- Northwestern University Law School, J.D., 1991
- The American University, B.A., magna cum laude, 1988
Bar & Court Admissions
- State of Illinois
Sarah M. Bernstein
Sarah’s practice encompasses the areas of business planning, general corporate and securities matters, mergers and acquisitions and secured lending. She has significant experience counseling both public and private clients in connection with strategic transactions, including asset and stock acquisitions and dispositions, mergers, joint ventures, recapitalizations, reorganizations, tender offers, going private transactions, stock-for-stock acquisitions and acquisitions of minority interests. In addition, Sarah is highly skilled in structuring and documenting complex business arrangements for her clients, such as distribution arrangements, product licenses and agreements relating to the auto manufacturer-dealership relationship. She also represents lenders in connection with secured transactions, with a focus on credit facilities secured by partnership and other investment interests.
In addition to working with a broad range of technology, manufacturing, and investment companies, Sarah has specific concentrations in the representation of financial institutions, motor vehicle manufacturers and companies involved in the renewable energy industry.
As a co-chair of the Motor Vehicle Group, Sarah represents motor vehicle manufacturers in a variety of transactions and contractual matters. Her practice in this area is concentrated in motor vehicle franchise matters, including assisting clients with the appointment of new dealers, drafting and implementing new dealer agreements and operating standards, navigating the sale of a dealership and the manufacturer’s right of first refusal, and terminating a dealership and documenting the manufacturer’s repurchase obligations. Sarah also advises clients in establishing key policies and programs such as brand standards and incentive programs.
As a partner in the Financial Institutions Group, Sarah handles corporate and securities transactions for financial institutions, specifically in bank branch dispositions and acquisitions, going private transactions for public bank holding companies, and restructuring of bank holding companies for the election of Subchapter S treatment.
Sarah also has experience assisting public ethanol companies deregister with the SEC and represents companies in the wind industry in a variety of matters.
Sarah is an active member of numerous Firm committees and is former co-chair of the Firm's Pro Bono Committee.
- Mergers and Acquisitions
Represented national company in the sale of its steel drum reconditioning business.
- Subordinated Debt
Represented hedge fund in the purchase of subordinated debt from a portfolio company
- Ethanol "Going Private" SEC Deregistration Transactions
Represented numerous ethanol production companies in going private SEC deregistration transactions, including through reverse stock splits and reclassifications.
- Hedge Fund PIPE Investments
Represented related hedge funds in numerous PIPE investments in and convertible debt financings of companies in a range of industries.
Professional Activities and Honors
- Selected, Franchise Law, Best Lawyers in America® (2016-2017)
- Recognized, Women Leaders in Pro Bono Legal Services, The Law Project (2014)
Charitable and Community Involvement
- Board of Directors, Public Interest Law Initiative (PILI)
- Board of Directors, North Lawndale Employment Network
- Client Alert: CSBS Releases New BSA/AML Compliance Tool
- Client Alert: Banks Face Continued Threat of ADA Website Accessibility Lawsuits
- Client Alert: Federal Banking Regulators Expand Banks Eligible for Extended 18-Month Examination Cycle
- Ten Things Community Bankers Need to Know About the Jobs Act
- Client Alert: Jobs Act Impacts SEC Registration
Events & Speaking Engagements
- 2013 The Entrepreneurial Thing Roundtable (Chicago, IL)
- PILI: Cultivating a Lifelong Commitment to Public Interest Law for 35 years and counting…
- 2012 American Bankers Association, "The New Deregistration Thresholds under the JOBS Act: What Community Bankers Should Know."
- #1 M&A Legal Advisor for Banks in the Midwest
- Barack Ferrazzano Recognized by U.S. News Best Law Firms 2017
- Twelve Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2017 U.S. News - Best Lawyers®
- Financial Institutions Group Mid-Year Review / BFKN #1 Nationally in M&A
- Sarah Bernstein Featured in November 2015 PILI Board Member Spotlight
- Barack Ferrazzano Recognized by U.S. News Best Law Firms 2016
- Eleven Barack Ferrazzano Attorneys Named 2016 U.S. News - Best Lawyers®
- Barack Ferrazzano Welcomes Samuel Kim to Motor Vehicle Group
- Sarah Bernstein Recognized As Leader In Pro Bono Legal Services
- Sarah Bernstein Elected Treasurer for the Public Interest Law Initiative
- Barack Ferrazzano Honored to Participate in CBF's 6th Annual Investing in Justice Campaign
- Midsize firms offer stability, flexibility to attorneys and clients