BuckleySandler, a firm that specializes in financial services, has brought its wealth of regulatory expertise to a series of big transactions over the past year.
Firm chairman Andrew Sandler said Buckley lawyers often serve as regulatory counsel, assisting big firms with major transactions. "Our flexibility and willingness to work with other firms in that way makes us a very attractive partner," Sandler said. "We have a very specific set of expertise that those firms don't have."
Buckley attorneys, including co-managing partner John Kromer and partner Chris Witeck, who leads the transactional practice group, were regulatory ­counsel to Discover Financial Services for its acquisition last year of assets from a Tree.com Inc. subsidiary. The firm worked on the merger between Caliber Home Loans Inc., formerly Vericrest Financial Inc., and mortgage lender Caliber Funding LLC.
Witeck advised EverBank on regulatory issues in acquiring MetLife Bank N.A.'s warehouse lending unit, a deal that's expected to increase EverBank's assets by $400 million.
"There's so much uncertainty in the financial-services space with regulatory issues changing so quickly," Sandler said. Companies want lawyers who can identify regulatory issues and risks "when they look around the corner," he said.
The firm has long handled community-bank mergers. Last year, its clients included First Virginia Community Bank, which acquired 1st Commonwealth Bank of Virginia. Buckley represented CommerceFirst Bancorp Inc., which was acquired by Sandy Spring Bancorp Inc. in a deal valued at $27 million.
Mobile commerce deals are a growing practice area. BuckleySandler is advising on a joint venture among AT&T Mobility LLC, T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless in building a national mobile commerce venture known as Isis.
"What we've been very successful in doing is looking ahead, identifying what the key competencies were going to be as the work began coming out of the financial crisis, and either internally developing the skill sets necessary to meet those needs or occasionally going into the lateral market," Sandler said.