In this economic climate, bankruptcy partners are worth their weight in gold. Expect to see more lateral movement in the bankruptcy bar, as marquee names get courted by firms seeking greater presence in the area.
Here’s what could be the start of a trend: Bruce Zirinsky (pictured), co-chair of the financial restructuring department at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, is moving from CWT to Greenberg Traurig. Joining him is fellow bankruptcy partner John Bae.
In response to inquiries from ATL, spokespersons at Cadwalader and Greenberg Traurig issued this joint statement:
We can confirm that Bruce Zirinsky and John Bae have tendered their resignation at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and have accepted offers to join Greenberg Traurig shortly.
Congrats to Greenberg Traurig on their new hires. GT seems to be growing despite the downturn, as reflected in their most recent press releases.
As for Cadwalader, all’s fair in love and lateral moves. The firm is losing two bankruptcy partners, at a time when they’re in high demand. But recall that, back in March 2007, CWT raided another firm for Chapter 11 champs of its own: George Davis, Deryck Palmer, John Rapisardi and Andrew Troop, who left the storied bankruptcy group of Weil Gotshal for Cadwalader.
Reflections on what the Zirinsky and Bae defections mean for CWT, after the jump.
It’s not good news that CWT is losing a leader of a countercyclical practice group during the worst down market in recent — or not-so-recent — memory. High-profile partner defections can sometimes be the beginning of the end for firms, a possibility that has been raised with respect to Cadwalader (by us and by others).
It’s also worth noting that Zirinsky — in addition to being a prominent bankruptcy lawyer, frequently quoted in the media — was slated to have a leadership role at CWT. He was to have joined the management committee in the wake of Bob Link’s departure from that body.
But, on the other hand, the significance of Zirinsky and Bae’s departure should not be exaggerated. Says one Cadwalader source: “To be fair, while this is a loss for CWT, I don’t think we’re anywhere close to imploding or dissolving as reports back in December suggested.”
This tipster reports that the firm seems to be doing just fine these days. And, with the former Weil partners still on board, ample bankruptcy talent remains on the roster.
If you know of notable moves that have not yet been reported, you know where to reach us. Thanks.