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Calfee’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers have worked on some of the most challenging restructuring matters across the country. Calfee’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers work collaboratively with clients to structure creative and successful solutions to complex and difficult restructuring engagements that meet the clients’ objectives. Our lawyers have well-rounded practices and routinely represent all the major constituencies in bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court workouts, including debtors, creditors’ committees, unsecured creditors, trustees, debtholders, asset and debt purchasers and financial institutions.

Calfee understands that these business restructuring and insolvency engagements require an understanding of both the underlying business issues that led to the distress and the limited resources, including time and money, available for a solution. We provide effective and efficient representation, based on decades of business restructuring and insolvency experience, working with clients of all sizes. Because restructuring matters transcend many legal disciplines, Calfee’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers work seamlessly with lawyers in other practice areas, including Corporate and Capital Markets, Commercial and Public Finance, Commercial Litigation, Government Relations and Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, to coordinate efforts and tailor comprehensive solutions for our clients.

Moreover, Calfee’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency practice, which includes a former general counsel to two national retailers, has extensive business and legal experience in the distressed retail space, having represented retailers, lenders, creditors’ committees, mall owners/landlords and foreign and domestic vendors.

James M. (Jim) Lawniczak, with 40 years of experience serving Calfee clients in the area of Business Restructuring and Insolvency and recognized by Chambers USA as a "Leading Lawyer" in Bankruptcy/Restructuring, is a contributing author to the 16th Edition of Collier on Bankruptcy – the leading national treatise on bankruptcy law.

Jim also has written the authoritative, comprehensive treatise, Collier Lending Institutions and the Bankruptcy Code (2d. ed.), published by LexisNexis. In addition to covering all aspects of bankruptcy from the perspective of a lending institution, it has, in Chapter 3, a complete discussion of all aspects of workouts with financially troubled entities. The Collier series has long been recognized as the leading legal authority in the U.S. on bankruptcy and related topics impacting entities in the U.S. and globally.


Chambers USA

Calfee attorney James M. Lawniczak has been ranked in Chambers USA as a "Leading Lawyer" in Bankruptcy/Restructuring in Ohio (2016-2020). "Clients of James Lawniczak benefit from over four decades of experience in high-stakes corporate bankruptcies, including notable strength in restructuring plans, workouts, refinancings and transactional work. He is held in particular high esteem for his experience in the retail and industrial sectors." – Chambers USA 2020

U.S. News – Best Lawyers® “Best Law Firms” Rankings

Calfee was selected for inclusion in the 2020 "Best Law Firms" rankings by U.S. News – Best Lawyers in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (National Tier 3, Metropolitan Tier 1 Cleveland) and in Bankruptcy Litigation (Metropolitan Tier 3 Cleveland).

IFLR1000 (United States), Guide to the World's Leading Financial and Corporate Law Firms and Lawyers

Calfee was selected for inclusion in IFLR1000 – Guide to the World's Leading Financial and Corporate Law Firms 2020 in the area of Restructuring and Insolvency (Tier 2 – Ohio).




Calfee Business Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers have led or had substantial roles in the following illustrative matters:

Debtor and Distressed Company Representations
  • Lead counsel, counsel and corporate special counsel in Chapter 11 reorganizations and cases for numerous clients.
  • Lead outside counsel and legal strategist for a client in successfully obtaining the release of $500 million frozen by a Dubai-based bank.
  • Lead counsel for a client in a distressed sale through the establishment of a trust mortgage to a community group saving the production factory and jobs.
  • Company counsel for a client in a liquidating receivership.
  • Lead counsel in the orderly winddown and liquidation of multi-location motorcycle dealerships.
  • Lead counsel to and co-chairman of the board of directors of a publicly held provider of pre-board aviation screening services with 14,000 employees in Europe, North America and Pacific Rim nations.
  • Lead counsel to a client in what is generally considered one of the most successful out-of-court restructurings of a public company. The client had an enterprise value initially estimated at $175 million facing resolution of $206 million of defaulted senior debt, $103 million in defaulted publicly held notes and approximately $55 million in defaulted trade debt. The outcome of the restructuring was that no bankruptcy case for the company was commenced, all creditors were paid in full, with accrued interest, and the public equity holders received approximately $140 million.
Creditors’ Committee Counsel
  • Lead counsel and counsel to numerous official creditors’ committees and creditors in Chapter 11 cases.
  • Lead counsel for the official creditors' committee in the reorganization of a client, superintending the transformation of the $1 billion distressed NASDAQ small-cap real estate and controlled management C corporation into an NYSE-listed apartment REIT and, subsequently, its merger into another company, achieving a 30 percent-plus compounded annual rate of return for creditors taking exchange securities for their debt.
  • Lead counsel to the official creditors’ committee to the largest for-profit, post-secondary education company to file a chapter 11 case with operations in the United States and Canada, which before the cessation of operations had operated on more than 100 campuses, a student enrollment of 74,000 and revenues of $1.2 billion.
DIP Lender Representations
  • Lead counsel to a client, which entailed the initiation or participation in insolvency proceedings in the United States, United Kingdom, Poland, Germany, Italy and France and implicating substantial assets in China and India.
  • Lead counsel to a client as plan sponsor, construction and DIP lender in the successful reorganization of a major residential home builder and developer in the Mid-Atlantic area.
  • Ohio Counsel to a client, DIP lender and purchaser of assets, in a Chapter 11 case.
  • Lead Counsel to the largest customer and provider of critical customer DIP financing, in a Chapter 11 case.
Buyers or Investors of Distressed Businesses or Assets
  • Lead counsel to a client, the largest customer of a pipeline company, which purchased the pipeline assets in state receivership action.
  • Lead counsel to a purchaser of the assets of a machinery and tool company in an Indiana state receivership action.
Other Restructuring Representations of Note
  • Lead counsel to Hong Kong-based vendor of a retail company in the Chapter 11 cases of that company and affiliated debtors, asserting claims of administrative expense priority and appealing bankruptcy court decision prejudicial to foreign vendors.
  • Lead counsel to a client as Examiner of a $450 million fraud case.
  • Lead counsel to, and a director of, a client, which, together with its affiliates, acquired approximately $13 billion in distressed assets.
  • Lead counsel to various hedge funds and private equity firms in the restructuring of their distressed portfolio companies.
  • Lead counsel to a leading monoline insurance holding company in a Chapter 11 case.
  • Lead outside bankruptcy counsel to one of the largest publicly held shopping center REITs in various of its major tenant Chapter 11 cases.
  • Lead counsel of private equity and venture capital clients as majority shareholders in the successful prepackaged Chapter 11 reorganization case (resolving in excess of $1 billion of indebtedness).
  • Lead counsel for a cocoa supplier, successfully preventing the assignment of forward contracts in the Chapter 11 case.



  • Board Advisory (Fiduciary Duties)
  • Chapter 11 Debtor and Distressed Company Representations, including Out-of-Court Workouts
  • Official and Ad Hoc Committee Representations
  • Vendor and Other Trade Creditor Claim Protection and Maximization
  • Secured Creditor Representations, including Debtor in Possession Financing and Out-of-Court Workouts
  • Fiduciary Investigation and Litigation
  • Distressed Asset Sales and Acquisitions
  • State and Federal Receiverships
  • Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation
  • Creditor Trusts

Vendor and Other Trade Creditor Claim Protection and Maximization Services

Many vendors have had the unfortunate experience of a customer filing for bankruptcy. Calfee’s Business Restructuring and Insolvency lawyers help vendors take the necessary steps to protect themselves and maximize their opportunity to collect any debts owed by the customer. We advocate for our vendor clients and regularly counsel vendors in:

  • Avoiding Violation of the Automatic Stay
  • Exercising Rights to Stop Delivery of Goods
  • Considering and Asserting Reclamation Rights
  • Seeking Critical Vendor Treatment
  • Asserting Section 503(b)(9) Administrative Claims for Goods Delivered 20 Days Before the Bankruptcy Filing
  • Exercising and Protecting Setoff and Recoupment Rights
  • Preparing and Filing a Proof of Claim
  • Preparing Motions for Payment and Allowance of Administrative Expense Priority Claims
  • Perfecting of Mechanics’ Liens
  • Considering Service on Creditors’ Committee
  • Protecting Rights Under Executory Contracts
  • Preparing for and Defending Against Preference or other Avoidance Actions

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"Esteemed for its experience in advising major financial institutions and corporate borrowers across a host of banking and finance-related issues, with particular expertise in the manufacturing and industrials sectors. Areas of significant strength include financing corporate transactions, capital markets work, bankruptcy and workout matters and counseling on regulatory compliance."
Chambers USA 2020

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