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Drinks With The Deal: Simpson's Alan Klein

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Published: July 23rd, 2020
Simpson's Alan Klein discusses his stint in London in the late 1990s, his work for Microsoft and Tyco and his passion for films and books on the latest episode of the Drink With The Deal podcast.

Alan Klein has had a varied career both in and outside of the law. Klein, the co-head of M&A at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in New York, has a diverse client base that stems in part from the time he spent practicing in the firm’s London office. In his spare time, he’s both a serious collector of books and avid watcher of movies.

Klein started at Simpson in 1984 after graduating from Harvard Law School. When he became a partner on Jan. 1, 1994, Richard Beattie, then the chairman of the firm, sent him to London. At the time, U.K. and European companies were just beginning to employ financing and M&A techniques pioneered in the U.S. in the 1980s, and U.S. private equity firms were starting to invest in Europe.

The cross-border expertise Klein developed ultimately helped him land Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) and Tyco International Ltd. as clients. Klein and retired Simpson partner Charles “Casey” Cogut first worked with Microsoft over a dozen years ago on a large cross-border deal that didn’t happen but did start Klein’s relationship with the Redmond, Wash.-based tech giant. He represented Tyco on its 2012 split into three companies and has gone on to advise the surviving companies on other deals, including Tyco’s 2016 inversion transaction with Johnson Controls Inc.

Klein fell in love with films at a young age; he notes that “Annie Hall,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” “Saturday Night Fever” and the first movie in the Star Wars series were all released in 1977, the year he graduated from the Bronx High School of Science and started at Haverford College. He served on the board of directors of the Film Forum, a New York nonprofit movie theater, from 2005 to 2020 and chaired the board from 2014 to 2019.

Klein’s book collecting began with some signed first editions by the Irish Nobel laureate poet Seamus Heaney, and in addition to Heaney and Irish poet W.B. Yeats, the lawyer came to focus on works by the American modernist poets Wallace Stevens and William Carlos Williams. Both wrote poetry in their spare time; Stevens was a lawyer and executive at Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (HIG), while Williams was a practicing physician in Rutherford, N.J.

“The fact that they had professions and wrote poetry I found fascinating and very appealing,” Klein says, and as he got deeper into their work, he learned more about their long friendship, which became a central theme of his collection and one on display at a 2018 exhibition of the collection at the Grolier Club in New York.

More podcasts from The Deal are available on iTunes, Spotify and SoundCloud and on TheDeal.com.

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