George Davis, Global Chair of Latham & Watkins’ Restructuring & Special Situations Practice, and Jeff Bjork, Managing Partner of Latham’s Los Angeles offices and former Global Vice Chair of the firm’s Restructuring and Special Situations Practice, have been named by The American Lawyer (AmLaw) as 2023 Dealmakers of the Year for representing Mallinckrodt in the multinational pharmaceutical company’s successful Chapter 11 restructuring. The prestigious annual awards program honors lawyers who guided the most complex, groundbreaking, and impactful deals of the past year.
In a profile of Davis and Bjork, AmLaw underscored “the dizzying amount of moving elements” involved in the restructuring, including US$5 billion in funded debt and contingent liabilities from opioid-related lawsuits, noting that “in a first for opioid bankruptcies, the claim involved filing with a restructuring support agreement with institutional creditors,” which paved the way for private opioid claimants’ support. The case was also the first opioid bankruptcy where a future claims representative was named to look out for the interests of future claimants.
As part of the restructuring, Davis and Bjork were able to get creditors and other stakeholders on board with their plan before filing.
“We were able to develop a relationship with the plaintiffs and understand the issues that they cared most about,” Bjork said. “From there it came down to negotiating a deal that worked for all parties before moving forward in the process.”
The profile highlighted that the prenegotiated Chapter 11 to address mass tort claims “could potentially provide a guide for future mass tort cases.”
“Negotiating the deal up front and having the plaintiffs’ support to implement the deal through a bankruptcy to obtain a comprehensive channeling injunction rather than filing for bankruptcy without any agreement, that’s the element that should be used for future cases,” Davis told AmLaw.
This is the fifth consecutive year Latham partners have been named AmLaw Dealmakers of the Year, with Marc Jaffe and Tad Freese named last year for representing Rivian Automotive in its IPO; Freese in 2021 for advising on Airbnb’s IPO; Justin Hamill in 2020 for representing Virgin Galactic in its merger with Social Capital Hedosophia to create the world’s first and only publicly traded commercial human spaceflight company; and Greg Rodgers in 2019 for representing Spotify in its historic direct listing on the NYSE.
Read more in AmLaw.