Clayton Utz partner receives rare accolade

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A top Sydney-based lawyer has achieved a rare feat in her field of specialisation.

Orla McCoy, a restructuring and insolvency partner at Clayton Utz, has been named the top student in the INSOL Global Insolvency Fellowship for 2017. She will travel to New York in May next year to receive her award at the next INSOL conference.

The INSOL Global Insolvency Fellowship course was an intensive and deep dive into the restructuring and insolvency regimes of key common and civil law jurisdictions, including the USA, England and Wales, the European Union, Singapore, Canada, Brazil and the leading offshore jurisdictions, McCoy told Australasian Lawyer.

The course was led by Ray Warner of St. John's University New York and US BigLaw outfit Greenberg Traurig. Among other things, it looked at the informal restructuring techniques in those jurisdictions and at judicial and court-to-court cooperation in cross border matters.

An international faculty of academics, judges, and professionals taught parts of the course, which required research papers, case studies, and the completion of three modules –including a one-week intensive restructuring simulation conducted in London and Sydney.

“The most beneficial aspect of the course has been getting to know, and learning from, my fellow students, all of whom are very impressive practitioners in their own jurisdictions, but happily all nice, normal, and most entertaining individuals,” McCoy said.

“The course has helped me to develop a better understanding of how the regimes of the key restructuring and insolvency hubs work, and how an optimum restructuring solution can be devised in a cross-border distress situation by drawing upon tools available in the insolvency regimes of different jurisdictions,” she added.

McCoy completes the fellowship at a time when Australia is seeing heightened insolvency and restructuring activity and a rise in matters that include cross-border elements.

“The Australian restructuring and insolvency market has been very busy in 2017 with high-profile formal appointments – including the Network Ten receivership, Topshop, Arrium – and significant formal and informal restructures – including Emeco, Boart Longyear, Peabody.  One key trend is that each matter had, or has, substantial cross-border elements. We are also seeing more international players, including US and Asian funds, looking for opportunities on every sizeable deal,” McCoy said.

According to McCoy, Australia is in the midst of game-changing domestic legislative reform, brought about by the safe harbour and ipso facto reforms. 

“In the wider Asia region, taking the ‘innovation’ mandate to a whole other level, Singapore's introduction, at break-neck speed, of a Chapter 11-scheme of arrangement hybrid is fascinating.  It will be interesting to see how the restructuring and insolvency market in the region develops as a consequence,” she said.

Orla McCoy

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