Paul Aronzon never took a bankruptcy class in law school. But now his resume features some of the largest corporate reorganizations in recent years, including Trump Casino Holdings LLC, PG & E;, MGM, U.S. Airways Group Inc., Delta Airlines and Edwards Theatres.
"I fell into this. It was pure luck," he said of his foray into insolvency law.
Aronzon recently left his position as the co-chair of the Financial Restructuring Group at the international law firm of Milbank Tweed Hadley & McCoy for a position as head of restructuring at Imperial Capital, an investment bank.
"My associates have talked about jumping from law to finance. Actually, the line between the two is pretty fine, especially in restructuring and insolvency matters," he said. "I've spent 27 years as a lawyer, 17 of those for a Wall Street firm. That part of my job is the same. The part that is different is that we are the ones on the line running the numbers."
Aronzon, an L.A. native, graduated from California State University, Northridge, with a degree in political science, and then attended Southwest Law School. He took a job at Gendel Raskoff Shapiro & Quittner, a law boutique that no longer exists, where he started his insolvency specialty.
His turning point was the case of Baldwin-United Corp., which went through a restructuring of roughly $30 billion. It opened his eyes to a change in the marketplace.
"When I first started practicing law, there was a stigma that came with bankruptcy. Now insolvency is a corporate tool."
Aronzon lives in Santa Monica but is currently in the process of building a house in Brentwood. He and wife Leslie have three sons. Outside of work, Aronzon enjoys skiing, golfing, and spending time with his family.
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