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

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders: M&A and Governance

David Katz is a corporate partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He is involved in domestic and international corporate mergers, acquisition and buyout transactions, strategic takeover defence and activism assignments, and proxy contests; and he counsels boards of directors on corporate governance and crisis management. He is a frequently published author on corporate governance and other related topics, and is adjunct professor at NYU Law School; co-chair of the NYU Institute for Corporate Governance and Finance, and Tulane Corporate Law Institute; and trustee of NYU Law School and New York University.

DESCRIBE YOUR PRACTICE TO DATE.

I am a corporate partner specialising in M&A, takeover and activism defence, and corporate governance. I tend to represent US and offshore public companies and boards of directors in various contexts.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN CORPORATE, M&A AND GOVERNANCE WORK?

This type of work is often the most challenging and thus rewarding. I tend to work on the most complicated matters, focusing on both legal and business issues. There are often key tactical and strategic concerns that need to be addressed and psychology and game theory often come into play as well. Much of the time, these issues and concerns must be addressed under significant time pressure and impact the success of the entity at issue.

WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER TO BE THE GREATEST ACCOMPLISHMENT OF YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

It is hard to specify a single greatest accomplishment in my career thus far but I think that the most rewarding has been to work with law students and young lawyers to help them understand how to be successful and how important integrity is to effectively counselling clients and accomplishing successful negotiations.

TO WHAT EXTENT ARE INSTITUTIONAL INVESTORS TAKING AN ACTIVE ROLE IN THE STEWARDSHIP OF COMPANIES?

Not enough, but this is changing. Significant institutional investors are understanding how important corporate stewardship can be to longer-term investment success and I believe that over time this will further increase. Institutional investors are beginning to recognise how working with companies on these issues can impact investment returns as well our economy, but this will take time.

WHAT ARE THE GREATEST CHALLENGES CURRENTLY FACING M&A PRACTITIONERS IN YOUR JURISDICTION?

Particularly for larger transactions, the current political environment in the US is creating significant uncertainty and making it more difficult to successfully negotiate a transaction. In addition, increased protectionism in the US and around the world has made cross-border transactions more difficult. Advance planning and a comprehensive communications plan touching all of the relevant constituencies are essential to success.

HOW HAS THE INCREASING COMPLEXITY OF DEALS IMPACTED THE LEVEL OF COMPETITION WITHIN THE LEGAL MARKET?

We have continued to see a flight to quality. As deals get more complicated, clients are tending to rely more upon high-calibre firms. For the firms left behind, the competition is often cut-throat and we are seeing more “commoditisation” of the legal practice. The specialisation required to successfully navigate complex transactions is tending to reside in a smaller number of firms.

HOW DOES THE CORPORATE TEAM AT WACHTELL, LIPTON, ROSEN & KATZ DISTINGUISH ITSELF FROM THE COMPETITION?

We tend to field very lean teams so that everyone working on the matter must fully understand all facets of the client and the transaction. Giving the critical time frame for many of our matters, responsiveness to client needs is paramount. In addition, being able to supplement legal advice with a business acumen allows us to give better advice to our clients.

WHAT QUALITIES ARE REQUIRED TO SUCCEED IN THIS AREA OF LAW?

Respect from clients and integrity to the process and the law are essential elements. Hard work and dogged determination is also important. We must always recognise that we are not the principals in the matter and that our job is to counsel our clients (which means being able to give clients the right advice, even when that is not what they want to hear). Lastly, recognising that you are only as good as your last matter forces you to always work to be at the top of your game. 

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 is one of the go-to capital markets lawyers in New York for clients, who value his great transactional experience.

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 renowned for his exceptional work handling significant national and cross-border transactions.

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 is “the number one guy” for corporate work according to sources who consider him to be “really the best”.

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

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