Interview with: Robert P. Zinn, Partner – Corporate Practice Leader

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K&L Gates

What has been your greatest achievement, in a professional and personal capability?

My commitment to clients and colleagues and my tenacity in helping them achieve objectives. My greatest personal achievement is essentially the same: being there for my family and friends. On a personal note, I took up tennis at an advanced age and recently played singles in my first national seniors tournament.

What do you do differently from your peers in the industry?

K&L Gates’ corporate practice regularly serves enterprises of all types and sizes including some of the largest in the world. What sets us apart in my view is that we have built an integrated global corporate practice that is regarded as a “go-to firm for the global middle market.”

Since I became a corporate practice leader about 15 years ago, we have grown significantly through merger and the strategic addition of laterals both in the United States and globally. While we maintain a healthy and growing private equity and capital market practice, our emphasis is on the company side, and we practice on an integrated, interdisciplinary and long-term relationship basis. Our own evolution and culture has been well matched to companies seeking to navigate an increasingly multi-national and complex legal landscape in a seamless and reasonably cost effective manner.

What advice would you give to your younger self?

There is something to enjoy and learn from each day, and virtually no experience is wasted.

Can you give me a practical example of how helped a client add value to the business?

Adding value should be present in every meaningful engagement. The most significant legal issues are really business issues, and I pay particular attention to evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of the parties in a deal. As an example, I had a client that needed to sell its company and was satisfied with the price being offered. I realized that the buyer was also highly motivated to announce a deal, because it was commencing the launch of its inaugural private equity fund. I capitalized on this insight to negotiate a favorable two-way price adjustment mechanism that increased the ultimate purchase price by approximately 25%.

Within your sector, what do you think will be the biggest challenge clients face over the next 12 months?

Adapting to challenging capital markets, including issues resulting from the growth of non-traditional lenders. I also anticipate helping clients and colleagues adjust to a world in which not everything moves in an upward direction.