Special thanks to the
2014 TMA Partners for
their year-round support
of TMA programs.
continued from page 28
No question about it. The
law degree is just a ticket to the dance.
Once you get to the dance, you’d better
start dancing, and I’ve been very
fortunate to have been involved with
some pretty strong people along the way.
It’s been many years, obviously, but
looking back, you realize how important
it was and how much it means to you.
Q If you could start over, would you do anything differently?
I honestly don’t think so.
I’ve had my ups and downs, but more
ups than downs, thankfully, and I’ve
grown through every experience I’ve
had. I’m sure everyone feels like this to
some degree, but there are times you
wish you could go back and maybe have
listened more than you talked or checked
your ego a little bit more than you did or
been slower to get upset about things
than you were. But if you learn from your
mistakes—and I think I have—you’re
better off in the long run for having
Q Does anyone inspire you on a personal level?
People who have dealt with
tremendous adversity and have
persevered through it with humility and
with success and great achievement.
Abraham Lincoln, for example. Think
about what that guy went through. We
look at our leaders now and think what
they have to go through is intense. But
this man was facing the breakup of the
country. A lesser man quite possibly
would have let it go. That’s amazing
fortitude and vision and selflessness, and
he did it all with great humility. He
ultimately ended up giving his life for it.
It’s amazing what the guy went through.
He was a towering figure.
Q What role has TMA played in your career?
I had been exposed to
TMA even back in my Greensboro days.
There were TMA Carolinas Chapter
events in Greensboro from time to time
that the partners in my first firm took
me along to.
It’s been a great organization. For me,
I’d say first and foremost, it’s been a
source of just good, basic fellowship with
insolvency professionals. It provides an
opportunity that otherwise I don’t think
would exist to get to know the workout/
turnaround community of professionals
outside of the setting of a live matter.
Because of the size of the deals I work
on, it’s rare that the lender has its
own turnaround-type professional
on a matter. Lenders will typically
strongly recommend to a borrower
three or four turnaround/liquidation
type professionals that the lender is
requiring the borrower to use as a
condition to getting any further money.
It’s not an adversarial relationship
that I would have with turnaround
professionals, but by the same token,
it’s a more formal, matter-driven,
where I’m not necessarily getting
to know people on a personal level.
The debtor turnaround professional
community maybe has a little more
opportunity to run into each other in
whatever setting. Outside of TMA, as
a creditor lawyer, I don’t really get a
chance to see and get to know and
expand my network with turnaround
professionals who aren’t lawyers.
It’s important not only to know the
people you’re sitting across the table
from, but also to know a little bit more
about them and, where possible, to be
friends with them. I think that it just
helps the matter run more successfully
when the professionals involved have
some familiarity with each other. It’s
harder to be a jerk when you know
someone and you see them out of the
office and have lunch with them.
TMA has served that role for me very
well. It’s also been a great source
of learning and knowledge for me
over the years, principally from the
speakers and panels at the local chapter
monthly meetings and also from
the Journal of Corporate Renewal.
Q What advice do you have for someone who is new to the
industry or is thinking about getting
into the industry?
I can only really speak to
being a lawyer in the field. My advice is
to acquire a basic accounting
background, learn how to analyze
financial statements, and understand
how cash flows through those financial
statements. Knowing the Bankruptcy
Code and Article 9 of the UCC and state
insolvency law inside and out is critical.
But that law is applied most often in the
context of companies whose health or