Bloomberg Law
Jan. 22, 2020, 10:07 PM

Ares Axes Chief Legal Officer Role in Law Department Reshuffle

Brian Baxter
Brian Baxter

Ares Management Corp., a Los Angeles-based investment giant with $144 billion in assets under management, has a new in-house legal group hierarchy.

The alternative asset manager announced Jan. 22 that Naseem Sagati Aghili, who became co-general counsel at Ares last year alongside Michael Weiner, will now take full control of its law department.

Weiner, a former partner at Morgan Lewis & Bockius and general counsel at Apollo Global Management LP, joined Ares as general counsel in 2006. He took on the chief legal officer title at Ares in 2010. That role is one that no longer exists.

An Ares spokesman confirmed to Bloomberg Law that the chief legal officer title has been eliminated with Sagati Aghili becoming sole general counsel and Weiner taking on the new role of head of public policy and legislative affairs. Weiner will remain an Ares partner and member of its management committee.

“We are excited about the next chapter in Mike’s career at Ares and we are confident that Mike will continue to add meaningful value in his new role,” said a statement from Ares COO and CFO Michael McFerran.

That new position will entail focusing on strategic initiatives at Ares and serving as a point of contact for stakeholders, the firm said, as well as serving as a senior adviser and assisting Sagati Aghili as she “transitions to general counsel.”

Sagati Aghili, a former associate at Proskauer Rose, joined Ares in 2009. Now a partner at the firm, she held a variety of roles over the next decade, including serving as general counsel of Ares’ private equity group. Sagati Aghili and Weiner, both of whom are based in Los Angeles, working closely together during that time, Ares said, having more recently shared “joint responsibility for Ares’ legal activities.”

“Naseem has proven to be an effective leader and has established high standards for how our firm interacts with all of our stakeholders,” McFerran said in a statement.

Since 2007, Latham & Watkins and Perkins Coie have handled the bulk of Ares’ litigation caseload, according to Bloomberg Law data. Jackson Lewis, Phoenix-based Jones Skelton & Hochuli, and Las Vegas-based Kolesar & Leatham take the lead for Ares when looking at its litigation portfolio over the past five years.

Ares affiliate Ares Management LLC paid $80,000 last year to Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby Congress on “issues related to private equity,” according to U.S. Senate filings.

When it comes to transactional work, Sullivan & Cromwell has enjoyed a longtime relationship with Ares though Los Angeles-based M&A partner Alison Ressler, the sister-in-law of billionaire Ares co-founder Antony Ressler, who also co-founded Apollo in 1990. Proskauer, Sagati Aghili’s former firm, is another key legal adviser to Ares, having handled its $216 million initial public offering in 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at