Mark S. Kaufman
As co-chair of the firm’s Municipal Reform & Innovation Practice, Mr. Kaufman advises financially distressed municipalities, special purpose districts, related governmental entities, as well as bondholders, bond insurers and other investors regarding the emerging legal issues and appropriate strategies for dealing with fiscally challenged municipal credits. Mr. Kaufman is a frequent speaker to bar and key financial and municipal governance groups where newly tested and evolving Chapter 9 and related principles are explored and debated. However, he strongly advocates resolving municipal financial distress without resort to the judicial process wherever possible.
Mr. Kaufman recently served as lead counsel to the Governor-appointed Receiver to the City of Harrisburg, PA. Harrisburg was able to successfully consummate its financial restructuring without resort to Chapter 9. Mark and the Receiver stressed cooperation among competing constituencies; and their full candor and sharing of all relevant information led to a consensual plan. McKenna’s leadership of the Harrisburg restructuring recently garnered the Firm the Atlas Award, recognizing the “Harrisburg Plan” as the Out-of-Court Restructuring of the Year. Mr. Kaufman personally was honored as the Mid-Market Restructuring Lawyer of the Year by the Global M & A Network for his work on the Harrisburg matter and more generally in the municipal distress space.
Mr. Kaufman is an author and frequent speaker at conferences and symposia focused on legal and financial issues associated with fiscally challenged municipalities. In addition to speaking on out-of-court municipal resolution strategies at this year’s ABI Annual Spring Conference, Mark co-authored two cover story articles for the ABI Journal in 2013 (February and November issues) focused on cutting-edge Chapter 9 legal issues, both of which were chosen by ABI from among 500-plus articles to be two of 30 featured in ABI’s 2013 edition of “The Year in Business Bankruptcy.”
Mr. Kaufman has received several other recognitions, including being named to the 2006 through the current 2014 Editions of Best Lawyers in America, where he is featured for bankruptcy and creditors’ rights law. Mr. Kaufman was recently listed as one of the Top 100 Restructuring and Turnaround Professionals Worldwide by Global M & A Networks. He has also been recognized as one of only 170 U.S.-based lawyers to have a biography in the 2014 Edition of the International Who’s Who of Insolvency and Restructuring Lawyers. Chambers USA has included him (from 2003-current) in their Client’s Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, recognizing Mr. Kaufman’s achievements in its bankruptcy and creditors’ rights section. Mr. Kaufman is also listed in the 2013 editions of Who’s Who in America as well as Who’s Who in the World, and is to be profiled again in the 2014 editions.
Aside from his more recent focus on municipal restructurings, during his career, Mr. Kaufman has concentrated his practice in the representations of secured creditors, lenders, investors, and committees, Mark Kaufman has also represented debtors in significant Chapter 11 cases, including as lead counsel of one of the nation’s most significant utility bankruptcies. A litigator by training and experience, Mark is comfortable in the courtroom if matters require judicial resolution.
Mr. Kaufman has served as President of the Bankruptcy Section of the Atlanta Bar Association and is an Emeritus Director of the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute (“SBLI”). He previously served as President and Chairman of SBLI in 2007 and 2008, respectively. He also chaired Georgia’s Bankruptcy Bench and Bar Conference.
- J.D., Harvard Law School, cum laude, 1973
- B.S., Cornell University, with high distinction, 1969
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
- "Balancing the Equities in Municipal Bankruptcies; What We Can Learn from Detroit and Stockton, and the Implications for Bond Holders," Law Journal Newsletters, January 1, 2015.
- "The Looming Chapter 9 Battle Over State Protection of Vested Public Employee Pension Benefits," The ABI Journal, November 1, 2013.
- "Maybe Taxes Aren't So Certain", ABI Journal, (February 2013).
- Understanding the Chapter 9 Option: A Strategic Guide for Municipalities and Special Purpose Districts.
- 10 Considerations for Financially Distressed Local Governments and Public Authorities.
Seminars and Presentations:
- "Negotiating Settlements Outside of Chapter 9," The Bond Buyer's Municipal Distress, Recovery and Financial Sustainability Symposium," May 1, 2014.
- "Municipal Meltdown: Emergency Managers, Receiverships and Other State Law Options for Addressing Municipal Distress," American Bankruptcy Institute's Annual meeting, April 26, 2014.
- "Pensions and Other Hot Topics in Chapter 9 Cases," Bankruptcy and Beyond: Solving the Problem of Municipal Financial Distress, Widener University School of Law, April 14, 2014.
- “Bankruptcy: What Could It Mean for Detroit? Voices From Other Places,” Wayne State University, November 21, 2013.
- ”Municipal Insolvencies in the Wake of Detroit: Navigating Chapter 9 and Out-of-Court Restructurings,” CLE Webinar, November 21, 2013.
- Interview: The Art of the Harrisburg Deal, The Bond Buyer, November 18, 2013.
- "Financial Distress Conditions: Different Approaches," Bloomberg State & Municipal Finance Conference, November 6, 2013.
- "I'll See You in Court: The Latest on Municipal Bankruptcy and Fiscal Distress," Bond
- Buyer's California Public Finance Conference, September 27, 2013.
- Interview: Bloomberg Television "Bottom Line" Program, August 19, 2013.
- "How Courts / State Governments Will Shape the New Municipal Landscape for Public Finances," City State's State of Emergency: A Policy Forum on Distressed Local Governments in New York, June 20, 2013.
- “Mapping a Course through the Maze of Municipal Distress,” Orange County Bankruptcy Forum, May 30, 2013.
- Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal Symposium on Municipal Distress, February 28, 2013 (published in Vol. 29, Issue 2, at 334-357).
- “Is Distress the New Normal? - U.S. Municipal Distress and the U.S. Municipal Bond Market,” IWIRC's 19th Annual Fall International Conference, October 24, 2012.
- "Bankruptcy, Restructuring and the Road Back," Bloomberg State & Municipal Finance 2012, October 3, 2012.
- “Municipal Insolvency: The Next Wave of Bankruptcies,” Strafford Webinar, July 17, 2012 and November 21, 2013.
- “Critical Considerations When Representing Parties in a Municipal Distress Matter," Turnaround Management Association’s 2012 Spring Conference, April 3, 2012.
- Guest lecturer at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government on municipal financial distress