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Winston Adds Head of McDermott’s Restructuring Practice (1)

July 20, 2021, 10:20 AM; Updated: July 20, 2021, 5:18 PM

Winston & Strawn is bringing aboard McDermott Will & Emery’s Tim Walsh to serve as its new global chair of restructuring and insolvency in New York.

Walsh, the global co-head of McDermott’s restructuring and insolvency practice, works with clients on all aspects of restructuring transactions. The former LeBoeuf Lamb Greene & MacRae attorney joined McDermott in 2012 after more than 11 years at DLA Piper, where he served as vice chair of the firm’s restructuring practice group.

Demand for restructuring transactions is expected to pick up in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic as courts reopen.

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed how corporate restructurings are managed from a legal perspective,” said Winston chairman Tom Fitzgerald in a statement. “Tim’s insight will be essential as we help our clients navigate pathways to stability and growth during this critical period of recovery.”

Walsh has regularly represented debtors in possession, creditors’ committees, trustees, secured and unsecured creditors, insurance companies, domestic and foreign lenders, and corporate clients in a wide array of bankruptcy matters.

He recently represented international fuel bunker supplier O.W. Bunker Germany GmbH in Chapter 15 proceedings and connected litigation, as well as four of the five world’s largest intermodal shipping container lessors in the Chapter 15 case of Hanjin Shipping Co., Ltd. Walsh also represented Affirmative Insurance Holdings, Inc. and ProNerve Holdings in their Chapter 11 cases.

Winston presents a lot of opportunities in restructuring, given its diverse client base and the leadership’s commitment to the team, Walsh said in an interview with Bloomberg Law.

“It’s an opportunity for me to come and help grow the practice,” Walsh said, noting that the expansion “should happen pretty quickly and pretty easily.”

Walsh said the firm is looking to grow the restruturing group in the U.S., particularly in New York, Chicago, Texas, and on the West Coast. It is looking to expand internationally as well, as there will be many cross-border opportunities that will likely present themselves in the near future, he said.

Though activity in the restructuring space right now is somewhat slow, Walsh said he expects to see more corporate defaults as banks and lenders get more aggressive as the effects of the stimulus package play out, leading to a greater need for corporate restructurings both in and out of court.

Law firms expected to see litigation and bankruptcy and financial restructuring as primary drivers of growth moving into 2021, according to a study released earlier this year by Citi Private Bank Law Firm Group and Hildebrandt Consulting.

“While many restructuring transactions have been placed on hold due to court backlogs and continued government assistance, there is a critical demand for strategic legal counsel among companies that are distressed,” Jonathan Birenbaum, managing partner of Winston’s New York office, said in a statement.

“Tim is a welcome addition to our restructuring team as we continue to meet this demand.”

Walsh is just the latest addition to Winston & Strawn, which is keen to expand its footprint outside its Chicago roots and litigation prowess.

The firm picked up 15 lawyers from boutique commercial litigation firm Scheper Kim & Harris and three partners from Sidley Austin in February to build out its Los Angeles office earlier this year. The firm also added Kirkland & Ellis leveraged finance partner Rachel Gray, DLA Piper M&A partner Khoa Do in Silicon Valley and Fish & Richardson IP and commercial litigator Kelly Hunsaker.

(Updated with comment from Walsh in paragraphs 7-10)

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at mtribe@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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