Luc A. Despins, well-known in the profession for his representation of the creditors' committee in the bankruptcy of Enron Corp., is the latest marquee name to be poached as firms rush to ramp up restructuring practices in response to the worsening economy.
The Quebec-born Despins, 48, has also represented the creditors' committee for failed commodity brokerage Refco Inc., and has had roles in several other major bankruptcies.
Milbank declined to comment on Despins' departure but said in a statement: "Our Financial Restructuring Department continues to be one of the very finest in the world, led as it has been for the last year by Dennis Dunne, one of the three members of the Firm's Global Executive Committee, who was joined last month by Paul Aronzon in Los Angeles as co-practice group leader." Paul Hastings did not return calls seeking comment.
A number of firms have recently sought to boost their bankruptcy practices with high-profile laterals. Weil, Gotshal & Manges lost former practice co-head Martin Bienenstock to Dewey & LeBoeuf and several other partners to Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Despite these losses, however, Weil Gotshal scored the role of debtor's counsel in the Chapter 11 filing of Lehman Brothers, the largest bankruptcy filing ever. Likewise, Milbank is representing Lehman's creditors' committee with a team led by Dunne. Both Dunne and Despins were themselves laterally recruited from Kirkland & Ellis, another bankruptcy powerhouse, a decade ago.