As if he doesn’t have enough to do as head of Levenfeld Perlstein’s restructuring group and as executive editor of the must-read ABI Journal, Jonathan Friedland has undertaken the gargantuan task, never yet accomplished, of assembling in a single treatise, entitled Strategic Alternatives for Distressed Businesses, the varied state law approaches to the liquidation and disposition of distressed businesses (including so-called "assignments for the benefit of creditors" or "ABC’s").
What motivated Jon to commit himself to this public service? Apparently, frustration! Now while most lawyers let out their frustrations on some hapless administrative assistant or airline gate agent, not so Jon, who writes:
This book was born out of frustration. Beginning several years ago, I noticed that more and more companies in need of a restructuring or sale could afford neither the time nor cost of a Chapter 11. My frustration came from the fact that I, like so many other lawyers who focus their practices on the representation of parties in Chapter 11 and out-of-court workouts, simply did not have the same rich resources of information at my fingertips with respect to nonbankruptcy alternatives for distressed business as I did with respect to bankruptcy.
The need for a book like this was brought home to me when, in several deals, we decided that we likely needed an Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, and likely had the ability to do one in any of several different states. I needed to understand the pros and cons of each state’s procedure. I found that more information resided in the heads of a few people here and there than in any book. I wanted a single volume that compiled relevant statutes from across jurisdictions. I looked and looked, but there simply was nothing like that. This book seeks to fill the void.
On this score, Jon is right. Many state bar and continuing education associations have developed outlines covering a particular state’s law and practice regarding ABC’s (such as this excellent one covering ABC’s in Illinois). Bob Eisenbach also has neatly summarized in this blog post "the ABC option," with links to various excellent works (including Geoffrey Berman’s 118 page practical guide, published by the ABI and now in its second edition, entitled General Assignments for the Benefit of Creditors: The ABC’s of ABC’s). None, however, point to any comprehensive 50 state review of strategic alternatives to bankruptcy.
Jon’s role in this project is as principal author and editor-in-chief (or as he humbly calls it, "Chief Logistics Manager"). DSI’s Geoffrey Berman also lends his considerable talents as executive editor to the project. 26 other restructuring professionals from around the country (including such household names as Will Kohn, Carl Lane, Patty Redmond, and Nancy Ross) also joined to contribute to the 1,211 page treatise, which divides into the following sections: