Tom Kessler represents debtors, creditors, and other parties-in-interest in a broad range of restructuring matters, including bankruptcy proceedings, out-of-court restructurings, and bankruptcy-related transactions.

Tom advises clients in high-profile restructuring matters, finding business-oriented strategies designed to achieve client goals. He has worked with debtors and creditors to navigate complex, multi-billion dollar distressed situations and regularly litigates high-stakes contested matters, adversary proceedings, and other complex civil cases. Tom’s practice spans a variety of industries and geographies, with a particular focus on cross-border matters, including acting as U.S counsel in foreign restructurings and lead counsel in Chapter 15 proceedings.

Clients have highlighted Tom’s pragmatic approach and have praised his ability to craft comprehensive solutions to multi-faceted problems. Tom’s work on the LATAM Airlines and Garuda Indonesia restructurings has also been recognized by the Turnaround Management Association, which awarded both matters 2023 “Transaction of the Year” in their respective categories.

Tom joined the firm in 2013.

Notable Experience


  • Genesis Global Capital, a subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, in its Chapter 11 restructuring proceeding involving over $5 billion in liabilities and related litigation matters, including securing a landmark decision from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the SDNY confirming Genesis’ Chapter 11 plan and approving a settlement with the NYAG clearing the path for in-kind recoveries for creditors.

  • LATAM Airlines Group S.A. and its affiliates in Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador, and the United States in the voluntary reorganization and restructuring of their debt under Chapter 11 protection in the United States, including litigation over $2.45 billion proposed DIP facility and confirmed bankruptcy plan.

  • Garuda Indonesia in Chapter 15 proceeding to seek recognition of its Indonesian restructuring proceeding and enforcement of its PKPU Plan.

  • Samarco Mineração S.A. in Chapter 15 proceeding granting recognition and enforcement of Samarco’s Brazilian restructuring proceeding.

  • Apollo Management Holdings L.P., on behalf of certain of its affiliates and funds, as debtor-in-possession lenders to Grupo Aeroméxico and its affiliated debtors.

  • BNP Paribas in clawback actions brought by the Madoff bankruptcy trustee and the Liquidators of Madoff “feeder funds” in connection with the Madoff Ponzi scheme.

  • ModSpace, the largest U.S. provider of temporary and modular office space, in the restructuring of nearly $1 billion in secured debt through a pre-packaged Chapter 11 plan.

  • Overseas Shipholding Group, one of the world’s largest oil tanker companies, in its Chapter 11 proceedings and $3 billion cross-border restructuring.

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Civil Litigation

  • International Flavors and Fragrances and Frutarom in complete dismissal of securities class action related to the companies’ merger transaction.

  • Ryanair in its securities class action related to disclosures concerning labor issues and unionization in Ireland.

  • Petrobras in more than two dozen securities fraud suits arising out of the “Operation Car Wash” corruption scandal.

  • Pro Bono plaintiffs in securing a unanimous jury verdict in Ferguson v. JONAH, a first-of-its-kind lawsuit challenging the provision of conversion therapy as a fraudulent and unconscionable business practice.

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Selected Activities

  • Member, NextGen, International Insolvency Institute
  • Director, The First-Year Moot Court Program, Columbia Law School


Could You Be a Debtor? SDNY Renders Decision in Chapter 15 Proceeding for SVB Cayman Branch,” American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, June 5, 2024

Third Party Releases in Subchapter V Plans,” (co-authored with Thomas Lynch and Maddie Hundley) May 17, 2024

11th Circ. Ruling May Foreshadow Ch. 15 Clashes,” (co-authored with Luke Barefoot and Madeline Finnegan) Law360, May 15, 2024

Lender on Lender Violence: Mechanics and Trends,” (co-authored with Luke A. Barefoot and Miranda Hatch) INSOL World, March 22, 2024

Global Restructuring Trends: Geopolitical Risks and an Upcoming Maturity Wall Will Continue to Drive Distressed Debt Decisions,” (co-authored with Polina Lyadnova) February 29, 2024

The Doctrines of “Abusive” Support and Equitable Subordination,” (co-authored with Carlo de Vito Piscicelli, Michael Kern, Aude Dupuis, Alessandro Gennarino, Marco Gustavo Minati, and Sarah Haddad) February 29. 2024

One Step Ahead: Restructuring Considerations in an Uncertain Economic Climate,” (co-authored with Lisa M. Schweitzer), Cleary Gottlieb Selected Issues for Boards of Directors in 2024, January 17, 2024

Plan Implementation for Foreign Debtors in U.S. Bankruptcy Courts,” (co-authored with Richard Cooper, David Schwartz, and Alexis Bramhall), Thomson Reuters’ Westlaw Today, November 17, 2023

Lenders Lock Horns Amid Tightening Credit Environment,” (co-authored with Solomon J. Noh, Alastair Goldrein, Thomas Kessler, and John Veraja) October 30, 2023

Navigating the Shifting ESG Risks in Insolvency and Restructuring,” (co-authored with Polina Lyadnova) October 30, 2023

The Ups and Downs of the Texas Two-Step,” (co-authored with Elizabeth Baggott) September 29, 2023

SPAC Bankruptcies,” (co-authored with Adam Brenneman, Jack Massey, and Katharine Ross) Turnarounds & Workouts, June 12, 2023

Discharge of Mass Tort Liability, Due Process & Illusory Finality in Chapter 11,” (co-authored with Luke Barefoot and Jack Massey) Bloomberg Law, September 7, 2022

Recent Demand for Examiners in Major Chapter 11 Cases Highlights Ambiguity in the Code,” (co-authored with Luke Barefoot and Jack Massey) ABI Journal, March 23, 2022

U.S. Supreme Court Holds ‘Mere Retention’ of Property Does Not Violate Automatic Stay Under Section 362(a)(3),” (co-authored with Lisa M. Schweitzer and Jessica Metzger) The Banking Law Journal, June 2021

Addressing Treatment of Equity Under Foreign Law and the Code,” (co-authored with Richard Cooper and Kyle J. Ortiz) ABI Journal, April 1, 2021

Amending the Lease-Assumption Deadline in the Wake of COVID-19,” (co-authored with Luke Barefoot), ABI Journal, June 1, 2020

Hitting the Brakes: How a Potential PDV Holding Bankruptcy Might Affect Venezuela and PDVSA Creditors,” (co-authored with Richard Cooper and Luke Barefoot), August 18, 2018

Supreme Court Holds Section 546(e) Safe Harbor Does Not Apply to All Transfers Made Through Financial Institutions,” (co-authored with Seth Grosshandler, Michael H. Krimminger, Lisa M. Schweitzer, Sean A. O’Neal, Luke A. Barefoot, Sandra M. Rocks, Penny Christophorou, Humayun Khalid, Knox McIlwain, and Brandon M. Hammer), Business Law Today, March 2018

The Supreme Court’s Not-So-Final Judgment: Fraudulent Transfer Actions in the Wake of Stern v. Marshall,” (co-authored with Jane VanLare), Pratt’s Journal of Bankruptcy Law, November/December 2017.

“The Supreme Court Relaxes Standard for Enhanced Damages in Patent Infringement Suits,” (co-authored with Lawrence B. Friedman and David H. Herrington), Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, September 2016

“The Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Attorneys’ Fee Awards in Copyright Infringement Case,” (co-authored with Lawrence B. Friedman and David H. Herrington), Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, September 2016

“Notable Intellectual Property Cases of 2015 and a Look at 2016,” (co-authored with Lawrence B. Friedman, David H. Herrington and Arminda B. Bepko), Intellectual Property & Technology Law Journal, April 2016