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  • Writer's pictureC Street Advisory Group

Ex-Kirkland Bankruptcy Pro Molds Messages for Distressed Firms

  • Jon Henes’ firm worked on 30-plus restructurings in 2023

  • Firm is hiring Kirkland & Ellis partner Whitney Fogelberg

February 5, 2024 / Bloomberg Law - Jon Henes, who left Kirkland & Ellis’ vaunted restructuring practice in 2021 to start a firm that advises distressed and bankrupt entities, is making his first partner-level lawyer addition since his company’s launch.

Whitney Fogelberg, a Kirkland restructuring partner, will join a team of 19 strategic communications professionals at C Street Advisory Group and launch the company’s Chicago office, Henes’ firm announced Monday.

The hire is an effort to build on what some of Henes’ clients said sets his shop apart: The insider knowledge he brings after having spent decades as a law firm lawyer representing distressed companies.

Other professional services required in restructuring situations have led to specialization. For instance, Weil Gotshal & Manges’ Harvey Miller is credited with building the first specialized Big Law bankruptcy practice, a model that’s spread throughout the industry.

“That’s what we’re doing in the strategy and communications area,” Henes said in an interview. “You need the specialization of restructuring knowledge.”

Since he began C Street in September 2021, Henes has drawn on contacts across the insular restructuring world to grab work on behalf of more than 30 companies last year, including major Chapter 11 cases such as WeWork Inc., Bed Bath & Beyond, and David’s Bridal.

The company helps leadership teams get their message out about journeys into or near Chapter 11 by drafting messages sent to employees, vendors, media, and other stakeholders rattled by whispers of “bankruptcy” or “restructuring.” It is near the top of a list of the busiest communications firms in the restructuring space, competing with Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher and FTI Consulting Inc.

“To his credit, he’s identified a gap in the market,” Ryan Preston Dahl, co-chair of the business restructuring group at Ropes & Gray, said of Henes. The C Street founder combines his deep, nuanced understanding of restructuring with a team that provides additional layers of guidance, Dahl said, and “that’s easier said than done in a services business.”

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