Michael B. Watkins, retired of counsel in the South Bend, Indiana, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, offices of Barnes & Thornburg, was a member and department administrator in the South Bend office of the Finance, Insolvency and Restructuring and Real Estate Departments.
His practice in the creditors' rights area included representing debtors as well as secured and unsecured creditors in both bankruptcy proceedings and out-of-court workouts, as well as creditors' committees in bankruptcy proceedings. He represented a number of debtors who had sold substantially all of their assets through Chapter 11 proceedings, and others who had reorganized under Chapter 11. In addition, he represented financial institutions in a variety of documentation, enforcement and collection activities as well as borrowers in a wide range of financing activities, including conventional, debt, and private placement loans. Michael regularly consulted on general commercial matters, including all articles of the UCC. His real estate practice included lease negotiation and drafting; documenting and enforcing mortgage loans and mechanic's liens; representing parties in purchase, sale, construction and financing transactions and other transactions and document preparation concerning commercial, retail, office, industrial, and residential properties, including residential and business condominium properties. He also routinely represented parties involved in UCC Article 9 sales and state court receiverships.
Michael received his B.A. in biology and psychology from Indiana University'Bloomington in 1979. He graduated summa cum laude in 1986 from the Indiana University School of Law'Indianapolis where he was an editor of the Indiana Law Review. Michael joined the firm in 1986 and has been the administrator of the Finance, Insolvency and Restructuring Department in the firm's South Bend office since 1995. He served as the firm wide chair of the department for 10 years.
Michael has prepared and presented a number of seminars focusing on a variety of bankruptcy, real estate and creditors' rights topics. He is co-author of a manual entitled Auto Supplier Insolvencies and Bankruptcies: Issues for Suppliers and Customers of Financially Troubled Auto Suppliers, '2004, published by the American Bankruptcy Institute; and was a co-author of an article entitled, 'Navigating Turbulent Economic Waters: Using the Uniform Commercial Code to Steady the Boat,' '2010, published in the Uniform Commercial Code Law Journal, Vol. 42, No. 3, June 2010. He has also been named in The Best Lawyers in America under Bankruptcy and Creditor/Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law as well as under Litigation - Bankruptcy since 2001 and Indiana Super Lawyers in the areas of Bankruptcy and Workout since its inception in 2004, as well as Indiana's Best Lawyers in the 2010 premier edition. Michael has been selected as a 2013 Top Rated Lawyer in Banking & Finance Law and has achieved the AV Preeminent' peer review rating given by Martindale-Hubbell.
Michael is certified as a Business Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification and is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute. He is a District Council representative to the Bankruptcy and Creditors Rights Section of the Indiana State Bar Association and will serve as its chairman in 2014. He is licensed to practice in the states of Indiana and Michigan and before the United States District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana and the United States Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit.