What is a favorite Law School memory?
A series of memories from my first week of classes at the Law School stick out the most: my first class, Civil Procedure with Professor Baird, when he introduced us with humor and excitement to the basics of navigating statues and contracts—a skill that I’ve used nearly every day since; Elements with the Professor Sunstein whose quirky, off-the charts brilliance was an immediate inspiration and challenge—I knew I’d have to work like never before just to keep up; and Property with Professor Strahilevitz, whose poise and mastery of the material and the Socratic method in his first-ever class as a law professor inspired us to try to be as great as first-year law students.
What did you value most in your Law School professors and classmates?
The Law School community’s commitment to developing new and creative legal ideas and rigorously challenging and testing those ideas was an ethos that permeated every part of life there—it was evident in the professors’ work as researchers and teachers and in the way that students interacted with one another. That enthusiastic and unwavering commitment to this shared purpose, even when it made us uncomfortable—when we were defending our ideas under close scrutiny, for example—made the experience of being at the Law School so unique and valuable.
Is there a particular idea, skill, course, clinic, or program that you participated in while attending the Law School that has proven particularly helpful in your work?
From time to time, I’ll still look back at my notes from Professor Fischel’s Business Organizations class or Professor Baird’s bankruptcy courses to refresh myself on a concept that may arise at work but that I haven’t thought about in a while. More fundamentally, I learned from nearly every class at the Law School the importance of examining an idea from all angles and not taking anything for granted when conducting that analysis. That mindset is so important in drafting and negotiating complex contractual provisions and commercial transactions.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
I’m very lucky that my clients trust me and my colleagues to guide them through their most transformative, high-stakes transactions—deals that will define their careers and the future of their companies—and that I get to work on these matters with colleagues who are mind-blowingly intelligent and doggedly committed to working together to achieve the best outcomes for our clients. As someone who likes working on complex commercial transactions, I can’t imagine a better set-up.
Why is it important to you to support the Law School?
The faculty of the Law School originated much of the greatest American legal scholarship of the last century, and we (not only as law students, but simply as Americans) were all the beneficiaries of it. I think it’s important that a place like the Law School exists as an incubator for the next generation of great ideas and legal minds, both professors and students.
About Gregory Pessin
Gregory E. Pessin is a Partner in Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s Restructuring and Finance Department. He focuses on representing borrowers and issuers with respect to all types of financing for mergers and acquisitions and other transformative corporate transactions and on advising investors in and potential purchasers and sellers of distressed entities.
- University of Chicago Law School, JD, ’05
- Order of the Coif (The University of Chicago Law Review)
- Duke University, BA, 2001
"I’m a lifelong and (until only a few years ago) long-suffering Kansas City Royals fan, but following the team through decades of losing paid off when I was able to watch the team win its first World Series in 30 years from the stands at Citi Field here in New York in 2015."
Law School Support
Mr. Pessin is a member of the Law School’s 1902 Leadership Committee, which is a group of young alumni ambassadors who are dedicated to advancing the University of Chicago Law School and to developing the next generation of philanthropic leadership.