Capital Markets INDUSTRIES

Leveraging our sophisticated technical, market and legal experience to help clients effectively and efficiently manage complex transactions and get the deal done.

We represent both issuers and the world's leading investment banking firms in initial public offerings, follow-on public offerings, PIPE (private investment in public equity) placements, cross-border offerings, Rule 144A transactions and other private placements, and spin-off and carve-out transactions. Our extensive experience ranges from IPOs by emerging companies to private offerings of sophisticated debt instruments by established public companies. And our lawyers understand the unique demands of complicated securities transactions. We help our clients plan and complete the offering process effectively and efficiently, and no other firm is as well positioned to quickly grasp the subject matter and execute a deal that works from the start.


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Brian A. Johnson

Vice Chair, Corporate Practice Group

Co-Chair, Capital Markets

+1 212 937 7206 (t)


Initial Public Offerings: Bringing Order to Chaos
With legal support and careful planning by experienced advisers, an IPO can be a transformational event in a company’s lifespan. Beginning in advance of the organizational meeting, we help orchestrate the offering process to eliminate delay and inefficiency. Our intellectual property, labor and employment, regulatory and tax lawyers perform valuable due diligence and other offering-related services, eliminating the expense and delay of retaining outside counsel (who often have little or no offering experience) in these areas. Leveraging our technical, market and legal experience, we manage the public offering process for our investment banking clients from the initial planning stages through due diligence and drafting and on to a successful closing.

Follow-On Public Offerings: Complicated, Creative, Fast
Major investment banks and issuers regularly retain us in every kind of follow-on public offering, from underwritten offerings with road shows to overnight marketed or "bought" deals. We have handled offerings of numerous types of securities, including common stock, perpetual preferred stock, convertible preferred stock, convertible debentures, senior and subordinated notes, original issue discount notes, and second lien secured notes. Our experience with these securities and our sophisticated understanding of the particular requirements of different follow-on offerings allow us to effectively and efficiently represent our investment banking clients in the full range of follow-on public offerings.

Technology and Life Sciences: Understanding the Subject Matter
We represent a vast array of companies in the information technology, telecommunications, electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices industries. More than 120 of our lawyers hold scientific or technical degrees in addition to their law degrees, and many have professional experience in science and technology fields in addition to their legal experience. Because technology is a firmwide focus, we regularly work with technology and life sciences companies in virtually every area of the law.

Experience Representing Issuers: Knowing What the Issuer is Thinking
We have a comprehensive understanding of the priorities and expectations of issuers based on thousands of public and private offerings. This experience greatly benefits our investment banking clients in anticipating problems and shaping and exceeding the expectations of their issuer clients. Also, because we are continually engaged in the market for public and private offerings from both perspectives, we understand the business and financial terms that are viewed as reasonable or unreasonable at any given time. This means more time spent getting the deal done and less time wasted in seeking unreasonable, inappropriate or outdated deal terms.

Cross-Border Offerings: International Scope
WilmerHale is a recognized leader in international securities transactions, reflecting the combination of our US offerings practice and our extensive experience with cross-border securities, tax and corporate considerations. We advise US and non-US issuers, investment banks and mutual funds on public offerings, private placements and multiple stock exchange listings in the world's leading capital markets. We have handled more than 50 public offerings involving non-US listings or issuers on the London, Frankfurt, Toronto, Paris, Amsterdam, Zurich, Copenhagen, Oslo, Stockholm and Ireland stock exchanges, as well as numerous ADR and ADS listings on Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange.

Private Offerings: Initial Purchasers and Placement Agents
We represent both issuers and investment banks in all types of private offerings, including complex Rule 144A and Regulation S offerings of convertible debentures, high-yield bonds and other equity and debt securities. We are experienced in structuring and executing innovative PIPE offerings. We have managed numerous large private placements by emerging technology company clients that require significant pre-IPO financing. We collaborate with our issuer and investment bank clients on the preparation of disclosure documents, indentures and deposit, purchase and registration rights agreements. Our experience with the full range of private offerings enables us to handle complicated and time-sensitive transactions quickly and effectively.

Regulatory Issues: Avoiding the Pitfalls
We have significant experience working with the various regulatory bodies and schemes that impact securities offerings, including the SEC, FINRA, Regulation M and other broker-dealer regulatory issues, as well as state securities laws. Regulatory issues can disrupt or delay an offering and create potential liability for issuers and our investment banking clients. We help navigate the complicated, shifting regulatory requirements and work with staff attorneys at the SEC and FINRA to resolve difficult offering-related issues. Our lawyers include former senior staff members from the SEC—including former Directors of the SEC's Divisions of Corporation Finance and Enforcement—who provide a wealth of regulatory insight and practical knowledge. Our blue sky practitioners handle the chore of state securities law compliance quickly and efficiently. Our working understanding of the regulatory agencies is critical to the offering process and an invaluable aid to getting offerings done.

Public Offering Highlights

We have wide-ranging experience representing emerging companies, industry leaders and major investment banks in public offerings of equity and debt securities in US and international markets. These offerings are frequently complex and time-sensitive, and demand sophisticated counsel for successful execution. We have led the eastern US in handling IPOs—as both issuer and underwriter counsel—over the past 20 years. In 2014, we handled more than 50 public offerings and Rule 144A placements raising approximately $13 billion, for leading companies in life sciences, technology, financial services, communications and other industries. Since 2004, we have served as counsel in nearly 500 public offerings and Rule 144A placements raising more than $150 billion.

Select highlights include:

  • Representing Agios Pharmaceuticals, Demandware, Endurance International, Ocular Therapeutix, PTC Therapeutics, Spark Therapeutics, Summit Therapeutics and WhiteWave Foods in initial public offerings
  • Representing the underwriters in the initial public offerings of ChannelAdvisor, HubSpot, Imprivata, MacroGenics and ProQR Therapeutics
  • Representing Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Activision Blizzard, Epizyme, Intercept Pharmaceuticals, Karyopharm Therapeutics, Ophthotech, Sonus Networks and Tetraphase Pharmaceuticals in follow-on public offerings
  • Representing Akamai Technologies, Cimpress, The Medicines Company, Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Red Hat and WEX in Rule 144A placements
  • Representing Analog Devices, Discovery Communications, Hasbro, Staples, State Street and Thermo Fisher Scientific in public offerings of senior notes

Publications & News


July 1, 2015

WilmerHale Named a Leading National Firm in the United States by The Legal 500

The Legal 500 United States has released its annual rankings, selecting WilmerHale as one of the preeminent law firms in the country.

March 27, 2015

2015 Corporate Reports

WilmerHale's annual IPO, Venture Capital and M&A Reports offer insights into market conditions and provide comprehensive statistics and analysis that are hard to find elsewhere.

March 27, 2015

2015 IPO Report

Our 2015 IPO Report offers a detailed analysis of, and outlook for, the IPO market. The report features regional breakdowns, useful IPO market metrics, an update on the rates of adoption of various elements of JOBS Act relief available to emerging growth companies, and helpful tips on how to keep your directed share program company-friendly.

May 14, 2014

WilmerHale Named Among America’s Top Corporate Law Firms

WilmerHale has been named to NYSE Governance Services and FTI Consulting’s “America’s Top Corporate Law Firms,” a comprehensive ranking of the top 25 firms in the nation.

May 6, 2014

2014 Corporate Reports

WilmerHale’s annual IPO, Venture Capital and M&A Reports provide comprehensive statistics and analysis that are hard to find elsewhere.

December 20, 2013

WilmerHale Advises Yandex in its $600 Million Offering of Convertible Notes

November 1, 2013

WilmerHale Among U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” and Again Named International Arbitration “Law Firm of the Year”

The 2014 edition of the U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” list names WilmerHale as “Law Firm of the Year” in International Arbitration—this is the second consecutive year that the firm has won this honor—and honors WilmerHale as a first-tier law firm in 27 national and 60 metro-area rankings.

February 21, 2013

New Edition Published of Initial Public Offerings: A Practical Guide to Going Public

WilmerHale and Practising Law Institute (PLI) announce the release of the Second Edition of Initial Public Offerings: A Practical Guide to Going Public

February 19, 2013

Six WilmerHale Attorneys Named by Best Lawyers as “Lawyer of the Year” in 2013

February 1, 2012

When Should I Incorporate My Bioscience Startup?

An article by Joshua Fox, published on NYC Tech Connect and the EIR for NYC's blog.