Paul Hastings unveils hire of ‘extraordinary’ 18-partner Stroock restructuring team

Deal promises to catapult Los Angeles giant up bankruptcy rankings as Stroock acknowledges group's desire for ‘larger firm environment’

Paul Hastings has hired a highly rated 18-partner restructuring team from Stroock & Stroock & Lavan in a landmark deal for the Los Angeles-based firm.

The mass hire promises to catapult Paul Hastings’ restructuring team up the rankings, easily doubling its headcount to more than 70 lawyers. Although the precise number of associates and counsel moving across are yet to be confirmed, it is believed to comprise the bulk of the Stroock team, which had a total of around 50 lawyers.

The hires will complement Paul Hastings' strength in key areas of finance, including structured credit, private credit, capital markets and real estate finance. They will also add significant heft to Paul Hastings’ New York office, where the bulk of the team are based, including its leader, Kristopher Hansen.

“This is an extraordinary group that stands out among the best in the profession because of its exceptionally creative and client-focused reputation among alternative investment funds, credit funds, direct lenders and other asset managers and investment banks as well as its peers,” said Paul Hastings chairman Seth Zachary. 

“Over the last 15 years, they have experienced incredible growth with a full-lifecycle client approach covering core bankruptcy and restructuring, distressed M&A/corporate, special situations lending and impact litigation.”

For its part, Stroock, which had previously promoted the restructuring group as a ‘marquee team’, pointed to its own expansion drive across a number of practice areas, while acknowledging its status as a ‘mid-sized firm’.

Co-chair Jeff Keitelman said: "We’re personally sad, of course, to see the group go but understand they wanted a larger firm environment. This is simply an instance of interests diverging and it’s a respectful and congenial parting of the ways. We wish them the very best. 

“We’re committed to our mid-sized firm approach and building in the areas where we excel. We’re adding lateral partners at a steady clip. We’ve grown by 20-plus partners just in the past 18 months – in corporate, IP, white collar/corporate investigations, tax and real estate – and have brought in 40-plus other [non-partner] attorneys since January 2021.”

At his new firm, Hansen, who described the “synergies” between his team and the Paul Hastings’ core financial practices as “amazing”, will co-chair the financial restructuring practice alongside current head Luc Despins. 

His team at Stroock operated across four business units: restructuring, debt finance, distressed corporate and impact litigation.

It has won multiple awards for its work. It played a key role advising in the landmark $20bn Caesars chapter 11 cases and, in the first year of the Covid-19 pandemic, advised on five ‘mega case’ unsecured creditors’ committee representations and more than 30 ad hoc lender and noteholder, loan agent and company-side with aggregate restructured debt exceeding $40bn, according to previously released Stroock publicity material.

The hires come off the back of a strong financial year for Paul Hastings, which grew its global revenue by 20% in 2021 to hit $1.57bn against a 20.5% increase in PEP.



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