New York business solutions, governance, restructuring & bankruptcy attorney Martin Bienenstock of Proskauer Rose discusses his law firm.
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Proskauer is an international law firm with over 750 attorneys all over the world. For a large firm it has several unique practice areas that most firms don’t have. It’s the gold standard for employment law. It’s on management side but it’s a go to firm whether it’s a big rank and file union issue or whether it’s a CEO or board issue. It has similar gold standard practice in sports law and in real estate law. It also has a very unique multi ______ group that is on the cutting edge of all the types of securities that hedge funds like to trade and issuers like to issue for novel reasons and alternatives to high-yield debt. And then it has a massive litigation group and corporate group that cater to different niches where it has particular specialties. The reorganization and governance group is within the corporate group and we have offices in the United Kingdom and in the United States. And we represent large companies, their creditors; people who want to buy them, people who want to invest in them, occasionally trustees, or examiners.
We cover the gamut of roles in reorganization in governance and we also represent boards. And whether they’re boards of healthy companies or unhealthy companies and we teach them one rule that many boards fail at, which is even when you’re faced with an array of options that are each somewhat painful it’s your job to find the least worse result. And that might sound trite or obvious but if you look at Lehman Brothers, if you look at Eastman Kodak, if you look at Bethlehem Steel each of these companies managed to find the worst, worst, worst result. And it’s corroborated by a study by a famous Nobel Prize Winner named Daniel Kahneman who learned in his research that when people are confronted with all bad choices, bad options they become risk seekers.
And risk seeking often means instead of taking any of the safe results we’ll pray for a miracle. Well, normally, the miracle doesn’t happen. Lehman Brothers CROs said the company probably lost $75 billion of value by not preparing for Chapter 11. Eastman Kodak lost all its employees because it over a 12-year span did not do something about the overtaking of film by the digital camera. And what we teach boards is that even when you don’t like the options you still have to take the best, which is the least worse. Frequently that will lead to the saving of a company and its jobs and everything else that goes with it.