A&O plays catch-up in transatlantic insolvency

Segal, who will move next year, will become A&O's third New York-based insolvency partner. His move will be seen as a tacit admission that the firm has lost ground to arch-rival Clifford Chance, which in recent times has romped away from its competitors with a series of massive telecoms restructurings.
A&O insolvency partner Gordon Stewart told The Lawyer: “It's to make sure that, as a premier global restructuring practice, we get our fair share of the global jobs, wherever they emanate from. The EuropeAmerican dynamic is very important. There's a danger that in the past we haven't been big enough in the US.”
A&O's US turnover shot up to £21m in the last financial year, after a prolonged period of lateral hiring that was kickstarted by the recruitment of Daniel Cunningham from Cravath Swaine & Moore in 2001. By contrast, Clifford Chance's New York turnover was £240m last year.
Clifford Chance London finance head Mark Campbell said: “From the experience of the deals we've been doing, you need critical mass in corporate as well because the deals are genuine corporate restructurings. You've got to be able to field people in any number of disciplines.”
A&O sources are regarding the refocusing as significant for the firm's progression in Asia. One partner said: “Ultimately, you have the ability to get close to the US banks and bondholders who can influence the Asian market.”