As a partner in Chapman’s Bankruptcy and Restructuring Group, Jim Heiser helps clients find cost‑effective solutions to complex bankruptcy, restructuring, and litigation disputes. Jim has been practicing law since 2003, when he joined Chapman after graduating from law school.
Jim regularly advises and represents corporate and municipal creditors, indenture trustees, agent banks, backup and master servicers, institutional investors, and equipment lessors in a variety of financings and related litigation disputes across a wide range of business sectors, including:
- Represented agent bank in bankruptcy of major California tomato processor involving price fixing and racketeering claims
- Represented DIP agent in bankruptcy of major meat processor
- Represented agent bank in workout involving producer and processor of pecans and other nut products
- Represented various creditors in cases involving the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (“PACA”) related statutes
- Represented major energy financier in restructuring of portfolio of renewable energy projects
- Represented large financial institution in workout involving coal assets
- Represented international bank in workout involving energy provider
- Represented numerous domestic and international financial institutions in structuring transactions to assess and minimize bankruptcy risks
Jim has counseled clients in a wide range of sophisticated matters involving leveraged leases, governmental leases, synthetic leases, and credit tenant leases. Some of Jim’s significant equipment leasing experience includes the representation of trustees in leveraged lease workouts involving billions of dollars in aircraft finance transactions.
Litigation and Appellate Advocacy
Jim has acted as first trial chair in intellectual property disputes, and has extensive experience handling complex litigation matters arising from defaulted loans or securities. He regularly advises clients on issues involving intercreditor disputes, lender liability, fraudulent conveyance, breach of fiduciary duty, and other matters regarding the enforcement and interpretation of creditors’ rights. Jim’s experience includes:
Asset Recovery Litigation and Appellate Advocacy
- Argued successful appeal before U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in fraudulent transfer case
- Achieved numerous summary judgments in favor of lenders in complex cases involving borrower fraud, misconduct, and related defaults
Intellectual Property Litigation
- Obtained successful jury verdict in favor of defendant in patent infringement case in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division
- Defended various small and mid-sized businesses in litigation involving both patent trolls and practicing entities
Asset Forfeiture Defense
Jim’s experience includes the successful representation of an agent bank in a petition to defend collateral from forfeiture as a result of criminal acts by a borrower.
Jim has represented creditors in numerous high-profile municipal workouts across the United States and Puerto Rico. He routinely works with clients to assess and manage risks associated with municipal financial distress and bankruptcy. Some of Jim’s recent representations include:
- Representation of lender in workout involving obligations of large domestic issuer
- Representation of international bank in workout involving government-owned transportation authority
- Provision of bankruptcy risk assessment analysis for nearly 100 issuers nationwide
Jim routinely represents originators, servicers, issuers, and investors in troubled securitizations involving bankruptcies, workouts, insolvencies, and associated litigation. Jim has counseled clients in connection with a diverse range of structured finance matters, including:
- Represented trustee in review and resolution of hundreds of swap transactions
- Represented international bank and liquidity provider in major real estate securitization fraud matter
- Represented major domestic bank in restructuring of receivables securitization matter
- Represented noteholders, equipment lessors, and indenture trustees in virtually every recent airline restructuring
- Represented international bank in workout involving major logistics provider
- Assisted client with Article 9 sale involving multistate transportation provider
- Co-Author, "Bankruptcy and Aircraft Finance," Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable. May 5, 2020.
- Co-Author, "Bankruptcy and Aircraft Finance," Chapman and Cutler LLP. April 2020.
- Co-Author, "First Circuit Panel Upends Protections Available to Special Revenue Bondholders," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. July/August 2019.
- Co-Author, "Stipulated Loss Value Provisions Used for Damages Purposes Held to Be Unenforceable as a Penalty by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. July/August 2019.
- Co-Author, "Appeal of a Municipal Plan of Adjustment Held to Be Equitably Moot by the Ninth Circuit," The Banking Law Journal. July/August 2019.
- Co-Author, "Second Time's a Charm: First Circuit Finds That Financing Statement Amendments Saved Defective Collateral Description," The Banking Law Journal. July/August 2019.
- Co-Author, "One Step Back? Ohio Bankruptcy Court Finds That a Hedging Power Purchaser Is Not a 'Forward Contract Merchant' Entitled to the Bankruptcy Code Safe Harbor Protections," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. June 2019.
- Co-Author, "Missed Appointment: First Circuit Finds That Puerto Rico Oversight Board Needs Advice and Consent of the Senate," Client Alert. March 11, 2019.
- Co-Author, "Sixth Circuit Weighs in on the Meaning of 'Governmental Unit,'" Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. January 2019.
- Co-Author, "More Cautionary Tales in Puerto Rico's Restructuring," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. November/December 2018.
- Co-Author, "A Lease by Any Other Name Would Not Smell as Sweet: Fifth Circuit Denies 'True Lease' Status to a 'Sale' of Software," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. November/December 2018.
- Co-Author, "Bankruptcy Desk Reference for Equipment Lenders and Lessors," Chapman and Cutler LLP. October 2018.
- Co-Author, "Plan Opponents’ Appeal Goes down the Sewer—the Eleventh Circuit Holds the Ratepayers’ Appeal in Jefferson County Is Equitably Moot," Client Alert. September 14, 2018.
- Co-Author, "Puerto Rico Court Reduces Protections Available to Special Revenue Bondholders," Client Alert. February 6, 2018.
- Co-Author, "The Bankruptcy Eligibility of Quasi-Government Entities," Law360. February 5, 2018.
- Co-Author, "Bankruptcy Eligibility Ruling: In re Lombard Public Facilities Corporation," Client Alert. January 11, 2018.
- Co-Author, "Puerto Rico Court Recognizes Limit to Bankruptcy Code's Statutory Lien Definition," Westlaw Journal Bankruptcy. October 5, 2017.
- Co-Author, "Equipment Leases in Bankruptcy: A Plan for Riding out the Storm," Pratt's Journal of Bankruptcy Law. September 2017.
- Co-Author, "Bankruptcy Desk Reference for Equipment Lessors," Chapman and Cutler LLP. June 2017.
- Co-Author, "Second Circuit Rolls Back Expansive Trust Indenture Act Interpretation," Client Alert. January 25, 2016.
- Co-Author, "Is Momentive Losing Momentum?," Client Alert. November 21, 2016.
- Co-Author, “Congress Approves Measures to Return Puerto Rico to Financial Stability,” Client Alert. June 30, 2016.
- Co-Author, “U.S. Supreme Court Rejects Puerto Rico’s Attempt at State-Level Restructuring Regime,” Client Alert. June 15, 2016.
- Co-Author, “Illinois Court Invalidates Chicago Pension Reform Law,” Client Alert. March 30, 2016.
- Co-Author, “First Circuit Affirms Invalidity of Puerto Rico’s Public Corporations Debt Enforcement and Recovery Act,” Client Alert. July 14, 2015.
- Co-Author, “Puerto Rico Recovery Act Ruling Reaffirms Creditor Expectations,” Client Alert. February 10, 2015.
- Public Interest Law Initiative fellow
- Assists institutional in-house clients develop and expand their pro bono programs
- Illinois Legal Aid Online's "Attorney of the Month"
- Chapman and Cutler LLP’s Pro Bono Honor Roll
- Aircraft Finance
- Bank Defense
- Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Workouts
- Claims and Recovery Litigation
- Commercial Litigation and Alternative Dispute Resolution
- Equipment Finance
- Municipal Restructuring and Workouts
- Project Finance
- Public Finance
- Troubled Securitizations
- Utility Finance
- Workouts and Out-of-Court Restructurings
University of Notre Dame Law School, J.D., 2003
Drexel University, M.B.A., Finance, 2000
Drexel University, B.S., Accounting, cum laude, 1999
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois, Trial Bar
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Illinois
U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
Volunteer Panel for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois