Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has hired the co-chair of Mayer Brown's restructuring and bankruptcy practice, Raniero 'Ron' D'Aversa Jr.
D'Aversa - whose book of business is said to exceed $5m (£2.7m) by sources familiar with his work and reputation - will be based out of the New York office of Orrick.
"We had been pursuing Ron off and on for probably a year, and a lot of his clients are the same kinds that we have, particularly in finance," says Roger Frankel, the chairman of Orrick's creditors' rights and bankruptcy group. "It is clear that there will be significant clients moving with him, and we think with [Ron] we'll be able to broaden that to do work for them in the creditors' rights and restructuring areas."
D'Aversa's departure caps a tough past year and a half for Mayer. The 1,423-lawyer firm famously de-equitised 45 partners in March 2007 and subsequently underwent a controversial management change as key partners fled the firm. (In addition to Holzhauer, vice chairmen Paul Maher and Kenneth Geller have also taken firm leadership roles.)
It's been a far different story for 902-lawyer Orrick, which has aggressively pursued strategic lateral hires. In April, the San Francisco-based firm recruited former Hunton & Williams corporate restructuring and insolvency head Mark Fennessy for its London office. Frankel would not reveal some of the details of Monday's announced hire, but several Mayer associates are expected to join D'Aversa at Orrick as well, say sources familiar with the move.
Orrick has been focused on boosting its bankruptcy and creditors' rights group to match the size and stature of its finance practice. A place in the major financial markets is an essential piece in this, so Frankel set his sights on laterals like Fennessy and D'Aversa.
"It would not help us to bring in somebody with a big debtor practice, because we are not going to have [such] a practice," Frankel says. "We needed to find somebody that represented financial institutions and other kinds of funds in order to have it work with our practice, and Ron's reputation preceded him."
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