Goodmans LLP

Restructuring/Insolvency Department

Nationwide - Canada
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What the team is known for Highly regarded Toronto-based firm recognised for its leading expertise in the restructuring and insolvency space across Canada. Represents an impressive range of commercial clients, with notable experience advising bondholders and acting on large international insolvencies. Houses a distinguished bench of practitioners who offer deep and broad expertise to both debtors and creditors, as well as notable skill advising on matters arising within regulated industries, including telecoms, energy and resources. Active in restructurings under both the CCAA and CBCA.

Strengths An impressed client stated: "You can use a lot of law firms for things that are simple, but where there'll be a negotiated outcome or a complex restructuring, a messy Gordian knot, we need someone thoughtful that we've worked well with. Where the chemistry is important and we need more negotiations, that's where I use Goodmans."

Another source appreciated their input: "They take command of problems and find solutions. They come in with a calm hand, get into the middle of things, and are able to find compromises to allow the deal to proceed where in many situations things become so tender with the stress created; they seem to let the heat out of a tense situation and let in more light."

Their leading role in this market is confirmed by market sources, who name their practice "top-notch" with the "strongest and deepest bench."

Work highlights Acted for the Concordia Group in its CBCA proceedings with the intention that a recapitalisation transaction will deal with USD4 billion of debt.

Served as Canadian restructuring counsel to Toys R Us, which filed for protection under the CCAA in September 2017.

Notable practitioners

Brendan O'Neill is highlighted as a "superior litigator" who "does a great job of taking control of a courtroom and getting his narrative across." Peers mention his "tenacity," while clients praise him as a "great strategist, a very strong advocate and very good at managing the resources on a file." Sources mention his considerable cross-border experience with Chapter 11 insolvencies in the USA.

Brian Empey is highlighted for his work on the Toys R Us restructuring. Sources praise his "very thoughtful" approach and "deep engagement in the subject matter - you get a level of comfort that he's definitely considered everything."

The "tremendous" Gale Rubenstein is relied on for her expertise regarding pensions in large insolvencies. Her recent work includes co-leading the team representing the Pensions Fund in Stelco's restructuring. Sources mention her "amazing mediation skills" and ability "to stand back and assess the situation and take a very reasonable approach."

Jay Carfagnini heads the corporate restructuring group at the firm. He is noted as a "top-echelon lawyer" by peers, with clients appreciating his "senior-level guidance." Known for his role acting for the CCAA monitor in the restructuring of Nortel, he is also involved in the restructuring of Toys R Us.

The "excellent" Joseph Latham is praised by clients for "trying to be as constructive as possible" in difficult cases. With a focus on commercial insolvencies, his practice includes experience in creditors' rights matters and in restructurings with parallel proceedings in the USA.

Joseph Pasquariello is noted for his expert transactional capabilities, which are complemented by additional strength in litigation. Interviewees draw attention to his "high-quality" practice in this space.

Melaney Wagner is well regarded by market sources both as a "fantastic lawyer" and for being "very diligent and skilled at structuring a transaction." She impresses with her successful involvement in a number of high-profile matters.

Robert Chadwick is praised highly by peers and clients alike for a practice including both company and bondholder work. He has a "Swiss army knife of capabilities," commented a client, while another described him as "a fantastic negotiator, a very thoughtful advocate, and really good at doing a deal." Other sources compliment his strategic thinking, saying that he is "very calm under fire, and seems to manage everybody like the conductor of an orchestra," and that "he's always thinking four steps ahead."