Akin Gump Adds Four-Partner Restructuring and Global Debt Finance Group

(Hartford, CT and London, UK) – Akin Gump is pleased to announce the addition of a four-partner financial restructuring and global debt finance team. Thomas F. O’Connor, Renée M. Dailey, Christopher E. Lawrence and Chester L. (“Chip”) Fisher all joined Akin Gump from Morgan Lewis. Mr. O’Connor will reside in Akin Gump’s London office, while Ms. Dailey and Messrs. Fisher and Lawrence will launch the firm’s new Hartford, Connecticut office.

The team focuses on the institutional debt private placement market across the globe, with a practice encompassing a wide range of private placement financing transactions and financial restructuring matters. Their arrival significantly enhances the firm’s capabilities and strengths advising institutional private placement investors on financings and restructurings worldwide, and reunites former colleagues who have significant experience in representing the institutional investor market in all aspects of their investments.

“The addition of these four outstanding lawyers is a fantastic opportunity for us to extend our reach in the areas of financial restructuring and ‘new money’ finance transactions,” said Akin Gump chairperson Kim Koopersmith. “With deep ties in the insurance sector as well as among other institutional private placement investors in the U.S., Europe and Australia, Tom, Renée, Chris and Chip will enable us to grow and expand our work for clients in these spaces. I could not be happier to welcome them to Akin Gump.”

On the front-end finance side, the team represents institutional investors in a wide variety of private placement debt and equity financings, ranging from investment-grade unsecured note placements to secured structured financings to below-investment-grade mezzanine and acquisition financings.

The incoming team’s financial restructuring practice primarily represents private placement noteholders from the institutional private placement community in complex financial restructuring and amendment and modification transactions.

Added Daniel Golden, co-chair of Akin Gump’s global financial restructuring practice, “This team will be a strong complement to our existing capabilities across the firm. Renée’s restructuring work, combined with Chris and Chip’s financing experience in the United States and Tom’s in Europe and Australia, presents significant opportunities for us. These are smart, savvy, client-focused lawyers who are leaders in the market.”

“Having worked so closely together in the past, I am pleased to once again call these individuals my colleagues,” said London partner Barry Russell. “I am confident that their joining us will pay dividends to the firm and to the clients we serve each day. Tom’s front-end financing practice in London greatly augments the institutional investor practice in the London office.”

Tom O’Connor echoed Mr. Russell: “It’s great to put the institutional finance team back together. This combination will enable us to work with our clients on all aspects of their investment transactions across all jurisdictions.”

“As a group, we are delighted to be at Akin Gump,” said Renée Dailey. “Its restructuring and debt finance practices are well known for their top-tier work with sophisticated clientele, and its global platform and talent mix are ideal fits for our practice and the clients we serve.”

About Thomas F. O’Connor

Mr. O’Connor, who was the London office practice group leader of Morgan Lewis’ transactional finance practice, represents institutional investors, insurance companies, investment funds and other institutional lenders in connection with the acquisition of privately placed debt and equity securities and in connection with other financing transactions throughout Europe, North and South America and Australia. His representation of institutional investors includes investment-grade and below-investment-grade secured and unsecured financings, mezzanine financings, and leveraged and acquisition finance transactions. In addition, he has represented investors in connection with private equity co-investment transactions and debt to equity conversions.  Mr. O’Connor is experienced in the complex corporate law and intercreditor aspects of those transactions, as well as in connection with the modifications and restructurings of such investments at other points in the business cycle.

Mr. O’Connor is a trustee and past-president of the American College of Investment Counsel.

Mr. O’Connor received his J.D., cum laude, from the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law and his B.A. from Tulane University.

About Renée M. Dailey

Ms. Dailey, who was co-head of the restructuring and bankruptcy practice at Morgan Lewis, advises institutional investors in U.S. and cross-border financial restructuring matters, with a particular focus on Australian investments.  She frequently represents public and private noteholder groups and other creditor groups in amendment and consent requests, complex out-of-court restructurings and in-court proceedings in the United States and internationally. She also advises clients on general investment activities and proposed investment structures, with a focus on the mitigation of financial risk. Ms. Dailey’s experience includes matters across multiple industries, including oil and gas, power, engineering and construction, real estate, mining and retail.

Ms. Dailey received her J.D. from the University of Connecticut School of Law and her B.A. from the University of Connecticut.

About Christopher E. Lawrence

Mr. Lawrence’s practice focuses on the representation of insurance companies, banks, investment funds and other lenders in a wide range of secured and unsecured debt and equity financing transactions. This includes private placement financings, mezzanine financings, first and second lien debt financings, “one-stop” and unitranche financings, private equity fund investments and private securities offerings. In the past, he has represented lenders in connection with leveraged buyout, cash flow and asset-based lending transactions; project financings; maritime financings; and cross-border financings. Mr. Lawrence also represents lenders in out-of-court workouts, reorganizations and debt restructurings and advises clients in the purchase and sale of distressed loans and other debt instruments.

Mr. Lawrence received his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law and his B.A. from Pennsylvania State University.

About Chip Fisher

Mr. Fisher has focused throughout his career on the representation of institutional purchasers of privately placed debt and equity securities, including project financing, secured and unsecured lending transactions, and mezzanine and other subordinated debt and equity investments. He has also represented these investors in a number of high-profile financial restructurings.

Mr. Fisher received his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law and his A.B. from Princeton University.

About Akin Gump’s Global Debt Finance Practice

Akin Gump’s global debt finance team helps some of the world’s leading investment vehicles, public and private companies, individual investors and lenders access and deploy capital and restructure debt across borders, industries and asset classes.

About Akin Gump’s Financial Restructuring Practice

Akin Gump’s financial restructuring practice is widely recognized as one of the world’s leading restructuring groups, with valuable bench depth and experience. The firm’s team sits in the world’s major financial centers, its practice spans the globe and its team members have been involved in some of the largest, most complex, groundbreaking restructurings in recent history.

Akin Gump Adds Four-Partner Restructuring and Global Debt Finance Group
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