Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Greg Pesce of White & Case

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
MP McQueen

Please describe two of your most substantial, recent wins in practice.

In the Celsius Network crypto bankruptcy, I represent the Official Creditors’ Committee, the fiduciary for 600,000 users who used the exchange pre-bankruptcy. Our representation has been novel. We created one of the first court-approved official twitter handles for the committee to communicate with our massive constituency.

We have sought to simplify the bankruptcy process for our constituents, such as getting court approval to file the first-ever class action on behalf of account users to preserve claims for fraud and malfeasance against the former management. Finally, we spearheaded a creditor-driven auction process to find the sponsor that will fund Celsius’ s reorganization, which will generate billions of dollars of value for Celsius’s account users.

Last year, I concluded a six-plus year representation of the lead creditors of a Peruvian fishery business that filed for bankruptcy in New York. Early on, the court appointed a trustee to oversee the bankruptcy. The trustee’s marketing process didn’t result in a sale after years, so I helped creditors take control of their own destiny by filing their own creditor restructuring plan that wrested control of the bankruptcy and cleared the way for creditors to reorganize the company with $150 million of funding provided by creditors.

What is the most important lesson you learned as a first-year attorney and how does it inform your practice today?

Lawyers, particularly in high stakes and complex transactions, deal with legal issues and processes that are highly technical and specific. The odds are that, as a junior attorney, you are going to get directions that are very specific and technical. Therefore, to succeed as a first-year associate, you need to learn to listen to or read what is actually being asked of you and follow through.

You should listen to what is actually being requested. Do not assume what your task or goal is. If you do not understand, ask questions.

You asked for the most important lesson but indulge me for highlighting the second-most important lesson: Run spell check.

How do you define success in your practice?

I regularly represent companies and fulcrum creditors who are focused on driving the process forward and driving consensus with divergent stakeholders. As such, in my practice, success often depends on my ability not only to achieve results for my clients but for all the other divergent stakeholders, professionals, and other parties involved in a particular transaction. This requires the ability to balance multiple competing interests and acting as an honest broker for many constituents.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

I am most proud of the fact that I had the good luck and good fortune to wind up as a restructuring lawyer. The reason is that that career choice (or luck, not so sure how much of it was intention) lets you work in an industry where the law is uniquely designed to bring different constituents together to solve problems on a collective basis. That choice, in turn, lets me try to solve the problems of employees and supervisors, equity holders and management, and any number of other constituents that are involved in a complicated restructuring situation.

Who is your greatest mentor in the law and what have they taught you?

As a junior associate, now retired Kirkland & Ellis partner Marc Kieselstein let me take a lead role on restructuring U.S. $6 billion of funded debt of the concessionaire for the Indiana Toll Road, a 160‐mile highway that connects Chicago to Ohio. It was immensely complicated for many reasons, including the composition of the lender syndicate, interactions with the stateauthority that owned the road, and the sale process contemplated by our ultimate deal with the creditors

Marc taught me so many valuable lessons during that process that it is hard to list them all. He taught me the importance of taking strong, principled positions and being prepared to litigate to defend those positions. At the same time, he emphasized the need to know when you are winning and to seek consensual resolution. Most important of all, he reminded me that our jobs are not as complex or important as brain surgery or rocket science, and to keep a good sense of humor.

Tell us your two favorite songs on your summer music playlist.

First, as a bankruptcy lawyer, Taylor Swift’s “Anti-Hero” resonates, and not just because the Eras tour was a lot of fun to take my 6-year-old daughter to. I’m typically representing debtors or their lead creditors in figuring out how to resolve incredibly complicated problems that I had nothing to do with creating. Yet, the stakeholders—and even my clients—sometimes look to the bankruptcy lawyers as if yes, they’re the problem. Second, Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA,” because I grew up in Jersey and, hey, it’s summer. What else would you jam out to while BBQing and having fun?

Greg Pesce of White & Case at Grand Prix Miami
Greg Pesce and Jonathan Hurtarte/Bloomberg Law

Gregory Pesce also recently advised the debtors in the PWM Property Management LLC bankruptcy case which involved restructuring more than $2 billion of debt associated with high‐end commercial properties in New York City and Chicago. In addition, he has represented “U-Visa” applicants on a pro bono basis, helping unauthorized immigrants that have provided critical assistance to criminal investigations apply for temporary work authorizations as a path to receiving a green card. He is active with the University of Chicago alumni matters.

To contact the reporters on this story: Lisa Helem at; MP McQueen at

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