CalPERS Blasts Move by Law Firm

May 23, 2013 – In The News
The Stockton Record

A law firm representing a Stockton creditor in bankruptcy is accused of raiding attorneys from an opposing firm that represents the California Public Employees' Retirement System. CalPERS, with which the city contracts to manage employee pensions, wants the judge overseeing Stockton's bankruptcy to kick Winston & Strawn, LLP, off the case in an argument also with implications in San Bernardino's ongoing Chapter 9.

CalPERS contends in court papers that Winston & Strawn recruited three members of a restructuring and insolvency team - one partner and two associates - from the Charlotte, N.C., office of K&L Gates. CalPERS contracts with K&L Gates for assistance in the Stockton bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy attorney Michael Sweet of Fox Rothschild, LLP, who is not actively involved in the Stockton or San Bernardino bankruptcies, said the attorneys switching firms do not necessarily create a conflict.

"People leave law firms all the time," he said. "There's a right way to do it and a wrong way to do it. CalPERS seems to think this was done in the wrong way."