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James Woolery Joins Cadwalader

James Woolery left Cravath, Swaine & Moore in January of 2011 to join its client, JPMorgan Chase. Now, via The New York Times, he has left the bank to join Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. He will work as the firm’s first deputy chairman, according to The Am Law Daily.

Woolery will be responsible for helping the Mergers and Acquisitions practice recharge after senior partner Dennis Block left in September of 2011. He will also work as the co-chair of the corporate department. In that position he will be in charge of business development, strategy, and external relations.

Woolery began work at the firm on Monday in its Manhattan office. Woolery said the following about the switch:

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“This move was about an opportunity to drive an organization that was very well thought out and well planned.”

Cadwalader chairman W. Christopher White said, “Jim Woolery is the epitome of the Cadwalader lawyer—an exceptional legal mind that can fashion practical business solutions to complex legal problems. Jim brings more than two decades of experience advising corporations and boards on the most important business challenges facing them. His arrival at Cadwalader adds to our already strong corporate capabilities.”

In a press release from the firm, Woolery said, “Joining Cadwalader allows me to return to the practice of law while continuing to advise CEOs, general counsels and boards of directors on critical issues relating to corporate strategy and business risk. Cadwalader’s rich history of combining leading legal and regulatory counsel with a deep understanding of business operations and strategy will allow us to continue to meet increasingly complex client needs in an evolving market environment. I feel energized and humbled to have the opportunity to join the partnership and work with the firm’s stellar team of lawyers. I deeply value the time I have spent at JPMorgan, and look forward to the opportunity to continue to work with my colleagues there.”

Woolery credited Mark Rosen with his move to Cadwalader. Rosen is the CEO of Mark Bruce International, an executive search firm. “I wasn’t looking to join a traditional firm with a staid or clubby atmosphere,” says Woolery.

“I have great respect for Cravath—I grew up at that firm—and that is something I wouldn’t consider,” Woolery said. “This is not about ‘eat-what-you-kill’ versus lockstep. Lockstep is [just] not the model we use to attract and retain the best talent in the competitive market.”

Woolery joined Cravath back in 1994 as a summer associate. He became partner at the firm in 2002.

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