For decades, Weil, Gotshal & Manges‘ bankruptcy department was as dominant as the Roman legion. Its legendary partner, Harvey Miller, helped make the practice respectable and profitable. Even as other firms jumped in, Weil Gotshal’s market position seemed unassailable; for example, it handled the Chapter 11 proceedings of Enron Corp. and WorldCom, Inc., simultaneously.

But Weil Gotshal’s once-proud department has suffered important partner losses lately. The most recent came in November, when its co-head, Martin Bienenstock, a lifer with 30 years at the firm, left for Dewey & LeBoeuf. His departure, beyond hurting Weil Gotshal’s status as a dominant player in the field, has revealed a rift within Weil about the future of the bankruptcy practice and how the firm should meet it.

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