ABI

FACULTY

 

Babette A. Ceccotti is a partner at the firm of Cohen, Weiss & Simon LLP in New York, where she divides her time between the firm’s bankruptcy practice and employee benefits practice. Ms. Ceccotti has participated in the representation of labor organizations and many other cases in the auto, steel, health care, textile, retail, entertainment and maritime industries. She also serves as outside counsel to the AFL-CIO on bankruptcy matters. From 1995-97, she served as a member of the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, appointed by President Bill Clinton. In 2010, she testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. She has been a contributing editor of the Employee and Union Member Guide to Labor Law, published by the National Lawyers Guild, and a contributing author of Employee Benefits Law (Second Edition). Her recent articles include “Lost in Transformation: The Disappearance of Labor Policies in Applying Section 1113 of the Bankruptcy Code,” 15 ABI Law Review 415 (Winter 2007), and “What About My Pension: Bankruptcy Invades What Was Once a Secure World,” Business Law Today, Volume 16, No. 2. She is also a frequent speaker and contributor to programs on the topic of employee and benefit interests in bankruptcy cases.

 

Jeffrey B. Cohen has over 30 years of ERISA litigation experience. He has extensive experience litigating a wide variety of ERISA issues at all levels in the federal court system and in arbitration proceedings. He is also a nationally recognized expert on employee benefits issues in bankruptcy. Mr. Cohen is a skilled negotiator and has resolved billions of dollars of benefits liabilities. He brings the same intensity to bear on his clients’ behalf whether the matter involves billions of dollars or more modest amounts. From 2005 through 2007, Mr. Cohen was Chief Counsel of the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, the federal agency that insures traditional, private pension plans. In that capacity, he directed the work of 50 attorneys and served as lead counsel for the agency in major bankruptcy proceedings and ERISA litigation. Before his appointment as Chief Counsel, he served for many years as Deputy General Counsel of PBGC. During his distinguished tenure at PBGC, he was lead counsel for the agency in the bankruptcy proceedings, and related district court and appellate litigation, in such high-profile cases as United Airlines, Delta Airlines, Northwest Airlines, US Airways, Enron, Kaiser Aluminum, Wheeling Pittsburgh Steel, Pan American World Airways, Trans World Airlines, and New Valley (Western Union). Mr. Cohen has successfully argued over a dozen cases and filed scores of briefs in the federal courts of appeals. In addition, he has appeared as counsel in numerous ERISA cases in the Supreme Court. He also spearheaded PBGC’s defense of individual and class actions involving allegations of breach of fiduciary duty and claims for benefits. In March 2006, The American Lawyer named him as a Dealmaker of the Year for 2005 for his work on behalf of PBGC in the United Airlines bankruptcy and other major bankruptcy cases, one of a very small number of government attorneys ever to be so honored. Mr. Cohen is a Fellow of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, and was co-chair of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Employee Benefits Committee from 2007 through 2009. He is a Contributing Author to Business Workouts Manual (West 2011), for which he wrote a chapter on Pensions in Restructurings. Additionally, Mr. Cohen has been quoted in a variety of media outlets ranging from the New York Times to specialty publications such as the BNA Pension & Benefits Reporter, Pensions and Investments and Ignites. He has also been interviewed on the Fox Business Network. Since returning to the private sector, Jeff has represented employers, an international union, plan fiduciaries, a bankruptcy trustee, an official bankruptcy committee, private equity and hedge funds, secured creditors, and individuals. He has been selected for inclusion in the 2010 and 2011 editions of the Best Lawyers in America and DC Super Lawyers.

 

Marc Kieselstein is a partner in the New York office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and has extensive experience in complex corporate restructurings, representing debtors and creditors in all aspects of the insolvency process, including chapter 11 reorganizations, out-of-court workouts, sales of financially distressed companies, distressed-debt transactions and §363 asset sales and purchases. Mr. Kieselstein has been recognized in the 2004-10 editions of Chambers USA and America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and is a frequent lecturer on bankruptcy-related topics. Mr. ieselstein received his B.A. magna cum laude from City University of New York, Queens College and his J.D. from the University of Chicago.

 

Ron E. Meisler, Partner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, Corporate Restructuring, represents a variety of clients in complex transactions involving alternative and special situation investments, company-side reorganizations and debt restructurings, creditors’ committee representations, distressed divestitures and acquisitions, and out-of-court workouts. He has represented debtors, creditors and purchasers in all stages of complex restructuring transactions throughout the United States, Europe and South America. Mr. Meisler was among the principal partners that led the Chapter 11 reorganization of Delphi Corporation, one of the largest global suppliers of vehicle electronics, transportation components, integrated systems and modules, and other electronic technology. In connection with this transaction, Mr. Meisler assisted the company in its efforts to transform its operations and restructure more than $22 billion in liabilities. Other strategies used on this reorganization case were subsequently applied in later Chapter 11 cases, including Chrysler and GM. Additional company-side representations of note include Blue Bird Bus Company, one of the world’s leading bus manufacturers; Comdisco, Inc., formerly a leading multibillion-dollar leasing and technology company; Eagle Food Centers, Inc., formerly a regional grocery store chain with $600 million in revenues; McLeodUSA Incorporated, a regional multibillion-dollar competitive local exchange carrier; Montgomery Ward & Co., formerly a multibillion-dollar national retailer; and The Singer Company N.V., a leading multibillion-dollar global manufacturer of appliances including sewing machines. Mr. Meisler also has extensive experience regarding the intersection of U.K. pension law and U.S. bankruptcy law, and in that regard has advised a Fortune 500 company regarding mitigation of U.K. pension regulatory risk and previously has represented the Reader’s Digest U.K. pension trustee and the Visteon U.K. pension trustee, respectively, in each of the Reader’s Digest and Visteon Chapter 11 cases. In addition, Mr. Meisler has represented various parties in connection with the purchase or sale of assets worth billions of dollars in the aggregate. Mr. Meisler also has advised funds with respect to alternative investments and special situations, including the purchase of subordinated notes sufficient in amount to provide increased influence in the event of a Chapter 11 filing, as well as real estate-related transactions requiring the creation of bankruptcy remote vehicles. Mr. Meisler also represents creditors and other parties in interest in restructuring and distressed situations. He also represents creditors seeking to minimize their risk to distressed companies. Mr. Meisler was twice named one of the country’s “Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyers” by Turnarounds & Workouts magazine. He is a Member, Turnaround Management Association (2000 to present); TMA Board Member (2007-present); and Member of TMA Board’s Executive Committee (2009-present)

 

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