Hot 100: Dan Oates, Kirkland & Ellis

Having qualified as a lawyer in 2004, Dan Oates’ (scroll down for video interview) rise in the legal world has been meteoric.


Making the move from Slaughter and May, where he trained, to US private equity powerhouse Kirkland & Ellis in 2006, Oates had only four years to wait before making partner. And he has not looked back since.

As the European contact for US-headquartered private equity house Francisco Partners, Oates has acted on numerous deals for the client, solidifying the relationship this year with a spell spent in-house.

“I had some initial conversations with the Francisco Partners guys about how they would feel about me going over to build the relationship,” he recalls. “It’s a young shop with a bunch of guys I’d done quite a lot of work for over the past year or two.

“It’s all well and good to sit in the Gherkin [where Kirkland is based], but to be in their office you learn a whole lot more. We as lawyers sometimes see the actual transactional element of a private equity deal as the most important because that’s the bit we’re involved in, but actually in the grander scheme the earlier part of the transaction, when you’re seeing if it’s viable, is the most important part for the sponsors.”

Oates has been kept very busy on the transactional side, advising Francisco Partners on a range of deals over the past 18 months such as the €90m (£74.4m) carve-out acquisition of B2B mobile-marketing business Buongiorno, the £103m take-private of Kewill, the disposal of the aerospace division of C-MAC MicroTechnology Group to API Technologies and the acquisitions of Semi Scenic UK, the Masternaut Group and ACT750 SAS.