Cadwalader partner duo defects to King & Spalding

Setback to US-UK restructuring capability as former head quits; insurance insolvency team rocked

New York firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft has suffered two more departures from its financial restructuring group. Just three months after two of the most senior partners left for Allen & Overy (A&O), the former joint head of the group is now leaving as well – dealing a blow to Cadwalader’s position as one of the pre-eminent transatlantic insolvency practices.
David Frauman and Ken Coleman left for A&O in April and are now followed by Mitchell Sonkin and Lawrence La-rose, who are moving to Atlanta’s King & Spalding.
The losses leave Cadwalader’s 40-lawyer New York financial restructuring group with five partners. The firm has two more doing financial restructuring in London, Andrew Wilkinson and Lyndon Norley.
Like Wilkinson, the two departees specialise in insurance insolvency. They have been involved in some of the biggest cases of the last few years: Confederation Life, Mutual Benefit Life and now the restructuring of Californian utilities company PG&E Corp and UK shipbuilder Cammell Laird. They act for both creditors and debtors.
Larose said: “This is a great opportunity to build a world-class financial restructuring practice at a major US firm. King & Spalding is a large national firm with a large corporate client base that we think fits well with our needs.”
King & Spalding is expanding its New York office, which boasts around 100 lawyers. It has increased in size by 50 per cent in the last year and includes corporate and insolvency work. Nationwide clients include Coca Cola, UPS, Sprint Corp and Turner Broadcasting.
It has offices in Atlanta, Washington DC, New York and Houston. There is no international practice at the moment, but Larose says it is on the horizon. The firm has financial restructuring lawyers in Atlanta, but these two are the first in New York.