Firms To Watch: Restructuring (including bankruptcy): municipal

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP has a sizeable team and represents major financial institutions, private equity firms and creditor committees. The team is headed by Brent Horstman , operating from Los Angeles, Edward Tillinghast , who is based out of New York, and Ori Katz , operating from San Francisco.

Restructuring (including bankruptcy): municipal in United States

ArentFox Schiff

Arent Fox LLP has niche expertise within municipal bonds and tax-exempt bond financing and is entrusted by a magnitude of high-profile clients to advise over public pensions, bond workouts and municipal bankruptcy. Significant work includes its representation of US Bank as trustee for $80m in outstanding bonds, following the filing of Chapter 11 in the Southern District of Florida once Midtown Campus Properties failed to complete construction of student housing with its contractor. The practice is led by David Dubrow who has represented creditors in the structuring of the $1.6bn financing of the World Trade Centre Tower 3. Another notable individual includes Les Jacobowitz who has overseen work-outs of multifamily housing, healthcare loans and bond transactions. Mark Angelov is well known for representing bondholders, trustees and bond issuers. All are based in New York.

Practice head(s):

David Dubrow

Other key lawyers:

Les Jacobowitz; Mark Angelov; Beth Brownstein; Randall Brater; Sterling Johnson; Andrew Dykens

Testimonials

‘Very attentive to clients needs and a willingness to work with clients on unique situations and circumstances.’

 

Key clients

US Bank

Ambac Assurance Corporation

Nuveen Asset Management

Vanguard Mutual Funds

Goldman Sachs

Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Corporation (UMEZ)

Lapis Advisors

Work highlights

  • Represented the Indenture Trustee in connection with Midtown Campus Properties, which owns and operates a student housing project in Gainesville, Florida financed with municipal bonds.
  • Represented a financial services holding company in protecting its bond insurance exposure in the Puerto Rico bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Represented a leading US bank in payment and non-payment, defaults, related litigation in multiple jurisdictions, and the exercise of rights and remedies in connection with a continuing care community in Georgia.

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP

The practice at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP is best known for its involvement in ‘countless complex and challenging‘ matters pertaining to both state and local governments. It plays a prominent role in the restructuring of Puerto Rico; it represents the ‘largest creditor‘, Assured Guaranty Corporation and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corporation, which holds $5.6bn of bonds issued by Puerto Rico and its public entities. Lary Stromfeld and counsel Casey Servais and Thomas Curtin  played key roles in this matter. Both Ivan Loncar and Ingrid Bagby head the New York-based practice, with expertise including the handling of derivatives, municipal finance, Chapter 9 and Chapter 11 proceedings and out-of-court restructurings.

Practice head(s):

Ivan Loncar; Ingrid Bagby

Other key lawyers:

Lary Stromfeld; Michele Maman; Casey Servais; Thomas Curtin

Testimonials

‘Highly effective commercial team skilled at complex structuring and mitigating risks from tax and regulatory concerns while prioritizing practicality and “what can get done”. No firm is close to rivaling their combined expertise in bankruptcy, municipal credit and securitization and structuring.’

‘Lary Stromfeld and Ivan Loncar are skilled, hard working, accessible and straight shooters with an unmatched experience set.’

‘First-class all around.’

‘Extremely thoughtful, efficient and no topic is beyond their reach. Ivan Loncar is a stand out.’

 

Key clients

Assured Guaranty Corp. and Assured Guaranty Municipal Corp.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch

Fundamental Advisors

Morgan Stanley

Goldman Sachs

Work highlights

    Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C.

    Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C. is praised as the ‘go-to- expert‘ in matters concerning Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcies, as well as governmental unit restructurings. Its Chapter 9 expertise is utilized in issues concerning health care districts, out-of-court workouts and proposed bond issuances. The practice is led by William Kannel, who particularly focuses on municipal bankruptcy and project finance matters. He operates from Boston, Massachusetts. The team’s expertise is evidenced through its representation of a collective of institutional debt holders of Puerto Rico bonds, advising on restructuring matters, litigation strategy and related corporation bond issues.

    Practice head(s):

    William Kannel

    Other key lawyers:

    Eric Blythe; Leonard Weiser-Varon

    Work highlights

    • Served as counsel to institutional bondholders of Puerto Rico bonds and oversaw matters of PROMESA, related fiscal plans and plans of adjustment.
    • Served as counsel to indenture trustee/paying agent in the Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Proceedings of California-based Tulare Local Health Care District.
    • Advised rating agencies, client base, and trade organizations on state and municipal “statutory lien” statutes and municipal securitizations.

    Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP

    Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP places significant focus over the advisory of sovereign debt restructurings; matters worth mentioning include the debt restructuring of the Republic of Argentina, where it represented the Members of the Argentina Creditor Committee in the restructuring of its Argentinian bonds amounting to $65bn. Additional representation extends to the Suriname bondholder committee, including Franklin Templeton, GMO, Eaton Vance and Greylock, whereby it oversaw the restructuring of its government debt with an approximate value of $675m. This cross-border matter, involving Suriname, the US and the UK, is led by both Washington DC-based Thomas Laryea and Lorraine McGowenRaniero D’Aversa is the chair of the restructuring group, and played a prominent role in the restructuring of Argentina. Sacramento's Marc Levinson is best known for his expertise in chapter 11 cases. The practice welcomed the arrival of DC-based industry expert Preetha Gist from Chapman & Cutler LLP, in July 2021. All lawyers mentioned are in New York unless otherwise stated.

    Practice head(s):

    Raniero D’Aversa

    Other key lawyers:

    Marc Levinson; Lorraine McGowen; Thomas Laryea

    Key clients

    Members of Argentina Creditor Committee

    Suriname Bondholder Committee

    PG&E Equity Holders

    City of Beaumont, California

    Work highlights

      Ballard Spahr LLP

      Ballard Spahr LLP offers clients an ‘unparalleled‘ service, with advise encompassing municipal bankruptcy and recovery, in addition to buy-side representations, trust instruction proceedings and public finance. Tobey Daluz and Matthew Summers head the team from Wilmington, whilst Vincent Marriott and William Rhodes head the team from Philadelphia. Its team is well equipped to handle Chapter 9, Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 cases pertaining to special districts, senior living facilities and hospital systems. Notable highlights includes its representation of Wells Fargo Bank, NA, in its capacity as indenture trustee, in matters relating to the bankruptcy of Verity Health System and its outstanding municipal bonds exceeding $260m. Other notable individuals include William Wassweiler for his advisory to the Wilmington Trust and Dara Smith for her assistance to the Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority.

      Key clients

      KBC Bank N.V.

      Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.

      National Federation of Municipal Analysts

      Pennsylvania Economic Development Financing Authority

      Wilmington Trust, National Association

      UMB Bank, N.A.

      Build America Mutual Assurance Company

      U.S. Bank National Association

      Bank of New York Mellon Trust Company, N.A.

      Goldman Sachs

      Morgan Stanley

      Bank of America Merrill Lynch

      Work highlights

      • Represented Wells Fargo Bank N.A., as indenture trustee, in the default and bankruptcy of Verity Health System.

      Jones Day

      Jones Day is well known for its municipal related advisory concerning revitalizations, and is well versed in the representation of both debtors and creditors, government operations and labor relations. LA based practice leader Bruce Bennett regularly acts in cases involving healthcare companies, reflecting his broad experience in the field. With the support of Benjamin Rosenblum, Anna Kordas and Chané Buck, the team collectively advised over its secured and unsecured claims against the debtors in the Verity Health System of California bankruptcy case. The practice also regularly represents investment funds, and has an involvement in the ongoing bankruptcy of Puerto Rico. Heather Lennox  oversees the Cleveland office and often advises debtors, creditors’ committees and bank groups.

      Practice head(s):

      Bruce Bennett

      Other key lawyers:

      Kevyn Orr; Gregory Gordon; Heather Lennox; Corinne Ball; Thomas Wilson; Dan Moss

      Key clients

      Creditors of Verity Health System of California: Integrity Healthcare, LLC, NantWorks, LLC and several related entities

      Ad Hoc Group of Puerto Rico ERS Bondholders

      Creditors of Verity Health System of California: Integrity Healthcare, LLC, NantWorks, LLC and several related entities

      Ad Hoc Group of Puerto Rico ERS Bondholders

      Work highlights

      • Advised creditors of Verity Healthcare over its secured and unsecured claims against the debtors in the Verity Health System of California bankruptcy case.
      • Advised investment funds in connection with $1.4bn  of secured bonds issued by the Employees Retirement System of the Government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in its insolvency proceedings under Title III of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act.

      O'Melveny & Myers LLP

      O’Melveny & Myers LLP possesses ‘market-leading experience‘ in the restructuring of both governmental and municipal debt. Its expertise is recognized by many, with clients such as City of Long Beach and Commonwealth of Puerto Rico entrusting the practice with the handling of matters. Its representation of City of Long Beach concerns the resolution of $500m in debt; global chair John Rapisardi leads the matter and also oversees the development of long-term budget projects and restructuring plans. He also leads the representation of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico pertaining to the restructuring of $23bn of debt, whilst achieving over $10bn in savings for the public of Puerto Rico. Mohammad Saleh Yassin joined the practice, strengthening the team with his experience as the former Director of the Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority. Nancy Mitchell departed in April 2021. Lawyers mentioned are in New York.

      Practice head(s):

      John Rapisardi

      Other key lawyers:

      Maria DiConza; Peter Friedman; Joe Zujkowski

      Key clients

      City of Long Beach, New York

      Belk, Inc.

      Globus Energy

      Osprey Point LLC

      Commonwealth of Puerto Rico

      Puerto Rico Fiscal Agency and Financial Advisory Authority (“AAFAF”)

      24 Hour Fitness

      Bruin Energy

      Brandywine (a Chubb company)

      Morgan Stanley

      Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority

      Francesca’s Holdings Corp.

      Work highlights

      • Represented Puerto Rico governmental entities in need of financial restructuring under both Title III and Title VI of the Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act.
      • Represented the Government Development Bank for Puerto Rico in the restructuring of its debts, covering $5bn of Puerto Rico’s total $72bn debt and represented the first restructuring accomplished in Puerto Rico’s 10-year fiscal crisis.
      • Represented the City of Long Beach, New York in resolving nearly $500m in debt and other obligations.

      Reed Smith LLP

      Reed Smith LLP offers a sizeable team within its restructuring & insolvency group; the team collectively holds a ‘wealth of experience‘ in advising both creditors and debtors in complex matters. The group is led by Wilmington's Kurt Gwynne, a recognized expert with experience representing indenture trustees and creditors’ committees in matters across the US, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Other notable individuals include Pittsburgh-based Luke Sizemore for his defense of creditors in bankruptcy related matters, Adam Solowsky in New York for his cross-border transactional work pertaining to Latin America, and Michele Ross, who divides her time between New York and Washington DC, for her expertise in both in and out-of-court restructurings.

      Practice head(s):

      Kurt Gwynne

      Other key lawyers:

      Luke Sizemore; Michele Ross; Adam Solowsky; Jared Roach

      Squire Patton Boggs

      The practice at Squire Patton Boggs is best known for its ‘integrated and multidisciplinary approach to municipal restructuring’, combining its knowledge within policy, governmental and public finance. The group’s expertise is evidenced through its representation of the US Virgin Islands, where it served as issuer and governmental affairs counsel to its Department of Finance to oversee the refinancing of $1bn in outstanding bond debt. San Francisco-based Karol Denniston has long-standing experience advising distressed governmental entities. Stephen Lerner divides his time between New York and Cleveland, and is recognized for his expertise in representing clients in Chapter 9 municipal restructurings and out-of-court workouts. Miami's Pedro Hernandez has specialist expertise advising over public finance matters, with particular focus placed upon bond issues concerning the State of Florida and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Together, they lead the practice.

      Practice head(s):

      Karol Denniston; Stephen Lerner; Pedro Hernandez

      Other key lawyers:

      Pedro Miranda; Peter Morrison; Jeff Rothleder; David Schnittger; David Stewart; Dynda Thomas; Maura McIntyre; Thomas Lloyd; Greg Saetrum

      Key clients

      US Virgin Islands Department of Finance

      Work highlights

      • Advising the US Virgin Islands Department of Finance in connection with the refinancing of $1bn outstanding bond debt secured by federal run tax proceeds.