The revolving lateral door at Kirkland & Ellis continues to spin in the early weeks of 2018.
On Tuesday, Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced its hire of Kirkland bankruptcy partner Ryan Dahl for its business finance and restructuring practice in New York. In Chicago, where King & Spalding opened an office last year, the firm said that it had also brought on Kirkland financial restructuring partner Bradley Giordano.
Giordano said he was first introduced to King & Spalding by former Kirkland restructuring partner Jeffrey Pawlitz, who made a similar move in 2016 from the latter to King & Spalding’s New York office. Giordano, who is unrelated to the deep-dish Italian pizza family of the same name, will become the first bankruptcy and insolvency expert in King & Spalding in Chicago, an outpost led by former top federal prosecutor Zachary Fardon.
Patrick Otlewski, a former colleague of Fardon’s at the U.S. Department of Justice, joined King & Spalding last week as a partner in the Windy City, where the Atlanta-based Am Law 100 firm also made waves last year after picking up a pair of partners from Perkins Coie.
Giordano said that King & Spalding is looking to build out its restructuring practice in Chicago, although he noted that there are no immediate plans to do so. At Kirkland, Dahl and Pawlitz were once part of a team of partners at the firm handling the Chapter 11 case of gaming giant Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., which concluded late last year with at least $77 million in legal fees and expenses flooding into Kirkland coffers.
King & Spalding, which has previously made forays into the bankruptcy and restructuring arena, still has a long way to go before it matches Kirkland’s prowess in the practice.
“The restructuring group at King & Spalding has been growing and really has [had] a lot of momentum over the last couple years,” Giordano said. “And when an opportunity came up to expand on that success in Chicago and to also help develop this office as a fully functioning, multidiscipline office, it was very attractive.”
Giordano, a nonequity partner at Kirkland who did not use a legal recruiter for his move to King & Spalding, first joined his now-former firm in 2009 and made partner in 2015. Dahl, his former Kirkland colleague, joined the latter in 2007 and made partner six years later. Kirkland has long employed a large tier of nonshare or income partners, who within about four years of promotion usually enter the firm’s equity tier or move to other firms.
Dahl was unavailable for immediate comment about his move to Weil, which last year saw bankruptcy and restructuring partner Brian Rosen in New York head to Proskauer Rose.
“We are excited to welcome Dahl to the firm,” said a statement by Weil’s business finance and restructuring co-chairman Ray Schrock, who joined the firm in a high-profile lateral move from Kirkland in 2014. “His broad range of transactional and litigation experience across a wide array of industries will make him a great asset to our world-renowned practice.”
Dahl and Giordano both represent debtors, creditors, equity sponsors and strategic investors in all aspects of distressed restructurings across a wide range of industries. Last year, the duo picked up roles on several notable bankruptcies handled by Kirkland, including the firm’s representation of telecommunication equipment company Avaya Inc., which in December emerged from Chapter 11 protection. (Avaya hired former Weil associate Shefali Shah last month to serve as its new general counsel and chief administrative officer.)
Kirkland, which posted record highs in gross revenue and profits per partner in 2016, has hit the ground running in 2018 with a series of notable additions. Despite watching longtime appellate litigator Christopher Landau leave its ranks in Washington, D.C., Kirkland has brought back former partner Adam Petravicius in Chicago, where he most recently headed the intellectual property transactions practice at Jenner & Block.
In Boston, where Kirkland opened an office last year, the firm has hired Choate, Hall & Stewart private equity co-chairman Christian Atwood and welcomed aboard former McDermott Will & Emery private equity partner Michael Sartor.