We defend businesses and individuals in criminal investigations, regulatory enforcement actions, and prosecutions.
We motivate our adversaries to consider practical solutions.
We represent trustees, debtors, creditors, creditor committees, and other stakeholders pursuing and defending every type of claim that can arise during a bankruptcy case or adversary proceeding. Our highly experienced team includes a former United States Trustee for five federal judicial districts and several former bankruptcy clerks.
Asset Recovery Investigations
In many bankruptcy cases, the tracing and recovery of transferred, hidden, or missing assets may be the only realistic source of recovery for creditors. We are experienced in investigating and locating assets domestically and abroad and determining the most effective and efficient ways to recoup our clients’ losses. As the needs of the case dictate, we have the ability to tap into our established network of private investigators (including former law enforcement officers) and forensic accountants to support our asset recovery investigations.
Bankruptcy trustees, debtors-in-possession, and in some instances creditors and creditor committees have the power to avoid and recover assets transferred to third parties or insiders that may be avoidable under state or federal law. This highly technical area of law requires attorneys with an in-depth understanding of the many nuances of avoidance litigation and defenses to such actions, and experience pursuing such actions in state and federal court, including bankruptcy court.
We have litigated multiple avoidance actions, including actually and constructively fraudulent transfers, preferential transfers, and unauthorized post-petition transfers. Our extensive experience representing trustees, and debtors-in-possession, creditors, and creditor committees is invaluable to clients who are forced to defend against avoidance actions. We prioritize quickly gaining a comprehensive understanding of the merits of each case to formulate the optimal strategy for resolving the action in the most efficient and favorable outcome possible.
We represent buyers, sellers, and parties affected by the sale of assets in bankruptcy cases. We regularly advise sellers and potential purchasers on all aspects of asset acquisitions, effectively negotiate to secure advantageous terms for our clients, and guide our clients through the complicated rule and statutory requirements governing bankruptcy sales, including marketing requirements, due diligence, the auction process, and potential appellate issues. We also frequently represent other stakeholders who may be impacted by the sale of assets through the bankruptcy sale process, including creditors holding claims or interests against the estate. We have the experience and know-how to ensure that our clients’ interests are maximized in connection with the purchase, sale, or other disposition of assets from the bankruptcy estate.
We have successfully prosecuted and defended bankruptcy appeals at all levels of review, including the District Court, Bankruptcy Appellate Panel, and at the Circuit level. When defending appeals, we regularly obtain affirmance on the merits as well as dismissal before the merits are reached. We have also obtained reversal of bankruptcy court rulings where the facts or law did not support the decision below. We lean on our team’s unparalleled combination of legal writing and oral advocacy to achieve the best outcome possible for our clients on appeal.
Clients involved in bankruptcy cases often face two key questions when there is one “pie” from which creditors will be paid: How is the pie going to be cut, and how big is my piece of the pie going to be? The answer to those questions depends on the available assets and the number and value of claims to those assets. Often claims are asserted in bankruptcy cases that are not entitled to be paid from the estate, meaning there is more money available for the estate and legitimate creditors. Whether representing trustees, debtors, or creditors, we critically evaluate claims to ensure that value for legitimate stakeholders is maximized. We have successfully objected to hundreds of millions of dollars of claims, resulting in a material increase in distributions to legitimate creditors.
We represent official and ad hoc creditors’ committees, advocating a pragmatic and proactive approach to maximizing asset recovery and protecting the interests of constituent creditors. We foster a collegial and cohesive relationship with our committee members to ensure the interests of the represented creditors are maximized.
As committee counsel, we vigilantly and aggressively monitor and respond to actions taken by the debtor and other parties in a bankruptcy case, formulate creative solutions, investigate assets and liabilities, negotiate with the debtor and other stakeholders, evaluate, and advise with respect to post-petition financing, asset sales, and proposed chapter 11 plans of reorganization or liquidation. We first seek to negotiate, but if necessary will litigate, to help our committee navigate through the often-times extremely fast-paced, complicated and confusing bankruptcy court process.
We represent unsecured and secured creditors in complex bankruptcy proceedings, from first day motions through plan confirmation. Our attorneys, which include the former United States Trustee for five judicial districts and former law clerks for bankruptcy judges, have a comprehensive understanding of bankruptcy law and years of courtroom experience. We provide a rational, business-oriented, practical approach to our creditor representations.
We represent our creditor clients in connection with questioning debtors at 341(a) meetings of creditors, filing proofs of claim, seeking administrative reimbursement, obtaining relief from the automatic stay, seeking conversion or dismissal of the bankruptcy case, Bankruptcy Rule 2004 examinations, and supporting or objecting to bankruptcy sales and plan confirmation. We also protect our creditor clients’ claims through the successful prosecution of non-dischargeability and discharge revocation actions.
We represent individual and corporate debtors with significant assets and liabilities that are debtors in bankruptcy cases nationwide. We regularly litigate and advise debtors with respect to selling assets through bankruptcy, cash collateral issues, post-petition financing, plan confirmation, executory contracts, claims objections, and non-dischargeability and avoidance action exposure. We work with clients to assess risk and reorganization options and develop practical solutions for financial rehabilitation and a “fresh start.”
Our clients rely on our thorough understanding of bankruptcy law and familiarity with all aspects of bankruptcy, workouts, and other out-of-court restructurings to help them understand possible options and alternative strategies, evaluate the ramifications of pending litigation and collection pressures, and formulate an effective plan of action.
We represent debtors defending against, and creditors pursuing, actions to have debts deemed non-dischargeable or discharge revoked. On the creditor side, we have obtained several multi-million dollar non-dischargeability judgments for our clients, and have assisted our clients post-judgment in recovering millions of dollars on their claims. On the debtor side, we have successfully resolved non-dischargeability and discharge revocation actions for our clients, whether through settlement, judgment, or dismissal at the pleadings stage.
Expert Witness Engagement
Given the complexity of bankruptcy law, parties often need qualified professionals to present their opinions on bankruptcy-related issues in complex, commercial litigation.
As a recognized expert in bankruptcy, Steven J. Katzman has been designated as an expert witness in several cases, including by the California State Bar and a federal government agency. Mr. Katzman worked for the federal government – as a federal prosecutor and as the former United States Trustee for the Districts of Hawaii, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Southern and Central Districts of California – for 15 years, and he has spent 15 years in private practice specializing in complex, commercial bankruptcy litigation. His unique background enables him to testify about a myriad of issues that arise during a bankruptcy case.
Tony Bisconti has also been engaged to provide bankruptcy consulting and advice to non-bankruptcy practitioners representing their clients in a variety of contexts. His depth of bankruptcy knowledge and practical experience with practitioners and the bench allows him to provide guidance and strategy to avoid pitfalls that confront attorneys and litigants who are unfamiliar with bankruptcy law and procedure.
The potential high cost, complexity, risks, and unpredictability of a bankruptcy case sometimes makes out-of-court solutions a preferable pathway for our clients. Our knowledge and experience allows us to advise our clients on non-bankruptcy options and to successfully represent clients in non-bankruptcy alternatives, such as consensual workout negotiations and assignments for the benefit of creditors. We work collaboratively with our clients to prioritize their goals, assess the strengths and weaknesses of the parties’ relative legal and financial positions, develop creative and practical solutions, and implement our strategy to achieve our clients’ desired outcome.
In chapter 11 cases, plan confirmation is the culmination and often most important part of the case. A confirmed plan binds all creditors and interested parties and can dramatically alter parties’ rights in ways that would otherwise be impossible outside of the bankruptcy context. We represent debtors, creditors, equity holders, and other parties in interest in all aspects of this process. This includes from the disclosure statement stage through contested plan confirmation hearings. We strive to ensure our clients’ rights are protected and advanced to the maximum extent possible, whether through negotiated positions or litigation.
Our clients often come to us believing they have no option but to file for bankruptcy protection. While bankruptcy may sometimes be the recommended course of action, before that decision is made we investigate and analyze all aspects of our clients’ financial situation to ensure they are fully informed of all potential benefits and risks of filing a bankruptcy petition. Armed with that information, we then advise our clients on potential alternatives to bankruptcy and the attendant benefits and risks with those alternative options. Given our unique depth of knowledge and experience not only in bankruptcy but with respect to complex civil litigation and white collar criminal matters, we offer our clients unique perspective and insight into the potential risks of bankruptcy that some of our peers who focus only in bankruptcy law are not well-equipped to assess.
We have substantial experience representing chapter 7 trustees, chapter 11 trustees, and post-confirmation trustees (sometimes referred to as litigation trustees or liquidation trustees) in a wide range of complex proceedings. We serve as general bankruptcy and special litigation counsel to trustees, representing bankruptcy estates in general administration, asset sales, avoidance actions, asset recovery, turnover proceedings, discharge denials and revocation, claim objections, complex non-bankruptcy civil litigation. We also often serve as special criminal counsel for trustees in cases where debtors or their principles are under criminal investigation or indictment.
Additional Practice Areas
White Collar Criminal and Regulatory Defense
Complex Civil Litigation
We resolve high-stakes disputes of all varieties, in all venues, and in all stages of litigation.
We defend businesses and individuals in whistleblower investigations. We also advocate for whistleblowers.
We conduct expedient, discreet, and comprehensive internal investigations to help companies address potential problems.
Reassuring, articulate, knowledgeable, and effective. They made the process so much easier and gave me peace of mind in a stressful but successful outcome.