Overview

With 30 years of experience, Bruce I. Ettelson, P.C. is widely recognized as a leading private investment funds lawyer who has been on the forefront of the industry's evolution since its early years. He is the founder of the Firm's dedicated Investment Funds Group, which was ranked in 2018 by Chambers & Partners as Tier 1 in the U.S., Asia-Pacific and globally.

His practice focuses on structuring and forming premier private equity funds and their management companies. Bruce has represented more than 125 private equity firms in the formation of more than 500 private equity funds. He is also involved in the structuring and formation of private equity funds associated with commercial and investment banks; representing investors in making and monitoring investments in private equity funds; representing buyers, sellers, management teams and fund sponsors in their investments in the secondary market; and acting for private equity clients in general corporate counseling.

The Legal 500 U.S. has recognized Bruce as a leading lawyer in the Private Equity Funds category every year since its first edition in 2007 and in 2017 he was one of less than 500 lawyers in all practice areas to be in the inaugural class inducted into The Legal 500 U.S. Hall of Fame. In the 2018 edition, Bruce was one of four private funds attorneys to be listed in the Hall of Fame. According to The Legal 500, clients have described Bruce as “extremely knowledgeable,” and "a very strong partner, [and a] first choice for fund formation," with an "almost encyclopedic knowledge of private equity."

Additionally, Chambers & Partners has ranked Bruce in the top tier or as a senior statesman for Private Equity: Fund Formation in its Chambers USA guide every year since the introduction of the private equity fund formation category in 2005. According to Chambers, clients have described Bruce as an "absolutely top-notch, dynamite attorney" who is "more knowledgeable about the private equity market than anyone else in the business." They have also noted that he’s a “great problem solver” and "there's almost no issue he hasn't seen and skillfully solved with his 20-plus years of fund formation experience. He is particularly adept at investor negotiations." Bruce is also ranked in the top tier in Chambers Global in the area of Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation - USA, where clients note that he is a "go-to person for mission-critical fund issues as well as being one of the industry's best fund lawyers."

Bruce has been recognized by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers In America. He also has been recognized as one of the top 30 private equity practitioners in the country by Legal Media Group’s The Best of the Best USA. He was named Best Lawyers© 2016 & 2018 Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law "Lawyer of the Year” in Chicago.

Bruce is a frequent lecturer, speaker, and panel moderator and has also published numerous articles on private equity and fund formation matters. He currently serves as a Vice Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago and on the Board of the American Jewish Committee of Chicago and on the Hillels of Illinois Governing Committee, and he recently served on the University of Chicago Law School Visiting Committee.

More

Thought Leadership

Publications 

"The Offering Memorandum," by Bruce I. Ettelson, Mark Mifsud and Karen Sodke, published in The Definitive Guide to Private Equity Fundraising, a Private Equity International publication (May 2009).

"Defying the Odds," published in Legal Week Global (April 2003).

Moderated panel "Secondaries Pros Discuss Market's Evolution," published in Buyouts Newsletter (December 2002).

"Three Important Fund Formation Developments," published in Directory of Private Equity Investors (2000 Edition).

"Important Fund Formation Developments - Or Five Things Every Private Equity Fund Sponsor Must Know," by Jack S. Levin, Bruce I. Ettelson and Donald E. Rocap, published in The Venture Capital Review (1997).

"Fund Formation Trends," published in Directory of Private Equity Investors (1996-1999 Editions).

Seminars

Lecturer, "Private Equity Funds," November 2018 at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business with professor, Steven N. Kaplan of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Speaker and Moderator, "Current Fund Trends," October 2018 at the 12th Annual IVCA CFO Conference.

Lecturer, "Private Equity Funds," May 2018 at the University of Chicago Law School with professor, Steven N. Kaplan of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Panelist, "The Rise of Evergreen Funds," February 2018 at the SuperReturn US West Conference.

Speaker, "Issues in the Current Fundraising Environment," October 2017 at the 17th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Lecturer, "The Private Equity Cycle - Fund Raising and Fund Choosing," September 2017 at Wake Forest University School of Business.

Lecturer, "Private Equity Funds," May 2017 at the University of Chicago Law School with professor, Steven N. Kaplan of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Speaker, "Issues in the Current Fundraising Environment," October 2016 at the 16th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Moderator, "Fundraising/Placement Agent Panel," The Fund Finance Association’s 6th Annual Global Funds Finance Symposium, March 2, 2016.

Speaker, "Issues in the Current Fundraising Environment," October 2015 at the 15th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Panelist, "Investor Issues and Side Letter Updates," 5th Annual Subscription Credit Facility and Fund Finance Symposium, March 2015.

Moderator, "The State of Fundraising: Current Trends and Strategies," Booth Private Equity Conference, February 2015.

Moderator, "Fund Wind Down Issues," October 2014 at the 14th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Speaker, "Fundraising & Operational Due Diligence," October 2014 at the 14th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Moderator, "LPs Uncensored: What They Really Think," Women's Association of Venture & Equity, Inc. (WAVE), September 11, 2014.

Speaker, "Demystifying LPAs," 4th Annual NextGen Professional Development Summit, April 2014.

Panel Moderator, "The State of Fundraising: Current Trends and Strategies," Chicago Booth's Private Equity Conference, February 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Speaker, "Issues in the Current Fundraising Environment," October 2013 at the 13th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Panelist, "Registration — Best practices/lessons learned," First Republic Private Equity CFO Conference, June 2013.

Moderator and Speaker, "Outlook for Changes in Tax & Regulation," and "Trends & Issues in Fundraising," October 2012 at the 12th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Panelist, "What is Private Equity? Is It Good or Bad For the Economy?" North Park University Breakfast Series, April 2012.

Panelist, "State of Fundraising," UCLA Anderson School of Management's 2012 Private Equity Summit, March 2012.

Panel Moderator, "Fundraising: A New Paradigm," Chicago Booth's Private Equity Conference, February 2012.

Speaker, "Issues in Current Fundraising Environment," October 2011 at the 11th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Moderator and Panelist, "Benchmarking Fund Performance – What's the Best Alternative?" at The M&A Advisor's 2011 Alternative Investing and Financing Summit, May 2011.

Speaker, "The Current State of Private Equity – Fact & Fiction," at the YPO-WPO Private Equity Roundtable, May 2011.

Speaker, "Succession and Key Person Issues in Private Investment Funds," March 2011 at the IBA's 12th Annual International Conference on Private Investment Funds.

Lecturer, "Advanced Seminar on Private Equity," The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, March 2011.

Speaker, "Issues in Current Fundraising Environment," October 2010 at the 10th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Moderator, "The Risks & Rewards of Driving Investing in New Corporate Growth: How Venture Capital Firms are Navigating the Waters Going Forward," sponsored by the Association of Corporate Growth's Chicago chapter, May 2010.

Speaker, "Issues in Current Fund Raising Environment," October 2009 at the 9th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Speaker, "Private Equity Fund Issues in the Current Market: Defaulting LPs, Carried Interest Renegotiation and Taxation of Carried Interest," August 2009 at the ABA Section of Business Law Annual Meeting.

Speaker, "The State of the Fund Raising Market," at the 8th Annual CFO summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Moderator, "From the Front - Successful Management for Private Equity Firms," sponsored by the Association for Corporate Growth's Chicago chapter, September 2008.

Moderator, "Fund Leverage," March 2008 at the IBA's 9th Annual International Conference on Private Investment Funds.

Moderator, "Senior Partner Transition," March 2007 at the Transitioning Fund Management Event sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Speaker, "Current Fund Trends," October 2006 at the 6th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Speaker, "Management Fees and Expenses," May 2006 at the Midwest CFO Association.

Speaker, Private Equity and its Role in the Economy - A Conference "Current Issues and Friction points in the GP/LP Relationship," April 2006 sponsored by the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business and the University of Illinois.

Moderator and Speaker, "Illinois Sudan Act Certification Requirements and Legislation," alongside Senator Don Harmon and representatives from the Illinois Treasurer's Office for the Illinois Venture Capital Association, January 2006.

Moderator and Speaker, "Current Fund Terms," October 2005 at the 5th Annual CFO Summit sponsored by the Illinois Venture Capital Association.

Speaker, "The Evaluation of Fund Structure and Terms," July 2005 at the 5th Annual Private Equity Conference Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago.

Speaker, "Challenge of Fundraising in Today's Market - Strategies for Differentiating Yourself as a Mainstream Player," May 2005 at the US Private Equity & Venture Capital Summit in New York City, sponsored by The Institute for International Research.

Moderator and Speaker, "LP and GP Perspectives on Partnership Terms and Conditions," at the 2004 Super Return USA Conference, April 2004.

Moderator and Speaker, "Private Equity Fund Formation Issues," sponsored by the Chicago Association for Corporate Growth, April 2, 2004.

Moderator and Speaker, "Investment Banking for Women/Minority Owned Business Enterprises - - First Annual National Forum: Strategies for Growth," March 2004.

Chairman and Moderator, "Private Equity Advanced Strategies for Private Investment Funds," sponsored by Kirkland & Ellis LLP and Ernst & Young LLP, November 2003.

Speaker, "Raising Capital in the Current Market Environment," September 2003 at the 2003 Texas Private Equity Conference in Austin, Texas, sponsored by the Hicks, Muse, Tate & Furst Center for Private Equity Finance.

Speaker, "Structuring a New Fund in the Current Venture Capital Market," March 2001 at the Venture Capital Institute Graduate Program in Atlanta, Georgia, co-sponsored by: The Venture Capital Institute, the National Venture Capital Association and the National Association of Small Business Investment Companies.

Speaker, "Private Equity Fund Management Fee Issues," April 2001, August 2000, and November 2000 at the Private Equity Fund Formation Seminars in New York City and December 2000 at the Private Equity Fund Formation Seminar in San Francisco, sponsored by The Institute for International Research.

Speaker annually at Kirkland & Ellis LLP VC/LBO conferences and Kirkland Institute of Corporate Practice on structuring private equity fund formations. Frequent speaker at Kirkland & Ellis LLP Corporate meetings.

Recognition

Listed In:

Best Lawyers© 2016 & 2018 Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Chicago

The 2015 Legal Elite, Best Private Investment Funds Lawyer - Illinois, Corporate America, 2015

The Legal 500 U.S., recognized in the inaugural Hall of Fame list (2007–2018)

The Heavyweights - The 500 Leading Lawyers in America, Lawdragon (2014)

Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers & Partners, Tier 1 or Senior Statesman (2005–2019)

Chambers Global, The World's Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers & Partners, Tier 1 or Senior Statesman (2005–2019)

IFLR1000: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms, IFLR (2008–2018)

The Best Lawyers in America, Woodward & White (2007–2019) in Corporate Law; Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law; Private Funds / Hedge Funds Law

Who's Who Legal - The International Who's Who of Private Funds Lawyers, Law Business Research Ltd. (2000–2017)

The Best of the Best USA, Legal Media Group in Private Equity (2010, 2012, 2014, 2016, 2017) and Investment Funds (2015 and 2017)

Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Banking & Finance Experts in Private Equity (2017), Banking & Finance (2017) and Investment Funds (2017)

"40 Illinois Attorneys Under 40 to Watch," a supplement to Chicago Daily Law Bulletin and Chicago Lawyer, published by Law Bulletin Publishing Company (2001)

Memberships & Affiliations

Vice Chairman of the Board of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago.

Member of The Hillels of Illinois Governing Commission.

Member of the Board of the American Jewish Committee of Chicago.

Member of the United Jewish Communities Investment Committee for the Chicago Metropolitan area.

Executive Committee member of Illinois chapter of AIPAC.

Former member of The University of Chicago Law School's Visiting Committee.

Former Chairman of Mount Sinai Medical Institute Council.

Former Member of the Midwest Regional Advisory Board of the University of Pennsylvania.

Former Secretary, Treasurer and Director of the Kirkland & Ellis Foundation.

Credentials

Admissions & Qualifications

  • 1989Illinois
  • 2010New York

Education

  • University of Chicago Law SchoolJ.D.cum laude1989

    Order of the Coif

    John M. Olin Law and Economics Fellowship

    University of Chicago Law Review

  • Wharton School of the University of PennsylvaniaB.S.E. (Finance & Political Science Concentrations)magna cum laude1986