Dustin P. Smith is a partner in the firm's Corporate Reorganization and Litigation departments. He represents companies restructuring their financial affairs both in and out of court, as well as representing secured and general creditors in Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 bankruptcies, out-of-court workouts, and adversary and collateral proceedings. Among other things, Dustin has assisted with the recovery of customer and proprietary assets and resolved various disputes on behalf of the trustee in the Lehman Brothers Inc. and MF Global Inc. bankruptcies, including the investigation of the events leading to the failure of these entities, resolution of thousands of individual claims, litigation regarding the status of various financial instruments and transactions in liquidations, and the distribution of billions in assets to these entities’ former customers and creditors. His representation has brought him into frequent contact with regulators, self-regulatory organizations and industry groups. Dustin is also the managing editor of the Hughes Hubbard & Reed Bankruptcy Report, an online resource providing insights on emerging issues and developments in bankruptcy law.
In 2016, Dustin was selected for inclusion in Global Restructuring Review’s “40 under 40,” a list of 40 legal professionals under the age of 40 who are “the world’s leading young insolvency and restructuring lawyers.” In 2014, Dustin was recognized by Turnarounds & Workouts as an Outstanding Young Restructuring Lawyer—an honor bestowed upon only 12 bankruptcy lawyers nationwide.
Secretary, New York City Bar Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization Committee
Member, Part 190 Subcommittee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association
Former Secretary, Federal Bar Council Bankruptcy Committee
Recommended Lawyer in The Legal 500 United States for Finance: Restructuring (including Bankruptcy): Corporate (2020, 2021)
Selected for Next Generation Award by the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (2015)
Super Lawyers: “Rising Stars” (New York) (2015-2017)
United States District Court Southern District of New York
United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit
Highlighted Publications and Lecturers
“A Preference Pendulum: Extraterritorial Application of Avoidance Powers in the SDNY.” New York Law Journal (June 12, 2017)
“Barton Beware: Barton Doctrine Prevents Bermuda Insurers from Enforcing Arbitration Clause in Foreign Court.” Insolvency and Restructuring International Vol 11 No. 1 (April 2017)
“Threading the Needle: Bankruptcy Court Ruling Reconciles Chapter 15 and Barnett,” ABA’s Business Bankruptcy Committee Newsletter (2016)
“Lender Recovery in Bankruptcy: Pre-Petition Default Interest, Pre-Payment Penalties, Late Fees, OID, Attorney Fees,” Strafford Publications (June 2015)
“Courtside Seats: Sovereign Restructurings in the Supreme Court Arena” New York Law Journal (June 23, 2014)
MF Global Inc.: Counsel for the trustee for the liquidation of MF Global Inc. Dustin was a key member of the team that effectuated the transfer of billions of dollars in open commodity contract positions and collateral from MF Global to other futures commissions merchants shortly after that troubled firm's collapse. He was also a member of the team that investigated the events leading to the shortfall of customer property at MF Global Inc., and that authored the Report of the Trustee's Investigation and Recommendations, dated June 4, 2012, which was filed with the Bankruptcy Court and was widely disseminated. He was one of the primary counsel to the trustee responsible for affirmative litigation in connection with MF Global Inc., including the recovery of missing customer funds. He also coordinated the review and determination of over 6,000 claims filed against MF Global’s general estate.
Lehman Brothers Inc.: Counsel to the trustee for the liquidation of Lehman Brothers Inc., the largest stockbroker ever to fail. Dustin was a key member of the team that investigated the clearing bank for Lehman Brothers Inc., which resulted in an $860 million settlement on behalf of the trustee. He was also a member of the team that reached a negotiated settlement with a European affiliate that resulted in the resolution of billions in claims between the parties. Dustin has also handled various other disputes on behalf of the trustee with other Lehman affiliates and third parties.
In re Ultrapetrol (Bahamas) Ltd.: Debtor’s counsel in the prepackaged Chapter 11 restructuring of international shipping and service company that operates in seven jurisdictions globally.
In re Republic Airways Holdings Inc.: Debtors’ counsel in the $3.5 billion Chapter 11 restructuring of regional airline.
In re Patriot National Inc.: Debtor’s counsel in the pre-negotiated Chapter 11 restructuring of an insurance service company.
In re Affiliated Media Inc.: Debtor’s counsel in a prepackaged bankruptcy of the second-largest newspaper publisher in the US, which resulted in the acceptance of the prepackaged plan by virtually all creditors, and the confirmation of the plan in 41 days.
In re Worldwide Transportation Services Inc.: Counsel to a secured lender, a debtor-in-possession (DIP) lender, and an acquirer of substantial assets pursuant to Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Daicel: Counsel for creditor in the bankruptcy of an airbag manufacturer.
Banco do Brasil: Counsel to secured creditor in the bankruptcy proceedings of a plastics manufacturer.
In re Spectrawatt Inc.: Counsel to a UK company in the recovery of 100 percent of its advance payments following the failure of a US solar producer.
Government of Ontario: Representation of the government of Ontario in the Chrysler and General Motors Chapter 11 cases.
Representation of a variety of financial institutions and other entities as creditors in bankruptcy cases, loan default proceedings and out-of-court restructurings.
Dustin’s pro bono practice focuses on immigration and asylum matters in the Southern District of New York and Second Circuit and prisoner rights and reform matters.