It is the exception that a business and business owners have not been presented with or involved in a financial workout or bankruptcy case. When consulting with counsel experienced in this unique practice area, oftentimes the attorney’s initial remarks are, “I wish you had come to me earlier. Whether your customer or vendor, or your own business, is experiencing financial challenges, early recognition of the signs and seeking counsel’s guidance and assistance can afford a greater array of options to mitigate the most adverse of consequences. Financial restructuring may take on many forms, the selection of which is driven by business objectives including de-leveraging the business, selling excess assets or underperforming divisions, all towards bringing the business in line with market and industry conditions.
AFRCT’s Bankruptcy and Reorganization practice, led by veteran bankruptcy attorney Dean Rallis, is recognized for its experience with complex issues that arise in reorganizations, restructurings, workouts, liquidations, and distressed acquisitions and sales. We offer counsel to the many players involved in insolvency matters, including:
Official Creditors’ committees;
Secured and unsecured creditors;
Real property lessors;
Purchasers of assets or equity of distressed companies;
Trustees appointed in bankruptcy cases;
Officers and directors.
There is no one common silver-bullet solution for a company facing a distressed-business situation. Financially troubled companies, lenders, contract parties and others need creative and efficient solutions to immediate and oftentimes complex problems. Our Practice Group is a lean, resourceful team trustworthy to address these issues.
Business Reorganizations & Workouts
Our bankruptcy attorneys are experienced in representing all of the major constituencies in bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court workouts, including debtors, committees, trustees, asset purchasers, and third-party plan proponents. Our clients include large institutions, as well as small businesses and individuals. Our effectiveness is enhanced by this breadth of experience and our capability in virtually all aspects of chapter 11 cases and chapter 9 municipal bankruptcies.
Debtors and debtors in possession are the focal point of any out-of-court workout, chapter 11 case, or chapter 7 case. Members of the firm have represented a wide range of debtors in various industries.
Unsecured Creditors' Committees
Attorneys in AFRCT’s Reorganization and Bankruptcy Practice have represented committees in chapter 11 cases of companies in various industries including retail, food and beverage, manufacturing, energy, construction, healthcare, real estate, transportation, technology, and professional services, among others. With the firm’s committee practice, our lawyers are knowledgeable in many industry-specific issues that may arise in a given bankruptcy case. The result has often enhanced unsecured creditor recoveries.
Municipal Bankruptcies - Chapter 9
Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code is a chapter unique to financially-distressed municipalities. Common to other bankruptcy cases (e.g., chapter 11), a chapter 9 case affords the municipality with protection from its creditors while it negotiates and develops a plan to adjust its debts. One of the significant differences in a chapter 9 case is the inability to liquidate the assets of the municipality to fund creditor recovery. Reorganization of a municipality generally includes extending debt maturities and creditor payments, reducing principal or interest balances, or refinancing. The firm's chapter 9 experience provides resources in municipal bankruptcies that are lacking with many other firms.
Asset Purchasers and Private Investors
Asset purchasers and outside investors often provide the capital required to fund a company’s plan of reorganization. We have represented such parties in many industries.
Our lawyers in the Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice, and in appropriate matters our Litigation Practice, assist clients with workouts, restructurings, bankruptcy filings, receivership appointments, foreclosures, and navigating the process of liquidating collateral.
Bankruptcy- and insolvency-related litigation can take many forms. We understand the stakeholders’ position in these difficult situations and tailor our legal representation to our client’s unique needs. Our team’s extensive experience in bankruptcy, federal, and state courts allows us to better address a wide range of complex bankruptcy-related litigation issues.
Members of AFRCT’s Litigation Practice defend or prosecute the rights of creditors, debtors, committees, and trustees in all litigation forums. With our extensive experience in such bankruptcy matters, we ably navigate the many types of proceedings and issues that are generated in bankruptcy cases. Whether in trial, arbitration or mediation, our litigators work hand in hand with our restructuring attorneys to achieve the most favorable, efficient outcome for our clients. From first-day hearings, valuation trials, and contested evidentiary hearings to confirmation, post-confirmation, avoidance, claims, and preference litigation, we assist our clients in all contested matters and adversary proceedings, including fraudulent conveyances, preferences, relief-from-stay motions, nondischargeability actions, and trustee motions.
A few of the areas of our bankruptcy litigation practice include:
Many chapter 11 cases involve or are resolved through asset sales. However, sales in bankruptcy cases are often are not as straightforward as one would expect. With many players involved in a case, often with competing interests, the sale process (from bidding procedures to marketing to auction to sale) is entangled with their respective positions. The player we represent in a case will benefit from our experience and knowledge of various sale strategies and the best means of a successful result in litigation.
Avoidance Actions and Claims Litigation
AFRCT has extensive experience in claims and avoidance litigation for debtors, committees, trustees, and defendants. With 15 to 30 years of bankruptcy litigation experience, our bankruptcy litigators analyze each action, develop a comprehensive strategy, and recommend a case-by-case unique approach to prosecution and possible settlement. We prosecute the case with efficiency and with effectiveness through discovery and trial when litigation is the only option. As a result, we have a higher percentage than most firms of achieving our client’s objectives.
Bankruptcy appeals are, procedurally, a more complex area of the law. Throughout the life of a bankruptcy case, the court issues many orders, some that are subject to immediate appeal. The right to appeal may be lost if not timely filed and prosecuted. In certain instances, a timely filed appeal may be dismissed as moot, if efforts are not successfully made to protect the appeal. And then there may be the selection of the appellate forum. The firm has extensive and successful experience with appeals to the bankruptcy appellate panels, federal district courts, and federal circuit courts of appeal.
Bankruptcy Financing Disputes
Litigation over financing in chapter 11 cases is often one of the early and key issues in a bankruptcy case. The terms of such financing can frequently dictate the course of the case. The firm has the knowledge-base and experience to litigate effectively when financing terms threaten the interests of its clients.
When restructuring a company’s balance sheet or overseeing a distressed transaction, counsel must manage a wide variety of challenging transactional issues. Clients rely on AFRCT to skillfully navigate complex restructuring and distressed situations to assist stakeholders in maximizing value, whether our client is the debtor, creditor, or a contract counterparty.
Attorneys in AFRCT’s Corporate and Real Estate Practice Groups have expertise across a broad spectrum of areas, including sales of companies or their assets, financing, real-estate purchase and sales, development and commercial leasing, and workouts. In addition to handling transactions outside of bankruptcy, our transactional and bankruptcy attorneys are uniquely qualified to handle the problems and issues associated with representing clients in transactions taking place in the context of out-of-court workouts and bankruptcy cases.