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1 big meal: Akin partner Amy Wollensack

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Aug 17, 2023
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Amy Wollensack. Illustration: Axios Visuals; Photo: courtesy of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP

Akin partner Amy Wollensack says the industry was "not overly surprised" by the DOJ and FTC's new M&A guidelines She shared antitrust insights and other views when she dined with Kerry this month as part of our "1 big meal" interview series.

Why she matters: Wollensack joined Akin Gump in 2022 in its private equity practice, alongside colleagues from Covington & Burling. She recently advised on the acquisition of a European football team.

🇳🇬 Why we chose the restaurant: Tatiana in Lincoln Center. Wollensack says she was blown away the first time she visited by how Kwame Onwuachi was "doing something so innovative in such a traditional space."

🐮 What we ate: She drank Piña Piña Piña and ate Braised Oxtails. I drank Benton's Old Fashioned and ate Cod and Cornbread. We split a Piri Piri Salad.

You were a nurse practitioner before you went to law school. Why did you switch?

  • "I very quickly grew frustrated by some of the inefficiencies in the health care system, and I thought going to law school that I would end up in health care policy or health care law, and then spent my summer in a big firm and realized that I love M&A, and here I am many years later."

Why M&A?

  • "I remember as a summer associate [at Kirkland], they brought in a library cart of binders into my office, and they said, 'We need a 10-page summary of everything that's in these binders.' It seemed like an overwhelming and daunting task. But over the course of a week or two, I learned so much."

What's your perspective on M&A in the first half of 2023?

  • "The first half of the year, deals were taking longer. People were more cautious as they were looking at deals and the numbers pan out that there was a slowdown."
  • "I think our private equity clients are very eager to deploy capital, and so they're looking for ways to do that. If there's the opportunity to pick up on deal activity in the end of the year, they'll do that. We're already starting to see more deals, and it's just a question of whether those go forward and how quickly."

How do you see those private equity deals being structured?

  • "Early in the year, we were seeing a lot of growth equity deals, even from some people who weren't traditionally in the growth equity space. We were seeing a lot of earnouts, any kind of creative financing mechanisms to get deals done."

How are you and your practice using AI?

  • "I'm sure associates are using it more than I am. Certainly, there are things that exist that didn't exist when I was an associate, like ways to review contracts for due diligence purposes. I think there's a lot of tools now that make our lives easier and associates have a little bit less grunt work to do."

Do you feel there's been positive change in the legal field when it comes to diversity?

  • "The numbers on women have changed incrementally. The numbers on other types of diversity have not changed as much. There's still room to grow, and there's more work to be done."

🎓 1 fun fact: Wollensack says she graduated from high school at 16 and college at 20, so she went from being the youngest student for most of her life to one of the oldest after switching careers.

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