Cadwalader Recruits Market-Leading Leveraged Finance and Private Credit Group

February 01, 2023

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP announced the arrival of partners Ronald Lovelace, Patrick Yingling, Jared Zajac and Joseph Polonsky, substantially enhancing the firm’s leveraged finance and private credit capabilities. The team will join from King & Spalding and be resident in Cadwalader’s Charlotte office.

The new team will expand Cadwalader’s U.S. capabilities and work closely with a London team led by partners Matthew Smith and Bevis Metcalfe.

“This is an outstanding team, and we are the perfect destination for them, with our decades of market leadership in complex finance,” said Cadwalader managing partner Pat Quinn. “The addition of Ron, Patrick, Jared and Joey represent another step – along with the recent hire of financial restructuring partner Mike Rupe and the addition of Matt Smith and Bevis Metcalfe in London – in building out a market-leading middle market leveraged finance, private credit and special situations practice.”

Finance Group co-chair Bonnie Neuman, a member of the firm’s Management Committee added: “Our firm already has exceptional, market-leading practices in corporate finance, fund finance and real estate finance. The addition of our new team adds an important and highly synergistic expertise for the firm’s existing client base, enabling us to, among other things, expand our ability to provide counsel on creditor-side restructuring and special situations work. 

Wes Misson, Finance Group co-chair and U.S. Fund Finance head, added: “This is a home run for our lending practices. This group adds market-leading talent to key areas and expands our existing capabilities in, among other areas, asset based lending, warehouse finance and NAV lending. We know our clients will see immediate benefits associated with their arrival.”

Added Mike Rupe, Cadwalader’s Head of Special Situations and Reorganizations, who recently joined Cadwalader and is the former Head of Financial Restructuring at King & Spalding: “I’m thrilled to be reunited with my former colleagues, who are truly outstanding lawyers and people. The synergies of our practices offer our clients a unique legal skill set that covers leveraged finance, private credit, special situations and restructurings — a skill set only a few elite law firms possess. Simply put, this is an exceptional opportunity for Cadwalader, my former colleagues and our clients — wins all the way around.”

Lovelace will join the firm as Head of Leveraged Finance. He focuses on leveraged finance and other syndicated lending transactions, with significant middle market acquisition finance and robust workout and special situations experience. He is recognized as a leading finance lawyer in North Carolina by Chambers USA, which describes his “strong reputation for his handling of acquisition finance, working capital finance and wider asset-based lending transactions on behalf of lenders and borrowers [with] additional expertise in restructuring and workout matters.”

Yingling focuses on leveraged finance and other syndicated lending transactions. He advises financial institutions, other lenders and borrowers on a wide range of financing transactions, including syndicated credit facilities on both a leveraged and investment-grade basis, first lien/second lien arrangements, acquisition financings, recapitalizations and cross-border facilities.

Zajac represents financial institutions, investment funds, lenders, and borrowers in leveraged finance, acquisition financings, first and second lien financings, syndicated credit facilities, and debtor-in-possession (“DIP”) financings. He also has an extensive financial restructuring background, having spent a number of years at Proskauer Rose LP advising on bankruptcy and restructuring engagements, with particular experience advising on DIP financings.

Polonsky advises banks, private credit funds and other financial institutions that provide companies with the liquidity necessary to make acquisitions, refinance existing debt, make dividends to equity holders, and restructure their balance sheets. He works closely with public companies, large cap companies, sponsor-backed companies and privately held companies on how to structure complicated financings and debt & equity restructurings, including for first lien and second lien financings, asset-backed financings, unitranche financings, FILO financings, unsecured financings, and DIP financings.

“We couldn’t be more excited about our move to Cadwalader,” Lovelace said. “Cadwalader has a well-deserved reputation as a market leader in finance and financial restructuring. We are also very pleased to reunite with our former colleague Mike Rupe, and we envision a powerhouse practice offering as we partner to service existing Cadwalader and new clients.”

The arrival of the new team also expands the firm’s capabilities in Charlotte, where Cadwalader, with over 100 attorneys, has established a market-leading reputation in capital markets, corporate finance, litigation, fund finance and real estate finance.

The group’s arrival follows the recent addition of financial restructuring partner Mike Rupe in New York and leveraged finance partner Matthew Smith and special counsel Andrew Vickers and special situations partner Bevis Metcalfe in London. In addition, the firm recently added Corporate partner Michael Pinnisi and Tax partner Andrew Carlon in New York, and ESG finance and investment partner Sukhvir Basran and financial regulation partner Alix Prentice in London. Across the firm, in the last 18 months, Cadwalader has also added partners Kenneth Breen and Phara Guberman (White Collar Defense), Angela Batterson (Finance), Jon Brose (Tax), Kiran Kadekar (Corporate), Helen Maher (Global Litigation) in New York and Michael Bergmann (Corporate), Peter Malyshev (Financial Services) and Mercedes Tunstall (Financial Services) in Washington, D.C.