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White & Case is launching a major push on high-yield work with the appointment of its first full-time New York partner in the practice.
Jonathan Cahn trained at New York's high-yield powerhouse Cahill Gordon & Reindel before departing 18 months ago for King & Spalding. Now he is joining White & Case to spearhead the firm's move into the market. White & Case has a strong senior lending practice, but has traditionally worked with either Cahill Gordon or Latham & Watkins when deals require high-yield advice. Cahill Gordon and Lathams are notoriously strong in the US for high-yield work. White & Case London-based banking partner Mike Goetz, who moved over from New York last year, said: "There are a lot of people who can kind of do high-yield, but if you really want to get pedigree people, it's Cahill, Lathams or Shearman & Sterling. We know from the pedigree that there's no way he'd have got any better training; and from the cultural point of view, Cahill and Lathams are the two firms that we've worked with a lot on the finance side." At the moment the New York office has two partners who handle high-yield work, Timothy Goodell and Priscilla Almodovar, but Cahn will be the first to do the work full time. Cahn has been working with clients such as Deutsche Bank and Morgan Stanley, which use White & Case for most of their work. Goetz said: "What we found is that many of our clients like to use two law firms, but some of them don't. The ones that don't will be very enthused about the fact that we've now added to our high-yield capability, and especially as it's someone they know." The plan now is to add high-yield capability in London, thus rivalling Lathams and Shearmans by putting together a high-yield and a UK senior debt capability all under one roof.