For more than 35 years, fairness opinions have played an integral role in merger and acquisition (M&A) and related corporate transactions. While fairness opinions were issued for deals prior to the mid-80s, the 1985 ruling in the Smith v. Van Gorkom case earned fairness opinions a much more prominent place in the deal process. Yet, the marketplace continues to struggle with a lack of consistent standards and methods where fairness opinions are concerned, as well as perceived conflicts of interest. This paper looks at the evolution of fairness opinions, the critical role they continue to play in supporting transaction value and decision-making, and why it’s important for stakeholders to solicit opinions from highly experienced, independent, and sophisticated providers.