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

John is an expert in insolvency and distressed situations. His experience spans workouts, chapter 11, liquidations and foreign insolvency proceedings, where he represents trustees, agents, creditors committees, lenders, bondholders and other creditors, borrowers, equity holders, directors, acquirers and debtors. 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 (2010-2024) and Best Lawyers in America (2022-2024), and is highly ranked by Chambers USA 2019-2024, where he has been described as “immensely experienced and intellectual but always practical”, “very effective in complex cases”, “smart, creative and commercial”, “a super indenture trustee lawyer,” and having an “innate ability to cut through the clutter of complex situations and get to the key point.” 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, Wilmington Trust Company, U.S. Bank, UMB Bank and Delaware Trust in their roles as indenture trustee, DIP loan and/or prepetition loan administrative agent in many of the largest chapter 11 cases (e.g., Diamond Sports, Envision, SVB Financial Group, Endo Int’l, Avaya, Talen Energy); the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in several chapter 11 cases (e.g., Coin Cloud, NITROcrete, ABC Carpet); post-confirmation trustees/plan administrators (e.g., ION Geophysical, Relativity Media, ABC Carpet, Insys Victims Restitution Trust); independent directors and similar fiduciaries in various in-court and out-of-court restructurings (e.g., JER Investors, Petmate, Quanergy, Payless, DeCurtis); distressed investment funds in various in- and out-of-court restructurings (e.g., LATAM, Harvey Gulf, Celsius); ad hoc bondholder groups (e.g., Trump Ocean Club); and director defendants in chapter 11 cases (e.g., Miller Auto). John also recently successfully represented the Debtors in the Times Square JV chapter 11 cases.

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 buyers in workouts, chapter 11 and chapter 15 cases, and foreign insolvency proceedings, including in the following matters: TOISA, International Shipholding, Nautilus Holdings, OSG, TMT, Harvey Gulf and Hanjin.

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.