Core Values in Action

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive, not the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." - Charles Darwin

Peter Mason is a Freeborn Founding Partner, former Chairman of the Firm’s Executive Committee and a Partner in the Corporate Practice Group.

For more than 30 years, he has been a trusted advisor to CEOs, boards of directors, executive management, business owners and investors. In addition to his legal experience, Peter served as a Chief Executive Officer at both a public company and a venture-backed private company. He brings these experiences to clients, helping guide them through the business, legal, personal and other decisions that help them achieve their goals.

As a lawyer, Peter is involved in issues related to corporate and board structures, growth strategies, private equity investments, financings, management issues, disputes and virtually every challenge affecting businesses and their owners. As a former business executive, he is in a unique position to help clients understand the options and possibilities inherent in various decision structures, both personally and professionally.

In the mid-point of his legal career, Peter accepted an invitation to become President, CEO and Chairman of the Board of May & Speh, a successful, publicly held marketing technology and services company that eventually merged with Acxiom Corporation (ACXM). He later served as CEO and Chairman of Toplander Corporation, the owner and operator of MarketsOnDemand and JobsOnline.com.

Peter returned to Freeborn and his work as a lawyer and business advisor in 2002. 

He is active in a variety of organizations, serves as a Board Member to several companies (both public and private) and has helped launch many businesses through venture capital investments. 

Peter is a member of the Food Industry Team and has broad experience throughout the food industry, particularly branded goods manufacturing and retail franchise operations. He currently serves on the Advisory Boards of Link Snacks, Inc., the largest meat snack manufacturer in the world and Jimmy John’s, a quick-service restaurant franchise with more than 1,500 locations across the United States.

Representative Matters

  • Represented a multi-national, family owned food company with respect to company-wide organizational restructuring allowing for greater operational efficiencies, enhanced strategic partnering, financing flexibility, estate planning and  ownership transfers.
  • Sale of a minority interest in a franchisor of fresh fruit bouquet retail stores to a private equity fund.
  • Represented multiple management groups involved in sales of portfolio companies from one private equity firm to another private equity firm, including sales of a leading supplier of mobile storage solutions, a manufacturer of snack products, a manufacturer of coatings for the printing industry and a provider of boiler room products and systems.
  • Represented a gourmet sandwich franchise in the sale of a minority interest to a San Francisco-based private equity firm.
  • Successfully represented a large privately-held food company and its Board of Directors, officers and majority shareholders in two lawsuits involving a former officer and minority shareholder. These suits involved claims of fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, shareholder oppression, breach of contract, tortious interference with business expectation, and specific performance of a buy-sell agreement, culminating in a six-week jury trial and three bench trials.
  • Obtained summary judgment for a large privately held food company against its insurer. The insurer denied coverage for shareholder litigation.
  • Represented leading manufacturer of adventure outdoor luggage and backpacks in sale of its assets to a publicly traded strategic buyer.
Honors & Awards: 
  • Illinois Leading Lawyers - 2017 
  • Illinois Super Lawyers - 2011 (cited in multiple years)
Professional Activities: 
  • Member of the Boards of Directors, Lomar Corporation and its subsidiaries, Rauland-Borg Corporation and Biamp Systems Corporation
  • Director, Mutual Trust Life Insurance Company
  • Advisory Board Member, Link Snacks, Inc.
  • Advisory Board Member, Jimmy John’s, Inc.
  • Young Presidents Organization
  • World Presidents Organization

Education

J.D., Boston University School of Law, cum laude
B.A., Bard College

State Bar Admissions

  • Illinois

Community Service

  • Trustee and Vice Chairman, The Goodman Theatre (Former)
http://www.leadinglawyers.com/atty_profile.cfm?TOCUID=1014192http://www.superlawyers.com/illinois/lawyer/Peter-I-Mason/71efc144-c74a-4117-8e43-bbfd4fb7910c.html

Case Studies

Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is the #1 meat snack in the United States and fastest-growing meat snack manufacturer worldwide. Read More »