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2011 Legal Elite profile

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Benton Burroughs Jr.
Reed Smith LLP
Falls Church

Title:  Partner
Other legal specialties:  Securities, tax, public finance, mergers and acquisitions
Birthplace:  Washington, D.C.
Education:  Bachelor’s degree, University of Alabama; law degree, Emory University; master of laws degree (LLM) in tax, Georgetown University
Wife: Dorinda W. Burroughs
Children:  Dawn Pilleteri, 44; Todd B. Burroughs, 37
Hobbies: Tennis, golf and other sports, bridge
First job as a lawyer: U.S. Dept. of Justice, Tax Division, Honors Program
Fan of:  Washington Redskins, University of Alabama, Washington Nationals
Favorite vacation spot: Ocean Ridge, Fla.
Recently read book: “These Guys Have All the Fun” by James Miller and Tom Shales
Career mentor: Jack P. Warren, U.S. Department of Justice, Tax Division

Have opportunities for mergers and acquisitions improved since the recession?
“Not really. The biggest issue we have seen is the price between seller expectation and the new valuation models by buyers.  Many of these private market deals have earn-out components to try to bridge the gap between sellers’ expectations and buyers’ willingness to pay above market.  The deals that are getting closed are more for strategic buyers rather than financial buyers.  The second and equally important issue is the M&A market is lacking liquidity for financing such deals with financial institutions.  While they have liquidity, the terms are not very conducive to transaction closings.”

You have worked with several state pension programs. How has recent stock market volatility affected them?
“In 2008, the state pension plans had negative results from the stock market, which they have recovered by good returns in both 2009 and 2010.  One of the items that may not be very apparent in all of this is that it caused many if not all to rebalance their portfolios, and because the alternative investments in 2008 did not perform as bad in 2008 as the stock market, it required portfolios to be rebalanced and shifted some money away from nonmarketable alternatives.  However, the stock market rebound in 2009 and 2010 has helped change those allocations and a willingness to increase the allocation to nonmarket alternatives and, as a result, has created additional work for us in that practice area.”


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