Bankruptcy/Restructuring - Nationwide
THE FIRM Akin Gump's bankruptcy and restructuring group is considered one of the country's premier creditors' committee practices. With teams spanning New York, Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and Texas, the practice is well-placed to conduct any large-scale, complex committee proceedings. In what has been another successful year, highlights include its appointment as counsel to the unsecured creditors' committee in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of global oil tanker business Overseas Shipholding. The New York team also represented the unsecured creditors' committee in the bankruptcy of well-known aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft. Akin's Texas offering provides particular expertise within the oil and gas industry.
Sources say: "The team has a lot of experience; they have a deep bench, are pragmatic and easy to work with." "They are good at client service and very responsive. They understand how I do business and can see issues that might come up."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Daniel Golden has been instrumental to the firm's prominence this year, with market sources describing him as a "top-tier, go-to person in the creditors' committee world today." His recent highlights include his role as lead counsel to the unsecured creditors' committee in the Overseas Shipholding bankruptcy.
Fred Hodara is head of Akin Gump's financial restructuring practice. He is currently playing a leading role alongside Golden in advising the unsecured creditors' committee in the Overseas Shipholding matter. Hodara is described by interviewees as "a tough and aggressive deal maker."
Ira Dizengoff brings a practical, commercially-focused approach to his cases and is described as "extremely good at finding ways to navigate through the legal complexities to structure negotiated solutions," and for being "very effective with big picture strategy." His recent work includes representing the unsecured creditors' committee in Dynegy Holdings' $4 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Michael Stamer is recognized for his strategic expertise. His foresight and business-oriented approach has garnered recommendations from clients: "He is calm but sharp-elbowed when necessary."
Charles Gibbs is based in Akin's Dallas, Texas office. He is highly regarded for his expertise in representing both debtors and creditors in oil and gas-related bankruptcies. Interviewees describe him as "a master of his craft," and "a great strategist who can provide a good road map for how the case will progress."
THE FIRM Davis Polk's New York-based insolvency and restructuring team has developed a top-tier reputation in the field. Traditionally considered a preeminent creditor and lender practice,the firm has continued to operate at the highest level, with highlights from the past year including its continued representation of Citibank in relation to $950 million worth of DIP financing for Eastman Kodak. On the company-side, the firm advised Patriot Coal and Pinnacle Airlines during their respective bankruptcies. The firm also represented the joint administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe) in relation to the litigation and settlement of $38 billion in claims between it and Lehman Brothers Inc.
Commercial Awareness "Excellent lawyers, negotiators and businesspeople. They have a firm grasp of the specific nuances of Chapter 11, but can also act as good counselors on making informed business decisions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Davis Polk's insolvency and restructuring practice is headed by Donald Bernstein and Marshall Huebner, two of the most experienced and highly regarded practitioners in the industry. The two joined forces recently in advising Citibank on the Eastman Kodak DIP financing. Bernstein is regularly praised for his leadership and sense of strategy, while commentators describe Huebner as "an excellent negotiator with a strong reputation in court; he has the ability and reputation for being effective in getting to a solution." Bernstein has played an integral role in the firm's advice to various major finance houses regarding the implementation of the Dodd-Frank Act. Meanwhile, Huebner undertook the debtor-side representations of Patriot Coal and Pinnacle Airlines.
THE FIRM Jones Day's business restructuring and reorganization practice spans offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Dallas, Cleveland and Columbus. The group has risen to prominence with roles in some of the largest restructurings in history, and its bench strength keeps it well-placed to tackle any debtor or creditor-side engagement. The group continued to represent Hostess Brands in its highly publicized $800 million Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The practice also received a considerable boost following the arrival of LA-based Bruce Bennett from defunct law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf. The firm also recently took the spotlight with the appointment of its DC-based Kevyn Orr to emergency financial manager of Detroit.
Client Service "I've been impressed with the quality of their work and their ability to keep fees down. They really try to work to establish long-term relationships."
Commercial Awareness "They not only have an excellent knowledge of bankruptcy law but a good understanding of the business. Adding to that an ability to be practical and incisive on key and difficult legal points enabled the client to get to a good result."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Corinne Ball is cochair of the firm's business restructuring and reorganization group. She is one of the most well-known practitioners in the industry, with market sources noting that "she is all business and extremely intelligent; she can see things faster than most," and is "very confident, responsive, bright and very effective."
The "brilliant and very effective" Bruce Bennett is a new addition to the firm's Los Angeles office. He advises clients across the spectrum of bankruptcy-related situations. His recent highlights have included acting as lead counsel to an ad hoc group of lenders on the MF Global Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Practice group cochair Paul Leake is "practical and a pleasure to deal with," according to interviewees, who have been particularly impressed with his leadership qualities, as well as his impact in the court room.
The "smart, savvy and practical" Heather Lennox is described by commentators as "very articulate and good at dealing with multiple group entities." She has quickly developed into one of the more important members in the practice, with one impressed source pointing out that they have "never seen anyone so well prepared for court with such a grasp of the minute details; her ability to size up a situation quickly and figure out what's going to be a problem is really impressive."
David Heiman operates out of the firm's Cleveland office. He is one of the founding members of Jones Day's practice and is held in high esteem by the wider bankruptcy and restructuring industry.
Los Angeles-based Richard Wynne is a senior partner in the group. He advises clients on complex distressed situations across the country. His recent highlights include advising FGIC on $1billion of debt claimed in the ResCap Chapter 11 bankruptcy, on which FGIC is a cochair of the official creditors' committee.
THE FIRM This powerhouse financial restructuring practice has preeminent teams operating out of Chicago and New York. The depth and experience in this group is renowned throughout the US and globally, with the group primed to undertake large-scale, complex debtor-side representations in particular. It also stables increasingly recognized creditor-side expertise. The group's notable highlights include representing well-known aviation businesses Hawker Beechcraft and Global Aviation Holdings in their respective Chapter 11 bankruptcies. It has also successfully completed a number of high-value out-of-court restructurings, including engagements for Barneys New York and luxury resort developer Kerzner International.
Client Service "They worked around our time and our hours but at the same time they were always available to us. They were very good at understanding our business and the sensitivity of the industry – that got us through the bankruptcy a lot quicker."
Commercial Awareness "There is a depth of experience; the team provides a wide range of expertise and has seen and done just about everything. A strength of theirs is making win-win deals; understanding the desires and needs of all parties but particularly their client."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Cieri is one of the more senior partners in the group, with sources noting that "he has been around a long time and has great market recognition." He is described by interviewees as "outstanding, creative and effective." He is currently advising Hawker Beechcraft on its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
James Sprayregen is one of the leading practitioners in the industry. He divides his time between Kirkland's Chicago and New York offices. Clients look to him as someone who is "providing leadership and strategic guidance on the big issues." "Tireless and very creative," Sprayregen is described as "very good in complicated and difficult situations."
Paul Basta recently represented Barneys New York and Kerzner International during their respective out-of-court restructurings. He is praised as a "very effective lawyer who is practical in his approach."
As part of "the next generation of leaders," Jonathan Henes has built his name on the back of exemplary successes for his clients. He has been "very active with a strong presence" during the past year, with highlights including his representation of Global Aviation Holdings in its $495 million bankruptcy proceedings.
Marc Kieselstein recently represented women's fashion retailer United Retail Group in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. He is given "the highest marks" by interviewees who praise him for "adding clarity and humor to what can be a dreadful experience."
The "very smart and practical" Anup Sathy continues to develop a reputation as a prominent player in the market. He garners respect as "a great negotiator – he is personable and knows how to talk to a business guy and structure things."
Edward Sassower is a "professional, business-savvy deal-maker." He is an accomplished practitioner with broad-ranging expertise.
THE FIRM Milbank Tweed's nationwide financial restructuring practice advises across the entire bankruptcy spectrum and encompasses leading teams in New York, Los Angeles and DC. The group has experienced a successful year in a strained market, with a slew of high stakes engagements, particularly in advising creditors' committees and bondholder groups. Such highlights include acting for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the $6.7 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Eastman Kodak. It is also representing the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Arcapita, as well as an ad hoc creditor group of secured noteholders in Residential Capital's (ResCap) $15 billion bankruptcy proceedings.
Client Service "We continue to love working with them every chance we get. They are very responsive to questions."
Commercial Awareness "Very balanced guys; not chest-thumpers or grenade-throwers – they are problem solvers. They understand issues very quickly and give you the fire power to go back as a business person and make a decision. Very commercially articulate and capable strategists."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Fearless leader" Dennis Dunne is based in New York and is cochair of the firm's global financial restructuring practice. Sources describe him as "very knowledgeable and insightful and, because his demeanor is balanced, it allows him to control the table." He is equally adept in debtor or creditor-side engagements and is currently leading the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Eastman Kodak bankruptcy.
Los Angeles-based Paul Aronzon cochairs the practice alongside Dunne. "He has a deep knowledge of the law and process," say commentators, who add: "He has a great ability to evaluate cases and figure out the issue; a very fine strategic-thinker."
Gerard Uzzi has been making a name for himself since his recent move to Milbank from White & Case. He is broadly experienced and works predominantly with creditor-side clients. "He is able to bring together various parties and reach consensus in highly contentious situations," report sources. His recent highlights include advising major ad hoc creditor groups in the bankruptcies of ResCap and American Airlines.
Matthew Barr has a diverse practice in which he advises various clients, from debtors to investors in distressed assets. He is currently advising telecom business LightSquared in its Chapter 11 proceedings. "He is among the most practical lawyers I've dealt with," according to an interviewee, who adds: "He has a good idea of what our end goals are and doesn't get hung up in the weeds."
THE FIRM The corporate restructuring practice at Skadden continues to operate at the forefront of the bankruptcy industry. With superb teams in New York, Chicago, Wilmington and Los Angeles, the practice is well-placed to advise on cutting edge national and international bankruptcy issues. Traditionally renowned for large debtor representations, Skadden also undertakes major creditor and investor-side cases, including its ongoing high-profile engagement as counsel to the unsecured creditors' committee in the American Airlines bankruptcy. On the company side, the group demonstrates its far-reaching capabilities in its recent advice to Danish shipping company TORM in its out-of-court restructuring.
Sources say: "Skadden has been very smart and helpful in getting the right result in an extremely complex multijurisdictional case." "It's a combination of knowing the subject matter and being able to help a company make strategic business decisions. They work tirelessly and are available 24/7."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Global head of corporate restructuring Jay Goffman is at the forefront of the bankruptcy sector. He has experienced a busy year in which he advised TORM on its restructuring. He is praised by clients as "exceptionally creative and innovative; he really thinks outside the box and can tackle interesting new problems unconstrained."
"Industry icon" Jack Butler is based in Chicago. He stands out for "going beyond a traditional lawyer and thinking about client needs; he is a broad legal business strategist." One of Skadden's most senior lawyers, clients continue to value his immense experience.
New York-based Kenneth Ziman is deputy head of the corporate restructuring practice. "He is very insightful and an excellent technician," according to satisfied clients. He recently represented Barclays Bank in a $1.45 billion DIP credit facility for ResCap during its high-profile Chapter 11 case.
Fellow practice deputy leader George Panagakis is based in Chicago. He is broadly experienced and acts for a range of creditor and debtor-side clients. He has played a key role on behalf of TORM.
"One of the fathers in the modern industry of restructuring," Gregory Milmoe is eminently experienced and renowned throughout the industry. "His depth of knowledge is fantastic and unusual," report sources, who add: "He has a great, calming demeanor in pressured situations."
THE FIRM Weil Gotshal's business finance and restructuring group is universally considered one of the top practices in the world. The group is headquartered in New York, with strong teams also housed in Dallas and Houston. With near-unrivaled resources and bench strength, Weil is famous for representing companies in many of the biggest bankruptcies in history. Highlights in the past year have included continued advice to the debtors in several large-scale bankruptcies, including AMR, AES Eastern Energy and MF Global UK. The group is not limited to debtor engagements, however, with its Texas offering in particular advising on a full range of bankruptcy issues.
Client Service "The Weil team offers a great breadth of experience. It is very responsive, commercial, hard-working, and they have a very strong bench."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Harvey Miller is the founder of Weil's business finance and restructuring practice. He is considered an industry icon, with sources describing him as "the dean of bankruptcy lawyers; he is a big-picture guy with extensive experience." He remains active in his practice and interviewees note that he "is very client-conscious, unbelievably knowledgeable, and has the respect of everyone at the Bar."
Practice group leader Marcia Goldstein is admired by commentators as "insightful, with a strong knowledge base, and gives very practical advice." Principal among Goldstein's recent highlights is her representation of MF Global UK in the MF Global Chapter 11 bankruptcy. She also acted as lead counsel to Citibank and Barclays in connection with a $500 million DIP credit facility in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Patriot Coal.
Stephen Karotkin is a creative practitioner, lauded by one particular client as: "A very quick study who gets up to speed on our business and helps us to understand complex bankruptcy issues." A prominent, nationally respected name, Karotkin has continued to advise is AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, in its high-profile bankruptcy proceedings.
Lori Fife is a highly experienced practitioner who regularly advises clients on issues across the bankruptcy spectrum. Sources are quick to highlight her as "very hard-working, thoughtful and helpful in working through difficult problems. She is responsive and has a broad remit of expertise; she's involved in everything."
Martin Sosland is head of Weil's Dallas-based bankruptcy and restructuring team. He is often singled out for his debtor-side expertise, but is adept in all manner of representations, as evidenced by his recent engagement for Macquarie Capital in the implementation of a credit facility and equity investments for Reddy Ice during its bankruptcy proceedings.
Gary Holtzer receives a tremendous amount of recognition for his work ethic and technical know-how. He has broad-ranging bankruptcy expertise, and regularly represents debtors, creditors and lenders.
The "outstanding" Alfredo Perez heads the restructuring team in Weil's Houston office. He has been praised by interviewees for his business-oriented approach to matters. He plays an integral part in the practice, with leading roles in many of the firm's marquee cases, including advising AMR as a debtor on the American Airlines bankruptcy.
THE FIRM Cleary Gottlieb's restructuring and insolvency practice is headquartered in New York. The firm's wider global footprint enables it to conduct engagements in any top-level bankruptcy matter, particularly those involving international and cross-border restructuring elements. The practice has experienced a successful year, and recently filed one of the largest Chapter 11 cases of the past year on behalf of oil tanker business Overseas Shipholding Group.
Client Service "A solid practice with outstanding professional skills and great client focus."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Global practice head James Bromley is renowned for his expertise in advising debtor and creditor clients on international restructuring matters. His recent highlights include acting as lead counsel for Overseas Shipholding on its high-value Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He is praised by interviewees as a "very good, practical lawyer with a calm demeanor."
The "hard-working and extremely bright" Lisa Schweitzer enters the nationwide rankings thanks to an excellent year. Sources are quick to identify her prowess in working towards a pragmatic business solution for her clients. Her recent work has included her continued lead for Nortel Networks.
THE FIRM This New York-based corporate restructuring and bankruptcy practice has experienced a stellar year. Kramer Levin's team is able to provide advice to clients working across the bankruptcy spectrum, but is especially renowned for its creditor-side engagements. In this vein, the group has undertaken several high-profile representations including advising the unsecured creditors' committee on ResCap's $15 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. It also acted for unsecured creditors' committees on several other high-value bankruptcies, including the Chapter 11 cases of Hostess Brands, AES Eastern Energy and Patriot Coal.
Sources say: "They have lawyers who are exceptional and top in their fields; highly experienced and very intelligent. They are outstanding at thinking of creative solutions when you are in a particularly difficult situation."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Mayer is cochair of the corporate restructuring and bankruptcy practice. He is "among the most intellectual of all bankruptcy lawyers," say sources, and provides "thorough, detailed and excellent analysis." His current highlights include advising the Official Unsecured Creditors' Committees on the Chapter 11 bankruptcies of Hostess Brands and Patriot Coal.
Fellow practice group cochair Kenneth Eckstein is an expert in a wide range of bankruptcy representations. In recent highlights, he represented the unsecured creditors' committee in the ResCap bankruptcy. "He has an outstanding reputation and an excellent presence in court," according to interviewees, who add: "He can establish an excellent rapport with the judges."
THE FIRM Latham's restructuring, insolvency workouts practice is nationally recognized, with a footprint spanning New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. The group is traditionally acclaimed for its expertise in representing creditors, lenders and distressed investors, with recent highlights including acting for US Airways on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of American Airlines' parent company AMR. The team also boasts debtor-side capabilities, with a notable recent example being its representation of shipping and container business Eagle Bulk Shipping in its $1.2 billion out-of-court restructuring.
Sources say: "They are very strong and particularly excel in marrying bankruptcy strategy with business strategy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Jan Baker is Latham's global restructuring group cochair. He is described by market sources as "one of the most senior attorneys in the industry." Baker has played an integral part in developing the practice's debtor-side capabilities. He recently advised Eagle Bulk Shipping on its $1.2 billion out-of-court restructuring.
David Heller is chair of the firm's finance group and shares his time between the Chicago and New York offices. He is praised for his extensive experience, with interviewees noting that "he's got very good judgment, there are not a whole lot of situations out there that he hasn't been through." Others describe him as “extremely creative and he always gets results.”
Peter Gilhuly heads Latham's restructuring and insolvency presence in California. He is a broadly experienced practitioner who is equally adept with creditor or debtor-side engagements. Sources are quick to remark that Gilhuly is a "fantastic lawyer and in terms of who I'd be looking to hire it'd be Peter." He recently advised New United Motors Manufacturing (NUMMI) on its high-value out-of-court wind-down, as well as on other insolvency-related issues.
Mitchell Seider cochairs the restructuring and workouts group alongside Jan Baker. He is an expert in all types of bankruptcy matter, with interviewees praising him as "really good at negotiating and guiding towards solutions." Seider is an expert in Latin American bankruptcy issues, and his recent highlights include acting for Jefferies & Co on its funding of Satelites Mexicanos's exit from its Mexican prepackaged bankruptcy.
THE FIRM This high-quality bankruptcy and corporate reorganization practice is head-quartered in New York. The team offers a deep bench of experts who are experienced across the spectrum of bankruptcy matters and who are regularly praised for outstanding client service. The group has taken on a number of high-profile engagements, including acting as lead counsel to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing on a $3.1 billion prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan. The group has also continued to advise Silver Point Capital as pre- and post-petition lending agent to Hostess Brands.
Client Service "They have a very talented bench as well as talent the next level down. Creative and great to work with; they are smart, responsive and not afraid to give you a tough answer."
Commercial Awareness "Their guys are not only intelligent and give concise advice; they get to the bottom line, understand dynamics and are very commercially-oriented."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice chair Alan Kornberg is considered one of the "top creditor-side lawyers in country." "He is immensely practical, commercial, intelligent and hard-working," sources remark. Kornberg recently led the firm's representation of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing.
Andrew Rosenberg is similarly well regarded, with one interviewee claiming: "He is one of the finest bondholder/creditor attorneys I've ever worked with." Indicative of this are his recent highlights which include acting for the ad hoc committee of bondholders on the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Dynegy Holdings. He is described as "somebody who is always a pleasure to work with or opposite."
THE FIRM Wachtell boasts an eminently respected restructuring and finance practice. The team is famed for representing major financial institutions, and private equity and hedge fund clients, in high-profile bankruptcies and distressed M&A situations. It is also increasingly involved in pre- and post-petition litigation. Recent highlights for Wachtell include advising the likes of JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America in the large-scale, complex bankruptcies of MF Global, Hawker Beechcraft and Arcapita Bank.
Sources say: "A really excellent quality firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Harold Novikoff, who chairs the practice group, is widely regarded as "a great bankruptcy mind." He has over 30 years' experience in the industry and has led for Wachtell in many of its flagship cases. One commentator enthused: "If Congress needed an opinion, he's the guy you'd get to do it."
Scott Charles often garners praise for his intellectual prowess and strategic vision. He is tremendously experienced in a full range of bankruptcy matters, and has been particularly active advising investors on distressed acquisitions.
Richard Mason conducts in- and out-of-court restructurings for creditors and institutional lenders. He boasts particular expertise within the retail, hotel and resort sectors.
THE FIRM Willkie Farr's business reorganization and restructuring group is highly respected by peers, with a broad focus encompassing large debtor engagements as well as creditor and lender-side representations. Highlights from the past year include acting as lead counsel to RG Steel on its $1 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Other notable matters include the team's continued representation of Broadview Networks and K-V Pharmaceutical in their respective bankruptcy proceedings.
Commercial Awareness "Willkie's partners and associates are very business savvy and focus on getting the best business result for their client. They also have the ability to quickly marshal the expertise of others in the firm and tackle any of the complexities that arise in a bankruptcy."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Abrams is the business reorganization and restructuring practice cochair. "He really knows how to get things done," say impressed interviewees, and is "one of the premier bankruptcy lawyers out there." He is regularly recommended for his expertise in navigating large companies through bankruptcy and is equally adept at advising creditors.
Fellow practice group cochair Matthew Feldman has decades of experience across the spectrum of bankruptcy-related situations. His recent highlights include representing RG Steel and K-V Pharmaceutical in their respective Chapter 11 bankruptcies.
The "practical and assertive" Margot Schonholtz is an expert in advising institutional creditor and lender clients. She recently acted for Bank of America on the well-publicized bankruptcies of MF Global and Patriot Coal.
THE FIRM This financial restructuring practice comprises highly regarded teams in New York and Boston. The group is focused on representing creditor and bondholder clients, with a number of leading finance houses among its institutional client-base. The practice is also renowned for its expertise in international and cross-border bankruptcy issues and is able to draw upon Bingham's global network of resources.
Sources say: "They look for a business outcome that works for their clients, sometimes at the expense of their bills. These guys were all about the client, which is rare. The focus is on getting a great result time and time again."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "calm and steady-handed" Michael Reilly cochairs Bingham's financial restructuring group alongside Jeffrey Sabin. Reilly is described as "a pillar of the bankruptcy Bar; internationally known and respected," by impressed commentators; "he puts people at ease and doesn't inflame a heated situation." Sabin, meanwhile, is praised by clients as "very deal savvy; and knows the outermost money that his client can get and goes after it." Both are highly experienced across the bankruptcy spectrum, with Reilly in particular boasting strong expertise in cross-border matters.
THE FIRM Brown Rudnick's highly respected bankruptcy and restructuring practice spans offices in Boston and New York. It has built a strong reputation for representing creditor and lender clients in contentious situations, where it is particularly well known for its vigorous pursuit of client interests. Recent highlights for the practice include advising an ad hoc consortium of senior unsecured noteholders on the $3 billion Patriot Coal bankruptcy. It is also acting as lead counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Sources say: "Hard-hitting equity committee guys." "They like to look at situations where you need creative solutions to get where you want be."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Edward Weisfelner is head of Brown Rudnick's bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice. He is best known for his strength in creditor and lender-side representations, with sources noting that he "writes brilliantly and is excellent if you're in a difficult position." He is currently lead counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the $450 million bankruptcy of Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Robert Stark "he spends a lot of time understanding the client's company itself," say sources, and "is really good at finding creative solutions." He recently represented an ad hoc consortium of senior unsecured noteholders in Patriot Coal's $3 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
THE FIRM Morrison & Foerster has experienced another successful year, with its bankruptcy and restructuring team now a fixture among the major players in the industry. The group undertakes the gamut of bankruptcy-related representations, with high-profile recent engagements for both debtor and creditor-side clients. Its recent highlights include advising ResCap on what has been one of the biggest bankruptcy filings of the past year. It also continues to advise the Chapter 11 trustee of MF Global on its highly public bankruptcy case. On the creditor-side, the team is representing the unsecured creditors' committees in both the PMI and Pinnacle Airlines Chapter 11 proceedings.
Commercial Awareness "They're very commercial and aggressive, with a very good understanding of the market around them. They take into account all aspects of the situation."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Brett Miller is managing partner of Morrison & Foerster's New York office. He is a "professional, smart, deal-oriented lawyer," according to interviewees, who add: "He is very bright and gets the whole process – he is great at moving people into positions to get deals done." He is currently lead counsel to Louis Freeh, the Chapter 11 trustee in the MF Global bankruptcy, and is also advising the unsecured creditors' committee in the bankruptcy of Pinnacle Airlines.
THE FIRM Quinn Emanuel's renowned litigation expertise translates exceptionally well to its bankruptcy and restructuring practice. The group is considered one of the leading bankruptcy litigation shops in the country, and represents a full range of creditors, lenders and committee groups. Its recent work has included the group's involvement in the litigious aspects of the Lehman Brothers, Jefferson County and NewPage bankruptcies. Another prominent recent highlight is the team's representation of practice group chair Susheel Kirpalani in his role as court-appointed examiner in the Dynegy Holdings Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Commercial Awareness "Hands-down one of the best firms I've dealt with in terms of understanding all the pieces of the puzzle fitting together. Excellent at identifying points of leverage in a practical way."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very creative, aggressive and hard-working" Susheel Kirpalani is head of the firm's bankruptcy department. He has garnered acclaim for his role as court-appointed examiner in the Dynegy Holdings bankruptcy. Interviewees praise his "incredible skill at piercing through legal issues quickly and coming up with perspective; he is a tremendous courtroom advocate."
THE FIRM Sidley Austin's corporate reorganization and bankruptcy practice provides high-level representations in complex issues across a national network of teams spanning Chicago, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, DC. Each branch works collaboratively with the others, increasing the expertise and resources available to tackle any issue, whether it be for debtors or creditors. In recent highlights, the group represented Dynegy Holdings in its high-profile Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sources say: "They are extremely responsive; we feel like we are a priority for them and it makes a difference. What we like is they are not just technical, they have that rare business judgment as well; they come up with business solutions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS The "very smart and practical" Lawrence Nyhan is based in Chicago and cochairs the firm's corporate reorganization and bankruptcy practice. He is described by sources as "a great bankruptcy strategist with immense experience and terrific judgment," with others noting that he is "very responsive and service-oriented; one of the very best in the business."
James Conlan cochair's the group alongside Nyhan and is also based in Chicago. Interviewees recommend him as a "smart, aggressive and creative" lawyer. He is a specialist in advising distressed companies looking to restructure and masterminded Sidley's representation of Dynegy Holdings.
THE FIRM Simpson Thacher's bankruptcy and restructuring practice is renowned as a formidable player in the industry, particularly in representing senior lender clients in complex bankruptcies. Leveraging upon the firm's prominent capital markets and M&A practices, the bankruptcy team advises a stable of institutional clients, such as JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank, Blackstone Group, Barclays Capital and Centerbridge Partners. Recent highlights include representing JPMorgan on the MF Global bankruptcy and also on the Chapter 9 bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice head Peter Pantaleo is a highly respected name in the bankruptcy industry. According to sources, he "does a fantastic job" in securing solutions for his senior lender clients. He recently advised JPMorgan on $1.4 billion of claims in the MF Global bankruptcy.
THE FIRM Greenberg Traurig's excellent national business reorganization and financial restructuring practice consists of solid teams in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston and Wilmington. The group advises clients across the bankruptcy spectrum, with particular expertise in representing debtors, while also being skilled in conducting bankruptcy litigation. With such a strong national and international footprint, the group is also adept at undertaking cross-border representations.
Sources say: "They have very smart lawyers who understand that service and responsiveness are critical."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice cochair Bruce Zirinsky is based in the firm's New York office. He gains respect from many in the industry for his creditor-side expertise in particular. He is described by impressed interviewees as a "very talented and tenacious advocate for his clients."
Mark Bloom has the "ability to take complicated issues and translate them clearly, along with providing practical advice which allows us to progress quickly," according to commentators. He is a cochair of the practice and is based in Miami. Clients go on to describe Bloom as "extremely intelligent, capable, articulate, knowledgeable, cordial and professional."
THE FIRM This firm's creditors' rights and bankruptcy practice operates out of the firm's head office in New York. The group is renowned for its expertise in advising creditors, lenders and investors, particularly in complex litigation issues. The group recently represented the Federal Housing Finance Agency in connection with the ResCap Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It is also currently advising the Official Committee of Former Partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf during its bankruptcy proceedings.
Sources say: "They are a strong advocate and great at what they do." "They are diligent, creative, and I think they represent good value."
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Friedman is a cochair of the practice. He is regularly recognized for his pragmatic yet vigorous representations of his clients. Highlights from the past year for Friedman include his role as lead counsel to the Official Committee of Former Partners of Dewey & LeBoeuf, the former powerhouse law firm undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.
David Rosner is regularly involved in the practice's flagship engagements. He mirrors the group's profile in that he is considered an expert creditors' rights and bankruptcy litigation lawyer.
THE FIRM Klee Tuchin boasts one of the most prominent boutique bankruptcy practices in the country. The practice is headquartered in Los Angeles and is regularly seen alongside large full-service firms in some of industry's largest bankruptcy cases. It is also considered one of the foremost authorities in the country on Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy matters. Recent highlights include its continued advice to Jefferson County, Alabama, on its $4 billion Chapter 9 case, as well as more recently advising the town of Mammoth Lakes, California, on its bankruptcy.
Sources say: "Incredibly knowledgeable on the bankruptcy statutes and they are very strategic thinkers." "They are always able to come up with unique approaches and multiple alternatives."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Founding partner and joint managing partner Kenneth Klee is described as "one of the smartest guys around." He is considered an expert in Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy situations and is lead counsel to Jefferson County and Mammoth Lakes in their bankruptcies. He is "incredibly resourceful and creative," according to interviewees, who add: "He gets his hands dirty and is very effective."
Fellow founding partner Michael Tuchin "gets the respect of everybody" in the market. He is tremendously experienced across a broad range of bankruptcy issues, and is particularly highlighted by sources for being "exceptional in the courtroom." He recently represented national sports retailer Pacific Sunwear of California in a successful out-of-court restructuring.
Lee Bogdanoff is another founding partner who comes highly recommended for his "excellent strategizing in negotiations and counterarguments." He recently took center stage with his role acting on behalf of a large group of former Dewey & LeBoeuf partners.
THE FIRM Pachulski Stang is a highly regarded bankruptcy boutique based out of Los Angeles, with further offices in San Francisco, Wilmington and New York. Few specialist bankruptcy firms in the country can lay claim to the presence that Pachulski has in this industry. The firm advises clients across the bankruptcy spectrum, with particular expertise in advising large debtor companies. The group's recent highlights include its representation of air carrier business Mesa Air in its Chapter 11 proceedings.
Sources say: "A fantastic firm." "They know everyone and are the ultimate in professionalism."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Pachulski is a favorite among clients. He "brings instant credibility to any situation," remarked one particularly impressed source. He is further described as an "effective negotiator and lawyer" and "by far one of the most prolific attorneys" on the West Coast. He advises a full range of clients, from prominent debtors to major creditors' committees.
THE FIRM This firm's business solutions, governance, restructuring and bankruptcy practice was bolstered greatly in 2012 following the arrival of a prominent team from Dewey & LeBoeuf. The newly combined team is now primed to challenge some of the bigger names in the industry, with the new complement of experts bringing with it a string of large-scale, high-value engagements that will add to an already strong workload.
Sources say: "A full-service shop with a deep knowledge base and a breadth of partners and senior associates available to provide excellent advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Martin Bienenstock was appointed practice chair upon his arrival from Dewey & LeBoeuf. He is a prominent name in the national bankruptcy industry, with interviewees describing him as "top drawer; a wonderful person, deep strategist – his work is thorough, detailed and clever." Recent highlights for Bienenstock include continued high-profile representations in the NewPage, MF Global and Capmark Financial bankruptcies.
THE FIRM White & Case has well-regarded financial restructuring and insolvency teams in New York, Miami and Los Angeles. The firm is recognized for advising a strong client base of major bondholders, lenders and investors. The firm also maintains a worldwide footprint which allows its bankruptcy practice a significant advantage in cross-border and international restructurings. In recent highlights, the group represented a committee of secured lenders in $1.8 billion of claims in the out-of-court restructuring of Danish shipping company TORM.
Sources say: "They have managed to have a thorough understanding of the law, our restrictions and position better than other firms. Their negotiation skills are exemplary."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Lauria leads the firm's global financial restructuring and insolvency practice. He is immensely experienced across the bankruptcy spectrum, regularly representing a variety of business interests on both debtor and creditor-sides. He plays leading roles in most of the firm's major bankruptcy engagements.
THE FIRM Chadbourne & Parke's New York-based bankruptcy and restructuring group is recognized for its full-service offering to its primarily creditor and lender client base. The practice is also well regarded for its cross-border bankruptcy expertise. It is currently advising the court-appointed examiner in the high-profile ResCap Chapter 11 case, the biggest bankruptcy filing of 2012. Additional highlights include advising the overseas liquidators in the high-value Chapter 15 bankruptcies of both Hellas Telecommunications of Greece and ABC Learning Centres of Australia.
Sources say: "Highly competent, very responsive and user-friendly." "A good complement of different types of lawyers who work together well."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice chair Howard Seife is particularly experienced in creditor representations and cross-border restructurings. Interviewees praise him as "an excellent strategist and relationship manager with an established presence; he is calm and deliberate and doesn't come to snap judgments." Other sources note that Seife is "good at articulating issues to clients and drawing out the key legal questions in a way that the client can understand."
THE FIRM This business restructuring and workout practice represents a full range of debtor and creditor clients. The group is based in New York and is particularly renowned for its expertise in the airline and insurance sectors. The team took the spotlight with its recent representation of institutional client American Airlines, as special aircraft financing counsel, in the bankruptcy proceedings of AMR.
Sources say: "The Debevoise team is always extremely well-prepared and they think about every detail. They are very responsive, creative and give well thought-out responses to difficult questions."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Hahn is cochair of Debevoise's business restructuring and workouts practice. He recently led as special aircraft financing counsel to American Airlines in to the bankruptcy of parent company AMR. "He is a very measured and objective lawyer," report sources.
THE FIRM Fried Frank is a well-known and respected name in the US bankruptcy space. The firm's bankruptcy and restructuring practice offers a full service to a wide range of clients, from distressed companies to creditors and distressed asset investors. It also boasts considerable cross-border restructuring expertise. Recent highlights include representing GS Capital Partners in connection with $2 billion in claimed debts arising out of the high-profile Hawker Beechcraft Chapter 11 proceedings.
Sources say: "We hire them because they are a full-service firm with a deep bench and can give a full range of advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice chair Brad Eric Scheler is an ever-present name on a large proportion of the group's most significant engagements. He receives praise for being "really good at bringing about consensus. He's a very smooth guy who knows how to calm a room down; very effective in breaking through conflict and getting people to the table."
THE FIRM Haynes and Boone is headquartered in Texas, with bankruptcy and business restructuring teams throughout the state, as well as a strong offering in New York. The practice operates on a national basis, undertaking the gamut of bankruptcy-related cases. The practice offers expertise in a number of industries, with particular recognition paid to its work in the aviation sector. The team's recent highlights include its appointment as conflicts counsel to American Airlines's parent company AMR during its prominent Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sources say: "The team is very proactive in looking forward and anticipating developments. When we go to them, the backup and associates are very good and we are pleased with the service – timeliness and availability are strengths."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "Great strategist" Robert Albergotti is one of the most senior partners in the practice. He has many years of bankruptcy experience, and led in the group's representation of AMR. "He is very practical and knows what can and can't be said," say happy clients, who add: "He knows what the best use of time is and what is worth a client's time."
The "always impressive" Robin Phelan is described by sources as "one of the deans of the Texas Bar." He is a revered expert in all facets of bankruptcy law, with commentators noting that "he is a recognized genius in the legal field – the guy you go to if you have a question you can't answer."
Charles Beckham is lauded as "good in terms of analyzing a situation and communicating what is important." He is based in Dallas and boasts over 25 years of bankruptcy experience.
THE FIRM Mayer Brown's restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency group has made a name for itself in representing creditors and lenders in complex bankruptcy situations. The practice boasts strong teams in New York and Chicago, and a full complement of large institutional clients including Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, Barclays Bank and BNY Mellon. The practice is not limited to creditor advice, however, and is increasingly recognized for strong debtor-side work. Indicative highlights include its role on behalf of ATP Oil & Gas in its large Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Sources say: "At all levels of the firm, the depth of knowledge is superior and the service unfailingly professional and efficient. The firm has experience across a multitude of industries and diverse legal disciplines for comprehensive advice."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Global practice co-head Brian Trust is a creditors' rights expert. Impressed sources note that "his ability to communicate enables him to gain respect and confidence, allowing counterparties to be receptive to and execute on recommended strategies."
THE FIRM This Texas-based restructuring, bankruptcy and insolvency group is highly regarded for representing a range of clients, including creditors, committees and senior lenders. The practice operates from offices in Dallas and Houston and has recently garnered praise for its expertise in bankruptcy litigation. Prominent institutional clients include JPMorgan Chase, AT&T and Vitro American.
Sources say: "Broad experience, depth of knowledge and responsiveness. Their advice on legal strategy has been excellent."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Dallas-based Lou Strubeck leads the practice group. He is frequently engaged in work taking place across the country. Interviewees note that "he is very accessible and gives good solid advice; he understands business issues without overwhelming clients and uses the legal information to inform business decisions."
Also based in Dallas, Toby Gerber has a tremendous amount of experience in the bankruptcy industry, advising creditor and lender clients across a full range of bankruptcy situations. He has particular expertise in the transport and airline sectors. Clients are impressed with his "decades of experience and excellent strategic thinking."
THE FIRM Orrick has a strong bankruptcy and restructuring presence spanning California, New York and Washington, DC. The practice as a whole advises across the spectrum of bankruptcy cases. It is particularly renowned for advising on mass tort and Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcies, in addition to distressed solar energy-related matters. Recent highlights include representing the City of Stockton, California, in its Chapter 9 bankruptcy proceedings.
Sources say: "The firm is staffed by veteran attorneys who are forthright and imaginative in their assessment of our options." "They are good at understanding the big picture and identifying important points, as well as communicating my position to the court."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Marc Levinson is based in Orrick's Sacramento office. He is "emerging as a national expert in Chapter 9 cases" and "has really cornered that market," report many observers. He recently played key roles in the Chapter 9 filings for both the City of Vallejo and the City of Stockton.
The vastly experienced Roger Frankel is based in Washington, DC and is cochair of the firm's restructuring group. He leads in a large proportion of the group's most significant matters, and recently acted for Buffalo Thunder Development Authority in its Chapter 11 proceedings. Commentators note that he is "very levelheaded in volatile situations: he is not about ego; it is the way he delivers that garners respect."
THE FIRM The Ropes & Gray bankruptcy and business restructuring teams in New York and Boston work in tandem to tackle difficult bankruptcy cases, predominantly on behalf of bondholders and lenders. The practice has experienced a busy year, with a number of engagements relating to the energy sector, an area where it boasts particular expertise. Other highlights have included representing an ad hoc group of security holders in ResCap's large-scale Chapter 11 case.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Mark Bane is the head of Ropes & Gray's business restructuring group and is based in the firm's New York office. Distressed debt and equity investors, hedge funds and bondholder group representations make up the majority of his engagements.
THE FIRM This restructuring and bankruptcy practice group is increasing its standing in the sector, thanks to a strong line of recent successes, including its ground-breaking appointment as lead debtor's counsel to Eastman Kodak. The practice boasts a large presence in New York, where an enviable corporate platform has allowed the group to advise both debtor and lender clients at an early stage and develop strategies.
Sources say: "They have good depth of knowledge and experience. They tend to adopt a team approach to staffing which gives you the benefit of a group of excellent lawyers focusing on your issues."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sullivan & Cromwell's practice founder and head of restructuring is Andrew Dietderich. He is equally comfortable in conducting contentious or transactional engagements, and is lead counsel to Eastman Kodak during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
THE FIRM This restructuring and reorganization practice stables superb teams in Dallas, Houston and New York. The group represents both creditor and debtor-side clients, with particular expertise in the real estate, energy and retail industries. In recent years, the team has gained prominence for its work on behalf of private equity funds during distressed asset acquisitions. Its recent highlights include acting for DE Shaw Direct Capital as DIP lender to Seahawk Drilling.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Practice founder Dan Stewart is tremendously experienced across all manner of bankruptcy-related situations. Interviewees are quick to praise the gravitas that he brings to their cases, noting his "long-lasting, outstanding reputation."
THE FIRM Winston & Strawn has far-reaching national restructuring and insolvency expertise, with the practice boasting strong presence in California, Illinois and New York. The group offers wide-ranging bankruptcy expertise, and is highly commended for its work representing creditors, lenders and investors.
Sources say: "The combined team was incredible." "Sophisticated and talented."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Eric Sagerman is chair of Winston & Strawn's restructuring and insolvency practice and is managing partner of the firm's Los Angeles office.
"Consummate professional" Paul Steven Singerman is cofounder of Miami-based Berger Singerman. He is considered an eminent bankruptcy expert in the region and his practice takes him across the US. Clients note that "the man is a great negotiator and very well versed in the law. He is amazingly good on his feet in presenting a matter to the court." Other commentators have admired in Singerman a "technical expertise I've never seen in anyone before."
The "very creative" Evan Flaschen of Bracewell & Giuliani LLP is praised by commentators for his ability to "pull deals together when you really feel like all hope is lost." He is head of the firm's financial restructuring group based in New York and predominantly advises creditors, lenders and investors.
Practice group cochair Mark Ellenberg, of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, "has seen it all," say interviewees, who add: "He takes a wise approach and a steady hand to make the best of difficult situations." Ellenberg works from the firm's Washington, DC office and comes highly recommended for his bankruptcy litigation expertise. He recently advised MBIA Insurance on the ResCap bankruptcy.
Richard Levin of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP in New York is head of the firm's restructuring practice. He garners tremendous respect from interviewees for an eminent career that encompasses authoring the Bankruptcy Code and chairing the National Bankruptcy Conference. "Having someone with his gravitas helps during discussions and negotiations," note commentators.
Gregg Galardi of DLA Piper LLP (US) is the firm's national bankruptcy practice head. He divides his time between Delaware, New York and London. He is described by sources as a "very creative, aggressive and smart bankruptcy person," with "a very strong track record in large debtor cases."
The "unflappable" James Giddens of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP continues to act as trustee in the Lehman Brothers and MF Global bankruptcies, two of the biggest filings in recent history. He is described as "tremendously insightful," with one particularly impressed source noting: "In a huge case with lots of adversaries and politics, he puts one foot in front of the other and unwinds these complex negotiations."
James Carr is chair of Kelley Drye & Warren LLP's bankruptcy and restructuring practice. He is renowned as a creditors' rights specialist, regularly advising creditors' committees on large scale Chapter 11 cases. He is "very impressive both in knowledge and results," according to clients, who add: "His strengths are superior intelligence and negotiating win-win resolutions." His recent highlights include acting for the indenture trustee on the ResCap bankruptcy.
George Davis recently arrived to cochair the bankruptcy practice group at O'Melveny & Myers LLP from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, where he was the financial restructuring practice cochair. He is an expert in bankruptcy issues involving the energy sector and, while at his previous firm, acted for creditor groups in the prominent bankruptcies of Dynegy, AES Eastern and EME Homer City Generation. He is described as "a real leader in the bankruptcy space."
Ben Logan of O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles is immensely experienced and "extremely talented." His practice encompasses a variety of representations spanning the country. He has been involved in many of the firm's most prominent matters, including his recent advice to an ad hoc committee of second lien holders on the AMF Bowling Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
John Rapisardi also recently arrived as cochair of the practice group at O'Melveny & Myers LLP from his position as practice group cochair at Cadwalader. He garners respect among interviewees for his creative, business-oriented approach to matters. He boasts a tremendous amount of experience, especially in the automotive and healthcare sectors, as well as having expertise in the Chinese Bankruptcy Code.
Edward Dobbs of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP is described by interviewees as "unparalleled" for bankruptcy work in Georgia, adding that "it's like watching an artist" when in court. He has received praise as a "brilliant negotiator and crafter of creative solutions," with other interviewees pointing to his "good business acumen."
Creditors' rights specialist Luc Despins is chair of the global restructuring practice at Paul Hastings LLP. He is an expert in acting for creditors' committees. Clients laud his excellent litigation skills and ability to manage parties in complex proceedings.
Deryck Palmer of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP is a well-regarded attorney with tremendous experience. He advises debtor and creditor-side clients in all manner of bankruptcy-related issues. He also garners praise for his excellent litigation expertise.
The "extremely respected" Adam Harris is head of the bankruptcy department at Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP in New York. Commentators praise his "superb attention to detail" and "innovative structuring of deals and acquisitions."
Kristopher Hansen is financial restructuring practice group chair at New York-based Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. He is referred to as a "practical deal-maker" who "is able to bring to bear his business acumen and thought process; he looks at the big picture and is a visionary."