Steven R. Barth



Steven R. Barth is a senior partner and business lawyer with Foley & Lardner LLP. He is a former member of the firm's Management Committee and the former long-time chair of the firm’s National Mergers & Acquisitions, Capital Markets and Private Equity Transactions Practice. Steve practices in the areas of mergers, acquisitions, leveraged recapitalizations and buyouts; venture capital and private equity fund formation and portfolio company investment; public and private offerings of equity and debt securities; public corporation securities laws and reporting compliance; corporate governance; and the organization, development and financing of startup and development stage corporations. Steve also has extensive experience in counseling mid-market and closely held firms, including many family businesses. He specializes in helping mid-sized and family owned companies adopt and implement their strategic plans and transition ownership and management to the next family generation, to employees and to strategic or financial buyers. Steve is a member of the Food & Beverage, Manufacturing and Health Care Industry Teams.

Steve has represented buyers, sellers, investors, and intermediaries in almost 700 business combination transactions aggregating over $24 billion in total consideration. He has worked on deals both domestically and internationally, involving both publicly held and private corporations, over a broad range of industries. Steve also has represented issuers or underwriters in securities offerings raising over $26 billion and he represents or has represented numerous publicly traded companies, including The Marcus Corporation (NYSE: MCS), Orion Energy Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: OESX), First Business Financial Services Inc. (NASDAQ: FBIZ), Cummins Inc. (NYSE: CMI), Perry Ellis International (NASDAQ: PERY), Perma-Pipe International Holdings (NASDAQ: PPIH), Rockwell Medical Inc. (NASDAQ: RMTI), Superior Services Inc. (NYSE: SUPR), EMC Insurance Group Inc. (NASDAQ: EMCI), Fresh Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH), MGIC Investment Corp. (NYSE: MTG), Northland Cranberries Inc. (NASDAQ: CRBY), Hein-Werner Inc. (AMEX: HWI) and Bucyrus International Inc. (NASDAQ: BUCY). Steve also is one of Robert W. Baird & Co. Inc.’s (leading mid-market investment banking firm) primary outside counsels.

Thought Leadership

Steve is a frequent speaker on acquisition issues, financing transactions, SEC compliance and corporate governance matters.

National Directors Institute Founder

Steve founded the firm’s annual National Directors Institute in 2002 in the wake of corporate governance failures at Enron, Worldcom and others. NDI has been focused on providing practical peer-to-peer advice on cutting-edge corporate governance issues facing boards of directors of public, private and nonprofit companies.

Affiliations and Professional Memberships

He serves on the board of directors of the Milwaukee Economic Development Corporation (quasi-public agency which provides funding to developing companies), the Business Law Section of the Wisconsin State Bar, and several privately held growth companies. He previously served on the board of publicly traded Fresh Brands Inc. (NASDAQ: FRSH) (audit committee and corporate governance committee chairman). Steve is the program chair of Foley’s National Directors Institute, an annual symposium for directors, officers, general counsel and boardroom advisors to both public and private companies focusing on corporate governance issues.


Steve received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Michigan in 1984. He earned his B.S., with highest distinction, in finance from Indiana University in 1981. While at Indiana University, he received the Elvis J. Stahr award as one of the University's top five graduating seniors.


Steve has been peer review rated as AV Preeminent®, the highest performance rating in the Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™ system.

Steve has been recognized in Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading Corporate/M&A lawyer from 2014 to 2022. The Legal 500 recommended him for his work in the area of mergers and acquisitions (2012 to 2016). He has been repeatedly named to the list of Wisconsin Super Lawyers® and has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the fields of Mergers & Acquisitions (2008, 2010-2023), Securities/Capital Markets Law (2007, 2010-2022), Corporate Governance Law (2013-2022), Leveraged Buyouts and Private Equity Law (2011-2022) and Corporate Law (2012-2022). He was also named the Best Lawyers® Securities/Capital Markets Law "Lawyer of the Year" in Milwaukee (2022).

In 2003, Steve authored the book, Corporate Ethics - The Business Code of Conduct for Ethical Employees.

In 1997, Steve was selected by the Milwaukee Business Journal as one of Milwaukee's 40 leading professionals under 40 years of age.


  • Wisconsin