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19 March 2021

Crowell & Moring snaps up Wall Street financial services boutique Kibbe & Orbe

Deal sees 24 lawyers join Crowell, including 13 partners, in New York, London and Washington DC

By Ben Edwards

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US firm Crowell & Moring is joining forces with Wall Street boutique Kibbe & Orbe to expand its financial services offering.

The deal will see 13 partners – and 24 lawyers in total – from Kibbe & Orbe join Crowell & Moring’s New York, London and Washington offices, including managing partner and executive committee chair Jennifer Grady, London office managing partner Andrew Martin and its three founding partners, Jonathan Kibbe, William Orbe and Michael Mann. 

Philip Inglima, chair of Crowell & Moring, said: “We have been focused on strategically expanding our financial services industry practice. Kibbe & Orbe is recognised for its excellence and innovation by sophisticated blue-chip clients in the global financial markets, so adding these superb lawyers to our team is an extraordinary opportunity.”

Inglima said the firm had established a ‘sterling reputation’ over the past three decades handling complex and novel transactional, regulatory, compliance and governance matters.

He added: “They are viewed as a leader internationally for their work in the distressed debt industry and are sought out by corporate clients for their knowledge of increasingly sophisticated financial products and the rapidly changing global regulatory environment in which they are operating.”

Kibbe & Orbe’s clients include hedge funds and other private investment funds, investment banks and financial institutions. The firm also helped pioneer the legal framework that governs trading of distressed bank loans, creating a market worth a trillion dollars annually, and it is a leading voice in non-bank lending and litigation finance.

Grady said: “The legal needs of our clients are evolving, particularly as a result of the growing complexity of investment strategies and structures, and the rapid adoption of new technologies developed for the financial markets. We believe that Crowell & Moring offers the ideal platform with its broad spectrum of complementary practices, government-facing experience and financial services industry knowledge.”

Kibbe & Orbe partner Matthew Hughes and four associates – Adam Colman, Emilie Condie, Adam English and Miriam Karam – will remain with Martin in London.

Robert Weekes, Crowell & Moring’s London managing partner, said: “The Kibbe & Orbe team is recognised for having within its ranks the most qualified, distressed-debt-focused, legal practitioners in the world. Their sophisticated and innovative practice complements our existing specialties in London.”

The ability of specialist Wall Street firms to corner aspects of the financial services deals market was underlined earlier this week when The Global Legal Post published research by Refinitiv that showed Ellenoff Grossman & Schole (EGS) had advised on more special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) IPOs this year than its closest rivals, international giants Kirkland & Ellis and Skadden.

In January, Duane Morris and New York’s Satterlee Stephens agreed to merge in a move that increased the headcount at the national firm’s Times Square office by 60% to more than 160 lawyers. 

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