Luke Bergstrom, an M&A partner at Latham & Watkins LLP in San Francisco and Silicon Valley, is a cocktail aficionado, a passion he incorporates into his practice. Every year, he tells David Marcus in the latest edition of Drinks With The Deal, he makes a batch of classic cocktails, ages them in American oak barrels with medium toast, bottles the cocktails after a few months of aging, and sends them to clients.
“It’s a labor of love, and it certainly is a way to say thank you to people who have paid us an awful lot of money over the prior year. It is a nice way to connect,” said Bergstrom, who this year advised Intuit Inc. (INTU) on its pending $7.1 billion agreement to buy Credit Karma Inc. from Silver Lake Partners LP and Aimmune Therapeutics Inc. on its sale of an 84% stake to Nestlé SA for $2.6 billion, a deal that closed Oct. 14.
Bergstrom asks bartenders for recipes and studies how they run their operations. His favorite bar in San Francisco is Pacific Cocktail Haven, which Forbes recently named the best bar in America. Not only are the drinks phenomenal, according to Bergstrom: “The whole staff reminds me every time I go in there of what great customer service is about. You can take a lesson in our business from other service businesses and how people treat their clients.”
Bergstrom has management responsibilities of his own as the global vice chair of Latham’s M&A practice and technology industry groups, a subject he discusses on the podcast. The firm’s approach to business development, he said, is to encourage partners to “hunt in packs” on the theory that the more connections between firm and client, the more the client will call on the firm for various kinds of work.