Chambers & Partners has compiled their independent and objective list of America's Leading Lawyers for Business based on comments gathered from thousands of interviews with clients and lawyers from Maine to Hawaii. This guide -- which is designed to reflect market opinion -- contains a view of the firms and attorneys who are considered leaders in their field.
In Chambers' 2005 review of national legal talent in the area of "Bankruptcy/Restructuring," our Firm and our lawyers are listed among the best in the country.
Illinois Ranking: 1
The Firm: Renowned as a national debtors' practice, this "outstanding firm" employs almost 100 restructuring and bankruptcy lawyers from its Chicago headquarters. With access to further resources in its New York, London and LA offices, this "top class" bankruptcy team is able to handle "the biggest and ugliest cases around." It won plaudits for its management of the Chapter 11 reorganization of Conseco, the third largest filing in history at the time. Other major recent cases include the representation of UAL (United Airlines) in its massive reorganization and advice to NRG Energy in the restructuring of more than $11 billion in debt. The group is also well versed in the representation of creditors.
The Lawyers: The "technically and commercially sound" James Sprayregen is a great clients' lawyer, admired for his "unflustered ways." He offers expertise in distressed companies and M&A as well as corporate governance and advice to boards of directors in bankruptcy situations. Sprayregen acted for UAL (United Airlines) in its ongoing restructuring matters, expected to run into 2005, and advised on the Chapter 11 reorganization of Conseco. Clients described him as "probably the best restructuring lawyer in the world." The "incredibly smart" Marc Kieselstein served as counsel in the out-of-court sale of J&L Specialty Steel to Allegheny Steel and a resulting out-of-court composition of creditors. Representing the debtor, he has acted for UAL, TWA and Indesco International. Anup Sathy is a "very promising up-and-comer" and one of Sprayregen's right-hand men in the Conseco case. He also represented the debtor in the prearranged Chapter 11 restructuring of Chiquita Brands International. James Stempel remains admired as a solution-oriented lawyer. He represented National Equipment Services, one of the nation's largest equipment rental companies, and its affiliates in its successful reorganization before the US Bankruptcy Court.
The Clients: UAL; Conseco; Polymer Group; Archibald Candy and National Equipment Services.
New York Ranking: 4
The Firm: Although this bankruptcy and restructuring powerhouse is better known for its Chicago practice, the New York office nonetheless wins considerable market recognition. In keeping with the practice's overall reputation, it is the group's expertise in representing debtors that has attracted most notice. Headline matters include acting for NRG and several related entities, as debtors in both out-of-court and Chapter 11 cases, in a bid to restructure over $11 billion in debt. Allegiance Telecom also called upon the team to represent it in its $1.4 billion debt restructuring. The caliber of the firm's private equity department stands it in good stead in the distressed M&A arena. Deals here include advising Perry Capital on its acquisition of Republic Engineered Products, and Sun Capital on its purchase of Horsehead Industries. The group also boasts considerable skill in litigated proceedings and benefits from the ability to draw on the expertise of other practice groups at the firm.
The Lawyers: The team has been boosted by the arrival of Rick Cieri from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. This "spectacular" lawyer is a popular figure who "has the perfect balance of good judgment, advocacy skill and business instincts. He has lots of credibility and his word can be relied on." Clients also believe that he appeals to CEOs because "they find his approach comforting - he's hands-on and gets things done." He is best known for representing debtors and is a skilled adviser in both domestic and international restructurings. The group also includes "impressive younger lawyer" Matt Cantor. Clients warmly recommended him as "a thoughtful, low-key, hard-working guy - he's one of those people who just gets things done." The team in New York comprises around 18 lawyers who work closely with high-profile teams in Los Angeles and Chicago.
The Clients: The group is best known for representing debtors, such as NRG Energy, Allegiance Telecom and Cornerstone Propane. It is also active on behalf of creditors and advised the statutory committee of unsecured creditors in the AT&T Latin America Chapter 11 cases.
Reprinted with permission from Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2005 - www.chambersandpartners.com.