William J. Perlstein



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  • 7 World Trade Center
    250 Greenwich Street
    New York, New York 10007  Map

    +1 212 937 7217 (t)

    +1 212 230 8888 (f)

  • 1875 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
    Washington, DC 20006  Map

    +1 202 663 6274 (t)

    +1 202 663 6363 (f)

Perlstein, William J.

William Perlstein is a partner in the firm's Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Practice Group, and a former co-managing partner of the firm. He joined the firm in 1975, is a past head of the firm's Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Group, and became one of the firm's managing partners in 1998, serving in that role until the end of 2011. His practice includes representation of creditors’ committees, bank groups, debtors, trustees and claims acquirers in bankruptcy and workout cases around the country. Mr. Perlstein also appears frequently on programs addressing law firm management issues.


Mr. Perlstein’s practice has included significant roles in numerous bankruptcy and workout cases throughout the United States, including EPIC Associates, AM International, AOV Industries, LTV Corporation, General Development Corporation, SpectraVision, Lomas Financial, the Orange County bankruptcy, Iridium Corporation, PSINet and Nortel. Many of his matters have concerned cases in which there is significant governmental involvement, drawing on the firm's expertise in governmental and regulatory affairs. He is currently serving as special regulatory counsel to the ResCap Creditors Committee.

Mr. Perlstein has had significant roles in the drafting of bankruptcy and bank receivership legislation, including Bankruptcy Code amendments affecting repurchase and swap agreements. He has testified before committees of both houses of Congress and presented a paper on bank insolvencies before the Organization for Economic and Cooperative Development in Paris. He has also spoken on law firm management issues before the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Honors & Awards

  • Named a 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leader by The American Lawyer for his exemplary management of the successful merger and formation of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr 
  • Named among OBABL's 2013 "Power 100 Advocates," a list of attorneys who have been strong advocates for diversity in the legal profession
  • Recognized as a Visionary in the Legal Times' "Greatest Washington Lawyers in the Past 30 Years"
  • Ranked as a Washington DC leader in the area of bankruptcy and restructuring in each edition of Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business since 2005
  • Recognized as a leading practitioner of bankruptcy and commercial law in the sixth edition of Legal Media Group's Guide to the World's Leading Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers
  • Consistently selected by peers for inclusion in the Best Lawyers in America in the areas of bankruptcy and creditor debtor rights
  • Named the 2012 and 2013 Washington DC "Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law Lawyer of the Year" by The Best Lawyers in America
  • Recognized as a leader in insolvency law in Who's Who Legal: The International Who’s Who of Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers 2007, 2011, 2013 and 2014
  • Selected by his peers as a leading attorney in Washington DC in the 2012-2015 editions of Super Lawyers
  • Listed in Washingtonian magazine's "Top Lawyers" in Washington DC, 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2011

Publications & News


May 12, 2015

Former Co-Managing Partner William J. Perlstein to Join BNY Mellon as Senior Deputy General Counsel

WilmerHale Partner William J. Perlstein will be joining BNY Mellon as Senior Deputy General Counsel, effective June 15, 2015.

August 27, 2014

Former Co-Managing Partners Lee, Perlstein Honored by The American Lawyer as Distinguished Law Firm Leaders

WilmerHale announced today that former Co-Managing Partners William F. Lee and William J. Perlstein received the 2014 Distinguished Law Firm Leaders Award from The American Lawyer for their exemplary management of the successful merger and formation of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr.

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.

August 15, 2013

Best Lawyers in America® 2014 Recognizes Nearly 100 WilmerHale Partners, Naming Eight “Lawyer of the Year”

Nearly 100 WilmerHale lawyers have been selected for inclusion in the 20th edition of The Best Lawyers in America®—a respected peer-review publication in the legal industry.

February 19, 2013

Six WilmerHale Attorneys Named by Best Lawyers as “Lawyer of the Year” in 2013

December 10, 2012

Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Group: 2012 Recap

WilmerHale’s Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Group is pleased to report another successful year. Led by eight partners out of the firm’s New York, Boston and Washington DC offices, the group presents a unique combination of litigation and transactional practices spanning the bankruptcy and financial restructuring landscape.

October 10, 2012

Former, Current WilmerHale Partners Elected to American Law Institute

December 1, 2011

Bankruptcy & Financial Restructuring Group: 2011 Recap

March 15, 2011

Chambers USA 2011 Preliminary Results Announced

August 12, 2010

90 WilmerHale Lawyers Named to The Best Lawyers in America® 2011

Recent Highlights

Mr. Perlstein's recent experience includes:

  • Serving as counsel to the debtors in the PSINet and Iridium Chapter 11 proceedings
  • Representing Verizon in connection with its agreement with NextWave and NextWave’s dispute with the federal government regarding spectrum licenses
  • Representation of a major financial institution on foreclosure and bankruptcy practices relating to the recent foreclosure crisis
  • Representation of one of the bidders for the patent portfolio in the Nortel bankruptcy
  • Representation of ResCap Creditors Committee as special regulatory counsel

Professional Activities

Mr. Perlstein is a Fellow and Counsel to the American College of Bankruptcy, a past member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute, a member of the American Law Institute, a member of the American Bar Association Business Bankruptcy Committee, where he is past chair of the Subcommittee on Legislation, and a member of INSOL. He appears frequently on continuing legal education panels, including several that have addressed issues arising in technology and communications industry bankruptcies. He also regularly speaks on panels concerning law firm management issues in New York, Washington, San Francisco and in Europe. He also serves on the Board of Directors of the Neighborhood Legal Services Program in DC, on the DC Bar Leadership Development Committee, and is a member of the Union College President's Council.


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JD, Yale Law School, 1974, Managing Editor, Yale Law Journal

BA, summa cum laude, Union College, 1971

London School of Economics and Political Science, 1970

Bar Admissions

District of Columbia


New York


The Hon. Marvin E. Frankel, US District Court for the Southern District of New York