Bankruptcy and Creditors' Rights
Womble Carlyle’s Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group is a deeply experienced team with numerous attorneys who concentrate on all types of business bankruptcy, insolvency, and related issues.
The lawyers in the Group have a long track record of representing all major stakeholders in the chapter 11 process, including debtors, official and ad hoc committees, debtor-in-possession lenders, acquirers, secured and unsecured creditors, adversary proceeding and contested matter litigants, directors and officers of troubled companies, shareholders of troubled companies, post-confirmation estate representatives, and other case fiduciaries.
Our clients include secured and unsecured creditors, such as pre- and post-petition lenders, trade creditors, special servicers of real estate-backed loans owned by investment trusts, banks, thrifts, insurance companies, and other business clients. Other representative clients include parties in litigation with debtors, purchasers of assets from bankruptcy estates, landlords, equipment lessors, guarantors, bankruptcy trustees, and receivers.
Lawyers in the Group also have substantial experience in serving as case fiduciaries themselves, and have served as chapter 7 and 11 trustees, among other things. Apart from bankruptcy, the Group handles a broad range of guaranty, lender liability, and other financial litigation and represents trustee lenders and special servicers of defaulted CMBS loans in investment trusts.
Our Approach: Efficient Delivery of the Deal Outcome
We take a project management approach to each significant representation. This is particularly important for debtor representations. Several of the lawyers in the Group have substantial “first chair” experience running major chapter 11 debtor engagements. We work with management and the company’s other advisors to define the critical path and the sequencing of actions from inception to closing on the desired restructuring, sale, or other resolution. Our process is flexible, and entails adapting and allocating resources based on team members’ proven strengths. Our debtor representation teams are de-leveraged and efficient. Our lawyers bring accounting and economics backgrounds to our debtor engagements, among other things, contributing to a thorough understanding of our clients’ financial and performance metrics. In sum, we offer our debtor clients cost-effective resolutions by creating compelling factual and legal narratives that win stakeholder support or consent and, where necessary, court decisions in contested matters and adversary proceedings.
When we represent creditor and equity stakeholders, the Group’s attorneys assist clients in obtaining repayment of debt, recovery of collateral, and restructuring agreements through their knowledge of and experience with creditor remedies under federal and applicable state law. The Group has experience in handling virtually every type of issue that arises in receiverships, plans of arrangement, loan forbearance and extension agreements, deeds in lieu, guaranty and foreclosure litigation, and other non-bankruptcy workouts and restructurings.
When a Litigated Outcome is Required, Count on Our Strengths
Womble Carlyle’s Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group takes pride in its ability to bring the right individual strengths to each engagement. While the Group’s lawyers’ first resort is always a deal-focused mindset, when litigation is required the Group will immediately bring to bear its formidable and trial-tested litigation strengths. Attorneys within the Group are experienced in litigating contested chapter 11 confirmation proceedings, lender liability claims, preferences and fraudulent transfers, non-dischargeability actions, setoff and recoupment, subordination, re characterization of debt as equity, adequate protection, priority claims, debtor-in-possession financing issues, valuation disputes, automatic stay and Section 105 injunctions, and many other contested matters and adversary proceedings before Bankruptcy Courts, as well as during all levels of appeals. Many of the Group’s lawyers also have jury and non-jury trial experience in state and federal district courts covering a wide variety of other commercial matters. The firm prides itself on its reservoir of trial skills, from complex discovery and e discovery, to state-of-the-art document production and review methods, to careful and effective trial prosecution. In addition to being trained as litigators, our bankruptcy lawyers also are experienced in alternative dispute resolution, including arbitration and mediation.
Our lawyers also regularly function as transactional lawyers, handling such projects as negotiating and drafting reorganization plans, disclosure statements, bankruptcy financing documents, asset and stock sale agreements, real estate and personal property leases, license agreements, and management agreements. Some of the attorneys in the Group handle sophisticated claims trading transactions and provide bankruptcy remote opinions regarding structured financings.
What Clients and Peers Say About Us
Chambers USA observed in its 2012 ranking that Womble Carlyle’s “practice is highly respected for its representation of creditors’ committees, lenders and debtors. Its large team enables it to take on an impressive roster of clients.” The Chambers USA 2011 Guide indicated thatWomble Carlyle’s Delaware Bankruptcy Practice “is rapidly establishing itself as one of the core bankruptcy teams in the state. It has developed a reputation for achieving results through the efficiency of its experienced attorneys, who cover the full scope of bankruptcy work for clients including secured and unsecured creditors, banks, insurance companies, business debtors, and bankruptcy committees.” Sources add that the firm’s practice “has a deep bench of [attorneys] who know bankruptcy like the back of their hand.” Chambers USA observed in its 2010 ranking that Womble Carlyle’s “industrious practice is known for delivering high-quality work,” and that our bankruptcy lawyers “are value-driven” and “attentive.” Many of the Group’s attorneys are listed individually in the Chambers directory.
In 2011, lawyers in the Group were recognized with a national award by the Turnaround Management Association, TMA’s 2011 Transaction of the Year - Small Company Award, for the firm’s role in a chapter 11 case. TMA recognized the case as reflecting “A collaborative effort [that] led to a sale to save not only the companies but also to preserve almost 200 jobs in a small South Carolina town,” which was “a significant victory for the consolidated debtors” and a “tremendous outcome for the community as a whole.”
Additionally, the Group includes a member of the American College of Bankruptcy, several members who are rated by their peers as among the Best Lawyers in America, and many members who are AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell peer review ratings.
The Group is active in the Business Bankruptcy Committee of the American Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, the Bankruptcy Section of Lex Mundi, and the bankruptcy sections of state and local bar associations.
Our attorneys lecture and write extensively on various bankruptcy and creditors’ rights topics. We routinely conduct bankruptcy seminars for industry groups and individual clients. Members of the Group also serve on various state and national bankruptcy committees.
Geographic Scope of Practice
The Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights Practice Group enjoys a well-known national practice. Lawyers of the Group have appeared for clients in business bankruptcy cases before numerous Bankruptcy Courts throughout the nation. Although national in scope, the Group’s practice is concentrated in the Southeast and mid-Atlantic regions. Attorneys of the Group are admitted generally to practice law in Delaware, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Georgia, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia and are specially admitted, on a regular basis, to practice before Bankruptcy Courts in many different jurisdictions concerning particular cases.
Any result that the lawyer or law firm may have achieved on behalf of clients in other matters does not necessarily indicate similar results can or will be obtained for other clients.