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Local Litigation Star

National Practice Area Star

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Emil A. Kleinhaus joined Wachtell Lipton in 2004 and became a partner in 2012. He focuses on litigation and advisory work relating to bankruptcy, insolvency and creditors’ rights. His areas of expertise include chapter 11 reorganizations, fraudulent transfer and fiduciary claims, and disputes under credit agreements and indentures. 

Emil has been involved in various significant matters. He represented JPMorgan Chase in the defense of wide-ranging litigation arising out of the Bernard Madoff fraud and the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy. He has represented major creditors in bankruptcy cases such as Neiman Marcus, Toys “R” Us., General Motors, and Westinghouse. He has also handled disputes relating to out-of-court transactions. As counsel for Education Management in its out-of-court restructuring, Emil argued and won a precedent-setting appeal in the Marblegate case from a judgment under the Trust Indenture Act. 

Emil has been recognized as a leading lawyer by Chambers USA, where he is described as “one of the most thoughtful bankruptcy litigators in the field” and “very academic and intelligent.” He has also been recognized as a Litigation Star by Benchmark Litigation, an elite bankruptcy and restructuring lawyer by Lawdragon, and a “rising star” by Law360. 

Emil is the author of a chapter in Collier on Bankruptcy, the leading bankruptcy treatise. He has also published many articles, including “Prepayment Clauses in Bankruptcy,” 15 Am. Bankr. Inst. L. Rev. 537 (2007) and “Debt Repayments as Fraudulent Transfers,” 88 Am. Bankr. L.J. 307 (2014). 

Emil is a Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, which advises the United States Congress on bankruptcy law. He served as co-chair of the Bankruptcy Litigation Committee of the Federal Bar Council and chair of the New York City Bar Association’s Subcommittee on Fraudulent Conveyance Law. In 2018, Emil received the James H. Fogelson Emerging Leadership Award from the Lawyers Division of the UJA Federation of New York. 

Emil received a B.A., summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa, from Yale College, and a J.D. from Yale Law School, where he was an Articles Editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following law school, he served as a law clerk for Chief Judge Michael B. Mukasey of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and for Judge José A. Cabranes of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. 

Updated Oct 2021