Steven J. Thayer, M.B.A., J.D.


Chairman, Commercial Practice Group

Mr. Thayer is a founding partner of Handler Thayer, LLP.  He currently serves as the Chairman of the firm’s Commercial Practice Group which includes the firm’s Business & Corporate Practice, Real Estate Practice, and Sports & Entertainment Law Practice. Mr. Thayer has a diverse background and has represented individuals, businesses, and family offices in a variety of legal matters.

Business & Corporate Experience

His business and corporate experience includes representing individuals in the formation of business enterprises including corporations, partnerships, limited liability companies (including designated Series LLC’s), limited partnerships, international organizations, and other business enterprises.

He has helped businesses with capital structure issues, including private placement offerings of securities, venture capital investments, private equity transactions, debt offerings, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions, and other finance transactions.  He has advised hedge fund managers on fund formation, securities offerings, investment advisor registration issues, and SEC compliance matters. He has assisted businesses with routine business transactions including employment contracts, consulting agreements, non-disclosure agreements, vendor contracts, trademark matters, and other business contracts affecting an organization. He has worked with several franchise-based organizations in the development of franchise locations in the restaurant and retail markets. He has also worked closely with developers of new and developing franchise businesses assisting them with area development agreements, franchise disclosure documents, and other contracts.

Mr. Thayer is also assisting companies with structured finance transactions including special purpose vehicle financing and debt offerings in the capital markets.

Prior to the private practice of law, Mr. Thayer clerked for the General Counsel of the Quaker Oats Company (which included Gatorade, Fisher-Price, and other subsidiaries) where he worked on commercial leases, sports marketing programs, product liability litigation, trademark law, international joint ventures, labor disputes, and other projects.

Commercial & Residential Real Estate Experience

His real estate experience includes both commercial and residential transactions. He has helped businesses with their commercial leasing and purchase and sale transactions of industrial, retail, office, and warehouse space.  He has represented developers in the development of large master-planned communities, such as resort development projects.

Prior to practicing law, Mr. Thayer worked for several years in the title insurance industry where he developed an extensive understanding of real estate law and title issues related to purchase and sale transactions.  He is currently a registered title insurance agent in the State of Illinois and is also a licensed real estate broker.

Sports & Entertainment Law Experience

Mr. Thayer has represented athletes, entertainers, and other celebrities in the negotiation of business contracts.  He has reviewed and advised clients on movie production agreements, agency contracts, modeling agreements, endorsement agreements, private equity transactions, and other business arrangements.

Advanced Planning & Family Office Experience

Mr. Thayer’s extensive business and corporate background allows him to serve as general counsel for high net worth family offices.  Mr. Thayer works closely with the Advanced Planning team at the firm to help clients with core estate plans, advanced family office structures, and tax matters.  Mr. Thayer helps family office clients find solutions for business succession planning, estate tax planning, and other wealth transfer strategies.  He provides advice regarding their business transactions such as business and real estate acquisitions and divestures, private equity investments, venture capital investments, and other transactions involving the family enterprise. In 2013, he was one of four finalists for the prestigious Family Office Review Award – Best Private Client Lawyer in North America.

Educational Background & Bar Associations

Mr. Thayer earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) in Managerial Accounting from DePaul University Graduate School of Business and a Juris Doctor (JD) from DePaul University College of Law (Business Law Journal).  Mr. Thayer is a member of the American, Illinois State, Iowa State, and Chicago Bar Associations.

Community & Civic Commitment

Over the years Mr. Thayer has been active in several civic and social organizations including the Hinsdale Zoning Board of Appeals (Board Member), Hinsdale Village Caucus (Delegate), Committee of 100 (President & Board Member), Chicago Illini Club (President), University of Illinois Foundation President’s Council and Loyalty Circle, Sigma Chi Fraternity (House Corporation President), YMCA Indian Guides & Princess (Tribal Chief), Hinsdale Little League (Coach), and Entrepreneurs Organization (Board Member).