Bucking Trend, Law Firms Build Structured Finance Groups

April 7, 2008 Structured finance, which includes work related to the full spectrum of mortgage-backed securities, is the acknowledged ground zero of the current credit crisis, and firms heavily focused on the area -- like Thacher Proffitt & Wood, McKee Nelson and Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft -- have already laid off or encouraged the departures of scores of lawyers.

But while some firms are bleeding, others are building, and at least some of the lawyers affected by the downturn have bounced back with surprising speed. Cadwalader special counsel Laura Swihart, who had hoped to make partner this year in that firm's structured finance practice, became a partner instead at the New York office of Chicago's Winston & Strawn, bringing three Cadwalader associates with her.

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