Kirsch, William
William Kirsch
Baker & McKenzie LLP

William S. Kirsch, PC, is a partner in Baker & McKenzie’s Global Private Equity Practice Group and is the Chair of its North American Private Equity Practice Group. He has more than 25 years of experience representing a broad cross-section of elite members of the private equity community. He formerly was a leader of the private equity and corporate group at Kirkland & Ellis and served as general counsel to Madison Dearborn Partners, as well as an advisory committee member at the Audax Group and Sun Capital. Mr. Kirsch is the former chief executive officer, president and board member of a Fortune 500 company, and was also Global Chair of the Private Equity Practice Group of a large US-based international law firm.

Practice Focus

Mr. Kirsch focuses his practice on complex business transactions and provides legal strategies to private equity firms, their portfolio companies, corporations, senior executives and board of directors. This has included mergers, acquisitions, fund formations, leveraged buyouts, hundreds of private equity transactions, platform acquisitions, add ons, financings, refinancings, recapitalizations, reorganizations, executive compensation arrangements, IPOs, divestitures, workouts, 363 transactions and corporate aspects of complex bankruptcies. Mr. Kirsch has handled transactions ranging in size from several million dollars to over USD42 billion. Mr. Kirsch also has extensive experience in law firm management, legal aspects of client management, transaction management and has regularly been recognized as a leading corporate and private equity lawyer in Illinois and nationally. He has been fortunate to work with great clients on interesting matters.

Representative Legal Matters
  • Led formation of Madison Dearborn Partners (MDP) in connection with spinout from First National Bank of Chicago and related fund management, compensation and transaction services arrangements.
  • Formed Audax Group and led representation of critical related transactions.
  • Formed Sun Capital and led representation of most important transactions.
  • Served as outside general counsel to MDP for six years and oversaw legal aspects of all transactions and related legal matters.
  • Represented MDP in connection with multibillion dollar acquisition of Packaging Corporation of America, related sale of timberlands, and then served as outside general counsel to PCA.
  • Represented Madison Dearborn Partners in multibillion dollar acquisition of Boise Cascade and related sale of timberlands.
  • Led MDP acquisition of Jefferson Smurfit Group. The transaction won the Chambers Award for Private Equity Deal of the Year.
  • Represented Thomas H. Lee Partners in the acquisition of Transwestern Publishing and on related acquisitions and recapitalizations.
  • Represented Thomas H. Lee Partners in connection with the sale of a 25 percent interest in its management company to Putnam Investment Company.
  • Represented Thomas H. Lee Partners in the acquisition of United Industries.
  • Represented MDP in connection with its proposed 42 billion dollar acquisition of Bell Canada.
  • Led Artisan Entertainment sale to Lionsgate.
  • Led corporate aspects of TWA bankruptcy and subsequent sale to American Airlines.
  • Led corporate aspects of several restructurings, refinancings, bankruptcies, 363 sales and other corporate restructurings.
  • Represented MDP in the acquisition of the Topps Company Inc.
  • Represented MDP in sale of Reimen Publishing.
  • Formed and represented Bway Corporation as lead outside counsel in all its matters, including acquisitions, litigation, antitrust matters, board room representation, IPO supply agreements and sale of company to Kelso.
  • Formed and represented Gaylord Container Corporation in all its matters, including acquisitions, supply contracts, employee compensation, litigation, board room representation, IPO, restructurings, debt financings and sale of company to Temple Inland.
  • Formed Nassau Capital and represented them on their most important matters.
Professional Associations and Memberships
  • American Bar Association - Member
  • Illinois~United States (1981)
  • Stanford Law School (J.D.) (1981)
  • Northwestern University (B.A.) (1978)
  • English