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Richard Chesley

Richard Chesley

Global Managing Partner
Co-US Managing Partner
[S]uperb ability to quickly and effectively resolve issues
source quoted in Chambers USA

Richard ("Rick") Chesley practices in the areas of corporate restructuring with an emphasis on bankruptcy transactions, both in the United States and internationally. In addition, he handles litigation matters throughout the country stemming from bankruptcy proceedings.

Rick served as Co-Chair of the US Restructuring Group and Global Co-Chair of the Restructuring practice group for a number of years; and was appointed as the Co-US Managing Partner of the firm in April 2020.

Bar admissionsIllinoisNew YorkOhio
CourtsSupreme Court of the United StatesUnited States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (including the Trial Bar)United States District Court for the Northern District of OhioUnited States District Court for the Southern District of OhioUnited States Court of Appeals for the Second CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Third CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fourth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Fifth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Sixth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Seventh CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eighth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Ninth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Tenth CircuitUnited States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit


Rick has served as restructuring counsel in a number of chapter 11 proceedings, including the recently completed chapter 11 cases of Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, LK Bennett, Appvion, Abengoa US Holding LLC (including the related chapter 15 proceeding), and its affiliates Vertellus Specialties, Orchard Supply Hardware Stores, Velti plc, PJ Finance, Inc., and Trident Microsystems, Inc. and its subsidiaries in Asia and Europe. He recently worked on chapter 15 filings for bankruptcy protections through US courts for UK-based Arcadia Group, the parent company of Topshop and Topman. He has served as debtors' counsel in a number of other chapter 11 proceedings, including Kaiser Aluminum Corporation, National Century Financial Enterprises, Federated Department Stores, Elder-Beerman Stores, Montgomery Ward, Purina Mills, The Loewen Group, PFF Bancorp, Contech LLC, Morton Industrial Group, Vermillion, Inc, Fairfield Residential and its subsidiaries and East West Resort Development.

Rick has represented a number of acquirors or distressed businesses, including the recently completed acquisition of over 500 Hair Cuttery locations. In addition, he has represented Authentic Brands Group in a number of its acquisitions in chapter 11, including Brooks Brothers, Nine West, Aeropostale, Barneys New York, Prince Sports, Hickey Freeman, and a number of acquisitions outside of court, including the Marilyn Monroe brand. Rick also led a number of out-of-court restructurings, including Arendal, Norwood Promotional Products, Examination Management Services Inc. and Educational Media Publishing Group.

Along with his work on behalf of these and other debtors, Rick has served as counsel to official creditors' committees in the Polaroid Corporation, Stratosphere Hotel, MobileMedia Communications, Edison Brothers Stores, Grant Geophysical and Mercury Finance matters. He has also represented a number of other constituencies in bankruptcy proceedings throughout the US, including financial advisors, real estate acquirors, liquidators and other significant creditors.

  • J.D., University of Cincinnati College of Law
    Editorial Board, Law Review
  • B.A., Northwestern University


Chambers USA

  • Band 2, Illinois Bankruptcy/Restructuring (2020-2024) 
  • Band 3, Illinois Bankruptcy/Restructuring (2012-2019)

The Legal 500 United States

  • Recommended, Restructuring (including Bankruptcy): Corporate (2015, 2019-2020)
Additional Awards
  • Distressed M&A Deal of the Year (Global M&A Network - EYP Group Holdings) 

Rick has been named to the BTI Client Service All-Star Team for Law Firm and selected as one of the top outstanding restructuring lawyers by Turnarounds & Workouts and Global M&A Network. He has been selected as a 2022 and 2023 Lawdragon 500 Leading Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyer and recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer. He was also included in the, Who's Who Legal in the Restructuring & Insolvency category and has been recognized by Turnarounds & Workouts as one of the Outstanding Lawyers in their recent report.

The American Jewish Committee honored Rick with the Judge Learned Hand Human Relations Award on October 2014. This award recognizes those who have taken up Judge Hand’s clarion call to the spirit and ideals of justice, safeguarding the rights of individuals and our democratic values.

Rick has also served a number of pro bono clients in the US and globally, and received the Firm's Pro Bono award in 2016.



Richard has been an active speaker on litigation and bankruptcy topics and has taught at the National Institute for Trial Advocacy on several occasions.

  • Panelist (INSOL Global Faculty), "Cryptocurrencies – A Legal Tangle for the Insolvency Industry," INSOL International webinar (December 2, 2020)
  • Moderator, "Global Political Shockwaves – Opportunities and Risks in Turbulent Times," Israel (February 13, 2017)
  • Panelist, "Restructuring Outlook: Optimism and Uncertainty," WSJ Pro Bankruptcy (February 7, 2017)
  • Panelist, "Freedom to Fail? – Insolvency for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises," The 2016 Africa Roundtable, INSOL International Africa Round Table (ART), Accra, Ghana (October 6-7, 2016)
  • Panelist, "The Importance of Practitioner Standards and Skills in Restructurings and Liquidations," INSOL International Africa Roundtable, Cape Town, South Africa (October 13, 2015)

Media Mentions

Prior Experience

Once he had established his restructuring law career but before joining DLA Piper, Rick worked for Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin, a financial advisory firm with which he still works closely. There he served as senior vice president and restructuring general counsel. In addition to his firmwide legal responsibilities, he was also a member of Houlihan Lokey's financial restructuring group, working on the restructuring of Nextel International, CTI Movil, and United Airlines.

From the experience and insights he garnered before, during and after his tenure there, Rick continues to provide a unique and valuable perspective for his clients.

Memberships And Affiliations

  • ABA
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • TMA