Overview

Mark Fisher’s broad experience helps clients seize opportunities in complex restructuring and bankruptcy cases and avoid pitfalls in secured, structured and mezzanine financing transactions. A “lawyer’s lawyer,” he has drafted portions of the laws governing secured transactions, equipment leasing and bankruptcy that are central to his court advocacy, negotiations and drafting. Mark has an innate ability to present the law and underlying reasons in practical terms, helping him resolve hundreds of deals and cases in his 35 years as a finance and restructuring lawyer.

Mark excels at quickly sizing up the documents, players and perspectives of a transaction, because timely advice is essential in identifying and addressing bankruptcy and creditors’ rights issues. Those insights are just as important in structuring a highly leveraged transaction or distressed acquisition as they are in enforcing a lender’s rights or defending against a lender liability or fraudulent transfer attack. Mark knows he practices in the “intensive care” wing of the legal system. This includes counseling in the unique area where a bank holding company is in financial difficulty and itself must restructure or even consider bankruptcy. Fortunately, Mark understands how to develop the appropriate agreement or pleading in unique matters where there is no template or form.  He also has tried cases to courts and juries and handled complex appeals throughout the United States.

Mark represents some of the largest banks and insurance companies as well as smaller financial, manufacturing and real estate firms who face an opportunity or challenge with financing or insolvency matters. He continues to lead a joint defense group facing a $450 million fraudulent transfer and breach of fiduciary duty claim.  He also obtained, from the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, en banc, vindication of a trademark licensee against a bankrupt licensor who could have put it out of business by using bankruptcy to reject key licenses. Mark has crafted laws that benefit commercial and industrial landlords regarding rejection claims, post-petition administrative claims and other issues across the United States.

Mark has had particular experience with leveraged acquisitions, secured lending and equipment leasing, commercial real estate leasing, and intellectual property transactions and bankruptcy cases. He has represented parties in over 50 financially-distressed acquisitions in and outside bankruptcy cases.  His successful defense of lenders, intellectual property (IP) licensees and landlords has won him many awards and a high rating. It has also helped solidify Schiff Hardin’s reputation as a "midsize firm that has the capabilities and professionalism you would expect of a top firm" (Chambers) in finance and restructuring.

  • Experience

    • Mark represented a major insurance company as mezzanine lender in the bankruptcy of a consumer products company that involved de-railing a quick sale arranged by the senior lender. He spearheaded a plan of reorganization, negotiating a better transaction, then brokered a settlement with the plaintiffs in a class action, clearing the way for his reorganization plan to be consummated.
    • Mark navigated a client through a complex cross-border bankruptcy case of a defense contractor. Mark was called in to represent the bank agent for several secured lenders. The matter brought with it complex legal issues relating to the debtor’s supply chain and the simultaneous sale of U.S. and Canadian corporate assets involving regulations promulgated by the U.S. State Department and Department of Defense and their Canadian analogs. Other issues involved in the case included environmental liability and arbitration of the disputed working capital adjustment under the asset purchase agreements.
    • Mark fought against DIP financing and a quick Section 363 sale on behalf of the unsecured creditors committee of a bankrupt contractor. He negotiated a multimillion-dollar distribution trust for the benefit of unsecured creditors and established an innovative arrangement to resolve mechanics’ lien claims and property owners’ defenses to the payment of accounts receivable.
    • Mark represented the buyer of a refractory brick manufacturer and installer that had previously used asbestos in its products. He not only helped the firm put together a successful bid of cash and debt at an auction of business assets as well as a subsequent plan that took advantage of bankruptcy code provisions barring successor liability and future claimants from suing the client.
    • When a bank found itself facing lender liability litigation for an alleged “bad faith” foreclosure against Government National Mortgage Association (GNMA) securities, he made law in the trial court and on appeal establishing over-the-counter market for GNMA securities as a “recognized” market as to which no notice of a foreclosure sale is required under Article 9 of the UCC.
    • Mark successfully defended an electricity trading company sued for fraudulent transfer and preference claims and successfully organized a defense group to coordinate over $200 million in claims. 8-week arbitration led to a successful resolution in favor of the client in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of one of the largest independent power traders in the United States.
    • Mark shepherded a major oil company and mortgagee in the difficult bankruptcy, environmental and financing issues related to the preservation, cleanup, and disposition of a major refinery.
    • Mark represented indenture trustees and holders of municipal and corporate bonds relating to Chapter 11 cases filed by debtors in software development, trucking, computer equipment, hospitals, retail, municipal waste recycling, residential fiber optic systems, elderly housing and nursing homes, multifamily residential real estate and one of the largest real estate developments presently underway in California.
  • Credentials

    Education

    • University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., 1978
      Order of the Coif
      Virginia Law Review, Editor
      Stephen Pierre Traynor Award for ablest moot court argument.
    • Yale University, B.A., 1975, with distinction, magna cum laude
      Phi Beta Kappa

    Bar Admissions

    • Illinois
    • U.S. Supreme Court
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
    • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
    • U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois (Trial Bar)
    • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Michigan
    • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Indiana
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Michigan
    • U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin

      Professional Memberships

      • American Bar Association, Section of Business Law, Committee on Business Bankruptcy
      • Chicago Bar Association, Commercial Finance Committee, Past Chair
      • Commercial Finance Association Education Foundation, Director
      • Co-head of Insolvency Practice Group for the Americas of TerraLex (an international network of 15,000 lawyers in over 100 countries) and co-representative of Schiff Hardin as the Illinois member of TerraLex.
    • Insights

      TITLE
      News Release

      2020 Best Lawyers in America Lists Recognizes 63 Attorneys, Three “Lawyers of the Year”

      Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to announce that 63 attorneys have been included in the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, with three attorneys also being named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

      News Release

      Chambers USA 2019 Ranks 23 Attorneys, Four Practice Areas

      Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that four practice areas and 23 attorneys have been recognized in the 2019 edition of Chambers USA, a leading legal industry ranking.

      News Release

      2019 Leading Lawyers Lists Recognize 95 Schiff Attorneys

      Schiff Hardin LLP is pleased to have 95 attorneys named to the 2019 Leading Lawyers list.

      News Release

      Super Lawyers Names 39 Schiff Attorneys to 2019 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars Lists

      Two partners were recognized among “best of the best” on 2019 Illinois Top Lists

      Article
      News Release

      61 Schiff Attorneys Named to 2019 Best Lawyers in America List and Six Recognized as “Lawyer of the Year”

      Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that 61 attorneys have been included in the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America, as well as six who were named a “Lawyer of the Year” in their respective areas of practice.

      News Release

      Chambers USA 2018 Recognizes Four Practice Areas and 22 Attorneys

      Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that four practice areas and 22 attorneys have been recognized in the 2018 edition of Chambers USA, a leading legal industry ranking.

      News Release

      95 Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 Leading Lawyers Lists

      Ninety-six Schiff Hardin lawyers have been named to the 2018 Leading Lawyers lists for Illinois and Michigan.

      News Release

      40 Attorneys Named to 2018 Illinois Super Lawyers, Rising Stars, and Top Women Lists

      Forty Schiff Hardin attorneys have been recognized on the 2018 Illinois Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists.

      News Release

      Schiff Hardin Lawyers Named to 2018 The Best Lawyers in America

      Schiff Hardin is pleased to announce that five attorneys have been named a “Lawyer of the Year” in the 2018 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.

      Other Publications

      • Illinois Secured Transactions Under Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code, Forms and Practice Manual, Data Trace (2000 - 2014) 
      • Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice, 3d Ed. (contributing editor) (2007)
      • “Loan Workouts and Commercial Bankruptcy,” Advising Illinois Financial Institutions, Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (2002)

      Speeches & Presentations

      Mark has enjoyed the opportunity to educate clients and other lawyers about cutting edge issues in the U.S. and abroad in clients’ offices, at meetings of trade associations and continuing education presentations sponsored by the American Bar Association, TerraLex, the American Law Institute, the Illinois Bankers’ Association, the Illinois Institute of Continuing Legal Education, the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute, and the Chicago Bar Association.  Recent and upcoming topics include distressed acquisitions, treatment of leases and executory contracts (including IP licenses) in bankruptcy, workout strategy and lender liability litigation, and the documentation of guaranties and inter-creditor and subordination agreements in multi-borrower and multi-lender deals.

      Recent speeches and presentations include:

      • “Avoiding Valuation Errors that May Affect Future Litigation,” (co-presenter) Annual Business Valuation Symposium: A Guide to the Changing Legal Environment, Chicago, Ill. (Jun. 15, 2017)
      • “On The Auction Block,” (speaker) 6th Annual Midwest Bank & Financial Institutions Special Assets Forum on Real Estate, C&I, And SBA Loans, Chicago, Ill. (Sep. 15, 2016)
      • “Bypassing the Reorganization Rush Hour,” (speaker) TerraLex Global Meeting, Lima, Peru (May 2016)
      • “Practical and Legal Aspects of Retaining a Financial Advisor By Secured Creditor’s Counsel,” (panelist) American Bankruptcy Institute’s 2016 Annual Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. (Apr. 15, 2016)