In a rare lateral move between two Wall Street mainstays, Sullivan & Cromwell bankruptcy and restructuring partner Michael Torkin has quietly joined Simpson Thacher & Bartlett in New York.
Torkin, who joined Sullivan & Cromwell as special counsel in 2011 after serving as a partner at Shearman & Sterling, confirmed in an email to The American Lawyer his decision to once again switch high-powered firms. Torkin cited several reasons for his move, including Simpson Thacher’s expertise in the private equity arena and a “collegial culture” at his new firm.
”Simpson Thacher’s broad private equity and funds client base coupled with its international footprint and existing sophisticated restructuring practice was a natural fit for me given many of my assignments have significant cross-border and M&A aspects,” Torkin said. “I’m looking forward to working with my new colleagues to continue to expand Simpson’s restructuring practice and serve our clients globally.”
Torkin, who made partner at Sullivan & Cromwell in late 2014 after serving in a special counsel position for three years, said he is looking forward to working with Simpson Thacher bankruptcy and restructuring head Sandeep Qusba and restructuring partner Elisha Graff.
A graduate of Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School, Torkin began his legal career in 1997 at leading Canadian firm Blake, Cassels & Graydon. A year later, he joined Shearman & Sterling in New York, eventually making partner at the firm in 2007. He moved to Sullivan & Cromwell four years later, where he had a key role in the firm’s first major bankruptcy court engagement as debtors’ counsel to Eastman Kodak Co. in its Chapter 11 filing in January 2012.
In his practice, Torkin works with companies in Chapter 11 proceedings, out-of-court restructurings and other financial reorganizations, as well as advising private equity and hedge fund investors in their acquisitions and investments. At Sullivan & Cromwell, besides his work for Kodak, Torkin was also part of teams that represented AT&T Inc. on its $950 million sale in 2012 of a majority stake in its Yellow Pages directory division and advised Canadian sportswear company Gildan Activewear Inc. earlier this year on its $88 million acquisition of bankrupt retailer American Apparel.
Torkin is one of the few lateral partner hires made this year by Simpson Thacher, which posted double-digit growth in gross revenue and profits per partner in 2016. The firm has sought to expand its presence in Washington, D.C., adding John Terzaken, the former co-head of Allen & Overy’s global antitrust practice, in August, while also bringing on former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission associate general counsel David Blass as a partner in May.