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HOUSTON – The law firm of McKool Smith is announcing the addition of two veteran litigators and a former federal bankruptcy clerk in the firm’s rapidly growing Houston office. 

Christopher D. Johnson, Ruth A. Van Meter and Nicholas Zugaro join an accomplished group of attorneys in McKool Smith’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring practice, which is led by nationally acclaimed bankruptcy attorney Hugh M. Ray. 

“The addition of these three excellent lawyers is part of our overall goal to become one of the top bankruptcy shops anywhere in the country,” says Mr. Ray, who also leads the firm’s Houston office. “With bankruptcies and related litigation on the rise, and more and more firms facing client conflicts in bankruptcy-related work, we expect to grow our group significantly in the coming months.” 

Mr. Johnson joins McKool Smith from Selman Munson & Lerner in Houston. His practice focuses on bankruptcy and financial restructuring matters. During his 11-year legal career, Mr. Johnson has represented Chapter 11 debtors, official unsecured creditors committees, creditors, and Chapter 7 trustees in significant cases heard in federal bankruptcy courts in Texas, New York and Delaware. 

Ms. Van Meter joins McKool Smith from the Houston office of Munsch Hardt Kopf & Harr. For more than 20 years, Ms. Van Meter has represented a variety of clients in cases involving bankruptcy matters, corporate transactions, commercial litigation and insurance defense. In addition to her trial expertise, Ms. Van Meter also is an accomplished appellate lawyer with experience in both state and federal appeals. 

Mr. Zugaro joins McKool Smith following a clerkship for the Hon. Wesley Steen in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Prior to his work with Judge Steen, Mr. Zugaro earned his law degree from the University of Houston Law Center, where he served as editor of the Houston Journal of International Law.

With more than 130 litigators working as an integrated team across offices in New York, Washington, D.C. and Texas, McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. The firm has been recognized by The National Law Journal and VerdictSearch for winning more Top 100 verdicts than any other U.S. law firm during the past three years.  McKool Smith represents leading clients across a broad range of practice areas, including complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, bankruptcy, and white collar defense.

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