April 3, 2023

April 3, 2023 – Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP added Jacob Schtevie and Brad Laken as Partners today in the firm’s Chicago office.  They represent banks, direct lenders and other debt investors in a wide range of lending transactions and debt investments focused largely on sponsor-backed transactions.

“The addition of Jake and Brad deepens our talent in our finance practice in Chicago and enhances our national and global reach.  Our clients require even more focus on finance matters and transactions given the changes we have been seeing in the economy.  Interest rates and inflationary pressures are driving more creative and strategic structuring in the financing markets and we aim to stay at the cutting edge of this practice area,” said Craig C. Martin, Chairman, Midwest.  “Individually and as a team, Jake and Brad bring critical talents that will enable us to provide our clients with the top-tier legal counsel they’ve come to expect from the firm.”

In addition, “Jake and Brad are known for developing sophisticated, creative solutions to help clients meet their goals. They are an ideal addition to our team,” said Viktor Okasmaa, co-chair of Willkie’s Finance Department. “We see tremendous opportunity in the Chicago market and look forward to growing our presence there with the addition of these two outstanding talents.”

Both Schtevie and Laken have led teams on an array of financing transactions. Specifically, Schtevie brings a deep understanding of the market environment and its impact on getting deals across the finish line in bank and alternative lending sectors.  Laken, whose practice is closely aligned with Schtevie’s, primarily represents banks, direct lenders and alternative credit providers on a wide range of transactions, with a particular emphasis on sponsor-backed leveraged buyouts and recapitalizations and private-issuer margin lending facilities.  

“Both Brad and I have admired the Willkie attorneys we’ve encountered over the years. We’re in absolute agreement that Willkie’s Finance team in New York, Chicago and globally will benefit our clients. The Chicago office has a culture of people dedicated to their work and delivering high-quality counsel to their clients. It’s also very exciting to join an office with so much momentum; we look forward to working with the Willkie Chicago team to bring other high-quality practitioners to the Firm.”

Willkie Chicago has grown to more than 75 lawyers since opening its doors in March 2020. Led by Midwest Chair and trial lawyer, Craig C. Martin, the office has been actively expanding its offerings. The addition of Schtevie and Laken further builds out Willkie Chicago’s existing capabilities in its Finance and Business Reorganization & Restructuring groups.

About Willkie Farr & Gallagher 

Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP provides leading-edge legal solutions on complex, business critical issues spanning markets and industries. Our approximately 1,200 attorneys across 13 offices worldwide deliver innovative, pragmatic and sophisticated legal services across approximately 40 practice areas. Learn more at


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