James H.M. Sprayregen is a Restructuring partner in the Chicago and New York offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP and serves on Kirkland’s worldwide management committee. Mr. Sprayregen is recognized as one of the outstanding restructuring lawyers in the United States and around the world. Mr. Sprayregen has extensive experience representing major U.S. and international companies in and out of court as well as buyers and sellers of assets in distressed situations. He also has extensive experience advising boards of directors, and generally representing domestic and international debtors and creditors in workout, insolvency, restructuring, and bankruptcy matters. He has handled matters for clients in industries as varied as manufacturing, technology, transportation, energy, media, and real estate. Chambers & Partners has described Mr. Sprayregen as a “great clients’ lawyer, admired for his ‘unflustered ways.’” Chambers said that clients it spoke to noted that he is “probably the best restructuring lawyer in the world.” In March 2010, Mr. Sprayregen was selected by The National Law Journal as one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers.” In 2013, Mr. Sprayregen was named “Global Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyer of the Year” by Who’s Who Legal Awards, receiving more votes from clients and peers than any other individual worldwide. In October 2013, Mr. Sprayregen will be inducted into the TMA Turnaround, Restructuring, and Distressed Investing Industry Hall of Fame.
Mr. Sprayregen joined Kirkland in 1990 and founded the Restructuring Group. He joined Goldman Sachs in 2006 where he was co-head of Goldman Sachs’ Restructuring Group and advised clients in restructuring and distressed situations. He rejoined Kirkland three years later. The 2009 edition of Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business highlighted Mr. Sprayregen’s return to Kirkland & Ellis after his nearly three years with Goldman Sachs. Mr. Sprayregen was listed as a first tier lawyer practicing in the bankruptcy/restructuring category, and was described as having an “outstanding reputation for complex Chapter 11 cases.” The 2011 edition of Chambers USA, America’s Leading Lawyers for Business recognized Mr. Sprayregen as a key individual, noting that sources refer to him as “a restructuring genius and one of the best strategists in the country.” In the 2012 edition of Chambers USA, Mr. Sprayregen was praised for his “incredible work ethic and skill” and for his ability to “bring a mastery of the law to practical application.” In 2013, Chambers described Mr. Sprayregen as “one of the leading practitioners in the industry.” Sources recommend Mr. Sprayregen for his “wisdom” and “strategic guidance on the big issues.”
Mr. Sprayregen has led bankruptcy cases for United Airlines, Conseco, Chiquita Brands, Fisker Automotive, General Growth Properties, Innkeepers USA Trust, Japan Airlines Corporation as U.S. and international counsel, The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company, Edison Mission Energy, MSR Resort Golf Course LLC, Hawker Beechcraft Inc., Sbarro Inc., Visteon Corporation, Lear Corporation, The Reader’s Digest Association, Corus Bankshares, Inc., Majestic Star Casino LLC, and ION Media Networks, Inc.
In 2014, Chambers Global named Mr. Sprayregen as “one of the leading practitioners in the industry.” He divides his time between Kirkland's Chicago and New York offices. Clients look to him as someone who is “providing leadership and strategic guidance on the big issues.” “Tireless and very creative,” Mr. Sprayregen is described as "very good in complicated and difficult situations.” Mr. Sprayregen is a frequent lecturer and speaker, and has published numerous articles on insolvency, fiduciary duty, and distressed M&A issues. He has served as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, New York University School of Law, and University of Pennsylvania Law School. In May 2013, Mr. Sprayregen was appointed to serve as the President of INSOL International, the leading insolvency association in the world.