The judge who presided over the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., the largest in U.S. history, will join law firm Morrison Foerster LLP next month to help lead its restructuring and insolvency group.
James M. Peck, 68, who oversaw Lehman's wind-down for about 5 1/2 years, retired from the bankruptcy court on Jan. 31 after eight years. Lehman's failure in September 2008 under a debt load of more than $600 billion helped spark the global recession.
Peck also presided over other high-profile bankruptcies, such as Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) and hotel-chain Extended Stay Inc., as well as the Chapter 15 filing by Japan Airlines Corp. He also helped achieve settlements as a mediator in the bankruptcies of American Airlines parent AMR Corp., MF Global Holdings Ltd. and Residential Capital LLC.
"I look forward to continuing to do in private practice what I did on the bench working on world class domestic and cross-border cases and engaging in complex mediation matters at Morrison & Foerster," Peck said in a statement today on the firm's website. The appointment is effective March 3.
Before being named a judge in 2006, Peck was a partner in Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP's business reorganization department. He earned his law degree from New York University School of Lawand his undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.
While Peck approved Lehman's liquidation plan more than two years ago, the unwinding continues. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Shelley Chapman, who took over for Peck, today approved a $767 million settlement between Lehman and Freddie Mac, according to court documents filed in Manhattan.
The deal resolves the government-controlled mortgage-finance company's $1.2 billion claim, one of the biggest remaining against the failed investment bank, and will allow hundreds of millions of dollars held in reserve during the dispute to be distributed to creditors.
The Lehman case is In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., 08-bk-13555, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).