Michael Zalay has been an important resource for business leaders spanning nearly every industry, including many of the top restauranteurs in Chicago. These key figures regularly turn to Zalay to handle their legal matters.
And Zalay delivers the results they need.
While Zalay's practice focuses primarily on mergers and acquisitions and contractual business matters, it also touches upon real estate, securities, employment, and intellectual property. This means Zalay has become a true, well-rounded counselor to his many clients.
Those who nominated Zalay say his clients look to him as a friend and advisor, someone whom they can trust to put the needs of their businesses first. They also say that Zalay is always aware of the legal costs his clients face and focuses on the tight margins of their businesses as he plans his legal strategies. Zalay's goal? To provide maximum value.
Sarah Quinn, an attorney with Husch Blackwell, said when she worked with Zalay, this talented lawyer was closing deals for hospitality clients every day. Zalay also worked on complicated management and partnership agreements between restaurants and hotels, tackled acquisitions and structured investor plans.
"Mike enables some of the most well-known restauranteurs in Chicago to grow their thriving businesses," Quinn said. "The success of these clients is known by any Chicago foodie."
As a bonus? Zalay has been described by his peers as a professional negotiator.
"Mike understands the issues and arguments and is well-prepared before he picks up the phone," said Harlan Kahn, a principal at Much Shelist. "He is able to think on his feet and turn on a dime in conversation with opposing counsel. He understands the pace of a contract negotiations. He is able to set himself up for follow-up discussions to achieve the objective he had in the first place."
It's clear, too, how much his firm values Zalay. When the COVID-19 crisis hit the US in March, Much formed a task force to take on all matters related to the pandemic. Zalay was appointed to the task force despite being one of the busiest lawyers at the firm. Not only has Zalay kept up with his workload, he has emerged as a leader. He is an expert on PPP loans, follows legislation and regulatory updates in real time, and summarizes the information for his clients so they know how their businesses will be affected.
Zach Field, owner of Field Artist Management in Los Angeles, Calif., said Zalay has become his go-to legal representative. He's worked with Zalay since 2015, when Zalay helped Field establish his own talent management firm.
"Over the course of my 20-year career, rarely do you come across an attorney who impresses to such a degree that at the conclusion of a matter, the opposing team often hires him for future legal work," Field said. "Michael just has this genuine lasting effect on every situation and individual he's involved with. Always resourceful and undeniably reasonable, his knack for soothing impulsiveness while instilling an expedient commonsensical path forward is vital to each and every outcome.”