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Thomas A. Cole

Thomas A. Cole

Sidley Austin LLP

Chicago, IL, USA


Tom Cole is a partner in Sidley’s Chicago office. He joined the firm upon graduation from The University of Chicago Law School in 1975 and became a partner in 1981. For 15 years ended in April 2013, he served as chair of the firm’s Executive Committee, the committee that exercises general authority over the affairs of the firm. In April 2014, he stepped down as a member of the Executive Committee (on which he had served since 1987) and as a member of the firm's Management Committee (on which he had served since 1988).  Throughout his tenure in firm leadership (and afterward), he has maintained a robust practice on behalf of clients.

Mr. Cole focuses his practice on public company mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. Mr. Cole is consistently recognized by Chambers USA and Chambers Global, including in their most recent editions. In 2001, Mr. Cole was recognized by Chambers Global as one of the 26 U.S. lawyers included in its list of the “Global 100 Lawyers”—“lawyers who stand out from their colleagues and are recognized internationally.” He was designated an M&A “Dealmaker of the Year” for 2007 by The American Lawyer. He was selected for BTI Consulting’s “Client Service All-Star” team in 2008, 2011 and 2014. In 2010 and 2013, he was named to “The Directorship 100,” the NACD’s list of “the most influential people in the boardroom community.”

Corporate governance assignments have included advising public company boards and their standing and special committees on a variety of subjects, including shareholder activism and proxy contests. For the five years ended 1998 and beginning again in 2013, he has taught the seminar on corporate governance at The University of Chicago Law School. Mr. Cole taught the same seminar at Harvard Law School during the Spring Semester of 2015.

He has been involved in approximately 60 announced public company mergers, spin-offs and takeover defenses.

Mr. Cole has been active in many civic, charitable and professional organizations.  He is currently a member of the Board of Trustees of The University of Chicago.  He served as Chairman of the Boards of Northwestern Memorial Healthcare and Hospital.  He is a former co-chair of the Tulane Corporate Law Institute and former chair of Northwestern’s Garrett Corporate and Securities Law Institute.

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