It’s not every day an attorney gets the opportunity to work on a headline-making deal. But that’s what Jason Kohout had the chance to do recently while working with a team of Foley & Lardner LLP attorneys on the $550 million sale of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Kohout, who specializes in tax-exempt organizations and charity-giving, represented former Sen. Herb Kohl in the deal that sold the NBA team to New York hedge fund managers Marc Lansry and Wesley Edens.
“There was a big team working on this deal and I was very appreciative to be a part of it,” he said. “Once the train got moving on the deal, it went fast. We were working late at night and doing whatever you can to get the transaction done.
“I really focused on the tax side of things and answered questions from other attorneys as they came up.”
In addition to his work with the Bucks, Kohout helped establish the Bradley Fund, which gives donors increased access to Bradley Foundation grant officers. He also serves as outside counsel for the Mayo Clinic Department of Development and works closely with other attorneys and business owners regarding tax codes and regulations.
“The tax code is so complex and astounds very smart and savvy business people,” he said, “They are looking to you to bridge the gap and help them navigate what could be treacherous waters.
“I enjoy stepping in and helping people with their challenges. I get to be an attorney’s attorney and help them navigate complex tax issues.”
Richard Esenberg, president and general counsel for the Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty Inc. agreed, calling Kohout “a lawyer’s lawyer.”
“He is capable of combing sophisticated legal analysis with a pragmatic assessment of how that analysis does or does not matter,” Esenberg said.
Those skills benefit his clients, as well as the dozens of nonprofit organizations he assists through his pro bono work each year. In 2013, he helped more than 30 nonprofit organizations.
At Foley, he serves on the Pro Bono Committee and helped develop the firm’s Charitable Academy, a presentation series to prepare professionals for board service and involvement with nonprofits.
“It feels really good helping people with their problems,” he said.