Family, friends and professional colleagues across the world have mourned the passing of an ILA founding member, Peter Horrocks, after a short illness. On any measure, Peter was one of the finest restructuring lawyers of his generation. He was a pioneer in the management of complex, cross-border, restructurings and insolvencies who combined an ability to master the most technically challenging of situations with a sound instinct for the business imperatives of the clients and the firm.
Peter Horrocks joined Lovell White and King, one of Hogan Lovells' predecessor firms in 1970. He was elected to the partnership in 1975 at the age of 30. Over the next 23 years, Peter became a key member of the firm's restructuring and insolvency practice. In that time, his cases included acting for the sequestrators (receivers) of the National Union of Mineworkers, during the 1984/85 miners' strike. At the same time Peter was lead partner on the IOS fraud and insolvency, a role that he won when helping to establish one of Lovells first overseas offices in New York. In the course of his work on IOS, Peter formed lifelong friendships with Victor Barnett and John Meek. They worked on the Canadian aspects of the matter. IOS was one of the earliest major international insolvency and asset recovery cases. It was the job in which Peter made his name, both as an international restructuring practitioner and as an innovative lawyer, one who was always willing to think outside the box.
Most notably of all, Peter led the Hogan Lovells team advising the liquidators of the Bank of Credit and Commerce International Group, with all of Luxembourg, the United Kingdom and the Cayman Islands as major theatres of operation. BCCI remains one of the biggest and most complex cross-border insolvencies of all time. At its peak, Peter and his Hogan Lovells colleagues were supporting the Deloitte liquidation team in managing BCCI's operations in sixty jurisdictions. Peter led negotiations or litigation with governments and regulators in all of the US, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom. When the BCCI case concluded in 2013, creditors had been repaid in excess of 90% of the sums due to them – one of the most successful insolvencies of all times.
In addition to his client work, Peter was a cornerstone of the restructuring profession. He was a founder member, with James Lingard and Hamish Anderson of Norton Rose Fulbright and Mark Hyde of Clifford Chance, of the ILA and played key roles in INSOL and R3. These are respectively the United Kingdom and international educational and lobbying bodies for the restructuring profession.
Peter's colleagues, friends and competitors all speak of him as a man for kings and paupers in equal measure who went about his work without fear or favour. He was as confident, direct and frank when speaking to the ruler of Abu Dhabi as he was thoughtful, kind and empathetic in sharing his time with support staff and junior colleagues. Those who were lucky enough to work with and be mentored by Peter all speak of a man who was a hard task master, utterly loyal but who never pulled his punches.
Woe betide those whom Peter felt were not giving of their best and in so doing, failing to meet his exacting standards. Those who did give of their best found in Peter the most loyal and supportive mentor with a wonderful (and sometime wicked) sense of humour! Peter was years ahead of his time in terms of client care, business development and the way in which he could seamlessly run the most complex of matters.
Away from the office, Peter was a devoted family man with a keen interest – and numerous shares in – various thoroughbred race horses. This lifelong interest in the turf dated back to Peter's time as an articled clerk, when successful betting had on occasion met any shortfall between the salary of an articled clerk and his train fares between Epsom and the City of London.
Peter was also for many years captain of his local village cricket club. It was almost certainly no coincidence that the garden of his family home ran right up to the border of the cricket ground. One of Peter's former trainees speaks fondly of being summoned, in the middle of an important client meeting, to attend to a task of even greater significance than the legal business under discussion. Peter – and his clients – needed to know in short order how England was doing in the latest Test Match.
With his passing, the restructuring profession has lost one of its true "greats". The profession and those who knew Peter well have much to be thankful for and we are all the poorer with his passing.