IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of International Law Firm Latham & Watkins LLP

IVCA Feature: New Member Profile of International Law Firm Latham & Watkins LLP

April 1, 2015

The IVCA continues its growth, adding membership that both expands the network and offers services that are essential to interested parties within the association. The latest to join is the international law firm of Latham & Watkins LLP.  The Chicago branch of the firm represents some of the largest multinational corporations, financial institutions and investment firms based in the Midwest, the United States and the world.

In the following profile of Latham & Watkins their reach and expertise are expanded upon, as well as their goals in interacting with the IVCA.

New Member: Latham & Watkins LLP

Representative: Nabil Sabki, Partner

IVCA: What is the background of Latham & Watkins LLP?

Nabil Sabki: Latham & Watkins is a full-service international law firm with close to 2,100 lawyers located in the world’s major financial, business and regulatory centers. We have more than 30 offices throughout Asia, Europe, the Middle East and North America, including our Chicago office, which is Latham’s fifth largest office globally.

Latham operates as a ‘one-firm’ firm, meaning that we have no headquarters and our firm management is spread throughout the world. Our global platform and collaborative approach allows us to provide clients with the best-suited teams to help them achieve their business goals, regardless of location. We truly have a culture geared toward establishing long-term client relationships. 

IVCA: Why did the firm decide to join the Illinois Venture Capital Association?

Sabki: Latham has deep roots as a pioneer in Private Equity. As we continue to expand our practice in Chicago, it is important to us to be part of a group that shares our dedication to further developing and growing Illinois’ vibrant Private Equity community. As the industry group in Illinois, IVCA is a place where we can come together with other leading industry professionals to discuss challenges, share ideas and exchange the latest industry information. 

IVCA: The firm was recently ranked near the top in many categories of Private Equity services and legal advice in 2014. What specifically is the expertise the firm provides – in your specialties regarding the PE industry – that results in these rankings?

Sabki: Latham’s Private Equity Practice is one of the largest in the world and we remain at the forefront globally, regionally and across industry sectors. Clients turn to Latham with their most complex private equity transactions and litigation disputes because our global footprint ensures we have the resources necessary to structure and execute complex transactions anywhere in the world.

From advising clients on multibillion dollar ‘going private’ transactions to structuring complex global tax efficient vehicles, we understand the nuances of the most sophisticated Private Equity deals and are able to guide clients through the most complex global regulatory environments. Clients also value Latham’s ability to fully integrate our Private Equity Practice with a leading Capital Markets and Leveraged Finance Practice, allowing access to capital from any of the world’s financing centers.

IVCA: Compliance is a huge issue for Private Equity, given the atmosphere of evolving government laws and oversight. How does Latham & Watkins stay current in regards to regulations for their PE clients?

Sabki: Latham has a global Financial Institutions Group dedicated to advising clients on navigating today’s highly regulated markets. The group is comprised of lawyers throughout the firm with specific regulatory, transactional, enforcement and industry expertise.  For example, I am part of the group and frequently advise our private equity clients on Advisers Act issues and SEC examinations and investigations.  During the last few years our investment management attorneys have been involved in over 45 SEC examinations – the vast majority of which were related to Private Equity fund advisers. 

During those exams I frequently call others within our Investment Funds Group and Financial Institutions Group to assist with issues relating to the exams. These groups of attorneys that are focused on regulation and fund formation are in constant contact on relevant issues, allowing them to stay on top of current developments as they relate to our private equity clients.

IVCA: PE fund formation is often a complex web of various investors. What are your approaches, in your field of specialties, to the process of fund formation?

Sabki: Latham has a dedicated Investment Funds Practice that advises sponsors in the formation, structuring and negotiation of a wide variety of private investment vehicles. We work with both large investors and middle market organizations, and have a team of about 20 lawyers dedicated specifically to fund formation. Last fall, Latham’s fund formation lawyers from across the globe hosted a seminar in our Chicago office focusing on Private Equity terms and how they have changed, including negotiations with limited partners. The seminar is an example of one of the many ways we keep our clients current on the market and these complex issues. 

IVCA: The firm has been established in Chicago for over 30 years. What are your opinions regarding the strength and viability of the Private Equity industry in Chicago and the Midwest in general?

Sabki: Private Equity has a big footprint in Chicago. Since Latham opened its Chicago office in 1982, several very successful private equity firms have established themselves in the city. And as several of those firms create spin-offs, the private equity community in Chicago remains strong and vibrant.

IVCA: What does Latham & Watkins hope to achieve in their interaction with the IVCA?

Sabki: As we continue to grow our Chicago Private Equity Practice, it is important to us to be part of a group that shares our dedication to further developing and growing Illinois’ vibrant Private Equity community. We look forward to the opportunity to connect with other leading industry professionals to share ideas, discuss challenges and stay abreast of the latest industry information, which, ultimately, allows us to better serve our clients.

For more information regarding Latham & Watkins LLP, visit their website at www.lw.com/offices/chicago