Matt has extensive experience in mergers and acquisitions, restructurings, joint ventures, private offerings, private equity and venture capital investment, and other strategic transactions.
More than a “deal lawyer,” he partners with clients, large or small, in planning and executing their growth strategies. Since 2001 he has served as M&A counsel for a $35 billion financial holding company, negotiating more than 55 mergers and acquisitions of banks and bank holding companies, broker-dealer and asset management firms, mortgage banking and premium finance companies, and large commercial loan portfolios. At the other end of the development spectrum, he helps entrepreneurs and startups see around the corners ahead by implementing good corporate design, built with efficient and cost-effective functionality. Matt frequently partners with colleagues in our Private Clients group to build sustainable platforms for family owned businesses transitioning to the next generation of leaders. He serves as outside general counsel to several long-standing private company clients.
Clients value Matt’s direct but friendly manner, responsiveness, accountability for himself and his teams, and skills in executing a plan.
Before law school, Matt was a lieutenant in the United States Navy (1989-1993). He served as damage control officer on the destroyer USS Stump (DD-978) and division officer aboard the battleship USS Iowa (BB-61).
- Manages and executes acquisition strategy for a $45 billion financial holding company, and provides ongoing representation for its acquired banks and affiliates.
- Advises portfolio of food and beverage ingredient manufacturing companies in their formation, capital raising, governance and business activities, including $6 million preferred stock investment in Ecuador-based beverage ingredient manufacturer.
- Advised management team of commercial products manufacturing company in their management buyout and restructuring, and successful sale of non-core businesses.
- Advises portfolio of life science/nanotech start-ups in all aspects of formation, Series A, B, and C rounds, spin-offs, licensing, governance, and on-going operations.
- Adjunct professor, Entrepreneurship Law Center of Northwestern University School of Law, where he supervises teams of students in their representation of entrepreneurs and start-up companies.
- Together with Tax and Estate Planning team members from our Private Companies Group, devised, planned and executed the building of a new investment, asset management and governance platform for a large family office and its diversified holdings, creating a structure that will enable smooth transition to successive generations.
- Represented large publicly owned food and beverage company in negotiation of its strategic divestitures of its non-core businesses, including certain well-known brands.
Publications, Presentations & Recognitions
Matt has given numerous presentations to privately held and family-owned business owners, in-house legal and corporate development teams, wealth management advisers, start-up incubators and legal clinics on a variety of topics, including restructuring and business succession, corporate governance issues, negotiating mergers and acquisitions, private company ownership transition, and early stage capital raising.
- “Overcoming Challenges and Working with Entrepreneurial Clients - A Lawyer’s Perspective,” Northwestern Pritzker School of Law 14th Annual Entrepreneurship Law Conference, Chicago, Ill. (Mar. 1, 2019)
- “Food(ie) Entrepreneurs,” 13th Annual Entrepreneurship Law Conference (Mar. 16, 2018)
- Family Business Owner Roundtable: Building an Effective Board and the Role of Outsider Directors (Feb. 25, 2013)
- Illinois Leading Lawyer, Law Bulletin's Illinois Leading Lawyers Network (2009-2021)
- The Legal 500 United States – M&A/Corporate and Commercial: M&A – Middle-Market (Sub-$500m) (2016, 2018, 2022, 2023)
- Outstanding Achievements in Innovative Legal Services in Mergers and Acquisitions, Financial Times Innovative Lawyers Report U.S. (2010)
Boards, Memberships & Certifications
- Marillac St. Vincent Family Services, Member of Executive Committee and Secretary, Board of Trustees, Capital Campaign Steering Committee
- Northwestern University School of Law, Entrepreneurship Law Center, Adjunct Professor
Celebrating ArentFox Schiff’s Veterans: Matt Galo on Going From Military Service to Client Service
After four years in Naval ROTC at Notre Dame, Matt began serving on active duty in 1989 as a line officer in the Atlantic Fleet. He first served as a Division Officer (2nd Division - boats) aboard the battleship USS-Iowa (BB-61), and then served as Damage Control officer (DCA) aboard the Spruance-class destroyer USS Stump (DD-978). He completed his active duty in 1993, and started law school at Northwestern in 1995.
Bar & Court Admissions
- Illinois Bar
- US District Court, Northern District of Illinois
Northwestern Pritzker School of Law, JD, Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, Coordinating Note and Comment Editor, 1998University of Notre Dame, BA, cum laude, 1989