Restructuring & Insolvency 2015: Analysis

This year, we identify 431 lawyers across 42 countries who are considered pre-eminent in the market for their bankruptcy and restructuring expertise. Bingham McCutchen remains at the forefront of the field in terms of number of listings, followed by Weil Gotshal & Manges. International heavyweights Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, DLA Piper and Jones Day all perform strongly, as does offshore firm Walkers.

We also single out the 10 most highly regarded individuals in the world according to the recommendations of peers and corporate counsel.

WHO's WHO LEGAL: INSOLVENCY & RESTRUCTURING 2014
Most Highly Regarded Individuals
Lawyer Firm
Evan Flaschen Bracewell & Giuliani, New York
Kenneth Klee Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern, Los Angeles
Marcia Goldstein Weil Gotshal & Manges, New York
Isaac Pachulski Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones, Los Angeles
Donald Bernstein Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, New York
Daniel Golden Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, New York
James Sprayregen Kirkland & Ellis, Chicago
Jay Carfagnini Goodmans, Toronto
Eugene McCague Arthur Cox, Dublin
Nick Segal Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, London

Bingham McCutchen remains at the forefront of the insolvency field with 11 listings this year. The London office holds three “outstanding” practitioners including James Roome who is “well known” for his expertise representing bondholders. Barry Russell heads the London finance group. His practice involves cross-border workouts and financial restructurings. James Terry is “highly regarded” for his expertise on Norwegian bond restructurings.

A trio of lawyers from the New York office are also selected. Michael Reilly co-heads the firm’s global financial restructuring group. He is praised for his “pragmatic and intelligent” approach. Fellow co-head Jeffrey Sabin is a “world renowned” practitioner and focuses on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, debt restructuring and financial transactions. The “talented” Ronald Silverman represents financial institutions and commercial enterprises throughout the US and abroad.

In Boston, Andrew Gallo is renowned for his “top-notch” litigation skills. He represents clients in complex cases throughout the US. Edwin Smith has been involved in a number of high-profile cases including counsel to UBS in the chapter 9 bankruptcy of the city of Detroit.

In Hong Kong Naomi Moore has had an “exceptional year” working on cross-border restructurings, insolvencies and workouts. She has a particular focus on solvent and insolvent schemes of arrangement.

In Connecticut Harold Horwich’s practice focuses on insurance insolvency. He represents a variety of parties in connection with municipal insolvencies.

Tokyo-based Hideyuki Sakai is an “impressive” figure in the Japanese legal market.

Weil Gotshal & Manges earns seven listings this year, including Marcia Goldstein who is one of our most highly regarded individuals. Lauded as a “terrific strategist” she chairs the firm’s business finance and restructuring department. She leads a contingent of four lawyers from the New York office. Harvey Miller is a “dean of the bankruptcy world” and is recognised for his far-reaching expertise in the field. Stephen Karotkin is renowned for his “first class” representation of chapter 11 clients including American Airlines and Blockbuster. Richard Krasnow is a “highly respected” lawyer with particular expertise in the aviation field. Chapter 11 cases he has been involved in include Pan Am, US Airways and Delta.

Martin Sosland is a “pre-eminent” practitioner based in Dallas. His practice concentrates on debtor and creditors’ rights and refinancings and acquisitions of troubled companies. Alfredo Pérez is a “fine lawyer” and represents chapter 11 debtors, secured creditors and committees in all aspects of the field.

Andrew Wilkinson is a recent addition to the firm’s London office, which he joins from Goldman Sachs. A “market-leading” practitioner, Wilkinson is experienced in a range of matters, including financial institution restructurings and insolvencies and schemes of arrangement.

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer has a strong presence in Europe, with five inclusions hailing from the London office. As one of our most highly regarded individuals, Nick Segal is “world renowned” for his practice encompassing restructurings in the UK, US, Russia, Europe and the Middle East. Neil Golding is a “key player” in the insurance insolvency arena and also has in-depth experience in the financial institutions sector. Global head of the restructuring and insolvency team Ken Baird is praised for his “excellent judgement”. He participates in both debtor and creditor side work. The “fantastic” Richard Tett has advised the Bank of England on financial institution workouts including Bradford & Bingley. He has broad restructuring experience in the UK, Europe and globally. Adam Gallagher specialises in advising debtors, creditors and other stakeholders. He is praised for his “efficiency and pragmatism”.

Lars Westpfahl is a “leading light” in Germany and advises a variety of groups on their financial restructurings. In Rome Raffaele Lener is commended for his “first-class” work.

DLA Piper is another leading firm this year with seven listings spanning Asia, Europe and the US. In Baltimore, Richard Kremen is “well known” for his work on chapter 11 bankruptcies, receiverships and out of court workouts. Miami managing partner Craig Rasile has an “impressive and wide-ranging” practice involving work in industries such as health care, gaming and transportation. New York-based Gregg Galardi co-chairs the firm’s restructuring practice. He is recognised by sources for his “in-depth knowledge and tenacious approach”. Richard Chesley serves as restructuring counsel in a number of chapter 11 proceedings. He is a “formidable opponent” with “outstanding” litigation skills.

The firm’s Amsterdam office fields two lawyers this year. Jasper Berkenbosch heads the Dutch restructuring practice. He scores highly for his work advising banks, creditors and companies in distress. He is joined by Marinus Pannevis who is regarded as an “expert” in Dutch insolvency law.

Mark Fairbairn is a “key player” in the Hong Kong market and a recent addition to the firm. He is lauded for his “superb” experience in the restructuring field.

Six lawyers from Jones Day are selected for inclusion from its offices in the US and England. In New York, Corinne Ball is a “phenomenally skilled” practitioner. She co-heads the office’s business restructuring and reorganisation practice. Paul Leake is a “consummate dealmaker” and has a wealth of experience in US and transnational business reorganisations.

The Los Angeles office is represented by Bruce Bennett and Sidney Levinson. Bennett is praised for his ability to “take challenging cases in his stride”. He represents clients in fields including retail, telecommunications and heavy industry. Levinson is another “star” and represents a range of clients in large complex restructuring and bankruptcy proceedings.

In Cleveland, David Heiman is a well regarded “senior statesman”. He has worked on a number of chapter 11 and out-of-court business restructurings in the US.

London-based Michael Rutstein advises banks, funds, debtors and insolvency practitioners. His recent experience includes working on the restructurings of Clinton Cards and the Connaught Group.

The European insolvency practice at Clifford Chance is highly rated, with six listings across five different countries. Mark Hyde leads the firm’s insolvency and restructuring practice from Hong Kong. He is recommended as a “top” practitioner and his experience includes clients such as Peregrine, Maxwell and Dubai World. Reinhard Dammann in Paris concentrates his practice on international and cross-border work. Sources praise his “enthusiasm and dedication” to his work.

In London, Philip Hertz is renowned for his insurance and reinsurance insolvency work. The “well-known” Adrian Cohen counts among his recent experience advising Co-operative Bank on its capital and financial restructuring.

Bartosz Kruzewski in Warsaw is a “definite inclusion” thanks to his work in both court and out-of-court restructurings. Iñigo Villoria leads the insolvency and restructuring area in the Madrid office and is lauded for his “excellent technical skills”. His expertise encompasses legal defence in clawback actions and insolvency classification matters.

Offshore firm Walkers is well represented in our publication with five listings. In the Cayman Islands, Colette Wilkins specialises in contentious restructuring and insolvency. She is a “top-tier” litigator and appears regularly in the Cayman courts. Neil Lupton is a “real asset to the team” and advises clients such as private equity and hedge funds. Singapore-based Robert Foote is praised for his “sound advocacy and commercial awareness”. He works on both contentious and non-contentious insolvency and restructuring matters. Fraser Hern advises a broad range of clients in Hong Kong and scores highly in our research. Managing partner of the BVI office Sandie Corbett is an “excellent” lawyer. She has a wealth of experience in contentious insolvency matters.

Kirkland & Ellis also has a leading practice in this field and earns five inclusions. James Sprayregen is a “superstar” according to our sources and is one of our most highly regarded this year. He leads complex chapter 11 filings and court and out-of court restructurings for clients in various industries including manufacturing and real estate. In New York Richard Cieri is praised for his “fantastic problem-solving skills”. He represents financially challenged companies, debtors and boards of directors. Paul Basta is a “pre-eminent” individual and has been involved in restructurings in the automotive, telecommunications and health care sectors, among others. In Munich Leo Plank represents high-yield and distressed debt investors and is a “terrific” lawyer. London-based Kon Asimacopoulos is also well regarded for his insolvency practice.

Five lawyers from Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom are selected for inclusion. In New York Jay Goffman is a “powerhouse”. Leader of the corporate restructuring group, he has worked on a number of pre-packaged restructurings including MGM Studios, as well as traditional chapter 11 cases such as American Airlines and Sunbeam. Gregory Milmoe is a “highly respected” practitioner and plays a leading role in a number of significant restructuring matters.

In Los Angeles Van Durrer leads the corporate restructuring practice and advises clients around the Pacific Rim. Sources describe him as a “practical and effective” advocate.

Chris Mallon is well regarded for his European practice and has an “impressive” client list including Enron, Eurotunnel and Carlyle. Dominic McCahill is a “sharp and intelligent” lawyer and advises companies and creditors primarily on cross-border restructuring matters.

Ashurst earns five listings with the team in Australia garnering particular praise with four lawyers selected. In Sydney Raymon Mainsbridge is an “experienced” practitioner and his practice encompasses company liquidations, receiverships, administrations and schemes of arrangement. James Marshall’s recent work includes designing and executing loan to own strategies for the senior lenders of Colorado group and Godfreys group. Anthony Ryan is “extremely knowledgeable” in the area of banking, securities and insolvency-related litigation. In Melbourne Ross McClymont is a “dominant figure” in the market. He advises financiers, directors and insolvency administrators.

In London Giles Boothman co-heads the firm’s restructuring and special situations group. His “first-rate” practice focuses on large complex restructuring transactions, often with a cross-border element.

Allen & Overy’s London office fields four inclusions in this publication. Jennifer Marshall is highly regarded for her practice. Recent experience includes advising counterparties of Lehman Brothers and the Icelandic banks following their failures. Gordon Stewart is a “big name” in the insolvency world and heads the restructuring group. He works on assignments all over the world including in France, Cyprus, Scandinavia and the Caribbean. Mark Sterling is “well reputed” for his work representing government institutions, debtors and creditors following the crisis. The “extremely impressive” Ian Field acts for banks, bondholders and insolvency practitioners and corporations on a variety of restructuring and corporate insolvency matters.

Sigrid Jansen in the firm’s Amsterdam office is a “high-profile” figure. She specialises in restructuring and workouts with particular expertise in corporate finance, secured lending and distressed debt trading.

Daniel Golden at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld is one of our most highly rated individuals this year. A “leader” in the field, Golden primarily represents creditors’ and bondholders’ committees in large out-of-court restructurings and chapter 11 cases. He is joined in this edition by Fred Hodara, an “effective and smart” practitioner who represents committees, hedge funds, insurance companies and bank lenders. Lisa Beckerman has a “tremendous” practice encompassing work in the manufacturing, airlines, retail and health-care sectors. Michael Stamer has significant experience in the field including serving as lead counsel in the representation of a noteholder group in the chapter 11 case of Eastman Kodak Company. Sources praise his “amazing ability to structure a deal”. In Dallas Charles Gibbs is rated for his expertise in the real estate and oil and gas industries.

At the UK Bar, South Square forges ahead with an impressive nine listings this year. Gabriel Moss QC is “without a doubt” a leading barrister, with clients including the Treasury, FSA and insolvency practitioners both in the UK and abroad. William Trower QC is an “excellent” advocate who is acting for the administrators of Lehman Brothers and Nortel. Antony Zacaroli QC is a “go-to guy” for insolvency matters. Richard Fisher is a “highly regarded” junior with significant experience in offshore work. Robin Dicker QC is another “stand out” individual.

Further recognition goes to practitioners including Evan Flaschen at Bracewell & Giuliani. Our most highly regarded individual this year, Flaschen represents institutional investors, private investment funds, borrowers and financial services companies. He is “simply the best” according to our sources. Kenneth Klee at Klee Tuchin Bogdanoff & Stern is “one of the fathers of the bankruptcy code”. His representative clients include Jefferson County and Barney’s. Michael Tuchin and Lee Bogdanoff are also recognised for their “tremendous” bankruptcy and restructuring practices.

Isaac Pachulski at Pachulski Stang Ziehl & Jones is a “smart and truly effective strategist”. He represents debtors, significant creditors and official and unofficial committees and creditor groups in the US. From the same firm, Laura Davis Jones has a “sophisticated” practice as well as experience in high-profile cases, including as debtor’s counsel in the Continental Airlines bankruptcy case. Richard Pachulski is an “outstanding authority” on business reorganisations.

At Davis Polk & Wardwell, head of the insolvency and restructuring practice Donald Bernstein is an “expert” who clients “cannot recommend enough”. He has represented companies including Ford Motor Company and LTV Steel. Karen Wagner is rated for her “first-class skills in court” and Marshall Huebner, who represents financial institutions in major restructurings and bankruptcies, is likewise praised for his “tenacity” in the courtroom.

Goodmans’ Jay Carfagnini is the “leading” practitioner in Canada and heads the firm’s corporate restructuring group. He is experienced in Canadian, US and UK proceedings. Robert Chadwick and Gale Rubenstein are also highly respected in the field.

In Dublin Eugene McCague at Arthur Cox is an “absolute star”. He is described as a “guru” by sources who look to his wide-ranging experience in corporate reorganisations and reconstructions. William Day at the same firm is a “top specialist” in both formal and insolvency proceedings. He has significant experience in the examinership process.

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Nominees have been selected based upon comprehensive, independent survey work with both general counsel and private practice lawyers worldwide. Only specialists who have met independent international research criteria are listed.

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