19 Feb 2021

Faegre Drinker boosts restructuring group with twin US partner hires

Richard Bernard and Scott Gautier join from Foley & Lardner and Robins Kaplan respectively


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Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath has hired a pair of restructuring partners as it seeks to expand its US East and West Coast finance and restructuring practice group, part of a broader global push to grow its business in this area.

Richard Bernard joins from Foley & Lardner in New York, while Scott Gautier joins form Robins Kaplan in Los Angeles where he was chair of its corporate restructuring and bankruptcy practice group.

Mike Stewart, Faegre Drinker’s finance and restructuring practice group leader, said: “Because of the disruption across the global economy, we continue to see increased demand from clients seeking sophisticated restructuring guidance.”

He added: “Recently we’ve welcomed an impressive group of professionals to our cross-border practice and Richard and Scott’s arrivals push our expansion initiative further. Their proven results in high profile restructurings and reorganisations will boost our strong international capabilities.”

Bernard spent just over a decade as a partner at Foley & Lardner, having joined after almost five years as a partner at Baker & Hostetler. He also had earlier spells as an associate at Nixon Peabody, Paul Hastings, Stroock & Stroock & Lavan and Kelley Drye & Warren. His practice focuses on corporate restructurings, bankruptcy litigation, corporate governance and debtor and creditor rights, advising clients across a wide range of industries including energy, mining, aviation and others.

Gautier was at Robins Kaplan for almost seven years in LA, joining from Peitzman Weg where he spent more than 10 years. Prior to that he worked as an associate at Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCloy and McDermott Will and Emery. His practice is focused on creating and structuring deals for distressed financial situations, representing debtors, creditors, committees and equity holders. He also handles bankruptcy cases, out-of-court restructurings and distressed mergers.

Michael Pompeo and James Millar, co-leaders of the firm’s corporate restructuring practice, said: “Richard and Scott bring decades of collective experience serving as high impact advisers to financially distressed entities. Clients rely on them for innovative and comprehensive solutions to bankruptcy, reorganisation and restructuring matters, and their moves to Faegre Drinker reinforce our growing team on both coasts.”

Bernard and Gautier’s arrival follows the hiring of high-profile restructuring partners James Conlan and Patrick Corr from Sidley Austin back in June, who were brought in to co-lead the firm’s transnational restructuring and insolvency practice. Conlan is based in the US and Corr in London.

Conlan and Corr said: “We are executing on the plan to quickly but carefully assemble one of the premier large matter restructuring practices in the world, with a particular focus on the United States and Europe.”

There has been a wave of restructuring hires in recent months as law firms have positioned themselves to respond to the inevitable increase in work that will result from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier this week, Dechert hired restructuring lawyer Adam Plainer from Weil Gotshal & Manges to co-chair its global financial restructuring group.

Also this month, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett hired a pair of experienced insolvency lawyers in London to establish its restructuring practice in the region. Partners Adam Gallagher and James Watson joined from Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Kirkland & Ellis respectively