A move that is not without precedent, JPMorgan Chase has hired a big swinging lawyer, James Woolery (no relation to game-show host Chuck, I don't think), from a big swinging law firm, Cravath, Swaine & Moore, to co-head its big swinging North American M&A group.
The 41-year-old Woolery has extensive experience in M&A, albeit on the side of the law. "He has advised on deals such as Universal Health Services Inc.'s acquisition of Psychiatric Solutions Inc. and Merck & Co.'s takeover of Schering-Plough Corp."
Woolery is only the latest in a long line of lawyers to make the leap to the banking business.
"Cravath partner Robert Kindler left to become a banker at Chase Manhattan Corp., now part of JPMorgan, and another partner, George Billic, went to Merrill Lynch & Co. In 2005, Dennis Hersch left Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP to join JPMorgan." And "among bankruptcy lawyers, Harvey Miller of Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and James Sprayregen of Kirkland & Ellis LLP both entered banking in the last decade and later returned."