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Sidley Grows Private Equity Group with Ropes & Gray Duo

April 1, 2021, 9:58 PM

Sidley Austin has picked up a pair of partners from Ropes & Gray in New York, Anthony Norris and Christopher Rile, as the firm continues to grow its private equity practice.

Expanding its bench in one of Big Law’s most competitive and lucrative fields has been a key area of focus for the Chicago-founded firm.

Sidley began its expansion roughly a decade ago into the private equity space, which had been dominated by firms with longstanding practices like Kirkland & Ellis, Ropes & Gray, and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett. The firm has grown its revenue from private equity work from just $50 million in 2011 to $300 million in 2019, thanks in part to a string of key lateral hires.

Norris and Rile will both be partners in Sidley’s global M&A and private equity practices.

The two represent private equity sponsors on M&A, leveraged buyouts, joint ventures, preferred equity investments, and securities offerings.

Norris focuses on healthcare, software, and technology and has worked with private equity sponsors like Long Point Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, including on the latter’s $2.16 billion sale of U.S. Oncology Inc. to McKesson Corp. and its $2 billion sale of Ameripath Inc. to Quest Diagnostics.

Rile has also worked with Welsh Carson, including its investments in Kindred Healthcare and Kindred at Home, MMIT, Matrix Medical Network, Smile Brands Group, and Universal American. He has also represented Kohlberg & Company, Freeman Spogli & Company, and the National Football League in private equity matters.

The addition of Norris and Rile is “another major step forward” for the firm in its goal of building out a market-leading private equity practice in New York, said Sam Gandhi, managing partner of Sidley’s New York office and member of its Executive Committee, in a statement.

The pair’s move was brokered by Sabina Lippman, partner and co-founder of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers Bala.

In recent years Sidley’s private equity build out has included Adam Weinstein and Tony Feuerstein from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in New York as well as Davis Polk & Wardwell’s John Butler and Brien Wasser from Shearman & Sterling.

Earlier this year the firm also added Cravath Swaine & Moore partner Johnny Skumpija to its capital markets practice in New York.

In California, the firm has added private equity focused attorneys like Milbank’s Kenneth Baronsky and O’Melveny & Myers’ Nicolai Schwarz-Gondek in Century City and Jared Jensen from Goodwin Procter in San Francisco as well as a number of lawyers from Cooley, including Mehdi Khodadad and Josh DuClos.

In the first quarter of 2021, Sidley Austin worked on 57 private equity deals worth $24 billion, according to Bloomberg League Table data.

The firm has seen some private equity departures amid the pickups. Erik Dahl and Christian Iwasko, who served as Sidley’s global private equity co-leader and co-head of European corporate and private equity, respectively, joined Goodwin Procteralong with three other attorneys late last year.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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