Law tax

M&A demand fuels side companies as tax partners of major laws

Three large law firms with active mergers and acquisitions practices filled up with tax partners this week, a move driven largely by high demand within their transactional practices, according to firm executives.

In Chicago, Greenberg Traurig joined former Kirkland & Ellis tax partner Jeffrey Ekeberg, who joined Greenberg’s Chicago office as a partner.

Dechert added tax partner David Passey of Schulte Roth & Zabel, a New York law firm that serves the financial industry. Also in New York, Davis Polk & Wardwell added their second fiscal full-back in two weeks, hiring their partner Kara Mungovan away from Cravath, Swaine & Moore.

In an interview, Greenberg Traurig Global Corporate Practice co-chair Bruce March said corporate merger and acquisition activity is creating demand for associated practices.

“With strong client demand in the private equity and mergers and acquisitions areas, this year we have focused not only on further developing our corporate team, but also on adding staffed lawyers. extraordinary experience in areas such as tax, finance and regulatory compliance, ”said March. “Shareholders like Jeff are invaluable additions to our negotiating team and are essential in delivering the elite and creative services that our clients expect from us in the trading arena. “

Davis Polk expressed similar motivations for recruiting tax partners. After hiring tax lawyer Corey Goodman of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton earlier in November, Davis Polk chairman and managing partner Neil Barr told The American Lawyer: “If you want to grow a large transactional firm, you must develop these complementary practices.

Greenberg Traurig also bolstered his tax practice earlier this year with the hiring in March of Boston shareholder Joseph Curran, whose taxation focuses on private equity, and the addition in June of the international tax lawyer. Seth Entin in Miami.

Ekeberg said he moved to Greenberg Traurig to take advantage of the company’s diverse private equity platform, which includes complementary practices in franchise and distribution, games, healthcare, real estate, intellectual property and entertainment.

“I plan to continue working with private equity sponsors on M&A deals going forward,” said Ekeberg, who advises clients on the tax implications of transactions in the equity markets. capital, mergers and acquisitions and private equity investments.

Greenberg Traurig’s private equity practice employs more than 175 attorneys, March said, and is likely to add partners who will work with recent tax partners such as Ekeberg and Curran in Boston.

“We are working with them to develop the associate level of this platform,” March said. “We started with shareholders and will continue to add at the associate level. “

At Dechert, Passey also represents private equity firms in the structuring of complex public and private transactions. Mungovan’s practice is similar, focusing on complex mergers and acquisitions, capital market transactions, and bank finance.

This article has been updated to include quotes from attorneys for Greenberg Traurig, Bruce March and Jeff Ekeberg.