Phil Nelson is a Chicago attorney who focuses his practice on bankruptcy, restructuring and insolvency. Mr. Nelson counsels clients in a wide variety of distressed debt, restructuring and insolvency matters. He has represented clients in liquidations, corporate reorganization cases and out-of-court restructurings.

Mr. Nelson has a significant background in all aspects of Chapter 11 reorganizations and debtor-in-possession representation, including the plan of reorganization development and negotiation process, motion practice and contested hearings and claims objections and administration.

In addition, Mr. Nelson has experience representing bankruptcy trustees. His transactional experience includes drafting and negotiating purchase agreements and financing agreements, litigation trust agreements and various stipulations and settlements. He represents banks in foreclosure proceedings and advises landlords with respect to commercial lease agreements. Mr. Nelson also represents plaintiffs and defendants in lawsuits involving fraudulent transfer and preferential transfer claims.

Mr. Nelson frequently advises businesses in connection with the Chapter 11 and Chapter 7 proceedings of their tenants, customers and vendors.

Prior to joining Holland & Knight, Mr. Nelson was a bankruptcy attorney for a global law firm in its Chicago office.

Media Coverage

Representative Experience

  • Represented Ector County Energy Center LLC, an ERCOT energy provider impacted by Winter Storm Uri, as the debtor in Chapter 11 proceedings that distributed the proceeds of a market-high per-megawatt price transaction resulting from a highly competitive 363 sale process through a confirmed Chapter 11 plan that invoked more than $600 million in negotiated claim caps to yield a 100 percent dividend to non-insider creditors
  • Represented agent for the senior secured lenders in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filed by a biopharmaceutical company specializing in infectious disease treatment
  • Represented California Proton Treatment Center LLC in its Chapter 11 case before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware, the first Chapter 11 case for an operating proton treatment clinic in the U.S.
  • Advised a Singapore ship-leasing concern, with respect to the related Chapter 11 cases of Ezra Holdings Ltd. and EMAS CHIYODA Subsea Limited, in the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts for the Southern District of Texas and the Southern District of New York, respectively; the debtors were integrated offshore support providers for the oil and gas industry; among other things, the engagements included advising Hai Jiang with respect to its $195 million claim in the Chapter 11 cases and negotiating new interim and final bareboat charters for the lease of Hai Jiang's infrastructure support ship in connection with EMAS's operations during its Chapter 11 cases and the confirmation of EMAS debtors' plan of reorganization
  • Represented Inland Bank & Trust as the senior secured creditor to Chapter 11 debtor The Harrington & King Perforating Co. Inc. and its debtor affiliate 
  • Represented Colt Holding Co. LLC and its debtor affiliates in connection with their Chapter 11 cases and the modification of their union employee and retiree benefits programs as part of their reorganization process before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware
  • Represented Graham Enterprise Inc. as the purchaser of approximately $19.75 million in operating gas station and convenience store assets in the Chapter 11 cases of RWJ Management Co. Inc. and its debtor affiliates before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • Represented Ampersand portfolio company ViraCor-IBT Laboratories Inc., a Missouri-based specialty diagnostics laboratory focusing on immunology, infectious disease and allergy testing, in the $13 million acquisition of substantially all of the assets of Cylex Inc., through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy auction, in cases pending before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware
  • Advised a private investor in the acquisition out of $6 million in prime real estate in Santa Barbara, Calif., including successful bidding for the asset in a competitive Chapter 7 auction and sale process 
  • Represented various defendants, with a combined exposure of approximately $2 million, in preferential transfer lawsuits filed in connection with the Hartmarx Corp. Chapter 11 cases 
  • Represented official receivers and joint liquidators for an Isle of Man company in connection with certain U.S. liabilities related to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) proceedings against one of the company's former directors
  • Representing BroadRiver Asset Management, L.P. in connection with a highly contested acquisition out of the Chapter 11 bankruptcy of Life Partners Inc.
  • Represented Olson Rug Co. in its Chapter 11 reorganization before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois; the company is the oldest retailer of carpet, rugs and hardwood flooring in the Chicagoland area, with continuous operations since 1874; at the time of filing, the company's operations included 12 retail stores; in 2010, the company's gross revenues totaled approximately $9.4 million
  • Represented Visteon Corp., a Fortune 500 global supplier of automotive systems, modules and components to nearly every major vehicle manufacturer in the world, in its successful Chapter 11 reorganization; at the time of filing, Visteon and its affiliates had a workforce of approximately 30,000 employees and a network of manufacturing sites, technical centers, sales offices and joint ventures located in every major geographic region of the world; in 2008, Visteon reported sales of approximately $9.54 billion
  • Represented The Readers Digest Association Inc. and its affiliates, a global multi-brand media and direct marketing company offering books, magazines, entertainment products, online networking websites and educational products to more than 130 million customers in 78 countries, in their pre-arranged Chapter 11 cases 
  • Represented Tropicana Entertainment LLC, one of the largest privately-owned casino operations in the U.S. Now emerged from Chapter 11, Tropicana and its affiliates operate nine casinos in five states with approximately 435,000 square-feet of gaming space and more than 5,866 hotel rooms, and employ more than 7,300 individuals
  • Represented the Sea Containers Group, a leading London-based marine container leasing company, in its Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases and global restructuring 
  • Advised creditor in the Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. Chapter 11 cases with respect to its unsecured claim totaling more than $900 million in principal and interest
  • Represented Pac-West Telecomm Inc., and its subsidiaries in their Chapter 11 reorganization cases before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware
  • Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of OCA Inc., and its subsidiaries, in their Chapter 11 reorganization cases of before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana
  • Represented Brown Jordan International Inc., one of the leading producers of high-end indoor and full-time outdoor furniture, and its subsidiaries in connection with their out-of-court debt restructuring
  • Represented Hirsh Industries Inc., and its subsidiaries, manufacturers and suppliers of filing, storage and organization products for personal and commercial use and store fixtures, in connection with their Chapter 11 restructuring before the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Indiana
  • Represented Big Lots Inc., a Fortune 500 company, in the KB Toys Chapter 11 cases and successfully recovered approximately $7 million on various claims arising from Big Lots' sale of the KB Toys business to a private equity group and subsequent payments to certain insiders prior to KB Toys' Chapter 11 filing


  • Duke University School of Law, J.D., cum laude
  • Wabash College, A.B., English and History, summa cum laude
Bar Admissions/Licenses
  • Illinois
Court Admissions
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, 2018
  • Turnaround Management Association (TMA), 2018
  • Sue Duncan Children's Center, Board Member, 2014-Present; Treasurer, 2016-Present
  • Duke Journal of Comparative & International Law, Executive Editor, 2003-2004
Honors & Awards
  • Holland & Knight Pro Bono All-Star, 2021
  • Rising Star, Illinois Super Lawyers magazine, 2014-2019