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Willkie Finance Chair Joins Ropes & Gray in New York

Oct. 7, 2019, 4:51 PM

The chair of Willkie Farr & Gallagher’s finance practice group, Leonard Klingbaum, and partner Andrea Hwang have joined Ropes & Gray as its newest partners in New York.

The pair have worked financing transactions for credit and hedge funds, private equity firms as well as public and private companies, according to a firm statement announcing their addition. Their arrival also expands Ropes & Gray’s global financing capabilities.

“Their experience is a natural fit for our clients, including the private investment firms and direct lenders, financial institutions and companies that our team already guides through complex financings, restructurings and securitizations,” Stefanie Birkmann, co-chair of Ropes & Gray’s global finance practice, said in a statement.

Klingbaum for over 20 years has represented lenders and borrowers in a multitude of transactions, including stressed and distressed financings as well as companies involved in Chapter 11 proceedings and restructurings.

Klingbaum began his legal career as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in 1999. He then jumped to Kirkland & Ellis, where he was a partner in its corporate finance practice. He left in 2014 for a brief stint at McDermott Will & Emery before joining Willkie in October of that year.

Klingbaum was a part of the Willkie team that represented French geophysical services company CGG in its restructuring plan completed in 2018 which was the largest in French history and the first-ever successful coordination of French insolvency proceedings with a Chapter 11 case.

Hwang represents private equity sponsors, private credit funds and public and private companies in a variety of transactions including acquisitions financings, recapitalizations and refinancings.

Hwang joined Willkie in 2016 as an associate following more than eight years at Proskauer Rose. She became a partner earlier this year in the firm’s corporate financial services department.

The arrival of Klingbaum and Hwang proceeds several notable additions for the firm in New York.

It added White & Case private equity partner Carolyn Vardi and Dechert IP transactions partner Violetta Kokolus earlier this year. Last month, the firm added Kirkland & Ellis business restructuring partner Cristine Pirro Schwarzman to its New York restructuring practice.

To contact the reporter on this story: Meghan Tribe in New York at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at; Rebekah Mintzer at