O’Melveny latest to beef up restructuring

US firm O’Melveny & Myers has snared a restructuring team from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan to bolster its New York office.

O’Melveny is just the latest firm to ramp up its restructuring offering in anticipation of a downturn in the markets.

O’Melveny chair Arthur Culvahouse said: “Not only is the strengthening of our restructuring practice a key priority in our firm’s strategic plan, but also the team’s particular experience in representing private equity and distressed funds builds on the strengths of our M&A and private equity practice in New York”.

Stroock’s co-head of financial restructuring and its co-head of corporate Michael Sage is leading the four-partner exodus to O’Melveny: he is joined by fellow restructuring partners Gerald Bender, Doron Lipshitz, and Patricia Perez.

Sage will jointly head O’Melveny’s restructuring practice with San Francisco-based partner Suzzanne Uhland. The group’s arrival boosts O’Melveny’s restructuring capability to 23 lawyers firmwide. Up until now, the New York office has had just one counsel in its restructuring team.

Stroock still has 40 restructuring lawyers, most of which are in New York. Sage’s restructuring co-chair at the firm Lawrence Handelsman remains at the helm of the group with partner Lewis Kruger.

The news comes two days after elite New York firm Cravath Swaine & Moore announced it was launching a restructuring practice with the hire of Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom partner Richard Levin (www.thelawyer.com, 9 May). Skadden itself plans to take on 24 lawyers to boost its restructuring numbers to 120.