THE FIRM The California-based restructuring group of this national firm maintains its reputation as strong, effective bankruptcy professionals undertaking significant matters on a local and national level. While it is historically recognized for its debtor-side representations, sources have emphasized the development of its work on behalf of secured lenders and bondholders and its current standing as an excellent all-around bankruptcy practice. It has recently been working on the Chemtura restructuring on behalf of the ad hoc committee of bondholders of over $770 million in debt. Since publication, a highly regarded team led by the esteemed Bruce Bennett has arrived from Dewey & LeBoeuf.
Sources say: "Their vocation and their ability to keep their eye on the ball is really top notch."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Richard Wynne is an "outstanding lawyer" who "does exceptionally well in court, as well as providing very solid overall case management." He has taken the lead on a number of the firm's most significant cases, including the representation of the ad hoc committee of bondholders in the Chemtura matter and the committee of non-agent lenders in the Chapter 11 of Adelphia.
Peter Benvenutti is a seasoned restructuring lawyer with "an encyclopedic knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code." His practice covers all aspects of bankruptcy law and he is praised for his good commercial sense. Sources testify that "he's got the theoretical knowledge and the common sense." He recently represented Plant Insulation in its Chapter 11 proceedings.
Tobias Keller possesses "a substance of knowledge of his area of law which is unrivalled," say sources. He has acted on behalf of clients in a number of industries, and recently represented Toyota in the restructuring and liquidation of New United Motor Manufacturing, a joint venture of Toyota and General Motors.
Bennett Spiegel recently advised the Chapter 7 trustee of Axium International in connection with potential litigation arising from pre-bankruptcy transactions. He is lauded as a "great strategist who is extremely responsive, technically knowledgeable and thorough."
Most notable among the firm's recent spate of arrivals from Dewey & LeBoeuf was that of the eminently respected Bruce Bennett, an attorney described as "one of the smartest, most experienced, imaginative and creative bankruptcy lawyers in the country." Prior to joining Jones Day, he gained significant acclaim for his lead in the LA Dodgers bankruptcy. He is also held in exceptionally high regard for his creditor-side work, with clients attesting to "his good commercial sense" and ability to "think like an investor as much as he thinks like a lawyer."
Assisting him on the Dodgers case while at Dewey was James Johnston. Johnston is an "outstanding strategic thinker who has a terrific ability to analyze complex situations and get to the heart of a matter and figure out what needs to be done." He also wins praise for his role at his previous firm in representing a group of creditors in the Tribune reorganization.
Sidney Levinson, also from Dewey, was also involved in the Dodgers matter. He has been praised for his "very sharp mind" and "excellent command of the facts which drive the restructurings." He is also noted for his work at his previous firm alongside Bruce Bennett in the representation of the holders of term loans in the Fontainebleau Las Vegas bankruptcy.