Monthly Feature: Get to Know... Dori K. Bailey

December 14, 2020

Dori K. Bailey traces the origins of her career as a business attorney specializing in financial institutions to the business and finance classes she took as a freshman at the University at Albany. 

Those early courses piqued her interest and led to her double major in business with a finance concentration and English. After graduation, she took a position as a commercial loan officer for The Bank of New York, where she worked with the bank’s in-house and outside counsel on major transactions.

Today, she chairs Bond’s financial institutions regulatory practice advising federally chartered and state-chartered financial institutions regarding the highly complex and extensive labyrinth of financial institution law and regulation. Her clients include regional and community credit unions, multinational, regional and community commercial banks and thrift institutions. 

Dori also represents public and private companies in domestic and cross-border transactions in her business and transactions practice, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, divestitures, recapitalizations, commercial contracts, including information technology agreements, secured and unsecured financing, private equity investments, private placements, public securities matters, corporate governance matters and associated regulatory compliance matters.

“When I worked with our attorneys at The Bank of New York and with our outside legal counsel on legal matters that related to the financing transactions I handled, I always found the legal aspects of the transaction very interesting,” Dori says.

In 1996, she decided to enroll at Cornell Law School. She earned her doctorate, with a concentration in business law and regulation, and then began her legal career in Washington, D.C. with Latham & Watkins, a top four, global law firm with more than 3,000 attorneys in offices in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and the United States.

“I worked in Latham’s corporate department, advising clients regarding mergers and acquisitions both domestically and abroad,” Dori says. “My transactions ranged from $50 million to $1 billion. I also handled joint ventures, recapitalizations, divestitures, private equity investments, private placements, public securities filings, secured and unsecured financing, commercial contracts and regulatory matters.”

When her husband had a career opportunity in Syracuse, the family pulled up stakes and returned to upstate New York. Shortly thereafter, Dori joined the business and transactions practice in Bond’s Salt City office. The managing partner in Latham’s Washington office had highly recommended Bond as the preeminent law firm in upstate New York.

“We love it here,” she says. “It’s a wonderful place to live and raise a family.”

She and her husband have two children in high school.

In her business and transactions practice, Dori has handled significant transactions in the financial services, software, information technology, communications, manufacturing, hospitality, aviation, transportation, automotive and defense industries. 

Not long after joining Bond, Dori found that many clients she worked with were pleased to learn the firm had attorneys with in-depth knowledge and expertise in the financial services sector. What Bond needed, Dori decided, was a practice dedicated to working with banks, credit unions and thrift institutions. She pitched the idea to Bob Kirchner, chair of the firm’s business and transactions practice.

“We could advise financial institutions regarding regulatory and compliance matters, conduct investigations, assist in navigating regulatory examinations, negotiate agreements and prepare disclosure statements and corporate governance documents,” Dori says.

Bob gave her the green light, and Dori developed the financial institutions regulatory practice, which she chairs. “The practice group assists clients with the highly extensive and complex regulatory issues that financial institutions may encounter, including disclosure requirements, regulatory appeals, mergers and acquisitions, expansion of banking services, including establishing new branches, charter conversions, federal preemption, privacy and data security, fraud investigations, regulatory reporting, whistleblower protection and commercial contract drafting and negotiation,” Dori says.

Dori is uniquely positioned to provide comprehensive legal advice to financial institutions. She has considerable experience working as a banker in the industry and understands the business of banking and the financial institutions market. 

“I draw upon my experience in legal and business matters to assist each financial institution client in meeting its specific business goals within the legal and regulatory framework,” Dori says.

In addition, the practice group has 16 attorneys spanning six offices of the firm, including Albany, Boston, Buffalo, Naples, Rochester and Syracuse, providing a wide range of experience. 

“We work together to provide every financial institution client with a comprehensive and coordinated approach that is customized and responsive to client needs,” Dori says.

Dori also teaches courses on banking law and business valuation law at the Syracuse University College of Law and has published and presented articles regarding financial institution matters. 

She also serves on the CNY Arts Board of Directors and volunteers as a troop leader for her daughter’s Girl Scout troop.

While Dori definitely has a very busy schedule working, teaching and volunteering, she also finds time to spend with her family. “Our favorite activities include hiking, canoeing and cross-country skiing,” Dori says.