ATTORNEY SPOTLIGHT: Fernando J. Menendez Jr.

 

On this month’s Attorney Spotlight, we interviewed Sequor Law Shareholder, Fernando J. Menendez Jr., who provided his insights on the legal industry.

 

What advice would you give to those firms facing bankruptcy due to the pandemic?
However unpleasant the prospect of bankruptcy may be, it is important to get advice early. There are undoubtedly abrupt changes in circumstances that may make it necessary for an entity to seek bankruptcy relief with little or no time to prepare, but, to the extent there is even a small window of time to consider the options, make the most of it. In bankruptcy, as in most things, luck favors the prepared. The options in a potential restructuring can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors, including a firm’s capital structure; whether its secured debts have been properly perfected; the status of its executory contracts; its cash flow and pro forma; the nature and status of pending legal actions against it, to name just a few.

 

To what extent has covid-19 affected your work and the nature of disputes you encounter?
I would say that the most pronounced change hasn’t been in the nature of the disputes we’ve encountered, but—more practically—in the way we practice. In that regard, we all owe a great debt to our courts, which have responded to the tremendous challenge of this pandemic by making it possible to hold hearings on significant contested matters through Zoom and other video conferencing platforms and, thereby, kept our cases moving forward.

 

Given your tenure as a leading bankruptcy attorney, what is the most important thing you have learned?  
In solving difficult problems, you have to be creative and keep going back to the drawing board until you’ve found the right answer. Edison said it best: “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this — you haven’t.”

 

What advice would you give to aspiring bankruptcy lawyers?
In everything you do, ask yourself—how would I want someone to do this for me if I was in need of an attorney? How would I want it done for a parent or a sibling? Now, do that!

 

How does Sequor Law distinguish itself from competitors in the market?
If I had to use a single word, I would say it’s passion. A passion for what we do; for doing it right; for getting it right; for meeting our client’s objectives.

 

What is specific to Sequor Law? 
The team at Sequor has a breadth of knowledge and experience that gives us unique advantages in assisting our clients. Specifically, because we routinely act as counsel in domestic and cross-border insolvency cases, and are frequently engaged in commercial litigation and international asset recovery matters, we are able to provide advice that is not only reactive, but proactive. Given our experience and day-to-day work, we have a good sense of where a case is likely to go after a judgment has been obtained, and begin working to anticipate those eventualities well before many others may have considered them.

 

What should clients look for when selecting a bankruptcy attorney or firm?
In this age of endless marketing, it’s easy to get distracted by keywords on a website. Obviously, a referral from someone who has worked with the attorney in the area is a good touchstone for assessing experience and expertise. Absent that, you want to focus on whether the attorney seems to truly understand your problem. Have they dealt with something like it before? Are they asking the right questions? Are they raising issues you had not considered? Are they challenging you or just agreeing with everything you say? This last one may take a bit longer to get to, but, in my experience, is quite possibly the best indication that you have the right lawyer.

 

What do you enjoy most about working in bankruptcy? 
Without question, the fact that it moves fast—at least relative to most standard commercial litigation. Given the exigency of bankruptcy, and the surrounding statutory framework—which is geared towards getting parties to some form of resolution as quickly as possible—you don’t have to wait years before a client’s major issues/claims are resolved. For better or worse, you’ll have your answer (in an ideal world, the right one!) quickly.

 

What is a book or article that you consider a must-read? 
Collier on Bankruptcy! For those in the mood for something a little more plot-driven, you can’t go wrong with All The Light We Cannot See and The Nickel Boys, both of which are heart-wrenching and amazing.

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