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Wolf Block Schorr & Solis-Cohen has done a little spring reorganization with the restructuring of its financial services department. The department will now include commercial lending, bankruptcy and real estate structured finance. According to Richard M. Zucker, who will be the chairman of the restructured department, the firm decided to move things around to accommodate the changing needs of a marketplace that has seen increased liquidity. “There are lots of entities lending money other than banks,” he said. As those entities all start to work in the same place, Zucker said the different practice groups in the department have to work increasingly together. He said the three different practice groups had been collaborating on matters anyway, and it made sense to put them all together. “Today’s good transaction could, unfortunately, be tomorrow’s not-great transaction,” Zucker said. Having the bankruptcy attorneys there in the beginning made sense, he said, because they may have to be there at the end. The three practice groups within the department include: bankruptcy/creditors rights, led by Gretchen M. Santamour; commercial lending, led by Zucker; and real estate structured finance, led by the New York office Managing Partner Abby Wenzel. Zucker is taking over for firm partners Lawrence R. Lesser and Bruce R. Lesser, who were co-chairmen of the previous financial services department. Bruce Lesser said he and his brother had run the department since 1997. He said they brought the business in their practice area to Wolf Block, but it was time for the next generation to become managers. “It was the natural progression of the department,” he said. According to Bruce Lesser, he will continue doing the same thing he always has with the exception of his management duties. Bankruptcy shareholder William H. Schorling of Klett Rooney Lieber & Schorling said his firm is structured similarly to the makeup of Wolf Block’s new department. He said bankruptcy is an area of law that can get moved around from time to time as it moves through different economic cycles. Bankruptcy has aspects of litigation in it, Schorling said, as well as lending, corporate and real estate. “When bankruptcy is active, the people practicing bankruptcy law include people from all the groups,” he said, adding that when it slows down, those same people do work in more specific areas. According to Schorling, early in a bankruptcy cycle when the economy is stronger, lending and workout work is what is most needed. That is where Klett Rooney will be this fall, Schorling said. As the economy starts to turn, the work focuses more on corporate and banking work, sales and some litigation, he said. Once the economy worsens, avoidance actions and a heavy focus on litigation come into play, he said. “There’s no question that all the practices Wolf Block has identified are involved, and then there’s litigation,” Schorling said. Zucker said Wolf Block’s bankruptcy attorneys work on both the transactional and litigation sides. Regardless of how the groups are structured, Schorling said it is important that all the related practice groups communicate and coordinate. Schorling said the strength of these departments really rests on the strength of the manager. David F. Scranton, co-chairman of Stradley Ronon Stevens & Young’s banking practice group, said Wolf Block’s restructuring seemed “logical” to him. He said Stradley Ronon has a similar set-up, but not quite as formal. All of the practice areas that Wolf Block has grouped together are under the umbrella of the business department at Stradley Ronon. It does not matter much, Scranton said, how the attorneys in each section are grouped. “I think it matters the degree to which they are coordinating together,” he said. Putting bankruptcy in the same department as real estate finance and commercial lending made sense to Scranton as well. He said anytime a firm deals with asset-oriented finance, its attorneys would have to take into account bankruptcy issues.

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