plans and ESOPs. One impressed client reports: 'He is timely, accurate, trustworthy and very well respected throughout Tampa and beyond. He is also extremely responsive and I can call him any time, day or night. I hope he never retires!'
- Mark A. Danzi -
Mark Danzi is 'a very strong lawyer – he is very user-friendly and focused on his clients.'
- Thomas N. Henderson, III -
Thomas Henderson has a broad practice representing clients on purchases, sales, financing and development, and has particular expertise representing borrowers in loan matters. Clients value his 'tremendous amount of experience,' and also reserve praise for his risk assessment.
- Brian C. Sparks -
Trusts and estates expert Brian Sparks is applauded as ‘a key person within the firm.’ He regularly represents wealthy individuals, professionals, business executives and closely held businesses. Peers note: 'He is a fine lawyer who provides great client care and an excellent work product.'