The law firm of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman announced that it has grabbed three bankruptcy partners from the firm of Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft. The group of three includes former financial restructuring co-chair Deryck Palmer of Cadwalader. The other two partners joining Palmer include Andrew Troop and Christopher Mirick. All three of the partners will be based in New York.
Palmer joined Cadwalader in March of 2007 from Weil Gotshal & Manges, a move that Palmer made along with Troop and Weil partners George Davis and John Rapisardi. Palmer became the co-chair of the law firm’s bankruptcy group alongside Bruce Zirinsky, who left the firm in June of 2009 for Greenburg Traurig.
Palmer served as one of the lead counsels for the U.S. Treasury in the restructuring of General Motors. He also represented the Detroit school system in its restructuring and was in charge of the team from Cadwalader that worked on the LyondellBasell Chemical bankruptcy case. During the Lyondell case, Cadwalader pulled in $90 million in legal fees and expenses. Palmer billed at $1,050 per hour, Troop billed at $850 an hour, and Mirick billed at $700 an hour.
James Rishwain, the chairman for Pillsbury, said that the firm has wanted to bolster its insolvency practice in New York for quite some time now. He said the group of partners “are an elite, dynamic group, and position us to compete to secure the most significant bankruptcy and insolvency matters that arise in the country.”
“It was a competitive landscape to get them,” he says. “They were highly pursued by many firms.”
Palmer claims that he was drawn to Pillsbury’s focus on real estate, health care, and energy matters.
“That’s not meant as a comparison to any other firm,” says Palmer. “Pillsbury is a firm that’s up and coming, and it’s exciting to be involved in a firm that’s growing and expanding its platform.”
“Apollo Health Street announced that they’ll be coming over [to Pillsbury],” he says. “I’m sure there will be others.”
In 2010, Cadwalader had average partner profits of $2.39 million compared to average partner profits of $1.05 million for Pillsbury in 2010. Palmer said that there is no concern with the money gap for him.
“If you’re looking at things long term, which I am, [Pillsbury] provides an exciting opportunity for me to do challenging work and to be compensated fairly.”
Palmer, Mirick, and Troop were wished well by a statement released by Cadwalader that also thanked them for their service. The firm appointed George Davis as co-chair of the financial restructuring group along with Palmer and Rapisardi two weeks ago, which was perhaps a pre-emptive strike to Palmer leaving.
“We have a huge focus on New York, and we’ve done a really solid job of positioning ourselves there,” says Rishwain. “I think we’ve elevated our group across all fronts.”