Q I understand you’ve struck out on your own now.
Yes. I was most recently
associate general counsel at AlixPartners.
I was there for 6½ years in-house in their
legal department. I left in January and
took a couple of months off. My son is
18, and he’s going off to college in the
fall. This was the only opportunity I’ve
had to spend any amount of time with
him at home. And then I started up my
I am doing some litigation as well as
bankruptcy and debtor/creditor work.
Bankruptcy work is kind of light right
now, so I’m doing a fair amount of
litigation in the debtor/creditor arena.
I hope to get back into some
restructuring and some Chapter 11s
if they come back around.
Q It’s a changing industry right now. Does that make life harder for you
or more interesting? How do you view it?
It’s interesting because
it’s hard to know how the industry is
changing. A lot of the turnaround
professionals I have spoken to have
different views. Because Chapter 11s have
just become so expensive and the judges
and the U.S. trustees complain so much
about professional fees, some people
predict Chapter 11 work is just not
coming back because companies are
going to try to restructure outside of
Chapter 11. Some people I talk to say it’s
just a matter of time until interest rates
increase a little bit and there’s another
burst of Chapter 11s. So it’s just hard to say.
I’ve had a lot of variety during the
course of my career. At Dykema, when
bankruptcy was light, I worked on
litigation or corporate matters. When
I was at AlixPartners, I was supporting
the consultants on a lot of Chapter
11s, so when that work lightened up
considerably, I worked on litigation
and compliance matters. Being out on
my own, I’ve continued to handle a
variety of work. I’m enjoying having that
variety right now and being able to do
different work. I like litigation and getting
into court. In the long run, I’d really be
disappointed if Chapter 11s disappeared,
but right now, it’s working out fine.
Q Who inspires you personally or professionally?
Personally, I have a close
group of women friends who are also
attorneys. We’ve supported each other
Q How did you gravitate into turnaround and
I’ve really been in the
turnaround/restructuring world since I
graduated from law school in 1989. I
started at Honigman Miller, a law firm
here in Detroit, where I was a summer
associate. I think all of us, as summer
associates, had the law school idea that
we wanted to do big transactions and
things like that. But the economy kind of
bottomed out in 1989 or started going into
a downward spiral, so what they needed
were litigators and bankruptcy people.
It wasn’t something that I had actually
chosen, but I got into the bankruptcy
world and really enjoyed it, so I ended up
staying there for my career. We did a lot
of automotive restructuring and troubled
supplier work for GM. The firm also did
some lender work for NBD at the time,
doing restructuring and loan workouts,
and another one of the partners did
Chapter 11 work. So there was a broad
range of restructuring/bankruptcy
work. I stuck with that throughout
my career because I always liked it.
The bankruptcy bar is pretty close in
Detroit. Everybody really gets along. It’s a
fun group of people to work with. It gives
you a mix of work between transaction
and litigation. You do a lot of abbreviated
litigation in Bankruptcy Court without
a lot of the procedural requirements.
Also, if you’re doing a Chapter 11
deal, it’s essentially like a corporate
transaction with a bankruptcy overlay.
Q So it was more matter of timing, than choice, and it turned out
to fit you?
It was a good fit and I really
enjoyed it, so I stuck with it. I was with
Dykema after that for about 11 years.
What I found was that I preferred the
debtor work. It was at Dykema, working
in the corporate department with Ron
Rose, Judy O’Neill, and others, that I
became involved with and developed a
passion for representing Chapter 11
debtors in restructuring cases. Probably
around 1997 or so, I started getting more
involved in Chapter 11 debtor cases as
opposed to some of the lender work.
Early cases included single-asset real
estate cases, American Tube & Wire,
Crowley’s department stores, and
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