Hogan Lovells has picked up former Delaware Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Carey for its business restructuring and insolvency practice.

Carey will join the firm effective Oct. 1. He spent nearly two decades as a bankruptcy judge before retiring last month, most of it at one of the most prominent bankruptcy courts.

“It’s a job that I loved and I enjoyed everyday of it,” Carey said of his time of the bench.

When the time came for his departure, Carey said he spoke to several firms but was already well acquainted with the attorneys at Hogan Lovells.

“The culture there seemed to fit with the kind of place where I want to be,” said Carey, noting its global footprint and international cross-border work. The firm has more than 45 offices in more than two dozen countries.

Hogan Lovells has added several new attorneys in recent months as a part of an effort to grow its bankruptcy practice with recession fears in play amid slowing global economies.

"[The firm’s] anticipating that there might be need and wanting to be ready when the need arises so that they’re not left flat footed,” Carey said.

In April, the firm tapped Philippe Druon from Weil, Gotshal & Manges for its its Paris office. It also added Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner David Simonds to its Los Angeles office in May.

Judge Kevin Carey
Courtesy of Hogan Lovells

Big Rulings, Long Tenure

Carey began his legal career clerking for U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Thomas M. Twardowski in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania in 1979. He then went on to practice bankruptcy law at Blank Rome and Fox Rothschild before joining the Eastern District of Pennsylvania as a bankruptcy judge in 2001.

Carey served as a visiting judge in Delaware before being appointed to the court in 2005. He served as its chief judge from 2008 until 2011.

He issued more than 200 written decisions, including rulings on valuation, fiduciary duties, and other complex Chapter 11 confirmation issues.

He also oversaw the reorganization efforts of Tropicana Entertainment, W.R. Grace’s insolvency proceedings, and sale efforts for the Tribune Company as well as subprime mortgage lender New Century Financial Corp and retailers KB Toys and Filene’s Basement respective bankruptcy cases.

“Judge Carey’s superlative reputation is well earned—in his 18+ years on the bench, he presided over some of the largest and most significant Chapter 11 cases,” Chris Donoho, the global head of Hogan Lovells’ business restructuring and insolvency practice, said in a statement.

Carey has learned a lot about what works in a court room and what doesn’t.

“Hopefully, I’ll be a better practitioner than I was when I took the bench 18 ½ years ago,” he joked.

He also learned that the most important exercise in a Chapter 11 case is to try and find a way to bring the parties to a consensus about how estate values should be allocated and a way to exit restructuring, he said.

“Frankly that’s what good lawyers do, too, and that’s an attitude I certainly will bring into practice,” Carey said.