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Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2019: Current Developments

Speaker(s): Ana M. Alfonso, Barbra R. Parlin, Benjamin Rosenblum, Brian S. Hermann, Hon. Allan L. Gropper, Hon. Robert D. Drain, Janet M. Weiss, Joseph Samet, Kathryn A. Coleman, Lisa G. Beckerman, Lisa M. Schweitzer, Lorraine S. McGowen, Martin J. Bienenstock, Michael L. Cook, Michael P. Richman, My Chi To, Peter L. Borowitz , Richard M. Seltzer, Sandy Qusba, Susheel Kirpalani
Recorded on: Apr. 22, 2019
PLI Program #: 251353

Allan L. Gropper was appointed as a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York on October 4, 2000, and retired on January 9, 2015. 

Prior thereto he was a member of the law firm of White & Case, initially as a litigator and later as head of the Bankruptcy and Reorganization group.  In the latter capacity he represented clients in connection with some of the nation’s largest Chapter 11 cases, including Manville Corporation, Texaco, LTV Corporation, Federated Department Stores/Allied Stores Corp,, Thatcher Glass Corporation, Maxwell Communications Corp., MGM,  and United States Lines.   He was also active in international and cross-border restructurings and was located in the White & Case Hong Kong office during the year 1999-2000. 

Judge Gropper presently serves as a consultant and expert witness in litigated matters and as an arbitrator and mediator.   He is an adjunct professor of law at Fordham Law School, a member of the National Bankruptcy Conference and a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.  He is a member of the United States delegation to Working Group V (Insolvency Law) of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL).  He is also a member of the American Arbitration Association Roster of Neutrals and the INSOL International College of Mediation.  He is a graduate of Yale College and Harvard Law School.

Ana M. Alfonso is a partner in the New York office of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, where she practices in the areas of financial restructuring, bankruptcy and creditors’ rights.  Known best for her representation of secured lenders, Ana regularly advises administrative agents, lender groups and bilateral credit providers in bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court debt restructurings.  Her recent public engagements have included serving as counsel to administrative agents and lenders in the chapter 11 cases of Aegean Marine Petroleum Network, Fieldwood Energy, Energy XXI, Samson Resources and Goodrich Petroleum. 

Ana is a frequent lecturer on insolvency law issues.  Most recently she participated in “Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2019: Current Developments,” PLI Program and Webcast (May 3, 2018); “Leveraged Financing 2018,” PLI Program and Webcast (May 9, 2019); “Restructuring and Intercreditor Issues in E&C and E&P Workouts,” American College of Investment Counsel Spring Investment Forum (April 20, 2019); “Recent Evolution of E&P RBL Financing,” Debtwire Podcast (October 2017); “Hot Spots in a Cold Bankruptcy World: Energy and Healthcare Restructurings,” 90th Annual National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (October 2016); and “Current Issues in the Energy Sector,” American Bankruptcy Institute, 18th Annual New York City Bankruptcy Conference (May 2016).

Ana’s published work includes “Tackling Distress in the US Healthcare Sector,” Financier Worldwide Magazine (October 2017); and “E&P Financing: RBLs Trend Toward a New Normal,” Journal of Corporate Renewal, Turnaround Management Association (September 2017).  She served on the Editorial Advisory Board for Law360 (Bankruptcy) in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

Ana has also been recognized by The Legal 500 U.S. and IFLR 1000 as a notable practitioner in her field.

Ana received her undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University in 1994 and her juris doctorate from the New York University School of Law in 1997.

Barbra Parlin is a partner in Holland & Knight's New York office and a member of the firm's Litigation Section.  Ms. Parlin practices in the areas of bankruptcy, creditors' rights and litigation. She represents persons who are in or are touched by financial distress, including debtors, indenture trustees, secured and unsecured creditors, bondholders and other parties in interest in Chapter 11 cases, 363 sales and other bankruptcy related matters. She also represents defendants in avoidance litigation, secured creditors and lessors in actions to recover collateral and leased property, advises debtors and creditors on pre-bankruptcy planning and protection strategies, counsels investors in distressed debt and defends creditors in claims objection proceedings. Ms. Parlin also regularly represents the foreign representative/debtor and creditors in cases under Chapter 15 in aid of foreign insolvency proceedings.

Ms. Parlin has broad experience in matters concerning corporate governance, director and officer liability, derivative and securities fraud litigation, SEC investigations, and corporate transactions.  She has managed a range of litigation matters including bankruptcy and avoidance litigation, securities fraud, shareholder derivative litigation, SEC investigations, merger and acquisition litigation, corporate governance actions, construction litigation, directors' and officers' insurance issues and other general commercial litigation. 

Ms. Parlin has served as the New York office recruiting and diversity partner, as partner coordinator for the New York office Women's Initiative and is a member of the Holland & Knight 2006 class of Rising Stars.  She is a frequent speaker on topics related to bankruptcy, restructuring and fiduciary duties and has written extensively on these topics as well. 

Ms. Parlin graduated cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was the recipient of the George A. Katz Memorial Award for Academic Excellence in Securities Regulation. She also served as staff editor and articles editor of the Environmental Law Journal while she was at NYU.  She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in Religious Studies from Yale University.   

Ben Rosenblum is a partner in the New York office of Jones Day specializing in business restructuring and reorganization. He focuses his practice on representing debtors, creditors, and other parties in interest in out-of-court restructurings and court supervised proceedings, including chapter 11 cases, municipal bankruptcy proceedings, international insolvency cases, and stockbroker liquidations. He also has extensive experience representing major financial institutions with respect to the application of bankruptcy law to derivatives.

In years past he has taught as an adjunct professor at the Rutgers Business School.

Ben graduated from Cornell University in 2005. Prior to joining Jones Day, he served as a judicial law clerk to Judge Peter J. Walsh in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. 

Ben was named as one of New York Metro Super Lawyers “Rising Star” in 2015. He maintains an active pro bono practice and has sat as a Steering Committee member for the New York City Bankruptcy Assistance Project.

Brian S. Hermann is the Deputy Chair of the Bankruptcy & Corporate Reorganization practice in the New York office of Paul, Weiss. Brian focuses on a range of restructuring and bankruptcy matters for both borrower and lender clients. He has extensive experience representing clients in complex in-court and out-of-court restructurings and chapter 11 cases nationwide across a variety of industries. A member of the Media, Sports and Entertainment Group, he also has developed a sub-specialty working on a number of music, media and entertainment company restructurings and related matters.

Brian’s recent company experience includes advising Expro Holdings, CGG S.A. and Preferred Sands, and his noteworthy creditor-side representations include advising key stakeholders in the restructurings of Toys “R” Us, Tidewater, Paragon Offshore, Sabine, Arch Coal, Texas Competitive Electric Holdings Company, Armstrong Energy, Nortek and General Motors. Brian is currently representing California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) in the chapter 11 cases of PG&E Corporation and its primary operating subsidiary, Pacific Gas and Electric Company, California’s largest investor-owned public utility and the largest public utility in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy. Brian also represented CPUC in PG&E’s previous bankruptcy proceedings, including related litigation and appeals, from which PG&E emerged in 2003.

Brian is recognized by Chambers USA, The Legal 500, The Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers. He was also recognized as a 2018 “Thought Leader” in restructuring and insolvency by Who’s Who Legal, as well as a Featured Dealmaker in The Deal’s Bankruptcy Law Firm Power Rankings for individual lawyers.

Brian was also named an American Lawyer 2018 “Dealmaker of the Year” for his work representing French oilfield services company CGG S.A. in its chapter 11 cases, among the largest restructurings in French history and the first-ever successful coordination of a French “Sauvegarde” proceeding with a U.S. chapter 11 case. The Financial Times commended Brian in its 2015 Innovative Lawyers report for his work advising Preferred Sands in connection with its out-of-court restructuring.

Brian serves on the Practicing Law Institute’s Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights Advisory Committee, and he is frequently invited to speak and write on industry issues. He has contributed to a number of publications, including The Strategic ViewCorporate Restructuring, Global Restructuring Review, New York Law Journal and The Deal.

Brian received his B.B.A. from Pace University, followed by his J.D. from UCLA School of Law.

Janet M. Weiss assists clients in achieving their objectives in complex bankruptcy cases and out-of-court restructurings. Whether representing debtors, creditors, strategic buyers or other interested parties, Janet’s strong transactional skills coupled with her practical business sense enable her to develop creative solutions in corporate reorganizations and debt restructurings.

Janet has represented debtors, creditors, committees, secured lenders, debtor-in-possession financiers and acquirers in substantial chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructurings.  She also has significant experience in bankruptcy litigation, retail insolvencies, and bankruptcy aspects of asset-backed and mortgage-backed financings.  In addition, she has assisted structuring corporate transactions to minimize insolvency risks.

Janet is a frequent speaker and writer on bankruptcy and financial restructuring law topics.  She has lectured at ABA, American Bankruptcy Institute, New York City bar and PLI programs.  She has written articles on the intersection of bankruptcy and trademarks, indentures and real estate, among other topics.

Ms. Weiss was educated at the University of Pennsylvania where she earned her B.A., cum laude, and her J.D.

Joseph Samet has been a partner and member of Baker McKenzie's Global Recovery, Restructuring and Bankruptcy Group, residing in the New York office. He retired from the firm in 2015, and still teaches and writes in the R & B fields. He is available for mediating, expert witness, officer/director, and other work. Since 1975, Mr. Samet has been immersed in national and international restructurings, chapter 11 reorganizations, distressed sales of assets, SIPC and bankruptcy practice, representing all parties in interest. This includes chapter 15 cases. He counsels parties in interest and transactional lawyers on potential creditors’ rights/bankruptcy implications of deals, sales, investments and litigation settlements they are considering. His experience includes structured finance, corporate governance, pre- and post-bankruptcy litigation, negotiations and mediation. He counseled on insurance, monolines and bank liquidations, and advises corporate boards. He analyzes executory contract issues, including licenses for businesses in the e-commerce economy, and gave written opinions and analysis in transactions. His practice has involved diverse businesses, including in manufacturing, financial services, retail, service, airlines, energy, healthcare, real estate, e-commerce, sports and telecommunications. He prosecuted and defended preference, fraudulent conveyance, equitable subordination and substantive consolidation actions, officer/director liability and Ponzi scheme issues.  He counsels professional firms and their principals on risk management, “unfinished business” and clawback type issues. Mr. Samet has prepared expert reports and testified as an expert witness in jury trials and in an international arbitration.  He is on the SDNY bankruptcy court mediation panel and took extensive meditation training courses in 1994, and in 2015 through the ABI.

Mr. Samet is the principal co-author of the two-volume annotated Herzog’s Bankruptcy Forms and Practice published by Thomson Reuters. He has been a contributing author of Collier on Bankruptcy 15th Edition, and the Collier Bankruptcy Practice Guide treatises, having written and updated for many years three chapters on voluntary and involuntary bankruptcies totaling about 400 printed pages. He has written or co-authored published articles and outlines including on Arbitration and Intellectual Property in Bankruptcy; Breakup Fees and Topping Agreements in Sales of Assets; Multinational Insolvencies; Duties of Officers and Directors and Liability Issues; Unfinished Business; Mediation; Partners and Partnerships; The Basics of Chapter 11 and Chapter 15; and Research Tools.  Since 1981, he has chaired or lectured at over 250 CLE and Industry programs in the U.S. and internationally on pre-bankruptcy restructuring and bankruptcy-related issues, including programs of the National Bankruptcy Judges’ Conference, the Practising Law Institute, The American Bankruptcy Institute, the Commercial Law League, the Turnaround Management Association, and INSOL. He is chair of the annual PLI programs “Current Developments in Bankruptcy and Reorganizations” 2009-2018, and “Recent Developments in Distressed Debt, Restructurings and Workouts” 2008-2018. Mr. Samet was an Associate Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference and a member of its Bankruptcy Code Review project which was submitted to the United States Congress in 1994.  He has been an Adjunct Professor at Brooklyn Law School, and served on bankruptcy committees of national and local bar associations. Mr. Samet has been regularly selected by Super Lawyers as one of the Leading Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers, the Best Lawyers in America, in Banking and Finance Law, and Who’s Who in America. He received the 2004 Burton Award for Legal Writing at the Library of Congress as co-author of the article entitled “When Worlds Collide: Intellectual Property and Arbitration Rights in Bankruptcy Cases.”  Mr. Samet is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the ABA, the NYS Bar Association, TMA, the NYC Bar Association and CPR relating to mediation. He has served as a member of boards of directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the CLLA Fund for Public Education and the NY Chapter of the TMA, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the Zaretsky Roundtable at Brooklyn Law School.

Kathryn A. (“Katie”) Coleman, a partner in Hughes Hubbard & Reed’s New York office, has handled a wide range of insolvency-sensitive and other high-stakes matters in her more than 30 years in practice, including dealing with “bet-the-company” litigation claims, chapter 11 cases for U.S. and non-U.S. companies, cross-border insolvency matters, out-of-court restructurings, acquisitions and investments.  Her clients include individuals and companies defending trade secret theft and RICO lawsuits, publicly-traded and privately held companies restructuring their financial affairs, traditional and nontraditional secured lenders, unsecured creditors (both official committees and significant creditors for their own account), equity holders, potential acquirers, equity sponsors and financial and strategic buyers.

Ms. Coleman is a trusted advisor to the inner management circles of her clients, with substantial expertise in advising management and boards of directors on corporate governance, fiduciary duty and D&O insurance matters.

Ms. Coleman has advised clients on, and litigated at the trial and appellate levels, the significant legal issues inherent in modern restructuring and finance practice, including contested plan confirmations, prepackaged plans, credit bidding, exclusivity, debtor-in-possession financings, valuation, adequate protection of security interests, the ability to collaterally attack orders of the bankruptcy court and cash collateral usage.  She has substantial experience litigating venue, remand, removal and stay issues, and has represented recovery trustees dealing with a myriad of post-confirmation issues and litigation.

Ms. Coleman is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.  She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute, and co-chairs its annual Complex Financial Restructuring Program.  She frequently speaks on bankruptcy law and distressed investing, participating in programs sponsored by the Practising Law Institute, the American Bankruptcy Institute, Turnaround Management Association, AIRA, the M&A Advisor, the New York City Bar Association, and the American Bar Association. She also serves on the Steering Committee of the NYC Bankruptcy Assistance Project.

Lisa Beckerman is a partner in the New York office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP. Her practice focuses on corporate restructuring and creditors’ rights in a variety of areas, including energy, media, manufacturing, aviation and real estate.

She represents debtors, informal groups of creditors and official creditors committees in chapter 11 cases and in out-of-court restructurings. Her recent cases include FirstEnergy Solutions Corp. (as debtor), Jack Cooper Holdings (ad hoc senior secured lenders), Avaya Inc. (ad hoc first lien lenders), Stone Energy Corporation (ad hoc noteholders), MediaNews Group (acquisition of Boston Herald) and Walter Energy, Inc. (ad hoc first lien lenders).

Lisa is frequently recognized as leading lawyer in restructuring and insolvency. She is, for example, recognized by Chambers USA, Legal 500, The Who’s Who Legal: Insolvency and Restructuring, Benchmark Litigation and Practical Law. She is regularly enlisted to speak at key industry events and has written extensively on key restructuring and insolvency matters.

Lisa currently serves on the board of the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Dean’s Advisory Board for Boston University School of Law, and is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.

Lisa has a B.A. from the University of Chicago and a M.B.A. from the University of Texas. She graduated from the Boston University School of Law in 1989.

Lisa M. Schweitzer’s practice focuses on financial restructuring, bankruptcy, insolvency and commercial litigation. She has extensive experience advising corporate debtors, individual creditors and strategic investors in both U.S. Chapter 11 proceedings and restructurings in other jurisdictions in North America, Europe and Asia.

Lisa has served as lead counsel in various bankruptcy cases including as counsel to Nortel Networks Inc. and affiliates in their U.S. Chapter 11 proceedings, and represented Nortel in asset sales raising over $7 billion dollars in sale proceeds, as well as a 21 day cross-border trial involving disputes with their affiliates. Lisa’s additional representations include BlueMountain Capital, LLC, a significant equity holder in the chapter 11 bankruptcy of PG&E Corporation, the largest utility in the United States and a case involving over $50 billion of liabilities; Grupo Inbursa, a financial services company in Mexico and secured lender to multiple entities in the Mossi & Ghisolfi S.p.A. corporate group (M&G), in the M&G Chapter 11 cases; and a consortium of Singapore banks as major secured and unsecured creditors of Ezra Holdings Limited and its affiliates, a provider of integrated offshore solutions for the oil and gas industry, in the company’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Lisa has also advised various financial institutions on the bankruptcy-related aspects of resolution and matters related to the preparation and implementation of their resolution plans.

Lisa has advised clients in some of the most high-profile bankruptcy matters in North America, and her work repeatedly has been recognized by the business and legal press, including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The Legal 500 U.S., IFLR 1000: The Guide to the World's Leading Financial Law Firms, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers and The International Who’s Who of Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers. Lisa was honored as a “Dealmaker of the Year” and as a “Dealmaker in the Spotlight” by The American Lawyer.

Lisa received a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a  B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

Lisa joined the firm in 1996 and became a partner in 2006.

Lorraine S. McGowen is a restructuring partner at Orrick, a leading global law firm focused on serving the financial, and energy & infrastructure and tech sectors.   One of IFLR1000’s Leading Lawyers, she represents clients from the US and internationally seeking to maximize their recoveries or reduce their exposure.

Recent engagements include representing Toyota (one of the largest creditors with more than $7 billion in claims) in the highly complex global restructuring of Takata Corporation, one of the largest manufacturers and distributors of automotive safety systems, including airbags; representing financial institutions in connection with Puerto Rico’s $72 billion restructuring; and representing several PPA counterparties in the PG&E bankruptcy case.

She is a member of Orrick’s Management Committee and recently completed two terms of service on the firm’s 11-member Board of Directors. She also co-leads Orrick's Automotive Technology & Mobility Group and its global Diversity & Inclusion (D&I) Initiative.

As a leading D&I advocate, McGowen creates programs for the legal profession and the community.  She has been recognized as an MCCA Rainmaker, Savoy’s Most Influential Black Lawyers in 2018 and 2015, and Savoy’s Most Influential Women in Corporate America   and received the National Bar Association’s Outstanding Woman at a Majority Firm, NYC Bar Association’s Diversity Champion Award and Legal Outreach’s Pipeline to Diversity Champion Award. 

McGowen received her B.S.F.S. from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, and her J.D. from Columbia University School of Law.


Martin Bienenstock is chair of the Firm's Business Solutions, Governance, Restructuring & Bankruptcy Group. Martin provides clients with multidisciplinary solutions that draw on his combined experience in restructuring, corporate governance, reorganization, litigation, Dodd-Frank and Sarbanes-Oxley. Martin’s restructuring practice focuses on restructuring troubled situations including Puerto Rico to benefit all their stakeholders including their people, investors and creditors. Martin’s governance practice is targeted at keeping healthy companies healthy and growing, and saving distressed companies, while protecting directors and officers with cutting edge best practices.

Martin is repeatedly retained to solve momentous problems. Currently, Martin leads the Firm’s representation of the Financial Oversight and Management Board for Puerto Rico, charged with restoring fiscal responsibility and market access to the Commonwealth by developing fiscal reforms and restructuring its $74 billion of bond debt and $50 billion of unfunded pension obligations. Martin also leads the Firm’s representations of the Westinghouse creditors’ committee and the Caesars Entertainment creditors’ committee for unsecured claimholders. In the Caesars cases, the creditors Martin represents were offered four cents at the outset and are settling for approximately 65 cents. General Motors retained him to formulate the section 363 strategy that he presented to the U.S. Auto Task Force, which deployed it to save General Motors and Chrysler. He represented Enron in its chapter 11 case that has now paid multiple creditors in full. Recently, Martin developed the Colombian-U.S.-Canadian reorganization plan for Pacific Exploration, supported by its bank creditors and bond creditors. Martin routinely provides legal and strategic advice to directors, businesses, investors and creditors, advising on complex restructurings, acquisitions, trials and appeals. He handled the Owens Corning appeal, reversing substantive consolidation to increase the value of his bank clients' claims against Owens Corning from $600 million to more than $2.2 billion. He charted the takeover of troubled Finova for a joint venture between Berkshire Hathaway and Leucadia National Corp., and achieved the successful reorganizations of companies such as Enron and Republic Engineered Products over multiple objections. Martin developed successful reorganizations for Capmark and AMBAC. He also prepared the initial draft of what became Ireland’s reorganization statute. 

For the last 10 years, the National Law Journal listed Martin as one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America." He has been listed at the top of his field by other leading legal publications and organizations, including Turnarounds & WorkoutsThe International Who's Who of Business LawyersChambers, and Euromoney Legal Media Group's "The Best of the Best."

Martin also teaches corporate reorganization at Harvard Law School and University of Michigan Law School.

Michael P. Richman is a partner with the firm of Steinhilber Swanson LLP in Madison, Wisconsin. He also teaches bankruptcy law as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Wisconsin Law School.  With more than 39 years of legal experience, he is skilled in all aspects of chapter 11 bankruptcy, mediation, and litigation. Michael focuses on representing Chapter 11 debtors and creditors’ committees, secured and unsecured creditors, equity holders, purchasers, and other parties in interest on virtually every aspect of financial distress and bankruptcy. Among his recent engagements he represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of O.W. Bunker and the Government of Puerto Rico’s Department of Treasury, as well as the Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors of Simplexity and Prince Sports. He also played a central role in the litigation over the Government-engineered fast-track sale of General Motors representing the lead group of bondholders who opposed the sale.

Throughout his extensive career, Michael has earned a reputation as an outstanding courtroom advocate. He is a member of the bars of New York, Wisconsin, and the District of Columbia, and has appeared as counsel in state, federal and bankruptcy courts in more than 20 states and territories. Michael is also an active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, having served as an ABI director (1996-2008), chairman of the board (2006-07) and president (2004-05), while also serving as a member of ABI’s management and executive committees. Michael also recently served as Co-Chair of the Section 363 subcommittee of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 and Co-Vice Chair of the ABI’s National Ethics Task Force. He is currently an advisory board member of the ABI’s VALCON annual conference program.

A frequent speaker and lecturer on bankruptcy law and related topics, Michael was for many years a contributing editor to the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal and, while in law school, served as the managing editor of the Columbia Journal of Transnational Law. He received his law degree from Columbia Law School, attended the London School of Economics and Political Science, and received his undergraduate degree from Vassar College. Last, but not least, Michael is the founder and a proud performing member as keyboardist for ABI’s house band, the Indubitable Equivalents, which performs at bankruptcy events around the country.

My Chi To is a corporate partner and a member of Debevoise & Plimpton’s Business Restructuring & Workouts Group. She has experience representing corporations, creditors and investors in complex restructurings and bankruptcies in the U.S. and other jurisdictions. Ms. To also regularly advises clients in connection with distressed acquisitions in and out of court, including cross-border transactions, intercreditor disputes and insurance insolvency matters.

Ranked as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA and The Legal 500 US, clients describe Ms. To as a “solution-oriented” lawyer with “excellent judgment,” who “thinks through all the permutations and is great at tackling complex situations” and has the “ability to straddle that line between legal advice and practical judgment.”

Ms. To is the recipient of the Kathryn R. Heidt Memorial Award, which is the highest honor granted by the Business Bankruptcy Committee of the American Bar Association. She is a frequent speaker and author on bankruptcy and restructuring topics.

Ms. To is an editor-in-chief of the Debevoise Women’s Review and a member of the Steering Committee of the US 30% Club, a business leadership group focused on achieving 30% women on S&P 100 boards by 2020. She is also a member of the Board of Trustees of The Cathedral School of St. John the Divine. Ms. To received the National Asian Pacific American Bar Association’s “Best Lawyers Under 40” award.

Ms. To received an LL.L. and LL.B. in civil law and common law from the University of Ottawa and was a law clerk to the Hon. Claire L’Heureux-Dubé, Supreme Court of Canada. She received an M.Phil. in Politics from the University of Oxford, where she was a Rhodes Scholar. During her tenure at Debevoise, Ms. To was seconded to Nishimura & Asahi in Tokyo, focusing on distressed cross-border acquisitions and restructurings. Ms. To is fluent in French.

RICHARD M. SELTZER became a partner with Cohen, Weiss and Simon LLP in 1987. He represents labor unions in bankruptcy proceedings, and has litigated: (a) the leading case establishing the right to arbitrate labor contract grievances, In re Ionosphere Clubs, Inc., 922 F. 2d 984 (2d Cir. 1990), (b) the leading case establishing the right of unions to serve on creditors’ committees, In re Altair Airlines, Inc., 727 F. 2d 88 (3d Cir. 1984), (c) a leading case on PBGC claims, In re CF&I Fabricators of Utah, Inc. et al.,150 F. 3d 1293 (10th Cir.1998), (d) cases involving termination of DB plans, Jones & Laughlin Hourly Pension Plan, 824 F.2d 197 (2d Cir. 1987), In re US Airways, Inc., 296 B.R.734 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 2003), (e) cases under Section 1113, In re Hostess Brands, Inc., Case No. 12-22052 (S.D.N.Y.) (May 14, 2012); In re Wright Air Lines, Inc., 44 B.R. 744 (Bankr. N.D. Ohio 1984), In re Ionosphere Clubs, Inc., 139 B.R. 772, 780 (S.D.N.Y. 1992), (f) cases involving 1113 and asset sales, In re Journal Register Company 488 B.R. 835, 840 (Bankr. S.D.N.Y. 2013), and (g) cases on executive compensation. In re US Airways, Inc., 329 B.R. 793 (Bankr. E.D.Va. 2005); In re Geneva Steel Co., 236 B.R. 770 (Bankr. D. Utah 1999).

Mr. Seltzer has represented major international unions in such cases as A&P I, II, Hostess, AMR, US Airways I, II, Northwest Airlines, Eastern Airlines, Pan American, National Steel, LTV I, II, Wheeling-Pittsburgh II, WCI, Kaiser Aluminum, M&G, Appvion, Cenvo, Pillowtex, Asarco, Tops and Bidermann.

Mr. Seltzer has spoken at numerous programs sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute, ABA, PLI, AFL-CIO Lawyers Conferences, UFCW Lawyers Conference, Cleveland Bar Association, Connecticut Bar Association, Boston Bar Association Labor Law Institute, Labor and Employment Relations Association, New York State Bar Association, Cornell Law School, and the National Employment Lawyers Association/NewYork. He is the author of “The Changed Role of Unions in Chapter 11 Bankruptcies,” 18 The Air and Space Lawyer 8 (Fall 2003, Volume 2), and the co-author of “The Return of Government by Injunction in Airline Bankruptcies,” 15 American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review (Winter 2007, Volume 2).

Mr. Seltzer also represents unions in ERISA, labor, and health law matters. In recent years he has been litigated cases involving such varied issues as a target benefit plan negotiated during the Northwest Airlines bankruptcy, Northwest Airlines, Inc. v. Phillips, 675 F.3d 1126 (8th Cir. 2012), and the future of Long Island College Hospital in Brooklyn. New York State Nurses Ass'n v. State University of New York, 39 Misc.3d 588, 960 N.Y.S.2d 631 (N.Y.Sup. 2013).

Mr. Seltzer received a B.A. magna cum laude and a M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972, and a J.D. in 1975 from Columbia University, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar. He served as an assistant district attorney in the New York County District Attorney’s Office from 1975-1981. He has served as a member of the Bankruptcy Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York. A union-side labor lawyer, he was elected by the Board of Regents of the American College of Bankruptcy as a Fellow in the College.

Robert Drain is a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York. 

Judge Drain received his B.A. degree cum laude with honors from Yale University in 1979 and his J.D. degree in 1984 from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar for three years.

At the time of his appointment in 2002, he was a partner in the Bankruptcy Department of the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he represented debtors, trustees, secured and unsecured creditors, official and unofficial creditors committees, and buyers of distressed businesses and distressed debt in chapter 11 cases, out-of-court restructurings and bankruptcy-related litigation.  He also was actively involved in several transnational insolvency matters.

Judge Drain is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a member and board member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, a member of the International Insolvency Institute, a member and board member of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and a founding member of the Judicial Insolvency Network.  He also is the current chair of the Bankruptcy Judges Advisory Group established through the Administrative Office of the Courts.  He was an adjunct professor for several at St. John’s University School of Law’s LLM in Bankruptcy Program and currently is an adjunct professor at Pace University School of Law and has lectured and written on numerous bankruptcy-related topics.

 Since his appointment he has presided over such chapter 11 cases as Loral, RCN, Cornerstone, Refco, Allegiance Telecom, Delphi, Coudert Brothers, Frontier Airlines, Star Tribune, Reader’s Digest, A&P, Hostess Brands, Christian Brothers, Momentive, Cenveo, 21st Century Oncology and Sears.  He also has presided over the ancillary or plenary cases, as the case may be, of Corporacion Durango, Satellites Mexicanas, Parmalat S. p. A. and its affiliated United States debtors, Varig S.A., Yukos (II), SphinX, Galvex Steel, TBS Shipping, Excel Maritime, Nautilus, Landsbanki Islands, Roust and Ultrapetrol.  He has served as the court-appointed mediator in a number of chapter 11 cases, including New Page, Cengage, Quicksilver, LightSquared, Molycorp and Breitburn Energy.

He is the author of a novel, The Great Work in the United States of America.                     

Sandeep “Sandy” Qusba is the Head of the Bankruptcy and Restructuring Practice of the Firm’s Corporate Department. His practice focuses primarily on restructurings, bankruptcies, acquisition of distressed companies and bank financings. He has represented agent banks, steering committees, official and ad hoc committees, creditors, private equity sponsors, special committees of boards and portfolio companies in some of the largest Chapter 11 proceedings and out-of-court restructurings in recent years across a wide range of sectors, among them media, real estate, healthcare, energy, automotive, manufacturing and telecommunications.

Sandy received his B.A. from Tufts University in 1991 and his J.D., cum laude, from Syracuse University in 1994. He served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Stephen D. Gerling in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of New York. Sandy regularly speaks on topics related to the bankruptcy industry. Some of his past speaking engagements have included presentations at the South Asian Bar Association’s 2018 Annual Conference, the American Bankruptcy Institute’s 20th Annual New York City Bankruptcy Conference, a roundtable event hosted by the American College of Bankruptcy and New York University School of Law and the JPMorgan Global High Yield & Leveraged Finance Conference. Sandy has also been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. In addition, he has also been named by Chambers USA as one of the leading lawyers for bankruptcy/restructuring.

Susheel Kirpalani is a partner and Chairperson of the firm’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group. Susheel’s notable representations include: serving as the Court-appointed Examiner and Mediator in Dynegy, representing the statutory creditors’ committees in RadioShack, SemGroup and Sentinel, serving as conflicts counsel to estate fiduciaries in Lehman Brothers, NII International, NewPage, Idearc, Washington Mutual, and Solutia, representing boards of directors, such as that of Lukoil Americas Corp., and representing the equity sponsors in Sabine Oil & Gas, LyondellBasell, and Sbarro. Susheel also has broad experience in international insolvencies, leading the firm’s engagements for the Hong Kong-based private equity owner of Fisker Automotive in connection with an auction and litigation relating to competitive bid for the debtors’ assets by U.S.-based affiliate of Chinese company Wanxiang, for OGX, OSX, and OAS in U.S. aspects of their Brazil judicial recovery proceedings, for Dubai World in drafting Dubai’s bankruptcy legislation for public decree companies, and for the Joint Liquidators of the Kingate Global and Euro Funds in the SIPC proceeding against Bernard L. Madoff ‘s defunct firm. In municipal restructurings, Susheel represented Syncora Guarantee in Jefferson County’s Chapter 9 case and currently leads the firm’s engagement for an ad hoc group of COFINA Bondholders stemming from Puerto Rico’s financial crisis. In connection with the Puerto Rico matter, Susheel testified before Congress regarding the fairness of the restructuring title of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act (PROMESA), which was ultimately enacted into law. Susheel’s established reputation for creativity and advocacy in creditors’ rights against companies tainted by fraud include such historic cases as Enron Corp. and Refco Group Ltd.

In 2013, The American Lawyer honored Susheel as “Dealmaker of the Year” for his work as Examiner and Mediator in Dynegy. He has been recognized by The Deal as one of eight attorneys “poised to become significant figures in the bars of cities ranging from Houston to Paris,” and also by Law360 as one of the ten most admired bankruptcy attorneys in the country. Chambers USA ranks Susheel in Band One, describing him as “very creative, aggressive and hard-working” and “a tremendous courtroom advocate.” Expert Guides named Susheel one of the “Top 30 most pre-eminent Insolvency Lawyers in America in 2012.” He is a recipient of the South Asian Bar Association of New York’s esteemed Litigation Achievement Award and is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.

Susheel is a frequent lecturer and panelist across the country on topics relating to financial crisis litigation, distressed investing, and bankruptcy. He is a regular guest speaker at NYU School of Law’s seminar in advanced bankruptcy taught by former bankruptcy chief judge, Arthur Gonzalez. Susheel is a member of the Dean’s Planning Council of Fordham University School of Law, where he has created a full-tuition scholarship for public service, and is involved in various charitable endeavors.

Susheel received his J.D. in 1994 from Fordham University School of Law, where he was an editor of the Law Review, and has a bachelor’s degree in economics from Queens College. He is admitted to practice in the federal and state courts of New York as well as several federal circuit courts of appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.

After three decades at Debevoise & Plimpton, Peter Borowitz retired from the partnership in 2007, so that he could focus exclusively on acting as mediator in all types of commercial disputes, with particular emphasis on disputes arising in domestic and cross-border bankruptcies and out-of-court restructurings.  In recent years Mr. Borowitz has served as mediator in connection with a number of major Chapter 11 cases, including mediation of Chapter 11 plan issues in the Energy Future Holdings, Tousa and US Capital cases and mediation of adversary proceedings in connection with the Madoff, Lehman, Adelphia, BearingPoint, Polaroid, Refco,  Rhodes Companies, SemCrude and 360networks cases.  (Mr. Borowitz’s mediation cv can be accessed at

Mr. Borowitz received his A.B. summa cum laude from Harvard College in 1974 and his J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1978, where he was a member of the Harvard Law Review and a recipient of the Sears Prize.  Mr. Borowitz joined Debevoise & Plimpton in 1978 and became a partner in 1986.  While his career initially focused on the representation of debtors in bankruptcies and workouts (such as Chrysler, Western Union and Baldwin United), in later years he primarily represented creditors in restructurings in and out of court (including such domestic cases as Orion Pictures, TWA, Enron, USGen, Calpine, Kmart, Oregon Arena, and Dulles Greenway, and such cross-border cases as Sea Containers, Parmalat Canada, LJ Hooker, AeroMexico, Mexicana, Kvaerner, and  Burmeister and Wain). 

Michael L. Cook served as a partner in Schulte Roth & Zabel's New York office for 16 years, devoting his practice to business reorganization and creditors’ rights litigation, including mediation and arbitration. His clients include lenders, acquirers, trustees, creditors’ committees, troubled companies, professional firms and other parties.

Chambers USA listed Michael as a “leading individual” in bankruptcy/restructuring and interviewees praise him for his “tremendous experience and vision in bankruptcy matters.” He has also been recognized by Benchmark Litigation: The Definitive Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms and AttorneysThe Best Lawyers in AmericaExpert Guide to the World’s Leading Banking, Finance and Transactional Law LawyersThe K&A Restructuring RegisterThe Legal 500 USNew York Super LawyersPLC Cross-border Restructuring and Insolvency Handbook and Who’s Who in American Law. 

Michael is past chair of the American College of Bankruptcy, which has established the “Michael L. Cook Extraordinary Grant” for legal services organizations that provide pro bono bankruptcy services for indigent consumer debtors. He is also a fellow of the New York Bar Foundation, a former chair of the American Bar Association’s Creditors’ Rights Litigation Committee, and a former chair of the Bankruptcy Litigation Institute. A frequent contributor to major publications, Michael serves as lead editor and contributing author of Bankruptcy Litigation Manual (rev. ed., Aspen Law & Business, 2019), is on the editorial boards of Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law and The Bankruptcy Strategist, is a contributing author to Collier Bankruptcy Guide (rev. ed., Matthew Bender, 2018) and Collier on Bankruptcy (15th rev. ed., 2003), and he co-authored Creditors’ Rights, Debtors’ Protection and Bankruptcy (3rd ed., Matthew Bender, 1997) (with NYU School of Law Professor Lawrence P. King). Michael served for 26 years as an Adjunct Professor at New York University School of Law, teaching courses on creditors’ rights, debtors’ protection and bankruptcy. He received his A.B. from Columbia University and his J.D. from New York University School of Law.