Martin Ruhaak
Ropes & Gray LLP
Private equity

When ambitious private equity funds in Chicago and the world take on complex investments and challenging transactions, they call on Martin Ruhaak, a partner in Ropes & Gray’s highly ranked global private equity practice. 

From Chicagoland to China, Ruhaak’s work is well known and well respected. Clients halfway around the world as well as those in Illinois, quickly discover that Ruhaak has a reputation for burning the midnight oil. Though he may not be “free at 1:00 a.m.” he can certainly “fit you in at 1:30 a.m.” 

“Marty’s first question is always, ‘how can I help?’” said Adam Klein, partner at Katten Muchin Rosenman, where Marty started his Chicago legal career.  

In a year when mergers & acquisitions activity shattered records worldwide (both by deal value and volume), Marty has been extremely busy. Nonetheless, he’s famous for sustaining a cool-headed approach to dealmaking even on compressed timeframes as short as a few days.

“Marty’s immense legal tool-kit, business acumen and unmatched work-ethic are the reasons [Partners Group’s 2019 acquisition of Blue River PetCare] went as smoothly as it did and ideally positioned our company for its next phase of growth,” said Kim Rovtar, general counsel of Blue River PetCare. “Marty has built a great track record for Chicago-based, national and international companies alike both at Katten and now Ropes.”

Marty has also proven to be a great deal leader. Not only is he personally talented but his collegial and thoughtful manner elevates the work of attorneys around him. As a result, Marty deal teams are able to efficiently and intelligently address client concerns and priorities. Klein was also quick to add that Marty often takes time to mentor younger attorneys, an important step toward strengthening the firm. 

"I've watched and admired Marty's growth as both an attorney and an individual who keenly understands and appreciates the concerns and goals of private equity firms," said Harris Eisenberg, office managing partner at Chicago's Honigman, who worked closely with Marty on behalf of Chicago's Frontenac Company on a number of transactions. "Marty has a very solid grasp of the many factors that go into executing and closing large and often challenging corporate transactions."

Marty is experienced advising on mergers and acquisitions, dispositions, leveraged buyouts, equity and debt financings, restructurings and recapitalizations. His clients include not only private equity firms but also large public companies, family offices, institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals.

He’s a member of the capital fund-raising board of Beat the Streets Chicago, a youth athletic organization devoted to serving children in Chicago's underprivileged communities, and serves as a member of the board of trustees of Eastern Illinois University. In addition, Marty volunteers as a youth sports coach at the Chicago Park District.

"Marty has built a very solid reputation in the private equity market in Chicago and, from what I see, on both coasts," said Diane Bell with Chicago's Ice Miller. "I've found that clients value his counsel because Marty understands how to put them in a position to have strong relationships with their portfolio companies. And that’s very important."