Sidley Austin has added to its growing list of attorneys from Cooley as the firm looks to solidify itself as a dominant player in the private equity field.
The firm announced Tuesday the addition of Cooley partner Eric Kauffman and associate Stacy Crosnicker, as well additional associates, to its private equity practice.
The group is a part of a larger team led by longtime Cooley partner Mehdi Khodadad, who joined Sidley back in April alongside partner Joshua DuClos.
Kauffman joins as partner in Sidley’s Century City office, while Crosnicker joins as counsel in Washington.
Both Khodadad and DuClos represent corporations, entrepreneurs, and their private equity and venture capital sponsors on a wide array of matters including private and public financings, mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, corporate restructurings, and other related matters.
Kauffman’s practice focuses on labor and employment matters, and he works with private equity and venture capital sponsors on matters including M&A, financings, spinoffs, and divestitures.
Crosnicker, a former Proskauer Rose and Nixon Peabody associate, works with private equity clients and their portfolio companies on issues related to employee benefits that arise during M&A transactions.
For Khodadad and his team, the move to Sidley presented a unique opportunity to be a part of the firm’s strategic plan in the private equity space that began five years ago.
“We have a really talented team of all-stars at Sidley that have gathered together all with the same goal of building a world class private equity practice,” Khodadad said.
Though the group works with clients across several industries, including technology and life sciences, one of Khodadad’s major clients is private equity investment firm Clearlake Capital Group.
Khodadad and his team advised Clearlake and its subsidiary Perforce Software on separate acquisitions of the cloud-based mobile testing platform Perfecto Mobile and Meek’s Lumber Co. late last year. They also advised Clearlake on its purchase of Houston-based Symplr from private equity firms Pamlico Capital and The CapStreet Group in November.
“Mehdi and his team are a force in the private equity market and their reputation as trusted advisers to Clearlake and a number of peer firms is widely recognized,” Dan Clivner, co-leader of Sidley’s global M&A and private equity practice and managing partner of the greater Los Angeles offices, said in a statement.
“They have embraced the opportunity to join Sidley and merge their extraordinary legal talent, creativity and client relationships with our growing global team. We look forward to partnering together in L.A. and around the world,” he added.
Since arriving at the firm, Khodadad and his team have already been hard at work for Clearlake. Earlier this month, they advised the private equity firm on its acquisition of tech software services firm Dude Solutions. They also advised Perforce in a strategic investment by technology-focused private equity fund Francisco Partners in the Clearlake subsidiary.
“Obviously, Medhi’s come over [and] hit the ground running hard,” said Brian Fahrney, global co-leader of Sidley’s M&A and private equity practice. “We’ve been able to bring over his team, which was really important to him and his clients and, frankly, will be very important to our clients as we integrate them.”
The addition of the group from Cooley is part of a push by the Chicago-founded firm to become a leader in the private equity space.
Over the last year, Sidley has brought on top private equity rainmakers like Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s Adam Weinstein and Tony Feuerstein and Davis Polk & Wardwell partner John Butler to its M&A and private equity practice in New York. It also added Milbank’s Kenneth Baronsky in Century City.
Fahrney said the firm will continue to focus on building out its private equity prowess in New York, Boston and Northern California.
“We’ve got plenty of ideas and things in the works so we’re all systems go.”