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He Oversaw the Largest Municipal Bankruptcy In US History; Now He's Leading Jones Day in DC

Fresh from Kevyn Orr's post as Emergency Manager for the City of Detroit, he rejoins Jones Day as partner-in-charge of its DC office.


Kevyn's advice to younger lawyers is do the work nobody else wants to handle. "High risk, high reward" cases that people don't expect to succeed can be a real opportunity. He followed that approach in his own career. As Resolution Trust Corp assistant GC, Kevyn headed its participation in the Whitewater investigation. As a Jones Day partner, he defended Laidlaw Corp in a $1B claim by the purchaser of its environmental cleanup division. And he helped handle the multibillion-dollar Chrysler bankruptcy. He's also headed the DOJ's US Trustee Program. As Detroit Emergency Manager, Kevyn oversaw the largest municipal bankruptcy in US history, which resulted in the city restructuring $18B in debt.


We talked to Kevyn during his first day as the head of Jones Day's largest office on Friday (after which he flew to Australia for a week). He took over as partner-in-charge from Greg Shumaker (right), who held the role since 2011. Greg becomes the head of Jones Day's Global Disputes Practice. (We remember when Greg was just getting ready to take over as PIC from Mary Ellen Powers.) Kevyn says he's not looking to make any changes to the DC office, though it's always looking to grow in practice areas and attorneys. Before he was appointed Detroit Emergency Manager in 2013, Kevyn led the development of Jones Day's Miami office. At that point, he'd been a partner at the firm for 12 years and previously served as head of firm-wide recruiting and the diversity task force.