Philip deV. Claverie Sr.
Banking and Finance Law Senior Partner, Phelps Dunbar LLP
49 years in practice
B.A. – Princeton University, History, 1963
J.D. – Tulane University, 1966
Native of New Orleans
One of his toughest cases: Coordinating Loans From 13 Banks
If commercial bankruptcy law can be equated to assisting businesses through a sort of divorce – a separation of assets and relationships – then what Philip deV. Claverie Sr. does could be described as more on the marriage side of things.
“I really enjoy what I do,” says the senior partner, who’s about to celebrate 50 years at Phelps Dunbar LLP. “I get to assist clients in creating a win/win relationship.”
As the senior member of the firm’s business group, Claverie represents both businesses and financial institutions in completing various commercial and real estate transactions, including loans, leases and acquisitions. He specializes in the financing aspects of historic and new market tax credit financing, along with multi-state loan transactions.
“I bring people together who will have a relationship for a long time,” he says. “My goal is always to complete a transaction and join with all the parties involved to enjoy a celebratory dinner.”
A large portion of Claverie’s work is representing banks as they create a loan that will eventually result in the creation of a building, or even a seagoing vessel – as was the case when he represented a bank in a $222 million syndicated loan to finance a barge and fleeting company.
A native New Orleanian whose father was also a lawyer (who also held an impressive tenure at a single firm – 63 years) Claverie says he has been involved in some aspect of a wide array of mostly local projects that he feels fortunate to pass by every day on his way to work. “The Marriott Hotel, Poydras Center, Canal Place, the Royal Orleans, the Doubletree here – I’ve played a role in making each of those happen.”
Claverie says one of his toughest cases happened a few years ago.
“Thirteen different banks from eight different cities came together to create almost $400 million in loans for a manufacturing company that was operating within several states,” he says. “Coordinating all of those parties, while at the same time making sure everything complied with the many different local laws was quite a feat.”
Even so, the entire process took only about four months.
“Unlike in litigation, which invariably drags on, the work I do has a shorter time horizon,” he explains. “There’s no third party involved – like a court – and everyone involved really wants to get about things quickly.”
The family genes for law appear to be strong – Claverie’s son, Philip deV. Claverie Jr., is a partner at Phelps Dunbar. No doubt inspired by his father’s passion for his work, Claverie Jr. works, along with his father on the firm’s cases relating to business, finance and real estate.
With almost five decades under his belt, Claverie says he has no current plans to retire.
“I always tell people, as long as I enjoy it and I’m staying productive, I’m going to stick with it.”