The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
William Brady, Partner & Head—Alternative Lender Group
Bill Brady is head of the firm’s Alternative Lender and Private Credit practice. Bill’s practice focuses on complex finance transactions and credit arrangements for a broad array of alternative lenders and investors, including traditional mezzanine funds, second lien lenders, hedge funds, BDCs, SBIC funds, one-stop shops, insurance companies, and specialty finance companies, often in the context of domestic and cross-border leveraged buyouts, recapitalizations, re-financings, and restructurings.
Mr. Brady has extensive experience in intercreditor and interlender issues, secured creditor and bankruptcy rights, and debt restructurings, and he regularly negotiates intercreditor and subordination agreements, agreements among lenders, and other complex interlender agreements. His experience extends across a variety of industries, including technology, health care, energy, retail, media, communications, gaming, pharmaceuticals, biotech, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, security, and food services.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
My practice entails structuring and documenting complex finance transactions for alternative lenders who are typically financing the acquisition or activities of private-equity-backed companies. The lawyers in the practice are cross trained in restructuring, so we also restructure these credits when needed.
What types of clients do you represent?
My client base is broad and includes private debt funds, investment funds, specialty finance firms, hedge funds, commercial finance companies, business development companies, and other alternative lenders in financial centers around the world. Representation is confidential, but the clients include many of the world’s most well-known capital providers, who invest in the middle market, as well as the large cap space.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
My practice focuses on complex finance transactions and credit arrangements, particularly financings that include a junior capital component or multiple tranches of debt.
Examples include the representation of:
- One of the largest global alternative lenders as minority lender in the first lien financing and the sole lender in the second lien financing in connection with the multi-billion dollar acquisition of a leading company in the U.S. physical therapy industry.
- The agent and lead last-out lender in a $225 million bifurcated unitranche loan to a sponsor-backed software company to refinance existing debt and fund a dividend recapitalization.
How did you choose this practice area?
I have always had an interest in corporate law—specifically finance—and the alternative lender space is one that has grown dramatically over the past 10-plus years.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
The nice thing is that there is no typical week in my practice. The clients we counsel include the industry’s premier names in this space, and their high-stakes transactions invariably rely on complex financial instruments—often on extremely tight timeframes. Structures vary greatly from deal to deal, and each client and transaction requires a thoughtful approach; there is never a “one-size-fits-all” solution.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
Coming out of law school, the more corporate-related classes you can take, the better, with bonus points for classes like secured transactions and corporate bankruptcy. That said, over the long haul, skills development is even more important, for example—taking ownership of whatever your role may be on a deal, trying to do more than the bare minimum on an assignment, and really digging into the documents and the transaction generally to fully digest it. There are no shortcuts in this practice, and hard work really does pay off.
What is unique about your practice area at your firm?
I lateraled over in 2016, and as a partner at Paul Hastings, I can say it is unique in so many positive ways, none more important than the culture of the firm. With the hard work and the hours that lawyers at large law firms invest, it’s a game changer if you can find the right culture, where you really feel like you are all on the same team.
What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?
One of the great aspects of the Alternative Lender group is that we don’t slot associates into a particular role based on their class levels. We allow associates at all levels to take on as much responsibility and as many tasks as they are comfortable with and that they show they are capable of completing.
Many of our associates far exceed their class level in terms of legal competency because we allow them to grow and excel at a quicker rate than most typical “BigLaw” finance groups—this is a result of the fact that we are a fast-growing and dynamic group.
What kinds of experience can summer associates gain in this practice area at your firm?
We treat summer associates just as any other associate in our practice group—over the past several years, summer associates have been able to take part in our finance transactions from inception to closing and are able to complete many of the same tasks that regular associates do. They are able to participate substantially on such matters and able to get the true experience of a finance associate, taking part and being included in all aspects of the transaction.
What are some typical career paths for lawyers in this practice area?
While many attorneys will choose to stay in the practice as lawyers within the firm, others are able to go “in-house” to clients, if that is something that they are interested in. We have relationships with dozens of private credit lenders, and there are always opportunities for in-house legal placement at such clients.