In this section we identify the 17 firms and 10 individuals that stand out in our research for this edition.
Bingham McCutchen is “a key player in this discipline” with 12 of its lawyers recognised, more than any other firm. Close behind is "top bankuptcy firm" Weil Gotshal & Manges, which has nine practitioners selected for inclusion. "International giant" Jones Day fields seven individuals to this edition, demonstrating the strength of its insolvency and restructuring practice and Norton Rose Fulbright sees six of its practitioners highly nominated.
|THE INTERNATIONAL WHO’S WHO OF INSOLVENCY & RESTRUCTURING LAWYERS 2013|
|Most Highly Regarded Individuals|
|James Sprayregen||Kirkland & Ellis LLP, Chicago|
|Jay Carfagnini||Goodmans LLP, Toronto|
|Robert Van Galen||NautaDutilh NV, Amsterdam|
|Marcia Goldstein||Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP, New York|
|Brigitte Umbach-Spahn||Wenger Plattner, Küsnacht-Zurich|
|Evan Flaschen||Bracewell & Giuliani LLP, New York|
|Derrick C Tay||Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP, Toronto|
|Kenneth Klee||Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern LLP, Los Angeles|
|James Roome||Bingham McCutchen (London) LLP, London|
|Donald S Bernstein||Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, New York|
Bingham McCutchen is “a key player in this discipline” with 12 of its lawyers recognised in the following pages – more than any other firm. The London office is particularly strong with four nominees listed, including James Roome who co-chairs the global financial restructuring group and comes highly recommended in our global research. Described as “well known, tenacious and superlative with clients”, he is recognised for his work across a wide spectrum of matters including the representation of lenders in LBO restructurings and financial institutions in relation to the collapse of Lehman Brothers. He is also commended for his work in insolvencies, such as the representation of the liquidators of Railtrack Group and central involvement in the liquidation of Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI) in London and the Middle East. Alongside him, Barry Russell is described as “market-leading for bondholder work” and a “go-to guy” for institutional investors in cross-border private placements and financings. Six partners are selected for inclusion from the firm’s US offices. Edwin Smith in Boston is a “legendary figure”, recognised for his Lehman-related work as well as for his role in the drafting of revisions to the Uniform Commercial Code. Harold Horwich heads the firm’s insurance practice and is “king of insurance company insolvency” in the eyes of our sources. Jeffrey Sabin in New York co-heads the global financial restructuring group and is a “major player”. He represented official creditors’ committees in the LandAmerica and Global Power cases; secured creditors in General Motors and Chrysler; and numerous unsecured creditors and counterparties in relation to Lehman. Ronald Silverman scores highly and is praised for his creditors’ rights practice. The firm’s presence in Asia is a “major advantage”, with Naomi Moore in Hong Kong described to researchers as “tenacious and pragmatic”. Hideyuki Sakai, meanwhile, gives the firm a presence in the Japanese research.
Marcia Goldstein chairs the business finance and restructuring department at Weil Gotshal & Manges and is “one of the all-time greats of the US bankruptcy bar” in the eyes of her fellow practitioners. She is US counsel for the special administrators of MF Global UK and also counsel to Reader’s Digest Association in their chapter 11 proceedings, and she leads a contingent of nine lawyers from her firm in the following pages. Alongside her in New York, Harvey Miller is a “trailblazer”, recognised by lawyers and clients across the globe for the quality and depth of his expertise. The “phenomenal” Stephen Karotkin is extremely well known as one of the lead attorneys representing General Motors in its chapter 11 case, and is also among the lead attorneys representing AMR Corporation and its US subsidiaries, including American Airlines and American Eagle. Two further highly-regarded nominees in Texas are matched by another pair of market-leading practitioners in France, and Adam Plainer in London is well known as head of the restructuring team and praised for the depth of his experience.
Jones Day has a very strong practice in this sector, with seven lawyers selected overall. In California, the “fantastic” Bruce Bennett is well known for his work as lead debtor’s counsel in the country’s largest municipal bankruptcy (County of Orange, CA). Corinne Ball in New York is a “superstar”, feted for her work on the Chrysler bankruptcy and “extremely well respected across the market”. David Heiman is a former president of the American College of Bankruptcy Lawyers and founded Jones Day’s practice in this area in 1984; he “knows all there is to know” about this field. The firm’s recognition extends to London, where Michael Rutstein is commended for his work on behalf of banks, corporate debtors and insolvency practitioners.
The newly merged Norton Rose Fulbright sees six of its lawyers selected for inclusion. The firm is very strong in Canada, where Mario Forte in Toronto is much in demand for his restructuring expertise. Tony Reyes acted as Canadian counsel to Nortel Networks in connection with its filing under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act, and Howard Gorman in Calgary was described to researchers as a “fantastic counsel”. Hamish Anderson is among the leading lawyers in London, with respondents commending his “first-class” work acting for the US Trustee of Lehman Brothers as well as other high-profile cases. Steven Palmer gives the firm a presence in the Australian research, and Berry Spears in Austin is also particularly well known in the Texan market.
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is very strong in Europe, with the London office leading the way with five nominees. Nick Segal comes extremely highly rated with a “track record that is second to none”. Adam Gallagher is regarded as “the next big thing” and advised on the £3 billion restructuring of sub-prime lender Cattles, as well as the administrators of Woolworths’ wholesale business, Entertainment UK. Richard Tett “does fantastic work” and advised the Bank of England on financial institution workouts including those of Bradford & Bingley, Landsbanki and Kaupthing. Ken Baird is global head of the restructuring and insolvency team and rated as “fantastic to work with” by his peers. His cross-border work on restructurings and insolvencies on both debtor and creditor side attracted admiring comment. Neil Golding is rated as “the absolute go-to guy” for insurance company insolvencies, and he was praised for his work on behalf of Zurich and the Bank of England. In Germany Lars Westpfahl is a “restructuring guru” while Raffaele Lener scores highly in Italy.
Six lawyers are selected for inclusion from Clifford Chance, hailing from five countries in a demonstration of the firm’s international credentials. In London, Philip Hertz is recognised for his insurance related work in particular, and is highly respected in the market. Adrian Cohen is similarly well regarded for his non-contentious work across a broad range of sectors. In France, Reinhard Dammann “stands out for pure brain power” and was repeatedly commended as “incredibly smart”, while Iñigo Villoria in Madrid was highlighted for his real estate insolvency work. Mark Hyde in Hong Kong is global head of the firm’s insolvency and restructuring practice and an “absolute top-tier guy”. He has been involved in in a number of major restructurings and insolvencies including Peregine, Dubai World and Nakheel.
Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom performs strongly on both sides of the Atlantic. Jack Butler in Chicago is “very well known and extremely effective”, and interviewees said that “you don’t get better résumés than his”. Van Durrer leads the corporate restructuring practice in the western US and is very highly rated, while global leader of the corporate restructuring group Jay Goffman is “absolutely first-class”. He is widely known for his work on the restructuring of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the largest pre-packaged bankruptcy ever completed in less than 30 days. Gregory Milmoe also scores highly in New York. Chris Mallon heads the corporate restructuring practice in Europe from the London office and was described to researchers as “one of the finest restructuring lawyers in England”. His clients have included Enron, Global Crossing, WorldCom and Parmalat. Dominic McCahill joined the firm in 2012 and his track record includes representing the resolution and winding-up committees of Kaupthing Bank, the Lehman Brothers and Enron estates in their respective Chapter 11 bankruptcies and Global Crossing in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Dentons earns six places in this publication, with John Sandrelli in Vancouver in particular attracting admiring comments from our sources for both his Canadian and US bankruptcy work. In London, Nigel Barnett is highly commended across the full gamut of insolvency and restructuring work, and he appears alongside the “pragmatic” Neil Griffiths. Gabriel Sonier is a “key player” in France, and Anna Maria Pukszto numbers among the leading Polish practitioners in our research.
Allen & Overy’s strong performance is driven by four nominees from the London office. Gordon Stewart heads the global restructuring group and is a “big star in the market”. The international dimension of his practice was much commented upon, and he is well known for his presidency of INSOL International. The “extremely impressive” Ian Field is one of the most highly rated lawyers in England, and was designated a “superstar” by his peers impressed by his work for financial institutions, insolvency practitioners and corporations. Mark Sterling is managing partner of the global restructuring and insolvency group and is “unreservedly recommended” by our sources: “he is tenacious, hard-working and effective”. Jennifer Marshall is a “first-class technical lawyer”, and Sigrid Jansen scores highly in the Dutch research.
The five selected lawyers from Sidley Austin are led by James F Conlan and Larry J Nyhan, co-chairs of the firm-wide corporate reorganisation and bankruptcy group. Conlan is a “superb lawyer”, recognised for his cross-border work, while Nyhan is also rated among Chicago’s leading experts. Alongside them, Matthew A Clemente impressed clients: “he is very knowledgeable in the area of bankruptcy law and procedure, provided practical and thoughtful advice as well as strong advocacy before the court and with creditors. In short, Matt possesses the key attributes that senior management of any distressed company should seek in a lead restructuring lawyer”. Sally S Neely is one of the most highly rated experts in California, and Patrick Corr in London is said to be “engaging, sensible and pragmatic” and “very good at getting the job done”.
DLA Piper is another firm to combine a strong US contingent with a presence in Europe. Selinda Melnik is “internationally recognised” and respected for her work in this field, while Craig Rasile also scores highly for his national and cross-border work. Richard Kremen, meanwhile, is ranked among the leading lights in Baltimore. Gregg Galardi is the global co-chair of the restructuring practice and widely known for his work on behalf of CIT Group in its pre-packaged Chapter 11 cases, the fifth-largest bankruptcy of all time and the largest pre-packaged bankruptcy ever. Jasper Berkenbosch in Amsterdam also scores highly, and is particularly well known for his liquidation work.
Tony Bugg is global head of restructuring and insolvency at Linklaters and a “very strong practitioner”, widely respected for his work co-leading the team advising PwC as administrators of Lehman Brothers International (Europe). Rebecca Jarvis is a “very impressive individual”, commended for her counsel to the senior lenders in the €2.2 billion restructuring of the European Directories Group and placing among the most highly rated lawyers in London. Kolja von Bismarck stands out in the German research, with his advice to both creditors and debtors being much in demand at home and abroad. Aymar de Mauléon is rated as a “key player” in France, and Juan Oñate is similarly well regarded in Spain.
Ian Walker at Minter Ellison is “one of Sydney’s pre-eminent security enforcement authorities”, and he leads a trio of nominees from the firm’s Australian offices. Michael Langdon at Minter Ellison Rudd Watts, in Auckland, is similarly well respected; he is selected alongside Sean Gollin.
Kirkland & Ellis has “dominated the debtor space in recent times” in the words of one source, and it is home to the leading practitioner in our research: James Sprayregen. Formerly co-head of Goldman Sachs’ restructuring group, he is described as a “superstar” and has represented clients such as GGPLP, Innkeepers USA Trust and Japan Airlines. Richard Cieri is described as a “guru for debtor work”, and he is said to be “formidably effective”. Leo Plank performs well in the German research, while Kon Asimacopoulos is very highly respected in London for his work on behalf of debt and equity investors.
Goodmans is one of the outstanding firms in the Canadian research and is home to some of the practice area’s pre-eminent lawyers. Jay Carfagnini heads the corporate restructuring group and garnered votes from across the world for his work on major restructurings, such as those of Nortel Networks and MF Global Canada; “there is nobody better for Canadian/US/UK cross-border work” according to our sources. Robert Chadwick is a “very fine lawyer”, known for his expertise in transactional and restructuring matters. Fred Myers’ contentious practice is highly regarded, and Gale Rubenstein is also very well respected.
The three name partners featured from Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern all score very highly in our research, with Kenneth Klee earning a place among the leading figures in the practice area overall. Described as a “dean of the bar” and a “legendary figure”, he was associate counsel, Committee on Judiciary, US House of Representatives 1974-77 where he was a principal draftsperson of the Bankruptcy Code. He also teaches at the UCLA School of Law. Michael Tuchin is a “superb lawyer” in the eyes of our sources, while Lee Bogdanoff is similarly well regarded for his debtor and creditor work.
Davis Polk & Wardwell is home to three very well regarded New York based experts. Head of the practice Donald S Bernstein earns a place among the most highly nominated figures in the research worldwide, and interviewees commented upon his representation of clients such as Ford Motor Company in restructurings and reorganisations, as well as banks, financial institutions, official creditors’ committees and liquidators. “His knowledge of this sector seems to know no bounds,” said one. Karen E Wagner is well regarded for her contentious practice, with peers commenting that they “highly respect her style of litigating and expertise”. Marshall S Huebner is co-head of the insolvency and restructuring group and a “real heavyweight in this field”: he was lead counsel to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and to the US Department of the Treasury with respect to their $182 billion in multiple financings and 79.9 per cent equity stake in the American International Group.
Robert van Galen of NautaDutilh is “one of the outstanding authorities in Europe”, and has been involved in many of the largest restructurings and bankruptcies in the Netherlands in recent times, including Kroymans, Fokker, Yukos and Lehman. In Switzerland, Brigitte Umbach-Spahn of Wenger Plattner is extremely highly regarded, picked out by clients and peers alike for her “perceptive and effective work”. Derrick C Tay leads the corporate restructuring practice in Gowling Lafleur Henderson and, in the words of one source, “bears comparison with any lawyer I have ever come across”. He was Canadian counsel to Nortel Networks and is among the most highly nominated lawyers in our international research. At Bracewell & Giuliani, Evan Flaschen s widely revered for his cross-border practice in this area. Described as “an absolute star”, his shipping-related work in particular was highlighted to researchers.