As the go-to lawyer for Groupon Inc. co-founders Eric Lefkofsky and Brad Keywell, Ginsberg is a top dealmaker in Chicago’s startup and venture capital scene. He has represented Groupon, Echo Global Logistics Inc., InnerWorkings Inc. and Mediaocean LLC, all of whom are among the most successful of Chicago’s emerging technology companies.
Ginsberg has also served as general counsel to Lightbank, the venture fund formed in 2010 by Keywell and Lefkofsky, both of whom attended the University of Michigan and graduated from its law school. Ginsberg, who graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, School of Law, was an undergraduate at Michigan.
When Groupon’s co-founders raised $700 million through an initial public offering in 2011, Winston & Strawn and DLA Piper took the lead on the listing for the online marketplace. Ginsberg’s move to Winston & Strawn is a homecoming of sorts, as he had previously joined the firm as a partner in May 2005 from Katten Muchin Rosenman before leaving for DLA Piper with a group of lawyers a little more than two years later.
Among those making the jump to DLA Piper with Ginsberg in September 2007 were fellow partners Steven Napolitano and Brendan Head. Both lawyers, who represent private equity firms, left DLA Piper earlier this year to join Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago.
Winston & Strawn plans to build a larger venture practice around Ginsberg, with the firm believing that Chicago is a hot enough market for such work to form the bulk of a practice. Winston & Strawn said Ginsberg would also look to bolster its venture practice in Northern California and New York.
As for Chicago, Lefkofsky’s genome testing startup Tempus Inc. raised $110 million in August in a financing round that valued the company at $2 billion. Also in August, Chicago-based human resources startup PerkSpot raised $50 million in a growth round of financing. A March report by global accounting giant KPMG ranked Chicago as behind only Silicon Valley and tied with Boston for being among the country’s most innovative cities.
“Winston is committed to significant growth in the areas of technology and venture capital, and Rick puts us in an ideal position to both take advantage of opportunities in that sector and provide leadership in our expansion efforts,” Winston & Strawn chairman Thomas Fitzgerald said in a statement.
A spokeswoman for DLA Piper, which in recent weeks has absorbed smaller firms in Argentina and Denmark, did not immediately return a request for comment.
DLA Piper announced a hire of its own Friday, bringing aboard John Packman in Atlanta from The Coca-Cola Co. Packman had spent 21 years at the global beverage company, where he developed and led its global food law and advertising substantiation team.
As for Ginsberg, he expressed excitement about returning to Winston & Strawn, which earlier this week watched two Chicago-based litigators decamp for Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff. Ginsberg said in a statement that Winston & Strawn is “a critical partner in the growth and development of Chicago’s most important and successful businesses.”
“My fund formation, venture and [private equity] clients will benefit from the depth and breadth of Winston’s team,” Ginsberg said. “I look forward to building a global emerging companies practice that will be a sector leader.”