The following is an excerpt from Practice Perspectives: Vault's Guide to Legal Practice Areas.
Candace Arthur, Partner—Restructuring Department
Candace Arthur is a partner in Weil’s Restructuring department, where she advises debtors, creditors, equity holders, investors, and other interested parties in the context of out-of-court and in-court domestic and international corporate restructurings, liquidations, and distressed financings and acquisitions. Most recently, she was profiled in Bloomberg Law’s series “They’ve Got Next,” where she was recognized by Bloomberg Law as one of the top young bankruptcy lawyers currently “raising the bar” in the practice area.
Prior to joining Weil, Ms. Arthur clerked for the Honorable Robert E. Gerber at the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York in 2009. As an undergraduate at Yale, she was a record-holding member of the Women’s Track team. At Georgetown Law, she served on the Barrister’s Council (Appellate Advocacy Division), was honored as Best Oral Advocate in the 2008 Frederick Douglass Mid-Atlantic Regional Moot Court Competition, and was awarded a second-place finish in the Frederick Douglass National Moot Court Competition.
Describe your practice area and what it entails.
I primarily focus on corporate restructuring, which involves problem solving any issue related to a company’s liquidity challenges or other areas of financial distress. At the outset of a company representation, I identify the client’s needs and develop various restructuring options that achieve its goals, including deleveraging the balance sheet, optimizing its real property footprint, reviewing material contracts that can be renegotiated or otherwise shed in an in-court proceeding, or addressing mounting litigation. In connection with creditor representation, I formulate different strategies to protect the creditors’ interests, negotiate transaction terms with the company, and represent the creditor in all aspects of the transaction—either in court or out of court.
What types of clients do you represent?
I represent companies, private equity funds, hedge funds, creditors (including ad hoc groups), and purchasers of distressed assets in both out-of-court and in-court scenarios. My most recent representations have been focused in the retail industry, but I have also represented clients in the oil and gas, energy and exploration, aircraft, automotive technology, entertainment, and financial sectors.
What types of cases/deals do you work on?
I work on both in-court and out-of-court restructuring transactions that involve both financial and operational restructuring initiatives. My recent company-side representations include, among others, J.Crew, Sears, Insys Therapeutics, Southeastern Grocers, Breitburn Energy Partners, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Co. (A&P), Southern Air, and Lehman Brothers. Additionally, I also represent lenders, including most recently in the Chapter 11 cases of Emerge Energy and Garrett Motion.
How did you choose this practice area?
I chose to pursue a career in restructuring because I find the practice intellectually stimulating and emotionally gratifying. It is truly a hybrid practice that provides me with the opportunity to engage in both transactional and litigation-related work. I can enjoy deal-making and litigating at a quick pace and within the bounds of a manageable court process. I was and continue to be inspired by the ever-evolving industry landscape as new and creative approaches are constantly being taken to provide more clarity to certain sections of the Bankruptcy Code, and case law is developing around interesting issues. I was also drawn to this practice area because of its very personal nature. In addition to being a practice that promotes consensus, oftentimes restructuring a company involves saving jobs and dealing with small business creditors.
What is a typical day like and/or what are some common tasks you perform?
My typical day is dictated by the needs of a client in a given moment. Client needs vary depending on whether I am representing the company or a creditor, and my tasks fluctuate depending on how far along the matter has progressed. Generally, I engage in a number of strategy calls; analyze material contracts; liaise directly with my client’s other advisors, such as the investment banker and financial advisor, to develop restructuring alternatives for consideration; plan an effective in-court proceeding; or formulate the terms of an out-of-court transaction. Additionally, I negotiate with key stakeholders, draft client communications, respond to third-party creditor inquiries, draft complex pleadings, and appear in both contested and uncontested matters in court.
What training, classes, experience, or skills development would you recommend to someone who wishes to enter your practice area?
There are experiences and classes that are helpful in practicing restructuring, but there are no prerequisites, and much of what is needed will be learned in the moment. I found my moot court experience invaluable and a basic understanding of secured transactions and corporate finance helpful.
What misconceptions exist about your practice area?
The biggest misconception is that restructuring is a “niche” practice area. Weil’s corporate restructuring services are very diverse and involve addressing a company’s entire operation and transcending multiple legal disciplines, including, among others, employment, real estate, securities, tax, corporate governance, debt financing, antitrust, and litigation. Bankruptcy is truly a multidisciplinary field.
What is unique about your practice area at your firm?
Restructuring at Weil is unique due to the depth of Weil’s global platform. Weil’s representations include companies, sponsors, portfolio companies, lenders, ad hoc groups of creditors, and creditors’ committees. With offices worldwide and attorneys experienced in representing clients across multiple industries and in both out-of-court and in-court scenarios, Weil is uniquely situated to provide comprehensive solutions to complex transactions. Weil is also continuously developing creative solutions to challenging restructuring issues that are frequently adopted by practitioners and used as a blueprint for other insolvencies.
What are some typical tasks that a junior lawyer would perform in this practice area?
Junior attorneys in Weil’s restructuring department perform a variety of tasks and are involved in all aspects of a restructuring matter. Typically, junior attorneys conduct legal research, appear in court to handle uncontested matters, prepare pleadings to obtain affirmative relief and draft responses to motions and other filings, conduct claim reconciliation through the drafting and filing of claims objections, assist in creditor negotiations, and prepare a company for a Chapter 11 proceeding—including preparing petitions, conducting client interviews in connection with drafting first day pleadings, and coordinating with the company’s other advisors on various workstreams.
What kinds of experience can summer associates gain in this practice area at your firm?
Summer associates are staffed on deal teams and involved on client calls, participate in internal meetings on matter administration and case strategy, draft research memos on various legal issues, attend court hearings and other observational opportunities, and assist in the drafting of creditor communications and claims objections. Summer associates also assist in the drafting of substantive pleadings and have an opportunity to pair with attorneys in the department to publish articles.