(Photo: Michael Rivera via Wikimedia Commons)

The retail bankruptcy wave of 2017 claimed another victim Tuesday as Payless ShoeSource Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in St. Louis, blaming sliding sales and spiraling debt.

Three Am Law 200 firms have scored lead roles for Topeka, Kansas-based Payless, which is one of the world’s largest shoe retailers. The company listed between $1 billion and $10 billion in liabilities against assets ranging from $500 million to $1 billion in its bankruptcy filing. Payless hopes to shed up to 50 percent of its debt in Chapter 11 proceedings.

Kirkland & Ellis, which advised private equity firms Blum Capital Partners LP and Golden Gate Capital LP on their $2 billion acquisition of former Payless parent Collective Brands in 2012, has taken the lead for the company in its bankruptcy case. Kirkland bankruptcy bigwig James Sprayregen is working with restructuring partners Nicole Greenblatt and William Guerrieri and litigation partners Mark McKane and Michael Esser in representing Payless. (Kirkland restructuring associate Cristine Pirro—daughter of former judge and current Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro—is also working on the matter.)

Sprayregen, who rejoined Kirkland in late 2008 after nearly three years at The Goldman Sachs Group Inc., is also part of a team of lawyers that grabbed a lead role last month representing high-end women’s fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group LLC on its bankruptcy in New York. Kirkland received roughly $2 million from BCBG in the two months prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing, according to court records. Kirkland partners in that matter are billing between $995 and $1,745 per hour for their services, of counsel between $645 and $1,595, and associates at hourly rates ranging from $555 to $1,015. BCBG has started to close some stores.

In the Payless matter, Kirkland has listed the same hourly rates for its lawyers. Sprayregen’s hourly rate is not itemized, but such information is noted for Greenblatt ($1,245); McKane ($1,175); Guerrieri ($1,055); Pirro ($955) and several other associates. In its application for employment in the case, Kirkland states that it has advised Payless since 2012 and that since January it has received roughly $3 million from Payless. The company has also paid more than $4.7 million to Kirkland over the past year.

Steven Cousins ($630), founder of the financial restructuring, reorganization and bankruptcy practice at Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis, is serving as local counsel to Payless. The firm states in its application for employment in the Chapter 11 case that its partners are billing between $335 to $660, of counsel $300 to $575 and associates at rates ranging from $225 to 405. Payless paid $307,000 to Armstrong Teasdale prior to its bankruptcy filing.

Munger, Tolles & Olson is serving as conflicts counsel to Payless through financial restructuring partners Thomas Walper ($1,225), Kevin Allred ($875) and Seth Goldman ($825). Partners from the firm are billing between $735 to $1,300 per hour, of counsel between $735 and $1,025 and associates at rates ranging from $410 to $725. Payless has paid a $200,000 retainer to Munger Tolles, according to a declaration by Goldman.

Payless, whose general counsel is Robert Donohoo, has also hired leading Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt to advise the company on matters related to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Payless, which has lined up $120 million in debtor-in-possession financing, plans to close 400 of its 4,400 stores as part of its reorganization plan.

Last week another retailer, hunting goods purveyor Robinson Outdoors Products LLC, filed for bankruptcy in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The company, maker of the ScentBlocker brand of clothing and scent-masking products, listed in its Chapter 11 filing legal debts of $859,418.27 to Dorsey & Whitney, $32,239.43 to Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Warner Norcross & Judd and $17,885.74 to Wayzata, Minnesota-based Mahoney Anderson. (The latter once made headlines for one of its namesake’s business cards.)

Dorsey & Whitney and Warner Norcross have been representing Robinson Outdoor in litigation with rival ALS Enterprises Inc. A $3.8 million judgment against Robinson Outdoors in that false advertising dispute was vacated by a Michigan federal court in January.

The retail bankruptcy wave of 2017 claimed another victim Tuesday as Payless ShoeSource Inc. filed for Chapter 11 protection in St. Louis, blaming sliding sales and spiraling debt.

Three Am Law 200 firms have scored lead roles for Topeka, Kansas-based Payless, which is one of the world’s largest shoe retailers. The company listed between $1 billion and $10 billion in liabilities against assets ranging from $500 million to $1 billion in its bankruptcy filing. Payless hopes to shed up to 50 percent of its debt in Chapter 11 proceedings.

Kirkland & Ellis , which advised private equity firms Blum Capital Partners LP and Golden Gate Capital LP on their $2 billion acquisition of former Payless parent Collective Brands in 2012, has taken the lead for the company in its bankruptcy case. Kirkland bankruptcy bigwig James Sprayregen is working with restructuring partners Nicole Greenblatt and William Guerrieri and litigation partners Mark McKane and Michael Esser in representing Payless. (Kirkland restructuring associate Cristine Pirro—daughter of former judge and current Fox News personality Jeanine Pirro—is also working on the matter.)

Sprayregen, who rejoined Kirkland in late 2008 after nearly three years at The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. , is also part of a team of lawyers that grabbed a lead role last month representing high-end women’s fashion house BCBG Max Azria Group LLC on its bankruptcy in New York . Kirkland received roughly $2 million from BCBG in the two months prior to the company’s Chapter 11 filing, according to court records. Kirkland partners in that matter are billing between $995 and $1,745 per hour for their services, of counsel between $645 and $1,595, and associates at hourly rates ranging from $555 to $1,015. BCBG has started to close some stores.

In the Payless matter, Kirkland has listed the same hourly rates for its lawyers. Sprayregen’s hourly rate is not itemized, but such information is noted for Greenblatt ($1,245); McKane ($1,175); Guerrieri ($1,055); Pirro ($955) and several other associates. In its application for employment in the case, Kirkland states that it has advised Payless since 2012 and that since January it has received roughly $3 million from Payless. The company has also paid more than $4.7 million to Kirkland over the past year.

Steven Cousins ($630), founder of the financial restructuring, reorganization and bankruptcy practice at Armstrong Teasdale in St. Louis, is serving as local counsel to Payless. The firm states in its application for employment in the Chapter 11 case that its partners are billing between $335 to $660, of counsel $300 to $575 and associates at rates ranging from $225 to 405. Payless paid $307,000 to Armstrong Teasdale prior to its bankruptcy filing.

Munger, Tolles & Olson is serving as conflicts counsel to Payless through financial restructuring partners Thomas Walper ($1,225), Kevin Allred ($875) and Seth Goldman ($825). Partners from the firm are billing between $735 to $1,300 per hour, of counsel between $735 and $1,025 and associates at rates ranging from $410 to $725. Payless has paid a $200,000 retainer to Munger Tolles , according to a declaration by Goldman.

Payless, whose general counsel is Robert Donohoo, has also hired leading Canadian firm Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt to advise the company on matters related to the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act. Payless, which has lined up $120 million in debtor-in-possession financing, plans to close 400 of its 4,400 stores as part of its reorganization plan.

Last week another retailer, hunting goods purveyor Robinson Outdoors Products LLC, filed for bankruptcy in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The company, maker of the ScentBlocker brand of clothing and scent-masking products, listed in its Chapter 11 filing legal debts of $859,418.27 to Dorsey & Whitney , $32,239.43 to Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Warner Norcross & Judd and $17,885.74 to Wayzata, Minnesota-based Mahoney Anderson. (The latter once made headlines for one of its namesake’s business cards.)

Dorsey & Whitney and Warner Norcross have been representing Robinson Outdoor in litigation with rival ALS Enterprises Inc. A $3.8 million judgment against Robinson Outdoors in that false advertising dispute was vacated by a Michigan federal court in January.