Michael’s recent work has included ground-breaking law – exemplifying his ability to craft innovative strategies on behalf of clients.
Respected as a “preeminent bankruptcy partner” and a “change agent,” Michael Sirota is a recognized Band 1 attorney in the areas of bankruptcy and corporate restructuring by Chambers USA, listed in the 2020, 2022 & 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading U.S. Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers, named a Trailblazer by New Jersey Law Journal, routinely featured on both the Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers (Top 10) lists and recognized as a Top 100 Bet-the-Company Litigator. No aspect of this advertisement has been approved by the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
Within the firm, Michael is Co-Managing Shareholder and Co-Chair of the Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Department. Michael, along with fellow chairs, have led the department through the representation of more than 300 bankruptcy matters since 2019. These include clients across jurisdictions and industries, such as retail, hospitality, healthcare, pharmaceutical, life sciences, energy, manufacturing as well as other industries. Michael has restructured billions of dollars of distressed debt both in and outside of the courtroom on behalf of a diverse client base. In his recent representation of retailer, Sur La Table, the client noted “Sur La Table consummated a going concern sale in record time, exited bankruptcy with new owners and is now on solid financial footing due to the expertise, intelligence, and hard work of Michael Sirota and the Cole Schotz team.”
Michael represents publicly and privately held debtors, trustees, secured and unsecured creditors equity holders, indenture trustees, venture capitalists, private equity/hedge funds and parties with strategic interests in distressed situations and insolvency proceedings throughout the country. His clients include large corporations and high-net worth individuals who describe him as being “enormously quick on his feet” and “one of the best.”
Michael’s national practice also includes litigation prowess at the trial and appellate level, in various state and federal courts. In a recent complex commercial litigation matter, culminating in a 20-day evidentiary hearing, the client noted, “I’m pretty much a control freak, but when it comes to high-stakes litigation, I put it all in Mike’s hands. There is no one better.”
Representative Restructuring Matters
- Chapter 11 co-counsel to WeWork, a multi-billion-dollar provider of coworking spaces with more than 700 locations in 39 countries worldwide, in its chapter 11 proceedings in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey.
- Chapter 11 co-counsel to Rite Aid Corporation and 119 of its affiliates in their prearranged chapter 11 cases in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. One of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States with 45,000 employees, 2,100 retail pharmacy locations (across 17 states) and a pharmacy benefit management business that manages pharmacy benefits for more than one million members. Rite Aid entered chapter 11 with access to approximately $3.45 billion in committed post-petition DIP financing.
- Chapter 11 co-counsel to Bed, Bath & Beyond, an iconic retailer with 537 stores specializing in home textiles, housewares, decorative home accessories and specialty items operating throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico.
- Chapter 11 co-counsel to David’s Bridal, a wedding dress retailer operating 294 stores in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
- Chapter 11 co-counsel to BlockFi, Inc., a cryptocurrency company.
- Chapter 11 counsel to debtor Hygea Holdings in achieving successful reorganization on a matter recognized as a 2020 Successful Restructuring by Turnarounds & Workouts magazine (January, 2021).
- Chapter 11 counsel to Sur La Table, Inc., one of America’s most highly regarded retailers of home kitchenware products operating 125 stores and ecommerce business throughout the United States.
- Chapter 11 counsel to the iconic brand RTW Retailwinds, Inc. (f/k/a New York & Co.), an over 100 year-old specialty women’s retailer, with 387 stores located in 32 states.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Modell’s Sporting Goods, Inc., a 140 store retail chain located throughout the Northeast.
- Restructuring counsel to several owners and operators of skilled nursing, assisted living and long-term acute care facilities, involving hundreds of facilities throughout the United States, in excess of several hundred million dollars of funded debt and master lease obligations.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Tarragon Corporation, a publicly traded residential real estate developer. Tarragon and its approximately one hundred subsidiaries had consolidated assets of approximately $840 million and consolidated liabilities of $1 billion. Tarragon secured several rounds of debtor-in-possession financing, accomplished settlements with numerous secured lenders, and confirmed a plan of reorganization with the support of all stakeholders.
- Counsel to purchaser Rudin Development, one of the most prominent real estate developers in New York City, in the $260 million acquisition of the hospital campus of Chapter 11 debtor St. Vincent’s Catholic Medical Centers located in Manhattan.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Tropicana Casino and Resort-Atlantic City, the third largest casino in Atlantic City, with $1.3 billion in debt and accomplished a Section 363 sale to an entity controlled by Icahn Holdings.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Zayat Stables, LLC preeminent thoroughbred stable and owner of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.
- Chapter 11 counsel to five senior living facilities obtaining interim relief from, and ultimately rejecting, collective bargaining agreements and, thereafter, confirmation of a Chapter 11 cram-down plan.
- Counsel to publicly traded Advance Auto Parts Inc ($5B market cap) in the acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Chapter 11 debtor R&S Strauss.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Crumbs, Bake Shop, Inc. involving the sale of substantially all assets under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Atlantic Club Casino Hotel, formerly the Atlantic City Hilton, in the execution of its chapter 11 strategy including the design and implementation of a competitive sale process under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
- Counsel to the Official Unsecured Creditors Committee of Atlantic City Casino Revel AC, Inc.
- Chapter 11 counsel to Marcal Paper Mills, Inc. one of the country’s largest and most respected manufacturers and suppliers of paper, tissue and waxed products. Assisted the company in the procurement of $84 million in debtor-in-possession financing and in negotiating the sale of substantially all its assets on a going concern basis.
- Counsel to New York Waterway in the out of court resolution of its complex operating and debt structure.
- Counsel to several hospital and healthcare distressed entities including St. Joseph’s Health and Medical Center in the successful restructuring of $100 million New Jersey Health Care Authority Bonds. St. Joseph’s is a not-for-profit medical facility consisting, system-wide, of 1,000 beds, 5,000 employees, 1,000 physicians and a 135-year history of providing quality health care to the disadvantaged.
- Appellate Counsel to Yorkville Advisors (U.S.D.C. NJ) obtaining a reversal of bankruptcy court decision avoiding, among other things, $100 million lien claim.
In addition, Michael has been lead counsel in countless restructurings including the following companies: Manchester Mall, Inc., EnCap Golf Holdings, LLC, Princeton Ski Shops, Best Manufacturing Group, LLC, Burke Industries, Inc., Topps Appliance City, Inc., Knights Lodging, Inc., Economy Lodging Systems, Inc., Carretta Trucking, Inc., Horowitz/Rae Book Manufacturers, Inc., Hit or Miss, Inc., Integral Nuclear Management, Workbench Furniture, Inc., Jazz Photo Corp., Linens ‘N Things, and has represented substantial parties in the bankruptcy proceedings of K-Mart, Bethlehem Steel, New Valley Corporation, Bayonne Medical Center, Kara Homes, Rickel Home Centers, Inc., Neuman Distributors, Inc., Keystone Camera Corporation, MacGregor Sporting Goods, Inc., Mutual Benefit Overseas, Inc., Grand Court Lifestyles, Inc., Bradlees Stores, Inc., and Agway, Inc.
Representative Complex Litigation Matters
- Litigation counsel to a prominent family in the prosecution of a state court action to terminate a trademark and licensing agreement related to a resort and related casino entities. After the entities filed Chapter 11 in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, we moved for emergent relief from the automatic stay, conducted expedited discovery and successfully obtained stay relief allowing the state court action to proceed and compelling the licensee to immediately settle.
- Stairway Capital – counsel to secured creditor in enforcement of loan obligation and obtained dismissal of lender liability counterclaims in New York Supreme Court and subsequent twenty day AAA hearing.
- Special litigation counsel in the Chapter 11 proceedings (SDNY) of Parmalat USA Corp., to investigate and pursue avoidance actions against GE and Citigroup relating to, among other things, recharacterization, accounts receivable securitization and challenge to a $100 million off balance sheet “synthetic lease”. Working under an extraordinarily limited time frame, the Cole Schotz team immediately served extensive discovery on the debtors, GE and Citigroup, conducted extensive depositions, thoroughly analyzed complex case law and, ultimately, issued a comprehensive report and recommendation to the Committee. As a result of Cole Schotz’s efforts, and together with the Committee, Cole Schotz engaged in extensive and vigorous discussions with all interested parties culminating in a consensual filed plan of reorganization providing a substantial recovery to the unsecured creditors.
- Sagamore Partners – (Sagamore Hotel) appellate counsel to reorganized debtor in appeals regarding plan confirmation (U.S.D.C. – S.D. Fla).
- Ampal-American Israel Corporation- counsel to board of directors of publicly traded corporation in the defense of various claims (SDNY).
- Major Privately Held NYC Real Estate Entity – counsel to privately held real estate company and principals in 17 day arbitration proceeding resulting in successful defense of state law based claims including breach of contract and fraud.
- Rock-Tenn Converting – counsel to multi-billion dollar company in federal court fraudulent transfer action and state court preference action.
- New Jersey Affordable Home – counsel to Retired United States District Court Judge and Trustee in multiple party litigation in federal court against twenty lenders.
- Litigation counsel to defendant in simultaneous proceedings before the United States District Courts in the Southern District of New York and New Jersey and successfully vacated an ex parte receivership and seizure order. Thereafter obtained an order from the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey vacating the $30 million dollar judgment upon which the ex parte orders were issued.
Honors & Awards
Regarded as a distinguished thought-leader in his field, Michael has been featured by prominent media outlets such as CNBC, CNN Moneyline, Fox Business, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Bisnow and Law360, to name a few. He is a frequent lecturer and author on bankruptcy topics for the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, and has also co-authored both West Publishing’s New Jersey Practice Series Sirota and Meisel, Debtor-Creditor Law Practice (2020) and the New Jersey Bankruptcy Manual.
Michael continues to be strongly rooted within the legal community and has served as a member of the Lawyers Advisory Committee for the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts for the District of New Jersey. He served on the 2006, 2007, 2009 2012, 2019 and 2020 United States Magistrate Judges Judicial Selection Committee for the United States District Court and the 2006, 2013 and 2014 Merit Selection Committee for United States Bankruptcy Judges in New Jersey.
Michael is a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy. He is also a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, The Trial Lawyer Honorary Society, and a member of the Trial Law Institute and Diversity Law Institute. Actively involved professionally as a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, he is a former Master, in the Bankruptcy Inn of Court, and a member of the Board of Advisors for the New York State Bar Association’s Managing Partners Conference.