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Deal doctors: Oct. 20, 2011

by David Elman  |  Published October 20, 2011 at 2:43 PM

David R. Jones is the newest judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas in Houston.

Jones, who was appointed to a 14-year term on Sept. 30, had been a partner in the creditors' rights, bankruptcy and restructuring group at Porter Hedges LLP . He has served as debtor counsel for Eagle Geophysical Inc. , American Homestar Corp., Riostar Corp. and Superior Offshore International Inc. ; represented unsecured creditors of Dinastia LP and Tekoil & Gas Corp. ; and advised the Chapter 11 trustees of Guyana Development Corp., Five Star Restaurants Inc. and Mathey-Leland Manufacturing Corp.

The seat on the Houston bench became available with the retirement in January of Judge Wesley W. Steen.

Applications for openings in the Northern District of Florida and the Northern District of Georgia, meanwhile, were due by Tuesday to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.

Chief Judge Lewis M. Killian Jr. of the Northern District of Florida last month announced he would retire on July 24, 2012, creating an opening on the bench in Tallahassee . Killian is the sole judge in the district, which also has courthouses in Gainesville, Panama City and Pensacola.

The retirement of Chief Judge Joyce Bihary on May 31, 2012, meanwhile, will leave an opening in Atlanta.

As with all other bankruptcy judgeships, the available seats have a 14-year term and an annual salary of $160,080.

Baker & Daniels LLP and Faegre & Benson LLP have announced they will merge on Jan. 1.

The unified firm will be known as Faegre Baker Daniels and have 815 lawyers and consultants spread among 13 offices in the U.S., China and U.K. Faegre & Benson managing partner Andrew Humphrey will serve in the same role for the new firm, while Baker & Daniels chief executive partner Tom Froehle will be chief operating partner of Faegre Baker Daniels.

Baker & Daniels of Indianapolis had 20 active bankruptcy engagements as of Monday, compared with nine for Minneapolis-based Faegre & Benson. Baker & Daniels, established in 1863, is debtor counsel for Integra Bank Corp. and Platinum Properties LLC and represents the Chapter 11 trustee of Eastern Livestock Co. LLC . Faegre & Benson, founded in 1885, represents secured creditor Wells Fargo Bank NA in the Alexander Gallo Holdings LLC case and lender Bank of America NA in the Duke and King Acquisition Corp. proceedings.

H. Jeffrey Schwartzhas joined the bankruptcy and corporate restructuring group of Brown Rudnick LLP .

The New York partner was chair of the restructuring practice group of DLA Piper US LLP . Before joining DLA Piper in 2009, he was co-leader of Dechert LLP 's global business restructuring and reorganization practice group and spent 15 years as chairman of Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP 's business restructuring and reorganization practice group.

He has been debtor counsel for A.B. Dick Co. and Bayou Group LLC ; represented the acquirers of Photocircuits Corp. , Republic Engineered Products and WCI Steel Inc. ; and was counsel to lenders to Kara Homes Inc. and Federated Department Stores Inc.

New York investment bank Miller Buckfire & Co. LLC has added John A. Mc­Kenna Jr., reuniting him with Kenneth A. Buckfireand other Miller Buckfire executives that worked together in the restructuring group of Wasserstein Perella & Co.

Managing director McKenna arrives from Houlihan Lokey Inc. , where he was co-head of the Eastern region of its financial restructuring group. The veteran of more than 20 years in financial restructurings, capital raising and mergers and acquisitions has advised Nextel International and Impsat Fiber Networks Inc. ; the creditors' committee of Delta Air Lines Inc. ; and Retirement Systems of Alabama in a purchase of US Airways Group Inc.

Geoffrey T. Raichthas shifted to the New York office of Proskauer Rose LLP from McDermott Will & Emery LLP .

The bankruptcy and restructuring partner was co-head of the restructuring and insolvency group at McDermott. He has represented debtor New York Chocolate & Confections Co. as well as creditors including Source Interlink Cos. in the Borders Group Inc. case, Grupo México SAB de CV in the Enron Corp. case, Eircom Ltd. in the Global Crossing Ltd. bankruptcy and the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York in the Chapter 11 proceedings of Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers of New York and New York United Hospital Medical Center .

Raicht joined McDermott in 2008 from Sidley Austin LLP .

John A. Bickshas joined K&L Gates LLP after eight years at SNR Denton and predecessor Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal LLP .

The New York restructuring and bankruptcy partner has been debtor counsel for Movie Gallery Inc. ; represented the creditors' committees of Powermate Holding Corp. and Federal-Mogul Corp. ; and advised the equity committee of Loral Space & Communications Inc.

Before arriving at Sonnenschein in 2003, he was co-chairman and CEO of restaurant owner ICH Corp. and worked at Pryor Cashman Sherman & Flynn LLP (now Pryor Cashman LLP ), where he counseled committees of equity holders and creditors in Chapter 11 cases, including that of ICH.

Special situations investment bank SSG Capital Advisors LLC has added Teresa Kohl as director of business development in New York.

Kohl arrives from Bridge Associates LLC , where she was a senior consultant. Before that, she worked at NachmanHaysBrownstein Inc. , now NHB Advisors Inc. , advising debtors such as Capitol Resource Funding and Fifth Avenue Restaurant Acquisition Corp.

Paige L. Ellermanhas moved to the bankruptcy and restructuring group of Frost Brown Todd LLC from Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP .

The Cincinnati partner has been debtor counsel for Buttermilk Towne Center LLC and PowerPlus Electric LLC , represented unsecured creditors of Milacron Inc. and advised lenders to Gwenco Inc.

Troy Doyle will lead DLA Piper's restructuring and distressed investment team in Asia after joining the firm from Norton Rose Australia.

The Singapore partner has 13 years of experience in the Asia-Pacific region and specializes in financial and corporate restructuring, distressed-debt trading, distressed M&A and other special opportunity transactions. Before his stint at Norton Rose, Doyle led Clifford Chance LLP 's restructuring practice for Southeast Asia.

John Beck is the newest bankruptcy and business restructuring associate at Haynes and Boone LLP . The New York attorney had been a clerk for Justice Phil Johnson of the Supreme Court of Texas.

McDonald Hopkins LLC has named four new partners, including business restructuring and bankruptcy attorney Michael J. Kaczka .

The Cleveland attorney has been debtor counsel for coal-bed methane explorer BPI Energy Inc. , hospital operator CHA Hawaii LLC and Burger King franchisee Duke and King Acquisition and represented unsecured creditors of bicycle maker Huffy Corp.

AlixPartners LLP has tapped Donald Featherstone to replace David Lovett as leader of turnaround and restructuring services for the Europe, Middle East and Africa region once Lovett retires from full-time work on Dec. 31.

Managing director Lovett will continue to aid in the development of the EMEA turnaround division after his retirement. Lovett is a restructuring veteran of more than 30 years and won Turnaround Practitioner of the Year at the first Insolvency and Rescue Awards in London in 2008.

Featherstone has almost 20 years of consulting and financial experience, including the past 10 years at AlixPartners. The London managing director will join the firm's global operating committee.

In addition, Luca Ramella, a Milan managing partner, joins the EMEA operating committee. He will collaborate with Featherstone and Lovett, as well as North America restructuring heads Peter Fitzsimmonsand Lisa Donahue , on international restructuring assignments.

Kirkland & Ellis LLP led all honorees in the Turnaround Management Association's Turnaround and Transaction of the Year Awards.

The law firm won as part of the advisory team on three separate winning turnarounds: Chemtura Corp. , turnaround of the year for a megacompany; General Growth Properties Inc. , transaction of the year for a megacompany; and Neff Rental LLC , transaction of the year for a midsize company. Firm attorneys honored include Craig Bruens , Richard Cieri , M. Natasha Labovitz (now at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP), Anup Sathy, Ray Schrock and James H.M. Sprayregen .

AlixPartners and Miller Buckfire each won in the same two categories, for GGP and Neff Rental. AlixPartners' teams on the two restructurings included John Dischner , Holly Etlin , Kenneth A. Hiltz , James Mesterharm and Harvey Rubinson . Miller Buckfire's professionals included Elizabeth Abrams , Ronen Bojmel , Kenneth Buckfireand Ofir Nitzan.

No other law firm, investment bank or crisis management firm tallied wins in more than one category. TMA respectively named Sunwest Management Inc. , Young Broadcasting Inc. , Analytics Inc. and La Seda de Barcelona turnaround of the year for a large, midsize, small and international company. American West Bank NA won transaction of the year for a midsize company and Jackson & Perkins Acquisition Inc. transaction of the year for a small company.

The transaction of the year awards honored professionals that worked on nonoperational transactions that had a large effect on distressed companies.

FTI Consulting Inc. remains the hottest crisis management firm, despite having four less cases than when Bankruptcy Insider last checked on the category in February.

FTI added engagements in 12 new cases in the U.S. over the six months ended Oct. 13, compared with 16 new cases previously. The firm nevertheless retains a healthy lead on No. 2 Alvarez & Marsal LLC , which this time added seven new cases.

FTI most often works on the debtor side, with its professionals serving as chief restructuring officer for furniture maker Berkline/Benchcraft Holdings LLC , poultry processor Allen Family Foods Inc. and wireless broadband provider Open Range Communications Inc. , among others, and the firm also advising pub chain Massachusetts Elephant & Castle Group Inc. and paper maker NewPage Corp. FTI also advises or advised unsecured creditors of restaurant owner Perkins & Marie Callender's Inc. and life-science company Entelos Inc. ; lenders to tax preparer Jackson Hewitt Tax Service Inc. ; and bondholders of textbook retailer Nebraska Book Co.

A&M's new engagements all come on the debtor side, serving in various roles for companies such as specialty pharmaceuticals maker Graceway Pharmaceuticals LLC and casino owner 155 East Tropicana LLC .

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