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Founding Partner

Essence McGill Arzu is a highly-skilled, creative, and forward–thinking business lawyer and leader with extensive experience in financing transactions, nonprofit organizational issues and advising early stage and emerging businesses. She has superb transactional and organizational skills with a proven record of achieving key strategic client objectives. Ms. Arzu has expertise in developing effective legal and business strategies, building strong alliances with and among diverse constituencies, leading and managing complex projects and teams, and advising on risk management and corporate governance issues in both national and international arenas. She is known for outstanding leadership, writing, drafting, and analytical abilities, with exceptional interpersonal and negotiation skills. She is committed to mentoring and applies her skills toward community and mission-driven goals.

Ms. Arzu has extensive experience with debt financing transactions (both lender- and borrower-side), including multi-million dollar bank and syndicated credit facilities, mezzanine financings, convertible debt transactions, corporate restructurings, public and private debt offerings and secured and unsecured loans (both term and revolving credit facilities) for public and private companies, non-profit micro-lenders, investment companies and banks, as well as domestic and international experience in mergers & acquisitions and compliance matters. In addition, for over a decade Ms. Arzu has advised nonprofit and social venture organizations, providing guidance in a wide range of general operational matters, including governance, financing, fundraising, mergers and strategic alliances. Furthermore, she has broad experience advising early stage and emerging businesses on governance, financing, and contract matters. A representative transaction list is available upon request. Ms. Arzu is admitted to the bars of Massachusetts, New York and Washington, D.C.

Prior to co-founding The Arzu Law Group LLC, Ms. Arzu was a Partner in the Business Department at Boston law firm Foley Hoag LLP. Her practice focused on advising public and private company clients on numerous transactional and organizational issues in the areas of corporate finance (such as secured and unsecured debt financings and venture capital financings), business combinations (including domestic and cross-border mergers, acquisitions, asset purchases and joint ventures), and nonprofit governance matters (including formation and general operational issues, mergers and acquisitions, and maintaining tax-exempt status). Ms. Arzu also served as co-chair of Foley Hoag’s nonprofit & social venture practice.

Before joining Foley Hoag LLP in 2004, Essence worked in the corporate practice of international law firm Salans (now known as Dentons) in its New York, N.Y. and Moscow, Russia offices. While there she concentrated on domestic and international mergers & acquisitions, banking and bank regulatory matters, and securities regulation and compliance. She also advised on the formation of investment funds (including off-shore entities), and advised both offshore entities and not-for-profit organizations on transactional and general corporate matters.

Essence received her B.A. from Harvard and Radcliffe Colleges in 1994, her M.A. from Harvard Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, Davis Center for Russian Studies in 1997 and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law in 2000. She has been active in a number of legal, business and civic organizations and has served on numerous nonprofit boards including the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Boston Dance Alliance, The Partnership, Inc., Boston Bar Foundation, Harvard Club of Boston, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce Women’s Network Advisory Board, Celebrity Series of Boston, Boston Children’s Museum and Boston Education Development Foundation. Essence was selected as a Boston Business Journal "40 Under 40" honoree, as a member of Boston Bar Association’s Public Interest Leadership Program, to The Partnership, Inc.’s Fellows and Next Generation Executive Programs and to the Women’s Bar Association Leadership Initiative. Essence is a member of the Boston Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated and lives in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband (an excellent chef!) and their golf clubs.

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