Melissa M. Root is a restructuring and bankruptcy lawyer. She has deep experience representing creditors, official committees, debtors, examiners and trustees in complex financial restructuring matters and high stakes bankruptcy litigation. Ms. Root is a co-chair of the firm’s Restructuring and Bankruptcy Practice and the Managing Partner of the Chicago office. She is also a member of the Bankruptcy Litigation, Energy and ERISA Litigation Practices. In addition, she is a member of the firm’s Management Committee, the co-chair of the firm’s Hiring Executive Committee, the co-chair of the Women’s Forum affinity group, and a member of its Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
A significant part of Ms. Root’s practice includes representing official committees of creditors and retired employees. She currently represents the official committee of government retirees in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico’s Title III case, and she previously represented retiree committees in The Budd Company, American Airlines and Walter Energy chapter 11 cases. Ms. Root also has significant experience representing creditors in major energy bankruptcy cases. Ms. Root also represents debtors in possession, and currently serves as counsel to USA Gymnastics. In addition, Ms. Root frequently represents parties in bankruptcy related appellate matters. Ms. Root recently served as counsel for the prevailing petitioners before the United States Supreme Court in Wellness International Network, Limited v. Sharif. She also served as counsel for the American Bar Association in connection with its amicus curiae brief filed in the Supreme Court in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkinson and as counsel for the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees in connection with its amicus curiae brief filed in the Supreme Court in Baker Botts L.L.P and Jordan, Hyden, Womble, Culbreth & Hozer, P.C. v. Asarco LLC.
Ms. Root also devotes significant time to pro bono work and community service. She currently represents a class of former students in the ITT Technical Institute bankruptcy case. Ms. Root’s pro bono work also includes her representation of a domestic violence shelter in its chapter 11 case, a federal habeas petitioner before the Seventh Circuit and plaintiffs asserting 1983 claims. Ms. Root is also a Board Member of Cabrini Green Legal Aid, and she is an alumna of Leadership Greater Chicago.
Ms. Root is a leader in many professional organizations. She currently serves as board member of the Chicago Chapter of the Coalition of Women's Initiatives in Law. Melissa previously served served as the national co-chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s Woman Advocate Committee, and for several years, she served as the national co-chair of the American Bar Association Section of Litigation’s Bankruptcy & Insolvency Committee. Ms. Root is active in the American Bankruptcy Institute; she serves on the Advisory Committee for several conferences and was selected to be part of the ABI’s inaugural 40-under-40 class. She also served as the Chicago Network co-chair of the International Women in Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation and on its board for several years. Locally, Ms. Root served a two-year position on the Bench/Bar Liaison Committee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois.