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Steptoe Hires McDermott Partner to Lead Bankruptcy Practice

June 11, 2020, 9:01 PM

Steptoe & Johnson hired McDermott Will and Emery bankruptcy partner Jeff Reisner to lead the firm’s insolvency and restructuring practice.

Reisner, who will be based in Steptoe’s Los Angeles and New York offices, was global co-head of McDermott’s restructuring and insolvency group. He plans to grow the firm’s practice to include foreign investors, creditors and debtors impacted by foreign debtors filing for bankruptcy in the United States.

The lateral move comes as Big Law firms gear up for an expected surge in bankruptcies caused by the economic collapses during the coronavirus pandemic. Many firms have been rearranging and deepening their bankruptcy benches in recent months.

“The economic impact of the pandemic has already dramatically increased the demand for bankruptcy and work-out services, and that demand is likely to continue to remain high for the foreseeable future,” Steptoe chair Phil West said in a statement.

Skilled bankruptcy lawyers are now among the most in-demand in the legal market, with some even coming out of retirement for the crisis.

O’Melveny & Myers partner Suzzanne Uhland joined Latham & Watkins, while Stroock & Stroock & Lavan hired partner Allison Miller from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. This month, Paul Weiss hired Latham & Watkins’ restructuring partner Andrew Parlen to its New York office, and Adam Rogoff joined O’Melveny’s New York office from Kramer Levin.

While the coronavirus pandemic has impacted all segments of the economy, retailers have been particularly hard-hit.

Kirkland & Ellis, which is so far leading the pack in coronavirus-related bankruptcy work, has already brought in nearly $100 million this year representing distressed retailers and other large public companies, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis. J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Pier 1 Imports are all among the firm’s brand-name clients.

Weil Gotshal is representing J. Crew’s parent company, Chinos Holdings, and Haynes & Boone, a Texas-based law firm, is representing discount retailer Tuesday Morning Corp.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephanie Russell-Kraft in New York at srussellkraft@gmail.com

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