Stroock’s Bankruptcy Powerhouse Joins Morgan Lewi As Team Exodus Continues”

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The Stroock & Stroock partnership continues to shrink with the latest moves being the departure from the troubled firm by Richard Stern, the chair of this practice, who has left with four team members to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius – a move that adds to the ongoing departures from Stroock’s evolving partnership landscape.

On Monday, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius announced that Stern would be joined by Michael Luskin, Stephan Hornung, Matthew O’Donnell, and Alex Talesnick. Interestingly, O’Donnell had been steering as the co-chair of Stroock’s debt finance practice.

The five legal senior lawyers had spent nearly a year at Stroock, having merged their firm, Luskin, Stern & Eisler, with the firm in July 2022. The merger was a strategic move to reinvigorate the firm’s restructuring and bankruptcy division, which had suffered significant attrition to Paul Hastings earlier that same year.

We have reported earlier about the ‘stealth layoffs’ from Stroock and other firms.

With their departure, Stroock’s restructuring and bankruptcy team is left with eight members, including three partners, as per the firm’s website.

These departures follow a series of similar migrations from Stroock, particularly since spring, as the firm actively explores a merger path. While discussions with Nixon Peabody recently reached an impasse, Stroock remains undeterred, pursuing dialogues with various potential partners.

Despite these changes, Stroock says it continues to serve its premier institutional clients with unwavering commitment, as affirmed by Alan Klinger, co-managing partner of Stroock.

Last week, Stroock took a strategic step by addressing its pension commitments, a move that leadership believes could pave the way for a merger. The firm’s partnership approved a comprehensive pension buyout, with retired partners currently casting their votes on this significant decision.

The exodus from Stroock extends beyond the bankruptcy realm, encompassing various practice areas. Last month, a cadre of 27 legal practitioners and eight business professionals embarked on a new chapter with Steptoe & Johnson LLP, reinforcing its financial services, class action defense, insurance, and reinsurance divisions.

From its zenith of over 230 lawyers in 2021, Stroock’s legal family has evolved, presently listing approximately 160 lawyers on its website.

Jami McKeon, Chair of Morgan Lewis, expressed enthusiasm about expanding their influence in New York, a critical financial hub, and leveraging this growth to serve clients with diverse financing needs – be it restructuring endeavors or litigation battles. This expansion comes at a pivotal juncture, positioning the firm to thrive in the dynamic global economic landscape.

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