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Barnes & Thornburg Opens New York Office With Attorneys From City’s Elite Firms

Addition of 11 new lawyers bolsters private investment funds, commercial and white collar litigation practices

June 15, 2020 New York

NEW YORK – Barnes & Thornburg LLP has officially announced its expansion into New York with the opening of a Manhattan office and the hiring of six lateral partners and other seasoned attorneys from several of the city’s elite law firms.

The founding partners of the New York office bring together decades of experience providing sophisticated counsel to major investment funds and investors, banks, and other financial institutions. The team in New York builds upon Barnes & Thornburg’s established national reputation, strength, and resources by advising clients within and outside of New York in key practice areas, including equity and debt investment and financing transactions; the formation, operation and regulation of private investment funds; complex commercial and white collar litigation; and regulatory and governmental investigations.

“It’s exciting to join a firm with the growth trajectory of Barnes & Thornburg, and to do so with a group of lawyers at the top of their respective fields,” said Robert J. Boller, partner in charge of the New York office. “This is a career-defining opportunity for all of us. The exceptional team we’re building in New York will be able to leverage the firm’s deep bench of sophisticated, talented attorneys around the country to provide unrivaled value to our clients in this highly competitive space.”

The Midtown office, located at 445 Park Avenue, opened in February. The group has been working remotely since mid-March. Despite the challenges of establishing a New York presence amid a global pandemic, the team has continued to onboard clients, recruit talent, hire additional legal staff, and handle sophisticated transactional and litigation matters throughout the shutdown.

“Opening an office in the world’s financial center enhances our position in a variety of practice areas and is a key feature of the firm’s strategic growth plan and another important step in the firm’s national growth in recent years,” said Robert T. Grand, Barnes & Thornburg managing partner. “This talented and respected group of attorneys, who join during challenging times and bring impressive resumes, strong reputations, and deep knowledge of the New York market, further empower us to handle complex corporate and litigation matters on behalf of our clients.”

Experienced Team of Transactional Attorneys and Litigators

Boller, who joins from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, is accompanied by two other litigation partners: respected white collar litigator Lawrence Gerschwer, a former Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York, most recently of Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, and financial and regulatory enforcement attorney David Slovick, an alumnus of the Enforcement Divisions of both the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Slovick joined the firm in late 2019 from Cahill Gordon & Reindel’s New York office.  Further augmenting the litigation practice is Niraj J. Parekh, who has joined as of counsel from Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch. 

The firm’s corporate practice is bolstered by Jahan Sharifi, who joins from Richards Kibbe & Orbe and focuses on financing and investment transactions on behalf of private investment funds and other investors. Sharifi serves as co-leader of the firm’s newly established Investment Fund and Asset Management practice group along with Scott L. Beal, a corporate attorney who joins from Davis Polk & Wardwell and concentrates his practice in fund formation and structuring.

The firm’s Investment Fund and Asset Management practice is further strengthened by partner Michele J. Alexander, a tax attorney who advises on private investment funds who joins from Bracewell.

Also joining from Richards Kibbe & Orbe are Andrew Fried, Dominique Gallacher, Stefan McGrath and Cary Reiss, experienced attorneys joining Barnes & Thornburg as of counsel who advise investment funds and other investors on a variety of transactional issues.  

These new members of the firm are supplemented by other Barnes & Thornburg attorneys with deep connections to the New York market, including John Olivieri, who joined Barnes & Thornburg in 2019 from White & Case and helps clients create and administer wealth management vehicles and investments across the United States and abroad, and Michael A. Battle, a litigation partner who joined the firm after a distinguished career in public service, including serving the director of the Department of Justice’s Executive Office for United States Attorneys and as the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York.

“Barnes & Thornburg has an incredible white collar practice across the country that includes four former United States Attorneys as well as a large and diverse group of highly skilled lawyers at all levels,” said Gerschwer. “It’s very exciting to be able to offer the services of such a well-developed practice to financial institutions and other clients here in New York.”

“Private investment funds increasingly demand efficiency from their outside counsel,” said Sharifi. “Joining forces with Barnes & Thornburg ensures we can provide value for our clients, while offering sophisticated counsel and a deep knowledge of relevant issues.” 

“This is a moment of extraordinary opportunity in the asset management industry. Partnering with Barnes & Thornburg provides a great opportunity to build a distinctive practice and provide exceptional counsel and value to our clients in the space,” said Beal.

“I am thrilled to be joining Barnes & Thornburg,” said Alexander. “It is a very exciting time to build an office and a practice in New York, and I look forward to focusing on our funds clients and working with our team to deliver outstanding client service.”

Culmination of National Expansion

The New York launch increases Barnes & Thornburg’s total number of offices across the country to 19. Establishing a New York presence is a significant milestone in the advancement of the firm’s strategic growth plan, and the continued expansion of its corporate, litigation and white collar practices. Being located in the Southern District of New York also allows Barnes & Thornburg to grow and deepen its respected national white collar and investigations practice, comprised of seasoned trial lawyers across the country who protect corporate clients’ interests and defend them in government investigations and criminal prosecutions. 

Growing During a Pandemic

The New York office remains on remote work status for the foreseeable future. “Although these aren’t the conditions we envisioned for the launch of our office, the opening has proceeded remarkably smoothly considering the circumstances,” said Boller. “While working remotely, we have been able to seamlessly onboard new hires and provide uninterrupted service to our clients, all while developing camaraderie among the members of the New York team. That’s a tribute to hard work of the Barnes & Thornburg staff and also the initiative and character of our New York attorneys. We continue to look for opportunities to grow the office with strategic hires during this time. We are very much open for business.”

About the New York Partners

Michele J. Alexander is a transactional tax attorney with a particular focus on private equity and hedge funds (and similar investment vehicles). Michele has provided counsel in a wide range of transactions, from mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and securities offerings, to financing, joint ventures, and restructurings. She also has experience in, and has written extensively about, real estate investment trusts, and has advised many international clients on inbound U.S. real estate investments. She joins from Bracewell’s New York office.

Scott L. Beal advises clients on the formation and operation of private investment funds, including hedge funds, private equity funds, venture capital funds, credit funds, cryptocurrency funds, funds of funds and advisory platforms. Beal provides ongoing regulatory and compliance guidance to investment managers and represents institutional and other investors with respect to their investments in private funds and related products. He joins from Davis Polk and Wardwell’s New York office.

Robert J. Boller counsels investment managers, investors, and financial services companies in disputes arising out of complex financial transactions and investment activities. He also represents private equity sponsors and their portfolio companies in traditional business litigation, including disputes over purchase and sale agreements and distribution agreements. He joins from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld’s New York office.

Lawrence Gerschwer, a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, represents clients in white collar criminal and civil enforcement matters. He routinely represents companies and individuals in investigations conducted by the Department of Justice, Securities and Exchange Commission, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Internal Revenue Service, federal and state banking regulators, antitrust regulators, and state and local prosecutors. He also conducts internal investigations on behalf of companies. He has tried numerous white collar criminal cases, both as a federal prosecutor and defense counsel, and briefed and argued numerous appeals. As an Assistant United States Attorney he was involved in investigating and prosecuting what former Mayor Michael Bloomberg described as “the largest and most financially damaging corruption scheme ever conducted within city government.” He joins from Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson’s New York office.

Jahangier (Jahan) Sharifi advises private investment funds on a wide array of equity and debt investment and financing transactions, acquisitions and dispositions, recapitalizations and restructurings, as well as early stage venture capital and growth equity investments around the world. He counsels clients on structuring investment vehicles and joint ventures, negotiates rights and protections for investors, and represents fund sponsors and investors in connection with seed investments in new management companies and new funds. Sharifi also regularly advises investment funds on complex issues relating to the receipt of confidential information, as well as market standards for non-disclosure and confidentiality agreements. He joins from the New York office of Richards, Kibbe & Orbe.

David Slovick represents financial services firms and individuals in investigations and litigation conducted by the Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, CME Group, and other regulatory agencies and organizations. His experience covers the spectrum of enforcement and regulatory matters, including derivatives and securities trade practices, disclosure fraud, insider trading, market manipulation, issuer statutory disqualification, and derivatives and securities regulatory compliance. Slovick joined Barnes & Thornburg in 2019 from Cahill Gordon & Reindel’s New York office.

About the New York Of Counsels

Andrew H. Fried primarily assists corporate clients with ongoing business operations and has a diverse background in law, banking and international relations. In particular, Fried advises fund clients and private companies on a variety of contractual matters related to securities transactions and operational agreements, among others. He also brings FCPA and UK Bribery Act experience to the firm, which he joins from Richards Kibbe & Orbe. 

Dominique F. Gallacher advises fund clients and private companies on a variety of contractual matters relating to operational agreements and investments. She represents hedge funds, investment banks, and other financial institutions and joins from Richards Kibbe & Orbe. 

Stefan McGrath counsels hedge funds, private equity funds, broker-dealers, investment banks and other financial institutions in the purchase and sale of U.S. and international distressed assets and other complex credit structures. He provides guidance on bank loans, trade claims, real estate loans and post-reorganization equity in a variety of industries and advises on debt and equity investments and other financial transactions. McGrath joins from Richards Kibbe & Orbe.

Niraj J. Parekh is a commercial litigator who works with sophisticated clients on cutting-edge business matters, particularly disputes involving complex financial transactions and structured investment vehicles. He helps litigate disputes across a wide range of industries and has defended clients in government investigations, alleged antitrust violations and unfair competition claims. Parekh joins from Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch.

Cary M. Reiss advises hedge funds, broker-dealers, investment banks and other financial institutions on a variety of agreements related to their ongoing business operations. A New York attorney who has practiced in Canada, Cary counsels clients on non-disclosure, confidentiality, consulting, vendor, and software license agreements, among others. He joins from Richards Kibbe & Orbe. 

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