Solving clients' bankruptcy and other insolvency-related problems
Christopher Combest seeks practical, business-aware solutions to clients' insolvency-related problems, from the most straightforward to the most complex. During over 25 years of practice, Chris has represented most parties to insolvency cases, including:
- Debtors, trustees and receivers
- Secured lenders under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code
- Suppliers and other unsecured creditors
- Purchasers of assets out of bankruptcy estates
- Defendants in bankruptcy avoidance actions
That experience allows Chris to resolve a client's issues with insight gained from having dug in on all sides of those issues. He understands the differing opportunities, incentives and pitfalls created for clients by the complex requirements of insolvency law. At the same time, Chris works with each client to balance the benefits of an approach against the costs of pursuing it.
Experience in Action
- Representing debtors and trustees in bankruptcy cases, including managing the sales of assets; reducing -- though litigation or settlement -- claims against bankruptcy estates; and crafting and negotiating plans of reorganization for exiting bankruptcy.
- Guiding purchasers through the complexities of bankruptcy auction sales, from crafting a strong bid, to drafting a buyer-protective asset purchase agreement and court-approved sale order, through closing the sale.
- Helping landlords enforce their rights in tenant bankruptcy cases, including rights to payment of rent and to obtaining control of their leased spaces.
- Advising secured creditors on how to protect their rights to collateral in insolvency cases.
- Advising unsecured creditors on how to protect themselves when dealing with financially troubled counterparties to business transactions.
- Represented Chapter 11 trustee in the bankruptcy of a chain of casual dining restaurants, including managing the auction sale of over $65 million of assets and negotiating withdrawal of a $5 million claim of the Internal Revenue Service.
- Represented a food distributor in bankruptcies of franchised restaurants, including enforcing the client's rights under Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) and obtaining long-term supply agreements with collateral to protect client's accounts receivable.
- Represented a federal equity receiver for insolvent investment funds, including successfully defending on appeal the receiver's distribution of assets to injured investors and negotiating resolution of all claims against the insolvent funds.
- Protected a secured creditor's right to keep proceeds of the sale of borrower's collateral against a claw-back attempt by an unsecured creditor.
- In representation of the Illinois Department of Insurance, protected assets of insolvent insurance companies against attempts by bankrupt parents to co-opt those assets for themselves.
- Selected as an Illinois Leading Lawyer - Law Bulletin Media, 2020 (Bankruptcy & Workout Law: Commercial)
- Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent® Rated
Professional & Civic Activities
- American Bar Association (Member and Co-chair of Executory Contracts Subcommittee of ABA's Business Bankruptcy Committee)
- Chicago Bar Association (Member)
- The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (Speaker)
- Turnaround Management Association (Speaker)
- Commercial Mortgage Attorneys' Association (Speaker)
- Bankruptcy and Insolvency, LLM Program in Real Estate Law, John Marshall Law School (Adjunct Professor)
- Law section, review course for certification exam of the Association of Certified Turnaround Professionals (Former instructor)
News & Insights
- Media Mention
- Media Mention
- Media Mention
- Presentation"Back to Nine: Supreme Court Cases to Watch This Term and Next."GE Capital/Heller Alumni Continuing Legal Education Program
- Media Mention
- Article"U.S. Supreme Court Highlights New Concerns in Naming IRA Beneficiary"Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law
- Presentation"Municipal Financial Distress – Past, Present, and Future"Turnaround Management Association (Webinar)
- Article"Battles Begin Early in Chapter 9 Cases"Journal of Corporate Renewal
- Yale Law School (J.D., 1994)
- University of Washington (M.F.A., 1985)
- Yale University (B.A., summa cum laude, 1982)
- Phi Beta Kappa
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 7th Circuit, 2010
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Michigan, 2010
- U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Wisconsin, 2010
- U.S. District Court, Western District of Wisconsin, 2009
- U.S. District Court, Central District of Illinois, 2006
- U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit, 1998
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, 1995