Bloomberg Law
July 27, 2023, 9:00 AM

They’ve Got Next: The 40 Under 40 - Rachael Ringer of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel

Lisa Helem
Lisa Helem
Executive Editor
MP McQueen

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

For nearly two years, I led the representation of a group of funds holding over $5.5 billion in unsecured claims against LATAM Airlines, the largest airline in Latin America, which filed for bankruptcy in May 2020 amidst the global pandemic. My work on matter included successfully negotiating and defending backstop agreements and plan confirmation before the Bankruptcy Court and on appeal to the Southern District and Second Circuit.

I have also been co-leading the representation of the seven-member creditors committee in the Endo International bankruptcy case. Burdened by more than $8 billion in debt and facing thousands of lawsuits over its alleged role in the opioid epidemic, the company filed for bankruptcy in the Southern District of New York in August 2022. Through investigations, litigation, and substantial negotiation, we were able to successfully negotiate for a material increase in consideration to be made available for non-opioid unsecured creditors, subject to implementation through a bankruptcy sale.

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

I learned a critical lesson as a first-year associate that not only changed the way I approached my cases as an associate but is one that I have continued to pass on to nearly every mentee I have worked with: you are never too junior to take ownership over your case.

A few weeks into my career, after being tasked with cite checking a brief drafted by another, more senior attorney, I spent the evening meticulously checking the quotations, citations, and blue book abbreviations dutifully ingrained from my time spent as managing editor of articles for the Hofstra Law Review.

But I made the mistake of assuming that the draftsperson had intentionally used the cited cases—even if the outcome of those cases was averse to what we were seeking in our brief. After reviewing the opposition papers once filed and spending substantial time distinguishing and defending the original citations, it quickly became clear that the issue could have been avoided entirely had I spoken up and indicated my concerns (even as a first year).

Learning from this experience, I soon came to realize that taking a bigger level of ownership as a junior associate and acting on initiatives led to a greater level of responsibility, allowing me to forge more of a leadership role in cases going forward.

How do you define success in your practice?

I used to think that success in the restructuring world meant facilitating the highest possible recovery for your client—and in many respects that is still very much the underpinning of a successful representation and successful restructuring from a creditor’s perspective.

But through my recent work on mass tort cases (including Purdue Pharma, Boy Scouts, and Endo), I have come to realize that non-economic terms can be just as important as economic ones, including agreements that facilitate transparency with the public, better governance or operating procedures, and/or oversight going forward to both provide answers to victims and work towards avoiding the actions that resulted in the bankruptcy in the first place. Ultimately, I believe success is defined by achievement of the client’s worthy objectives, whether monetary or not.

What are you most proud of as a lawyer?

It is difficult to pinpoint one specific item that I am most proud of as a lawyer, but I am particularly proud of the track record of success I have achieved, building upon the lessons learned and solutions forged in each representation, making every “next” representation stronger still. For example, I am particularly proud of the creative case solutions we were able to achieve and implement in the cross-border case of LATAM Airlines, a case replete with complex international issues, many of which were first-of-their-kind and required delicate navigation with the clients and adversaries alike.

Notably, the case (and our legal advice) benefited strongly from substantial collaboration with our co-advisers and the clients themselves; by listening to and helping to channel their diverse interests, concerns, and ideas, we were able, collectively, to address issues in a collaborative manner that contributed to the overall success of the case (both before the Bankruptcy Court and on multiple appeals), and undoubtedly will prove valuable in future representations to come.

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

A key mentor early on in my career was my law school professor who I credit as one of the primary reasons why I chose to pursue a career in corporate restructuring – the late Professor Alan Resnick, who served as Benjamin Weintraub Distinguished Professor of Bankruptcy Law, interim dean, and associate dean at Hofstra Law.

Professor Resnick was both a professor and bankruptcy practitioner (and responsible for much of the Bankruptcy Code itself) and had a way of inspiring interest in bankruptcy law with even a brief conversation on the topic. He expressed true excitement at the intricacies of the Bankruptcy Code, and intrigue over the creative ways in which it could be interpreted and applied. He challenged his students to not just understand the law but understand its practical applications in the context of real-life situations-- many of which I found myself facing as a practitioner in the years that followed graduation.

Early on in my career, I found myself trying to emulate his excitement for the restructuring practice and law itself, and I not only have continued to carry this effort with me throughout my career but have worked to try to instill the same sentiments in junior associates and law clerks similarly embarking on a career in restructuring.

What is on your summer playlist?

“Shut Up and Dance,” by Walk the Moon—this song continues to be a favorite of mine year after year, not only is it a fun song on its own, but it reminds me of (and still ignites) impromptu dance parties in the kitchen with my husband and stepdaughter while cooking together, and was the final song we (and all our guests) danced to at our wedding!

And “The Happy Song,” Imogen Heap – not necessarily one I thought I would have on my list this summer, but with a 9-month-old that has adopted this song as a form of quick comfort, this song is on repeat on my playlist – and in my head.

Rachael Ringer of Kramer Levin with family in Florida.

Rachael Ringer has led the representation of the largest group of unsecured claim holders in the contested bankruptcy cases of the Latin American airline LATAM Airlines and has been co-leading the committee representation in the Endo Pharmaceuticals Chapter 11 case connected to opioid lawsuits. She also led the Kramer Levin team that served as lead counsel to the five-member official committee of unsecured creditors of the Boy Scouts of America.

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

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