CJ Murray tries to find the positive in every case that crosses his desk. Since he focuses on receivership cases, that isn’t always easy.
“Receivership cases are very interesting and there are so many reasons companies go out of business,” said Murray, who works at Beck, Chaet, Bamberger & Polsky SC, Milwaukee. “I try to always make the best of each situation … such as if we can sell a business to someone else.”
Murray recently had that experience with Tramont Corp., a Milwaukee manufacturer. By going through the receivership process, the company was able to find a buyer who will keep the business open at its current location.
“It’s great when you can save jobs,” Murray said.
The job requires a lot of research skills, he said, as well as practical decision making. He typically looks through all claims associated with a company and decides who takes precedent as assets are sold off.
“Most of the time we get a call from a bankruptcy attorney that a client is ready for receivership and it’s then time to get moving on the case,” he said. “More businesses are looking to receivership rather than bankruptcy, since bankruptcy is so expensive and rigid.”
When working with clients, Murray said he delves into the business at hand and learns as much as he can about that industry as quickly as possible.
“I really learned a lot about the retail industry when working with American TV,” he said. “First, we sold off their inventory and then the real estate. In whatever we do, we want to make sure employees get what they are entitled to as we analyze other claims and their priorities.”
That can get tricky if there are numerous claims against a company. Cases typically take anywhere from 9 months to 2 years to finalize.
“It’s really comes down to making a recommendation to the court on how proceeds should be divided and then seeing if they’ll accept those recommendations,” Murray said. “We sometimes have great stories like Milwaukee Forge, which was in receivership a few years ago and it was sold to a group of managers. They had their 100th anniversary last summer and we were invited to the celebration. It was neat to be a part of that.”
Wisconsin Law Journal: What career would you have pursued if you hadn’t become an attorney?
CJ Murray: Sports broadcasting. I lucked into a job as the sports director at the student radio station at Notre Dame and was able to travel to and broadcast Irish football games my junior and senior years of college. I then interned at the local NBC affiliate and attempted to break into media. Living in Dallas and Chicago was not ideal for starting at the bottom in that industry and ultimately Marquette Law accepted me before SportsCenter did.
WLJ: What was the last book that you read?
Murray: “Tyrannosaurus Was a Beast.” Somehow, every week my son, Joe [who is 5], finds another dinosaur book at the school library. And I get to read it to him. I would put Joe’s dino knowledge up against anyone.
WLJ: What do you miss most about your childhood?
Murray: That is an impossible question to answer! When I think of my childhood, I picture playing outside with no worries or billable hours, just fun.
WLJ: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Murray: Run faster
WLJ: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Murray: I grew up in the Dallas area and visited my grandparents in southwestern Wisconsin with my two younger sisters every summer for as long as I can remember. Those great summers here, coupled with my parents, who were originally from Wisconsin, raising me a Packer fan, made Wisconsin the only place I have ever wanted to live. So I guess I am living the dream.
WLJ: What is your favorite thing to do in Wisconsin?
Murray: Packers training camp. I convinced my wife, Megan, a Pittsburgh-area native, to take the trip to Lambeau in August 10 years ago. We have been back every year since. It is such a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere, and helped to convert Megan into a Packers fan. Now that Luke has ditched his training wheels I feel good about our chances of having a Packer player ride one of the kids’ bikes.
WLJ: If you could have drinks with anyone, who would it be?
Murray: Vince Lombardi. After a Packers win at one of his parties in the Lombardi basement when he is in a good mood. We would drink old-fashioneds and I could wear his hat and glasses.
WLJ: What was the last movie that you saw?
Murray: “Mr. Peabody and Sherman” at the Times Cinema. I am probably 10 years away from seeing anything other than a movie rated G.