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Kevin Lavin’s career began internationally — he cut his legal teeth working on deals in England and Latin America. But now, Lavin has carved out his niche closer to home, in the world of D.C.-area mergers and acquisitions. A partner in Arnold & Porter‘s McLean, Va., office, Lavin has recently managed some of the region’s largest M&A transactions, including the $1.5 billion merger of US Airways (then based in Arlington, Va.) with America West and the $858 million sale of American Management Systems (based in Fairfax, Va.) to CGI and CACI (based in Arlington, Va.). Talent rises fast. Just a decade ago, Lavin joined the D.C. business community when he was recruited as in-house counsel for Iridium, a satellite voice and data services provider based in Bethesda, Md. Over three years he handled $5 billion worth of financing deals for the company, including its initial public offering and some M&A work. He landed at Arnold & Porter in 2003, after launching and then closing the Washington office of the now-defunct Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. Today, Lavin says he spends at least 80 percent of his time on M&A transactions. About one-third of his clients — including Legato Systems of Mountain View, Calif. (since acquired by EMC), and Tradeum of Palo Alto, Calif. (now owned by VerticalNet Solutions) — have been in the technology sector. The rest of his work is focused on helping companies comply with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations and handling securities offerings. But it’s the M&A transactions that “draw on a wider range of skill sets,” says Lavin, 42. Those skills came in handy when the US Airways-America West merger came his way, in 2004. The transaction is a highlight of Lavin’s career because of its complexity: US Airways was simultaneously working through the merger and a reorganization after bankruptcy. The company was also in the process of raising $1 billion in private equity, and then the combined companies did a public offering to raise even more money. “It was an immensely complex series of transactions,” says Elizabeth Blake, former general counsel of US Airways and now general counsel and senior vice president for advocacy, government relations for Habitat for Humanity International. “There were more than two dozen transactions going on at the same time, and we literally couldn’t have done it without Kevin.” Lavin was lured onto his future career path partly by his older brother, who was an investment banker for Merrill Lynch. He remembers listening to his brother talk on about high-powered business transactions. So, after earning his law degree from Georgetown University in 1988, Lavin signed on with Sullivan & Cromwell in New York. It was in the midst of the leveraged-buyout boom, and “I just wanted to be where the action was,” he says. Instead, Lavin was transferred to London, where he worked on deals privatizing regional electricity companies. He also completed his first IPO, for Polygram Records. He moved back to the United States in 1990 to manage business transactions for various Latin American clients. But he found his true calling three years ago when the Washington-area tech community needed him for M&As. Lavin says he’s “very bullish” on the local M&A market, adding with lawyerly caution, “for the foreseeable future.”

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