Hunton & Williams LLP regularly handles major bankruptcy and creditors’ rights representations for a wide range of national institutional and other clients in federal and state courts across the United States, including the traditional bankruptcy forums of the Southern District of New York and the District of Delaware.
The bankruptcy practice group is comprised of lawyers resident in New York, Virginia, Texas and California who practice exclusively in the area of bankruptcy, financial restructuring and creditors’ rights. Two of our lawyers are admitted to practice in the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, and all of our lawyers regularly appear in jurisdictions outside of their office locations. Chambers USA ranks Hunton & Williams in their top tier of bankruptcy and restructuring practices in Virginia. The guide notes that clients “consider them as much a business partner as I do a legal partner” and “[look] for solutions that not only serve their client well, but work well across all constituencies to provide an effective, efficient solution.”
Chapter 11 Bankruptcies
Chapter 11 bankruptcy work is the mainstay of Hunton & Williams’ bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights practice. The team has represented debtors, creditors, committees and trustees in Chapter 11 cases. These include private and public debtors in the software, retail, telecommunications, manufacturing, commercial real estate and textile industries, creditors’ committees and their chairpersons, equity security holder committees, DIP lenders, bank groups, franchisors, secured and unsecured creditors, indenture trustees, Chapter 11 trustees, as well as parties seeking to use bankruptcy as a mergers and acquisition vehicle. Hunton & Williams bankruptcy attorneys also have developed a unique niche of representing securitization trustees and certificate insurers and other credit support providers in Chapter 11 bankruptcies of seller/servicers in asset securitization transactions.
Capitalizing on its close integration with the firm’s expansive and highly regarded corporate and finance, asset securitization and real estate teams, Hunton & Williams’ bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights team has handled out-of-court workouts and financial restructurings of all types, including prepackaged Chapter 11 bankruptcy plans. Hunton & Williams attorneys have played lead roles in the restructuring of large revolving asset-based loans, real estate term loans, and defaulted bond issuances, and, more recently, in workouts of more complex asset securitization and leveraged lease transactions.
Transactional Structuring Advice and Opinions
Hunton & Williams’ bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights team has extensive experience in structuring asset acquisitions, asset securitizations, leveraged leases and other complex transactions to minimize bankruptcy-related risk. In doing so, team attorneys have worked closely with all nationally recognized statistical credit rating agencies and issued legal opinions on such issues as substantive consolidation, “true sale” and “true lease” characterizations, repo and securities contract safe harbors, fraudulent conveyance liability, FIRREA matters, and validity and perfection of security interests. The team stays well-versed in the constantly evolving area of structuring transactions to obtain “off balance sheet” treatment for accounting purposes under SFAS166 and 167. Team members also have substantial experience in the use and structuring of derivative instruments, including repos and credit swaps, to avoid certain traditional bankruptcy and insolvency risks.
All of the lawyers comprising Hunton & Williams’ bankruptcy, restructuring and creditors’ rights team are litigators, and as such, have substantial trial experience in nearly all types of creditors’ rights, Uniform Commercial Code, construction and other commercial litigation, including landlord-tenant matters, bank deposits and collections, bulk sales, enforcement of letters of credit, swaps, repos and other financial instruments, seizures of collateral, attachments, injunctions, mechanic's liens, garnishments, levies and Miller Act claims. In addition to the steady flow of commercial loan and securities enforcement work, the team regularly defends major institutions in loan-related litigation, including mortgage and consumer finance class actions and all manner of lender liability cases. The team also has substantial experience in the collection of large judgments, particularly when it has required the institution of piercing the corporate veil, fraudulent conveyance, receivership and similar litigation.
Advice to Lenders
The firm regularly advises commercial, mortgage and consumer lenders on problem loans, portfolio sales and regulatory compliance issues both, inside and outside of bankruptcy. The team boasts experience in the law of truth-in-lending, fair lending, fair housing, credit reporting, collection practices and other state and federal statutes and regulations affecting lenders.