June 7, 2011

Polsinelli Shughart PC appointed Christopher A. Ward as vice chair of its Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice group. Ward is also the managing shareholder of the Wilmington, Delaware office. He represents clients in various bankruptcy matters before courts in Delaware and nationally.

“This promotion further solidifies our commitment to our national bankruptcy practice and our ability to serve clients coast to coast in all aspects of financial restructuring,” said Financial Services Department Chair Dan Flanigan.

The Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice group consists of more than two dozen attorneys in Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, New York, Phoenix, St. Louis and Wilmington. Led by Practice Group Chair James E. Bird, the attorneys assist clients in business loan workouts, Chapter 11 business reorganizations, and out-of-court restructurings. In recent years, the firm has been involved in several well known bankruptcy cases including SemCrude, Indianapolis Downs, and Palm Harbor Homes. Polsinelli Shughart recently expanded capabilities with the addition of a Dallas office that extends the firm’s reach and complements existing offices stretching from Phoenix to Washington, D.C. The National Law Journal recently ranked Polsinelli Shughart one of the fastest growing law firms in the country.

“Q and A” on bankruptcy trends:

Are there any recent developments in the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring practice group?

“This week we filed a Chapter 11bankrutpcy case for our client Signature Styles LLC, which is the parent company for the Spiegel Brands, women’s internet clothing retailer that operates under the trade names Spiegel, Newport News Shape fx. Our client is using the bankruptcy process to provide the necessary breathing room to conduct an orderly sales process in order to maintain jobs and maximize value for all creditors. Our goal is to assist our client as they proceed through a sale process and help our client emerge a leaner, stronger and better competitor. This is a large company, based in New York, with approximately 50 million dollars in debt.”

Typically, how long does it take a company of this size to turnaround?

“Our goal for a client is to be in and out of bankruptcy within 90 days. This cannot be accomplished in every jurisdiction but is a possibility in Delaware and New York. Currently, bankruptcy cases move at a much faster pace than in the past. They used to go on for two years but now, they have a much shorter shelf life, and not many cases go on for more than a year. Our firm is well positioned to serve clients, in these cases, because we can provide sophisticated, cost-efficient work at a lower cost structure as we are headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri.”

Unemployment rate numbers were just released last week and they are not where economists would like them to be. What impact does that have, if any, on bankruptcy filings?

“The employment rate and the potential double dip recession could potentially lead to more bankruptcy filings in the next few months,” said Ward.
Ward is recognized for excellence in Delaware Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring by Chambers USA and is a Century Council member of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI).

Media Contacts:
Matt Yemma, o2 Group, 212-695-4049,
Heather McMichael, Public Relations Manager, 816-395-0618,

About Polsinelli Shughart PC

With more than 530 attorneys, Polsinelli Shughart PC ( is a national law firm that is a recognized leader in the areas of business law, commercial litigation, real estate, financial services, bankruptcy, health care, life sciences, and technology. Serving corporate, institutional and individual clients, Polsinelli Shughart is redefining the business of law by sharing ideas, goals and outcomes with its clients. The firm builds enduring relationships by creating value through legal services - with passion, ingenuity and a sense of urgency. The firm has offices located in Chicago; Dallas; Denver; Kansas City; New York; Phoenix; St. Louis; Washington, D.C.; and Wilmington, Del.