Thomas B Walper
Office:
350 S. Grand Avenue
50th Floor
90071
City:
Los Angeles
State:
California
Country:
USA
Tel:
+1 213 683 9193
Fax:
+1 213 683 5193

Questions and Answers:

Who's Who Legal Thought Leaders - Restructuring

Thomas Walper is a partner in the Los Angeles office of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP. Mr Walper is ranked as a leading lawyer in Chambers USA as well as The Best Lawyers in America. He has twice been recognised by Turnarounds & Workouts magazine as one of the top-12 bankruptcy lawyers in the United States. For years he has been listed in WWL: Insolvency. He is also a fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute. Mr Walper’s practice involves the representation of debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees, unsecured creditors, boards of directors, as well as the purchasers of financially troubled companies both in and outside of bankruptcy.

WHAT ATTRACTED YOU TO SPECIALISE IN RESTRUCTURING AND INSOLVENCY LAW?

The speciality uniquely provides for the fusion of corporate law and litigation advocacy.

WHAT IS THE MOST MEMORABLE CASE YOU HAVE WORKED ON DURING YOUR CAREER SO FAR?

I have been privileged to work on so many over the years. Cases that preserve thousands of jobs, a restructuring that ensured that students will be able to seamlessly continue their college education, a pro bono programme that balances the scales of justice between huge institutions and consumers – the bankruptcy and restructuring matters that have a positive impact on ordinary people are the most memorable. 

YOU REPRESENT A BROAD RANGE OF CLIENTS IN BOTH THE DEBTOR AND CREDITOR MARKETS. WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHALLENGES FACING LAWYERS IN EACH SITUATION?

One of the biggest challenges facing the legal profession – not just restructuring – is delivering thoughtful, unique solutions to complex legal problems timely and within budget.

HOW IS MUNGER, TOLLES & OLSON WELL POSITIONED TO HELP CLIENTS OVERCOME THESE CHALLENGES?

The Munger, Tolles & Olson culture embraces those lawyers that provide unique and thoughtful – sometimes out-of-the-box – solutions for clients. Pursuing these characteristics begins with summer recruiting and a continuous commitment to excellence. Munger, Tolles & Olson also has an unleveraged lawyer model – a 50/50 partner-to-associate ratio. The combination of the cultural emphasis and low leverage allows for legal services delivered generally with fewer and more hands-on timekeepers.

HOW HAS YOUR PRACTICE CHANGED SINCE THE 2008 FINANCIAL CRASH?

I was a partner in a hedge fund that heavily invested in private companies in 2008. The crash spawned a significant number of financial issues, but interestingly, because financial distress was so pervasive, creditors were motivated to provide relief to debtors. Almost counter-intuitive – while new financing was literally non-existent, amendments and standstill agreements were commonplace. Today, the credit and equity markets are far more available. Available financing resources make bankruptcy and exits generally more efficient.

TO WHAT EXTENT DO RISING INTEREST RATES IN THE US IMPACT THE NATURE OF YOUR PRACTICE?

Of course, rising rates impact the availability of financing, which limits options for highly leveraged companies; but our practice also very much arises from a host of industry interruptions, such as regulatory intervention, commodity prices, and a competition or business paradigm.

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO YOUNGER LAWYERS HOPING TO MAKE A NAME FOR THEMSELVES IN RESTRUCTURING?

Seeking to make a name for oneself is like seeking to make money. If your goal is only money, it will rarely appear. Bury yourself in fundamentals on the law, pursue every opportunity to engage in your craft – really commit – and in the long run, a reputation will follow. The name, of course, is only a very small symptom of the personal satisfaction that can come with a long-term dedication and commitment.

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