John Ashmead heads Seward & Kissel’s Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy Group.

John is a repeatedly recognized expert in insolvency and distressed situations. His experience spans workouts, chapter 11, liquidations and foreign insolvency proceedings, where he represents trustees, agents, formal and informal creditor committees and their members, lenders, bondholders and other creditors, borrowers, equity holders, directors and acquirers. 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 (2010-2021), is highly ranked by Chambers USA 2019-2022, where he has been described as “immensely experienced and intellectual but always practical”, “brilliant”, “dynamic”, “a super indenture trustee lawyer,” and having an “innate ability to cut through the clutter of complex situations and get to the key point.”  He has also been recognized by Best Lawyers in America, including in 2021. John is also 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 indenture trustee in the Intelsat and McClatchy chapter 11 cases; WSFS as DIP loan administrative agent and/or prepetition agent in the J Crew and  Pier One chapter 11 cases; the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the NITROcrete, ABC Carpet & Home, SC SJ Holdings (Fairmont San Jose), and Furniture Factory chapter 11 cases; the trustee and claims administrator for the Victims Restitution Trust created from the Insys Therapeutics, Inc. chapter 11 plan; the Independent Directors in the Payless chapter 22 cases; litigation counsel to the chapter 7 trustee in the Gracious Home case; U.S. Bank as trustee and Committee member in the Mallinckrodt PLC chapter 11 cases; Delaware Trust Company as administrative agent in the Rockdale Marcellus chapter 11 cases; HSBC Bank USA, National Association as administrative agent in Rubie’s Costume Company Inc. chapter 11 cases; an alternative 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.  He also represents these and similarly situated clients in various out-of-court transactions, including financings in Skillsoft, TopGolf, AMC and GTT Communications, among many others, and liability management transactions in connection with Travelport Ltd, Boardriders, Inc., and TriMark USA.  He has also advised boards and board members, including special committees, in connection with restructurings – in- and out-of-court.

John also has a prominent 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: alternative investors, individually and as part of ad hoc groups, in connection with investments in the cruise line industry; 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); 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. He is also a contributor to Seward & Kissel’s Corporate Restructuring & Bankruptcy blog, Back in (the) Black.

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.


Recognition