Williams & Connolly has extensive experience negotiating complex agreements, both for companies and individuals. Frequently we are called upon to construct unique, “one-off” agreements that require multi-disciplinary analysis. These range from creating joint ventures to “inventing” new forms of asset securitizations to separating intertwined family-held assets. For example, we drafted the first asset financing agreements utilizing automobile leases as security. Other examples include our negotiation of a tax-efficient unwind of a multi-billion dollar family empire as part of the “divorce” of the founder’s siblings, as well as the redemption (on behalf of one sibling) of closely-held interests owned by another sibling in a large multi-national family-owned mining business.
We also negotiate and draft agreements relating to the merger, sale or purchase of businesses, frequently representing sellers of privately-owned businesses, including sales to larger public companies. These include a number of enterprises in the public affairs and communications space, food services and travel advisors. Often these agreements require the parallel negotiation on behalf of the sellers of executive employment or personal service agreements that are tied to the business transaction.
More generally, we have extensive experience in drafting executive employment agreements and personal service contracts. As a consequence, we also have substantial experience in handling the termination of senior executives, including negotiating severance and other post-employment agreements – from both the employer and the employee perspective. Whether the executive is negotiating his or her employment or severance the negotiations often must be done very quickly, requiring the rapid assimilation of relevant knowledge about the employer’s compensation system and comparable employment/severance arrangements.
Finally, the firm also drafts and negotiates complex settlement agreements related to our litigation practice. Often these settlements involve negotiations as to future conduct, such as the licensing of intellectual property or imposition of various restrictive covenants on future activities. They also are tax-sensitive. As with our other transactional practice areas, the firm’s broad litigation experience and the close interaction of our litigators and transactional and tax attorneys makes for a much more sophisticated approach to post-litigation agreements.