04 Oct 2022

Willkie rehires high-profile US bankruptcy judge Shelley Chapman in New York

Chapman rejoins for her second spell at Willkie, where she will chair its new ADR practice

Shelley Chapman Image courtesy of Willkie Farr & Gallagher

Willkie Farr & Gallagher has rehired US bankruptcy judge Shelley Chapman to lead its new alternative dispute resolution (ADR) practice in New York.

Chapman rejoins the firm as senior counsel after a 12-year hiatus serving as bankruptcy judge for the Southern District of New York. During her time at the bankruptcy bar, Chapman oversaw some of the largest bankruptcy cases in the US, including Lehman Brothers and other chapter 11 and 15 filings, such as real estate firm Century 21 and Mexican flag carrier Aeromexico.

Rachel Strickland, co-chair of Willkie’s business reorganisation and restructuring department, said: “Judge Chapman is a powerhouse of the bankruptcy bar, known for her commitment to excellence, impressive body of work, leadership in the field and involvement in the community.”

She added: “Over the past several years, she has become one of the most sought-after mediators for complex chapter 11 cases and has developed a reputation for building consensus and achieving value-maximising global compromises.”

Chapman first joined Willkie in 2001 as a partner, having previously been at Sidley Austin. She is accompanied on her return by Jamie Eisen, who rejoins Willkie as counsel after serving as Chapman’s career law clerk since 2010. Both will be based in the firm’s business reorganisation and restructuring department.

Chapman said: “Willkie is a special place that combines world-class legal services with a practical business mindset and collegial approach, and it feels great to be returning, alongside Jamie. We are looking forward to working together to develop the ADR practice at Willkie and to build on our record of successful resolutions of complex commercial and bankruptcy disputes.”

Last month, Willkie hired crypto lawyer Kari Larsen as a partner from Perkins Coie to boost its digital assets business in New York. She joined fellow recent recruit Aliceson (Kristy) Littman, who came over from the Securities & Exchange Commission. Both are co-heading the firm’s digital works practice alongside existing Willkie partners Christopher Giancarlo and Justin Browder.

In May, the US firm also opened a capital markets practice in Frankfurt with a double partner hire – Simon Weiss and Joseph Marx – from McDermott Will & Emery.

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