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Christopher Carlisle
Christopher Carlisle, Lathrop GPM

The POWER 30: Christopher Carlisle

Christopher Carlisle’s mergers and acquisition clients tend to be entrepreneurs, mainly in the lower middle market, which means annual revenue of $10 million to $500 million. “We help them buy and sell businesses,” which frequently tend to be software, technology and IP.

He’s no longer intimidated by seven figures or more on the table. “It doesn’t faze me anymore, it’s fun.”

Carlisle got his start in technology right about the time of the 1999-2000 tech crash. A lot of tech companies became available to purchase at good prices, Carlisle said, and Lawson was a tried and true company based in St. Paul. In 2011, Lawson was acquired by Infor for $2 billion, but before that it acquired over a dozen privately held software companies.

Carlisle continued to work with entrepreneurs. “We help them along their life cycle, get started, form the company, buy companies, and we help them ‘exit,’ as we say,” Carlisle said.

His core expertise, the “actual lawyering,” is M&A and securities. Carlisle said.

“Because financing is so critical, that’s how I become kind of outside general counsel. I try to help them navigate working with a large law firm in a cost effective and practical way.”

Carlisle’s clients vary in M&A savvy. “The experience level that my clients have with  M&A and finance varies widely. Some are very sophisticated, if not, I educate them, connect them with other lawyers they need, [help them] be more proactive about what they need.”

Lathrop GPM’s website puts it this way, “Chris often takes an “outside general counsel” approach with his clients – he acts as the quarterback for executives and managers on all their legal needs, providing them with a single point of contact and accountability for their projects with the firm.”

But it always depends on the client. “How you advise depends varies greatly, sometimes a client needs more than others. Sometimes they don’t know what they need.”