STEPHEN E. HESSLER is the leader of Sidley’s global Restructuring group. In his more than two decades of experience, he has represented debtors, creditors, and investors in large and complex Chapter 11 cases, out-of-court restructurings, asset acquisitions, and related litigation. Steve has counseled clients across a broad range of industries, including telecommunications, travel, energy, gaming, real estate, financial institutions, and manufacturing. He led the company-side representation of some of the most significant Chapter 11 reorganizations in recent history, including Frontier Communications and Windstream Holdings, and represented the purchasers of Hertz Global Holdings in their Chapter 11 cases.
Steve has consistently been recognized as a leading Bankruptcy/Restructuring lawyer by Chambers USA (2015–2023), with sources in the 2022 edition noting he is an “excellent corporate bankruptcy counsel, and a brilliant strategist and tactician.” Sidley’s Restructuring group is also regularly ranked as a leading practice in Chambers Global, Chambers USA, and Chambers UK (2012–2022). The group was shortlisted for 2023 Bankruptcy “Law Firm of the Year” by Chambers USA.
Steve is a frequent lecturer and author on various restructuring-related topics. In fall 2023, he will co-teach Corporate Governance: Board and Director Roles in Critical Decisions at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. For nearly a decade, Steve co-taught a restructuring class at the University of Pennsylvania, most recently as an Adjunct Full Professor of Finance at the Wharton School, and received the Wharton Teaching Excellence Award in 2019, 2020, and 2021. He also co-founded the University of Pennsylvania Institute for Restructuring Studies, a multidisciplinary initiative intended to address topical restructuring issues and influence the public policy debate in a manner that has practical application for investors, practitioners, academics, and regulators.
In 2023 and 2018, Steve testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, and in 2017, 2015, and 2014 he testified before the House Judiciary Committee, on various amendments to reform the Bankruptcy Code. He also has published multiple articles in legal and mainstream publications, and organized or participated in multiple seminars, on these topics.
He is the founder and chair of Leadership in Financial Education, a nonprofit that provides innovative and experiential workshop learning to New York City high school students. Steve is also currently a director, and for almost 15 years was the board chair, of Futures and Options, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization that places students from New York City high schools in paid and mentored internships at private sector and nonprofit firms. He is the former chair of the Advisory Board on Administrative Claims, Critical Vendors, and Other Pressures on Liquidity for the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 (2012–2015).