Pillsbury Poaches Nixon Peabody Attorneys

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP announced that it has hired a group of corporate and private equity attorneys from Nixon Peabody’s New York office. The group is led by Mats Carlston, former Nixon Peabody head of global finance, who will lead Pillsbury’s leveraged finance team. Other hires include: Doug Schneller (to lead distressed investing), James Kelly (head of leveraged buyouts) and William Egler (asset-backed finance).


A large group of finance and corporate attorneys from Nixon Peabody today joined Pillsbury’s New York office. Led by Mats Carlston, previously Head of Global Finance at Nixon Peabody, who will now head Pillsbury’s Leveraged Finance team, the group enhances Pillsbury’s capabilities in the areas of leveraged finance, corporate trust, distressed investment, private equity and public finance.

“Pillsbury has long been recognized as a world leader in the financial services industry,” said Pillsbury Firm Chair Jim Rishwain. “The addition of this significant team allows Pillsbury to round out and deepen our full range of offerings in the finance, private equity and public finance sectors. We are delighted to have these elite and talented attorneys join us in New York as Pillsbury enters what we anticipate to be a very targeted period of strategic growth–growth that will continue to allow Pillsbury to deliver value-driven trusted counsel that help our clients succeed in the New Economy.”

The attorneys join as members of Pillsbury’s Firmwide Finance practice, and Pillsbury’s Firmwide Corporate & Securities practice. The total number of attorneys coming aboard is still being finalized, and so far, the team includes five partners plus other senior lawyers and associates.

Mats Carlston, head of Pillsbury’s Leveraged Finance team, has more than 20 years of experience in leveraged finance and general banking as well as with restructurings and workouts domestic and cross-border financings, with a principal focus in the private equity-sponsored buyout space. While at Nixon Peabody, he oversaw the growth of its Global Finance practice group to more than 50 attorneys. Pillsbury’s Leveraged Finance team represents arrangers, agents, lenders, investors, collateral agents, and borrowers in a wide range of senior and junior debt financing transactions.

“We are very excited to be joining Pillsbury to contribute to the broadening of its already impressive finance and corporate practices and to be part of executing on its vision to transform into one of the leading global law firms,” said Carlston. “Given the diversity and richness of my team’s experience, Pillsbury’s multidisciplinary, collaborative approach as well as its deep talent and superb brand recognition in the market place, we know that the fit for us and our clients will be ideal.”

The other team members are:

Bart Pisella, who now will lead Pillsbury’s Corporate Trust team dedicated to the corporate trust industry in today’s global capital markets, has over 20 years experience representing and advising financial and other institutions in a wide variety of commercial financing, fiduciary and securities matters. He has a particular focus advising corporate trustees in all aspects of their trust, fiduciary, custodial, administrative and agency business in traditional corporate capital markets and in complex global finance transactions, including all varieties of corporate debt offerings, project finance, syndicated loan facilities, DIP financings and any attendant workouts and default administration.

Doug Schneller joins as leader of Pillsbury’s Distressed Investing Team and represents commercial banks, investment banks, and hedge funds that invest in distressed assets, including companies in bankruptcy, and counsels creditors in bankruptcy cases and out-of-court restructurings. Additionally, Schneller represents banks and other secured and unsecured creditors in connection with restructurings in and outside of bankruptcy, as well as receivables financing and structured transactions. He also represents clients in connection with other corporate and transactional matters including distressed lending, inter-creditor arrangements, purchases and sales of loans and other claims under LSTA, LMA and bespoke documentation, and private equity investments.

Peter Alfano is a finance lawyer representing banks, finance companies, private equity funds and large corporate borrowers in domestic and cross-border financings. He also represents high net worth individuals and families as borrowers in connection with private bank and structured financings with major domestic financial institutions. His practice also includes representing corporate trustees in connection corporate trust, fiduciary, custodial, administrative and agency matters.

James Kelly joins as leader of Pillsbury’s Leveraged Buyout team in the Corporate & Securities practice. With a focus on M&A and private equity, Kelly represents private equity sponsors, their portfolio companies, investment banks and other financial institutions, as well as strategic companies, in connection with leveraged acquisitions, control and non-control investments, divestitures, restructurings and the related exit transactions. Overall, he has closed several billion in acquisitions, investments and sales for both large-cap and middle-market sponsors; several hundred million in co-investments and divestitures in connection with over $100 billion of acquisitions, investments and sales for financial institutions; and several billion in strategic company transactions.

Gregory M. Weston will lead the Municipal Finance Specialty team, which represents bond issuers and underwriters in a variety of taxable and tax-exempt transactions involving infrastructure, housing and higher education. He has broad experience in real estate finance, including tax credit and capital market transactions. His experience includes the structuring of investment vehicles, including funds, joint ventures, partnerships and limited liability companies. Weston regularly works with emerging managers and minority-owned financial services companies, advising them in a number of areas, including MWBE certifications. He also has broad experience in securitization and structured finance, having represented originators, underwriters, investors, bond insurers, and trustees in connection with CMBS, CDO, and other asset classes. He joins Pillsbury as counsel.

William Egler, who will lead our Asset-Backed Finance team, has a broad range of experience representing major international financial institutions structuring, negotiating and documenting credit facilities. His experience includes representing commercial bank, investment banks, leasing companies and international public development agencies with respect to mergers and acquisitions, leveraged buy-outs, recapitalizations, work-outs, working capital facilities, project financings, warehouse and related repurchase financings, single asset loan originations, and structured financings. He joins Pillsbury as counsel.

“The breadth of experience and excellent finance skills of Mats and his team will add depth and breadth to our strong global practice,” said Jon Whitney, head of Pillsbury’s Firmwide Finance Practice. “Their addition perfectly fits our strategic objective of growing and expanding our finance practice to ensure that we can service the wide range of needs of our clients and respond nimbly and effectively to those clients’ projects and goals as the economy completes its recovery.”

A cadre of mid-level and senior associates are also among the team members.

For more than 140 years, Pillsbury has advised the financial services industry going back to the firm’s earliest days advising Irving Trust—now Bank of New York Mellon and still an active client—on litigation, finance and corporate & securities matters. These three practices remain the cornerstone of Pillsbury’s New York office, and the basis on which that office expects to growth over the next several months.

About Pillsbury

Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is a full-service international law firm with market-leading strengths in the energy, financial services, real estate and technology sectors, and increasingly health care and education. Based in the world’s major financial and technology centers, Pillsbury counsels clients on global finance, regulatory, litigation and corporate matters. We work in multidisciplinary teams that allow us to anticipate trends and bring a 360-degree perspective to complex business and legal issues—helping clients to take greater advantage of new opportunities and better mitigate risk. This collaborative work style helps produce the results our clients seek.