Tara Burns Newell ’99
Just the Beginning
Tara Burns Newell ’99 has always found the world of mergers and acquisitions fast-paced and intriguing. The field allows her to learn about new businesses, negotiate deals, and interact with a host of bright colleagues. When Newell joined Bryan Cave four years ago, M&A became one of her primary practice areas.
But with the recent downturn in global financial markets, she has watched her practice evolve. Newell, now a partner at the firm, continues to do M&A work dealing with distressed assets and bankruptcies, while also taking on as clients three start-up companies—all of which are women-run and technology-focused.
“I think it is a good opportunity now to do things if you have good ideas,” says Newell, who holds a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. One company she’s working with has developed an application for Apple’s iPhone. Another has created a software program for green building design. And the third was the brainchild of two women in their 30s who have decided to launch a travel website catering to young, affluent women. “They’re all good ideas,” Newell explains, “and there is a need for these things.”
All the companies are in their infancy, and Newell says she is working with her clients on risk/reward assessments and general start-up processes. If the businesses succeed, Newell could one day take them public and create lifelong clients. “As a young partner,” she says, “I have to concentrate on building a practice and building my skills.”