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In a week of uncertainty, the only sure thing was that Weil Gotshal & Manges bankruptcy star Harvey Miller would get a call from longstanding client Lehman Brothers.
A 30-year long relationship with Weil made the US firm a logical choice for Lehman when the decision to file for bankruptcy was taken over the weekend.
A veteran of Weil’s bankruptcy practice, Miller returned to the New York office only last year to lead the firm’s practice again after a five-year stint at investment bank Greenhill & Co.
Make no mistake - Miller is a big name in Manhattan. He lead the firm on numerous bankruptcy cases over the years, including those of Continental Airlines, Texaco and the landmark filing of Drexel Burnham Lambert.
Miller and Weil may both be obvious choices for Lehman but there is bound to be some disappointment at rival US firms.
Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom have both built up successful bankruptcy and restructuring groups in recent years and been recognised for successfully muscling in on Weil’s dominance in Manhattan.
“I can see why Lehman turned to Weil but it could have easily turned to Skadden or Kirkland, which both have the right capabilities to handle this case,” said one New York bankruptcy partner. “I don’t think anyone is surprised, but it is a disappointment to the other guys.”
- 15-Sep-2008: The Lehman fallout Oh, the ups and downs of finance lawyers. Three months ago Linklaters’ banking group was filled with gloom after JPMorgan dumped it from every mandate you’ve ever heard of...