- December 1, 2017
Holland & Knight LLP
Title: Partner and deputy section leader of the business law section
Other legal specialties: Mergers and acquisitions, venture capital financings, emerging growth companies.
Birthplace: New Jersey
Education: Bachelor’s degree (cum laude), Rutgers University; law degree (cum laude), University of Pennsylvania Law School
Spouse: Jo Ellen Wechselblatt
Children: Jacob Wechselblatt
Hobbies or pastimes: Poker; watching my son’s travel baseball teams
First job as a lawyer: I was a litigator at two large Northeastern law firms before I became a business lawyer in 1997.
Fan of: New York Yankees. Unfortunately, they are the only team I root for that ever wins.
Favorite vacation spot: Any beach (I’ve been to Costa Rica, Playa del Carmen and Cancun in the last 18 months).
Recently read books: “The Pumpkin Plan” (a business book focusing on how to grow large clients) and “You Only Have To Be Right Once” (short individual stories about tech billionaires)
Career mentor: My soon-to-be retiring partner, Bill Mutryn. Bill is the godfather of government contracting M&A transactions, a great leader of people and an even better person.
Is merger and acquisition activity increasing in Virginia? The M&A market has been extremely active due to low interest rates (resulting in a lower cost of capital) and the amount of private equity currently available. Government contracting M&A continues to be robust for a number of additional reasons. For example, many contractors grow quickly by winning small-business set-asides but then sell in the $50 million to $100 million range when they begin to have a harder time competing for larger contracts.
How can the legal environment for business in Virginia be improved? Virginia does not highly regulate the industries that make up the bulk of my practice — tech and government contracting. Higher regulation inevitably leads to higher compliance costs, and every dollar spent on compliance is a dollar that is not spent on research and development and additional personnel. I think the commonwealth currently does a great job balancing the need for regulation to protect its citizens against regulations that increase business costs.