Kristina M. Wesch is a partner in the firm’s bankruptcy & restructuring practice group. She has represented official creditors’ committees, national banks and other institutional entities as well as debtors in related bankruptcy, creditors’ rights and distressed debt matters. Kristina has also worked with ad hoc committees of secured and unsecured debt holders in both in-court and out-of-court restructurings, completed commercial loan workouts and forbearances, and handled other bankruptcy-related matters.
“You have to adapt to what your client’s definition of success is and make it your own given the circumstances. The key is being adaptable.”
How does your experience on both “sides of the table” help your clients through the bankruptcy process?
Many of our clients are very knowledgeable in the business world and in other areas of the law, such as corporate law or regulatory law. However, bankruptcy law is often counterintuitive; it’s extremely different from how things work in the ordinary world. Knowledge of other areas of the law are helpful to get a client through the process, but one needs an understanding of bankruptcy law, the nuances of what happens in bankruptcy and the interplay among all of the constituencies. As their counsel, I not only have to know the substance of the law, but must be able to educate clients and anticipate their questions and needs. I have to make them aware of the challenges they’re facing and then be prepared to address all of their questions. That definitely helps foster trust.
What was one of your most interesting matters?
Something I really enjoy about my area of law is the diversity of businesses that I am exposed to and having the opportunity to learn the inner workings of so many different types of businesses. One of the most interesting matters that I’ve worked on from a personal perspective was in connection with the representation of an ad hoc group of secured lenders. They credit bid their debt to acquire the assets of the bankrupt company and, in turn, I was involved in setting up and operating an LLC managed by the debt holders. The LLC continued to run a wholesale diamond business until it was fully liquidated.
You’d been an associate at Farrell Fritz in the past, then left for other ventures. What makes the firm one worth returning to?
Farrell Fritz definitely differentiates itself from other law firms. The number one thing you have to do to be successful here is to be respectful in all realms – not just to your peers and your clients, but be respectful of people’s needs. What I’ve also noticed about working here, having left and coming back, is people really do care about their colleagues and are interested in making sure their colleagues are happy, comfortable and feeling professionally fulfilled. There’s a lot of collegiality and compassion here and that translates to how the attorneys deal with clients. They’re actually interested in getting to know clients on a personal level.