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Buyout Titans Thoma Bravo, TPG Capital Reshuffle Legal Ranks (1)

Jan. 5, 2021, 7:46 PMUpdated: Jan. 5, 2021, 10:22 PM

Private equity firms Thoma Bravo LLC and TPG Capital LP are switching up their in-house legal leadership.

Thoma Bravo said Tuesday it added veteran Kirkland & Ellis corporate partner Gerald “Jerry” Nowak in Chicago as managing director, general counsel, and chief administrative officer.

Nowak, who spent almost three decades at Kirkland, said in an email he’s served as Thoma Bravo’s primary outside counsel for nearly 20 years.

Patient Square Capital LP, a Menlo Park, Calif.-based health care investment firm started last August by former KKR & Co. Inc. health care executive James Momtazee, also touted Tuesday its hire of TPG Capital’s Adam Fliss as its third founding partner and general counsel.

“Jim is one of the most experienced and well-respected investors in health care,” Fliss said in a statement announcing his new role at Patient Square. “From our first conversation we were aligned on the benefits of specialization and scale in an industry as large and complex as health care.”

Fliss, a former Ropes & Gray associate, since 2012 has been a San Francisco-based general counsel for TPG Capital, the private equity platform of TPG Global LLC, an alternative asset manager formerly known as Texas Pacific Group.

Bradford Berenson, a former vice president of litigation and legal policy at General Electric Co., joined TPG Global in January 2017 as a partner and general counsel. Berenson and TPG spokesman Luke Barrett declined to discuss a potential replacement for Fliss as TPG Capital’s legal chief.

Zachery Kouwe, a spokesman for Patient Square, told Bloomberg Law that Fliss is the first lawyer hired by the new company, which has been working with Kirkland on some investments. Trademark records show that Mary Mazzello, an intellectual property partner at Kirkland in New York, has done work for Patient Square.

Thoma Bravo First

Nowak, who was a leader of Kirkland’s capital markets, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity practices, said he will work closely with Steven Schwab, who has served as Thoma Bravo’s director of legal and chief compliance officer since 2015.

A spokeswoman for Thoma Bravo, which is based in Chicago, told Bloomberg Law that Nowak’s position is a new one for the buyout firm. Nowak has handled dozens of transactions for Thoma Bravo, including the buyout firm’s $10.2 billion acquisition in December of real estate software maker RealPage Inc.

Kirkland also advised Thoma Bravo last month on its strategic investment in Venafi Inc., a Salt Lake City-based cybersecurity and software company, as well as Thoma Bravo’s acquisition of risk management software provider AxiomSL Ltd.

Nowak confirmed that Thoma Bravo has been a longtime Kirkland client, noting he advised on co-founder Orlando Bravo’s first deal at what was once Thoma Cressey Equity Partners. The latter, which was spun out of Kirkland private equity client GTCR LLC, became Thoma Cressey Bravo until 2008, when former managing partner Bryan Cressey left to form his own health care investment firm.

“Over the years, Jerry has been a tremendous partner to Thoma Bravo, and I am thrilled to welcome him to our team and continue to work together,” said a statement from Bravo, a former child tennis prodigy who graduated from Stanford Law School. Bravo, who was born in Puerto Rico, never practiced law.

Thoma Bravo, which focuses on investments in the software and technology space, has six managing partners, including Bravo and Lee Mitchell, a former telecommunications partner at Sidley Austin. Bravo spoke with Bloomberg News last month about his interest in cloud software deals.

Among Thoma Bravo’s portfolio companies are Frontline Education Inc., a Malvern, Pa.-based online education company that in August hired Victoria Silbey as its first-ever chief legal officer, and Apttus Corp., a software company that recruited former Kirkland partner Omer Rafatullah to be its chief legal officer in 2018.

More In-House Hires

Nowak and Fliss join other lawyers on the move in the alternative investment space.

Hunter Point Capital LP, a New York-based investment firm co-founded in October by former Blackstone Group Inc. senior adviser Bennett Goodman, brought on Kirkland corporate partner Mariska Richards this month as its first general counsel.

Falcon Edge Capital LP, a New York-based hedge fund that invests in startups, hired former Schulte Roth & Zabel investment funds partner Cathy Weist as a London-based general counsel in November. Weist replaced Mark Cho, who left Falcon Edge last year to become legal and compliance chief at B Capital Group U.S. LLC, a venture capital firm started by Facebook Inc. co-founder Eduardo Saverin.

Armistice Capital LLC, another New York-based hedge fund, hired Schulte Roth special counsel Brian Kohn in October as general counsel and chief compliance officer. Kohn succeeded Daniel Radden, who in November joined fellow hedge fund Arosa Capital Management LP in the same role.

Radden replaced former Arosa legal and compliance chief Jonathan Feiler, who in August joined Blackstone’s BAAM hedge fund arm as a managing director.

In October, private equity firm 1/O Capital LLC hired Sullivan & Cromwell special counsel Megan Bradley in New York as an assistant general counsel and head of litigation. BlackRock Inc. brought back former in-house lawyer Marvin Tagaban that same month as a vice president for investment stewardship. Tagaban spent the past five years as a knowledge management attorney at Ropes & Gray in New York.

BayBoston Managers LLC, a minority-owned private equity investment manager based near Boston, announced last month its hire of Ten Factor Management LLC principal and general counsel Andrés Saldaña as head of legal and regulatory affairs.

(Adds info on other investment firm legal hires in third section.)

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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