John Ashmead is Chair of Seward & Kissel’s Bankruptcy and Reorganization Group.
John is a recognized expert in insolvency and distressed situations. His experience spans workouts, chapter 11, liquidations and foreign insolvency proceedings, where he represents trustees, agents, lenders, bondholders and other creditors, borrowers, equity holders, acquirers, members of and formal and informal creditor committees, and directors. In addition to restructurings, his engagements include bankruptcy litigation, private equity and strategic investments, acquisitions, plan sponsorship, and structured finance transactions.
John has been recognized as a leading lawyer in bankruptcy by New York Super Lawyers (2010-2019), is highly ranked by Chambers USA 2019, where he was described as “brilliant” and “dynamic,” and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2020. He is a Fellow of the American College of Investment Counsel.
Examples of recent representations include acting as lead counsel for: the Independent Managers in the Payless chapter 11 cases; U.S. Bank as indenture trustee and Committee member in the Nine West chapter 11 cases; Wilmington Savings Fund Society (“WSFS”) as DIP loan administrative agent in the Mission Coal chapter 11 cases; WSFS as indenture trustee in the Sears chapter 11 cases; the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Suniva chapter 11 cases; Danish Ship Finance as secured lender in the Toisa chapter 11 cases; an investment fund in connection with the Harvey Gulf chapter 11 cases; the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Gracious Home chapter 11 cases; WSFS as administrative agent on the J. Crew credit facility; Law Debenture Trust Company as indenture trustee in the Caesars chapter 11 cases; DVB Bank as secured creditor and DIP lender in the International Shipholding chapter 11 cases; an ad hoc bondholder group of Trump Ocean Club (Panama); and directors in the Miller Auto Parts chapter 11 cases.
Over the last several years, John has developed a notable practice in the distressed shipping sphere. He has been involved in numerous distressed shipping matters – advising company-side, lenders, investors and creditors in workouts, chapter 11 and chapter 15 cases, and foreign insolvency proceedings, including in the following matters: TOISA (lender); International Shipholding (lender/DIP lender); Nautilus Holdings (agent/lender); OSG (agent/lender); TMT Procurement Corporation (Official Creditors Committee); B+H Ocean Carriers (lending agent /syndicate); TBS International (agent/lender); General Maritime (company-side); U.S. Shipping Partners (I) (bond trustee); U.S. Shipping Partners (II) (refinancing lender); Omega Navigation (company-side); Marco Polo Steamship (ship owners, bunker supplier); Korea Line (agent/lender); Eastwind/Probulk (agent/ lender); Peregrine (equity investor); American Commercial Barge Lines (purchaser); Hanjin (vessel owner); Primorsk (vessel bidder).
John appears before Bankruptcy Courts nationwide. He regularly authors articles in and lectures on the bankruptcy and restructuring area.
John was a law clerk to the Honorable Cornelius Blackshear, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York from 1990-1992. He is empaneled as a mediator in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware.