Co-head of the firm's restructuring and insolvency department Donald Bernstein enjoys a reputation as "one of a handful of the best bankruptcy attorneys in the country." As someone who "sees the bigger context," he is viewed as a senior figure in any negotiation, where his gravitas alone is seen as influential.
Fellow co-head Marshall Huebner is known as "an authority on all things bankruptcy." The "smart, creative and participatory" Huebner recently acted as counsel to JPMorgan as agent and lender on DIP credit facilities for The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company and NewPage during their respective bankruptcies.
James Sprayregen is described by market sources as a "fantastic business generator" and a "great negotiator." He splits his time between Kirkland's New York and Chicago offices. During an extremely busy year, Sprayregen led the group's team during the high-profile restructurings of YRC Worldwide, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Horizon Lines and MSR Resort Golf Course.
Richard Cieri is another of the group's most eminently experienced and well-respected practitioners. He led the teams involved in the Chapter 11 bankruptcies of yellow pages publisher Local Insight Media Holdings and foreign affiliate Caribe Media.
Paul Basta has garnered a fantastic reputation amongst many commentators as "a strategic thinker who is well seasoned and gives extraordinary advice." Clients are particularly impressed with his dedication to ensuring that his clients are satisfied, and that he uses his "superior people skills" to their advantage.
The "excellent" Marc Kieselstein is a highly experienced practitioner in both the Chicago and New York markets. He practises on a national scale and led Kirkland's representation of Nebraska Book Company in its large pre-arranged Chapter 11 filing.
Anup Sathy is increasingly recognised by respondents for his hard work and technical strength. He has been a key player in many of the team's recent high-profile representations, including acting as counsel on the Innkeepers USA Trust and YRC Worldwide restructurings.
Based in Munich, the "creative and very experienced" Leo Plank plays a key part in the firm's international bankruptcy and restructuring practice. He has particular expertise in proceedings involving US jurisdictions.
Co-head of the firm's financial restructuring group, Dennis Dunne is highly respected as one of the foremost bankruptcy law experts in debtor, committee and bondholder engagements, regularly leading on the group's major representations. He is praised as a "go-to" lawyer for clients, who feel that they can "trust him with anything."
The "terrific" Paul Aronzon is based in the firm's Los Angeles office. He often operates on a national scale and has experience in a plethora of large-scale corporate restructurings, on both debtor and creditor-side engagements. He has found prominence as a leading player in the group's representation of the unsecured creditors' committee in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.
Gerard Uzzi recently arrived at the firm from White & Case. He is fast gaining a strong reputation in the sector, with one source describing him as "one of the best strategic attorneys on the creditor side."
John Butler is an extremely experienced and well-respected attorney who practises out of the firm's Chicago office. He is described as "brilliant strategically and phenomenally hard-working." Recent highlights for Butler include securing Skadden's engagement as counsel to the unsecured creditors’ committee of AMR in the American Airlines bankruptcy proceedings.
Jay Goffman is global head of Skadden's corporate restructuring practice, and is lead counsel on behalf of the unsecured creditors' committee in the American Airlines bankruptcy. Goffman is known for his "particular ability to work with companies and get prepackaged bankruptcies done." He is praised by commentators for his commercially focused approach.
New York-based Kenneth Ziman is deputy head of the global corporate restructuring practice. "He brings the whole package together," say impressed sources.
George Panagakis operates from the Chicago office and sits alongside Ziman as one of the deputy heads of the practice. Both were instrumental in Skadden's initial filing of MF Global Holdings' Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Gregory Milmoe is eminently respected as a practitioner of tremendous experience and influence in the bankruptcy industry. Clients are appreciative of his effective advocacy, with one saying: "He has great experience and applied that to my situation and came up with a creative solution to get it done quickly."
Practice group founder Harvey Miller is a "godfather of the business," according to sources. He has filed some of the biggest bankruptcies in US history, including those of GM and Lehman Brothers.
Marcia Goldstein leads Weil's business finance and restructuring practice, and has led on a number of the group's most prominent bankruptcy filings. She has "terrific judgement," according to sources, especially when balancing conflicting positions; she is "very good at being collaborative and getting people on board but when there were differences she was firm and extremely effective."
Stephen Karotkin acted as lead counsel in the firm's representation of AMR, the parent company of American Airlines, during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He has the ability to "identify problems and then come up with a creative solution," according to interviewees.
Martin Sosland is based in the firm's Dallas office. He is regularly involved in some of the largest bankruptcy cases in Texas and plays an integral role in many matters originating from New York. He has displayed "strong leadership, insight and technical capabilities" during his recent leading roles for the debtors in the bankruptcies of Blockbuster and the Dallas Stars.
The "seasoned" and "dedicated" Lori Fife has played a pivotal role in the firm's representation of Lehman Brothers. She is praised by clients for her relentless dedication to their interests.
Alfredo Perez is another of Weil's Texas-based attorneys, operating out of its Houston office. He is praised for his practical and commercial approach to issues, with one impressed client saying: "He served as our business adviser as well as our legal adviser." Perez recently played an integral role in the firm's representation of AMR in the American Airlines bankruptcy.
Daniel Golden is known as one of the more formidable creditor-side and creditors' committee attorneys in the country. He is playing a leading role in acting for Aurelius Capital Management, the largest senior noteholder in the Tribune bankruptcy. He is described by sources as an "excellent advocate for ensuring the correct Akin resources are always available."
Fred Hodara is chair of Akin's financial restructuring practice group, and recently led in the firm's creditors' committee representations of Nortel Networks and Washington Mutual. He is noted for having "the ability to take charge of a room and control the dialogue rather than reacting; very proactive."
The "exceptional" Michael Stamer is known amongst market sources for finding "a good middle ground between aggression and negotiating; he's a good strategist who excels at putting things together." He recently acted for an ad hoc group of first-lien lenders in the YRC Worldwide out-of-court restructuring.
The "extraordinarily capable" Charles Gibbs operates out of the firm's Dallas, Texas office. He acts for debtors and creditors and is known as an expert in the oil and gas industry.
Ira Dizengoff is an "unbelievably skilful" attorney, according to peers, who "is not hyper-technical and has a business-oriented approach." He was lead counsel for an ad hoc committee of second-lien lenders in the NewPage bankruptcy.
James Bromley is leader of Cleary Gottlieb’s global restructuring and insolvency practice. He has been widely praised for his work in the Nortel Networks bankruptcy and Section 363 sale. Bromley is experienced in cross-border bankruptcies and distressed M&A. Clients note that "he knows how to get a deal done."
Richard Cooper is widely respected by clients as "a premier expert in Latin America and cross-border insolvencies." He recently led the team advising Fintech Advisory, the largest creditor of Mexican glassmaker Vitro, on issues relating to the debt restructurings involved in a pre-packaged bankruptcy plan.
Corinne Ball is co-head of the firm's practice group in New York, and a leading authority in distressed M&A and debtor-side representations. She recently played a lead role in the Chapter 11 proceedings of Hostess Brands.
The "incredibly impressive" Paul Leake leads the firm's business restructuring and reorganisation practice and is based in New York. He is "good and effective in court, a clear mind and an effective speaker and litigator," according to sources.
Richard Wynne is a senior partner in Jones Day's Cleveland office. According to clients, he "does exceptionally well in court, and provides very solid overall case management."
David Heiman is based in Cleveland and is a founding member of the firm's bankruptcy practice. He is known as "an extremely effective attorney with great judgement and a fine style."
Heather Lennox operates out of the New York office, having recently moved from the firm's Cleveland office. She was recently lead counsel to Cayman Islands investment entity Zais Investment Grade VII during its recent restructuring. She continues to "grasp issues really quickly and apply her knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code," according to commentators.
The eminently respected Bruce Bennett is a key name, arriving with a team from Dewey & LeBoeuf in Los Angeles. Market sources believe him to be "one of the very smartest and most highly experienced, imaginative and creative bankruptcy lawyers in the country." He is also recommended for his commercial approach. "He thinks like an investor as much as he thinks like a lawyer," mentioned one interviewee. Prior to joining Jones Day, Bennett led in the representation of LA Dodgers in its bankruptcy.
Thomas Mayer is co-chair of the firm's bankruptcy group. He is regularly singled out by commentators as an attorney whose intelligence is "something to be reckoned with" in negotiations and the courtroom. "You can explain something to him once and he immediately understands it and knows where to go with it," say sources.
Fellow co-chair Kenneth Eckstein garners praise for his strategic decision making. Clients note that he takes a "scholarly approach to looking at issues; he sits back, asks questions and comes up with a conclusion based on all possible outcomes."
Jan Baker is global co-chair of the firm's restructuring, insolvency and workouts group. He operates from the New York office and is tremendously respected for his "extraordinary talent, sophistication and collaboration." He leads many of the firm's major debtor engagements and was lead counsel to Boston Generating during its bankruptcy. Market sources note that "his style in getting people on the same page is exceptional."
David Heller chairs Latham's global finance department and splits his time between the New York and Chicago offices. "He's an asset every time we work with him," say clients, who added: "He was excellent in what was an incredibly touchy and sensitive process."
Peter Gilhuly leads the firm's Los Angeles-based team. He has seen a number of high-profile representations recently, acting for global law firm Howrey on its dissolution and bankruptcy, and representing GE Capital as secured lender in the Chapter 11 case of Centurion Properties III.
Mitchell Seider co-chairs the global restructuring group alongside Jan Baker. Interviewees describe him as "incredibly knowledgeable and very creative."
In Paris, Hervé Diogo Amengual has a strong line in representing US-based clients in a range of restructuring matters.
The "meticulous, well-prepared and balanced" Alan Kornberg is chair of Paul Weiss's bankruptcy and corporate reorganisation group. His clients value his advice and perspective, and say he is "equally comfortable doing company and creditor-side stuff." He led the group's representation of Silver Point Capital as agent bank in a DIP credit facility for bankrupt bread manufacturer Hostess Brands.
Andrew Rosenberg is described as "very efficient, pragmatic and deal-oriented." He was recently lead counsel for ad hoc committees of bondholders in both the Dynegy Holdings and Horizon Lines bankruptcies. In an example of the faith that clients put in him, one source noted: "He, more than anyone, is a one phone call hire."
The "focused and highly experienced" Lawrence Nyhan is co-head of Sidley's corporate reorganisation and bankruptcy group. He primarily acts on company-side engagements, but is also comfortable undertaking creditor-side matters. He is described as "very succinct and knowledgeable on nuances of bankruptcy law; a good negotiator – he is top-notch."
James Conlan co-heads the group alongside Nyhan. He has played a key role on behalf of Dynegy and Tribune in their bankruptcies. He is "very practical in his approach, and easy to work with no matter on which side of the table. He is forthright in representing his client," according to sources.
"Businessperson's attorney" Peter Pantaleo is leader of the bankruptcy and restructuring group here. He counts JPMorgan Chase as a regular client and recently advised JPMorgan on providing various credit facilities during the MF Global bankruptcy. He is described as "very thoughtful and creative, with a good handle on the issue."
Harold Novikoff is chair of the firm's restructuring and finance practice group. He is noted amongst sources as one of the foremost creditor-side bankruptcy attorneys in the country, which has led some to comment that "there is no one like him for what he does." Novikoff is regularly involved in the group's major matters, including being lead counsel to JPMorgan as senior secured lender in the MF Global bankruptcy.
The "incredibly cerebral and responsive" Scott Charles practises across a range of industries and is particularly capable within the distressed M&A sector. Sources are particularly impressed with his foresight. "When you're trying to be very strategic, Scott is one of the guys that I use," mentioned one happy client.
Richard Mason mirrors the group's creditor-side restructuring and finance expertise. He is an expert in hotels, retail and resorts industries, and acts for bank and bondholder groups and acquirers of distressed assets.
Thomas Lauria is the bankruptcy practice group leader. He has heightened his reputation in the competitive New York market and is well known for his relentless pursuit of his clients' interests. He recently led the group's involvement in acting for an ad hoc committee of senior noteholders in the Washington Mutual bankruptcy.
In Budapest, US-qualified Edward Keller is a key player in the firm's international restructuring matters.
Marc Abrams has earned a tremendous reputation for his debtor-side expertise. He led Willkie's representation of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals in its bankruptcy. Clients are pleased with his relationship skills and his commercial approach: "He understands businesses as well as he does the law." He co-chairs the practice group alongside Matthew Feldman, who undertakes a wide range of engagements for both debtors and creditors. He is described as "an extremely experienced guy who is a fierce advocate for his clients."
The "very effective" Margot Schonholtz is famed for her creditor-side expertise. She has been highly active advising Bank of America as a significant creditor of MF Global Holdings. Schonholtz is "excellent in getting a bank group in line and also dealing with clients and standing up to parties and other adverse groups," according to interviewees.
Michael Reilly is co-chair of the firm's financial restructuring group alongside Jeffrey Sabin; both are located in New York. Reilly is a "bright strategist and strong technician," and specialises in cross-border restructurings. Sabin is noted amongst market sources for his visionary tactics: "He sees connections coming down the road that others don't see – his ability to see the future and keep issues alive at the same time is pretty unique."
Department head Susheel Kirpalani is known as an "incredibly smart bankruptcy attorney." He was recently appointed as examiner for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Dynegy Holdings and is admired as very knowledgeable and creative when it comes to bankruptcy and its intricacies.
Brad Scheler is the practice group chair. He is known amongst commentators as "a deal guy; a good negotiator and people manager."
Bruce Zirinsky is based in New York and co-chairs the firm's business reorganisation and bankruptcy practice. He has been involved in a number of nationally recognised bankruptcy proceedings in recent years, and is respected by commentators for his intelligent and balanced approach.
Mark Bloom co-chairs the national practice alongside Zirinsky. He is based in the firm's Miami office and is extremely well respected and experienced. Clients say he is "extremely bright and very articulate; when you combine his skills and his ability to articulate his positions it's a great combination."
David Friedman is head of the firm's bankruptcy practice. He recently took the spotlight as lead counsel to Borders in its Chapter 11 proceedings. He garners praise for being a "deal-making bankruptcy lawyer" and a "very good trial lawyer," a combination which clients believe makes him a strong advocate on their behalf.
Brett Miller has been a key player in the group's recent rise to prominence in the US bankruptcy arena. He recently led the committee engagements in the LA Dodgers bankruptcy, and is lead counsel to trustee Louis Freeh in MF Global's Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Richard Pachulski chairs the firm. He has an impressive reputation as "one of the top bankruptcy lawyers in the whole western part of the USA" and is regularly engaged on matters of national scale on behalf of debtors and creditors' committees, amongst other parties.
Andrew Dietderich is head of Sullivan's bankruptcy and restructuring group. He is lead counsel for Eastman Kodak during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Dietderich is well respected for his intelligence and analysis of complex issues.
Dallas-based Dan Stewart garners tremendous respect as founding partner of the firm's bankruptcy group. He brings massive amounts of respect to any bankruptcy-related matter and leads for the firm in many of its biggest engagements.
Edward Weisfelner chairs the firm's bankruptcy and corporate restructuring group. He recently acted for an ad hoc consortium of senior secured noteholders, where he conducted litigation to protect their collective interests during the bankruptcy of The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company.
Robert Stark is famed for his passionate defence of clients' interests during litigation and negotiations. He led the firm's engagements in the Washington Mutual and Tribune Company bankruptcies. "He is thinking of things two moves ahead, and has relentless drive and will do anything for his clients," according to sources.
New York-based Steven Gross and Richard Hahn chair the firm's business restructuring and workouts group.
The "highly respected" Lou Strubeck leads the firm's global bankruptcy and insolvency group. He has recently represented a number of prominent creditor clients, including JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo. Clients praise his temperament: "He doesn't get flustered in nasty acerbic cases, but communicates well with all parties and focuses on what is core to his client's needs."
Toby Gerber harbours expertise in transport and airline-related bankruptcies. Respondents are pleased with his "understanding of client expectations, being available 24/7 and providing sophisticated analysis and excellent legal advice."
Robert Albergotti is based in the firm's Dallas office and is immensely experienced across the bankruptcy spectrum. Clients note that he is "very good at explaining the legal implications of issues and the reason for a specific strategy – it enables clients to make the best decision at each critical point."
Charles Beckham is also based in Dallas. His calm demeanour in difficult situations is what sets him apart from competitors, say sources, many of whom also note that it is a "pleasure to deal with him." His practical approach is praised: "He understands the legal and business perspectives and finds the best result for all involved."
Robin Phelan is commonly referred to by sources as one of the deans of the Texas Bankruptcy Bar. Interviewees are particularly impressed by his "brilliant foresight."
The "intelligent and highly experienced" Kenneth Klee garners tremendous respect amongst commentators as one of the pre-eminent bankruptcy attorneys in California. He is highly regarded nationally, and sources note that "his knowledge and performance in bankruptcy hearings, making arguments on behalf of his clients, is impressive."
Lee Bogdanoff is another of this firm's highly regarded founding partners. "He's extremely smart and very knowledgeable, and gives good, frank advice on the merits of legal questions," according to impressed interviewees.
Michael Tuchin is praised as "a joy to deal with" by clients. He recently led the firm's work on behalf of MGM in its prepackaged Chapter 11 proceedings. "He's good at figuring out what's most likely to happen from the beginning and pursue it through to the end," say commentators.
Roger Frankel is co-chair of the firm's bankruptcy and restructuring department. He is eminently experienced, and respected amongst respondents, who praise him for being "very level-headed in volatile situations" and highlight his vast "body of experience and maturity." He splits his time between the firm's Washington, DC and New York offices.
Mark Bane is "effective, businesslike and good to deal with," according to interviewees. He is chair of the business restructuring group and is based in the New York office. He recently led the firm's representation of an ad hoc committee of second priority noteholders in the Satélites Mexicanos restructuring.
leads the US bankruptcy practice group at Allen & Overy LLP. He is renowned for his specialist expertise in cross-border, Chapter 15 and multi-jurisdictional bankruptcy proceedings, and is widely regarded as a "really good lawyer for cross-border matters."
He recently acted as US counsel to Alvarez & Marsal, the court-appointed monitor of Angiotech Pharmaceuticals.
Paul Steven Singerman
is co-founder of Miami firm Berger Singerman. He is widely recognised as an immensely experienced bankruptcy attorney who specialises in debtor-side representations. He has “an incredible ability to quickly grasp the issue, take command of the task, and follow through on what is necessary to take an issue from conceptual approach to execution,"
according to sources.
is based in Connecticut and is chair of the financial restructuring group at Bracewell & Giuliani LLP. He "serves clients extraordinarily well,"
say interviewees, who also point out his significant international presence.
is practice group cochair at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP. He is highlighted by respondents as an attorney who "takes the theoretical to practical." Working out of the firm's Washington, DC office, Ellenberg plays an integral part in several of the practice's major engagements. He is noted for "figuring out how to move a case forward and achieving the best results, whether it be by negotiating or litigating."
The "very well-connected" Richard Levin
of Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP is often referred to as one of the most experienced and knowledgeable attorneys in the country.
recently joined DLA Piper LLP (US) from Skadden Arps, and is the national practice group leader. Having previously been considered a go-to bankruptcy expert in Delaware, he now largely operates out of the firm's New York office. Respondents have described him as "an exceptional attorney – he's aggressive but reasonable and tells it like it is."
is the Dallas-based chair of the bankruptcy and restructuring practice group at Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP. He has extensive experience in representing debtors, trustees and creditors' committees, and has particular expertise in bankruptcy-related litigation. He is admired for being "very savvy in committee work"
and is lauded as "one of the top energy lawyers in the bankruptcy space."
leads Linklaters' restructuring and insolvency practice in the USA and co-heads its US banking practice group. He is a tremendously experienced bankruptcy practitioner praised in particular for his expertise in cross-border and international proceedings.
of O'Melveny & Myers LLP in Los Angeles is highly experienced in a variety of nationally recognised bankruptcy matters. He recently led the firm's representation of the unsecured creditors' committee in the Philadelphia News Chapter 11 bankruptcy. "He provides great guidance and strategy to navigate the bankruptcy arena,"
according to commentators.
The "highly skilled" Edward Dobbs
operates out of the Atlanta office of Parker, Hudson, Rainer & Dobbs LLP. He has a diverse practice, being highly regarded for both his banking and finance expertise and his bankruptcy work. One impressed client said: "He is our go-to attorney for difficult transactions, workouts and bankruptcies; he is a tremendous communicator and works well with our clients."
is Paul Hastings LLP's global head of practice. He specialises in acting for creditor committees and is a widely recognised bankruptcy attorney regularly acting on major cases. In recent highlights, he represented the unsecured creditor committee of NewPage.
is a new member of the New York bankruptcy group of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP. He represents both debtors and creditors and is well respected in the sector. While with previous firm Cadwalader, he handled many major, nationally significant bankruptcies, and played a key role as lead counsel to Lyondell during its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
The "absolutely outstanding" Martin Bienenstock
of Proskauer Rose LLP continues to garner praise as "a very smart and thoughtful strategist and tactician."
He is new to the firm following the disbandment of old firm Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Foreign Experts (Based Abroad)
of Blake, Cassels & Graydon LLP in Toronto comes highly recommended for his expert handling of international insolvency issues. He has played a key role in the firm's expansion into the USA, and is considered an excellent choice for US-Canada matters.
In Moscow, the US, UK and Russia-qualified Mikhail Loktionov
of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP is recommended for his significant experience in cross-border mandates. He leads the firm's capital markets and finance practice group, and has significant knowledge of debt restructuring. He is also the Moscow office managing partner.
of Fuchs Cohana Reboul & Associés in Paris is qualified in New York, and international clients appreciate his past experience of practising with a major firm in the jurisdiction.
of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Paris is qualified in New York and has a broad portfolio of USA-based clients and French clients active in the USA.
of Shearman & Sterling LLP in Paris is an expert finance and restructuring practitioner with particular knowledge of proceedings involving US jurisdictions.