In November 2021, Brian Lidji and Kyle Hooper joined our Dallas office as partners in the Corporate & Securities practice. Recently, Kyle spoke with The Texas Lawbook about his and Brian’s decision to join Jackson Walker, memorable deals they worked on together, emerging trends in the middle market, and what keeps his clients up at night.
The Lawbook: Why did you decide to merge your law practice with Jackson Walker?
Kyle Hooper: We decided to join Jackson Walker for a number of reasons. First, we had several mutual clients [for which] we worked jointly with Jackson Walker on transactions for those clients. That provided the opportunity to see the firm’s exceptional attorneys. In that process, we also observed that Jackson Walker’s culture was very similar to ours, which we found surprising for a larger firm.
Second, our merger and acquisition practice had really taken off in 2021, and it was becoming evident that we needed to move our practice to a larger platform to properly and efficiently serve our expanding client base.
Further, as that client base was expanding, those clients had other legal needs in specialty areas we just couldn’t serve, so we wanted to have a platform to fully take care of our clients in one firm.
Finally, with the evolution of the practice of law and the increase in our workload, the administrative demands were beginning to take more of our time. We simply decided that it was in our clients’ best interests as well as ours to join a law firm with the reputation and legal strength of Jackson Walker.
The Lawbook: What were the highlights of running your own law firm? Two or three deals stand out?
Kyle Hooper: Clearly, we enjoyed the entrepreneurial aspect of running our own law firm. However, with the growing client demands and the increasing administrative burdens, the entrepreneurial feel was diminishing. That is what attracted us to Jackson Walker. [Although] they are a large firm, it has a great entrepreneurial feel.
One of the other highlights was the longstanding client relationships that are developed at a smaller firm. We have clients that have been with us for decades, and it is great getting to build those relationships from their business’ formation to maturity and then to an exit event. Many of those client relationships turned into great personal friendships.
A few deals at Lidji & Hooper have really stood out over the years:
(1) the Glazers/Southern Joint Venture because it involved bringing together two great companies in a dynamic industry;
(2) the Hotels.com/Getaroom.com sale transactions because it involved multiple transactions with a long-standing client that also bridged pre-dot.com technology (hotel reservations via a 1-800 telephone platform to the modern dot.com online travel business);
(3) Skinceuticals sale to L’Oréal because of the sheer speed of closing a large transaction from start to finish in less than a month.
The Lawbook: What are one or two of the most interesting deals you have handled recently?
Kyle Hooper: One of our most recent and interesting deals was a transaction between Briggs/Freeman Real Estate Brokerage and Peerage Realty which we closed right before we moved over to Jackson Walker. This transaction was significant for us as it reflected another successful exit event for a long-standing client that has such a great reputation in the Dallas residential real estate brokerage market, as well as marking the last major transaction our prior firm closed prior to joining Jackson Walker.
The Lawbook: What are the emerging trends or key developments in the middle market?
Kyle Hooper: With pending tax law changes, we are seeing a lot of transaction activity trying to take advantage of existing favorable tax laws before those tax laws change and create a larger tax burden on businesses and their owners. We have worked with Jackson Walker’s tax lawyers for many years and are excited to have greater access to their expertise.
The Lawbook: What is keeping your clients up at night?
Kyle Hooper: Our clients are concerned about likely tax law changes and the impact on their businesses and them personally, regulatory changes, the impact of inflation, supply chain delays and shortages, the ability to hire qualified employees, and data privacy and data security.
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Kyle Hooper represents clients in mergers, acquisitions, and divestitures, and he also provides guidance on corporate, partnership, and individual taxation issues at both the federal and state levels. Kyle’s general corporate practice includes counseling companies on issues relating to business structuring, corporate governance, contracts, and financings. Additionally, Kyle assists clients in the formation and growth of alternative business entities such as limited partnerships, limited liability companies, and S-corporations.
Kyle has been recognized as a “Rising Star” in Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers – Rising Stars and was recently recognized as a 2021 Texas Super Lawyer by Thomson Reuters and Texas Monthly.