Boies Schiller Flexner has hired two bankruptcy partners, Lawrence Brandman in New York and Neil Pigott in London, only briefly staunching the trend of partners departing the firm as former executive committee member Robert Cooper also defected for King & Spalding.
Bankruptcy partners have been in high demand as businesses struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and ensuing shutdowns.
Brandman has spent the past decade as head of derivatives bankruptcy strategy for Lehman Brothers Holdings, resolving disputes related to unwinding the bankrupt investment bank’s complex assets. He helped recover “billions of dollars” as lead negotiator in more than 500 derivatives and mortgage-related mediations, Boies Schiller said in a statement.
Pigott was a Boies Schiller counsel from 2017 to 2018 before joining Nomura International, where was executive director for distressed special situations. He was formerly a partner in the bankruptcy practice of Brown Rudnick and an executive director at Morgan Stanley.
“We identified bankruptcy as a key practice area for the firm last year, and this has become even more important since the pandemic struck in March,” Boies Schiller co-managing partners Nick Gravante and Natasha Harrison said in a joint statement. “Larry and Neil are exactly the right lawyers to help us meet this challenge.”
Boies Schiller has seen more than 35 partners depart since the start of February, according to data from Leopard Solutions. The firm also tapped government funding earlier this year through the Paycheck Protection Program. Boies Schiller was a recipient of between $5 million and $10 million in coronavirus aid loans, according to federal records released last week.
Boies Schiller confirmed its most recent attorney exit Monday when the firm said it was losing Washington-based antitrust partner Cooper, who joined in 2003. Cooper had represented clients including American Express and Delta Air Lines, according to his law firm bio, and had served on the firm’s executive committee. Atlanta-founded King & Spalding confirmed Cooper would be joining the firm at a future date.
“Bob’s practice and his client-base are a close match for our firm and his antitrust trial experience provides added breadth and depth to our own antitrust trial practice,” Andy Bayman, head of King & Spalding’s trials and global disputes practice, said in a statement. “His range of experience encompasses the spectrum of trial, investigatory, and transactional representation, meaning he can offer holistic options and solutions for clients on their most critical legal matters with the support that our global platform provides.”
Boies Schiller’s Harrison, in a statement, wished Cooper “the very best.”
King & Spalding has been a major beneficiary of the Boies Schiller partner exodus. The firm has hired nearly 20 former Boies Schiller partners, including more than a dozen in California. Its most recent partner pickup last month included Damien Marshall, a former member of a four-person management committee at Boies Schiller, who has counted The Bank of New York Mellon, American Express, and HSBC among his clients.
Gravante and Harrison in April told the Financial Times the firm is making an effort to focus on its clients’ most important cases and to develop more business outside of founder and famed trial lawyer David Boies’ practice.
Last month, the firm announced it had hired two partners with Justice Department backgrounds in Washington-based Lauren Bell and Los Angeles-based John Kucera.
Brandman and Pigott noted Boies Schiller’s reputation in negotiating distressed situations as reasons they joined.
“I am privileged to become a part of this legendary firm, with its incredible clients, and look forward to helping develop its business,” Brandman said in a statement.