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Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights

Mackenzie Hughes represented one of the world’s largest insurance companies in litigating claims by a U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee arising from the debtor’s fraud scheme that exceeded $1 billion, making it the most substantial and highly publicized bankruptcy litigation in the region’s history. The firm aggressively protected the insurer’s interests and successfully reached a court-authorized settlement after extensive and complex negotiations.

Armed with a great deal of experience in bankruptcy law, our team of professionals can advise businesses through the most extreme financial hardships.  We’ve represented a broad spectrum of clients, including banks and credit unions, manufacturers, construction companies and developers, hotels, retailers, and professional services firms.

Our knowledge of the law will see debtors through workouts — negotiating repayment terms of loans with creditors, whether or not bankruptcy has been filed. And when dealing with reorganization, we make it part of our job to know and understand our clients and to make choices that will be the right ones now and for years to come. These decisions are made considering a multitude of issues ranging from bankruptcy, litigation planning, document review, and priority issues to liability considerations.

When bankruptcy occurs, debtors aren’t the only ones at a loss. We also apply our experience and expertise to creditors. Many times creditors believe they do not have any rights or alternatives with respect to debtors’ claims. We can advise them of their rights to share in any distribution from the bankruptcy estate, be heard by the court in matters concerning the debtor’s plan, challenge an individual debtor’s right to a discharge and assist them in litigation of such matters.

Services include:

  • Commercial litigation
  • Counseling of debtor corporations
  • Special counsel for debtors in possession
  • Representation of banks in litigation for foreclosures and recovery of defaulted loans
  • Litigation in complex adversary proceedings, including objections to discharge
  • Counseling workouts when negotiating final resolution with multiple creditors
  • Defending creditors from claims for violations of the automatic stay, preferential transfers and fraudulent transfers

Meet the Team

Our experienced attorneys will work with you to create meaningful legal solutions designed to help you make better business, personal planning and legal decisions.

Meet the Team


Clayton H. Hale, Jr.

Partner and Co General Counsel


Mackenzie Hughes Attorney Neil J. Smith Elected President of Central New York Bankruptcy Bar Association

Neil J. Smith has been elected president of the Central New York Bankruptcy Bar Association. Since joining Mackenzie Hughes in 2005, Smith has been a member of the business department focusing in bankruptcy law. His practice includes the representation of businesses in bankruptcy proceedings, debt reorganizations and workouts. He also represents defendants in preferential transfer…

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It’s a Trap! Four Strategies for Turning Around a Struggling Company (That Almost Never Work)

As a bankruptcy practitioner, I have seen a fair share of business failures. Unless a company’s management is particularly nearsighted (or the failure is sudden and due to external forces), towards the end management teams do usually recognize that there are problems and try to correct them.

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Another Reason to Move South – Creditor Protection of Retirement Plan Benefits for Floridians

In the fall of 2014, my colleague Betsy wrote an informative blog regarding a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that held that under federal law, an IRA that is inherited by an individual (i.e. the beneficiary) is not protected in bankruptcy.

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Three Steps to Consider if a Customer is Going Down the Tubes

Imagine this scenario – your business has a major, long-time customer. The customer has been paying on its invoices, but payments have been coming more and more slowly, and there is now a substantial balance due on the account. On top of all that, you just sent them a large shipment of custom widgets on…

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