Thomas C. Wolford
University of California at Berkeley School of Law (J.D., 1986)
University of California at Berkeley (A.B., 1983), with honors
Tom is of counsel in the Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy and the Finance & Lending practice groups of the firm. He focuses his practice on creditor’s rights, bankruptcy and commercial lending in distressed situations, and possesses more than 25 years of experience in each of those areas of practice. Tom represents financial institutions, debtors, trade creditors, landlords, trustees and hotel managers in both formal bankruptcy proceedings and in out-of-court financings, restructurings and liquidations. He also has represented numerous purchasers and sellers of distressed businesses and real estate. His notable non-confidential representations have included major clients in the bankruptcy cases of Ascena Retail Group, Inc., Tailored Brands, Inc., Kimball Hill, Inc., Najeeb Ahmed Khan, Hobbico, Inc., Refco, Inc., Hartmarx Corporation, United Airlines, Circuit City Stores, Inc., Gas City, Ltd., R&M Aviation, Inc., PRD L.P., Mary Sopcic, Chiasso, Inc., Bellevue Place Associates, Integrated Resources, Inc., and numerous others. Tom led the Firm’s Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy practice from 2006-2009, and regularly appears before bankruptcy and appellate courts in Illinois, Indiana, Delaware and other states. He has also provided substantial amounts of services on a pro bono basis to clients requiring assistance with lending, workout and insolvency matters.
He has been selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America (within Litigation - Bankruptcy) since 2013. Tom is also AV Preeminent Rated (the highest possible rating) via the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.
Tom is a regular lecturer on insolvency-related topics, and frequently serves as a panelist at conferences sponsored by the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Chicago Bar Association.
- Represented Chapter 11 debtor in successful reorganization of enterprise owning a dozen multi-family housing facilities in Chicago. Successfully negotiated/litigated first day motions and cash collateral orders with five different lenders. Structured, drafted and ultimately obtained confirmation of plan of reorganization with 17 classes of claims that garnered 100% approval by creditors.
- Represented Chapter 11 debtor in successful restructuring of limited partnership that developed real property tract in Puerto Rico containing 250 single family homes. Successfully litigated issues pertaining to exclusivity, enforcement of settlement and retention of professionals, and successfully structured, negotiated and confirmed consensual plan of reorganization accepted by all impaired classes of bondholders, trade creditors and limited partners.
- Represented Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in all aspects of the Chapter 11 proceedings of Hartmarx, Inc. and 50 affiliated debtors, where Committee’s constituents are owed not less than $250 million. Successfully represented interests of unsecured creditors with respect to negotiated terms of DIP financing, sale of the Hartmarx businesses as going concerns, settlement with pre-petition lending group, settlement of disputes with the asset purchaser, prosecution of more than 300 preference actions resulting in recovery of more than $4 million for the estates and the terms of a joint plan of liquidation that was accepted by more than 99% of the unsecured creditors.
- Represented bank lender in pre-bankruptcy workout of loan to owner of approximately 75 single-family homes mortgaged in favor of client, and post-petition negotiation of terms of DIP financing and cash collateral usage. Upon default, obtained prompt dismissal of Chapter 11 case, and represented lender in connection with the sale of its collateral.
- Represented bank lender in Chapter 11 case of owner of 11 multi-family housing complexes and related commercial retail properties. Successfully sought conversion of case, and worked with Chapter 7 trustee to liquidate bank’s collateral on favorable terms.
- Represented lender in complex workout negotiations with joint owners of six major real estate developments and an affiliated securities trading business. Structured, documented and implemented payment and security agreements to protect client against anticipated insolvency.
- Represented nationally recognized provider of air ambulance and medevac services in its successful Chapter 11 reorganization. Integrally involved in preparation of first day motions, negotiation of DIP financing terms and consensual resolution of unexpired lease issues.
- Represented borrower in protracted and complex workout negotiations and $40 million replacement financing of affiliated hospitality and catering businesses. Analyzed numerous intricate insolvency, tax and lien issues in structuring transaction that preserved substantial equity for stakeholders.
- Represented an investment fund in all matters to its liquidation after suffering unanticipated losses, including fiduciary duties to creditors and equityholders and legal strategies for maximizing the fund’s value and investor recoveries.
- Defended investment fund in preference and fraudulent conveyance litigation arising out of investment in a “feeder fund” caught in the Petters Ponzi scheme. Led team in developing theories of defense, drafting pleadings and preparing and responding to discovery, ultimately leading to dismissal of all claims against client with prejudice.
- Defended hotly contested fraudulent conveyance litigation brought against former 51% shareholder that received $91 million in a leveraged buyout and subsequent IPO of Refco, Inc., one of the world’s most prominent independent commodities brokerage firms, before its collapse. After prevailing on a motion to dismiss the complaint, negotiated a settlement of both the adversary proceeding and related federal civil forfeiture action on highly advantageous terms.
- Represented assignee for benefit of creditors of a regional construction firm in all aspects of the liquidation, including collection of complicated accounts receivable, defense of administrative action before Illinois Department of Labor and resolution of numerous other disputes, resulting in substantial recovery for debtor’s secured bank lender.
- The Best Lawyers in America, recommended in “Litigation - Bankruptcy” since 2013 and in "Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law" since 2023