Gary S. Lee is a partner in Morrison & Foerster LLP's New York office. He is co-chairman of the firm's finance department and chairman of the firmwide business restructuring and insolvency group. Lee advises clients on domestic and international restructuring and insolvency matters in the United States, United Kingdom and continental Europe. He currently acts as lead counsel to Residential Capital and its subsidiaries in their Chapter 11 cases and represents several hedge funds in restructuring and liquidation proceedings, including several matters in the Madoff SIPA proceedings.
Q: What is the most challenging case you have worked on and what made it challenging?
A: In 2008, the firm had the privilege of being retained to assist the resolution committees and winding-up boards of two of the three Icelandic banks that were taken over by the financial regulator in Iceland. When we were first retained, our initial task was to help figure out how to preserve the banks’ foreign assets in the face of enormous creditor pressure, asset seizures, and, in the case of Landsbanki, finding itself subject to U.K. anti-terrorism legislation. When we reviewed the laws dealing with restructurings in Iceland with our clients, it became apparent that we were stepping into unknown territory — Icelandic law did not provide for a bank reorganization proceeding that would be recognized internationally, which was necessary to preserve the banks’ foreign assets.
Originally published in Law360 on May 16, 2013.
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