Top 100 Restructuring Professionals

“Distinction in Dealmaking”

Exclusive published by Global M&A Network, the 9th annual list features highly respected, successful and innovative group of 25 consultants, 25 investment bankers and 50 lawyers from the restructuring and turnaround communities this year.

Highly competitive process begins with evaluating firms and best performing or “Turnaround Atlas Awards” winning transactions closed during the 2021. Selection is then narrowed to a single professional from the firm based on their experience, differentiated expertise, and transactions completed among additional attributes. Only one professional is selected from the practice group at the firm per year.

Join us in congratulating top performing professionals and the firm’s they represent!

Cullen Drescher Speckhart

Cullen is a top advocate in corporate restructuring and financial litigation, with a diverse practice spanning a range of industries, including healthcare, life sciences, technology, energy and retail. She regularly represents debtors, creditors’ committees, trustees and foreign representatives in significant bankruptcy matters throughout the US. She is recognized for her proactive, forward-focused approach to solvency strategy and for providing tactical guidance to Cooley business clients – including public, private and high-growth companies – in all aspects of contingency planning, risk mitigation and business portfolio improvement. Cullen also acts as lead restructuring counsel to companies seeking to reorganize in and out of court and provides business risk management and strategic advice to entities across a myriad of industries. Cullen’s company-side practice involves representation of public and private debtors in Chapter 11 cases, and she often confronts complex emerging legal issues and matters of public importance. She was awarded the “Restructuring Lawyer of the Year” honors at the Turnaround Atlas Awards.

What Cullen most values about her career... I value the opportunity to use restructuring tools in assisting companies to become as strong as possible in confronting the competitive marketplace. The breadth and scope of Cooley’s platform gives me the chance to empower companies that are shaping the future of industry.

Robert J. Stark

Robert focuses his practice on complex corporate restructuring, including in-court Chapter 11 cases and out-of-court workouts. He has extensive experience representing debtors/borrowers, secured and unsecured creditors, official creditor/equity committees, and other significant parties-in-interest in large corporate insolvency matters. Mr. Stark received his J.D. from the Vanderbilt University Law School and B.A from Lafayette College.

Joshua A. Sussberg, P.C

Josh is a member of the Kirkland & Ellis’ Executive Committee. He is consistently recognized as one of the country’s leading restructuring lawyers and was ranked Band 1 both in New York and Nationwide by Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business 2022. The 2022 edition of Chambers USA noted that Josh “is excellent in his business acumen, client focus and responsiveness, and has the ability to maintain calm in the midst of chaos and under great pressure." The 2021 edition of Chambers USA described Josh as “an exceptional lawyer,” “very experienced and decisive.” Josh was recognized by The Deal as the 2021 Debtor Counsel of the Year (Large Cap), a Law360 2021 MVP, and a “Market Leader” in the 2021 IFLR1000. Josh was also recently recognized as a “leading lawyer” in the 2021 edition of The Legal 500 U.S.

What Josh most values about his career... I love what I do and who I get to do it with. Kirkland & Ellis’ culture and our collaboration is inspiring and energizing. Being able to advise boards and management teams on complex capital structures and operational issues to ensure businesses survive and jobs are saved is an honor.

Eric M. Sutty

Eric is a skilled business attorney with experience representing companies from formation through dissolution and every step in between. He advises companies in financial restructuring, mergers and acquisitions, commercial transactions, regulatory compliance, corporate bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and commercial litigation. He regularly represents committees, debtors, debtors-in-possession, secured lenders, unsecured creditors, and trustees in Chapter 11 proceedings. He also represents trustees in Chapter 7 proceedings and post-confirmation estates. He is also an experienced commercial litigator at the state and federal levels in both trial and appellate courts. Eric received his J.D. from University of Baltimore School of Law, M.B.A from University of Baltimore Merrick School of Business and B.A from College of William and Mary.

Michael A. Sweet

Michael takes a creative approach to dispute resolution with the goal of maximizing recovery for clients inside and outside the courtroom. Ranked among California’s leading bankruptcy attorneys by Chambers & Partners, he represents debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees and trustees in bankruptcy disputes throughout the United States. He has extensive experience litigating preferences, fraudulent conveyances, claims objections and plan confirmation, and frequently advises clients in financial distress on bankruptcy avoidance. He also represents public entities, including local and state governments and agencies, in disputes in bankruptcy court as well other courts throughout California. Michael is a registered mediator with the Alternative Dispute Resolution Program of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of California and serves on the board of directors of the Bay Area and California Bankruptcy Forums.

What Michael most values about his career... No two bankruptcies are alike. Each presents complex problems that require creative solutions. Because no business is immune to financial challenges, it also provides exposure to a broad range of industries. This year alone, I’ve worked on cases involving companies in video streaming, hospitality, fitness, real estate, logistics and more.

Brian Trust

Brian focuses on representing large institutional creditors, including agent banks, lending syndicates, insurance companies and other investors. Brian has extensive experience in complex Chapter 11 reorganizations, out-of-court restructurings and recapitalizations, mergers and acquisitions of financially distressed companies, acquisition and divestiture of claims against and equity interests in distressed companies, debtor-in-possession and exit financings, and cross-border insolvencies. Brian received his B.A from Brooklyn College, City University of New York, M.A from New York University, and J.D. from the New York Law School.

Adrienne K. Walker

Adrienne focuses her practice on restructuring and commercial finance and has significant bankruptcy litigation experience and deep capabilities advancing creditors' rights and representing debt holders in bankruptcy court, as well as state, other federal and out of court workouts. Adrienne is often engaged to represent strategic trade creditors, official and ad-hoc committees, bondholders, bond trustees, debtors, lease parties and bankruptcy estate fiduciaries. Her commercial lending work involves advising borrowers on private equity and secured financing transactions. Adrienne works with clients in many industries, with a particular focus on health care, life sciences, retail, senior living and manufacturing. Adrienne also serves on the Firm’s Board of Directors.

What Adrienne most values about her career... Restructuring requires creativity, tenacity and collegiality. The best part of my career is working with smart and talented clients and colleagues to strategically navigate and solve complex business problems to maximize value. Negotiating or litigating with equally capable adversaries improves the system by creating new restructuring opportunities for our clients.

James F. Wallack

Jim has extensive experience in complex Chapter 11 reorganizations, workouts and transactions involving distressed assets. A primary focus of his practice is the representation of private equity firms and their underperforming portfolio companies. He is known nationally for his industry expertise involving the acquisition and disposition of troubled real estate assets, and his work with retail and consumer products companies. Jim received his J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School and B.A from Northwestern University.

Christopher A. Ward

Chris focuses his practice on corporate bankruptcy, financial restructuring, bankruptcy and distressed litigation, and distressed asset sales, as well as non-bankruptcy alternatives. Chris primarily represents distressed borrowers, chapter 11 debtors, and board of directors and independent directors in financially distressed scenarios. He has written and spoken extensively on fiduciary duties and corporate governance issues in the zone of insolvency. He is also Vice-President - Development on the Executive Board of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).

What Chris most values about his career... I value the ability to assist companies use legal strategies to restructure their business, whether that is through a chapter 11 bankruptcy filing or an out-of-court alternative. I strive to provide a company’s Board and management with options to fulfill their fiduciary duties when confronted with a loan default, a liquidity crisis, or an operational challenge.

Richard L. Wynne

Rick has a national reputation for successfully representing company and creditor/bondholder clients in complex restructurings in a wide variety of industries. He focuses on solving clients' most challenging problems by designing and implementing negotiations and litigation strategy, including as lead trial counsel. Rick's notable engagements include acting as lead debtor's counsel for superbug pharma company Achaogen, All American Oil & Gas, manufacturer and retailer American Apparel, insurance and finance conglomerate Conseco, grocery wholesale distributor Fleming and film and television studio Relativity Media. He has also represented Mattel as the largest creditor and Creditors Committee Co-Chair in the Toys R Us Chapter 11 case; FGIC, as Creditors' Committee Co-Chair in ResCap; the Ad Hoc Bondholders Committee in Chemtura; the Non-Agent Secured Lenders Committee (holders of over $4.3 Billion in senior secured debt) in Adelphia; and Universal and Fox in the Rhythm & Hues case.

What Rick most enjoys about his career... I enjoy most the challenge of a new case and crafting the best strategy for that client/situation, being involved in new industries and businesses, and the relationships I’ve made over the years with clients, colleagues, financial advisors, co-counsel and even adversaries, some of whom have turned into good friends.