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Some lawyers would stay far away from a startup technology company with no money and just a handful of employees. But James Rogers is drawn to emerging companies that are driven by a single idea in the mind of an entrepreneur. “The fun thing about dealing with an emerging company is the ability to serve as a trusted confidant, a consigliere to help guide them through all these things,” says Rogers. For many entrepreneurs, he adds, building a business “is new stuff.” As a partner in the D.C. office of Latham & Watkins, Rogers helps companies maneuver through the various stages of growing a business. He advises them as they seek venture capital, set up strategic alliances, and (he hopes) reach the ultimate validation of their business plan: The company goes public or is acquired by a bigger business. He focuses on companies in the fields of information technology, health care, life sciences, and energy. As head of Latham’s mid-Atlantic venture and technology group, Rogers, who has been with the firm since 1981, also oversees 15 to 20 lawyers in the core group and several others who have overlapping clients in health care, telecommunications, and technology. Although the life cycle of a company can cover a slew of different business transactions, Rogers, 53, says he prefers handling mergers and acquisitions, particularly for private companies. He enjoys the numerous problems and challenges that arise during the M&A process. “It’s often like the game of ‘whack a mole,’ ” Rogers explains. “ The real question is: Can you get all those moles knocked down and back in the holes at the same time?” Frank Adams, managing general partner of Grotech Capital Group in Timonium, Md., points to Rogers’ efforts on behalf of one of Grotech’s portfolio companies as proof of his finesse. Rogers had worked with Nashville-based Sagittarius Brands, parent company of the seafood restaurant chain Captain D’s Seafood, for more than a year in its efforts to buy the Mexican-style restaurant chain Del Taco. At the eleventh hour, the acquisition nearly fell apart. But Rogers quickly assessed the problem and was able to save the day with a simple letter and new documentation. The deal closed in April. “Where Jim shines is his ability to understand the business aspects of a transaction and work around the legalities to make sure business goals are being achieved,” says Adams. “I would call Jim the guy that I would want on my most difficult cases.” Another highlight of Rogers’ career was the initial public offering of PRA International, a clinical-research organization based in Reston, Va. The company’s stock started trading in November 2004; some $100 million was raised. Rogers’ client roster also includes BroadMargin, USinternetworking, and Digex. Besides the acquired and the acquiring, he has represented such major venture-capital and private equity firms as the Carlyle Group and Chase Capital. Rogers earned a law degree from Columbia University and a master’s in public administration from Princeton University, both in 1979. He clerked for Judge Charles Clark of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit and for then-D.C. Circuit Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg. All along, Rogers says, he was attracted to transactions over litigation because of the creative element: “Being a transactional lawyer, you’re really getting to put something together and to make something that’s bigger or better or new or different. It’s creative and constructive.”

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