2014 Virginia Legal Elite – Bankruptcy/Creditors’ Rights
Douglas M. Foley
McGuireWoods LLP, Washington, D.C./Norfolk
Other legal specialties: Commercial litigation
Birthplace: Yokosuka, Japan (United States Naval Hospital)
Education: Bachelor’s degree, University of Mary Washington; law degree, George Mason University School of Law
Children: Gabrielle, Camille, John, Will
Hobbies or pastimes: Spending time with my kids, attending “Nats” baseball games, working out, “work” golf and cooking.
First job as a lawyer: Law clerk to the Hon. Douglas O. Tice Jr., retired chief judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, Richmond Division
Fan of: Washington Nationals
Favorite vacation spot: Any beach – love the smell of ocean air!
Recently read books: “The Baseball Code: Beanballs, Sign Stealing, and Bench-Clearing Brawls: The Unwritten Rules of America’s Pastime” by Jason Turbow
Career mentor: Judge Tice. He taught me how to practice law, and more importantly, how not to practice law.
What trends are you seeing in bankruptcy law?
Since the end of the Great Recession, there has been a significant decline in business bankruptcies. There have been more out of court workouts due to the low interest rate environment. Recent cases tend to be asset sales rather than stand-alone reorganizations, and are more litigious given the breadth of claims and the dearth of assets available for creditors. However, certain leading economic indicators suggest there will be more business bankruptcy filings in the near future, especially if interest rates begin to rise.
Which has been your most interesting or challenging case?
The US Airways bankruptcy cases when the airline industry was in turmoil. The first case was expedited in order to obtain a government-sponsored loan. The second case was necessitated by continuing financial stress in the industry and the need to improve liquidity by reducing costs. Economic circumstances led to much-needed industry consolidation. The company was able to save thousands of jobs by merging with America West and subsequently American Airlines. The case was challenging because survival was dependent upon reducing employee benefits.