Next week Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz will take a step toward making its executive compensation and benefits practice whole again.
After losing two partners in recent months, the firm has quietly hired Michael Segal, the former co-head of executive compensation and benefits at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, who will start on Monday.
The move is an unusual one for Wachtell, which has rarely sought out lateral partners. In the firm's 42-year history, just two other partners have lateraled into the firm.
In 1997 antitrust partner Ilene Knable Gotts joined from Foley & Lardner.
And in 1977, tax specialist Peter Canellos (now of counsel) joined as a partner from Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Daniel Neff, co-chair of Wachtell's executive committee, declined to provide details about the Segal hire, but did confirm that it was a rare event for the firm.
Wachtell didn't go out of its way to advertise the move. The firm did not issue a press release regarding the hire of Segal. And beyond confirming that he will start at Wachtell on Monday, Segal declined to comment, citing Wachtell policy. (A single line about the move did appear in a New York Times column in late March.)
The firm apparently needed the hire. Wachtell has lost two executive compensation partners in the last five months.
In February, former Wachtell partner Adam Chinn -- whose work at securing rich compensation packages for top executives became known on Wall Street as a "Chinn Up" -- announced his departure to Centerview Partners LLC, a startup investment banking boutique. His departure came on the heels of a decision by executive compensation partner Michael Katzke at the end of 2006 to leave Wall Street altogether and pursue a career in social work.
According to the firm's Web site, Jeannemarie O'Brien is the firm's lone executive compensation partner.