Potter Anderson & Corroon has doubled the size of its bankruptcy and restructuring practice, bringing on three lawyers from another midsize firm.
Partners Christopher Samis and L. Katherine Good joined Potter Anderson on Monday along with associate Aaron Stulman. Before joining Whiteford Taylor Preston in 2014, Samis and Good practiced together as associates at Richards Layton & Finger.
In the past few years, Samis said he and Good were “the go-to two attorneys for committee work in Delaware.” But at Richards Layton, he said, they focused more on debtors.
“We’re looking to bring back that part of our practice,” he said.
Good is also current chair of the Delaware State Bar Association’s bankruptcy law section—a position Potter Anderson bankruptcy partner Jeremy Ryan last held.
“They’re two people we’ve had our eye on for a long time since they left Richards Layton,” Ryan said. “We’ve watched what they’ve done to develop a practice on their own.”
Ryan noted in particular Samis and Good’s connections with referring law firms and financial advisers, particularly in the retail industry.
“If I could have gotten them over here a few years ago, I would have done it then,” Ryan said. “Now is a function of this being a good time for them and a good time for us.”
Samis said as their group’s bankruptcy practice became more sophisticated, they saw a need to join a firm with greater strength in other practice areas.
A wider variety of practice offerings has become necessary due to trends in restructuring over recent years, he said, as filing for Chapter 11 protection becomes increasingly expensive.
“A lot of mid-market companies would be better served by … some other insolvency proceeding,” he said. “They require insolvency experience, but they also require corporate experience” in a law firm.
“We’re really excited about Potter’s experience and expertise in corporate transactional and corporate advisory work,” Good said. “Even when the companies are in bankruptcy, having that kind of transactional and advisory bench really complements what we’re doing.”
Samis also noted Potter Anderson’s Chancery Court and intellectual property practices as attractions.
Potter Anderson chair Kathleen Furey McDonough said expanding the bankruptcy practice is “key to our strategic plan” as the firm looks to build on what it calls “Delaware advantage” practices.
Looking ahead at bankruptcy trends, Samis and Good said they expect to continue seeing filings from large and mid-market retailers, as well as restaurant businesses, as both sectors see major disruption.
Across industries, Ryan said he and others in the bankruptcy bar are “moderately optimistic” that there will be an uptick in Chapter 11 filings and out-of-court workouts, after a long period of economic growth.
A spokesperson for Whiteford Taylor did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.