Bankruptcy Litigation, Regulation and Policy LITIGATION/CONTROVERSY

Sophisticated knowledge of the bankruptcy process, combined with top-notch appellate and trial experience and the perspective and insight required to address a wide range of bankruptcy litigation and regulation issues.


Bankruptcy litigation requires a combination of sophisticated knowledge of the bankruptcy process and experience in complex multi-party litigation disputes. Our top-notch appellate and trial experience, and our depth of involvement in bankruptcy matters, provide for the ideal team for legal representation in high-value bankruptcy and creditor rights litigation. Our lawyers also advise clients on all aspects of bankruptcy and insolvency regulation and policy, through focused litigation efforts, appellate advocacy as parties and as amicus curiae, and development and management of corporate policies and procedures.

Areas of Focus

  • Bankruptcy Litigation: WilmerHale’s top-notch appellate and trial attorneys have an unmatched depth of involvement in bankruptcy matters, providing the ideal team for high-value bankruptcy and creditor rights litigation. Our attorneys have been at the forefront of major bankruptcy litigation matters, including a number of multi-billion dollar actions resulting from spinoffs and leveraged buyouts that were followed by later bankruptcy filings. We represent the insurance industry and its members in challenging asbestos-related bankruptcies in which billions of dollars in alleged liabilities are at stake. We represent financial institutions and industry associations in connection with bankruptcy-related lawsuits and the effects of bankruptcy on the operation of financial markets. We represent secured and unsecured lenders and lender groups, as well as landlords, trade creditors and bondholders, in the full range of litigation matters that start or end up in bankruptcy court, or which arise out of insolvency issues. We are often involved in US Supreme Court cases addressing bankruptcy-related issues, whether representing a party or as amicus curiae.
  • Bankruptcy & Government Regulation: WilmerHale’s firmwide capabilities in virtually every area of government regulation give us a unique perspective where regulation intersects with bankruptcy. We have substantial experience evaluating and mitigating insolvency risk in securities and commodities contexts, and in addressing issues arising from securities and commodities broker liquidations. We have represented clients in bank and bank holding company insolvency proceedings involving the FDIC and state regulators. We have also represented a leading mortgage servicer in connection with its residential mortgage business, helping the bank to navigate the evolving regulatory regimes in that area.
  • Bankruptcy & Insolvency Policy: WilmerHale takes a preeminent role on key issues of bankruptcy policy. Our attorneys have provided testimony before the American Bankruptcy Institute Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 regarding the protection of secured creditor rights in the bankruptcy process. We have represented the Loan Syndication and Trading Association as amicus curiae in a US Supreme Court case regarding the right of a secured creditor to credit bid its claim in bankruptcy, and we represented the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association as amicus curiae in a Second Circuit appeal that raised significant questions about the scope of the Bankruptcy Code’s safe-harbor provisions relating to securities contracts. In addition to policymaking work, we assist clients in understanding and complying with bankruptcy policy decisions that affect their businesses.

Publications & News

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June 9, 2014

US Supreme Court Resolves Executive Benefits on Narrow Grounds, Leaving Unresolved Many Important Questions About Bankruptcy Court Authority

The US Supreme Court earlier today issued its much anticipated decision in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison, No. 12-1200 (June 9, 2014), a follow-on case to the Court's landmark decision in Stern v. Marshall, 131 S. Ct. 2594 (2011), regarding the scope of bankruptcy courts' authority under Article III of the Constitution.

May 16, 2014

Pushing the Borders of Chapter 15: When a Foreign Representative “Flouts” the Purposes of Cross-Border Insolvency in the United States

The case law interpreting Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code continues to demonstrate that there are rarely simple answers to the complex issues presented by cross-border insolvency cases.

May 1, 2014

Whose Refund Is It? Ninth Circuit Holds Tax Refund Belongs to Bankruptcy Estate of Bank Holding Company, Not to Receivership Estate of Subsidiary Bank

The Ninth Circuit's recent decision in the IndyMac Bancorp bankruptcy case, which holds that disputed tax refunds belong to the bankruptcy estate of holding company IndyMac Bancorp, rather than to the FDIC as the receiver for IndyMac Bank, suggests that courts may limit the Eleventh Circuit decisions to their facts.

April 25, 2014

WilmerHale Attorneys Recognized in Annual Washington DC Super Lawyers Listing

The annual edition of the Washington DC Super Lawyers magazine, published by The Washington Post Magazine, released its 2014 listing which includes 37 WilmerHale attorneys.

April 11, 2014

All or Nothing: Delaware Bankruptcy Court Decision in Physiotherapy Holdings Addresses Contract “Integration” for Purposes of Assumption Under Section 365(a)

Among the many tools the Bankruptcy Code provides a debtor in bankruptcy is the ability to assume and reject executory contracts and unexpired leases. This powerful tool is not without limits, however. Among other things, it is an “all or nothing” proposition—a debtor must assume or reject the entire agreement.

March 14, 2014

Chambers & Partners Recognizes WilmerHale in its 2014 Global Edition

Thirty-one WilmerHale lawyers have been named among the “World’s Leading Lawyers for Business” in the 2014 edition of Chambers Global. In addition to these individual accolades, 13 of the firm’s practice areas were also recognized.

March 6, 2014

Law v. Siegel: The End of Equitable Disallowance?

Bankruptcy courts have divided over the question of whether a creditor's otherwise valid claim may be "equitably disallowed" on account of the creditor's inequitable conduct. The reasoning of the Supreme Court's decision this week in Law v. Siegel, while arising in the context of an individual debtor's claim of exemption, strongly suggests that no such authority exists.

January 30, 2014

Cross-Border Bankruptcy in 2013: 10 Decisions Shaping Chapter 15

Chapter 15 of the US Bankruptcy Code, addressing cross-border bankruptcy cases, is fewer than 10 years old, but the cumulative volume of Chapter 15 cases has become substantial. In 2013 alone, 38 Chapter 15 cases (or groups of related cases) were filed.

January 15, 2014

11th Circ. Sows Doubt Over Insolvent Bank Tax Refunds

Phillip Anker and Nancy Manzer publish an article in Bankruptcy Law360.

December 19, 2013

The Lawyer Ranks WilmerHale Among Top 10 Global Litigation Practices

The Lawyer has ranked WilmerHale among the top 10 litigation practices in the world in this year's list of the Global Litigation Top 50—an annual analysis of which of the world's largest firms are generating the most fee income from disputes.

Current Developments