Michael L. Bernstein

Former Chair, National Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Practice at Arnold & Porter LLP

Michael L. Bernstein

Michael L. Bernstein

Former Chair, National Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Practice at Arnold & Porter LLP


Arnold & Porter LLP
Michael L. Bernstein
Washington, DC
Practice Focus
? Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring
Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring

Michael Bernstein is chair of the Firm's national bankruptcy and corporate restructuring practice. He is consistently distinguished as one of the top bankruptcy and restructuring lawyers in Washington, DC by Chambers USA Leading Lawyers for Business, which praised him in 2012 as "tireless and solutions-oriented with an encyclopedic knowledge of the law and trends in the market." In previous editions, Chambers described him as a "creative and loyal advocate whose knowledge of the Bankruptcy Code makes him incredible at getting the best results for his clients" (2011), "an outstanding lawyer [with] fantastic analytical skills and intellectual prowess" (2009), for being "creative and practical" (2008), noting that he "completely understands [his client's] business" (2007), and has "an ability to assess risks in a meaningful way and address the tribunal in a strong and tenacious manner" (2006).

He represents secured and unsecured creditors, creditors' committees, bondholders, investors, asset purchasers, private equity funds, debtors, and other parties in a wide variety of bankruptcy and workout matters, and in related litigation throughout the United States. He has been involved in large bankruptcy cases, including Chrysler, Lehman Brothers, US Airways, LandAmerica, The PMI Group, TWA, United Airlines, LifeCare Holdings, Adelphia, Asarco, G-1 Holdings, Mirant, Criimi Mae, Enron, FoxMeyer Drug, Fruit of the Loom and Continental Airlines, as well as many other cases throughout the United States.

Mr. Bernstein's bankruptcy experience spans many industries, including telecommunications, energy, real estate, finance, mining, manufacturing, technology, retail, airline, healthcare, and pharmaceuticals. His clients have included AOL, American Capital, American Red Cross, Ardent Communications Creditors' Committee, Bear Stearns, Boehringer Ingelheim, BB&T, Cingular Wireless, Criimi Mae Creditors' Committee, Dynex Bondholders Committee, Gate Gourmet, Glaxo, Guinness Import Company, Health Care REIT, Hilton Worldwide, Lennar Partners, Major League Baseball, Perseus LLC, PMI Mortgage, Sodexo, Texas Pacific Group, The George Washington University, The Republic of Panama, and the Washington Corporations, among others.

Mr. Bernstein is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Bankruptcy Institute. He has co-authored two books and has published many articles on bankruptcy-related topics. He is a frequent lecturer, has been interviewed by major newspapers and on television and radio, and has been recognized as a leading bankruptcy lawyer by numerous publications. Mr. Bernstein served as co-chair of the Labor and Employment Committee of the American Bankruptcy Institute and is serving as co-chair of the Advisory Committee on Labor & Benefits of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11. He has testified before Congress as an independent expert on the status of collective bargaining agreements, retiree and pension benefits, and executive compensation in bankruptcy.
Related Practices

Bankruptcy and Corporate Restructuring (practice chair)
Financial Services
Representative Matters

Represented PMI Mortgage Insurance Company in connection with its Arizona receivership and the Delaware Chapter 11 proceeding of its parent company, The PMI Group, Inc.
Represented derivatives counterparties in the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy case.
Represented Chrysler National Dealers Council in Chrysler bankruptcy.
Represented The Republic of Panama as creditor in the chapter 11 cases of Electric Machinery Enterprises, Inc., Nations Energy Corporation and Jaime Jurado, and in related litigation.
Represented private equity fund as second lien lender in the Delaware bankruptcy case of AFA Foods.
Represented 1031 exchange counterparty in LandAmerica bankruptcy; obtained US$137 million recovery for client on an expedited basis.
Represented a government entity in Mirant bankruptcy, including appeals to the District Court and Fifth Circuit.
Represented debtors, investors, creditors, and other parties in airline bankruptcy cases, including US Airways, United Airlines, Frontier Airlines, TWA, and Continental Airlines.
Represented debtor as special counsel in G-1 Holdings Chapter 11 case.
Defended preference and fraudulent conveyance litigation, including large fraudulent conveyance action related to an LBO transaction.
Represented a private equity fund in bankruptcy and workout matters and related litigation throughout the United States.
Represented a professional sports league in Adelphia bankruptcy and related litigation.
Represent a healthcare industry lender in structuring transactions and in bankruptcy and insolvency matters throughout the United States.
Represent a significant creditor and potential investor in Asarco bankruptcy.
Represented Norwegian multinational corporation in acquiring assets of a US defense contractor through a state law insolvency proceeding.
Represented bank groups and individual lenders in real estate workouts, foreclosures, and real estate bankruptcy cases.
Represented creditors' committees, including Criimi Mae and Ardent Communications.
Represented a major pharmaceutical company as creditor in FoxMeyer Drug bankruptcy case, and in related litigation.
Represented private equity funds and other investors and asset purchasers in § 363 sales.
Represented a hotel developer in complex restructuring negotiations and in related litigation.
Represented officers and directors of bankrupt companies, including advising on responsibilities and defending litigation.
Represented parties in litigation concerning rejection or modification of collective bargaining agreements.
Represented suppliers, major creditors, and other parties in telecommunications industry bankruptcy cases.
Advised trade vendors on ways to minimize insolvency risks.
Defended lenders in deepening insolvency, equitable subordination, recharacterization, and breach of duty litigation.
Represented parties in nonbankruptcy insolvency proceedings, including receiverships, assignments for the benefit of creditors, and state law liquidations.


Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business for Bankruptcy/Restructuring

The Legal 500 US for Corporate Restructuring

Washingtonian's "Top Lawyers" for Bankruptcy

Washington, DC Super Lawyers for Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights, Real Estate, and Business Litigation

Best Lawyers "Washington, DC Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Lawyer of the Year"

The Legal 500 US "Leading Lawyer" for Bankruptcy

Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy

Washington Business Journal's "Top Washington Lawyers" Finalist for Bankruptcy

ABI Publications Award

Euromoney's “Guide to the World's Leading Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers”


JD, Northwestern University School of Law, 1989
BA, Brandeis University, 1986


District of Columbia
Supreme Court of the United States

Professional and Community Activities
Professional Activity

Advisory Committee, American Bankruptcy Institute Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11

Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy

Member, Board of Directors, American Bankruptcy Institute

Member, Advisory Board, “Views From the Bench” program, co-sponsored by Georgetown University Law School and American Bankruptcy Institute

Master of the Bench, Walter A. Chandler American Inn of Court

Served as co-chair of the Labor and Employment Committee of the American Bankruptcy Institute

Publications, Presentations, and Multimedia

"Anatomy of a Workout" American Bar Association Business Law Section 2013 Spring Meeting, Washington, DC, April 4, 2013
"Labor and Benefits Issues in Chapter 11" Testimony before the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, Annual Meeting of the American College of Bankruptcy, Washington, DC, March 14, 2013

RelSci Relationships


Number of Boards


Number of Awards


Contact Data
Trying to get in touch with Michael L. Bernstein? Subscribe today to access their professional contact information and receive a one time promotion of free Contact Data credits!
RelSci Relationships are individuals Michael L. Bernstein likely has professional access to. A relationship does not necessarily indicate a personal connection.

Partner at King & Spalding LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Director at American Bankruptcy Institute

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Co-Founder & Managing Partner at Bacchus Capital Management LLC

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Former Shareholder at Greenberg Traurig LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Partner at Locke Lord LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Senior Counsel at Covington & Burling LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Founder at Togut, Segal & Segal LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Senior Managing Director at Gavin/Solmonese LLC

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Shareholder & Chair, Chicago Restructuring & Bankruptcy Practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Partner at Barnes & Thornburg LLP

Relationship likelihood: Strong

Paths to Michael L. Bernstein
Potential Connections via
Relationship Science
Michael L. Bernstein
Former Chair, National Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Practice at Arnold & Porter LLP
Class of 1989

The Northwestern University School of Law is an elite, private American law school in Chicago, Illinois. Located in the North Side's Streeterville, it is one of the twelve constituent schools of Northwestern University. The law school was founded in 1859 as the Union College of Law of the Old University of Chicago. The first law school established in Chicago, it became jointly controlled by Northwestern University in 1873 and fully incorporated into Northwestern in 1891. Northwestern Law is a member of the "T-14" law schools, a prestigious group of 14 schools that have national recognition.

Class of 1986

Brandeis University is an American private research university with a liberal arts focus. It is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, 9 miles (14 km) west of Boston. The university has an enrollment of approximately 3,600 undergraduate and 2,200 graduate students.[4] It was tied for 32nd among national universities in the United States in U.S. News & World Report 's 2014 rankings. Forbes listed Brandeis University as number 51 among all national universities and liberal arts colleges combined in 2013. Brandeis was founded in 1948 as a nonsectarian Jewish community-sponsored coeducational institution on the site of the former Middlesex University. The university is named for Louis Brandeis (1856–1941), the first Jewish Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.


The College was formed in 1989 and has over 800 Fellows that are selected by a Board of Regents from among recommendations received from the Circuit Admissions Council in each federal judicial circuit. The Regents select those who meet the following standards: (i) the highest professional qualifications and ethical standards; (ii) the highest level of character, integrity, professional expertise and leadership which demonstrates the likelihood that they will continue to contribute to the enhancement of bankruptcy and insolvency scholarship, continuing education, and contributions to the improvement of the bankruptcy and insolvency processes; (iii) a commitment to fostering and furthering the objectives of the College; (iv) sustained evidence of scholarship, teaching, lecturing and distinguished published writings on bankruptcy practice or insolvency practice, procedure, philosophy, improvements and reforms which demonstrates a consistent contribution to the enhancement of bankruptcy and insolvency literature, education, practice and the overall improvement of the process.The mission of the College is to honor and recognize distinguished bankruptcy professionals who are qualified for membership in an effort to set standards of achievement for others in the insolvency community, and to fund and assist projects that enhance the highest quality of bankruptcy practice, including undergraduate and graduate programs related to bankruptcy and insolvency. Historically, the prestigious American College of Bankruptcy Induction Ceremony, a black tie event, has been held in early spring at the United States Supreme Court Great Hall, followed by a reception. Well known individuals who have addressed the Induction Ceremony include Supreme Court Justices, members of Congress, Department of Justice officials, White House staff members, academicians and appellate judges.


The Mission of the American Inns of Court is to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills. To promote the American Inns of Court mission by encouraging members of the legal profession to participate in an American Inn of Court. To help ensure the vitality and continuity of local Inns. To communicate a culture of excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility and skills to the legal community and generally. To ensure the long-term financial viability and growth of the American Inns of Court.

Career History
Chair, National Bankruptcy & Corporate Restructuring Practice

Arnold & Porter LLP, practicing in distinct areas of the law, conducts business worldwide. Their global reach, experience, and deep knowledge allow them to work across geographic, cultural, technological, and ideological borders, serving clients whose business needs require U.S., EU, or cross-border regulatory, litigation, and transactional services. As their practice embraces the rapidly changing international landscape, their firm has become a powerful partner for global business. The company serves sovereign governments, U.S. and European businesses as they expand into emerging markets, multinational corporations as they conduct business in a multitude of locations, and international businesses seeking to navigate the waters of U.S. and European business, regulation, and law. They believe business transformation in a global economy requires innovation and open market access, and by providing the legal structure and foundation for both, they enable their clients to effectively provide products and services to the world's vast marketplace. The company was established in 1946 and is headquartered in Washington, DC.

Boards & Committees
Member, Board of Directors

American Bankruptcy Institute is a nonprofit company headquartered in Alexandria, VA, involved in business associations. It was founded by Richard A. Gitlin.

Member, Advisory Committee
Non-Profit Donations & Grants

Learn how non-profit organizations benefit from RelSci
$5,000 - $10K

American Bankruptcy Institute is a nonprofit company headquartered in Alexandria, VA, involved in business associations. It was founded by Richard A. Gitlin.

$5,000 - $10K

American Bankruptcy Institute is a nonprofit company headquartered in Alexandria, VA, involved in business associations. It was founded by Richard A. Gitlin.

$2,000 - $4,999

American Bankruptcy Institute is a nonprofit company headquartered in Alexandria, VA, involved in business associations. It was founded by Richard A. Gitlin.

Details Hidden

Arch Capital Group Ltd., Arch U.S. MI Services, Inc. purchase CMG Mortgage Insurance Co. from CUNA Mutual Life Insurance Co., PMI Mortgage Insurance Co.

Awards & Honors
Washingtonian Magazine - Top Lawyers, Bankruptcy
Washingtonian Magazine - Top Lawyers, Bankruptcy
Admitted to District of Columbia Bar
Other Affiliations
This web site is not endorsed by, directly affiliated with, maintained, authorized, or sponsored by Michael L. Bernstein. The use of any trade name or trademark is for identification and reference purposes only and does not imply any association with the trademark holder. The Presence of Michael L. Bernstein's profile does not indicate a business or promotional relationship of any kind between RelSci and Michael L. Bernstein.