Senior leveraged finance partner John Cobb is heading to Paul Hastings from Weil, Gotshal & Manges, marking the 36th partner departure from Weil in the past six months, and the 15th in just the last three months alone, according to reporting by The American Lawyer.
Paul Hastings confirmed Cobb’s move Monday afternoon. His official start date is not yet set, the firm says.
Based in New York, Cobb, 45, joined Weil from Dewey & LeBoeuf, where he was chair of the leveraged finance practice. His departure from Dewey in March of 2012 came a week before a linchpin insurance group led by Alexander Dye left the firm, escalating the exodus to a crisis. Prior to Dewey, Cobb had been a partner at Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy until May 2009.
At the time of Cobb’s hire at Weil, global finance practice head Daniel Dokos noted the firm’s intention to grow its institutional leveraged finance capabilities. Dokos in a statement called Cobb a practitioner “in high esteem in the marketplace,” touting that his hire would “add depth and stature to our team.”
Calls and emails to Cobb and Dokos had not been returned at press time. A Weil spokesperson confirmed that Cobb is leaving the firm but noted two recent hires to its global finance practice: Courtney Marcus in Dallas and Chris McLaughlin in London. “Weil’s Global Finance Practice is consistently top ranked and has more than 125 banking & finance and capital markets partners and associates in our offices worldwide,” the spokesperson said in an emailed statement.
Weil’s partner losses began to mount last October, when eight in Dallas announced that they were joining Sidley Austin. Ultimately 31 lawyers left together en masse, including a top-of-the-line commercial litigator and former Weil management committee member Yvette Ostolaza, who former colleagues say was among the highest-compensated at Weil, as well as banking and finance cohead Angela Fontana, who was one compensation tier below. Also in October, four litigation partners left the Houston office for Winston & Strawn, including John Strasburger.
Those departures came after a series of shake-ups at the firm. Last June, Weil announced plans to lay off 60 associates and 110 staff members and to cut compensation of about 10 percent of its 334 partners. In a speech to the partnership and in an emailed memo distributed firmwide, Barry Wolf, the executive partner and chair of Weil’s management committee, said that the firm was also looking to scale back its complex commercial litigation practice, according to our past reports, and to “deemphasize” its Houston office.
Another significant loss came in December when a Washington, D.C.-based patent disputes group including Ronald Pabis, Mark Davis, and Stephen Shahida left for Greenberg Traurig. All are experienced in handling patent disputes before the U.S. International Trade Commission, a burgeoning elite practice area.