Old Home: New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore

New Digs: New York office of London’s Allen & Overy, in March 2001

Practice: An M&A heavyweight at Cravath, Cunningham’s book of business includes work for the International Swaps And Derivatives Association Inc. and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Why: In the contest to land the biggest lateral fish, Allen & Overy wins. The firm has openly dismissed Clifford Chance’s method of U.S. expansion through megamerger, choosing instead to grow by smaller bites. Those who doubted the Allen & Overy method will now have to square that view with Cunningham’s move, unheard of at Cravath for generations. For his part, Cunningham expresses nothing but affection for his former firm, describing his 23 years at Cravath as “wonderful.” But it was time for a change. Cunningham wanted a firm that, unlike Cravath, viewed derivatives work as a priority and also had “a better support base internationally.” Since joining last spring, Cunningham has built his own team of Cravath alums at Allen & Overy — Eric Shube and Marun Jazbik (partners at Houston’s Vinson & Elkins); A. Peter Harwich (Unilever PLC); Henry Morgenbesser (White & Case); and Kenneth Rivlin (associate at Cravath, now environmental counsel at Allen & Overy). And Cunningham promises to add to this list in the near future.


Old Home: New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges

New Digs: New York office of Cleveland’s Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, in May 2001

Tag-Alongs: Partners Paul Leake and John Rapisardi came over from Weil Gotshal in August to join Ball as co-heads of Jones Day’s restructuring practice in New York

Practice: A bankruptcy all-star, Ball does it all — debtor and creditor, domestic and international, out-of-court restructurings and in-court proceedings — and has recently worked with such high-profile clients as Globalstar LP, and a major bondholders committee in the Enron Corp. case.

Why: Is there any higher orbit in which a bankruptcy lawyer can travel than Harvey Miller’s at planet Weil? For Ball, a bankruptcy luminary in her own right, the chance to form her own solar system at the New York office of Jones Day had greater gravitational pull.

“I arrived as a force of one,” Ball says of the move last spring, “never doubting that I’d have a group of 10 here.” Ball had reached that goal by the end of 2001, with two more recruits in near sight. She did pluck two Weil partners for her new team but had no intention of causing bad blood by ravaging Miller’s department. “I wanted to start off absolutely on a high note,” she adds. Ball found the more international bent of Jones Day’s practice an asset, noting that in today’s economy the type of clients that need her level of expertise are going to be global. “And it’s important,” she adds, “that you be there for them — in, London, in Frankfurt and in Asia.”

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