Daniel H. Weintraub ’97: Chief Administrative and Legal Officer, Managing Director, Audax Group. Top Performer:Graduated first in his class at BC Law. Globe Trotter Has visited 57 countries; for a place to count, he must eat a meal there. Leadership Advice: Never be afraid to hire the best and the brightest. Ice Cream Topping: As a law firm lawyer, represented Ben & Jerry’s and Skinny Cow Ice Cream in acquisitions.
“One of my frustrations is that law firms are increasingly forcing younger lawyers to specialize, and I really think the best lawyers are generalists,” says Daniel H. Weintraub ’97, chief administrative and legal officer at Audax Group, a Boston-based alternative asset management firm with operations in New York and San Francisco.
After nearly eight years in the corporate department at Ropes & Gray, Weintraub’s preference for the multifaceted challenges of a general counsel’s role prompted his move to Audax in 2006.
Audax, headquartered on the twenty-fifth floor of a Prudential Center office tower, where floor-to-ceiling windows frame views from the Charles River to Boston Harbor, has $38 billion in assets under management across its private equity and private debt business. Its private equity business holds more than sixty North American middle-market companies in portfolio—not household names, Weintraub explains, but businesses that impact people’s lives across different sectors of the economy.
“You can never predict what will happen in a day,” says Weintraub, who thrives on unpredictability and variety. “If you look at our portfolio and the types of companies that we own, from healthcare to aviation parts and cloud-based customer-engagement platforms, there’s no shortage of legal questions that you need to answer.”
Weintraub and the in-house team of fifteen lawyers collaborate closely with the firm’s different business units, working with private equity deal teams to close more than 100 acquisitions a year, helping oversee compliance firm-wide, and supporting financing for the private debt and private equity business.
Aside from his involvement in the 1,400-plus private equity acquisitions the firm has closed during his tenure, Weintraub sees his major contributions as building a large, talented in-house legal team; streamlining how the firm works with outside counsel on transactions; and developing a robust secondment program for young lawyers.
To date, some fifty lawyers have participated in the Audax secondment program that provides a six-month immersion in every aspect of in-house legal work. A key takeaway, says Weintraub, is the importance of being a generalist: “Because when you’re called to make a business judgment, understanding different areas of the law and evaluating risks, both from a legal and a business perspective, requires you to appreciate the big picture.” Weintraub also showed his commitment to supporting young lawyers by serving several years on BC Law’s Law Day Committee before passing his torch to Audax colleague Elizabeth Pendergast ’11.
Weintraub learned the art of mentoring by example from US District Court Judge Mark L. Wolf, for whom he clerked for a year straight out of law school. While there, Weintraub experienced a high-profile foray into criminal law in the Whitey Bulger case and is named in the sentencing opinion for Stephen “the Rifleman” Flemmi. “I very much view our secondment program as an extension of my clerkship with the judge,” says Weintraub, who in 2019 won the American Lawyer Industry Award for his mentoring. “The most rewarding part of being in general counsel is building a team of spectacular lawyers and seeing them succeed.”