“Douglas Spelfogel is a truly exceptional attorney. He has the ability to get exceptional results for his clients without being overly adversarial. He provides practical business advice irrespective of whether it may benefit him. Doug is truly a trusted advisor who is beloved by both clients and colleagues alike.”
The Legal 500 2022


Douglas Spelfogel is a partner at Mayer Brown and co-leader of its Restructuring practice in New York. Doug concentrates his practice on representation of financial institutions, indenture trustee banks, lenders, private equity and hedge funds, creditors and creditors’ committees, landlords, trustees, officers, directors, and debtors in complex financial restructurings, asset sales, workouts, and business reorganizations, often involving multi-billion dollar transactions, both out-of-court and through Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Doug has appeared as counsel of record in over two dozen reported decisions and has served as lead counsel for various parties in national reorganizations and liquidations including JCPenney; Peabody Energy; Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC; FTS International; General Growth Properties, Inc; and American Airlines. He has also represented Fortune 100 companies, financial institutions, and fiduciaries in various roles in bankruptcy proceedings, cross-border cases, and bankruptcy-related litigation, including the Special SIPA trustee for the largest Ponzi scheme in US history; indenture trustees and plan trustees in national bankruptcies involving multi-billion dollars of secured and unsecured debt; and an ad hoc creditor group in connection with a billion dollar fraud litigation. Doug’s cases have earned national recognition including accolades for “Restructuring Deal of the Year” among others.

Prior to joining Mayer Brown, Doug was a partner with another international law firm where he was head of the Restructuring practice in New York and co-leader of the firm’s national Corporate Trust and Bondholders Rights team. Earlier in Doug’s career he was appointed a senior trial attorney with the United States Department of Justice, Office of United States Trustee, where he oversaw many of the largest Chapter 11 cases in New York. This was an appointment with distinction under the prestigious United States Attorney General’s Honors Program, earned following his graduation from law school. While with the Justice Department, Doug supervised hundreds of reorganizations, conducted numerous trials, presided over statutory meetings of creditors, and addressed congressional and public inquiries.

Doug has lectured before bar associations and trade organizations, including the New York State Bar Association on Bankruptcy Law, the American Bankruptcy Institute and the National Business Institute on revised Article 9 secured transactions, commercial lending, and bankruptcy law. Doug also co-authored a chapter for a prominent American Bar Association Business Law Journal, Reorganizing Failing Businesses: A Comprehensive Review and Analysis of Financial Restructuring and Business Reorganization, Third Edition and has taught bankruptcy law courses at Hofstra University and Lehman College, City University of New York, and served as a moot court competition judge at Touro University Law School and St. John’s University Law School.


  • Represented the indenture trustee and largest creditor (holding over $2 billion in bond debt) of Peabody Energy, the world’s biggest coal manufacturer. As chairperson of the creditors’ committee, negotiated with the deal team to formulate the restructuring plan. Matter was awarded Restructuring Deal of the Year honors for Peabody Energy’s Chapter 11.
  • Represented the indenture trustee and collateral agent for $500 million in senior secured bond debt held against JC Penney, one of the largest retail bankruptcy filings resulting from the COVID-19 economic fallout. As counsel for the trustee, we oversaw the restructuring of the bond debt in connection with the complex multi-billion dollar Chapter 11. This includes credit bidding for the assets of the retailer as part of a pending transaction with Simon Property Group and Brookfield Property Partners.
  • Represented the indenture trustee for the senior secured bondholders in connection with a pre-arranged Chapter 11 filing for FTS International, a multi-billion dollar energy company.
  • Represented the indenture trustee for several billion dollars of senior secured bonds with liens on American Airlines’ routes, slots, and gates. The restructuring resulted in the combined merger of American Airlines and US Air, the then-largest airline in the world.
  • Appointed by bondholders as special litigation counsel in the Hellas Telecommunications bankruptcy in connection with prosecuting complex fraud and recovery actions against two private equity funds on behalf of the holders of a billion-dollar judgment against the failed Greek telecom company.
  • Represented the secured creditor of a pharmaceutical company on its Chapter 11 restructuring.
  • Represented indenture trustee and largest creditor of Guaranty Bank in connection with its bankruptcy —one of the top 10 largest savings and loan failures in US history.
  • Represented indenture trustee for several billion dollars of bond debt held against General Growth, the largest shopping center owner/operator in the US, in its sale of the company through Chapter 11 proceedings.
  • Represented indenture trustee and member of official creditors’ committee for Samson Energy, a multi-billion dollar energy company, in its bankruptcy proceedings.

*Certain of the matters listed above were handled prior to joining Mayer Brown.


George Washington University, BA

New England Law, JD


  • Board certified Mediator served on the Mediation Panels for the US Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York.
  • Member of the American Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, American Bankruptcy Institute, and Nassau County Bar Association.
  • Recognized in the 2023 edition of Lawdragon’s 500 Leading US Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers.
  • Peer Review Rated as AV® Preeminent™, the highest performance rating in Martindale-Hubbell's peer review rating system.
  • Named one of the Top 10 Unsecured Creditor Attorneys in the nation by Bankruptcy Insider, a prominent industry publication.
  • “2018 Restructuring Deal of the Year” recognition by M&A Advisors Atlas Awards, for the restructuring of the largest coal manufacturer in the world.
  • Selected for inclusion in the 2011 – 2021 New York Super Lawyers® lists.