Jesse H. Ruiz counsels clients on business transactions, including mergers and acquisitions, venture capital and private equity investments. He also represents clients in 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, he 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 and trade, environmental, labor and employment, intellectual property, land use and zoning, litigation, real estate and regulatory matters.
In 2016, Jesse became the president of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners. He previously served as vice president of the Chicago Board of Education, as interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools, and as chairman of the Illinois State Board of Education. He currently serves as a member of the firm’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
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 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.
In May 2011, 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. From April to July 2015, Jesse served as the interim CEO of the Chicago Public Schools. Jesse left the Board of Education in January 2016 to assume the presidency of the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners.
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 also previously served on the Chicago Public Schools Desegregation Monitoring Commission.
"Chicago's Notable Minority Lawyers," Crain's Chicago Business (2018)
“Most Influential Minority Lawyers in Chicago,” Crain’s Chicago Business (2017)
“15 Rainmakers Who Always Shine,” Diversity & the Bar (2016)
Cardinal Bernardin Award, Chicago Legal Clinic (2016)
Executive Leader Award, Association of Fundraising Professionals, Chicago Chapter (2016)
Distinguished Fellow Award, Leadership Greater Chicago (2016)
Latino Lawyer of the Year, Hispanic National Bar Association (2014)
Barristers Philanthropic Award, Lawyers Lend-A-Hand to Youth (2012)
Walmart Legal Spark Award (2011)
Leadership Award, Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation (2003; 2009)
Education Excellence Award, El Valor (2007)
Education Award, Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White (2005)
Vanguard Award, Chicago Bar Association (2005)
“40 Under 40 Rising Stars in Chicago Business”, Crain’s Chicago Business (2003)
“40 Attorneys Under 40 in Illinois to Watch”, Chicago Lawyer (2003)
Featured in Chicago United’s “Business Leaders of Color”, Crain’s Chicago Business (2003)
Fellow, American Bar Foundation
Fellow, Leadership Greater Chicago
Awards Methodology (www.drinkerbiddle.com/content/awards)
"25 Most Influential Hispanic Lawyers"Latino Leaders Magazine (2016)
- The University of Chicago, J.D., 1995
- University of Illinois, B.A., 1988
- U.S. Supreme Court
- Chicago Bar Association, Secretary, Board of Managers
- Chicago Bar Foundation (Past President)
- Chicago Legal Clinic, Board of Directors
- Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners, President
- Chicago Committee on Minorities in Large Law Firms (Past Chairman)
- City Club of Chicago
- Commercial Club of Chicago
- Commonwealth Edison Company, an Exelon company, Board of Directors
- Economic Club of Chicago
- Get In Chicago, Board of Directors
- Hispanic Lawyers Association of Illinois, Member (Past President)
- Hispanic Lawyers Scholarship Fund of Illinois (Past Chairman)
- Hispanic National Bar Association
- Illinois State Board of Education (Past Chairman)
- Metropolitan Planning Council, Board of Directors
- Museum of Science and Industry, Board of Directors
- Rush University Medical Center, Board of Directors
- White House Fellows Regional Selection Panel, Co-Chair