Mr James Sprayregen > Kirkland & Ellis LLP > Chicago, United States > Lawyer Profile

Kirkland & Ellis LLP
United States


James H.M. Sprayregen is the founder of Kirkland’s worldwide Restructuring Group, building the group from inception in 1990 to become the premier restructuring group in the world, and the only such group ranked Tier 1 in every major world region. He served on Kirkland’s Executive Committee for many years.

Described as “one of the United States’ most sought-after bankruptcy attorneys,” Mr. Sprayregen has led some of the most complex Chapter 11 filings. He has extensive experience representing international debtors and other stakeholders in complex restructurings. Clients include Energy Future Holdings, Caesars, Avaya, Toys “R” Us, iHeartMedia, Seadrill, General Growth, Japan Airlines, United Airlines and Reader’s Digest.

Mr. Sprayregen has received numerous accolades, including being inducted into the Turnaround Management Association’s Hall of Fame, named one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers” by the National Law Journal and recognized as “Global Insolvency Lawyer of the Year” by Who’s Who Legal Awards, receiving more votes from clients and peers than any other individual worldwide.


Kirkland & Ellis 1990-2006, 2008-present; Goldman Sachs 2006-2008.


Former President, INSOL International, the world’s leading insolvency association; National Bankruptcy Conference.


University of Illinois College of Law, J.D., 1985; University of Michigan, B.A., 1982.

Lawyer Rankings

United States > Finance > Restructuring (including bankruptcy): corporate

(Hall of Fame)

James SprayregenKirkland & Ellis LLP

Kirkland & Ellis LLP has a global practice with offices extending across the US, the UK, Europe, and Asia. Its sizeable team has strong expertise in complex domestic and cross-border restructurings, where it utilizes its cross-practice abilities to advise an array of clients. Notable work highlights includes its representation of Intelsat S.A., the largest satellite fleet and connectivity infrastructure body on the globe, in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy case pertaining to $14.7bn of funded debt. Anup Sathy, based in Chicago, is noted for his representation of companies, buyers, investors and lenders. The practice is led by Edward Sassower; he has long-standing experience representing debtors, creditors and distressed investors within both bankruptcy cases and out-of-court restructurings. He operates from the New York office. Splitting his time between both New York and Chicago, James Sprayregen is noted for his expertise in workouts, restructuring and insolvency proceedings. The practice also welcomed the arrival of Christine Okike from Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP in April 2021 to the New York office. She assisted the representation of Katerra Inc., alongside New York’s Joshua Sussberg, in its Chapter 11 cases before the US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas pertaining to $1bn of debt. Jonathan Henes left the firm in July 2021. Both Marc Kieselstein and James Stempel have retired.