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Michael Messersmith is the chair of the Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group at Arnold & Porter, which has consistently been recognized as one of the leading bankruptcy and restructuring groups in the world. "They are top of their field. I have the utmost confident and trust in their advice." (Chambers USA)

Mr. Messersmith represents clients in distressed situations and bankruptcy proceedings throughout the United States and across the globe. He is consistently consulted as an expert in his field and a leading restructuring attorney. Chambers USA describes him as "a great person to work with, very solution-oriented and willing to fight for the right outcome for his client."

Mr. Messersmith has a wide-ranging practice. He has recently represented lenders, steering committees, bondholders and syndicated bank agents in the following public in-court and out-of-court restructuring engagements: iHeartMedia (Chapter 11), Petsmart, Revlon, Cumulus Media (Chapter 11), Deluxe Entertainment (Chapter 11), Arch Coal, Legacy Reserves (Chapter 11), Bronx Parking, Transtar (Chapter 11), Fusion Connect (Chapter 11), Southcross (Chapter 11), Gastar Exploration (Chapter 11), Vertellus (Chapter 11), Monitronics (Chapter 11), NYDJ, Noranda Aluminum (Chapter 11), Tops Markets (Chapter 11), Paragon Offshore (Chapter 11), Hotel Del Coronado, Tervita (Chapter 11), UCI-FRAM, Targus (Chapter 11), IAP Global and Caribe Media (Chapter 11). Mr. Messersmith also represents lenders and financial stakeholders in numerous private restructurings in virtually every industry, including oil and gas, retail, power, media, industrials, aerospace, telecommunications, real estate, transportation and pharma/healthcare, and others.

While a sizable portion of Mr. Messersmith's practice involves representing financial institutions in large and middle-market restructuring situations, he also represents companies and private equity sponsors in workout scenarios, distressed M&A and change of control transactions, including, most recently: a national dental clinic chain, a leading pet food distributor and supplier, a national distributor of fragrances, a provider of satellite power and structural solutions, a home healthcare company, a large cross-border construction company, an oil and gas service company a privately-held broadcast company among others.

Mr. Messersmith is both a boardroom counselor on finance and restructuring matters and a courtroom advocate in litigation and restructuring cases. He has provided testimony in contested litigation and is regularly called on to advise C-suite executives on their options in a stressed environment. He is regularly asked to write and lecture on a number of restructuring topics and has a particular expertise in the debt capital markets, the trading of distressed securities including bonds and bank loans and debt for equity transactions.

His written contributions include: "Debt Management Best Practices for CEOs of VC-Funded Companies," ExecSense Webinars; "Distress in the Middle Markets – Liquidity, Logistics and Special Considerations," Distressed Debt Forum; "Redemptions from Failed Hedge Funds: How Should They Be Treated by Courts?" Securities Regulation & Law; and "Lender Liability Claims in the Big Apple—If They Can Make It There, They'll Make It Anywhere," The Secured Lender.


Best Lawyers
Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (DC) (2024)
Chambers USA
Bankruptcy & Restructuring (Illinois) (2013-2023)
The Legal 500 US
Restructuring (including Bankruptcy) (2020-2022)



  • J.D., DePaul University College of Law, 1999, with honors, Order of the Coif
  • B.A., Ohio Wesleyan University, 1996, magna cum laude


  • Illinois
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois