| Practice Description: |
Mr. Underwood concentrates his practice around a broad spectrum of private and public sector entities in corporate and commercial matters. He has counseled a number of medium sized manufacturing and service businesses and their boards of directors regarding general contract, commercial finance, and corporate planning issues. Through these relationships, he has gained extensive experience in evaluating, planning, and documenting vendor/customer transactions, OEM/distributor arrangements, executive compensation plans, asset acquisition, and business expansion through purchase, sale, and joint ventures.
For over 20 years, he has represented SigmaTron International, Inc., an electronic manufacturing service company whose stock is traded through the Nasdaq, which has grown from a one-plant operation with annual sales of less than $10 million to a multi-national company with facilities in Mexico, China, and Taiwan, in addition to its five U.S. locations, with annual sales in excess of $200 million. For many years, he represented The Martin-Brower Company, a leading distributor to fast food and casual dining restaurants, including McDonald's, Arby's, Chili's, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, TGI Fridays, and others, with over 50 distribution centers throughout the U.S. and Canada, and an international division servicing McDonald's Restaurants in the Carribean as well as South and Central America. He continues to represent a privately held lender that, for many years, financed equipment leasing companies in acquiring computer equipment, software, and other assets for use by Fortune 500 companies; the worldwide leader in manufacturing and sales of film printing, cleaning, and inspection equipment to the motion picture industry; and a national leader in sales of printed waxed paper to the U.S. food industry. He has recently guided an affiliation of printing distributors in the start-up of a significant national network to offer printing services throughout the country to large consumers. In each of these situations, he has made it a priority to earn the trust and confidence of the executive officers in charge of those operations. During his diverse corporate practice, he has represented companies in the sale and acquisition of complete businesses and business units and the establishment and operation of joint venture entities.
He received a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1966, a J. D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1969, and an LL.M. from the London School of Economics in 1971. He is a member of the American Bar Association (Business Law Committee), the Illinois State Bar Association, and the Chicago Bar Association. He has been active in the Chicago Bar Association's Commercial Law Committee and assisted in the drafting of Article 2A of the Illinois Uniform Commercial Code governing equipment leasing.
He is the managing partner of the Chicago office of Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC and has a Martindale-Hubbell rating of AV®. In recent years he has been selected as a Chicago Super Lawyer® and an Illinois Leading Lawyer.
Notable Cases and Results:
Year of Birth: 1944
Law School: University of Chicago Law School, J.D., 1969
Undergraduate School: University of North Carolina, B.A., history and English, 1966
London School of Economics Law School, LL.M., 1971
Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC, managing partner, 1972-present
Bar/Professional Association Involvement:
Chicago Bar Association
Securities Law Committee, 1973-1978
Commercial Law Committee, 1979-present
Illinois State Bar Association
American Bar Association
Awards; Honors; Distinctions:
Martindale-Hubbell AV® Peer Review Rating
Illinois Super Lawyer®, 2005-2007
Illinois Leading Lawyers, 2010-2017
More than one third of Howard & Howard's lawyers had business careers before choosing to become lawyers, which means we have more lawyers with first-hand business experience than other firms our size. In fact, we operate our firm as a business. That perspective is valuable to our clients: coming from business makes working for business second nature to us.
We focus on providing value and core legal specialties to our clients that are crucial to modern business success. In turn, our growth and client attraction has come from our reputation for creativity, practicality and providing solutions in a cost-conscious environment. We are innovative in the fee arrangements and flexible billing structures we offer. We understand the relationship between fees and objectives, measuring our success by how much we improve a client's bottom line.
Additional Office Locations:
Royal Oak, Michigan
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Las Vegas, Nevada