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Prominent bankruptcy partner G. Larry Engel is leaving Morgan, Lewis & Bockius to join his former colleagues at White & Case.

Engel joined Morgan, Lewis last year following the collapse of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison, where he had spent his entire legal career. While many of his longtime partners opted to stay together at Morgan, Lewis, Engel said the eight members of his finance group went to White & Case.

“I wasn’t able to replace them or recruit them back to Morgan,” Engel said. “I just missed my team.”

Engel joined Brobeck in 1972 after graduating from Northwestern University School of Law. After the firm dissolved, he served as an adviser to the liquidation committee. His practice focuses on bankruptcy, insurance insolvency, workouts, restructurings, leveraged buyouts and finance matters.

Among his recent cases Engel represented the city of Palo Alto municipal utility in its opposition to PG&E Corp.’s bankruptcy plans and assisted Wells Fargo Bank in its opposition to WorldCom Inc.’s reorganization plans. He also recently completed Redback Networks Inc.’s Chapter 11 reorganization and represented Norwest Venture Partners in acquiring and restarting the bankrupt telecommunications company Yipes Communications, which is now Yipes Enterprise Services Inc.

Engel said he is now spending a lot of time “bankruptcy-proofing” transactions to protect a company from losses if its joint venture partner fails.

White & Case has more than 1,700 lawyers in 37 offices worldwide. The firm opened in San Francisco three years ago and now has 40 lawyers combined in its San Francisco and Palo Alto offices.

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