GRR 100 2018

Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor

Professional notice

The Delaware firm won a GRR Award for its work on the innovative restructuring of Ukraine's Metinvest

Global head of restructuring and insolvencyPauline Morgan
Restructuring lawyers in Who's Who Legal6

History of the practice

Young Conaway was founded in 1959 by Hy Young, James Conaway, Bruce Stargatt and William Taylor. Its highly regarded bankruptcy and restructuring practice – which is the largest in the US district of Delaware – has experience across a number of sectors including energy, financial and professional services, food and beverage, healthcare, media and real estate.


The bankruptcy group is based in Wilmington, where partner Pauline Morgan heads the practice. It has played a leading role in most significant bankruptcies in the district.

The wider firm also has offices in Georgetown and New York.

Who uses it?

Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor represents debtors, creditor committees, secured and unsecured creditors, purchasers, plan sponsors, and shareholder groups in jurisdictions throughout the US and further afield. It has particular experience advising private equity funds on distressed portfolios.

Past clients include Canadian gold miner Crystallex International, Chicago-based publisher Sun-Times Media Group, holding company Indalex Holdings Finance, and one of the oldest professional baseball teams in the US, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Historic track record

The firm played a major role in the huge US$7.3 billion cross-border insolvency of the global telecoms group Nortel Networks, advising the joint administrators of Nortel Networks UK and its affiliated debtors in the US.

Morgan was instructed by the world's largest print maker AbitibiBowater in the cross-border restructuring of its US$6 billion debt. It successfully emerged from CCAA and Chapter 11 proceedings at the end of 2010 and later changed its name to Resolute Forest Products.

She also represented women's retailer Coldwater Creek in Chapter 11 proceedings initiated to restructure the firm's US$361.3 million debt.

In another significant case, the firm acted as co-counsel, with Willkie Farr & Gallagher, to Canadian gold minder Crystallex in its Chapter 15 proceedings in Delaware following an initial CCAA filing in Canada.

Elsewhere, in New York, it served as special counsel for Irving Picard – the trustee to the Madoff estate – following the US investor's US$65 billion Ponzi Scheme.

Recent events

During the research period, Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor helped complete the US$2.7 billion restructuring of Ukrainian steelmaker Metinvest via three schemes of arrangement in the UK filed in parallel with three separate Chapter 15 recognition proceedings in Delaware. Baker & McKenzie and Allen & Overy advised on the UK schemes, while Young Conaway did the US side. All three firms picked up an award for the deal at the inaugural GRR Charity Awards ceremony in 2017 for "innovation in cross-border insolvency and restructuring".

Three Japanese debtors in the Takata group hired Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor as US counsel in a Chapter 15 application to recognise their Tokyo bankruptcy processes, and also for the Chapter 11 proceedings of their US affiliate TK Holdings. Takata entered bankruptcy in June 2017 following the global recall of around 120 million faulty airbag inflators it had produced. The Delaware court recognised Takata's Japanese bankruptcy in November 2017, rejecting objections from drivers who had commenced a multi-district litigation against the group. In April 2018, all of Takata's global assets – bar those related to the manufacture of airbag inflators – were sold to Michigan-based competition Key Safety Systems for US$1.6 billion, after a settlement was reached between the company, creditor groups, and injured drivers.

With Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, and Stevens & Lee, the firm also acted for temporary buildings provider Modular Space Holdings in a pre-pack Chapter 11 case. Modular Space's pre-pack plan was approved in February 2017 after an Ontario court recognised its Delaware proceedings as foreign main proceedings – a necessity since one of the Chapter 11 debtors was Canada-incorporated.

In other Canada-related matters, the firm acted as US counsel to sports equipment manufacturer BPS Holdings – a subsidiary of New Hampshire-based Performance Sports Group – and its affiliates in dual plenary proceedings under the US Bankruptcy Code and the Companies Creditors Arrangement Act (CCAA) in a case that also featured a cross-border protocol.

It was also counsel to the foreign representative of Canada's Catalyst Paper Corp, alongside Sidley Austin. Catalyst and 13 Canadian and US affiliates were restructured under the Canada Business Corporations Act in a plan that became effective in January 2017. The plan was recognised in Delaware under Chapter 15 where the court agreed to apply section 365(e) of the US Bankruptcy Code on assumption or rejection of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

Just at the beginning of the research period, Young Conaway also helped New Zealand-based auto parts group UCI Holdings and its US subsidiaries complete a Chapter 11 plan and exit bankruptcy by the close of 2016. The group's Delaware proceedings received recognition in New Zealand in July 2016 under its Insolvency (Cross Border) Act 2006.

Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP provides clients with a full range of legal services across multiple, award-winning practices, including Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring, Corporate Litigation and Counseling, Intellectual Property, Litigation, Business and Tax. Our attorneys collaborate to provide creative, client-centric solutions to a range of entities, including national and international corporations, small businesses and individuals.  We routinely work as lead counsel and co-counsel with colleagues from major law firms throughout the U.S. and around the world on some of the most significant bankruptcy, corporate, intellectual property, and commercial litigation matters being decided in the courts today.

Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring

Young Conaway’s Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Section, comprised of 35 lawyers and ten paralegals, is one of the largest in Delaware and the Mid-Atlantic region.  Members of the Section typically represent both debtors and creditors and have significant relationships with the most well-respected law, financial advisory, accounting, investment banking, and restructuring firms. In addition, because of our experience and our network of insolvency experts around the country, Young Conaway is able to provide its clients with advice and expertise on all matters pertinent to chapter 11 proceedings, including, among other things, asset sales, financing, debt restructuring, the validity and extent of a secured creditor’s liens and claims, valuation, solvency, the analysis, prosecution and defense of potential bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy related causes of action, corporate governance and fiduciary obligations, and the most effective means of maximizing value.

Our bankruptcy and restructuring attorneys have a deep and broad scope of experience, allowing us to efficiently and effectively provide the highest quality legal advice to our clients on a wide range of restructuring matters.  Together with our colleagues who provide tax, corporate, litigation, employment, and business advice, Young Conaway’s bankruptcy attorneys are well equipped to provide sound, creative and effective legal solutions when companies encounter financial difficulties.  Collaboration is commonplace at the firm, and serves as an intrinsic quality of our law firm culture and core values. This collaborative nature also provides a competitive advantage in connection with negotiations, transactions, and litigation that our clients value.

Young Conaway’s representation of financially troubled corporate entities has earned it a national reputation as a preeminent insolvency practice group. Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business identified Young Conaway as one of the top bankruptcy firms in Delaware, recognizing the “team effort” adopted by Young Conaway’s Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Section and the fact that “all the lawyers are experts in their subjects and at the cutting edge of the law.”  Clients also commented to Chambers USA researchers that the team was “very fast, very responsive and very able”. “They command the respect of the judges so it’s very clear to me that they’re extremely highly regarded.” The Deal, a bankruptcy publication, has repeatedly recognized Young Conaway as a top ten bankruptcy law firm.  In January, the firm earned a prominent placement on The Deal’s exclusive full-year 2017 Bankruptcy League Table rankings.  Young Conaway was the only Delaware-based law firm to have been ranked according to dollar volume, and was ranked third on the list for total number of bankruptcy cases.  The reputation of both the firm and the Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring Section continues to grow outside of the United States, as confirmed by the recent nomination in two categories at the Global Restructuring Review Awards.  Young Conaway received awards for "Small or Regional Law Firm That Impressed" as well as for “Innovation in Cross-border Insolvency and Restructuring.” The firm was also featured in Global Restructuring Review's publication, 100 - The Guide to Specialist International Restructuring Practices 2017.  Through its sophisticated questionnaire and independent research, the Global Restructuring Review developed its guide of firms to contact when international businesses fail.

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