Paul is a Senior Attorney in the Firm’s nationally ranked Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group. He lived and practiced abroad for nearly a decade, with a heavy emphasis on Latin America and Puerto Rico, and is fully bilingual. These experiences provide him with a unique skill set and perspective, both key in his handling of restructuring matters throughout the nation. His expertise includes having provided outside general counsel to an international oil & gas company.
He has litigated numerous high stakes matters in the areas of trademark infringement, collections, contractual disputes and bankruptcy adversary proceedings, winning trials and preliminary injunction hearings along the way. On the insolvency side, he has represented debtors, lenders, lessors, trustees, creditor committees, investors, and other constituencies in distressed situations in an array of transactions, work-outs and litigation, including PROMESA, the largest restructuring in history.
Whether it be CLEs that he teaches, webinars or panels, Paul is proud to be a sought-after speaker. His work has been featured or quoted in legal journals of Harvard and UPenn, Caribbean Business, Primerus Paradigm, El Nuevo Dia, Finance Monthly, AIRA Journal, The Capitol Forum, Law360 and many others.
Pro-bono work and his community are Paul’s passions, having dedicated many hours to helping the survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Maria. He has also championed causes that he holds dear, including the Special Olympics, cancer research and mentoring law students.
Paul has been recognized by clients and peers alike for excellence. He is endorsed by Primerus, a leading global network of law firms. He is also ranked by Best Lawyers® and was a national finalist for the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Top 40 Under 40. Additionally, in 2016, he was inducted into Caribbean Business’s Top 40 Under 40.
Prior to joining the Firm, Paul’s experience included a stint with the New Orleans office of a large AV®-rated Gulf Coast regional firm, two federal judicial clerkships and leading the Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practice Group of a top Puerto Rico firm.
- Honorable Ivan L.R. Lemelle, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana
- Honorable Sara E. de Jesus, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Puerto Rico
- Practice Leader, Bankruptcy & Restructuring Practice Group, Estrella, LLC
Representative Matters and Transactions
Creditor and Other Interested Party Restructuring Representations
- Counsel to oil & gas company in its role as critical vendor to the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico with a multi-million-dollar credit line as part of Title III filings under PROMESA.
- Represented oil & gas company in successful negotiation of multi-million-dollar set-off stipulation with contractor in Chapter 11 bankruptcy regarding construction project of said company’s Headquarters.
- Counsel to national equipment financing and leasing companies in various matters throughout the country.
- Secured payment of full cure amount of lease arrears owed to large commercial real estate company, leading to plan confirmation in complex Chapter 11 proceeding.
- Acted as local counsel to Special Claims Committee in Title III PROMESA proceedings.
- Counsel to Liquidation Trusts in various matters throughout the country.
- Acted as counsel to oil and gas company in the drafting and negotiating of Claims Transfer Agreement of multi-million-dollar claim reached with third-party investor.
- Counsel to real estate investor in purchase of golf course under Section 363 of the Bankruptcy Code.
- Representation of factoring companies in matters involving debtor-in-possession (DIP) financing, collections and automatic stay violation litigation.
Debtor/Distressed Companies Representations
- Counsel in achieving confirmation of Chapter 11 Plan of health care provider.
- Counsel in achieving confirmation of Chapter 11 Plan of jewelry retailer.
- Counsel to prominent point of sale (POS) systems provider in winding down and liquidation of assets prior to conversion to Chapter 7.
- Counsel to national restaurant franchisee in reaching agreement with landlord to vacate commercial premises prior to conversion to Chapter 7.
- Representation of municipality in out-of-court debt work-out and related financial restructuring consulting.
- Representation of medical laboratory in out-of-court workout and orderly liquidation of assets.
- Representation of bookstore chain in out-of-court workout and orderly liquidation of assets.
- Representation of souvenir retailer in out-of-court workout and restructuring of secured debt portfolio.
- Successful defense of title company in bankruptcy adversary proceeding alleging Discharge Order violation; complaint voluntarily dismissed after discovery conducted and before trial.
- Successfully litigated partition of multi-million-dollar Farm Business Estate in favor of client/heir.
- Counsel for oil & gas company, as plaintiff, in large trademark infringement lawsuit involving dozens of gas stations and tens of millions of dollars in damages.
- Attained setting aside of default and transfer of multi-million-dollar contract damages claim against client from Puerto Rico federal court to New Jersey federal court.
- Achieved judgment for small fraction of multi-million-dollar exposure in complex, two-week Stay violation trial.
- Secured judgment for high six-figure amount in overdue rent, loss of income, and equipment damages after injunction hearing brought under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act.
- Counsel in successful defense of avoidance action; authored motion to dismiss brief.
- Defense of Litigation Trustee from allegations of negligence stemming from multi-billion dollar Chapter 11 proceeding brought in the Southern District of New York.
Outside General Counsel
- Outside general counsel to an international downstream and midstream oil & gas company as pertains to collections, evictions, litigation, franchisor-franchisee issues, insolvency related issues, contract review, negotiation and drafting, acquisitions of assets, brand protection, corporate governance and construction.
“I would highly recommend working with Paul. He is extremely knowledgeable and has the patience to explain the entire bankruptcy procedure and made the entire process go very smoothly and painless. I have already personally recommended him to other friends and colleagues.”
Tim Collins, President
Caribbean Trading Company
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Mr. Hammer is very professional and knowledgeable in the bankruptcy area. His previous experience as a clerk in the bankruptcy bench has provided him with a vast knowledge of the different scenarios that might be faced in the forum, as well as provided him with personal knowledge of the array of personalities that handle this type of litigation. Mr. Hammer is also very practical and result oriented, and will handle matters in the most cost effective matter, without making the client incur in excessive expenses that will not result in a favorable conclusion for the parties involved. The matters that Mr. Hammer has handled on behalf of our insureds have concluded favorably, minimizing our insured’s losses.”
Maria del Carmen Cividanes, Claims Counsel
Stewart Title Guaranty Company
“Paul is a very successful litigation attorney, who has demonstrated his expertise in the Federal Court Forum. With Paul’s coaching and knowledge we were able to prove and win a case under the Petroleum Marketing Practices Act (PMPA). ”
Carmen Centeno, CICP, CCE, Credit and Collections Manager
Bayamon, Puerto Rico
“Paul Hammer is a competent professional, diligent and personable who always had our company’s best interests in mind. I was always informed and I always felt like our company was in very good hands. He never missed a scheduled meeting and he always took my calls, emails and text messages. What I especially like about Paul is his ability to remain calm in crisis situations. Paul became a key part of our business and we owe a debt of gratitude to him for his service. He is an inspired thinker who possesses a positive attitude, as he always says: everything is possible, “todo es posible”.”
Lolimar E. Sanchez-Rios, Comptroller
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Paul Hammer very ably represented me in a commercial real estate transaction. Work was very thorough and it was a pleasure working with him.”
Leslie Tarantola, General Counsel
Seafarers International Union
“Paul assisted me with a real estate transaction and he was incredibly helpful and insightful throughout the process. We were dealing with a particularly difficult and unstable individual and Paul was consistently polite, pleasant and professional. He is a seasoned and savvy attorney, able to adjust his demeanor appropriately for any situation. I would recommend Paul to any potential client, and would trust him with any of my future legal needs.”
Melinda Santos, Program Manager
San Francisco, California
“Paul is a seasoned professional in the reorganization and bankruptcy legal arena. I find in him true passion, commitment and a thorough understanding of bankruptcy law; key strengths that allow him to provide effective solutions to clients of all types managing distress situations.”
Ojel Rodriguez, Partner, Advisory Services
Kevane Grant Thornton LLP
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“I had the opportunity to meet Paul Hammer as an attendee to a seminar for continuing education in creditor rights under Bankruptcy Law. He is a gifted, eloquent and precise speaker. I enjoyed his presentation and believe that his technical knowledge of Bankruptcy procedures and his substantive law expertise could prove valuable to any client and peer. He was very professional, thorough, and very willing to answer questions and clarify issues of law. I highly recommend Paul to any organization that needs bankruptcy law assistance.”
Gustavo Martinez, Principal
Synergy Strategic Consulting, LLC
“Paul has proven to be knowledgeable, and his financial reorganization expertise has been of great benefit to my business affairs. Highly recommended! Thanks Paul.”
Manuel Pena, Landman
M.P. Energy, LLC
“Paul is a very patient and knowledgeable professional. He has taken us step by step through a difficult process and has gained our trust in the process.”
Claudio Reck, Senior Sales Executive
International Glass Consultant – Glass Contractor
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Having Paul Hammer as my lawyer made my case easy. He is very helpful, straight forward with all details, and most of all he is always on top of our communications, giving me alternative solutions to my situation. I will definitely recommend Paul Hammer, One of the Best!”
Gretchen del Carmen Morales, Owner
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Very competitive in Federal Court and with a lot of wisdom in Federal Bankruptcy cases. Super personality, a fighter to have at your side.”
Rolando Rojas, President
Joyeria Venecia Inc
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Mr Hammer is a dynamic and knowledgeable lawyer that stands for old-fashion values and will make you proud.”
Ramon Barquin III, Chairman of the Board of Directors
National Student Parent Mock Election (America’s Largest Civic Education Project)
“Paul Hammer is an outstanding attorney that effectively leverages his considerable litigation and courtroom ability to the maximum benefit of his clients. Highly recommended in the Bankruptcy and Federal venues due to his high competence and specialization in those areas. Paul Hammer is a results oriented attorney who will deliver the best outcome without compromising ethics and value.”
Ricardo Colon, Associate Professor of Accounting, Lamar University
“Paul Hammer is an excellent attorney that gets the job done! I had the opportunity to have Paul as an adversary (defense counsel). He was always well prepared and versed in both the procedural and substantive aspects of the litigation. As a very intelligent individual and people person, he was able to separate the wheat from the chaff and concentrate on the key aspects of the litigation in order to reach a favorable solution for both sides. Highly recommended. ”
Juan Rivera Aspinell, Partner
RGF Law Firm
San Juan, Puerto Rico
“I have had the pleasure of knowing and consulting with Paul for many years in relation to bankruptcy law. His knowledge, understanding and experience has proven to be an asset to me in both my personal and business dealings. I would highly recommend Paul to anyone that needs assistance with bankruptcy and reorganization. ”
Brett Tweedel, Partner
Blue Williams LLP
New Orleans, Louisiana
- Author, “Turnaround & Restructuring in Puerto Rico’s Economic Climate”, Finance Monthly, March 2016
- Author, “Privilege and Expert Discovery in Adversary Proceedings”, Primerus Paradigm, Fall 2015
- Author, “Strategic Purchase of Distressed Assets in Bankruptcy”, Caribbean Business, December 2014
- Author, “Bill Entails Restructuring of Puerto Rican Public Corporations, Caribbean Business, June 2014
- Author, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy – Protecting Businesses in Tough Times, Caribbean Business, May 2014
- Research Assistant, “Unconscious Classicism: Entity Equality for Sole Proprietorships,” 11 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law (2009)
- Research Assistant, “The Katrina Fund: Repairing Breaches in Gulf Coast Insurance Levees,” 43 Harvard Journal on Legislation 329 (2006)
- Regular contributor to Kane Russell Coleman Logan’s “Insolvency Insights” Blog
- Instructor, CLE Course: “Rights & Obligations of Bankruptcy Creditors”, Puerto Rico, 2010-2018
- Instructor, CLE Course: “Litigation in Federal Court – Basics”, Puerto Rico, 2010-2018
- Instructor, CLE Course: “How to Prepare a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Petition”, Puerto Rico, 2014-2018
- Lecturer, University of Puerto Rico School of Law, “Introduction to Restructuring,” 2016-2018
- Panelist, Primerus Webinar “Bankruptcy as a Negotiating Tool & Business Strategy”, April 2016
- American Bankruptcy Institute, Member
- Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors
- Beta Gamma Sigma Business Honor Society, Lifetime Inductee
- Federal Bar Association
- Houston Bar Association
- Moller Foltz Inns of Court
- Primerus Defense Institute
- Turnaround Management Association
- World Bank Group Insolvency Report, Contributor
Loyola New Orleans College of Law Alumni Association
- Donor and Fundraiser, Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, 2016-2018
- Donor and Fundraiser, San Jorge Children’s Hospital, 2013-2017
- Donor and Volunteer, Special Olympics, 2000-2002
- English Tutor, University of Puerto Rico, 2010
- Private tutor, University of Louisiana-Lafayette, B.I. Moody School of Business, 2000-2002
- Provide pro bono legal services to Hurricane Maria victims, October 2017-Present
- Provide pro bono legal services to Hurricane Katrina victims, August 2005-December 2008
- Volunteer law clerk with Saint Landry Parish District Attorney’s Office, 2004
- Volunteer law clerk with Acadiana Legal Service Corporation, 2003