Former Detroit EM Orr returning to Jones Day

David Shepardson
Detroit News Washington Bureau

Former Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr will return to his former law firm May 1 as head of its Washington office and a partner in its restructuring practice.

The firm said Orr will be a partner in its Business Restructuring & Reorganization Practice and as the partner-in-charge of its Washington Office.

"Simply put, we are proud both of what Kevyn has accomplished and of our Firm's contributions to the regeneration of one of America's great, historic cities. With Kevyn's return, our clients, the Washington Office, and the Firm can now again benefit from the judgment, steadiness, and talent that Kevyn showed in Detroit," said Steve Brogan, managing partner of Jones Day, in a statement.

The firm noted the praise of then Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes who oversaw Detroit's Chapter 9 restructuring.

"And here I want to single out Kevyn Orr for special recognition and appreciation. His task was perhaps the most challenging of all of us. Yet he met that challenge with skill, determination and commitment, and at great personal sacrifice. I hope that someday soon, this city will recognize the singular contribution that he made to its fresh start and give him the credit he truly deserves," Rhodes said in November 2014.

Orr is currently serving as a consultant to the emergency manager for Atlantic City appointed by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie.

Orr, a bankruptcy attorney, restructuring expert and former partner at Jones Day, left the law firm to become Detroit's emergency manager in March 2013. The city filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy that July. His tenure in Detroit ended in December on the same day the city officially exited bankruptcy.

Jones Day was the city's lead bankruptcy firm, receiving $57.9 million in fees for its work during the restructuring.

By late October, Jones Day had charged $52.31 million. Their final payout of $57.90 million equates to fees totaling $5.59 million over the past two months during the city's trial and its exit from receivership.

Orr told The News last year that the fees were not unreasonable for a case of Detroit's magnitude.

The bankruptcy, he said, allows the city to rid itself of $7 billion in debt and to restructure another $3 billion.

"You have to recognize there's a cost to getting that kind of result in this time frame to deal with 50 years of issues," Orr said.

Before being appointed by Gov. Rick Snyder in March 2013 to oversee Detroit's restructuring, Orr was a partner in Jones Day's Washington office for 12 years, having joined in 2001. Mr. Orr played roles in the Chrysler and Anthracite bankruptcies.