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David A Katz
Office:
51 West 52nd Street
10019
City:
New York
State:
New York
Country:
USA
Tel:
+1 212 403 1309
Fax:
+1 212 403 2309

Thought Leaders: M&A and Governance 2017

David Katz is a corporate partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, focusing on mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism, corporate governance, and complex securities transactions. He has been involved in many domestic and international corporate mergers, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic takeover defence assignments and proxy contests; and he counsels boards of directors on corporate governance and crisis management. An adjunct professor at NYU Law School, he co-chairs the NYU Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance and the Tulane Corporate Law Institute, and is a trustee of NYU Law School.

What inspired you to enter the legal profession?

My father was a corporate lawyer and I appreciate the challenge that corporate law presents, given its mixture of business and legal issues.

You have been at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz for almost 30 years – what is it about the firm that sets it apart from its competitors?

The firm works on the most complicated matters and operates at the highest levels. Our lawyers understand the business, legal, accounting and practical aspects of various transactions and give the best possible advice. The firm’s lockstep competition structure motivates our lawyers to act as a team and no one worries about “credit” for any particular situation. We will offer the best team that we can but pride ourselves on operating leanly and providing clients with the benefit of our experience and superior client service. We hire associates who we want to be our partners and the work ethic often requires partners to work harder than associates

What will be your main priorities regarding the development of the firm over the next few years?

Continuing to foster teamwork among all of our lawyers and staff and delivering the high level of service that our clients require.

What is the greatest challenge the practice area is currently facing?

Law is becoming more of a commodity business and that is actually detrimental to many clients. To the extent clients choose their counsel based on cost, they are likely to get what they pay for.

What qualities make a successful corporate lawyer?

Successful corporate lawyers must be able to relate to their clients and understand the business aspects of particular transactions and the client’s goals in each particular situation. You must command the respect of your client as well as of opposing counsel and you need to be able to communicate clearly. Too often, ambiguity is proffered instead of legal advice, which can often be detrimental to what your client is seeking to achieve. Above all else, one must have integrity

Despite the recent volatility in the Chinese market, Brexit and rising interest rates, many lawyers have remained cautiously optimistic about the future of the practice area. How do you see it developing over the next few years?

We will face a number of challenges over the next few years, especially if protectionism increases further. Corporate law will continue to evolve but there may be fewer opportunities for consolidation among companies as countries focus within, instead of globally.

Proposed deals continue to increase in size, even though many of the biggest deals have not completed of late. What demands do these massive M&A transactions place on lawyers and how do you ensure your firm is well equipped to handle them?

Bigger deals offer greater complexity as the parties allocate the various transaction risks between them. Transactions take longer to complete and are also more likely to be challenged by regulators and competitors. Our firm will need to continue to attract and train the best lawyers and be selective about our client choices. In addition, we must continue to be willing to provide difficult advice.

What advice would you give to younger practitioners who one day hope to be in your position?

Always give your best, avoid temptation, and remember that you can only lose your integrity once. Give the best possible advice but it is up to your clients to decide whether they will follow that advice; it is your job to execute your clients’ decisions.

Biographies:

Who's Who Legal Capital Markets: Debt and Equity

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, a senior professional fellow at New York University Center for Law and Business, and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr Katz has taught mergers and acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and co-teaches a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In 2004, he was chosen by The American Lawyer as one of the 45 highest performing members of the private bar under the age of 45; in 2005, 2012 and 2015, he was selected by The American Lawyer as a Dealmaker of the Year; in 2015, he was named by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall; in 2013 he was named Lawyer of the Year by Global M&A Network; in 2014 and each of the five prior years he has been named Who's Who Legal's Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, in 2014 was also named Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year and in 2015 he was named Who's Who Legal's Corporate Governance and M&A Lawyer of the Year; and in 2015 he was elected by The American College of Governance Counsel as an inaugural class fellow.

Mr Katz is a member of the American Bar Association, section on business law, where he is co-chair of the committee on mergers and acquisitions task force on the dictionary of M&A terms and a member of the committee on mergers and acquisitions subcommittee for acquisitions of public companies. Mr Katz is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and is also a member of the federal securities laws committee, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr Katz is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and the National Association of Corporate Directors. He sits on the board of directors of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is a member of the advisory board at the John L Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He writes a bi-monthly column on corporate governance for the New York Law Journal.

Mr Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law.

WWL says: David Katz impresses with his “expert handling of complex securities matters”, leading many to consider him “a true capital markets specialist”.

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Capital Markets which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Corporate: Merger & Acquisition

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, a senior professional fellow at New York University Center for Law and Business, and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr Katz has taught mergers and acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and co-teaches a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In 2004, he was chosen by The American Lawyer as one of the 45 highest performing members of the private bar under the age of 45; in 2005, 2012 and 2015, he was selected by The American Lawyer as a Dealmaker of the Year; in 2015, he was named by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall; in 2013 he was named Lawyer of the Year by Global M&A Network; in 2014 and each of the five prior years he has been named Who's Who Legal's Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, in 2014 was also named Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year and in 2015 he was named Who's Who Legal's Corporate Governance and M&A Lawyer of the Year; and in 2015 he was elected by The American College of Governance Counsel as an inaugural class fellow.

Mr Katz is a member of the American Bar Association, section on business law, where he is co-chair of the committee on mergers and acquisitions task force on the dictionary of M&A terms and a member of the committee on mergers and acquisitions subcommittee for acquisitions of public companies. Mr Katz is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and is also a member of the federal securities laws committee, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr Katz is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and the National Association of Corporate Directors. He sits on the board of directors of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is a member of the advisory board at the John L Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He writes a bi-monthly column on corporate governance for the New York Law Journal.

Mr Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law.

WWL says: David Katz is a “phenomenal talent” in the corporate legal market; he is considered “market-leading” by peers

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Corporate which can be purchased from our Shop.

Who's Who Legal Corporate: Corporate Governance

David A Katz is a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz in New York City, an adjunct professor at New York University School of Law, a senior professional fellow at New York University Center for Law and Business, and an adjunct professor at Vanderbilt University Law School. Previously, he was an adjunct professor of management at the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University. Mr Katz is a corporate attorney focusing on the areas of mergers and acquisitions, shareholder activism and complex securities transactions, has been involved in many major domestic and international corporate merger, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic defence assignments and proxy contests, and has been involved in a number of complex public and private offerings and corporate restructurings. He also counsels boards of directors and board committees on corporate governance matters and crisis management.

Mr Katz has taught mergers and acquisitions at New York University School of Law for over 15 years and co-teaches a joint law and business short course on mergers and acquisitions at Vanderbilt University Law School.

In 2004, he was chosen by The American Lawyer as one of the 45 highest performing members of the private bar under the age of 45; in 2005, 2012 and 2015, he was selected by The American Lawyer as a Dealmaker of the Year; in 2015, he was named by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential players in corporate governance for the fourth consecutive year and for the sixth time overall; in 2013 he was named Lawyer of the Year by Global M&A Network; in 2014 and each of the five prior years he has been named Who's Who Legal's Mergers and Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, in 2014 was also named Who’s Who Legal’s Corporate Governance Lawyer of the Year and in 2015 he was named Who's Who Legal's Corporate Governance and M&A Lawyer of the Year; and in 2015 he was elected by The American College of Governance Counsel as an inaugural class fellow.

Mr Katz is a member of the American Bar Association, section on business law, where he is co-chair of the committee on mergers and acquisitions task force on the dictionary of M&A terms and a member of the committee on mergers and acquisitions subcommittee for acquisitions of public companies. Mr Katz is co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and is also a member of the federal securities laws committee, the New York State Bar Association and the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. Mr Katz is a member of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals and the National Association of Corporate Directors. He sits on the board of directors of The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and is a member of the advisory board at the John L Weinberg Center for Corporate Governance at the University of Delaware. He writes a bi-monthly column on corporate governance for the New York Law Journal.

Mr Katz is a graduate of Brandeis University and New York University School of Law.

WWL says: David Katz's expertise spans shareholder activism and crisis management, and he is always "on hand to assist clients in their most challenging matters"

This biography is an extract from Who's Who Legal: Corporate which can be purchased from our Shop.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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