The work the corporate and securities lawyers at Philadelphia-based Drinker Biddle & Reath are most proud of from the past two years does not necessarily revolve around the most lucrative deals or the largest clients.
Instead, as partner Doug Raymond put it, the projects that proved to be the most “transformative” for the client are the ones that best exemplify the philosophy of Drinker Biddle’s attorneys.
Partner Jill E. Bronson, team leader of Drinker Biddle’s corporate finance team, summarized that philosophy: “If it’s important to our firm clients, it’s important to us, individually.”
So, for example, when Bronson received a call from a client that was about to be sold and was seeking advice, she reached out to Raymond because she thought he could be of help.
Raymond, meanwhile, had just landed in Florida but didn’t hesitate to get back on a plane almost immediately to come to the client’s aid, according to Bronson.
“He checked out of his hotel half-an-hour after he checked in and came right back,” Bronson said. “And that wasn’t because it was a Doug Raymond client; it was because it was a Drinker Biddle client.”
The team agreed that any one of them would have done the same thing because the client’s best interest is their top priority.
“We’re all in with the client. That’s what we’re about,” Raymond said.
That level of commitment is part of
the reason why the firm’s corporate finance lawyers have been able to maintain lengthy relationships with companies like Reading, Pa.-based Penske Truck Leasing Co.
According to Robert C. Juelke, chair of the firm’s corporate and securities practice group, those relationships are part of what has kept Drinker Biddle’s transactional lawyers busy, even during the recession.
Last year, a group led by Raymond helped Penske significantly restructure its joint venture with GE Capital, which Raymond had initially helped the company structure back in 1988.
According to Raymond, the goal of the restructuring was to help Penske obtain investment grade ratings and to refinance about $6 billion of debt to GE Capital.
“It was not the biggest deal we’ve ever done, but it was a large deal for a longstanding client,” Raymond said.
The firm was involved in several other such transactions in the past two years.
For example, Drinker Biddle helped the Opportunity Finance Network, a client for more than 20 years, form a joint venture with Starbucks aimed at creating and sustaining jobs in underserved communities nationwide.
A team led by Raymond helped the nonprofit organization navigate complicated tax issues and federal regulations in order to establish the “Create Jobs for USA” program, which provides grants to “community development corporations” across the country that, in turn, invest the money into local businesses in underserved communities.
Drinker Biddle also served as lead counsel for longtime client Charming Shoppes — the parent company of Lane Bryant, Catherines Plus Sizes and Fashion Bug — in its $890 million sale to Ascena Retail Group, a specialty retailer for women’s clothing.