Monday, April 29, 2019 at 5:30pm - 8:30pm I Marshall's Landing I 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza #225 I Chicago, IL 60654


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fred tannenbaum


Gould & Ratner LLP

Fred Tannenbaum is a Partner at Gould & Ratner LLP. Early in his legal career, Fred Tannenbaum found himself in the center of successful deal negotiations that would transform our country’s entire telecommunications industry. His firsthand experience of getting things done for clients, even in new and uncharted territory, helped ignite his passion to support and guide corporate clients in their critical business transactions and strategies.

In the ensuing 25 years, Fred has advised clients across myriad industries in more than 500 mergers, acquisitions, divestitures and strategic alliances, and in over 250 venture capital transactions. He also serves as de facto general counsel and strategic advisor to close to 100 small and mid-sized businesses.

Fred guides boundary-pushing business transactions for middle market companies, private equity and venture capital funds, early stage emerging enterprises and privately held family businesses across the United States and throughout the world. He works at the rapid pace required today in these areas:

  • Forming businesses

  • Raising capital, both private equity and debt/financing

  • Growing through acquisitions, mergers, strategic alliances, joint ventures and licensing

  • Operating with buy-sell, employment, distribution and myriad other agreements

  • Attracting management talent through various incentive plans and executive compensation programs

  • Transferring operations through sales, redemptions, new management, partnerships, inter-generational transfers and other mechanisms

A CEO’s Lawyer and Business Confidant

Fred is called a “CEO’s lawyer” and “lawyer’s lawyer” by his business owner clients for his breakthroughs in efficiently and practically resolving business issues within a legal context. He is in awe of the power of his clients’ products, services and ideas to disrupt traditions, shift lifestyles and culture, and reimagine skylines and landscapes.

His clients appreciate the difference Fred offers: “He’s more of my business confidant than he is my lawyer … always thinking beyond the deal to the personal, debt and tax implications. I feel like I have a circle of protection around me when I’m working with Fred,” writes one client, a serial entrepreneur. Fred has helped that client – and many others like him – start, invest, operate, grow and sell businesses via private equity and venture capital.

Transactions for Manufacturing, Distribution, Technology and Telecom Companies

Fred embodies the entrepreneurial spirit of the modern Renaissance man whose counsel adds value to clients at all stages of development. Recent highlights of his practice include:

  • Advising a wireless telecom company in northern Wisconsin on all aspects of a close to $200-million deal involving the sale and leaseback of its towers

  • Counseling a tech company in Austin, Texas, that develops robotic software

  • Leading a centi-million-dollar sale of an outdoor advertising company’s operations in California, Nevada and Illinois

  • Strategizing the explosive growth of a food distribution company from a local to national behemoth

  • Representing multiple early stage companies in deals ranging up to $8 million

Fred’s big-picture strategy has helped clients thrive in and redefine more than 60 industries worldwide, including sectors such as manufacturing, distribution, food and beverage, media and entertainment, telecom, software and technology.

Business and Legal Leadership

Fred is a prominent leader in several local, national and international business, legal and charitable organizations. He serves on the boards of directors of several telecommunications and technology companies, as well as the American-Israel Chamber of Commerce. Fred is a past president and current executive committee member of Law Exchange International and he has received long-running recognition from Illinois SuperLawyers.

A frequent author and speaker on business and legal issues, Fred has written a significant business law treatise, five law review articles, several chapters on venture capital and more than 100 articles on topics of importance to investors, entrepreneurs, lawyers and family businesses.

CARE-Driven Client Ethos

Whether devising “plan B” alternatives that manage risk to keep clients’ deals on track or breaking the mold of typical one-dimensional corporate legal counsel, Fred treats clients with a standard of care he has elevated into a formal plan. The pillars of his client CARE program are:

  • Comprehensive services, collegiality and collaboration

  • Advisory and attentive services

  • Responsibility and responsiveness

  • Efficiency, experience and enthusiasm

From the perspective of one client, the CEO of an alternative energy parts manufacturer, Fred’s CARE manifests itself “as some crazy combination of Sean Connery, Oprah and the Energizer Bunny.” Further, the client notes, “Fred’s blend of deep competence and extreme empathy and 24/7 availability is unique.”

A history buff, Fred subscribes to the Churchillian maxim that the further back you look, the further you can see into the future. He uses his own experience of closing innovative and sophisticated deals to anticipate a company’s strategic direction while also addressing its ongoing problems. As one of Fred’s clients put it more succinctly, “He has been instrumental to our success.”


  • University of Wisconsin-Madison Law School, J.D., magna cum laude

  • Ohio Wesleyan University, B.A., summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Senior Class President

Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

  • Wisconsin