John Ashmead heads Seward & Kissel’s Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy 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 (2010-2020), is highly ranked by Chambers USA 2019-2020, where he was described as “brilliant”, “dynamic”, “a hard worker” and “a super indenture trustee lawyer,” and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America 2021. He is a Fellow of the American College of Investment Counsel.
Examples of recent representations include acting as lead counsel for: Wilmington Savings Fund Society (“WSFS”) as DIP loan administrative agent and/or prepetition agent in the J Crew, Pier One and Mission Coal chapter 11 cases; the Independent Managers in the Payless chapter 11 cases; the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the SFP (Papyrus) chapter 11 cases; WSFS as indenture trustee and Committee Co-Chair in the McClatchy chapter 11 cases; litigation counsel to the chapter 7 trustee in a retailer case; U.S. Bank as indenture trustee and Committee member in the Nine West 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; 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.