Cravath isn’t big on lateral hiring. When they hired tax lawyer Andrew Needham away from Willkie Farr & Gallagher in 2005, he was their first lateral partner in more than six decades (per Wikipedia).
Nor has Cravath been into bankruptcy work. Even though many other white-shoe firms have entered that historically “icky” practice area, CSM has stayed on the sidelines.
Update/Correction: Actually, Cravath’s relationship with bankruptcy practice is a bit more complicated. And that last paragraph may be somewhat misleading. Click here for more.
At long last, Cravath is starting up a bankruptcy practice. And it’s bringing in a heavy hitter to get things up and running.
From a Cravath press release (just sent around the firm by email):
Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP has announced that Richard Levin (at right), one of the authors of the 1978 U.S. Bankruptcy Code, will join the Firm as a Partner on July 1, 2007 to head its newly established restructuring and insolvency practice.
Mr. Levin joins Cravath from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he was a partner in that firm’s corporate restructuring department.
So Cravath is moving into bankruptcy work. Is this a bad sign for the U.S. economy — the Biglaw equivalent of, say, rising home foreclosures?
Update: Perhaps. Some thoughts on the subject are now up at the WSJ Law Blog. DealBook also has this post.
The complete Cravath memo, after the jump.