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Travers Smith Braith-waite is underlining its commitment to the workout market by hiring Berwin Leighton Paisner's (BLP) head of corporate recovery Keith Bordell
The move comes in the wake of Travers Smith's role as counsel to the beleaguered telecoms company NTL as it undergoes restructuring. The instruction is the largest corporate rescue job the firm has ever undertaken.
Bordell's recruitment adds to Travers Smith's non-contentious insolvency capability. His arrival from BLP will bolster the firm's resources on NTL, although Bordell will not be working full time on that job and the exact date on which he will start is still subject to negotiation. Corporate partner Spencer Summerfield, longtime adviser to the company, is leading Travers Smith's NTL team, which also includes banking partners Mike Bardell and Simon Buckingham.
Bordell said: "Travers Smith sees an opportunity. There's something to be said for critical mass [on the non-contentious side]."
Historically, Travers Smith's insolvency capability has been split evenly between contentious and non-contentious work. But with the departure of litigation partner Stephen Pearson to the Royal Bank of Scotland last year, and with the hire of Bordell, Travers Smith is positioning itself to attack the non-contentious insolvency and restructuring market.
Travers Smith restructuring partner Jeremy Walsh commented: "The corporate, banking and transactional side is where we're ambitious and want to expand."
Bordell is the third lateral hire made by Travers Smith in the last few months. The firm opened an office in Berlin last year, recruiting Karl Pilny from Coudert Brothers, and this year it announced the arrival of private equity partner Andrew Roberts from DLA.
Bordell's role as BLP's head of corporate recovery will be taken up by David Leibowitz.
"We're sorry to see Keith go, but we have a good team in place here," said Leibowitz, adding that BLP had no immediate plans to recruit.