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Sidley Snags Cooley Private Equity Team in Century City

Sidley Austin

(Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)

Sidley Austin has picked up a pair of private equity partners from Cooley in Los Angeles, with more expected to join them.

Longtime Cooley partner Mehdi Khodadad, along with colleague Joshua DuClos, have joined Sidley Austin in its Century City office.

The two belong to a larger team of partners and associates from Cooley that are poised to join Sidley later this week, said Brian Fahrney, global co-leader of Sidley's M&A and private equity practice. Fahrney declined to give specifics as to the names or number of attorneys making the jump.

Over the years, Khodadad has built a practice representing leading technology and life sciences companies and their venture capital and private equity sponsors. He also works with investors and entrepreneurs on a wide array of transactions, including private and public financings, corporate restructurings, mergers and acquisitions, and leveraged buy-outs.

"We have known of him sort of reputationally in the market and he just has the highest level reputation," Fahrney said of Khodadad, who joined Cooley in 2004.

He advised Boston-based Paratek Pharmaceuticals on its reverse IPO with Transcept Pharmaceuticals that saw him named Dealmaker of the Year by The American Lawyer in 2015.

But his major client is private equity investment firm Clearlake Capital Group, which he's advised—along with its affiliates—on numerous transactions over the years.

Most recently he counseled Clearlake and its subsidiary Perforce Software on separate acquisitions involving mobile testing platform Perfecto Mobile and Meek’s Lumber Co. In November he advised Clearlake on its purchase of symplr from Pamlico Capital and The CapStreet Group.

“Mehdi has been a trusted adviser to Clearlake over the years and we congratulate him on this move to Sidley,” said Behdad Eghbali, managing partner and co-founder of Clearlake. “I am excited by the opportunity to continue to grow our relationship with Mehdi and Sidley.”

"We know that he has done a great job servicing Clearlake as a trusted adviser," Fahrney said.

DuClos, a former associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore and Kirkland & Ellis, joined Cooley in 2014 before making partner earlier this year.

DuClos and Khodadad were not immediately available to comment on their move. The pair worked with Divya Bala and Sabina Lippman of global legal recruitment firm Lippman Jungers in their move over to Sidley.

Cooley had no immediate comment on the departures.

The two are just the latest private equity hires in recent months for Sidley Austin, which last year saw its gross revenue jump 9 percent to $2.2 billion and profits per equity partner increase nearly 13 percent to $2.55 million.

"This is a very intentional push by the firm to become a major player in private equity," Fahrney said.

In the last few years, Sidley has brought on top private equity rainmakers in London and California from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; in Boston from Latham & Watkins; and in Munich from Kirkland & Ellis. It's also recently added several high-profile partners in New York.

In October Sidley added private equity rainmakers Adam Weinstein and Tony Feuerstein in New York from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. It also recently added Davis Polk & Wardwell partner John Butler to its M&A and private equity practice, as well as Clifford Chance partner Steven Kolyer to its global finance practice.

Fahrney said there are several moves in the pipeline, vowing that the firm is "going to move aggressively and, in particular, in New York."

"It’s all part of a plan, which is to ramp up and become a major player in private equity both in the U.S. and elsewhere," he said.