THE FIRM Kirkland & Ellis maintains its market-leading position in Chicago, with 280 corporate lawyers and over 35 years of private equity focus. The firm's full-service approach allows the team to draw on its expertise in litigation, IP, tax and restructuring on complex transactions. Recently the firm has represented a number of industry leaders including Bain Capital, Sun Capital Partners, Sara Lee, and Boeing.
Sources say: “Kirkland is one of the strongest firms in the business.” "A powerhouse - they have a number of very strong people."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Clients praise Jon Ballis as “a fantastic lawyer with great business judgment.” He is an expert in handling complex and strategic aspects of buyouts, mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures. Recently, he acted for Bain Capital in the purchase of Air Medical Group Holdings.
Scott Falk is well known in the Chicago M&A community. His practice includes tender offers, joint ventures and subsidiary divestitures. A notable mandate saw him advise on Baxter International's $380 million acquisition of Baxa Corporation and on its acquisition of Prism Pharmaceuticals, valued at $338 million.
Sanford Perl is best known for his private equity work and is considered "a very prominent name” with a "hard work ethic." He is regarded as particularly skilled in matters involving a securities or tax element. He represented GTCR in its acquisition of financial software service BankServ, valued at $300 million.
Peers report that Stephen Ritchie is “great to work with, even on the other side of transactions.” He is noted for his expertise in leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations and growth equity investments. He assisted GTCR in the $270.5 million sale of Fairmount Cheese Holdings to Saputo.
Douglas Gessner acts on behalf of venture capital and private equity sponsors in a range of matters. He recently assisted long-standing client Sun Capital Partners in a number of transactions, including its acquisition of United Glass Corp and Manchester Industries, as well as the sale of Bruegger’s Enterprises.
Servicing prominent clients such as Bain Capital in the private equity space, Matthew Steinmetz has an “exceptional reputation” in Chicago. His practice ranges from private and public equity investments to fund formation and restructurings.
Walter Holzer has over 16 years of experience in the Illinois market. He was instrumental in The Riverside Company's take-private acquisition of Canadian entity Pareto Corporation, valued at CAD103 million.
Commentators describe Edward Schneidman as “a fabulous corporate and securities lawyer.” He is singled out for his expertise in real estate-related funds, making him “an excellent attorney for REIT matters.”
Seasoned practitioner Carter Emerson is now of counsel. He has extensive experience in mergers, acquisitions, securities, and private and public offerings in both domestic and international markets and remains an important figure at the firm.
Kevin Evanich also recently became of counsel. Sources describe him as a “high-quality, well-known practitioner.”
Jeffrey Hammes chairs the firm’s global management executive committee and splits his time between Chicago and the office he founded in San Francisco. His impressive client portfolio includes notable private equity firm Golden Gate Capital.