News & Information

Opportunity Fund Closing

In May 2021, Steven was appointed to the Advisory Board of Promised Land Opportunity Zone Farms I, LLC (“PLOZ”), a private investment vehicle focused on acquiring and improving farmland in qualified Opportunity Zones in the United States, as designated under U.S. tax provisions enacted in 2017.  Recently, Farmland Partners Inc. announced that they had sold 2,811 acres across eight different farms to the Handler Thayer client PLOZ for $18.3 million. To read more about Farmland Partners, PLOZ, or the recent sale, click here.

Steven was selected to be the Co-Chair of the Business Transactions Committee for the Chicago Bar Association. The CBA is essential for current and future lawyers in the Chicago-land area to connect with other influential attorneys and legal-minds. As a co-chair, Steve will host a monthly educational seminar on different business transactions. In May of 2021, Steve moderated a panel discussion on What Every Transactional Lawyer Needs to Know about Securities Laws.

Many of us on the team here at Handler Thayer are also members of the Chicago Bar Association. It is a great tool to stay educated on law practices around the city, and to meet other lawyers with similar interests to yourself.

International Deal Gateway Member

In the first quarter of 2021, Steven Thayer became a member of International Deal Gateway. International Deal Gateway is an online source for deals and transactions with members who were involved in EO or WPO. Offering weekly deal huddles, International Deal Gateway is the only marketplace to facilitate peer-to-peer transactions.

Introduction to Opportunity Zones Presentation for Pi Kappa Alpha Real Estate Group

In April 2021, Steven Thayer gave a presentation to the Pi Kappa Alpha Real Estate Group on the subject of Opportunity Zones. Although Steve is a member of Sigma Chi, the Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity deemed him a worthy presenter for such an interesting topic. His presentation covered both the legal and practical business opportunities associated with Opportunity Zones.

An Opportunity Zone is an economic development tool that allows people to invest in lower-income communities throughout the United States on a tax favored basis. The purpose of Opportunity Zones is to try and create economic growth and job creation in these lower-income areas. There are Opportunity Zones in all 50 states thanks to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017.

Annual Firm Shoot Out at Northbrook Sports Club

In October of 2020, Handler Thayer hosted their annual firm Shoot Out at Northbrook Sports Club. The Northbrook Sports Club is a private, membership only club, situated on over 700 acres of rolling countryside in northern Illinois. NSC’s 1,000 members enjoy one of the finest clay target shooting facilities in the U.S., throwing over 3 million targets annually. The firm Shoot Out is an event hosted for local clients and referral sources .

First Trust Family Office Conference

In March and September of 2020, Steven Thayer gave presentations to a group of First Trust clients and advisors on the anatomy of a family office. Steve provided an overview of the legal structure of a family office as well as the compelling business proposition associated with organizing a family office. The March conference was hosted in Aspen, Colorado in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak and the September conference was hosted at the Montage Resort in Park City, Utah.

First Trust Portfolios L.P. and its affiliate First Trust Advisors L.P. (collectively “First Trust”) was established in 1991 with a mission to offer trusted investment products and advisory services. Their company was built on five core principles; know what you own, invest for the long-term, employ discipline, rebalance, and control taxes. These five principles have kept First Trust a successful company for the last thirty years.

University of Illinois Las-Econ Commencement Speaker

On May 11, 2019, Steven Thayer delivered the commencement speech to over 600 graduates, parents, and faculty, at the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Department of Economics graduation ceremony.  Thayer is a 1988 graduate of the University of Illinois College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and has a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Economics. Thayer also attended DePaul University College of Law and Graduate School of Business and has a joint JD/MBA degree from DePaul.  Thayer’s Speech, entitled “We, Not Me” focused on recognizing the efforts of the people who contributed to your life, as well as encouraging everyone to help others going forward.  He also encouraged graduates to always be on the look-out for new opportunities especially when things are not going according to their plan, to expect the unexpected, and to always believe that life will work out, just not always the way you planned.

The Department of Economics now offers three degree programs, including degrees in Economics, Computer Science & Economics, and Econometrics & Quantitative Economics.  The Department hosts a variety of events every year including career preparation workshops, seminars and celebratory homecoming and awards ceremonies.  Thayer committed to getting more involved in helping the Department of Economics engage local alumni from the Chicago Area in connection with his role as a member of the Chicago Illini Leadership Council, a division of the University of Illinois Chancellor’s Office.

Click here for the full speech.

Donation to the University of Illinois’ IFund

The University of Illinois is held close to our hearts at Handler Thayer as Steven, Tom, and Mark all attended U of I for their undergraduate studies. That being said, the Handler Thayer team made a generous donation to the University of Illinois’ IFund. The IFund is dedicated to paying the scholarships and funding the academic support services to all 500 student-athletes at U of I. The University provides the athletic program no waivers, breaks, or reductions to tuition or associated expenses of Fighting Illini student-athletes, so the IFund is paramount in keeping University athletics alive.

The Handler Thayer team worked with Deon Thomas, the Associate Director of Development for the IFund in Chicago. Deon Thomas is University of Illinois’ all-time leading scorer in basketball with over 2000 career points. He is still the only player to have reached this milestone in the history of the University. In his role, Thomas cultivates and solicits Chicago area donors, communicates DIA fundraising efforts and helps expand the Illini network in the Chicagoland area.

Thayer Joins Panel on How Family Offices are Disrupting Private Equity, Venture Capital and Real Estate

Mick Law 2019 Energy & Global Alts Symposium, Dallas, Texas

Mick Law

On May 7, 2019, Steven Thayer spoke on a panel with Ronald Diamond, Chairman and CEO of Diamond Wealth, and Joseph Bonvouloir, Founder and CEO of ALTI. The panel discussed how family offices are getting more actively involved in each of these investment categories and how access to deals, transparency and due diligence were key issues for families.  Thayer talked about how family offices don’t do retail deals and are looking for more customized direct investment structures.  He also talked about how intermediaries such as registered investment advisors and broker-dealers can still play a critical role in transactions to help families structure their investments properly, especially when co-investing with other families.  Thayer explained how families have to be mindful of the Family Office Exemption in the Investment Advisors Act which allows families to be exempt from registering as investment advisors provided they do not manage other people’s money. Families that pool money with other families, and who do not use registered intermediaries, can run afoul of those rules and find themselves in a situation where they need to register as RIA’s or Broker-Dealers.  Wheeling and dealing in investment transactions is a highly regulated space and families that get more aggressive in the space need to be more and more mindful of those issues, Thayer stated.  He also recommended that families hire groups like Mick Law to do more extensive due diligence on investment transactions.  Just because there is no broker-dealer in a transaction doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t get a due diligence report issued for an investment transaction. The conference attendees included broker-dealers, RIAs, and sponsors of various investment products.

Opportunity Zones Presentation to the CBA


On October 23, 2018, Steve presented to the Federal Taxation Committee of the Chicago Bar Association on the tax issues associated with Opportunity Zones, including the impact of the new Proposed Regulations 115420-18, Revenue Ruling 2018-29, and IRS Form 8996, all of which were released on October 19, 2018.  The creation of Opportunity Zones, economically disadvantaged areas designed by states and certified by the Treasury,  are entitled to certain tax benefits including the temporary deferral of capital gains that are invested in Qualified Opportunity Funds.  Steve addressed the impact of the new proposed regulations and revenue ruling as well as the open issues that still need to be addressed by the Treasury.  To learn more, see Steve’s blog post on Opportunity Zones.

Appearance on WGN Radio

On October 17th, 2018, Steven appeared on a WGN Nightside radio segment with his friends Andrea Darlas and Pete McMurray. He discussed all things legal when it comes to couple’s in crisis. Steve covers everything from prenups, knowing when the honeymoon phase is over, if you should return the ring and everything else in between! Check out the conversations and questions he answered here.