Lawrence Peitzman

Senior Counsel

Los Angeles

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Lawrence Peitzman has been practicing in the fields of business bankruptcy and commercial law for more than 40 years.Experience
Lawrence is currently Senior Counsel to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, having previously been a partner in the firm from 1994-1999. He has also been a founding partner of the firm of Peitzman Weg LLP, which dissolved in 2014, after being ranked as one of the nation’s top bankruptcy boutiques by U.S. News & World Report. He has also been a partner in the firms of Morrison & Foerster LLP (where he was firmwide head of the bankruptcy practice) and the now defunct Gendel, Raskoff, Shapiro & Quittner.

During his four decade career, Lawrence has gained experience in every aspect of business bankruptcy practice, having represented banks and bank groups, chapter 11 debtors, bankruptcy trustees, creditors' committees, equity owners, landlords, buyers of bankruptcy estate assets and other constituents in the business bankruptcy process.

His creditor clients in major non-confidential matters have included, among many others, Bank of America, Citibank, Sony Pictures, Union Bank of California, Warner Bros., and Wells Fargo Bank. His debtor clients have included BMK, Inc., Carolco Inc., and Technical Equities Corporation, and he has represented the Official Creditors’ Committee of, among others, Komag, Inc.,, Reference Clothing, and Zyan Communications.

These representations have involved him in industries as various as motion picture production, real estate development, aircraft and equipment financing, hospitality, manufacturing, fashion retailing, food distribution, and high-tech and bio-tech businesses.

Professional Associations

Lawrence has been president and a member of the board of the Financial Lawyers Conference, a member of the board of the Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum, chair of an ABA committee on loan workouts, a member of both the Insolvency and the Commercial Law Committees of the Business Law Section of the State Bar of California, and an alternate delegate to the Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference.

Posts by: Lawrence Peitzman

New York Court Rules (Sort of) on Whether Electricity is a Good or a Service

It seems only fitting that recent decisions by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York and its bankruptcy court regarding the nature of electricity should have sent, at least initially, a jolt through the energy community.  Perhaps the Southern District court would lead the charge for one side or the other in an ongoing debate over whether electricity constitutes goods or services—a controversy that has potentially far-reaching implications (in bankruptcy cases, concerning the priority of claims of electricity providers, and, in ordinary transactions, for the tort liability of  electricity providers). In the end, however, the outcome of the litigation was something less than electrifying.  Here’s what happened.


What You Need to Know About the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act

Last year, the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws (“NCCUSL”) rolled out one of its latest projects, the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act (“UVTA”).[I]  According to NCCUSL’s website,[ii] the model statute has already been enacted in eight states, including California (where it takes effect on January 1, 2016), and has been introduced in four others, including Massachusetts.

The first thing to know about the UVTA is that it is the Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (“UFTA”)[iii] with a new name and the legal equivalent of a fresh coat of paint. In a lengthy article about the drafting of the model statute[iv], the reporter for the NCCUSL drafting committee, Professor Kenneth C. Kettering, describes the model statute as “the UFTA, renamed and lightly amended.”  As light as the amendments may be, however, Kettering notes that they are “significant enough to warrant attention”[v]—significant enough, at least, to justify his publishing a 57-page law review article on the subject. The extensive “Official Comments” that were promulgated by NCCUSL along with the model statute also provide some insight into the thinking of the drafters, but Professor Kettering’s article is far more forthcoming about the reasoning behind the proposed statutory changes. Anyone who wants the full story should, therefore, consult Professor Kettering’s article.   We will try here instead simply to describe the most significant provisions in the new or, at least, improved model statute.


Decoding the Code: Bankruptcy Code Section 510(a) – Subordination Agreements in Bankruptcy

Once upon a time, under the Bankruptcy Act of 1898, subordination agreements entered into outside bankruptcy were generally enforced by bankruptcy courts, but the issue was left to the discretion of the courts to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Since 1979, when the current Bankruptcy Code came into effect, however, the treatment of subordination agreements in bankruptcy has been governed by statute: “A subordination agreement is enforceable in a case under this title to the same extent that such agreement is enforceable under applicable nonbankruptcy law.” 11 U.S.C. § 510(a).

Since a bankruptcy court is supposed to enforce a subordination agreement that is enforceable under applicable nonbankruptcy law, section 510(a) closes the door on the exercise of case-by-case discretion by bankruptcy courts, but the statute nevertheless opens up a series of other issues that the courts have been grappling with for over 35 years now.  What constitutes a “subordination agreement”? Must a bankruptcy court enforce all the provisions of a “subordination agreement”?  What about rights of the parties that are not spelled out in the agreement (including rights that are derived from equitable principles) or that are dealt with in the agreement in ambiguous terms?  How are the answers to such questions affected by section 510(a)’s mandate that “subordination agreements” should be enforced in bankruptcy cases?