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Stadler, bankruptcy cases an ideal fit

Stadler, bankruptcy cases an ideal fit

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stadlerBankruptcies can be complicated, but despite the complexities, speed is of the essence.

“Bankruptcy law is very quick-paced, but it has a lot of substance. It’s a real challenge,” said Katherine Stadler, shareholder in Godfrey & Kahn’s business, finance & restructuring and litigation practice groups.

When Stadler began practicing in 1997, an economic slowdown led to an increase in business bankruptcies and restructurings.

“I had an opportunity to try bankruptcy law and just found that I liked it a lot so I stayed,” she said.

Since then, she has built a solid portfolio of commercial restructuring, including participating in high-profile cases involving General Motors’ and Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Stadler became involved as the lead counsel to the fee examiner in GM bankruptcy cases when her partner Brady Williamson was elected as the fee examiner for the case by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York. That role led to her being named as counsel to the four-member fee committee in the Lehman Brothers case.

“In bankruptcy, everyone is motivated to get it done,” Stadler said. “You don’t have long discovery battles and the bankruptcy bench is very smart.”

While she enjoyed working on the GM and Lehman Brothers’ cases, she noted a difference.

“In our bankruptcy court here, all of the lawyers know each other and it’s a more congenial atmosphere,” Stadler said. “The stakes were so high in both of those cases and there were a lot of big wigs involved in the cases, who can be imposing figures.”

Stadler’s work in the Lehman Brothers’ case earned a lot of praise, said Nicholas Wahl, Godfrey & Kahn’s president and managing partner.

“The fee review process in the Lehman cases received on-the-record accolades from the bankruptcy judge, who noted that the systems and procedures Katie helped establish and implement for the fee committee could serve as a model for all large Chapter 11 cases,” he said.

She’s helping to establish good procedures at her firm, as well. Stadler helps lead Godfrey & Kahn’s Women’s Leadership Forum and the recruiting and associates committees. She also is past chairwoman and vice chairwoman for the Western District of Wisconsin Bankruptcy Bar Association where she was responsible for monthly programming activities.

“There’s not very many women in bankruptcy law and I am not sure why,” she said. “Part of it may be that it’s very male dominated and they may not see themselves fitting in there.”


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