Before the Deluge: Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings

Melissa Anne Peña, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Chair of its Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group, along with Jerome F. Gallagher, Jr., and Bruce J. Wisotsky, also Members of the firm, will present the free webinar, “Before the Deluge: Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings.”

Preparing for the Anticipated Rise in Bankruptcy Filings

Even under the best of circumstances, navigating thru a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing can be stressful and fraught with uncertainty for all involved. Add in the disruptive effects of COVID-19, and it’s easy to appreciate the daunting task facing bankruptcy courts, debtors, creditors, and their lawyers. The pandemic has challenged many industries and as the economy has worsened through the pandemic, declaring bankruptcy has become the only lifeline left, and, given the ongoing economic uncertainties, a successful Chapter 11 reorganization has become all the more important.

This webinar will address steps that can be taken to protect a creditor’s interests before and immediately after a bankruptcy filing by a customer, client, or counterparty to an agreement. The panelists will discuss the recommended actions to be taken:

  • Upon establishment of creditor-debtor relationship
  • When a customer/client appears to be in financial distress
  • Upon notice of bankruptcy filing

When: Thursday, January 28, 2021

10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

Register for Norris McLaughlin, Attorneys at Law, Legal Events in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania

Although questions will be taken at the conclusion of the webinar, we strongly encourage you to submit questions in advance to be sure we address your specific needs. Please submit your questions by 1:00 p.m., Wednesday, January 27, 2021, via email to with “BANKRUPTCY WEBINAR” in the subject line.

About Your Attorney Panelists

Melissa Peña

Melissa concentrates her practice on commercial litigation and bankruptcy and creditors’ rights. Her clients include financial institutions, private lenders, creditors, and accounting firms. She has successfully represented secured creditors and unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and state court insolvency proceedings. Melissa frequently handles commercial foreclosure actions, actions to enforce promissory notes and guarantees, lien priority disputes, fraudulent conveyance actions, and creditor enforcement matters. She has also defended accounting firms in disputes regarding alleged failure to detect criminal and fraudulent activity in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York.

Outside the courtroom, Melissa handles commercial workouts, negotiating forbearance agreements on behalf of lenders and troubled cross-border transactions. She frequently represents investors seeking to acquire defaulted loans from the due diligence stage to closing on the sale. Melissa also helps lenders to liquidate their collateral through UCC sales, including sales of co-ops. In connection with her participation in the firm’s cross-border practice, she represents clients concerning inbound and outbound transactions that require working with government agencies such as the U.S. Office of Foreign Asset Control and U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Jerry Gallagher

Jerry engages in civil trial and appellate practice with a concentration in commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, construction, contract litigation, and commercial accounts receivable matters. He also provides legal services related to contract drafting and negotiations. Jerry serves as New Jersey counsel to several national companies and represents private businesses in several industries, including cosmetics, retail packaging, computer support, and specialty concrete products.

Jerry’s more significant results for clients include: an appellate affirmance of a trial court’s dismissal of “spoliation of evidence” claims against a national financing company; a jury verdict dismissing claims against a national real estate developer for alleged violations of New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act; prosecuting fraud claims against an insurance broker on behalf of a premium finance company, resulting in a seven-figure money judgment; a jury verdict in favor of a commercial equipment leasing company including dismissal of “lender liability” counterclaims; dismissal of Consumer Fraud Act and punitive damages claims brought against a privately owned electronic parts testing company; domesticating foreign judgments; recovering payments on surety bonds posted to stay post-judgment collection proceedings pending appeal; obtaining numerous monetary judgments in favor of financial institutions and businesses on commercial loan and accounts receivable claims; and regularly represents contractors in residential and commercial construction disputes, lien claims and commercial collection actions.

Bruce Wisotsky

Bruce has represented debtors, creditors’ committees, equity committees, trustees, landlords, and other individual creditors in Chapter 11 and 7 bankruptcy proceedings in New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Florida, and other jurisdictions. He has also represented assignees for the benefit of creditors in state court insolvency proceedings. A significant portion of Bruce’s practice has involved out-of-court restructurings, either as counsel to companies and individuals experiencing financial difficulties or their creditors.

Bruce lectures on various bankruptcy issues before the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education, the Turnaround Management Association, and the Essex County Bar Association. He has addressed topics including prosecution and defense of preference actions, treatment of tax claims in bankruptcy proceedings, executory contract issues, and retention bonus issues. Bruce is included in The Best Lawyers In America in the Bankruptcy Litigation and Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law sections and New Jersey Super Lawyers in the Bankruptcy & Creditor/ Debtor Rights section. He was also named the Best Lawyers Bankruptcy Litigation “Lawyer of the Year” in the Woodbridge, New Jersey, Metro Area in 2020, 2018, and 2016.

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