Law firm Cooley adds first restructuring partner in Chicago

(Reuters) – Silicon Valley-founded law firm Cooley on Wednesday said it has hired a Perkins Coie restructuring partner who specializes in healthcare for its growing Chicago office.

Eric Walker is Cooley’s first restructuring partner based in Chicago, the firm said. His addition marks a “real watershed moment for our group,” said Cullen Speckhart, the chair of Cooley’s business restructuring and reorganization practice group.

With Walker on board, Cooley’s Chicago office in the new Bank of America Tower now has 50 lawyers, the firm said. The firm initially broke into the Windy City in May 2021 with 10 partners from Latham & Watkins, Winston & Strawn and DLA Piper.

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Walker represented creditors in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, the oldest hospital in Chicago. He has also represented creditors in the bankruptcy proceedings of several retirement communities across the country.

Walker said two of his biggest clients are coming with him to Cooley — Lifespace Communities Inc, which owns and operates 17 senior-living communities across seven U.S. states, and the liquidating trust in Henry Ford Village bankruptcy.

Cooley said it has handled hundreds of bankruptcy and restructuring cases in the past five years. It is representing online retailer Enjoy Technology Inc, which filed for bankruptcy in June. In August, a U.S. bankruptcy judge approved Enjoy’s acquisition by technology repair company Asurion LLC for $110 million.

Cooley also represented a group of claimants in the ongoing bankruptcy proceedings of LTL Management LLC, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary that was assigned thousands of lawsuits claiming that Johnson & Johnson’s baby powder and other talc-based products caused cancer. The company says its products are safe.

A Perkins Coie spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Walker’s departure.

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David Thomas

Thomson Reuters

David Thomas reports on the business of law, including law firm strategy, hiring, mergers and litigation. He is based out of Chicago. He can be reached at and on Twitter @DaveThomas5150.

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Blythe Latson