Michael focuses on representing Chapter 11 debtors and creditors’ committees and advises on virtually every aspect of financial distress and bankruptcy.

Throughout his extensive career, Michael has appeared as counsel in state, federal courts and, in particular, bankruptcy courts in nearly 20 states and territories.

Michael focuses on the representation of Chapter 11 debtors and creditors’ committees. He regularly advises and represents clients in virtually every aspect of financial distress and bankruptcy, including out-of-court restructurings, prosecution and defense of creditors’ rights litigation (including preference and fraudulent conveyance cases), individual and group secured and unsecured creditors, landlords, purchasers of assets under Bankruptcy Code section 363 and other parties in interest.

An active member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, Michael has served as director (1996-2008), chairman of the board (2006-07) and president (2004-05) of that organization; and has been a member of its management and executive committees. Michael is also the founder and a performing member of ABI’s house band, the Indubitable Equivalents, which regularly performs at bankruptcy conferences around the country. A frequent speaker and lecturer on bankruptcy law and related topics, Michael is 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.

Michael is admitted to practice before the United States District Court for the Districts of Arizona; Colorado; Connecticut; District of Columbia; the Northern District of Illinois; the Western District of Michigan; and the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. He is also admitted to practice in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal, Second, Third, Fifth and Ninth Circuits.

Relevant Experience

  • Representation of the Creditors’ Committee in O.W. Bunker Holding North America Inc., et al. chapter 11 cases in Connecticut.
  • Representation of the Creditors’ Committee in Simplexity, LLC, et al. chapter 11 cases in Delaware.
  • Lead counsel to the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Prince Sports (United States Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware).
  • Defense counsel in Fairfield Sentry clawback actions against redeemers, and Tribune fraudulent conveyance litigation against former shareholders.
  • Lead counsel to the Unofficial Committee of Family and Dissident GM bondholders, the principal opponents to the fast-track section 363 sale of GM’s assets to the new GM engineered by the government.
  • Served as national bankruptcy counsel to one of the Big Four accounting firms.
  • Served as lead counsel to Chapter 11 debtors Proxymed and Diamond Glass, Inc. (Wilmington, DE).
  • Lead counsel to prospective debtors in out-of-court restructuring of companies in broadcasting and leisure travel businesses.
  • Served as lead counsel to official committees of unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 cases of Centrix Financial (Denver) and NewComm Telecommunications (San Juan, PR).
  • Represented debtor in Chapter 11 case of Medifacts International (Wilmington, DE).
  • Served as lead counsel to a global consumer electronics retailer in defense of $250 million avoidance action litigation brought by Creditors’ Committee of Musicland (New York).
  • National bankruptcy counsel to the Center for Claims Resolution in various Chapter 11 asbestos cases, including Armstrong and W. R. Grace.
  • Acted as special bankruptcy counsel to Huron Consulting in its retention as advisor in St. Vincent Hospitals’ Chapter 11 cases (New York).
  • Represented Goldin Capital in the successful acquisition of a business in a contested section 363 auction in Chapter 11 case of Skin Nuvo (Reno, NV).
  • Served as counsel to the state of Mississippi in a $5 billion tax claim against MCI/Worldcom (New York).
  • Represented Textron Financial Corporation as secured creditor in the Chapter 11 cases of Leisure Industries (Reno, NV).
  • Acted as co-counsel to Credit Suisse First Boston in contested plan confirmation hearings in the OSI Chapter 11 cases (St. Louis).
  • Served as counsel to agent lenders, including Bank of Nova Scotia and Textron Financial Corporation, in significant out-of-court financial workouts and restructurings.
  • Served as counsel to Bank of Montreal in adversary proceedings to determine status as secured or unsecured of more than $1 billion of debt in Loewen Chapter 11 cases (Wilmington, DE).
  • Represented Umbro Worldwide in dispute with debtor licensee and co-licensee (New York).
  • Served as counsel to the financial services arm of a global corporation in Loews Cineplex Chapter 11.

Memberships

  • Co-Chair, Section 363 subcommittee of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11
  • Vice Chair, National Standards Task Force for Professional Responsibility for Bankruptcy Practitioners
  • Advisory Board Member, ABI Annual New York City Bankruptcy Conference
  • Advisory Board Member, Views from the Bench Program at Georgetown University Law Center
  • Advisory Board Member, VALCON Conference
  • American Bankruptcy Institute

Awards & Recognition

  • Lead Lawyer, Restructuring Deal of the Year for the Chapter 11 of O.W. Bunker Debtors, The International M&A Advisor Awards, 2017
  • Recipient of 15th Annual M&A Advisor Award for The Restructuring Deal of the Year (over $100 million) for serving as lead counsel for The Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of O.W. Bunker Holding North America Inc. in the District of Connecticut
  • Selected as a “Super Lawyer,” New York Super Lawyers, 2006-2016 
  • Named one of the 12 “Outstanding Restructuring Lawyers-2004” by Turnarounds & Workouts
  • Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, Columbia University Law School
  • David M. Berger Memorial Award, Columbia University Law School

Insights

  • Events

    • Speaker, Ethics in Diverse Bankruptcy Practice Areas, PLI’s Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2017: Current Developments, New York, NY, April 27, 2017
    • Moderator, “Current Issues in Retention and Compensation of Bankruptcy Professionals” panels, ABI 18th Annual New York City Bankruptcy Conference, May 12, 2016
    • Speaker, “Ethics in Diverse Bankruptcy Practice Areas,” PLI Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2016: Current Developments, April 26, 2016
    • Moderator, Ethics: Retention and Compensation of Professionals, VALCON2016 Annual Conference on Emerging Valuation Issues in Bankruptcy, March 16, 2016
    • Presenter, “The Ethics and Practice of Civility”, 11th Annual Educational Retreat of the Wisconsin Bar Association’s Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Creditors’ Rights Section, March 4, 2016
    • Panelist, “Cross Border Issues and Puerto Rico,” LEI National CLE Conference, January 8, 2016
    • Panelist, “Social Media: Ethics and Marketing,” LEI National CLE Conference, January 7, 2016
    • Faculty Member, Litigation Skills Symposium (ABI), Chicago-Kent College of Law, May 19-21, 2015
    • Moderator, Bankruptcy Ethics Update panels, 17th Annual American Bankruptcy Institute New York City Bankruptcy Conference, May 14, 2015
    • Panelist, “Ethics in Diverse Bankruptcy Practice Areas”, Practising Law Institute’s Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2015: Current Developments program, New York, April 28, 2015
    • Featured Speaker, “Great Presidents’ Debate,” ABI 33rd Annual Spring Meeting, Washington, DC, April 2015
    • Speaker, “Circuit Splits and Ethical Issues,” Rocky Mountain Conference, American Bankruptcy Institute, National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, January 22-23, 2015
    • Panelist, “Claims Issues – Who Says a Claim is a Claim is a Claim?” Equitable Subordination / Recharacterization / Designation, National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, January 10, 2015
    • Panelist, “Gazing Into The Crystal Ball: What Areas Should Bankruptcy Professionals Be Looking Toward for Business?,” National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, January 10, 2015
    • Panelist, “In the Age of Facebook, What Every Bankruptcy Professional Needs to Know About How It Can Help Us Or Hurt Our Clients,” National CLE Conference, Law Education Institute, January 9, 2015
    • Panelist, “Ethics Panel,” 21st Annual Distressed Investing Conference, December 2014
    • Panelist, “Current Trends in U.S. Insolvencies and Restructurings,” International Insolvency & Restructuring Symposium, London, England, October 2014
    • Panelist, “Anatomy of Evidentiary Proceedings,” 22nd Annual Southwest Bankruptcy Conference, September 2014
    • Performer, the Indubitable Equivalents, ABI Northeast Bankruptcy Conference, July 2014
    • Panelist, “GSC Group Case Study and Other Bankruptcy Ethics Matters,” 16th Annual ABI New York City Bankruptcy Conference, May 2014
    • Speaker, “Ethics in Diverse Bankruptcy Practice Areas,” PLI, New York, April 2014
    • Featured Speaker, “Great Presidents’ Debate,” ABI Annual Spring Meeting, Washington, DC, April 2014
    • Panelist, “The Evolving Bankruptcy Prohibition Against Opaqueness,” National Association of Bankruptcy Judges, October 2013
    • Panelist, “Creditors‘ Committees, Examiners, Role of the U.S. Trustee and Ethics,” PLI's Bankruptcy & Reorganization 2013: Current Developments, April 2013
    • Panelist, “BK 360 Revisited,” American Bankruptcy Institute Annual Spring Meeting, April 2013
    • Moderator, “Preferences in Bankruptcy,” CFA’s Advocacy Conference, September 2012
    • Moderator, “Hiring Professionals” and “qbal/Twombly Pleading Standards,” 2012 Fall Seminar Program of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, September 2012
    • Panelist, “The Art of Persuasion,” 2012 ABI Southwest Bankruptcy Conference, September 2012
    • Panelist, Real Property Section of Arizona State Bar Convention (section 363 sale and credit bidding issues) June 2012
    • Moderator, “Using Litigation Tactics to add Costs and Delays to Bankruptcy Proceedings,” 14th Annual ABI New York City Bankruptcy Conference, May 2012
    • Panelist, “21st Century Ethics,” 30th Annual Spring Meeting, American Bankruptcy Institute, April 2012
    • Panelist, “The Financial Crisis and BAPCPA’s Impact on Chapter 7 and 11 Business Cases," "Creditors' Committees, Examiners and Role of the U.S. Trustee and Ethics,” and “Avoiding Powers and Mediation,” Bankruptcy & Reorganizations 2012: Current Developments, Practising Law Institute, April 2012
    • Moderator, “Ethics and Professionalism,” 36th Annual Judge Alexander L. Paskay Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Practice, March 2012
    • Panelist, “Ethical Issues in Valuation Matters,” VALCON 2012, February 2012
    • Moderator, “Intersection of Intellectual Property Law & Bankruptcy,” 29th Annual Law Education Institute National CLE Conference, January 2012
    • Panelist, “Making Sense of the Ethical Issues in Representing and Sitting on Creditors’ Committees,” 17th Annual Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference, January 2012
    • Panelist, “Potential New National Ethics Standards for Practitioners,” and “Past Presidents Panel: Selected Issues on the Forefront of Our Profession,” 29th Annual Law Education Institute National CLE Conference, January 2012
    • Moderator, “Today’s Problems in Municipal Finance: Should Chapter 9 Be Extended to States?” Commercial Finance Association's Advocacy Conference, Washington, DC, September 2011
    • Panelist, “Current Developments in Bankruptcy Litigation,” 35th Annual Judge Alexander L. Paskay Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Practice, March 2011
    • Moderator, “Hot Topics in Bankruptcy Litigation” and “Chapter 11 Plan Confirmation Issues,” 6th Annual BICR Section Educational/Social Retreat, March 2011
    • Presiding Officer, VALCON 2011, February 2011
    • Panelist, “ABI Past Presidents Panel,” 16th Annual Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference, January 2011
    • Panelist, “Autos: Two Years Later,” TMA Distressed Investing Conference 2011, January 2011
    • Panelist, “State of the Law - Non-Traditional Burial of Cases and Third Circuit Update,” and “ABI Past Presidents Panel,” 28th Annual Law Education Institute National CLE Conference, January 2011
    • Panelist, “America Now!” London International Insolvency & Restructuring Symposium, October 2010
    • Panelist, “The Re-emergence of Lender Liability (Tousa/Yellowstone and Others),” 84th Annual National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, October 2010
    • Panelist, “Behind the Scenes at Chrysler and GM,” Annual Retreat of 9th Circuit Judicial Conference, August 2010
    • Panelist, “Success Strategies for Pre-Arranged Chapter 11 Cases (Chrysler/Lehman/GM),”ABI Third Hawaii Bankruptcy Workshop, August 2010

    Publications

    • Author, Tactics, Not Theatrics, Corporate Counsel, December 1, 2013
    • Author, The Acquisition of Distressed Businesses Under Section 363 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, Financier Worldwide, Global Reference Guide: Bankruptcy & Restructuring, May 2011
    • Author, Pre-Packaged Bankruptcies: A Faster Way to Emerge from a Bankruptcy Involving Leases, LJN’s Equipment Leasing Newsletter, July 2011

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