Who's Who Legal
Who's Who Legal
New to Who's Who Legal?
New to Who's Who Legal?
Menu
User Menu
New to Who's Who Legal?
Thought Leaders

Thought Leaders

Thought Leader

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader
WWL Ranking: Thought Leader

WWL says

Adam Emmerich is a top-quality dealmaker who has been involved in a plethora of 11- and 12-digit-dollar deals in recent years across telecoms, pharmaceuticals and healthcare.

Questions & Answers

Adam Emmerich focuses on M&A and corporate governance, and has led complex, bet-the-company transactions in a wide variety of industries throughout the US and globally. He also has extensive experience in takeover defence. Adam is consistently recognised as a leading lawyer and dealmaker by peers and market commentators, and is a frequent author and speaker on M&A and corporate governance. Adam lives with his wife in Manhattan, where they raised their two daughters and son.

WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO PURSUE A LEGAL CAREER?

Folks who’ve known me since childhood would tell you that I was a lawyer long before I ever started law school. I’m not entirely sure that’s a compliment, but the truth is that I have always been drawn to law’s combination of logic, verbal richness, and the business of creating a society based on justice and the system that makes all of that possible.

Many – and many very successful – lawyers remember law school as something of an ordeal, a necessary stop on the road to a legal career, and perhaps not all that relevant to what they end up doing in the service of their clients once they enter the profession. I’ve often said that law school was among the three most enjoyable years of my life. I loved every minute of it. Drinking from a fire hose of source material every day, engaging in Socratic debate to plumb the meaning of it all, and the tremendous diversity of everyday activity that the law touches on. Humanity in all its complexity and drama.

WHAT LED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN M&A?

M&A is a fantastic mixture of things that I find interesting. An amazingly dynamic area of the law that has evolved immensely during the years I’ve been fortunate to be a part of it, often with practitioners driving that evolution, and with Wachtell Lipton generally at the cutting edge of those innovations and developments. I studied economics as an undergraduate and have always been fascinated by business. And I love people. M&A is all about the art of the possible, the real (and messy) world of capitalism and competition. And the reality of folks interacting in the crucible of negotiating – and sometimes litigating – to manoeuvre, posture, compromise and reach agreement. High pressure. High stakes. Plenty of opportunity to serve and make a difference. Just a fabulous show to be a part of.

And not to be overlooked is the actual law bit, which is sort of a combination of a Rubik’s cube, coding, Where’s Waldo and Jenga: complicated, technical agreements, instruments and structures, against a background of overlapping and intersecting legal and regulatory frameworks.

WHAT DO CLIENTS LOOK FOR IN A SUCCESSFUL M&A LAWYER?

My former colleague John Coates, who became a partner of the firm and soon thereafter left for what has been a very distinguished career in teaching and scholarship at Harvard Law School, was asked why he had put all that effort into becoming a partner, and then given up the brass ring. He famously replied that becoming a partner at Wachtell Lipton is sort of like winning a pie-eating contest, where the prize is … more pie. He’s right. And that’s exactly what clients are looking for in a successful M&A lawyer: plenty of pie eaten, and plenty of appetite to eat more. Experience, intensity of focus, and interest on the front line. M&A is not a spectator sport, nor one that lends itself to Olympian detachment or Delphic pronouncements. A successful M&A lawyer is an on-field player-coach, directing the flow of play and engagement with the other side, in a game that generally requires both sides winning for either side to do so. Experience counts. Pattern recognition. The ability to sort the wheat from the chaff. And to adapt rapidly to unexpected developments and novel situations.

HOW HAS THE MARKET CHANGED SINCE YOU FIRST STARTED PRACTISING?

In terms of change, both forward-looking and backward-looking, the four biggest sea changes have been technology, scale, globalisation and the rise of the general counsel (GC). I started practising when the fax had just come in – before mobile phones, email, video-conferencing, PCs and word processing, or electronic filing of documents with the SEC and other regulators. Before many firms had offices in more than a city or two. Before lie-flat seats on airplanes. And before the GC had become the principal legal adviser to the board and the CEO – captain of a team of lawyers often equal to the best that can be found in private practice. I hesitate to mention all of this, so ancient does it make me sound. But the world for corporate lawyers at the tip of the spear in negotiating and documenting transactions and financings has changed profoundly. The qualities needed for success have not changed that much, however, including intelligence, commitment, experience, judgement and being a team player. But the intensity and complexity, and the 24/7, global, cross-cultural nature of the practice has ramped up many degrees. All in all, it’s an exciting time, and the life of an M&A lawyer is more fun and engaging than ever.

SOME PRACTITIONERS HAVE NOTICED LESS CROSS-BORDER M&A ACTIVITY RECENTLY. WHAT DO YOU PUT THIS DOWN TO?

We are – as demonstrated by the large shrinkage in cross-border volumes – living in interesting times. The level of disruption in relations among nations may not yet be at the levels that, in the 20th century, led to worldwide armed conflict, but whether it is US-China, Trump’s radical re-imagining of American foreign policy, Brexit, Russian adventurism in election influencing and otherwise, populism left and right across Europe and elsewhere, Hong Kong, Kashmir, Greenland, negative interest rates, climate change, etc, the world is not exactly steady as she goes. The balance has not yet swung away from M&A in the US, but the appetite for cross-border deals – with their attendant political risk, both in execution and thereafter, if achieved –is definitely way way down, as reflected in the numbers.

THE VOLUME OF M&A IN THE US HAS BEEN HIGH OVER THE PAST YEAR. DO YOU EXPECT THIS TO CONTINUE NEXT YEAR?

Maybe. M&A is and has always been a mirror in which economic cycles and the attitudes of business leaders and governments are reflected. The US expansion of the last 10-plus years has been good for animal spirits on Wall Street and in the boardroom. Whether the balance will swing away from M&A in the US – be that for domestic reasons or because of the larger forces of global disruption and isolation I’ve noted – is anyone’s guess.

HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR PRACTICE DEVELOPING OVER THE NEXT FIVE YEARS?

The future is unknowable, and five years is an eternity. I don’t forecast a repeat of the great financial crisis, but I certainly know that it could happen.

Global Leader

Corporate Governance 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Adam Emmerich is a leading light in corporate law who excels in high-value transactions, takeovers and governance issues. 

Biography

Adam O Emmerich practises in Wachtell Lipton’s corporate department, focusing primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and securities law matters. His practice has included a broad and varied representation of public and private corporations and other entities in a variety of industries throughout the United States and globally, in connection with mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, joint ventures and financing transactions. He also has extensive experience in takeover defence. 

Adam was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2019 for his work with T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom in the $146 billion all-stock combination of T-Mobile and Sprint. Adam led the Wachtell Lipton teams for Tim Hortons in its $12.2 billion combination with Burger King Worldwide and Covidien plc in its $49.9 billion acquisition by Medtronic, which were named by The American Lawyer as 2015 Global M&A Deal of the Year: Canada and Global M&A Deal of the Year: Ireland.

Adam is recognised as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America by Lawdragon, one of the world’s leading lawyers in the field of mergers and acquisitions by Chambers & Partners, an expert in M&A and corporate governance in the real estate field by Who’s Who Legal, and an expert both in M&A and in corporate governance by Euromoney Institutional Investor’s Expert Guides.

Among the other transactions in which Adam has taken a leading role are: Broadcom in its $147 billion proposal to acquire Qualcomm; Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA in the combination of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications at a $30 billion enterprise value, and Deutsche Telekom in its agreed $39 billion sale of T-Mobile to AT&T; the board of Wyeth in its $68 billion acquisition by Pfizer; Frutarom Industries in its $7.1 billion acquisition by International Flavors & Fragrances; Medtronic in its $6.1 billion sale of a portion of its patient monitoring and recovery division to Cardinal Health; Google in its participation in the Nortel patent auction; Creative Artists Agency in the investment by TPG Capital to acquire a controlling interest; Doosan Corporation in its acquisition of the assets of ClearEdge Power in a section 363 bankruptcy sale; Mallinckrodt in its $5.6 billion acquisition of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, its $1.4 billion acquisition of Cadence Pharmaceuticals, its $2.3 billion acquisition of Ikaria, its $1.325 billion acquisition of Therakos, and its $1.2 billion acquisition of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals; and WESCO International in its $4.5 billion acquisition of Anixter International and Hologic in its $1.65 billion acquisition of Cynosure.

After serving as a law clerk to Judge Abner J Mikva, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Adam joined the firm in 1986 and was named partner in 1991. He attended Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago, from which he received his JD with honours. While at the University of Chicago, Adam served as topics and comments editor of The University of Chicago Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and was the recipient of an Olin Fellowship in law and economics. He is a frequent author and speaker on topics relating to mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, including at MIT’s Sloan Convocation and India’s CNBC-TV18.  

Adam is co-chair of the International Institute for the Study of Cross-Border M&A, co-chair of the advisory board of New York University’s REIT Center for the Study of Public Real Estate Companies, and a member of the American Law Institute. He has served as co-chair of the NYU Real Estate Institute’s Annual Symposium on REITs since its inception. He is a member of the corporate academic bridge group of the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business, and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Law School forum on corporate governance and financial regulation. Adam serves on the board of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, and as president of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He was previously a member of the board of the Lawyers Alliance for New York, the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Law School, The Ramaz School and co-chair of the young lawyers division of the UJA-Federation in New York.
M&A 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Global Elite Thought Leader

WWL says

Adam Emmerich is a titanic figure in the field who achieves Global Elite Thought Leader status for his extensive and pitch-perfect knowledge of M&A and corporate governance matters. 

Biography

Adam O Emmerich practises in Wachtell Lipton’s corporate department, focusing primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and securities law matters. His practice has included a broad and varied representation of public and private corporations and other entities in a variety of industries throughout the United States and globally, in connection with mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, joint ventures and financing transactions. He also has extensive experience in takeover defence. 

Adam was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2019 for his work with T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom in the $146 billion all-stock combination of T-Mobile and Sprint. Adam led the Wachtell Lipton teams for Tim Hortons in its $12.2 billion combination with Burger King Worldwide and Covidien plc in its $49.9 billion acquisition by Medtronic, which were named by The American Lawyer as 2015 Global M&A Deal of the Year: Canada and Global M&A Deal of the Year: Ireland.

Adam is recognised as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America by Lawdragon, one of the world’s leading lawyers in the field of mergers and acquisitions by Chambers & Partners, an expert in M&A and corporate governance in the real estate field by Who’s Who Legal, and an expert both in M&A and in corporate governance by Euromoney Institutional Investor’s Expert Guides.

Among the other transactions in which Adam has taken a leading role are: Broadcom in its $147 billion proposal to acquire Qualcomm; Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA in the combination of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications at a $30 billion enterprise value, and Deutsche Telekom in its agreed $39 billion sale of T-Mobile to AT&T; the board of Wyeth in its $68 billion acquisition by Pfizer; Frutarom Industries in its $7.1 billion acquisition by International Flavors & Fragrances; Medtronic in its $6.1 billion sale of a portion of its patient monitoring and recovery division to Cardinal Health; Google in its participation in the Nortel patent auction; Creative Artists Agency in the investment by TPG Capital to acquire a controlling interest; Doosan Corporation in its acquisition of the assets of ClearEdge Power in a section 363 bankruptcy sale; Mallinckrodt in its $5.6 billion acquisition of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, its $1.4 billion acquisition of Cadence Pharmaceuticals, its $2.3 billion acquisition of Ikaria, its $1.325 billion acquisition of Therakos, and its $1.2 billion acquisition of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals; and WESCO International in its $4.5 billion acquisition of Anixter International and Hologic in its $1.65 billion acquisition of Cynosure.

After serving as a law clerk to Judge Abner J Mikva, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Adam joined the firm in 1986 and was named partner in 1991. He attended Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago, from which he received his JD with honours. While at the University of Chicago, Adam served as topics and comments editor of The University of Chicago Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and was the recipient of an Olin Fellowship in law and economics. He is a frequent author and speaker on topics relating to mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, including at MIT’s Sloan Convocation and India’s CNBC-TV18.  

Adam is co-chair of the International Institute for the Study of Cross-Border M&A, co-chair of the advisory board of New York University’s REIT Center for the Study of Public Real Estate Companies, and a member of the American Law Institute. He has served as co-chair of the NYU Real Estate Institute’s Annual Symposium on REITs since its inception. He is a member of the corporate academic bridge group of the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business, and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Law School forum on corporate governance and financial regulation. Adam serves on the board of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, and as president of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He was previously a member of the board of the Lawyers Alliance for New York, the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Law School, The Ramaz School and co-chair of the young lawyers division of the UJA-Federation in New York.
Real Estate 2020

Professional Biography

WWL Ranking: Recommended

WWL says

Adam Emmerich is looked upon with enormous favour by sources who note he excels in handling high-value real estate M&A deals. 

Biography

Adam O Emmerich practises in Wachtell Lipton’s corporate department, focusing primarily on mergers and acquisitions, corporate governance and securities law matters. His practice has included a broad and varied representation of public and private corporations and other entities in a variety of industries throughout the United States and globally, in connection with mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, spin-offs, joint ventures and financing transactions. He also has extensive experience in takeover defence. 

Adam was named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2019 for his work with T-Mobile USA and Deutsche Telekom in the $146 billion all-stock combination of T-Mobile and Sprint. Adam led the Wachtell Lipton teams for Tim Hortons in its $12.2 billion combination with Burger King Worldwide and Covidien plc in its $49.9 billion acquisition by Medtronic, which were named by The American Lawyer as 2015 Global M&A Deal of the Year: Canada and Global M&A Deal of the Year: Ireland.

Adam is recognised as one of the 500 leading lawyers in America by Lawdragon, one of the world’s leading lawyers in the field of mergers and acquisitions by Chambers & Partners, an expert in M&A and corporate governance in the real estate field by Who’s Who Legal, and an expert both in M&A and in corporate governance by Euromoney Institutional Investor’s Expert Guides.

Among the other transactions in which Adam has taken a leading role are: Broadcom in its $147 billion proposal to acquire Qualcomm; Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile USA in the combination of T-Mobile USA and MetroPCS Communications at a $30 billion enterprise value, and Deutsche Telekom in its agreed $39 billion sale of T-Mobile to AT&T; the board of Wyeth in its $68 billion acquisition by Pfizer; Frutarom Industries in its $7.1 billion acquisition by International Flavors & Fragrances; Medtronic in its $6.1 billion sale of a portion of its patient monitoring and recovery division to Cardinal Health; Google in its participation in the Nortel patent auction; Creative Artists Agency in the investment by TPG Capital to acquire a controlling interest; Doosan Corporation in its acquisition of the assets of ClearEdge Power in a section 363 bankruptcy sale; Mallinckrodt in its $5.6 billion acquisition of Questcor Pharmaceuticals, its $1.4 billion acquisition of Cadence Pharmaceuticals, its $2.3 billion acquisition of Ikaria, its $1.325 billion acquisition of Therakos, and its $1.2 billion acquisition of Sucampo Pharmaceuticals; and WESCO International in its $4.5 billion acquisition of Anixter International and Hologic in its $1.65 billion acquisition of Cynosure.

After serving as a law clerk to Judge Abner J Mikva, of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, Adam joined the firm in 1986 and was named partner in 1991. He attended Swarthmore College and the University of Chicago, from which he received his JD with honours. While at the University of Chicago, Adam served as topics and comments editor of The University of Chicago Law Review, was elected to the Order of the Coif, and was the recipient of an Olin Fellowship in law and economics. He is a frequent author and speaker on topics relating to mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance, including at MIT’s Sloan Convocation and India’s CNBC-TV18.  

Adam is co-chair of the International Institute for the Study of Cross-Border M&A, co-chair of the advisory board of New York University’s REIT Center for the Study of Public Real Estate Companies, and a member of the American Law Institute. He has served as co-chair of the NYU Real Estate Institute’s Annual Symposium on REITs since its inception. He is a member of the corporate academic bridge group of the NYU Pollack Center for Law & Business, and a frequent contributor to the Harvard Law School forum on corporate governance and financial regulation. Adam serves on the board of the American Friends of the Israel Museum, and as president of the Friends of the Israel Antiquities Authority. He was previously a member of the board of the Lawyers Alliance for New York, the visiting committee of the University of Chicago Law School, The Ramaz School and co-chair of the young lawyers division of the UJA-Federation in New York.

Awards won by Adam O Emmerich

To view this content please login, or register if you are new to Who's Who Legal
Law Business Research
Law Business Research Ltd
Meridian House, 34-35 Farringdon Street
London EC4A 4HL, UK
© Law Business Research Ltd 1998-2020. All rights reserved.
Company No.: 03281866