Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft boosted its ability to counsel corporate clients in mergers and acquisitions by naming James Woolery, the former JPMorgan Chase deal maker, as its first deputy chairman.
The firm said Woolery, 43, who will also co-chair the corporate department, will be responsible for business development, strategy and external relations.
For Cadwalader, Woolery's addition will further cement a relationship with the banking giant and the industry. Woolery said the relationship between the bank and the law firm is already strong. While it's up to JPMorgan to decide if more business will go to Cadwalader, he said the two are collaborating on a number of new assignments.
Woolery served as co-head of North American mergers and acquisitions at JPMorgan, in which he helped oversee a range of major transactions. Chris Ventresca is the sole head of the JPMorgan division now.
Among some transactions on which Woolery has worked are Dell Inc.'s recent agreement to be acquired by Michael Dell and Silver Lake Partners and Medco's merger with Express Scripts.
Woolery, who started his new job yesterday, said he was "very committed to the role I had" at JPMorgan, and he could have stayed in banking. Although "I always missed practicing law because I enjoyed it," he said he didn't enjoy one profession more than the other.
"This was really about the opportunity to take a leadership position" at an impressive firm and to help drive a platform, while working with firm chairman W. Christopher White, he said. Woolery added that he met White last year, when White reached out to him about a potential role at the firm.
"This firm is very nimble, it's the right size" for strategy and development plans, Woolery said.
He said its vision includes marrying corporate and regulatory work, which he described as "a combined focus around business lawyering and regulatory affairs." Oftentimes, the practices are siloed and not integrated, he said.
Woolery also said he saw his move to Cadwalader as "a natural progression" in a career focused on business management and development.