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Rachel Benedict
Rachel Benedict, Dorsey & Whitney

The POWER 30: Rachel Benedict

To Rachel Benedict, the best part of a mergers and acquisitions practice is that the transactions can have a huge impact and there is an opportunity for creativity in tailoring the specific deal.

The lawyer has the opportunity to help the client to go through the process successfully, she said.

Benedict’s client list includes some big names in Minnesota companies — Xcel Energy, Land O’ Lakes and United Health Group, to name a few.  Her focus is on strategic buyers who are usually looking for businesses they can hold on to for growth, not necessarily businesses they can turn around in the short term.

She also works a lot with other health care companies. Those kinds of deals are busy right now. “Health care clients are strategic. It was active throughout the pandemic,” she said. She predicts that technology M&A also will remain busy.

Her client relationships are one of the most enjoyable things about the practice, Benedict said. Lawyers are closely involved through the merger or acquisition and come to know how the company is organized and what is its appetite for risk. Her approach is that of “cards on the table.” The parties have to be fully informed to reach a conclusion that is satisfying and beneficial to most, she said.

Being a woman lawyer in M&A, a field that at least appears to be dominated by men is a challenge and an opportunity, Benedict said. She has been practicing for 10 years and when she started there were even fewer lawyers who looked like her.

Still, she said, “I have not had many experiences where [gender] is anything directly problematic. There are just different approaches to negotiation and communication.”

But fording the professional stream is more challenging when working remotely, Benedict said.  “It’s harder to know when you should speak. You need a higher level of intentionality.”