Q&A: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP Partner Saul E. Rudo

August 21, 2009

CHICAGO - “ In this IVCA interview, Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP partner Saul E. Rudo talks about working with venture capital and private equity companies, 2008's fiscal meltdown and changing intellectual property law.

Illinois Venture Capital Association: Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP is described as a full-service law firm. What areas of your practice are most of interest to venture capital and private equity clients?
Saul Rudo: I would think the part of my practice that involves the structuring and terms of capital raises, acquisitions and dispositions along with the structuring and documenting of management comp plans would be most of interest to VC and private equity clients.

IVCA: What general style of communication (developed over the evolution of the firm) do clients best respond to on a one-to-one basis?
SR: Face-to-face meetings work best where a well-prepared lawyer asks their clients about goals, concerns and ideas. We then work with the information to achieve the objectives.

IVCA: The legal system - “ especially in regard to general business practices and regulations - “ is constantly evolving. What regulatory trends do you see coming out of 2008's fiscal meltdown?
SR: Increased regulation and government oversight of banking, hedge funds and private equity funds as well as fundamental changes and increases in taxation.

IVCA: What legal matters do VC and private equity clients most have to be sensitive about in business today?
SR: Simply creating and implementing good corporate governance systems and processes.

IVCA: With the advent of the Internet and other offshoot mobile technologies, how has intellectual property issues changed within that dynamic?
SR: IP law wasn't developed with new technologies in mind. For example, IP law didn't provide clear answers to questions of - œdeep linking-  and using somebody's trademark to enhance search engine results. It has taken a number of years for the law to begin to catch up. Even after a decade of commercial Internet use, the law in many areas is still unclear.

Intellectual property has always focused on the ownership and protection of - “ and the right to use - “ intangible rights. Now, with more business being conducted online and remotely by video conferencing as opposed to face to face, our commercial endeavors involve intangibles to a greater degree than ever before.

Accordingly, IP issues exist where they didn't before. While the basic issues of ownership, protection and rights haven't changed, the questions are more prevalent and not easily answered.

IVCA: Given what happened in the last couple years, what sector of the economic engine will be most audited in the next 10 years?
SR: I would think banking and other financial services firms will be more closely scrutinized by regulatory agencies in the next few years.

IVCA: What characteristics are different in the Katten Muchin Rosenman Midwest offices as compared to the other parts of the country? Are there advantages and disadvantages?
SR: As Katten was founded in Chicago with a focus on serving middle-market businesses, this office has focused on the areas of tax, corporate, securities, intellectual property and other disciplines of interest and value to that middle-market business client.

While the firm has expanded in size, geographic scope and areas of practice and we continue to provide comprehensive solutions to client legal needs across the country, our Chicago office continues to be particularly well-suited to serving the middle-market business. This includes VC and private equity firms as well as their portfolio companies.

IVCA: How does membership in the IVCA expand your reach in the VC and private equity community?
SR: Membership allows us to attend luncheons and other meetings where we can learn about topics of interest as well as meet other people in the VC and private equity business and offshoot support services.

IVCA: How does your firm's commitment to doing pro-bono work help everyone be a better lawyer?
SR: It's the grassroots experience that pro-bono work provides that gives our attorneys invaluable knowledge - “ knowledge that can be applied later when working with entrepreneurial clients.