With one of Delaware’s largest and most active bankruptcy practices, Richards Layton has amassed enormous experience handling major chapter 11 cases before the Delaware Bankruptcy Court. Our bankruptcy team’s thorough knowledge of Delaware’s laws and local procedures is invaluable to both clients and co-counsel. We were third in the U.S. in number of bankruptcy cases in The Deal’s 2015 league tables, with nearly 500 active cases. Recognized as leading bankruptcy counsel in virtually every major legal directory, we consistently receive top ranking in Chambers USA.
Respected bankruptcy firms throughout the country rely on our expertise, regularly tapping us to serve as their co-counsel in many of the largest and most complex bankruptcy cases filed in Delaware. We represent debtors, lenders, acquirers, investors, and creditors from nearly every business sector, and our bankruptcy litigators prosecute and defend chapter 11 claims, preference actions, fraudulent conveyance claims, challenges to acquisitions, and all other litigation arising in bankruptcy.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Experience
Delaware Bankruptcy Leader
Because of Delaware’s prominence as a place of incorporation and the outstanding reputation of its experienced judiciary, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware serves as a leading venue for the filing of large chapter 11 cases. Richards, Layton & Finger has one of the largest and most active bankruptcy practices in Delaware and has been involved in many of the largest chapter 11 cases filed in the state.
Richards Layton has over 30 lawyers and paralegals with vast experience in representing debtors, institutional lenders, creditors, committees, acquirers, investors and other key parties in all aspects of a chapter 11 case. As a client noted in Chambers USA, the attorneys in our Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Department are “the cream of the crop—there are too many good people there to mention. The team is broad, deep and able to handle megacases from start to finish.” Additionally, whenever necessary, we can draw on the skills of our colleagues in Richards Layton’s corporate, litigation, real estate, environmental, tax and employment groups to assist with issues as they arise in connection with a chapter 11 case.
Richards Layton has the depth and experience to serve as lead counsel to a company in all aspects of a chapter 11 case. In addition to this ability, our Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Department takes pride in being referred to as the lawyers’ lawyers. We have developed valued relationships with some of the most respected bankruptcy firms around the country. These relationships allow us to serve as co-counsel in many of the largest and most complex bankruptcy cases filed in Delaware. Our attorneys have a wealth of experience in handling matters before the Delaware Bankruptcy Court, and therefore are able to provide valuable input and guidance to clients and co-counsel when navigating though the chapter 11 process.
From consulting with financially troubled companies prior to bankruptcy to successfully steering a client through the bankruptcy process, Richards Layton offers comprehensive counsel to clients regarding their available restructuring alternatives. We assist clients in assessing the full range of restructuring options available to them, taking into account each company’s unique financial and market circumstances. These options may include pursuing an out-of-court restructuring, a restructuring of the debtor’s business through a chapter 11 plan of reorganization, or a going-concern sale pursuant to section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code. Our attorneys have extensive experience in implementing each of these restructuring alternatives, including reorganizations accomplished through the implementation of a prearranged or prepackaged chapter 11 plan.
Richards Layton's clients come from virtually every business sector, including the manufacturing, energy and natural resources, entertainment, telecommunications, health care, finance, subprime lending, retail, building materials and consumer product sectors. Specific representations include:
Institutional Lender, Creditor Representation and Purchasing Assets
Richards Layton also has extensive experience in representing all types of parties in major chapter 11 cases, including secured creditors, creditors’ committees and prospective purchasers. We have recognized expertise advising secured parties and institutional lenders who provide debtor-in-possession financing to, or the use of cash collateral by, chapter 11 debtors. Our attorneys have negotiated and prepared the necessary documentation for debtor-in-possession financing transactions for numerous creditor clients, including commercial banks, insurance companies and investment funds.
Additionally, we regularly represent potential buyers interested in acquiring assets from a debtor through a chapter 11 or chapter 7 sale process. These types of representations include providing guidance in evaluating and acquiring assets from bankruptcy estates and distressed businesses, either through straightforward sales transactions or through a chapter 11 plan.
Richards Layton has also represented various other types of creditors in connection with chapter 7 and chapter 11 cases. These representations have included serving as counsel for significant creditors in their individual capacities, as well as representing statutorily appointed or ad hoc committees of unsecured creditors and bondholders.
Leader in Delaware Bankruptcy Litigation
One of the strengths of Richards Layton’s bankruptcy department is its team of bankruptcy litigators who stand ready to work on contested and litigated matters in chapter 11 cases. Indeed, our role as bankruptcy counsel in some of the most sophisticated chapter 11 cases in Delaware often serves as a platform for Richards Layton’s bankruptcy litigators to take a leading or prominent role in the most contentious and fiercely fought aspects of these cases. We also represent defendants sued in adversary proceedings, and have extensive experience in handling avoidance actions such as preferences and fraudulent conveyance actions.
Types of Issues Litigated
Richards Layton bankruptcy litigators handle traditional adversary proceedings as well as contested matters. Typical issues include:
Our clients and co-counsel appreciate that our bankruptcy litigators jump into expedited litigation with little lead time and quickly get up to speed. We are able to do this because of our experience and the fact that we are true bankruptcy litigators—since our team litigates primarily in the Bankruptcy Court, we have the substantive expertise of bankruptcy lawyers with the litigation skills of commercial litigators.