Robert Drain was a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York for over 20 years, starting in 2002 and retiring in June 2022. He currently is on recall.
He received his B.A. degree cum laude with honors from Yale University in 1979 and his J.D. degree in 1984 from the Columbia University School of Law, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar for three years.
At the time of his appointment in 2002, he was a partner in the Bankruptcy Department of the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, where he represented debtors, trustees, secured and unsecured creditors, official and unofficial creditors committees, and buyers of distressed businesses and distressed debt in chapter 11 cases, out-of-court restructurings and bankruptcy-related litigation and also was actively involved in several transnational insolvency matters.
He is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a member and board member of the American Bankruptcy Institute, a member of the International Insolvency Institute, a member and former board member and secretary of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, and a founding member and former chair of the Judicial Insolvency Network. He also was for several years the chair of the Bankruptcy Judges Advisory Group established through the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and was appointed to the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee through December 31, 2024. He was an adjunct professor for several years at St. John’s University School of Law’s LLM in Bankruptcy Program and currently is an adjunct professor at Pace University School of Law and has lectured and written on numerous bankruptcy-related topics.
He had a diverse and active docket of chapter 7, chapter 13, and small business, moderately sized and mega chapter 11 cases. He has presided over the chapter 11 cases of Loral, RCN, Cornerstone, Refco, Allegiance Telecom, Delphi, Coudert Brothers, Frontier Airlines, Star Tribune, Reader’s Digest, A&P, Hostess Brands, Christian Brothers, Momentive, Cenveo, 21st Century Oncology, Tops, G A&T, Sears, Standard Amusements (Playland), Full Beauty Brands, Sungard, Windstream, Purdue Pharma, Jason Industries, OneWeb, and Frontier Communications. He also presided over the ancillary or plenary cases, as the case may be, of Corporacion Durango, Satellites Mexicanas, Parmalat S. p. A. and its affiliated United States debtors, Varig S.A., Yukos (II), SphinX, Galvex Steel, TBS Shipping, Excel Maritime, Nautilus, Landsbanki Islands, Roust, and Ultrapetrol. He served as the court- appointed mediator in a number of chapter 11 cases, including New Page, Cengage, Quicksilver, Advanta, LightSquared, Molycorp, Breitburn Energy, and China Fishery.
He is the author of a novel, The Great Work in the United States of America.
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