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News Feb 19, 2014

Shearman & Sterling Expands Litigation and Leveraged Finance Practices with Addition of Six Partners

Shearman & Sterling has expanded its Litigation and Leveraged Finance practices with the addition of six partners in New York – Litigation partners Joseph J. Frank, Matthew L. Craner, and Agnès Dunogué and Leveraged Finance partners Ronan Wicks, Patrick Flanagan, and Jason White. All were formerly partners with Orrick.

“The addition of these two high-profile teams will strengthen what are traditionally strong practices for our firm,” said Shearman & Sterling senior partner Creighton Condon. “We continue to see Litigation and Leveraged Finance as priority focus areas for our clients and for our firm, and our new partners will bolster our capabilities significantly.”

Adam Hakki, Shearman & Sterling’s Global Litigation head, said, ”Joe, Matt, and Agnès are stellar securities litigators with prominent reputations in the market, particularly for their skill in representing financial institutions in high-stakes cases. Their addition to the partnership will allow us to serve our financial institution and other clients even more effectively, and together with our deep existing team, should further position us as a ‘go-to’ firm for financial institutions with significant litigation and regulatory enforcement matters.”

Joshua Thompson, Shearman & Sterling’s Global Finance head, said, “Ronan, Pat, and Jason bring to our firm established practices in the Leveraged Finance area. Their skills will complement and expand our existing full-service offering to our clients. Ronan, Pat, and Jason share our common goals and drive: our clients come first, always.”

Litigation

Joseph J. Frank will serve as the global co-head of Shearman & Sterling’s Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice. A very prominent securities and M&A litigator, as well as a seasoned trial lawyer, Mr. Frank has represented financial institutions in some of the most significant disputes affecting the financial services industry in recent years. He has also provided litigation and regulatory advice to boards of directors and public company senior management on issues arising from mergers, acquisitions, internal investigations, securities, and general commercial disputes. Most recently, Mr. Frank, together with the other Litigation partners joining the firm with him, has been leading the representation of several major financial institutions in high-profile M&A litigation, securities enforcement and litigation matters and mortgage-backed securities-related litigations. The addition of Mr. Frank and the other Litigation partners deepens the firm’s relationships with these and other important clients and is expected to provide the firm with significant opportunities for near- and long-term litigation and enforcement work. Adam Hakki, global head of the firm’s overall Litigation Group, led Mr. Frank’s recruitment and has asked that he join him as global co-head of the firm’s Securities Litigation and Enforcement practice, where they will lead a deep team of securities litigation and enforcement lawyers in service of the firm's existing and future clients.

Matthew L. Craner worked with Mr. Frank at their prior firm as Deputy Chair of the firm's Securities Litigation & Regulatory Enforcement practice. He focuses on M&A, securities, accounting, and complex corporate and business matters, including enforcement actions and internal corporate investigations. Mr. Craner has extensive experience representing financial institutions, including investment banks, private equity funds and hedge funds, and accounting firms, directors, and senior management in shareholder class actions, derivative suits, and other complex commercial litigation, as well as investigations and proceedings before the SEC and other government and regulatory agencies. As noted above, Mr. Craner is a core member of a partner team led by Mr. Frank representing major financial institutions in high-profile mortgage-backed securities litigations and will be a key player in the coverage of these and other financial institutions.

Agnès Dunogué concentrates on securities litigation, complex commercial litigation, and appellate work. Ms. Dunogué has represented investment banks, corporates, directors, and officers in numerous securities matters in state and federal courts. Her experience also includes advising clients on matters related to mergers and acquisitions, as well as investigations by the SEC and New York Stock Exchange. Prior to entering private practice, Ms. Dunogué clerked for Judge Robert Sack of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Judge Kimba Wood of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. She is also a core member of the partner team representing major financial institutions in high-profile mortgage-backed securities litigations and will be a key player in the coverage of these and other financial institutions.

“Matt, Agnès, and I are very pleased to be joining a great Litigation practice and a great firm,” Mr. Frank said. “Shearman & Sterling has an exceptional reputation in Litigation generally and also in securities and regulatory enforcement matters. We are confident that we will integrate and build together with existing partners a market-leading practice providing the highest level of service to clients.”

Mr. Craner added, “We expect joining Shearman to allow us to take our practices to the next level and be a part of a vibrant team of financial institutions-focused litigators.”

Ms. Dunogué added, “We are thrilled to be joining such a stellar and respected firm. We look forward to working together to build on its success.”

Leveraged Finance

Ronan Wicks was the global co-head of his prior firm’s Banking & Debt Capital Markets Group, having launched that group with Mr. Flanagan and Mr. White, and is the senior member of this lateral team. He has advised major financial institutions on high-profile leveraged and investment grade acquisition financings and restructurings. In addition to his extensive experience advising financial institutions, Mr. Wicks has advised debt funds in distress situations and has also advised financing clients in leveraged deals in the telecommunications and media, manufacturing, technology, and sports and entertainment industries.

Patrick Flanagan represents large financial institutions involved in domestic and international leveraged finance transactions, including acquisition financings, second lien financings, mezzanine financings, asset-based facilities, recapitalizations, workouts, and working capital facilities. He spent four years in Hong Kong as head of Latham & Watkins’ Asia Leveraged Finance practice, and he also served two secondments at Goldman Sachs, serving in the legal and loan negotiation groups. Mr. Flanagan is well regarded for his work on high-level acquisition financings, especially those that are private-equity-backed, as well as recapitalizations, workouts, and mezzanine financings.

Jason White advises clients on leveraged and high-grade debt finance, restructuring, and investments related to special situations, and he has significant experience in international, regulated, and complex acquisition and divestiture financing transactions. Mr. White previously was Americas Head of the Finance Legal practice at Barclays Capital, also overseeing bank regulatory matters regarding non-banking activities as well as transactions compliance and financial insolvency. Prior to joining Barclays, he was with Cadwalader, where he focused on leveraged finance and restructuring. Mr. White has devoted significant time to pro bono representations, including advising the Public International Law & Policy Group on constitutional reform issues in African countries.

“For Patrick, Jason, and me, Shearman & Sterling has always been one of the gold-standard firms in the leveraged finance area,” Mr. Wicks said. “We are very excited to become part of the firm and to join forces with our new colleagues in expanding this market-leading practice.”

The firm recently added Finance partner Gus Atiyah in Washington, DC. Mr. Atiyah had been a partner at Fried Frank, where he advised private equity and debt funds, corporations and financial institutions in a wide range of industries, as well as general counsel at National Bank of Kuwait.