The co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s global restructuring and bankruptcy practice is preparing to move to O’Melveny & Myers in New York along with two other shareholders.
Nancy Mitchell, who is also co-managing shareholder for Greenberg’s New York office, will join O’Melveny as a partner on July 2, the firm announced Monday. She will be joined a week later by bankruptcy veteran Maria DiConza, who will be a partner, and Matthew Hinker, who will be of counsel.
The trio has represented Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority in bankruptcy proceedings, and they will continue handling related matters at O’Melveny, which advised the island’s government on its $120 million restructuring, the largest in U.S. history.
Mitchell pointed to the relationship she had built with O’Melveny bankruptcy chair John Rapisardi and other attorneys at the firm while working on the Puerto Rico matter as a major reason she elected to leave Greenberg Traurig after 17 years.
“I appreciate John’s approach to the practice of law,” she said. “I thought everybody there had the right attitude to building a restructuring practice that is truly world-class. And now we’ve got a shot to do that.”
Mitchell also said she believed O’Melveny’s interest in building its capabilities on private equity and municipal restructuring will give the firm an edge in the next economic cycle, once the current expansion comes to an end.
“It is being positioned to capture that,” she said. “I expect a lot of great work in the next cycle.”
Mitchell has 30 years of experience advising debtors in complex corporate restructurings and private equity funds in distressed M&A transactions, and she is also well-versed in municipal and tax-exempt restructurings. Earlier in her career, she served as executive director of the restructuring/leveraged finance team at CIBC World Markets Corp., the investment banking subsidiary of the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.
DiConza has over 20 years of bankruptcy experience, having handled representations in industries including energy, food services, health care and manufacturing. Hinker, who focuses on complex Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings and bankruptcy litigation, is the youngest member of the group.
“It’s my pleasure to welcome Nancy, Maria, and Matthew to the firm,” O’Melveny chair Bradley Butwin said in a statement. “They bring great skill, energy, and leadership to their client work. Very importantly, their goals align with ours: making O’Melveny a restructuring powerhouse that serves the needs of corporate and government clients, including municipal, private equity, and investment fund entities.”
The Greenberg Traurig team’s work in Puerto Rico landed in the national media after Hurricane Maria last fall, when reports emerged that PREPA ignored their advice before signing an expanded contract worth $300 million with a tiny Montana company to repair its damaged power grid.
Mitchell led the team that recommended the state-run power authority be allowed to terminate the deal within 10 days for any breach by the company, Whitefish Energy Holdings. It also recommended that the utility be allowed to seek damages from Whitefish and that the company be required to hold a bond for such a large contract.
“We appreciate Nancy’s service to the firm and our clients. We wish her, Maria and Matt all the best,” Greenberg Traurig CEO Brian Duffy said in an email. “We will continue to work with them on mutual clients. Greenberg Traurig remains committed to our highly regarded and growing global restructuring practice, which is currently 50 lawyers strong.“
With the hires, O’Melveny is restocking its bankruptcy bench after losing restructuring co-chair George Davis to take the same role at Latham & Watkins in March. Davis came to the firm alongside Rapisardi from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft in 2013.