In Memory of Harold S. Novikoff

Harold Novikoff color photo portrait

Harold S. Novikoff

Our cherished friend Harold S. Novikoff passed away on Thursday, April 25, surrounded by family. Hal joined the firm in 1975 and was a partner for 35 years. He chaired our Creditors’ Rights Group, which later became Restructuring and Finance, for over a decade before retiring in 2017. Hal was a brilliant lawyer and a leader in the field, with an unparalleled reputation for his knowledge, creative problem-solving, wise counsel and integrity.

Starting in the early 1980s, Hal led significant bankruptcy and restructuring matters in various industries across the country, culminating in the financial industry following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Hal was a long-time and valued Conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, which advises Congress on bankruptcy law, and a committed and generous supporter of charitable causes.

Hal was a friend and mentor to his colleagues inside and outside our firm. He was also an avid wine collector, skier and sports car driver.

Most importantly, he was deeply devoted to Amy, his wife of 50 years, his daughters, grandchildren and extended family, to whom we extend our deepest condolences. We will miss him terribly.

Harold S. Novikoff was Of Counsel in the Restructuring and Finance Department at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz. He focused on creditors’ rights, bankruptcy, debt restructurings and financial market transactions. Mr. Novikoff had 40 years of professional experience in representing the principal lenders, bondholders and underwriters in Chapter 11 cases and out-of-court debt restructurings of a wide range of public and private companies; purchasers of, and investors in, financially distressed companies; and dealers and other market participants in connection with derivatives, repurchase agreements, securities loans and other financial market transactions.

In addition to his role in the firm’s restructuring and finance practice, Mr. Novikoff chaired and taught numerous continuing legal education and professional programs on a broad spectrum of financial, creditors’ rights and bankruptcy-related topics, including Chapter 11 plans and disclosure statements, distressed company and debt purchases, valuation of companies in Chapter 11, special protections for financial market transactions in bankruptcy, broker-dealer failures, structuring of loans and other credit transactions and avoidance actions. He was a co-author of Collier on Bankruptcy, and an author of numerous published articles and outlines on bankruptcy-related topics.

Mr. Novikoff was a former commissioner of the ABI Commission to Study Chapter 11 Reform, a former chair of the Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, a member of the Executive Committee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, and a member of the Dean’s Council of Columbia Law School.

Representations included the United States Treasury in the rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, JPMorgan (the largest secured creditor) in the Lehman Brothers and MF Global bankruptcies cases and major creditors of Thornburg Mortgage, Collins & Aikman, KKR Atlantic and Pacific, Axon Financial, Victoria Finance, Dreier, American Home Mortgage, 360networks and National Century Financial Enterprises.

Mr. Novikoff received his bachelor’s degree with distinction from Cornell University. He received his juris doctor from Columbia University School of Law, where he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Columbia Law Review.