Thomas is widely recognized as one of the leading bankruptcy attorneys in the United States.
As Global Head of White & Case's Financial Restructuring and Insolvency Practice, he has played a pivotal role in the restructuring of more than US$100 billion of debt, in some of the largest and most complex restructurings in history.
This significant track record has made Thomas a go-to lawyer for clients involved in the toughest and most challenging of bankruptcies. He combines a deep understanding, based on more than 30 years’ experience, of the underlying legal principles, with a willingness to develop new and creative solutions and then to take on the difficult litigation challenges that often come into play in the insolvency arena.
Thomas' reputation, as a legal innovator, a thoughtful strategist and a tenacious champion of his clients' interests, has attracted a host of respected and well-known strategic and financial investors as regular clients on complex insolvency matters.
Undaunted by scale or complexity, Thomas' robust representation is based both on his strengths as a strategist and negotiator and his acclaimed leadership skills. Noted by Chambers Global for his reputation as a "strong commander", Thomas is adept at coordinating advice across multiple offices, to provide clients with clear yet creative solutions to technically intricate, multijurisdictional problems.
Among his numerous high-profile and award-winning deals, Thomas advised the investment group that bought the Texas Rangers baseball team from bankruptcy, acted as lead counsel to the creditors who won ownership of Six Flags Inc. following the company's bankruptcy, and represented a group of creditors who opposed the US government's section 363 sale of Chrysler. Thomas was singled out by the Financial Times in its 2010 list of 'US Innovative Lawyers' for his work on these matters.
Thomas also led the restructuring of the Central European Distribution Corporation, a deal that won "Chapter 11 Reorganization of the Year (over US$1 billion)" award at the 2014 M&A Advisor Distressed Investing Summit, where he also won the "M&A Advisor's 2014 Leadership Award."
A respected authority on restructuring matters, Thomas is a prolific speaker and author on related topics such as comparative insolvency law systems, enterprise valuation, cross-border restructuring, liquidating plans and alternative dispute resolution procedures. Leading publications seek his opinion regarding restructuring issues of national and international interest and the rehabilitation strategies of distressed companies.
Advised the company, one of the largest generators of electricity in the United States, in connection with the innovative refinancing and restructuring of over US$6 billion of debt and obligations, which was completed through a chapter 11 plan in the Southern District of New York.
The Los Angeles Dodgers
The Dodgers, one of Major League Baseball's most storied franchises, filed for bankruptcy protection in Delaware to preserve Frank McCourt's continued ownership of the team. Thomas and a team of the Firm’s lawyers represented Major League Baseball in successful negotiations for the sale of the team to new ownership, in a record-setting US$2.15 billion transaction.
Represented holders of portions of Chrysler's approximately US$7 billion in first-lien secured debt in opposing the reorganization of Chrysler through a Section 363 sale of substantially all Chrysler's assets. As widely reported, Thomas and his team pressed the dispute to the US Supreme Court, where they initially obtained a stay of the sale (which the Court subsequently vacated to permit the sale to close), and later won the vacature of the Second Circuit's ruling on the sale.
Following the largest bank failure in US history, Thomas and a team of the Firm’s lawyers represented the Ad Hoc Committee of senior noteholders, the senior-most stakeholders in this US$327 billion chapter 11 bankruptcy. The full amount of the debt was successfully recovered, as well as substantially all of the accrued interest thereon.
Served as debtors' lead counsel in the company’s successful chapter 11 reorganization in the Northern District of Texas. This matter involved more than US$10 billion in debt—the largest US bankruptcy in 2003, and one of the largest energy sector bankruptcy filings in US history. Mirant Corporation is one of the largest producers, generators and marketers of electricity in the world.
Represented a group of bondholders who led the negotiation and financing of Visteon's successful exit from chapter 11. Visteon is one of the largest auto-parts manufacturers in the world.
Texas Rangers Baseball Partners
Represented an investor group led by Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan and sports attorney Chuck Greenberg in their successful effort to purchase the Texas Rangers baseball club out of chapter 11 in August 2010 — thereby enabling them to lead the team to its first-ever World Series appearance.
Six Flags Amusement Parks
Thomas and his team represented an ad hoc group of parent-level noteholders in their successful effort to acquire Six Flags — one of the largest amusement park operators in the world, which was then in chapter 11 - by raising sufficient new debt and equity financing to over-take the company's previously proposed plan, which would have provided the parent-level lenders with a de minimis recovery.
This was one of the largest and most complex bankruptcies ever filed in the Southern District of New York, involving more than US$18 billion in assets. Thomas and a team of the Firm’s lawyers acted as counsel to the Ad Hoc Committee of Arahova Noteholders, a group of large financial institutions and funds which held a substantial portion of the US$1.75 billion of notes issued by Adelphia's indirect subsidiary, Arahova Communications. Through the Firm’s efforts, the Arahova Noteholders received total consideration valued at an amount roughly equal to the full par amount of the notes plus all accrued interest, after defeating a plan that would have paid them only a small fraction of what they were owed.
Leading Lawyer (Band 1): Bankruptcy/ Restructuring – Florida, Chambers USA 2014
Leading Lawyer (Band 2): Bankruptcy/ Restructuring – New York, Chambers USA 2014
Leading Lawyer (Band 2): Bankruptcy/ Restructuring – Nationwide, Chambers USA 2014, Chambers Global 2014
“Leading bankruptcy attorney Tom Lauria... is "one heck of a lawyer," reported sources... Peers praised him for being "a strong commander and negotiator," while one remarked: "I've learned more from him in one case than from everyone else put together!"
Leadership Award 2014, M&A Advisor
The World's Leading Insolvency & Restructuring Lawyers, Expert Guides 2014
The Best Lawyers in America, 2008–2013
Outstanding Restructuring Lawyer, Turnarounds & Workouts, 2011–2012
Best Bankruptcy Lawyer in America, Turnarounds & Workouts
Top Ranking, IFLR USA