Sonnenschein takes half of Thacher Proffitt

Sonnenschein takes half of Thacher ProffittSonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal has hired more than half the lawyers of troubled firm Thacher Proffitt & Wood, including its managing partner.

The US firm secured 100 of Thacher Proffitt’s 195 lawyers including 40 partners and managing partner Paul Tvetenstrand yesterday (21 December). The hires bring the total number of lawyers at Sonnenschein to 800.

The move comes after rumours that four-month long merger talks with King & Spalding collapsed over the weekend.

The former Thacher Proffitt lawyers will officially join the firm on 1 January 2009.

Sonnenschein chairman Elliott Portnoy (pictured) said: “With this move, we have dramatically enhanced our corporate capabilities and doubled the size of our New York office.”

The lawyers are from a range of practice groups including 26 structured finance lawyers, ten in corporate, five in real estate and four lawyers in litigation and dispute resolution.

Thacher Proffitt’s chairman of planning committee, Robert McCarthy, said: “This is an extraordinary move for our clients. With financial markets evolving and governments playing for a greater role in the global economy, our move to Sonnenschein gives us the edge to excel with the industry leaders we serve.”

The move comes after widespread speculation about the firm’s fate amid challenging economic conditions.

Last week The Lawyer reported on former Thacher Proffitt partners forming a pressure group to maintain lines of communication with Thacher Proffitt management during merger discussions with King & Spalding (18 December).