Debra Felder

Chief Practice Officer of Finance

Washington, D.C.

Debbie Felder serves as the Chief Practice Officer for the Finance Business Unit and is a member of the Restructuring group.

As Chief Practice Officer, Debbie advises on strategic planning, operations, and management of Orrick's Banking & Finance, Public Finance, Real Estate, Restructuring, and Structured Finance practice groups, which comprise more than 200 attorneys globally.  Her responsibilities include oversight of the Finance Business Unit's financial performance, advancement of the Unit's strategic initiatives, business planning and execution, and lawyer recruiting.  

As a lawyer in Orrick's Restructuring group, Debbie represents secured and unsecured creditors, investors, lenders, asset purchasers, financial institutions, preference defendants, debtors and other parties in a wide variety of bankruptcy and restructuring matters, as well as in related litigation throughout the United States. In 2020 and 2021, Chambers USA named Debbie an Associate to Watch in the District of Columbia’s Bankruptcy/Restructuring category, and clients praised her as “extremely knowledgeable” and providing “very business-minded, practical advice in the most efficient manner possible.”

Debbie is currently the lead restructuring associate representing the court-appointed representative for future asbestos personal injury claimants in a complex Chapter 11 pending.

Debbie was the lead restructuring associate representing Toyota in the $30 billion bankruptcy of Takata Corporation. Takata and several of its subsidiaries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States and sought bankruptcy protection in Japan and several other jurisdictions in the aftermath of a worldwide problem involving faulty airbag inflators that led to numerous deaths and the recall of millions of vehicles. Toyota was one of the largest creditors in the proceedings, with claims of over $7 billion. Orrick’s work in the Takata bankruptcy and restructuring matter – which included the sale of all of Takata’s assets except for the inflator business to the Chinese-owned, Michigan-based Key Safety Systems – was awarded the “2019 Cross Border Turnaround of the Year / Large” by Global M&A Network.

Debbie was also the lead restructuring associate in the representation of the Conflicts Committee of Seadrill Partners (SDLP) in the $14 billion Chapter 11 bankruptcy and associated restructuring proceedings of Seadrill Limited, SDLP’s parent company. This bankruptcy and related restructuring was awarded “2019 Cross Border Turnaround of the Year / Mega” by Global M&A Network.

Other recent notable engagements include representing counsel to a borrower in the restructuring of a toll road, representing financial institutions and others in the global Lehman insolvency proceedings, representing a lender in the restructuring of a performing arts center, representing a purchaser in a section 363 bankruptcy sale and representing a defendant in a preference and fraudulent transfer litigation.

Debbie is active in pro bono matters including advising distressed clients in corporate dissolution proceedings pursuant to state statutes. She recently drafted a white paper on “Pay for Success” (PFS) programs – a social services funding mechanism in which non-governmental investors fund social programs and receive returns on their investments from the government only if the programs are successful – which explores the feasibility of using PFS programs to provide civil legal aid to vulnerable populations. She also represents proposed guardians and adoptive parents in connection with guardianship and adoption proceedings involving abused or neglected children in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia.

In addition, Debbie serves as Orrick's Risk Management Counsel where she advises the Firm's management and more than 1,100 Orrick lawyers across the world on issues related to professional responsibility, risk management, and legal issues involving the Firm.

Debbie regularly presents CLE training programs to clients on bankruptcy-related topics, including best practices for creditors.

Prior to joining Orrick, Debbie was an associate at Swidler Berlin LLP. As an undergraduate, she spent four summers as an intern in the Clerk’s Office of the United States Supreme Court. During her time at the United States Supreme Court, Debbie researched and wrote a paper on the U.S. Attorneys General, which she presented to the U.S. Solicitor General.

  • Energy and Commodities:

    • Creditor’s counsel to leading California solar energy company in connection with proofs of claim filed against various bankrupt contract counterparties, including defending objections to such claims. Created protocol and internal processes for tracking and monitoring bankruptcy filings by customers and contract counterparties. Regularly monitor and advise regarding bar dates, preference exposure, contract rejection/assumption, asset sales and plans of reorganization or liquidation.
    • Counsel to counterparties with FERC-regulated power purchase agreements and other contracts in connection with the multibillion-dollar bankruptcy proceedings of Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and PG&E Corporation (PG&E). California-based PG&E, one of the largest U.S. utilities, filed for bankruptcy protection as a result of financial and legal challenges arising from the California wildfires.
    • Counsel to the Conflicts Committee of Seadrill Partners LLC in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy and associated restructuring of the $14 billion debt of Seadrill Limited.
    • Counsel to Ocean Rig, an offshore drilling company, in the restructuring of approximately $4 billion in secured and unsecured debt. Advised on various aspects of the restructuring. The case has been recognized as setting the “gold standard” for steps to be taken to establish a company’s “CoMI” (center of main interests), and for establishing a good faith basis for doing so
    • Counsel to a corporation and individuals in the appeal of fraudulent transfer litigation in the bankruptcy of Magnesium Corporation.
    • Counsel to Potomac Electric Power Company (Pepco) in the bankruptcy of Mirant Corporation, including litigation in bankruptcy court, U.S. district court and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals relating to the rejection of certain FERC-regulated energy contracts.


    • Lenders’ and Agent’s counsel in $6 billion debt restructuring and bankruptcy of Indiana Toll Road.
    • Counsel to the borrower in $400 million debt restructuring of Pocahontas Parkway.

    Public Finance:

    • Lender’s counsel in the restructuring of a performing arts center.
    • Lender’s counsel in the Chapter 9 bankruptcy of Jefferson County, Alabama.
    • Represent issuers, underwriters and credit enhancers on bankruptcy issues with respect to mortgage loans (residential and commercial) and tobacco settlement payments.

    Other Notable Engagements:

    • Counsel to Toyota Corporation and its subsidiaries in the complex global restructuring of Takata Corporation. Toyota was one of the largest creditors in the proceedings, with claims allowed against Takata – one of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors of automotive safety systems, based in Tokyo – in excess of $7 billion. Takata’s restructuring, which included the sale of nearly all of its assets, was implemented through in-court bankruptcy proceedings in the U.S. and Japan, and through out-of-court restructuring proceedings in Europe, China and other jurisdictions.
    • Creditor’s counsel to a cloud-based software company with $40 million in receivables in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of U.S. telecommunications company Windstream.
    • Counsel to asset purchasers in acquisition of assets from section 363 bankruptcy sales and federal receivership sales.
    • Agent’s counsel in two Chapter 11 cases for owner and developer of thousands of acres of land in North Las Vegas.
    • Counsel to various secured and unsecured creditors in Chapter 11 cases across the United States.
    • Counsel to the future claimants’ representative in asbestos bankruptcy cases of Aldrich Pump/Murray Boiler, W.R. Grace, Combustion Engineering, Congoleum Corporation and Garlock Sealing Technologies.