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May 22, 2009 3:38 PM

Weil, Dewey, Jenner, and Honigman Heading GM Legal Team

Posted by Brian Baxter

While most Americans fired up their barbecues this Memorial Day weekend, lawyers from four Am Law 200 firms were planning to spend more time in their offices, preparing General Motors for bankruptcy.

As previously reported, GM retained Weil, Gotshal & Manges and Dewey & LeBeouf to handle negotiations with lenders, union members, and the U.S. government.

Now sources tell The Am Law Daily that GM also is being advised by corporate/M&A partners Joseph Gromacki and Michael Wolf from Jenner & Block in Chicago and bankruptcy and reorganization chair Robert Weiss from Detroit's Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn.

Gromacki chairs Jenner's corporate practice and serves as cochair of the firm's securities practice. GM has been a longtime client. In recent years, Gromacki has advised the company on more than $13 billion in deals and other high-profile engagements. (The American Lawyer named Gromacki one of its Dealmakers of the Year in 2007 for his work advising Sam Zell on the $8.2 billion privatization of the Tribune Company.)

Weiss is Honigman's "liaison partner" with GM, leading a team that represents the auto giant and its North American affiliates, according to his bio on the firm's Web site. Weiss's bio also says he advises GM on an "exclusive basis" in relation to the many financially troubled vendors that supply the company with auto parts.

From New York, Weil business, finance and restructuring partner Stephen Karotkin is heading the firm's team advising GM, a longtime client, on what could be the biggest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

Dewey & LeBoeuf business solutions and governance practice leader Martin Bienenstock is advising GM on aspects of the automaker's proposed Section 363 sale in the bankruptcy court. He is joined on the matter by M&A partner Gary Apfel in Los Angeles and bankruptcy and restructuring partner David Cleary in Chicago.

GM's board of directors is being advised by Cravath, Swaine & Moore while the automaker's financing arm, GMAC Financial Services, has turned to a legal team from Schulte Roth & Zabel.

As with Chrysler's Chapter 11 proceedings, Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft financial restructuring cochair John Rapisardi is lead counsel for the U.S. Treasury Department; R. Ronald Hopkinson, the head of Cadwalader's private equity group, also is working on the matter.

At the time of this post, GM confirmed it had reached a tentative labor agreement with the United Auto Workers (UAW).

Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton advised the UAW during the negotiations, just as it helped the union reach a similar agreement with Chrysler last month.

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