Throughout its storied 125-year history, Jones Day has become among the world’s most prominent law firms while also being active with extensive pro bono activity, public service and community involvement. John M. Saada Jr., a partner in the firm’s Private Equity Practice, couldn’t be more proud. Saada, appointed partner-in-charge of the Cleveland office in January, joined Jones Day as a summer associate in 1992. Since then, he’s made it a point to ensure that clients have the firm’s full resources available without regard to anything other than what is best for the client’s needs.
Saada represents private equity and venture capital funds in their formation and governance, investors in a variety of private funds and private equity and privately held companies in transactions that include venture investments, leveraged buyouts, mergers and acquisitions, exits, restructurings, joint ventures and mezzanine financings.
“When the firm established its formal Private Equity Practice more than 15 years ago, it was with an eye toward delivering the full range of services relevant to sponsors, portfolio companies and emerging companies from lawyers located around the globe,” he recalls. “Today, we have more than 100 lawyers worldwide focusing on private capital.”
Saada, who leads a team of approximately 175 lawyers, 90 Cleveland office staff and 330 firmwide staff supporting lawyers around the world, marvels at how Jones Day has grown to more than 2,500 lawyers in 42 offices on five continents.
“We’ve built our reputation by partnering with our clients and growing those relationships,” he says. “Many law firms focus on one transaction or one piece of litigation, and then move to the next big deal or case with a different client. We want to be with a client for the long term. Unlike many law firms where partners are compensated based on the clients those lawyers bring to their firms, Jones Day takes a different approach. We’re compensated for the work we do, not the work we bring in the door.”
The result is client loyalty that lasts.
“Lawyers here do not use the phrase ‘my client,’” Saada says. “This approach has served us extraordinarily well over the years. The clients we serve work primarily with Jones Day lawyers throughout the firm rather than any one individual lawyer.”
He credits the deep knowledge of many governmental agencies — including the Federal Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission and the Department of Justice — with keeping the firm at the forefront of a changing world. The firm’s Issues and Appeals Practice is one of the best in the country.
“Since the October 2011 term, we have recruited 71 former U.S. Supreme Court clerks, and many of our lawyers have had oral arguments before the Supreme Court,” Saada says. “This kind of depth allows us to craft appellate strategy at the trial stage, which along with our extensive litigation depth, is a great differentiator.”
Although Jones Day is constantly evolving, it’s never lost sight of the fact it launched here in 1893.
“Cleveland is where we began,” Saada says. “There is an extraordinary heritage of community involvement that both our lawyers and staff embrace today.
“We’re so well-recognized here, and many of the firm’s clients trace their roots to our city — either because they started here or our Cleveland lawyers developed relationships with those clients and helped them grow internationally. Jones Day’s commitment to the city is well-known and well-earned. Cleveland is very, very important to the success of our entire firm.”