Howard Goldwasser and Skanthan Vivekananda, Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe. Courtesy photos

Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe has added a bi-coastal team of structured finance lawyers who specialize in collateralized loan obligations, hiring former Arnold & Porter partners Howard Goldwasser and Skanthan Vivekananda in New York and Los Angeles, respectively.

The duo come to Orrick a few years after they moved in February 2016 from K&L Gates to Kaye Scholer, which is now part of Arnold & Porter after a merger. For Goldwasser, the move is a homecoming—he spent an earlier chunk of his career at Orrick, making partner there in 1999 before leaving in 2006.

In a statement released on Friday, the leader of Orrick’s structured finance group, Alan Knoll, said the additions would add to the firm’s goals of remaining a top structured finance practice for complex and innovative transactions.

“Howard and Skanthan have been leaders in the development and transformation of the CLO market, and we’re thrilled to welcome Howard back and to welcome a rising star like Skanthan,” said Knoll in the statement.

Discussing the move in an interview Friday, Goldwasser said that, during the lateral interviewing process, it was clear that Orrick had an active finance group that provided synergies and opportunities to cross-sell his and Vivekananda’s expertise in CLOs to some of the firm’s existing clients.

In addition to the move’s benefits from a business perspective, Goldwasser noted the personal connections he had to Orrick, where he still counts as friends many colleagues that he worked with during his prior period at the firm. He also pointed to the firm’s commitment to maintaining a positive cultural environment.

“One of the things that has always run through the place is a sense of energy,” said Goldwasser. “Even had I not had the prior history, it was something that just seemed like a good thing for us to do.”

Vivekananda, for his part, said in Friday’s statement from Orrick he and Goldwasser were drawn to the law firm’s “strong focus on innovation, collaboration and technology.”

Goldwasser and Vivekananda have worked as a team for the past eight years and, according to Orrick, they emerged as innovators in the CLO space following the 2008 financial crisis. Goldwasser’s clients have spanned an array of participants in the structured finance sector, including underwriters, asset managers, banks and non-bank lenders such as hedge funds and private equity funds. A large portion of Vivekananda’s practice focuses on banks and asset managers, helping them form and structure CLOs and other types of complex securities.

The two join Orrick at a time when the firm has been in an active expansion mode. At the start of 2019, the firm made a splash by opening a new office in Boston with a group of cybersecurity and data privacy lawyers who came from Ropes & Gray.

Later in January, Orrick added a top Silicon Valley mergers and acquisitions partner, Matthew Gemello. Crediting Orrick’s focus on the technology sector, Gemello came to the firm from Baker McKenzie, where he had served as head of its North America corporate and securities practice.

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