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WTP counsels creditors in Howrey’s bankruptcy

Baltimore-based Whiteford, Taylor & Preston has taken over as counsel to the unsecured creditors committee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy case of the former Washington, D.C., law firm Howrey LLC.

Whiteford’s F. Bradford Englander replaced Thomas Willoughby of Felderstein Fitzgerald Willoughby & Pascuzzi LLP in Sacramento. No reason was given for Willoughby’s withdrawal from the case in court documents.

Englander, who is a partner in Whiteford’s Falls Church, Va., office, could not discuss the case, according to a spokeswoman for the firm, citing client confidentiality. Englander is licensed to practice in California, where the proceedings are taking place.

According to court documents, Whiteford was chosen for its expertise in the areas of insolvency, reorganizations, commercial transactions and other matters dealing with debtors and creditors.

The creditors committee includes LexisNexis Inc., Dewey & LeBoeuf LLP, EMC Corp., Matura Farrington Staffing Services Inc., Hines REIT 321 North Clark Street LLC, Dun & Bradstreet and Stephanie Y. Langley, according to court documents.

Willoughby filed to withdraw as counsel to the creditors on Oct. 3. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali approved the request in San Francisco on Oct. 11.

Whiteford’s rates are a bit higher than those charged by Felderstein Fitzgerald, which charged between $325 and $595, with Willoughby’s rate at $475, according to filings with the court.

Englander charges $500 an hour, and the firm’s rates run from $390 to $620 for partners. Associates charge between $290 and $390 an hour.

Englander is the immediate past president of the Northern Virginia Bankruptcy Association Bar and serves as the vice chair of the small-business bankruptcy subcommittee of the American Bar Association Business Law Section Business Bankruptcy Committee.

Howrey’s collapse came after the 55-year-old firm’s rapid growth into an international firm. It suffered from a string of poor financial returns and failed attempts to merge. Partners began defecting en masse.