(Dusty Holoubek)

Prominent bankruptcy lawyer Charles Tatelbaum and two other lawyers have joined Tripp Scott to launch a creditors’ rights and bankruptcy practice.

Tatelbaum, who heads the practice, and attorney Kristopher Aungst defected from Hinshaw & Culbertson’s Fort Lauderdale office. Tatelbaum formerly worked at the defunct Adorno & Yoss for eight years. The third lawyer, Michael Foster, is coming from Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod in Miami.

Tatelbaum comes in as a director and Aungst and Foster as of counsel.

“It’s a great opportunity for us and the three lawyers,” said Tripp Scott president Ed Pozzuoli. “We did creditors’ rights and bankruptcy previously, but this will be more of a formal practice area for us now. With the experience and skills of these three lawyers, we can expand our services to other clients in a more complete way.”

Tatelbaum is a nationally recognized bankruptcy lawyer who represents such clients as Ally Financial Inc., formerly General Motors Acceptance Corp., Macy’s Inc., Nissan Motor Co. and Shell Oil Co. In addition to handling bankruptcy matters, he also does Uniform Commercial Code work.

Tatelbaum had been Tripp Scott’s outside bankruptcy counsel for years, with the Fort Lauderdale-based firm referring the bulk of its bankruptcy cases to him. When the firm decided to bring him in and create the group, it seemed a natural fit to Tatelbaum.

“My client list is mostly national,” he said. “This allows me to bring my national clients but also to tap into their base of local clients.”

Tatelbaum, who started the new job Monday, said he brought his red clown nose with him. Tatelbaum and his wife graduated from the Big Apple Circus’ clown school and performed in the 2012 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade as well as at hospitals on occasion.

“We never meet happy people as lawyers, particularly as bankruptcy lawyers,” he said. “It’s the most worthwhile thing to be a clown. Sometimes if I go to a serious meeting or if someone gets too impressed with himself, I put on my clown nose.”

Tripp Scott recently opened a third office in Boca Raton, picking up three lawyers from a local firm. The 60-lawyer firm also has an office in Tallahassee.