Jesse H. Ruiz is a partner in the firm's Corporate and Securities Group and Co-Chair of the firm's Education Industry Group. For over 18 years, Jesse has focused his practice on business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments, equity and debt offerings, financings, the purchase and sale of assets from bankruptcy estates, and a variety of commercial transactions. Drawing on his experience in business, management consulting, and his work in the public sector, Jesse also counsels public and privately-held companies and entrepreneurs on strategic initiatives and transactions. Jesse also counsels clients on corporate finance issues; negotiation of consulting and other commercial agreements; reorganizations; corporate compliance; corporate governance issues; employment matters; and the formation of business entities in the United States, Latin America and Europe.
Additionally, Jesse serves as the relationship partner for several major firm clients and supervises and manages all aspects of the firm’s legal services, including those in class action litigation, contract, corporate, compliance, customs & trade, environmental, labor & employment, intellectual property, land use & zoning, litigation, real estate and regulatory matters.
In 2011, the Walmart Legal Department awarded Jesse its inaugural Walmart Legal Spark Award for “outstanding client and community service and dedication to diversity in the legal profession."
Since 2006, Jesse has served as a member of the board of directors of Commonwealth Edison, an Exelon Company.
Acquisitions and Divestitures. Jesse has represented public and private acquirers and sellers, and employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) trustees, in a range of transactions across a variety of industries, including public utilities, manufacturing, technology, publishing, finance and consulting.
Jesse has also served as lead counsel in a number of international transactions, including counseling a Canadian client on the leveraged buyout of a dedicated Web hosting business in the United States; serving as U.S. counsel to an Indian company in the sale of its Mumbai-based market research business to a British buyer in London; and representing an Australian company in the sale of one of its subsidiaries, one of North America’s largest welded tube companies, to one of the largest integrated steel producers in the United States.
Other representative transactions include:
The $1.4 billion merger of a public utility holding company with another public utility holding company. The transaction involved numerous state and federal regulatory issues and filings.
Sale of an agricultural equipment manufacturing business to a public company.
Represent a consulting firm in the purchase of an information technology assets from the bankruptcy estate of another consulting firm.
Represent an Employee Stock Ownership Plan and Trust in its purchase of all the outstanding stock of a food and beverage distribution company.
Represent the shareholders of an investment company in the sale of all their shares to a bank holding company.
Sale of an Australian-owned mining equipment manufacturing business to a U.S. buyer.
Sale of all the assets of a consulting industry publishing company, and producer of tradeshows, to a large national publishing company.
Sale of an intermodal transportation business to a private equity fund.
Legislative Legal Counsel. Jesse is legal counsel to the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus and the Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation. In 2003, and again in 2009, he received the Foundation’s Leadership Award for providing legal counsel to both the Foundation and the Caucus, and assisting in the founding of both organizations.
Education Advocacy. In May 2011, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Jesse the Vice President of the Chicago Board of Education. The Board oversees the operations of the Chicago Public Schools, the third largest school district in the nation, with approximately 400,000 students and a budget of almost $6 billion. Jesse served as the interim CEO of the Chicago Public School System from April through July of 2015.
U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan appointed Jesse to serve on the U.S. Department of Education Equity and Excellence Commission from February 2011 to February 2013.
The two appointments are the latest in a career of involvement in public education for Jesse.
Prior to accepting the Mayor’s appointment to the Chicago Board of Education, Jesse served as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education from September 2004 to May 2011. The Illinois State Board of Education oversees the operation of the state’s school system for 2.1 million students in grades Pre-K-12, and administers an $11 billion annual budget. He had also previously served on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission.
Community and Other Activities. In August 2013, Jesse was appointed by the president of the ABA to the Commission on Hispanic Legal Rights and Responsibilities, an historic commission that aims to ensure that the voices of the Latino community across this nation are heard.
He is past president of the Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois and Past Chairman of the Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois. He is also Past Chairman of the Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms. He has taught corporate law as an Adjunct Professor of Corporate Law at John Marshall Law School. He also serves on several other civic and charitable boards and committees.
Awards and Honors. At the Hispanic National Bar Association's annual convention in September 2014, Jesse was named the Latino Lawyer of the year by the HNBA. In April 2012, Jesse, along with his wife, received the Barristers Philanthropic Award from Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth for his work in education advocacy and youth mentoring.
In March 2007, El Valor, one of the country’s leading nonprofits serving the Hispanic Community, awarded Jesse their Education Excellence Award for his work to open doors for educational opportunities for everyone.
In September 2005, he was selected by Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White to receive his Education Award, honoring his commitment to promoting leadership in the Hispanic community and the City of Chicago and as an individual who contributes to improving the quality of life of all Latinos in Illinois.
He also received the Chicago Bar Association’s 2005 Vanguard Award as a Chicago-area lawyer who has “made the law and legal profession more accessible to, and reflective of, the community at-large.”
In 2003, Jesse was also profiled in the prestigious Crain’s Chicago Business list of “40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Chicago Business.” That same year, he was recognized by Chicago Lawyer magazine as one of the “40 Attorneys Under 40 in Illinois to Watch” and was selected by Chicago United to be featured in its first “Business Leaders of Color” publication, featured in the October 13, 2003 issue of Crain’s Chicago Business.
In General. Prior to joining the firm, Jesse was a management consultant with the international consulting firm of Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc. (n/k/a Strategy & Company), where he was a member of the Operations Management Group. At Booz Allen, Jesse assisted clients with developing a profitability roadmap, redesigning a nation-wide customer service system, and implementing a lean manufacturing initiative. Prior to attending law school, he was also a member of the sales departments of Inland Steel Company and Ryerson Coil Processing Company. In addition to his industrial sales duties at Ryerson, Jesse participated in an employee team that successfully re-engineered the company’s operations and brought it to sustained profitability.
Jesse received his J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School, where he served as an editor of the University of Chicago Law School Roundtable, and his Bachelor of Arts degree in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.