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Hon. Shelley C. Chapman (Ret.) is Senior Counsel in the Business Reorganization & Restructuring Department and Chair of the Alternative Dispute Resolution Practice Group. Prior to joining Willkie in 2022, she served as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the Southern District of New York since 2010. A widely-recognized leader of the bankruptcy bar, Judge Chapman oversaw the Lehman Brothers Holdings bankruptcy case – the largest bankruptcy case in history – and many other chapter 11 mega-cases and chapter 15 cross-border proceedings, including Boston Generating, Innkeepers, Ambac, LightSquared, Sbarro, NII Holdings, Sabine Oil & Gas, Nine West, Century 21, Aeromexico, and Philippine Airlines. She has also acted as a court-appointed mediator in numerous complex chapter 11 cases, including Windstream, Frontier Communications, OneWeb, Avianca S.A., Purdue Pharma, Madison Square Boys & Girls Club, and Sears. She is currently serving as the lead mediator in the PROMESA/Title III case of The Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)/The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and as the court-appointed mediator in the Endo International chapter 11 cases. Committed to furthering excellence in the wider bankruptcy community, she has mentored newly appointed bankruptcy judges and has hosted hundreds of school-age children in her courtroom for mock trials.

Before beginning her service on the bench, Judge Chapman was a partner at Willkie from 2001 – 2010, where her practice included the representation of debtors, creditors, and other parties in interest in major chapter 11 cases and out-of-court restructurings.

Judge Chapman received a B.A. with distinction in all subjects from Cornell University in 1978 and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, from which she graduated cum laude in 1981. She served as an editor of the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review.

Judge Chapman is a Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, and a member of the Board of Directors of the International Insolvency Institute. From 2015 – 2020, at the request of Chief Justice John Roberts, she served as the Chair of the Federal Judicial Center’s Bankruptcy Judge Education Advisory Committee, and continues to act as a mentor judge for the Federal Judicial Center’s Orientation Program for Newly Appointed Bankruptcy Judges. She is also a member of the FDIC’s Systemic Resolution Advisory Committee. Judge Chapman is a frequent lecturer on U.S. bankruptcy and international insolvency topics.

From 2001 through 2007, she served on the Board of Directors of Her Justice (formerly inMotion), a non-profit organization that provides pro bono legal services to indigent women and children in New York City, primarily in the areas of matrimonial, family, and immigration law. She served as Board Chair from 2004 to 2007, overseeing a broad expansion of the organization’s services throughout the five boroughs of the city. Prior to her judicial appointment, she also served on the Executive Committee of the UJA-Federation of New York’s Bankruptcy and Reorganization Group and on the Advisory Board of the ABI New York City Bankruptcy Conference.

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Credentials

Education


Cornell University, B.A., 1978 Harvard Law School, J.D. (cum laude), 1981

Bar Admissions


New York

Court Admissions


United States District Court, Southern District of New York United States District Court, Eastern District of New York

Events & Speaking Engagements