Sidley Austin has shaken up the private equity space, in part using a string of lateral hires from more established PE players to make rapid progress in a market where the top law firms have had practices spanning several decades.
The Chicago-founded firm saw its revenue from this private equity work hit roughly $300 million this past year, a leap from just $50 million in 2011.
Sidley’s also put together a formidable stable of clients that include private equity heavyweights like KKR, Clearlake Capital, Siris Capital, Apollo, The Carlyle Group, Great Hill Partners, and Towerbrook.
From 2014 to 2018, the firm had an average 37% growth in deal count year over year and from 2017 to 2018 alone, its deal count increased 72%. As 2020 looks to be another fairly healthy year for private equity, Sidley’s expansion plans are progressing.
But starting nearly from scratch in one of Big Law’s most competitive—but lucrative—areas hasn’t been easy and required the firm to think a little differently than many of its peers.