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May 16, 2011 12:19 PM

DLA Piper Adds to New Delaware Office with Skadden Hire

Posted by Brian Baxter

The world's largest law firm by attorney head count keeps growing.

Gregg Galardi, a corporate restructuring partner in the New York and Wilmington offices of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, is leaving the firm to join DLA Piper. Galardi will be based in New York, but will also work out of Wilmington, where fast-growing DLA opened an office two months ago.

DLA, which this month grew to roughly 4,200 lawyers worldwide after its merger with Australian alliance partner DLA Phillips Fox, recruited a ten-lawyer, five-partner team from Edwards Angell Palmer & Dodge for its new Delaware operation in March.

Galardi joins DLA as the new cochair of the firm's bankruptcy and reorganization group. His hire is the latest big lateral move by DLA, which last month picked up ten lawyers in Sacramento by acquiring local litigation boutique Stevens, O'Connell & Jacobs. That followed the firm's hire of three lawyers in Dubai from Reed Smith, five bankruptcy partners and four labor and employment lawyers from Paul, Hastings Janofsky & Walker in Chicago, and five bankruptcy, corporate, and tax partners in Miami from Hunton & Williams.

DLA opened in Miami in February after poaching two international arbitration partners from Squire, Sanders & Dempsey, and picked up an office in Caracas that same month through an alliance with InterJuris Abogados. DLA also signed an agreement in March with a local firm to enter the legal market in Mongolia and has been kicking around the idea of merging with a large Canadian firm in order to enter that country's booming legal market.

DLA has said publicly that it remains committed to increasing the size of its global transactional practice. Galardi did not respond to a request for comment. In a statement issued through DLA announcing the move, he said that he was "thrilled to join DLA's preeminent restructuring team, and I look forward to working together in continuing to build a practice that complements the firm's global transactional footprint." (Reuters reported on Galardi's move to DLA early Monday.)

Roger Meltzer, the global chair of DLA's corporate and finance practice, said in a statement that Galardi's "highly regarded work on some of the most complex bankruptcy filings in recent years make him a tremendous asset to the firm and our clients, both here in the U.S. and abroad." Meltzer joined DLA in February 2007 in his own high-profile lateral move after leaving Cahill Gordon & Reindel.

At Skadden, Galardi helped skipper a team representing Warren Beatty in a bankruptcy battle with Tribune Media Services over the Dick Tracy comic book character. He also served as a lead partner handling debtor's side assignments for the likes of business lender CIT Group and now-defunct retailer Circuit City, and was one of several Skadden partners advising restructuring firm Gordon Brothers Group in the ongoing Borders Group bankruptcy.

Skadden's restructuring group has gone through some changes in recent years. In December 2008 the firm's former restructuring cochair Timothy Pohl left the firm to join investment bank Lazard. The following May saw Skadden suffer another departure when former restructuring partner D.J. "Jan" Baker decamped to start up a debtor's side bankruptcy practice at Latham & Watkins.

Adding Galardi wasn't DLA's only lateral move of the day. In Madrid the firm brought on restructuring partners Javier Diaz-Galvez and Luis Martin from Spanish firm Roca Junyent, according to U.K. publication Legal Week.

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