KAI LIEKEFETT is a partner in New York and co-chairs Sidley’s Shareholder Activism practice. He has 20 years of experience in corporate law in New York, London, Germany, Hong Kong and Tokyo. He spends 100% of his time on activism campaigns, proxy fights and hostile takeovers. In the last five years, Kai has been involved in over 80 proxy contests, more than any other defense attorney in the world, and 25% of all U.S. proxy fights that went all the way. Under Kai’s leadership, Sidley rose to the top of the activism defense league tables, including the No. 1 ranking by Bloomberg, FactSet, Thomson Reuters (Refinitiv), and Activist Insight for 2020.
Kai has been named “2019 Dealmaker of the Year” by The American Lawyer for Sidley’s groundbreaking Wynn Resorts proxy contest. He has been recognized by Chambers USA every year from 2017 to 2022 as one of the leading lawyers for “Takeover Defense,” lauding him as “terrific lawyer” who is “equally adept in front of a board as well as opposite an activist,” and “great at getting things done and obtaining great results.” In 2020, Kai was elected as a fellow of The American College of Governance Counsel, the honorary association of lawyers widely-recognized for their achievements in the field of governance.
Kai sits on the board of the New York Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) and is a member of the Law360 Mergers & Acquisitions Editorial Board. He speaks regularly about shareholder activism on panels and at universities around the world, including Harvard University and the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. Kai is frequently interviewed and quoted as a thought leader by the national and international media, including CNN, The Wall Street Journal, CNBC, The New York Times, Bloomberg, Reuters, Financial Times, USA Today, Forbes, Law360, and The Deal.
Kai holds a Ph.D., magna cum laude, from Freiburg Law University; an Executive MBA, summa cum laude, from Münster Business School; and an LL.M., James Kent Scholar, from Columbia Law School. He was in the top 0.1% nationwide in his First Legal State Exam (J.D. equivalent) and in the top 1.5% nationwide in his Second Legal State Exam in Germany.