Robert N. H. Christmas

Robert Christmas has a national commercial bankruptcy and complex litigation practice. He represents strategic asset buyers and creditors of all kinds, including tech companies, real estate owners, jewelry manufacturers, hedge funds, multinational businesses as well as official administrators/liquidators from other countries in complex claims before bankruptcy courts and federal and state trial courts. He leads the firm’s cross-border insolvency practice.

What do you focus on?

Today I focus on three main areas, using my over 27 years of experience to help clients efficiently meet complex business challenges.

I represent clients in hospital/health care insolvencies. This includes creditors as well as strategic asset buyers. I also represent clients in governmental insolvencies across the country, both in workout and in proceedings under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code.

I advise clients in international/cross-border commercial and insolvency matters. I represent businesses with multinational operations, as well as official administrators/liquidators and other non-United States fiduciaries, in insolvency and complex commercial claims before courts in the United States and involving multiple national jurisdictions. I have prosecuted and defended ancillary cases filed in the United States under Chapter 15 of the Bankruptcy Code and its predecessor Section 304 in aid of foreign insolvency proceedings.

In my business litigation practice, I handle a broad array of commercial disputes, including cases involving real estate, contract, unfair competition, shareholder oppression, business tort, tax and fraud claims. I also have extensive experience in taking and defending appeals before federal circuit and state appellate courts.

What do you see on the horizon?

I believe municipal financial distress will continue to be a national issue, as there are structural difficulties that municipalities face, given changing demographics and ever-increasing costs. The same observations apply to health care businesses and institutions in the United States. I also see an increase in the number of disputes and insolvencies that cross national borders. Businesses now do much more outside of the United States, which adds complexity to achieving business solutions.


Mr. Christmas practices business insolvency law, as well as complex commercial and bankruptcy litigation.

Mr. Christmas represents commercial and governmental clients in a wide variety of settings involving public bond debt and other highly complex public and private financing structures, from review/preparation of financing opinions, structuring transactions, bond issuance disclosures and other issuance-related matters, to formal insolvency proceedings, including of distressed real estate projects/developers (encompassing projects with ongoing government subsidies and/or regulation), municipalities and other public authorities, public and private hospitals, cable television transmission facilities, chemical manufacturing facilities, power generation plants, steel manufacturing facilities, educational and health care institutions, museums, aircraft, transportation infrastructure and harbors/ports, public transit systems, and sports teams (NHL and NFL).

Mr. Christmas’s experience also includes representing parties in municipal and other public authority insolvencies, both in workout and in proceedings under Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code, most recently in the Chapter 9 cases of Jefferson County, Alabama; Stockton, California; Natchez Regional Medical Center (Natchez, Mississippi); and Detroit, Michigan.

In insolvency matters, Mr. Christmas represents bond insurers, secured and subordinate lenders, manufacturers, consignors, lessors and other real estate owners, indenture trustees, federal and state governmental institutions, agencies and municipalities, transportation authorities, hedge funds and other investors, swap/derivative counterparties, and other creditors. Mr. Christmas’s practice encompasses insolvency cases nationally, including in the United States Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern, Eastern, Western and Northern Districts of New York; the Middle District of Alabama; the Eastern District of Michigan; the Districts of Connecticut, Delaware, Nevada, and New Jersey; the Central, Eastern, and Northern Districts of California; the Southern District of Florida; Northern District of Illinois; the Southern District of Mississippi; the Eastern and Western Districts of Pennsylvania; the Northern District of Texas; and the United States Virgin Islands; and also in multiple state insolvency proceedings of major insurers. Mr. Christmas has represented parties in very large cases, such as Detroit, Chrysler, Lehman Brothers, Lyondell, Enron, WorldCom, Global Crossing, Madoff-related proceedings, and Reliance Insurance, as well as in other insolvency proceedings of all sizes.

In his litigation practice, Mr. Christmas has handled a broad array of commercial disputes, including cases involving real estate, contract, unfair competition/trade secrets, shareholder oppression, business tort, tax, inventory and asset recovery, interpleader, and fraud claims. He has litigated in the United States Courts of Appeal for the Second, Seventh, Ninth, and Eleventh Circuits; in the Federal District Courts for the Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of New York; the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; the Southern District of Florida; the Northern Districts of Illinois and Texas; the Central District of California; the Districts of Connecticut, New Jersey, and South Carolina; and in the United States Tax Court. He has also represented clients extensively before the New York State courts at all levels, including in the Appellate Divisions and the Court of Appeals, and before the American Arbitration Association.

Prior to joining Nixon Peabody in 1992, Mr. Christmas clerked for Judge James L. Garrity, Jr., of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York (1991–1992). He was also a litigating attorney for four years with the United States Treasury Department, in the Office of Chief Counsel, Internal Revenue Service (Manhattan), where he served as counsel in tax determination and insolvency matters (1987–1991).

Mr. Christmas is a published author on various bankruptcy issues, is frequently quoted as a bankruptcy expert in the Bond Buyer and other print media nationwide, and has appeared on CNNfn, Canadian Television, and Bloomberg Radio. He has lectured for the California Society of Municipal Analysts/CDIAC, Practicing Law Institute, Women in Public Finance, and the American Corporate Counsel Association, and has extensive experience in teaching lawyers and non-lawyers.

Ten years after Chapter 9 filing, Vallejo looks ahead

The Bond Buyer | May 18, 2018

New York City financial restructuring and bankruptcy partner Robert Christmas is quoted in this article about how things have changed over the last decade in the city of Vallejo, California, since filing for Chapter 9 bankruptcy in 2008.

How cash-strapped Chicago snagged a triple-A rating for its new bonds

Wall Street Journal | December 03, 2017

In this article on Chicago’s $3B bond sale, New York City financial restructuring and bankruptcy partner Robert Christmas is quoted for advising the city.

Chicago securitization bond pitch to investors begins in earnest

The Bond Buyer | November 14, 2017

This article lists Nixon Peabody as transaction counsel for the city of Chicago and its new highly rated sales tax securitization and quotes New York City financial restructuring and bankruptcy partner Robert Christmas.

Bayou Shores: A Reminder That Successful Restructurings Require Advice of Experienced Health Care Counsel

Journal of Bankruptcy Law | October 01, 2016

New York City financial restructuring and bankruptcy partner Robert Christmas authored this column that discusses the importance of proper planning for health care entities to navigate the legal “shoals” of Bayou Shores and similar cases to arrive at a successful restructuring.

Detroit's $615m bond deal helped by market, held back by Michigan

Debtwire | July 29, 2016

Bankruptcy and financial restructuring partner Robert Christmas provides commentary in this feature story focused on Detroit's financial strength.

After Bankruptcies, Murky Future for California POBs

The Bond Buyer | April 28, 2016

New York City Financial Restructuring & Bankruptcy partner Robert Christmas is quoted extensively throughout this article about the future of pension obligation bonds in California in the wake of the San Bernardino and Stockton bankruptcies.


Robert N. H. Christmas


New York

Phone: 212-940-3103

Fax: 866-947-2426

New York University School of Law, LL.M.

Fordham University School of Law, J.D., Associate Editor, Fordham International Law Journal

Pomona College, B.A.

New York

U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Northern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York

U.S. District Court, Western District of New York

U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Michigan

U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit

U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit

Robert Christmas is a member of the New York State Bar Association, the American Bankruptcy Institute, INSOL, and the Municipal Analysts Group of New York .

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