Five “Rising Stars” Earn Recognition for Wide-Ranging Practice Work

May 20, 2016
Shaun Hartley, Matthew Murchison, Benjamin Naftalis, Harjaskaran Rai and Debbie Yee are honored by Law360.

Law360 has named five Latham & Watkins lawyers among its 2016 “Rising Stars” based on their achievements advising clients across diverse practice areas and industry sectors. Law360 selected Chicago corporate partner Shaun Hartley, Washington, D.C. corporate associate Matthew Murchison, New York litigation partner Benjamin Naftalis, Dubai/Riyadh finance partner Harjaskaran Rai and Houston corporate partner Debbie Yee from among more than 1,100 nominations. According to Law360, the annual coverage highlights lawyers under the age of 40 “whose legal accomplishments belie their age.” 

Hartley, a member of the firm’s Mergers & Acquisitions Practice, was honored in the Private Equity category. Law360 noted that Hartley has “secured the trust of Latham & Watkins’ powerhouse clients, combining youthful energy and veteran savvy to steer mammoth deals.” For instance, the publication cited his role in The Carlyle Group’s recent $2.1 billion sale of Ohio-based Landmark Aviation to Britain’s BBA Aviation, a complex transaction that “had to clear multiple hurdles on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.” 

Murchison, a member of Latham’s Communications Law Practice, was named a “Telecommunications Rising Star” for his “leading role representing key industry voices on net neutrality before the Federal Communications Commission and at the D.C. Circuit.” Law360 noted that his efforts included “helping represent the National Cable & Telecommunications Association and other broadband and cable industry clients before the FCC as the agency was mulling its historic Open Internet Order.” 

Naftalis, a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense & Investigations Practice, was selected in the White Collar category, having “charted a notable path in white collar law.” Law360 highlighted numerous “headline accomplishments” during his eight-year tenure within the Southern District of New York’s Criminal Division, as well as his wide range of work at Latham that recently included representing an electronics manufacturer client in a US criminal investigation. According to Law360, Naftalis ultimately “helped to secure a rare, formal declination from the Justice Department.” 

Rai, a Local Finance Department Chair and Project Development & Finance Practice member, was named a “Project Finance Rising Star.” Law360 noted Rai’s extensive experience in sukuk bond deals — which he “has become an expert at navigating” — as well as his key role in the US$6 billion IPO of Saudi Arabia’s National Commercial Bank, marking the largest public debut in Middle Eastern history. Law360 commented: “The 36-year-old Rising Star admitted it is unusual for a project finance attorney to work on a public offering like the one he led on behalf of the National Commercial Bank … but said being a jack-of-all-trades is required when your primary business is in developing nations.”

Yee, a member of the firm’s Capital Markets Practice who also advises on M&A and corporate governance matters, was recognized in the Energy category. Law360 commended Yee for “helping to shepherd two major infrastructure deals totaling some $56 billion for Energy Transfer Equity LP affiliates in the last year,” including the $18 billion acquisition of Regency Energy Partners — a high-stakes, fast-paced transaction that was completed in just two weeks. Law360 also noted Yee’s key role in PennTex Midstream Partners LP’s recent $225 million IPO.