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Drinks With The Deal: Fried Frank’s Epstein on Lessons Learned From Early Banking Stint

Published: December 20th, 2023
Steve Epstein, the co-head of M&A and PE at Fried Frank, discusses his time as a junior banker in Frank Quattrone’s tech group at Credit Suisse, his return to the law and the challenges of running a group.

Steve Epstein was an associate in the technology investment banking group at Credit Suisse Group from 2000 to 2002, but his time there was his “most impactful professional experience to date,” Epstein said on this week’s Drinks With The Deal podcast.

As a junior banker, Epstein “learned about the importance of marketing,” he said, a skill that’s become essential in large law firms and one that Epstein uses as a partner and the co-head of M&A and private equity at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, which he joined in 2010. He’ll become the firm’s managing partner on March 1.

Epstein also had the chance to observe Frank Quattrone, who ran the group at CS and went on to launch Qatalyst Partners, now an elite tech M&A boutique. Quattrone, Epstein said, “put together a culture that permeated top-down that working as a team, covering a company completely as a team, was going to lead to success. He always responded to the most junior bankers as if they were the most senior bankers. It’s important to me to treat our junior lawyers the same way.”

Epstein went to CS during the dot-com bubble, which burst in 2001. CS like many banks reduced headcount in response, and Epstein was affected in one of the rounds of layoffs.

“Most of the people I practice with have never had real failure like that. Experiencing that when my wife and I were expecting our first child, it was a tough time, it was a humbling time, but it was really important in retrospect,” he said. “As I need to make tough decisions sometimes with my partners on people’s careers, having that experience lends a perspective that’s very important.”

Check out the podcast with Steve Epstein below:

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