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Donald S. Bernstein


Donald S. Bernstein

Special Counsel
New York

Recognized as one of the world’s leading restructuring lawyers. Represents all parties in major corporate restructurings and insolvency proceedings.

Don, a partner of the firm for 37 years and emeritus Chair of the firm’s Restructuring practice, is globally recognized as a leading restructuring lawyer. He represents debtors, creditors, liquidators, receivers and acquirers in major corporate restructurings and insolvency proceedings, and advises financial institutions and other clients regarding credit risks involved in derivatives, securities transactions, and other U.S. and international financial transactions.

Among Don’s numerous honors, he was elected by his peers as Chair of the National Bankruptcy Conference and President of the International Insolvency Institute, two of the most prestigious professional organizations in the field. He is a Fellow and former Director of the American College of Bankruptcy, and was a member of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11.

Don has been called upon to provide expert testimony at five Senate or House Judiciary Committee hearings on bankruptcy legislation.

He is on the Board of Directors of UJA-Federation of New York.

Experience highlights

  • Lenders, bondholders and other creditors and trading counterparties in restructurings and bankruptcy proceedings, including those of AG Mortgage Investment Trust, MFA Financial, Murray Energy, China Fisheries, Tribune Companies, Delphi Automotive, Syncora, Lehman Brothers, Refco, C-BASS, Centro Properties, Enron, Conseco, Adelphia, Bethlehem Steel, McLeodUSA, Dow Corning, Memorex Telex, R.H. Macy, Morrison-Knudsen, Drexel Burnham Lambert, Crown Paper, U.S. Office Products and Toshoku America
  • Companies, sponsors, owners or acquirers in restructurings and reorganizations, including Toys “R” Us, Ford Motor Company, BCBG, Fresh & Easy Markets, U.S. Industries, LTV Steel, Lomas Financial, Liberte Investors, Allis-Chalmers and Johns-Manville
  • Liquidators or receivers in international insolvency proceedings, including those of L.J. Hooker and Princeton Economics/Cresvale International
  • Global financial institutions, such as JPMorgan Chase, Citibank, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs, on credit exposures, global credit risk management and resolution planning
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The Insolvency Review, Edition 11

The Insolvency Review



American Lawyer – “Dealmaker of the Year,” 2010

Chambers Global and USA – Bankruptcy/Restructuring, Senior Statesman

IFLR1000 – Restructuring and Insolvency, United States, Market Leader

Expert Guides – “Best of the Best USA,” Restructuring and Insolvency

Who’s Who Legal – Restructuring & Insolvency

Best Lawyers – “Lawyer of the Year,” Bankruptcy, Insolvency and Reorganization Law, 2013


J.D., University of Chicago Law School
A.B., Princeton University
  • cum laude

Professional history

  • Davis Polk since 1978

Qualifications and admissions

  • State of New York
  • U.S. District Court, E.D. New York
  • U.S. District Court, S.D. New York
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