David McHugh doesn’t simply represent his clients—he becomes part of their executive team. Drawing on his experience counseling a wide range of companies, from start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses, David crafts legal strategy with a singular goal: achieving his clients’ business objectives. Regularly serving as outside general counsel to public and private companies, David collaborates with the firm’s other practice groups to find practical, forward-thinking solutions. Many of David’s former colleagues have become clients, relying on him for his day-to-day business and legal insight.

David has extensive experience advising public and private companies in connection with mergers and acquisitions and general corporate matters, including organizational and compliance issues.  He combines deep legal knowledge with an entrepreneurial spirit to provide a fresh perspective on his clients’ challenges and helps develop comprehensive, cost-effective solutions. David then works with clients to adjust these solutions as they are implemented, ensuring successful outcomes that support long-term business strategies.

David’s clients are from diverse fields – such as manufacturing, technology and consumer products – appreciate his flexible, responsive counsel.  He works with every level of management, and is adept at handling corporate governance, compliance and securities-related issues for businesses of all sizes.  Clients trust David as a discreet, thoughtful advisor, and return to him for counsel regularly.

David is often called upon by clients to lead their international transactions.  Clients rely on David’s judgment that he has developed from his first-hand experience working with a wide network of counsel throughout the world and navigating complex legal issues on cross-border transactions. 

In addition to his work with public companies, David has represented a variety of others in their business dealings.  He has advised issuers and investment banks in equity and debt offerings; has been bond counsel for state and local political subdivisions; and he works with private equity sponsors and investors in their acquisition, divestiture and financing activities. 

  • Experience

    • Under guidance from David, Newell Rubbermaid Inc. (NYSE: NWL) completed the $615 million acquisition of the worldwide stationery products businesses (PaperMate, Parker, Waterman and Liquid Paper brands) of The Gillette Company, which included the acquisition of stock and assets in more than 40 countries.
    • David also worked with Newell Rubbermaid Inc. on the $450 million acquisition of American Saw & Mfg. Company, a manufacturer of saw-blade products, and the $445 million acquisition of Technical Concepts®, a global provider of innovative restroom hygiene systems.
    • Other Newell Rubbermaid Inc. acquisitions David advised on include: CardScan, Inc.; United Receptacle, a high-end commercial receptacles manufacturing business; assets of the BebeSounds® brand of child and juvenile products; and the assets of the Solano® brand of hair styling and related products and accessories for salon professionals
    • David also represented Newell Rubbermaid Inc. in its disposition of the BernzOmatic business, as well as the disposition of hardware businesses (Amerock, Ashland, Bulldog and Shur-Line brands) to Nova Capital.
    • Franklin Electric Co., Inc. (Nasdaq: FELE) used David’s service to complete the $121 million acquisition of Little Giant Pump Company, a worldwide manufacturer of submersible and above-ground water pumps and products, from Tecumseh Products.  The stock purchase expanded Franklin’s customer base in the residential and commercial markets.
    • David also represented Franklin Electric Co., Inc. in the $35 million acquisition of Healy Systems, Inc., a worldwide provider of Stage II Vapor Recovery Systems and Components used at gasoline stations to reduce vapor emissions during refueling.

    Additionally, David advised Franklin Electric Co., Inc. on the acquisition of multiple pump-related businesses, including a division of Monarch Industries Limited, WEStern Pumps LLC, HQ Couplers LLC, Beaudreau Electric, Inc. and Calvert Engineering, Inc.

    • David worked on the disposition by merger of Chicago-based New Asia Bank to Cathay Bank (Nasdaq: CATY), a $23.46 million transaction in cash and stock.
    • David has also worked on numerous unpublished acquisitions and dispositions for public and private clients, including private equity funds, in a variety of industries. 
  • Credentials


    • Syracuse University College of Law, J.D., 1997, cum laude
      Certificate of Specialization in Law and Economics
      Justinian Honorary Law Society
    • University of Vermont, B.A., Economics and Political Science, 1994

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois

            Professional Memberships

            American Bar Association

            Section of Business Law


            Chicago Bar Association


            Florida Bar Association


            Vermont Bar Association

          • Insights

            News Release

            91 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2016 Illinois, Michigan Leading Lawyers Network

            The list is comprised of those attorneys who are most recommended as top lawyers among their peers.


            ISS and Glass Lewis Policy Updates for the 2016 Proxy Season

            With the 2016 proxy season getting started, we would like to remind clients that Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) and Glass Lewis have each made some revisions to their 2016 voting policies. If your proxy statement involves any of the following topics, you should review these updates.

            Trending Legal Issue

            SEC Issues Final Pay Ratio Rule

            On August 5, 2015, the SEC adopted a final rule requiring a public company to disclose the ratio of the median compensation of all of its employees to the compensation of its principal executive officer (PEO).

            Trending Legal Issue

            SEC Proposes Clawback Rules

            On July 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a proposed rule that implements the clawback provisions of the Dodd-Frank Act.

          • Citizenship

            Pro Bono Activities

            David is Chairman and an executive committee member of the Children’s Research Fund, a director of the Children’s Hospital of Chicago Medical Center, and is a director and executive committee member of the Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago Foundation. He also serves as legal counsel to the Children’s Research Fund Junior Board.

            Civic and Charitable Memberships

            Lurie Children's Medical Center of Chicago



            Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago Foundation


            Executive Committee


            Children's Research Fund


            Executive Committee

            Former Treasurer


            Childrens Research Fund Junior Board Foundation

            Legal Counsel

            Past Co-Chair