After hiring a trio of partners from Sidley Austin including the co-leaders of its bankruptcy practice earlier this month, White & Case has picked up another pair of restructuring lawyers from Sidley.
Sidley partner Andrew O’Neill and associate Matthew Linder are joining White & Case as a partner and counsel, respectively, in its financial restructuring and insolvency practice in Chicago, adding firepower to the firm in a practice that’s in high demand due to the economic effects of Covid-19.
On Oct. 1, White & Case announced it would bring on Jessica Boelter and Bojan Guzina, who had been co-leaders of Sidley’s restructuring group. It also hired litigator Michael Andolina, deputy group head of Sidley’s Chicago litigation group.
O’Neill, who joined Sidley following his law school graduation in 2005, focuses on complex corporate restructurings and reorganizations, both in and out-of-court, as well as other distressed situations. He also represents debtors, senior lenders, unsecured creditors, and purchasers of assets.
The reasons for joining White & Case were many, O’Neill said in an interview with Bloomberg Law, from its reach to its existing restructuring practice, which is currently representing Hertz Global Holdings, Inc. in its Chapter 11 restructuring. But knowing that he, along with the Sidley colleagues who made the jump earlier, could continue to do the work they do, which is primarily on the company-side, in an expansion area for White & Case “was just a terrific opportunity,” he said.
“What the White & Case restructuring group is trying to do and the way it’s trying to expand fits perfectly with what I bring to the table and with what my colleagues coming over bring to the table,” O’Neill said.
O’Neill has worked on Chapter 11 bankruptcies for the likes of auto parts manufacturer Maremont Corp., Key Energy Services, electric company Dynegy Holdings, and newspaper group Lee Enterprises. He also has worked on the mass torts side, representing, along with Boelter, the Boy Scouts of America in its Chapter 11 case.
“Adding Andrew is an important next step in our plan to continue building out and expanding our on-the-ground capabilities in Chicago and to provide cross-disciplinary expertise in financial restructuring, M&A, financing and litigation,” executive partner of White & Case’s Chicago office, which opened in 2018, Eugene Leone in a statement.
Sidley did not immediately respond to a request for comment about O’Neill’s departure.
Restructuring lawyers continue to be in high demand in the lateral market due to the pandemic and the limited number of Big Law attorneys experienced in guiding large companies through bankruptcy.
O’Neill said his practice continues to very busy and expects there to be quite a bit of work on the company side and in other roles that flow from company-side distress.
“We expect it to continue to be very busy for the foreseeable future and we’re absolutely looking to capitalize on that in terms of generating new and more company side representation,” he said.
White & Case has been aggressively expanding in key practice areas in recent months, despite the coronavirus pandemic. It picked up a four-lawyer group from Winston & Strawn that specialize in now highly-popular special purchase acquisitions companies, or SPACs. The firm also added former co-chair of the national trial practice at Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan Tara Lee and former Holland & Knight M&A partner Germaine Gurr.