The Work

June 3, 2009 7:37 PM

Kramer Levin Can't Get Enough Big Auto Bankruptcy Work

Posted by Brian Baxter

The many lawyers, financial advisers, and accountants seeking to make a quick buck from the bankruptcies of Chrysler and General Motors must be envious of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel.

The New York firm's corporate restructuring and bankruptcy department has just 40 attorneys, but some additional talent might be needed to handle all the restructuring work the firm has landed this past month.

Just hours after an official committee of unsecured GM creditors was named in a midtown Manhattan hotel ballroom, Kramer Levin announced its selection as counsel to that committee.

The prized assignment comes nearly a month after the 330-lawyer firm won a beauty contest to represent unsecured creditors in Chrysler's Chapter 11 case, beating out five other firms. The firm has yet to file compensation requests in that matter, but one lawyer who competed for the Chrysler creditors' assignment, Chadbourne & Parke bankruptcy chair Howard Seife, called it "a nice gig for the Kramer Levin guys."

Make that two nice gigs, Mr. Seife.

Other firms reportedly in the running for the GM work were Chadbourne, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, Morrison & Foerster, and Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. (Paul Weiss bankruptcy partner Andrew Rosenberg, lead counsel for an ad hoc group of GM bondholders, told us late Wednesday that his firm wasn't all that interested in advising the committee.)

Kramer Levin restructuring cochairs Kenneth Eckstein and Thomas Moers Mayer, corporate governance cochair Kenneth Kopelman, corporate finance partner Thomas Molner, bankruptcy litigation partner P. Bradley O'Neill, and restructuring partners Amy Caton, Adam Rogoff, and Robert Schmidt are leading a team from the firm advising GM's 15-member unsecured creditors committee.

Neither Eckstein nor Moers Mayer responded to requests for comment.

According to Am Law 100 financial data, Kramer Levin had gross revenue of $299 million in 2008; profits per equity partner (the firm has 60) came in at $1.54 million.

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