Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft and Greenberg Traurig picked up a pair of former in-house legal chiefs from The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. this week on two different continents.
Ben Adler, a former managing director and general counsel for Goldman Sachs’ merchant banking division in New York, joined Greenberg Traurig’s corporate group this week as of counsel in New York and Tel Aviv. Cadwalader, meanwhile, picked up Peter Morreale, a former managing director and associate general counsel in Goldman Sachs’ mortgages-legal group, as a capital markets partner in Washington, D.C.
“I think there’s a lot of growth right now in the securitization market [and] it seemed like a good moment and good opportunity to resume my private practice career,” Morreale said. “And Cadwalder, I think, is probably the premier platform [for] doing that.”
Morreale, a former associate at Kaye Scholer and Rogers & Wells, joined Goldman Sachs in September 2011. The financial services giant had been a client of Morreale’s since 2001 when he joined Washington, D.C.-based McKee Nelson, which was acquired in 2009 by now-defunct Bingham McCutchen. Morreale left McKee Nelson shortly after that ill-fated merger was announced to join Nixon Peabody, leaving the latter a year later to become associate general counsel at the Federal National Mortgage Association, better known as Fannie Mae.
After little more than a year at Fannie Mae, Morreale headed to Goldman Sachs, where he focused on legal coverage for collateralized loan obligations (CLOs), be they securitization structures or businesses across the consumer, student and residential mortgage loan space.
At Cadwalader, Morreale (pictured right) said he plans on using his in-house knowledge to provide a unique insight into legal issues and reputational risks that his clients, including Goldman Sachs, might face in today’s capital markets.
“I think right now what everybody is focused on is compliance,” Morreale said.
Over the last year, Cadwalader has cut back on its practice area offerings, focusing instead on key practice areas that service its traditional Wall Street client base, such as financial institutions and large corporations, as well as hedge funds and private equity firms.
Despite a spate of partner departures, including the loss last week of the firm’s former global litigation co-chair Kenneth Wainstein, Cadwalader has moved to stem the tide with some hires of its own, bringing back former partner Jason Halper late last year to co-chair its litigation group. Cadwalader also added Cravath, Swaine & Moore senior attorney David Teigman as a corporate partner in New York and hired Bird & Bird litigation partner Steven Baker in London.
As for Greenberg Traurig, which last week brought back a former partner from his own Phoenix-based shop, the firm has recruited Adler to bolster its operations in the Big Apple and Israel. Adler, a former corporate partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, first joined Goldman Sachs in 1998, helping the company manage its multibillion-dollar private equity arm across Asia, Europe and the U.S. He left Goldman Sachs last summer.
Adler (pictured right) was in Israel and not immediately available to discuss his decision to join Greenberg Traurig, which is the only Am Law 200 firm to have an office in the country.
Peter Lieberman, co-chair of Greenberg Traurig’s global corporate practice, said in a statement that Adler’s M&A and private equity expertise would complement the firm’s corporate group in its effort to service clients around the world.