Norman Pernick heads the Wilmington, DE office of Cole Schotz P.C. and is co-chair of the firm's Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Department. He also serves on the firm’s Executive Committee. Norm focuses his bankruptcy and workout practice on representing public and privately-held debtors, but also represents creditors’ committees, major creditors, management and boards of directors and trustees. Norm is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy.
Norm is very active in the community and currently serves as the chair of the Board of Directors of Downtown Visions. Downtown Visions along with its Wilmington Main Street division are the umbrella organizations for a community-wide effort to revitalize downtown Wilmington. Norm is also a founding member and first board chair of the Wilmington Main Street program. This program is accredited by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is the largest Main Street program in the country.
Norm has served as a trusted advisor, strategist, and either lead or substantive co-counsel in numerous notable Chapter 11 cases including:
- American Laser Skincare – lead counsel to the Chapter 7 trustee in liquidating a beauty treatment chain with 135 stores operating in 29 states with approximately $100 million in annual revenue.
- Barzel Industries – lead debtor’s counsel for metal processing company in the successful sale of its business and wind down of its affairs. As of the date of the filing, Barzel listed assets of $366 million and liabilities of $385 million and operated 16 metal processing, manufacturing and distribution facilities that serviced the North American, Latin American and European markets.
- BNA Subsidiaries - lead debtor’s counsel for a leading provider of newsletters, research reports and professional events targeted to business and government professionals.
- Cadence Innovation – lead Chapter 11 debtor’s counsel for automotive supplier of parts, modules and systems to GM, Chrysler and Volkswagen.
- Energy Future Intermediate Holdings, et al. – co-counsel to Delaware Trust Company as indenture trustee for holders of $3.5 billion of first lien notes. EFIH is one of the 10 largest bankruptcies filed since 1980.
- Fedders Corporation - lead debtor’s counsel for global manufacturer of residential and commercial air treatment products with $300 million in annual sales. Accomplished sale of five major going concern businesses and the confirmation of a Chapter 11 plan within one year of the bankruptcy filing.
- J.G. Wentworth - lead debtor’s counsel for the nation’s leading purchaser of structured settlements and annuities in its “prepackaged” Chapter 11 case, believed to be one of the fastest prepackaged Chapter 11 reorganization cases on record in the United States. The company’s stay in bankruptcy lasted just under two weeks.
- Leslie Controls – lead debtor’s counsel for a unit of publicly-held CIRCOR International, Inc., in its successful restructuring of asbestos personal injury liabilities.
- Money Centers of America, Inc., et al. - co-counsel to Chapter 11 Trustee. The debtors provided financial technology and payments services for land-based gaming operators in the United States, claiming assets of $37 million and liabilities of $34 million on the filing date.
- Monitor Company Group Limited Partnership – lead counsel to the official committee of unsecured creditors of Monitor, a high-end consulting business that was sold to Deloitte as a going concern. Monitor reported gross income from operations of $145 million for the year before it filed Chapter 11.
- Nortel Networks - lead bankruptcy counsel to SNMP Research in substantial copyright infringement adversary proceeding against Nortel and Avaya, arising, in part, out of Nortel’s sales of its business lines to Avaya and others for $3.3 billion.
- Open Range Communications – lead debtor’s counsel for company that provided broadband access to approximately 26,000 underserved and unserved rural Americans in 12 states. Prior to the Chapter 11 filing, Open Range received the largest broadband loan ever awarded by the Rural Utilities Services of the United States Department of Agriculture.
- Owens Corning, et al. – lead debtor’s counsel for multinational composites and building materials company, which successfully restructured its asbestos personal injury liabilities in Chapter 11. At the time of its filing in 2000, Owens Corning was one of the 10 largest bankruptcy cases ever filed, with annual sales of $5 billion, approximately 20,000 employees worldwide, and more than 460,000 asbestos personal injury claims amounting to more than $5 billion in payments.
- Radio Shack – lead counsel to Gamestop Corporation and its subsidiary Spring Mobile, in purchasing hundreds of leases from Radio Shack in its Chapter 11 case.
- Reichhold Industries – lead debtor’s counsel for premier supplier of unsaturated polymer resins used to fabricate composites and advanced composites products. Reichhold reported assets in excess of $100 million and liabilities exceeding $500 million on the petition date.
- Ritz Camera Centers - lead debtor’s counsel to well-known retail chain that operated 930 stores located in over 30 states, with sales just under $1 billion.
- Tribune Company - co-counsel to Tribune, a multinational media and entertainment conglomerate, in its successful restructuring of over $13 billion in funded debt.
- Yarway Corporation – co counsel to Yarway, a Tyco International Ltd. Unit that made industrial valves and listed assets in excess of $100 million and liabilities in excess of $165 million as of the petition date. The bankruptcy was precipitated by the continuing assertion of asbestos personal injury claims against Yarway, which were restructured in a confirmed Chapter 11 plan.
Norm has also received several fiduciary and trustee appointments including:
- Chapter 11 Trustee in the Pitt Penn Holding Co. cases.
- Trustee for the Claims Resolution Trust for Warranty and Products Liability claims in GEC Industries, Inc.
- Member of the Panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the District of Delaware.
- Appointed by the Court of Chancery of the State of Delaware as Co-Receiver for the practice of William L. Garrett, Jr., Esquire.
Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers For Business, The Client’s Guide, a nationally and internationally recognized ranking derived from extensive client and peer interviews and reviews continues to rank Norman in Band 1, the guide's top ranking. See Award Methodology. Quoted from Chambers USA, Mr. Pernick’s peers and clients describe him as follows:
- "According to sources, practice head Norman Pernick 'has excellent judgment, is strategic and negotiates hard for his clients.' He is a seasoned authority in the bankruptcy and workout space and focuses his practice on Chapter 11 debtor-side representations." 2015 Edition.
- "The ‘outstanding’ Norman Pernick receives nothing but the highest praise from clients and peers alike. He is noted for his company and creditor-side work and receives acclaim for his ‘practical, businesslike approach’ and fine negotiation skills." 2014 Edition.
- "Norman Pernick co-chairs the department and is widely acknowledged for his work on Chapter 11 cases. He is leading the team in the Tribune Company bankruptcy. Sources say he is 'a brilliant strategist,' and that he is 'always available' and 'extremely knowledgeable in the bankruptcy arena.' 2013 Edition.
- "Department co-chair Norman Pernick is an excellent debtor's expert who comes highly recommended, particularly for advising mid- to large-sized businesses. He 'has an effective feel for the Delaware bankruptcy judges and is effective in court,' say sources." 2012 Edition.
- "Group chair Norman Pernick’s capability in large bankruptcy proceedings is underscored by his role in matters such as the Tribune Company work mentioned above. He is praised for his ‘down-to-earth’ character, which he combines with ‘a breathtakingly effective ability to bring people together and get a deal done.’ " 2011 Edition.
- "Group co-chair Norman Pernick is hailed as a leader of the bankruptcy Bar. He is highly esteemed for his work as co-counsel on large matters and impresses sources with his ‘ability to view issues from multiple angles to ensure the highest-value result is attained by clients.’ " 2010 Edition.
- "Norman Pernick is widely acknowledged as 'a gifted problem solver.’ " 2009 Edition.
- "He gained significant recognition for the Owens Corning case - this served to bolster his already established reputation, founded on a historical legacy of 'good vision, understanding, a substantial grasp of all the key issues and the provision of direct, practical advice.’ " 2008 Edition.
- "Norman Pernick really proved himself on the Owens Corning case. His role at the center of this earned him a wider following due to his ‘results-oriented and savvy style.’ " 2007 Edition.
- "Clients pinpointed the 'top class' Norman Pernick. A 'sure-fire leader', Pernick has been involved in the Owens Corning case and is respected for his experience of acting as lead counsel to companies in Chapter 11 proceedings." 2006 Edition.
- "He has 'a good sense of what the court will do and how to maneuver in his clients' best interests'. With expertise as lead counsel to companies in Chapter 11, he has a 'strong sense of integrity, excellent communication skills' and the ability to 'use his personality as a tool.' " 2005 Edition.
- "Clients say that his success is built on being 'a consensus builder; he is a good strategic planner and does an excellent job of predicting what the court will and won't do.’ " 2004 Edition.
- "The firm's reputation for bankruptcy work is inextricably linked with that of its star individual, the 'sharp and practical' Norman Pernick. A 'superior strategist,' Pernick was lauded by peers for his 'solid client relationships' and ability to 'drive a deal.’ " 2003 Edition.
Norm was selected for inclusion in the 2017 Super Lawyers top 10 lawyers in Delaware. He has also been selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America since 2006, and was chosen as the “Lawyer of the Year in 2014 and 2016 for Wilmington, DE Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law.” He was chosen as Best Lawyer of the year in 2016, Wilmington, DE for Bankruptcy Litigation as well. He has also been awarded with a “AV Preeminent” rating in the Martindale-Hubbell Directory, and received the 2016 Judicial Edition AV Preeminent award from Martindale-Hubbell. See Award Methodology.
Chief Judge Anthony Scirica, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, appointed Norm to serve on the 2005 Merit Selection Committee for Bankruptcy Judgeship Vacancies in the District of Delaware. The Supreme Court of the State of Delaware also selected Norm to serve as a member of the Delaware Board of Bar Examiners. He continues to be active in numerous professional organizations including the American Bankruptcy Institute, the American College of Bankruptcy, the Delaware State Bar Association Bankruptcy Law Section, the Delaware Bankruptcy Inns of Court, and the Delaware Pro Se Consumer Bankruptcy Initiative.
Norm is frequently asked to speak and write on issues impacting the bankruptcy community. He is the author of numerous publications including the Bankruptcy Deadline Checklist, a primer of bankruptcy deadlines published by the ABA Business Law Section.
Norman Pernick earned his J.D. with honors at The George Washington University School of Law in 1984. Norman earned his B.A., magna cum laude with high honors, at Brandeis University in 1981.
- American Bankruptcy Institute, Mid-Atlantic Conference Advisory Board
- American Bar Association, Business Law Section, Ad Hoc Committee on Partnerships in Bankruptcy
- American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow
- Circuit Admissions Council
- Education Committee
- Pro Bono Committee
- Delaware State Bar Association, Bankruptcy Law Section Co-Chair, Chapter 11 Committee
- Delaware Bankruptcy Inns of Court, Bencher
- Delaware Board of Bar Examiners
- Third Circuit Bankruptcy Conference, Delaware Representative