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, healthcare, energy, retail, media, communications, gaming, pharmaceuticals, biotech, manufacturing, financial services, insurance, security and food services.
Please provide an overview of what, substantively, your practice area 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 decide to practice in your 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+ years.
What is a typical day or week like in your practice area?
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 it requires a thoughtful approach to each client and each transaction; there is never a “one size fits all” solution.
What is the best thing about your practice area?
The clients (for real). They are a smart, hard charging and an impressive group of investors and I have made many friends in the space over the years. It’s been a fun ride.
What is the most challenging aspect of your practice area?
That’s hard to say; most of it is challenging which is what keeps it interesting.
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 the better, with bonus points for classes like secured transactions and corporate bankruptcy. That said, over the long haul the skills development is even more important: taking ownership of whatever your role may be on a deal, trying to do more than the bare minimum on an assignment, really digging into the documents and the transaction generally to fully digest it. There are no short cuts in this practice and hard work really does pay off.
What misconceptions exist about your practice area? What do you wish you had known before joining your practice area?
I often hear from outsiders that they are surprised at the variety of deal structures and the extraordinarily high level of negotiations that go into each of these agreements.
What is unique about your practice area at your firm, and how has it evolved since you have been at the 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 activities do you enjoy when you are not in the office, and how do you make time for them?
I enjoy spending time with my family, coaching my kids various sports, playing a number of adult sports, and traveling. Finding the time is easier some days than others, but with the right time management skills it is achievable.