James H.M. Sprayregen is a Restructuring partner in the Chicago and New York offices of Kirkland & Ellis and serves on Kirkland’s worldwide management committee. Mr. Sprayregen is recognized as one of the outstanding restructuring lawyers in the United States and around the world and has led some of the most complex Chapter 11 filings in recent history. He has extensive experience representing major U.S. and international companies in restructurings out of court and in court around the globe and has handled matters for clients in industries as varied as manufacturing, technology, transportation, energy, media, retail, and real estate. He has extensive experience advising boards of directors, and generally representing debtors and creditors in complex workout, insolvency, restructuring, and bankruptcy planning matters worldwide.
Chambers & Partners has praised Mr. Sprayregen for his “outstanding reputation for complex Chapter 11 cases” noting he is a “great clients’ lawyer, admired for his unflustered ways.” Chambers said that clients it spoke to noted that he is “probably the best restructuring lawyer in the world.” Most recently, sources commented that Mr. Sprayregen is “a premier restructuring expert” and “in a class of his own” with “unbelievable technical capabilities” and “deep experience he can draw upon.” He was praised for his ability “to take extraordinarily complex issues and make them understandable for boards and executive management teams.” Prior editions of Chambers guides have described Mr. Sprayregen as “a world-class practice leader,” “one of the deans of the Bar,” and “a restructuring genius and one of the best strategists in the country” noting that clients look to him as someone who is “providing leadership and strategic guidance on the big issues.” Sources commended Mr. Sprayregen for his “incredible work ethic and skill” and for his ability to “bring a mastery of the law to practical application.” Clients are “impressed by his boundless energy to work on issues” and note that Mr. Sprayregen is “very good in complicated and difficult situations.”
In March 2010, Mr. Sprayregen was selected by The National Law Journal as one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers.” Mr. Sprayregen was named “Global Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyer of the Year” in 2013 by Who’s Who Legal Awards, receiving more votes from clients and peers than any other individual worldwide. In October 2013, Mr. Sprayregen was inducted into the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Turnaround, Restructuring, and Distressed Investing Industry Hall of Fame?. From 2013-2015, Mr. Sprayregen was appointed to serve a two year term as the President of INSOL International, the leading insolvency association in the world.
Mr. Sprayregen has led bankruptcy cases for numerous companies including United Airlines, Conseco, General Growth Properties, Energy Future Holdings Corp., Caesars Entertainment Operating Co., Seadrill, iHeartMedia, Inc., Avaya, Japan Airlines Corporation as U.S. and international counsel, LINN Energy, SandRidge Energy, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Edison Mission Energy, Hawker Beechcraft Inc., Cengage Learning, Inc., Visteon Corporation, Lear Corporation, The Reader’s Digest Association, Corus Bankshares, Inc., Majestic Star Casino LLC, and ION Media Networks, Inc.
Mr. Sprayregen joined Kirkland in 1990 and built its international Restructuring Group. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2006 where he was co-head of Goldman Sachs’ Restructuring Group and advised clients in restructuring and distressed situations. He rejoined Kirkland three years later. Mr. Sprayregen is a frequent lecturer, speaker, and writer on insolvency, cross-border and distressed M&A issues. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, New York University School of Law, and the University of Pennsylvania Law School.
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