Willkie is one of the industry’s preeminent advisors to private equity funds, having counseled sponsors, targets and portfolio companies for more than 50 years. Our team handles transactions worldwide, with attorneys based in thirteen key market centers across the United States and Europe. We are a destination firm for both large-cap and middle-market deals, and our clients include more than 300 private equity sponsors, as well as thousands of portfolio companies and management teams. Collaborating across geographies, industries, and practice disciplines, we provide a full service, 360° private equity platform that serves clients’ needs. A client reported to Chambers USA 2021, “They are responsive and will move heaven and earth for us. They're extremely capable, qualified and a tremendous asset to our business. We would not be where we are without the firm.” A client told Chambers USA 2022 that Willkie’s private equity practice is “[c]lient-centric in all respects.”
Our private equity practice advises on everything from fund structuring and formation, platform acquisitions, tuck-in acquisitions, co-invest structures and joint ventures, to bank credit, direct lending and other debt financings, IPOs, follow-on offerings, SPACs, PIPEs and ultimate exits. Our platform includes an exceptionally strong team of regulatory practitioners with deep experience in a wide range of compliance issues, including Investment Company Act, Investment Advisers Act, insurance, FCPA, sanctions, antitrust and competition, FINRA, CFTC, energy/FERC, bank, CFIUS and telecom matters, as well as related compliance practices, investigations, examinations, litigation and other proceedings. Our private equity team is also closely integrated with complementary practices, including leveraged finance, capital markets, tax, employee benefits and executive compensation, intellectual property, cybersecurity and data privacy, real estate, restructuring, environmental, ESG and technology/IT, among other areas. A client reported to Chambers USA 2021, “They’re very strong and provide a full service. We use them as a one-stop shop.”
As a result of this comprehensive service approach and our laser focus on providing timely and integrated advice, clients regularly grow with us over time as their business goals and challenges evolve. Clients told Chambers Global 2022 that “[t]he client service is outstanding,” and “[t]he various offices of the law firm work together smoothly, and it is always clear who the contact person is.”
Our clients – including private equity and venture capital firms as well as other sources of debt and equity capital – operate across a broad range of industries, including technology (including fintech and insurtech); healthcare and life sciences; financial services; insurance; business services; consumer products and retail; entertainment; energy; and industrials, to name just a few.
We represent many of the portfolio companies of our sponsor clients, from inbound investment/acquisition by the sponsor, through their lifecycle to exit.
Willkie’s European private equity practice is a market leader in the U.K. and across the Continent. The team is comprised of dedicated partners and associates in five key European jurisdictions (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy and the U.K.), as well as private equity-focused practitioners with deep experience in leveraged finance, tax, regulatory and restructuring, among other areas. The client base of our European practice includes European and North American sponsors that are actively investing across Europe and the rest of the world. A client highlighted to Chambers Europe 2022 the firm’s “knowledge of the private equity sector and its ability to mix legal technical skills with a business-oriented mindset.” Sources reported to The Legal 500 UK 2022 that Willkie has “provided a very complete private equity service which carefully integrates deal, fund and LP matters.”
Our private equity buyouts practice and team members have been recognized by a number of leading third-party organizations in the United States and Europe, including Chambers, The Legal 500, The Deal, IFLR1000, Best Lawyers/Best Law Firms, Le Point and Juve. Select accolades include:
- Ranked on a global-wide basis by Chambers Global 2022 for Private Equity
- Ranked #4 globally among all law firms involved in private equity-backed buyout deals for the period 2015 through the first half of 2021 by Preqin
- Named “Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law Firm of the Year” by U.S. News Best Law Firms 2021
- Shortlisted for “Private Equity Law Firm of the Year” at the Chambers USA Awards 2021
- Attorneys ranked for Private Equity by Chambers UK 2022 and Chambers Europe 2022 in each of the UK, France and Germany
- Ranked by Chambers USA 2022 for Private Equity: Buyouts in both the Nationwide – High-end Capability and Nationwide – Mid-Market categories (one of only two firms ranked in both categories)
- Ranked #4 among law firms advising on private equity deals announced in 2021 by The Deal