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America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008: Investment Funds

Chambers & Partners has compiled its independent and objective list of America's Leading Lawyers for Business based on comments gathered from thousands of interviews with clients and lawyers from Maine to Hawaii. This guide — which is designed to reflect market opinion — contains a view of the firms and attorneys who are considered leaders in their field.

In Chambers' 2008 review of national legal talent in the area of "Investment Funds," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.

Chambers' comments:

Investment Funds: Private Equity: Buyouts
National Ranking: Tier 2

The Firm: This Midwest firm has been making consistent gains in the private equity legal market over the past few years. Clients speak of its "unrivaled expertise in transactions, particularly in the midmarket;" they also point favorably to the firm's "consistent quality and depth in many areas, which brings huge value when doing transactions that cross over disciplines." This is matched in many observers' minds by the "sheer creativity in problem solving demonstrated by these lawyers." Aggressive international expansion has helped facilitate the creativity even further and means the firm surpasses its Chicago roots in global reputation. On a different tack, the firm's "hard-nosed, bare-knuckled approach" in negotiations serves it well in dealing with some of the world's major corporates. Recent work includes representing Vestar Capital Partners in its acquisition of Radiation Therapy Services for $1.1 billion. The firm's other key clients include Madison Dearborn Partners; Sun Capital Partners; Bain Capital and MidOcean Partners.

The Lawyers: "Impressive depth of experience across a range of deals," places Kevin Evanich at the top of many clients' list of private equity lawyers. Experienced on both transactions and fund formation, Evanich's funds work provides him with "exceptional perspective on transactions." Kirk Radke brings a similar breadth of experience on both sides of the table. Clients define Radke as "a terrific lawyer with an exhaustive practice." His recent highlights include CVC Capital Partners' EUR2.5 billion acquisition of Univar. Jeffrey Hammes is "a lawyer who grasps the big picture with every transaction." Hammes splits his time between the firm's Chicago and San Francisco offices. Recent highlights include his representation of Golden Gate Capital on its $778 million acquisition of Limited Brands Express. "His work is truly excellent," declare clients of Douglas Gessner, who is one of the relationship partners for client Sun Capital.

Investment Funds: Private Equity: Fund Formation
National Ranking: Tier 2

The Firm: Considered to be "far and away the most significant player in the Midwest," this Chicago-based firm is seen to be raising its fund formation profile to a national and global level. Clients seek out the team for its "up-to-the-minute overview of the US funds market." The team's depth of experience across funds was "yet another value-add, which saves us time and money," say clients. Observers also commented approvingly on the firm's "forceful style in negotiations." Over the past year, the firm advised Madison Dearborn Partners on its fifth LBO fund, worth $6.5 billion. Other clients include Citicorp, Sun Capital Partners and Vestar Capital Partners.

The Lawyers: Bruce Ettelson is head of the 50-lawyer investment funds team. Clients laud his "extremely knowledgeable stance" and "excellent customer service." Others say he is "authoritative, and uses this to good effect in negotiations." He recently worked on Golden Gate Capital Opportunity Fund, a permanent capital fund with a hybrid of hedge fund and private equity capabilities. The oversubscribed multibillion-dollar fund closed in fall 2007. Firm stalwart Kirk Radke "brings a wealth of experience to the table in both fund formation and LBOs," say clients.

Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business 2008 —