Partner with O’Melveny & Myers

Q&A With O’Melveny’s Suzzanne Uhland (Law360)


Law360, New York (March 7, 2013, 9:56 AM ET) — Suzzanne Uhland is a partner in O’Melveny & Myers LLP’ San Francisco and Newport Beach, Calif., offices and chairman of the firm’s restructuring practice. She represents parties in Chapter 11 reorganizations and out-of-court restructurings and buyers and sellers in Bankruptcy Code Section 363(b) sales and other distress transactions. She also practices with the firm’s transactional lawyers, both in bankruptcy cases and in structuring transactions to avoid bankruptcy-related risks, and has experience advising on bankruptcy- and insolvency-related litigation and compliance matters. Uhland has been recognized for her leadership in the restructuring arena by numerous publications and ranking guides, including Chambers and Partners USA (2008-2012), The Best Lawyers in America, and Who’s Who Legal — Insolvency & Restructuring.

Q: What is the most challenging case you have worked on and what made it challenging?

A: My most challenging case and perhaps a case of which I am most proud was the New Century Financial Corporation Chapter 11 case. I served as co-lead counsel for New Century, leading the board and management through the Chapter 11 process. New Century was one of the nation’s largest subprime mortgage lenders when it filed at the beginning of the wave of subprime bankruptcies. The timing of the filing required us to traverse new ground politically and legally. In the spring of 2007, the issues around subprime mortgage defaults were coming into focus, and the company was required to respond to investigations while winding down its operations. In addition, we faced the challenges associated with realizing value on the operating business assets and the remaining financial assets.

Together with David Kurtz of Lazard, we held successful auctions for the servicing platform, loan portfolios and loan origination software. I worked hard to navigate the various challenges in the highly charged atmosphere, maximize values for the stakeholders and achieve a prompt resolution to the case, which we did within 18 months of filing. This bankruptcy ended up being the largest Chapter 11 filed in 2007 and was selected by the Turnaround Managers Association as one of the 10 most successful restructurings of 2008. Beyond the high-profile nature of the case, it provided a tremendous opportunity to mentor some of our more junior lawyers and provided an unusually interesting bankruptcy for them to cut their teeth on.

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