In this era of extremes -- the teeny dot-com, the supernovasize merger -- regular midsize businesses are often overlooked by firms looking to build large practices. Giant New York firms may shun these clients, but Chicago's Kirkland & Ellis, which represents four of the Business Week list of 100 "Hot Growth Companies," thinks otherwise.
The firm gets connected with lots of fast-growing companies through its ties to venture capital and leveraged buyout funds. That's how partner Dennis Myers started working with Wesley Jessen VisionCare Inc., a company acquired by Bain in 1995. "We took them public, then led them in four equity offerings in the space of two years," he says. Kirkland has built a successful practice around these smaller clients, "We get in the door early and can take a company through its life cycle. If it's growing into a big company, we're there."
This article appeared in its entirety in the September 1, 2000 issue of The American Lawyer.