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Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP


About Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP

Richards Kibbe & Orbe is the best law firm you may have never heard of. And there’s a reason why. Representing prominent clients in the financial services sector since its founding 24 years ago, the firm has always placed a higher premium on discretion than its own notoriety. While that approach doesn’t earn headlines, it has earned RK&O a golden reputation with those who matter most: its client base, those in the financial services sector and adversaries. That client base includes eight of the top 10 global investment banks, four of the 10 largest private equity funds and 31 of the top 100 hedge funds by assets under management. Priding itself on discretion, RK&O’s lips are sealed on who many of these clients are, but it has no shortage of public victories under its belt.

Wall Street Warriors  

Although RK&O is relatively young by law firm standards—it was founded in 1990—the firm has already established itself as a Wall Street player. In the early 1990s, investors first became interested in purchasing and trading distressed bank loans. Founding partner Jon Kibbe spearheaded their efforts, creating the structures and documentation to facilitate such transactions. The legal groundwork was so well executed that it is still in place today. In fact, the terms that RK&O created for distressed-loan investments have since been adopted throughout the entire secondary loan marketplace. Language drafted by the firm is literally embedded into standard contracts throughout this area of practice.

RK&O’s work on distressed bank loans is just one aspect of its broader practice. The firm facilitates trading in bank loans (both distressed and “par”), claims against troubled and insolvent companies, portfolios of real estate loans and other illiquid assets. In 2013, it represented clients in the trading of roughly $19 billion of bank loans, $5.5 billion of claims against Lehman Brothers, $10.6 billion of claims against Icelandic banks and $500 million of claims asserted in the American Airlines bankruptcy. 

Founding partner William Orbe and the firm’s corporate practice complement this expertise with their ability to handle the largest, most complex financing transactions. In 2013, RK&O represented a large hedge fund manager in the auction of $100 million of illiquid “side-pocket” assets held by withdrawn limited partners. It also represented the lead investor in a public REIT in obtaining liquidity through a registered secondary offering of equity and advised a hedge fund manager in splitting off $1 billion of portfolio assets to form a new fund meeting socially responsible investing mandates.

RK&O’s white collar and investigations practice is also a tremendous strength of the firm. Led by Lee Richards, ranked as a leading attorney in the area for seven straight years by Chambers USA, the group has excelled in a variety of high-pressure matters for both corporations and individuals. For example, the firm represented Ina Drew, the former head of JPMorgan’s Chief Investment Office, in connection with investigations following $6 billion in “London Whale” trading losses; it also represented an interdealer broker, ICAP, in three of the initial antitrust actions brought over alleged manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark interest rate. 

Experienced Professionals Only

Unlike some large and mid-sized law firms that rely on substantial layering of associates and junior partners beneath the senior partner responsible for a given matter or client, RK&O prefers that senior partners have direct, personal client contact. As a result, the ratio of partners to associates is approximately one-to-one. In order for this model to work, the firm hires only experienced associates—those who have spent at least three years in private or government practice.

Both corporate attorneys and litigators come to RK&O from top firms on the Vault 100, and its litigation team boasts strong ties to the public sector. The firm’s DC office alone, for instance, includes a former Director of the Office of International Affairs at the SEC, Michael Mann, and a former Assistant General Counsel at the SEC, Eva Marie Carney. RK&O’s litigation team also boasts former Assistant U.S. Attorneys and a former DOJ trial attorney.

Richards Kibbe & Orbe LLP

200 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10281-1003
Phone: (212) 530-1800

Firm Stats

Managing Partners: Jennifer Grady and Craig A. Newman

Employment Contact

Emerita Ruiz
Phone: (212) 530-1875

Major Office Locations

New York, NY
Washington, DC

Major Departments

Civil Litigation
Corporate & Business Transactions
Criminal Defense
Internal & Government Investigations
Regulation & Compliance
Securities Enforcement