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Pillsbury Hires Insolvency Partner Duo as Part of Strategy

Aug. 4, 2020, 7:20 PM

Pillsbury has hired two insolvency and restructuring partners in New York as part of a long-term plan to grow its bankruptcy practice that the firm says predates the coronavirus’ negative effects on the economy.

Pillsbury announced Monday it hired as partners John Pintarelli from Morrison & Foerster and Patrick Fitzmaurice from Troutman Pepper, which until July 1 was two separate firms, Troutman Sanders and Pepper Hamilton.

The lateral pickup follows the April hire of another bankruptcy duo in San Francisco: Joshua Morse from DLA Piper and Jonathan Doolittle from Reed Smith.

Many Big Law firms have been trying to scoop up top bankruptcy talent as the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn have triggered a wave of corporate bankruptcies across the United States.

Commercial Chapter 11 filings rose 26% in the first half of 2020, and law firm job postings increased 17 percent from mid-March to the end of July, Bloomberg Law previously reported.

But Pillsbury’s newest lateral hires “were not short-term reactions to the Covid-19 crisis,” according to Leo Crowley, head of the firm’s insolvency and restructuring practice. He said in a statement the firm is making a “long-term play.”

“With the arrival of Josh and Jon in April and now Patrick and John in New York, we continue to make good on the plan we embarked on a year and a half ago to expand our insolvency and restructuring offerings nationwide,” Crowley said.

Pintarelli represents debtors and creditors in complex domestic and international bankruptcy matters, including judicial and out-of-court restructurings. He also represents foreign liquidators and administrators in cross-border insolvency proceedings and Chapter 15 cases. He spent 13 years as a banker at The Bank of New York before becoming an attorney.

Fitzmaurice represents lenders and creditors in a wide range of bankruptcy matters, with a specific focus on investment banks and other financial institutions, as well as distressed real estate. He also represents clients on fraudulent transfer and other types of avoidance litigation matters.

Pillsbury is not the only law firm to begin thinking about its bankruptcy practice before the pandemic, since analysts have been predicting a cyclical economic slowdown for the past year. Several other firms, including Lowenstein Sandler, Latham & Watkins, and Kirkland & Ellis, have also said they began growing their bankruptcy practices last year.

Since the pandemic hit the U.S. the focus on bankruptcy has noticeably accelerated, however, with some firms reassigning attorneys to bankruptcy work and “retooling” newer lawyers to meet rising demand.

Like Pillsbury they’ve also looked to bring on talent from competitors.

On Tuesday, Haynes and Boone announced that it had hired corporate restructuring partner Richard S. Kanowitz from Cooley, where he spent two decades representing debtors and creditors in a slew of bankruptcy matters

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com
To contact the editor on this story: Rebekah Mintzer in New York at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com
Chris Opfer in New York at copfer@bloomberglaw.com

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