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Enron Corp. is using New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges as its lead bankruptcy counsel. Lawyers from Weil Gotshal filed Chapter 11 pleadings on Dec. 2 on behalf of Houston-based Enron Corp. and 13 of its affiliates. The bankruptcy, the largest domestic bankruptcy ever, was filed in the Southern District of New York. U.S. District Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez signed interim orders authorizing Weil Gotshal’s employment, along with the employment of several firms as special counsel for the debtors, including Houston’s Andrews & Kurth. Because of the size of the bankruptcy, it promises to be a lucrative project for the firms, with Weil Gotshal filing pleadings indicating its hourly rates for partners ranging from $410 to $700 an hour. Andrews & Kurth reports hourly rates for partners from $300 to $550 an hour, and also reports that Enron paid it $13 million over the last year. Weil Gotshal indicates in its application for employment that it was paid about $3.4 million during the same period, and maintains a retainer of about $4 million for the Enron Chapter 11 cases. Other special counsel for Enron include New York’s LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae, and Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering, a Washington, D.C., firm with a New York office that represents a special committee of Enron’s board. Enron has also asked Gonzalez to approve Togut, Segal & Segal of New York as co-counsel with Weil Gotshal. The Weil Gotshal restructuring team is led by partners Martin J. Bienenstock and Brian S. Rosen, both of New York, Houston partner Melanie Gray, Dallas partner Martin A. Sosland, and associates Sylvia Baker and Shayne Newell, both of Houston, and Kelli Walsh of Dallas. Enron’s counsel from Andrews & Kurth includes partners Hugh Ray, Jeffrey Spiers and David Runnels, all from Houston, and David Barbour of Dallas. In New York, it’s partner Peter Goodman and associate Richard Baumfield. Spiers says he and Weil Gotshal’s Gray have been working at Enron’s offices in downtown Houston doing “just a lot of blocking and tackling to make sure that things get taken care of” with the Enron entities that did not seek protection from creditors. “We will be over there helping to work through [matters with] the business units that are still operating, to make sure, in conjunction with the advice they are getting from Weil, to know what’s good protocol and bad protocol operating in bankruptcy,” Spiers says. A call to Gray was referred to Bienenstock, who did not return three telephone messages by press time on Dec. 6. Enron is also using lawyers from Weil Gotshal in the adversary action it filed on Dec. 2 against Dynegy Inc., the Houston company that backed out of a Nov. 9 agreement to acquire Enron. Enron seeks $10 billion in damages in the suit, Enron Corp. v. Dynegy Inc., alleging Dynegy wrongfully terminated the merger agreement. Enron also seeks a declaratory judgment that Dynegy has no right to exercise an option to acquire Northern Natural Gas Co. Bienenstock, Rosen and Greg Danilow, a partner in Weil Gotshal’s New York headquarters, filed the adversary action. Others working on the suit are Gray and New York partners Richard Rothman, Richard Levine and Timothy E. Hoeffner. Dynegy lawyers for the bankruptcy include H. Rey Stroube III, a partner in the Houston office of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld and head of the firm’s financial restructuring group, and New York partners Daniel Golden and Ira Dizengoff. John Herbert, senior vice president and general counsel for Dynegy Marketing and Trade, has also signed initial pleadings. B. Daryl Bristow, a partner in Baker Botts in Houston, is representing Dynegy in litigation filed over the ownership of Northern Natural Gas. Others from Baker Botts include partners Paul Elliott and associate Rebecca Robertson and Amy Douthitt Maddux. Bristow says Baker Botts is working with lawyers from New York’s Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, including partners Steven Rosenfeld and Jeh Johnson, Marc Falcone, who was elected partner effective Jan. 1, 2002, and associates Steven Rawlings, Patrick Walsh and Susanna Buergel. Paul Weiss lawyers, including partner Stephen Shimshak and associates James Millar and Claudia Tobler, are working on the bankruptcy for Dynegy. Many of the firms are familiar players. Weil Gotshal negotiated Enron’s deal with Dynegy, along with longtime Enron outside counsel Vinson & Elkins of Houston, while Dynegy used lawyers from Baker Botts and Akin Gump.

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