Commercial Finance partner Mark Ramsey was featured in a Q&A with Thomson Reuters Practical Law on his current work and key legal developments in commercial finance.
Mark answered questions on the biggest challenge facing commercial finance attorneys, how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted commercial finance, what strategies he uses to generate business and maintain clients. He also answered more personal questions, including about his favorite book and first job, what he would like to be other than an attorney, and the best piece of career advice he has received.
"Keep pushing your supervisors out of the way," Mark said about the best career advice he has received. "As a mild-mannered Midwesterner, it was not necessarily in my character to challenge my superiors, but in the legal field this is how you gain experience and grow. It also effectively shows your supervisors that you care about the matters on which you are working."
On recent legal or market developments in commercial finance, Mark said that there has been a growth in direct lending in the middle market and private equity sponsors are finding it easier and quicker to close transactions by going to a direct lender.
On COVID-19's impact on commercial finance, Mark explained that mergers and acquisitions deals have decreased, while amendment and waiver activity has increased with borrowers seeking to take advantage of the Payment Protection Program and Main Street Lending Program, or needing other types of relief, such as bankruptcy protection or consensual restructuring.
The biggest challenge facing commercial finance attorneys, according to Mark, is clients' expectations that their attorneys know what the legal and market trends are all the time. Mark said it is more important to utilize technology to create tools that can track market changes.
"Clients expect a lot, and if you deliver great work and are always available to them, you will quickly build a relationship that will endure as those clients rise in their organizations or move on to new opportunities," Mark said. "At the end of the day, clients almost always choose their attorneys based on a solid relationship."
When asked what else he would want to be if he weren't an attorney, Mark said he would try to learn as many languages as possible. He is currently fluent in Spanish, Italian, Catalan, Portuguese and French and is learning Russian, Greek and Finnish.
On his favorite book, Mark said: "A Prayer for Owen Meany" by John Irving is hands down my favorite book. It speaks to so many fundamental elements of the human condition, and John Irving has a talent for the absurd and outlandish that sets his work apart.