Cullen Drescher Speckhart, Cooley, LLP
Cullen Drescher Speckhart
Partner, Chair, Business Restructuring Group, Head of Washington, DC.
Cooley, LLP
What led you to a career in the deal making industry?
I grew up in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was the home of Bethlehem Steel. My parents worked for the steel company and met in the late 1970s. Both of my parents lost their jobs on the same day when Bethlehem Steel struggled. Shortly after, my father was able to go back to work to help stabilize and restructure the company. They filed for Chapter 11 in 2011, and it seemed like the bankruptcy proceeding would bring relief to the community. I thought the professionals working on that case were like superheroes who knew how to save jobs, pensions, and assets. I could not imagine anything more important or worthwhile than having the ability to save a company.
Best practices for fostering an inclusive workplace...
I think it’s very important to be intentional in supporting diversity and equity initiatives across the industry. It should be a priority to avoid creating an “us vs. them” dynamic in the conversation. I have found that there is broad support for inclusion among various groups and a shared desire to move away from outmoded attitudes – the important thing is to continue working together to foster workplace environments where everyone feels valued.
Advancing woman to leadership positions...
By providing them with the tools to develop as lawyers and leaders at all stages of their careers. As part of Cooley’s DEI Action plan, and in partnership with our Women’s Initiative, Cooley developed a bespoke training program to help professionals develop strong leadership skills.
Advice for achieving success...
I would encourage female professionals to have a sense of immediacy in taking advantage of the progress we’ve already made in closing the gender gap in restructuring. We still have a long way to go, but it’s worth asking: Is my current career path the best way to achieve my professional goals?


Cullen is a top advocate in corporate restructuring and financial litigation, with a diverse practice spanning a range of industries, including private equity, healthcare, life sciences, technology, energy and retail. She regularly represents debtors, creditors’ committees, trustees and foreign representatives in significant bankruptcy matters throughout the US. Cullen also 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.

Education: J.D. from William & Mary Law School, B.A in Politics and Economics from Georgetown University, and Harvard Extension School
Harvard University, Professional Certificate in Strategic Management.

Location: Cooley LLP, Washington, District of Columbia.


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