February 02, 2017
Weil was recently profiled by Law360 as a winner of its 2016 Bankruptcy “Practice Group of the Year” award. The profile highlights the vast array of the Firm’s bankruptcy representations in 2016, from its role in solar power producer SunEdison’s $16.1 billion chapter 11, to the expeditious restructuring of grocer Fairway, to the first-of-kind restructuring of clothing retailer Aéropostale. Most notably among these accomplishments, however, is that Weil is the only law firm to have received the Practice Group of the Year honor every year since the inception of the award seven years ago.
The Business Finance & Restructuring group focused its work in 2016 on the struggling energy sector, which suffered from depressed commodity prices. Foremost among these representations was the group’s role as chief counsel for the official committee of unsecured creditors in the chapter 11 case of SunEdison Inc., which had listed assets of $20.7 billion and liabilities of $16.1 billion in its filing – the year’s largest at the time. As chief debtor’s counsel, the group guided several companies through multi-billion dollar restructurings. Among these were oil and natural gas companies Halcón Resources Corp. and Breitburn Energy Partners, drilling outfits Vantage Drilling and Paragon Offshore PLC, and industry service providers CHC Group and Basic Energy.
Of Weil’s preeminence as a perennial leader within the bankruptcy arena, Business Finance & Restructuring Co-Chair Ray Schrock said that “What our clients care about more than anything is results.” Achieving top results requires that “[y]ou continue to build on your reputation, you continue to hustle in the marketplace, and you continue to remain engaged,” said Mr. Schrock.
Fellow department Co-Chair Gary Holtzer echoed the importance of such a reputation in discussing the group’s experience on both the debtor and creditor sides. In order to be a firm that parties on both sides “think of first,” you have to maintain a high standard for the quality of your work. And in order to achieve that, Mr. Holtzer said “your clients, particularly on the fund side, have to agree that you may be adverse to them in other matters.”
The group’s ability also to innovate in the face of unprecedented challenges was demonstrated in several notable cases involving retailers in 2016, another hard-hit sector. In Aéropostale’s chapter 11 case, for example, Weil avoided outright liquidation by pursuing a deal to sell nearly all of the retailer’s 800 stores through the formation of a joint venture involving the mall landlord for many of the company’s locations. The results are expected to save 229 stores and more than 10,000 jobs. Such an ability to innovate is what Mr. Holtzer said clients have mentioned distinguishes the Firm in its pitches – what he calls “case vision.” It is an ability to take extremely complex matters and quickly distill them down to terms clients understand and that can quickly be executed. It is part of “the magic of how we practice.”View full Law360 profile.