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Vinson & Elkins Strengthens Restructuring Practice with Addition of Partner George Howard in New York

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Vinson & Elkins has added George Howard as a partner in the firm’s nationally renowned Restructuring & Reorganization practice.

Howard, who joins V&E from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, represents companies, banks, secured lenders, distressed debt investors, asset purchasers and other significant constituencies in distressed situations, with an emphasis on out-of-court restructurings, chapter 11 reorganizations, secured financing transactions, distressed M&A and cross-border insolvency proceedings. He will be based in the firm’s New York office.

“We are focused on growing the firm’s restructuring team particularly to meet increasing client demand for company and debtor side representations,” said V&E managing partner Scott Wulfe. “George is a great addition to the team not only because of his significant debtor experience, which perfectly complements our existing strengths, but also because he is a natural team player and a great cultural fit for V&E.”

Howard advises on structuring and consummating chapter 11 restructurings, secured financings and distressed sales and acquisitions, as well as ring-fencing transactions, spin-offs and other major corporate transactions. He also has experience counseling clients on corporate formalities, fiduciary duties, fraudulent conveyance, illegal dividend, mass tort, environmental, pension and other legacy liability issues.

“V&E has worked extremely hard over the past several years to expand our premier restructuring group, and investing in top-tier talent is key to continuing to build on our significant momentum representing companies and private equity sponsors,” said David Meyer, co-leader of the firm’s Restructuring & Reorganization practice. “Well before the recent economic shift caused by COVID-19, our team has been extremely busy and the addition of George allows us to continue providing our clients with excellent service while expanding our capabilities here in New York.”

Howard’s recent representative matters include:

  • Advising Quantum Pacific (Gibraltar) Limited as the majority shareholder in the successful restructuring of Pacific Drilling S.A. pursuant to a consensual chapter 11 plan that raised over $1.5 billion of new debt and equity financing;
  • Representing Bank of America, as administrative agent, in the high-profile and complex restructurings of Sears, Toys “R” Us and Algeco Scotsman Group;
  • Representing Peabody Energy (the world’s largest private coal company) in its $1.5 billion capital raise and successful emergence from chapter 11;
  • Advising Alpha Natural Resources (one of the largest producers of coal by volume in the U.S.) in connection with the sale of substantially all of its assets and confirmation of a chapter 11 plan;
  • Advising Molycorp (one of the world’s largest rare earth producers and processors) in connection with its $2.2 billion chapter 11 restructuring and the related separation of its upstream mining and downstream processing businesses.

“V&E’s restructuring group has risen quickly to a prominent position in the space. This move provides me a great opportunity to grow my practice while joining an exceptional platform with strong private equity relationships,” said Howard. “The opportunity to be part of such a strong and emergent platform is complemented by an impressively collaborative culture, great people and a commitment to smart and focused growth in strategic areas.”

Howard is the latest of several key hires to join V&E’s New York office in the past 18 months, including commercial litigation partner Chris Duffy; white collar litigation partner Palmina Fava; international arbitration partner Camilo Cardozo; project finance partner Eamon Nolan; M&A/private equity partner John Kupiec; and a team of 15 real estate lawyers led by partners Wallace Schwartz, Adam Endick and Julia Sanabria. To facilitate its continuing growth and client needs, the firm relocated its New York office to the Grace Building in February.

Howard graduated from Princeton University in 2002 and received his J.D., magna cum laude, from The University of Arizona in 2008. He was selected as an emerging leader by the American Bankruptcy Institute’s 40 Under 40 initiative in 2019 and was named as an Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer by Turnarounds & Workouts in 2019.

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