Lawrence C. Gottlieb is the former Chair of the Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy practice and a partner in the group. He joined Kronish Lieb Weiner & Hellman LLP in 1998, which was merged into Cooley Godward Kronish LLP in 2006. He is resident in the New York office.
Mr. Gottlieb, who was recognized by Law 360 as a "Most Admired Attorney" for bankruptcy in 2010, is regularly listed in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers and was named by Turnarounds and Workouts as one of the twelve top bankruptcy lawyers in the country. In August, 2005, The Deal's Bankruptcy Insider declared Mr. Gottlieb the top unsecured creditors lawyer.
Mr. Gottlieb practices in the field of creditors' rights, bankruptcy and workouts. He has represented debtors and committees in Chapter 11 reorganizations and out of court workouts in over 40 states, as well as parties in Canadian insolvencies. He has handled matters involving a broad array of businesses, including retail apparel, luggage, software, furniture, sporting goods, telecom, tools, drug, construction, food industry and giftware.
He led the representation of Crabtree & Evelyn in one of the only instances of a retail company emerging from Chapter 11 in 2010. The case was named the "Chapter 11 Reorganization of the Year" by the Turnaround Atlas Awards.
Recent matters handled by Mr. Gottlieb include the representation of:
- Pacific Ethanol, Inc. in its Chapter 11 filing. Pacific Ethanol operates several ethanol power plants.
- Bayonne Medical Center in its Chapter 11 filing. Bayonne Medical Center is an integral part of health care in the Bayonne area of New Jersey.
- Metromedia Fiber Network, Inc. in its restructuring of $5 billion in debt created during the height of the high technology/telecom investment boom. The company has been successfully reorganized and operates today under the name AboveNet as a publicly traded company with substantial market value.
- The creditors' committee of Montgomery Ward, which obtained over $80 million for creditors by investigating, litigating and ultimately setting a lawsuit against GE Capital that detailed a wide range of alleged misconduct by GE's leadership. The settlement contained twice as much cash as GE Capital had offered creditors in its proposed plan of reorganization.
- Allied Stores in the Federated Department Stores Chapter 11 proceeding, one of the largest retail leveraged buyout cases in history. Mr. Gottlieb helped creditors obtain the highest possible return on their claims: 100% plus interest.
- The equity committee of Seitel, Inc., on whose behalf Mr. Gottlieb successfully fought the creditors' efforts to force a cramdown. Under the pre-packaged plan of reorganization proposed before Mr. Gottlieb was retained, the shareholders' equity interests would have been extinguished in exchange for an aggregate payment of $10 million, while an affiliate of Berkshire Hathaway would have been given 100% of the company's equity in exchange for a portion of its bond debt. With Mr. Gottlieb's assistance, the equity committee successfully fought the cramdown and confirmed a vastly improved alternative plan which enabled existing shareholders to retain substantial equity in the reorganized company. As a result, Seitel's stock price soared to a market capitalization of over $100 million – more than ten times the amount offered to shareholders by the debtor in its initial plan proposal.
- The equity committee of Peregrine Systems, in which senior bondholders sought to completely wipe out shareholders' pre-petition equity interests. After receiving de minimis offers from the bondholders, Mr. Gottlieb pursued a hard fought valuation trial and shareholders received 37% of the post-petition equity of the company, with a market value exceeding $100 million.
Over the years, Mr. Gottlieb has represented creditors' committees in numerous Chapter 11 cases including The Sharper Image, Footstar, Inc., Long John Silver's Restaurants, Inc., Pizzeria Uno, Claim Jumper, Archibald Candy, Corona Food Products, Liberty House, Inc., Loehmann's, Inc., Filene's Basement, Today's Man, Casual Male, JumboSports, Inc., P.A. Bergner & Co. (Carson Pirie Scott), Herman's Sporting Goods, Inc., Nevada Bob's ProShop, Inc., Stage Stores, Inc., Trend-lines-Post Tool Inc., Clothestime, Inc., Elder-Beerman Stores, Inc., Innovation Luggage, Miller & Rhoads, United Dept. Stores, C.R. Anthony Co., Richman Gordman Stores, Inc., SportsTown, Inc., The Conran Stores, Inc. and Hartmarx Specialty Stores, Inc.
Mr. Gottlieb frequently represents purchasers of assets and claims in bankruptcies, such cases as The Wiz, Eddie Bauer/Spiegel, Breuners/Huffman Koos Furniture, Mervyns and Winn Dixie.
Mr. Gottlieb regularly addresses creditor groups, corporate credit departments, credit associations and other professional groups regarding creditors' rights and bankruptcy matters. Mr. Gottlieb testified in front of the House of Representatives' Committee on the Judiciary's Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law as an expert on Chapter 11 bankruptcies. He also spoke before the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI)'s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 on how deadlines related to real property leases impact bankruptcy cases, especially those of retailers, as well as suggested reforms to Chapter 11 to address those issues.
Prior to joining Kronish Lieb, Mr. Gottlieb was a senior partner with the nationally recognized boutique bankruptcy firm of Siegel, Sommers & Schwartz LLP. In 1998, Siegel Sommers was effectively merged into Kronish Lieb.
Mr. Gottlieb received his J.D., with honors, from George Washington University Law School in 1973 and his B.A. from Brown University in 1969.
Mr. Gottlieb is active in civic matters. He currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Samuel Field Y and also served as chairman of the board of the Nassau County Health Care Corporation and served on the Board of Governors of the Tilles Center for the Performing Arts. In 2002, he served as a member of the Nassau County Planning Commission.
- George Washington University Law School
- Brown University
- Supreme Court of the United States
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
- U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
- American Bankruptcy Institute
- American Bar Association
- Commercial Law League
- The Association of the Bar of the City of New York