ETA/Search Funds

Better Upside Happens when your legal partner brings the same efficiency you do

You’re ready to be a CEO. You need a legal partner to help get you there. At HMB, our Entrepreneur Through Acquisition (ETA)/Search Fund Team is ready to stand side-by-side with you during this process.

Sponsor. Search. Acquisition. Operation. Exit. We’ve climbed this mountain many times and are ready to take you to the summit.

Your journey is daunting and you need the right partners and connections along the way. HMB is well respected as a leader in the ETA/Search community. We have breadth of experience and depth of relationships with sponsors, searchers, sellers and brokers.


At HMB, we stand apart from other law firms by subscribing to a different philosophy of legal practice. We eschew the classic “I” shaped lawyer model with expertise that’s an inch wide and a mile deep because that model doesn’t suit today’s searcher. Instead, we embrace the client’s true need for a lawyer who is “a mile wide and a mile deep. 

The classic law firm model doesn’t suit today’s searcher. The complexities and challenges you’ll face from raising capital to executing a search, completing an acquisition and operating your business are vast and ever-changing—and your legal team should be steady, constant. In addition to developing specialized subject matter expertise over years of practice, HMB’s ETA/Search Fund attorneys began their careers at HMB honing their craft in a multi-practice cross-discipline training program designed specifically to teach them the tools of trade with an emphasis on perspective – from the client to opposing counsel to the business party across the table and the third parties involved in the transaction. 


This style has important implications for our relationship with you. We see all sides of the deal and we counsel our clients with the full 360° perspective that comes with our unique brand of legal practice, which is epitomized by our ETA/search funds teams. As opposed to those classic “I” shaped lawyers, our clients benefit from a fuller perspective yielding greater efficiency. After all, you’re in business to find and extract efficiencies, should you expect the same from your trusted legal partners? It means that our work doesn’t end when money changes hands – it means that’s just when our work is really beginning. We fully expect that our ETA/search fund clients will desire to completely integrate our team into their process even during your search and post-acquisition operation. 

Areas of Focus

  • Equity financing, including entity formation and structure, sponsor negotiations and capital arrangements 
  • Acquisitions, including follow-on acquisitions 
  • Growth and debt financing 
  • Exit transactions 
  • Day-to-day outside general counsel 
  • Commercial negotiations and transactions 
  • Corporate governance and shareholder/investor engagement 
  • Special counsel matters and fiduciary counsel 
  • Executive compensation and employment matters 
  • Strategic partnerships, joint ventures and alliances 
  • Non-disclosure agreements and broker/investment banker contracts 
  • Licensing and technology transactions, SaaS agreements and other intellectual property matters 

To discuss your next opportunity, contact a member of our team.

A Man dressed in a black business suit and tie.
Brian H. AxelradPartner | Board of Directors
Brett Winterstein - a man in a business suit, smiling at the camera
Brett M. WintersteinChair | Business and Finance Group
500 West Madison Suite 3700
Chicago IL 60661

Phone: 312-606-3200 Fax: 312-606-3232
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