FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Karol K. Denniston

DLA Piper LLP (US)

Los Angeles, CA, USA

Karol K. Denniston, Vice Chair, Restructuring Practice Group and Head of West Coast Restructuring Practice


Karol Denniston's practice focuses on international and domestic corporate restructuring, both in and out of court. When not directly involved in Chapter 11 cases and international restructurings representing secured creditors, debtors and equity holders, Ms. Denniston provides bankruptcy analysis and advice in connection with structured finance transactions to manage credit risk by utilizing appropriate debt and equity structures. Ms. Denniston frequently represents lenders and borrowers in distressed commercial real estate restructuring transactions and often advises secured lenders on enforcement and bankruptcy strategies.

Recently, while serving as debtor's counsel, Ms. Denniston confirmed a plan of reorganization for a large US-based public utility company, liquidated the European and Australian subsidiaries of a privately held US debtor, and closed a large out-of-court European restructuring requiring resolution of secured lines of credit with a large Dutch bank, as well as unsecured creditor claims in six countries. Ms. Denniston is frequently retained as independent counsel to boards of directors of public and private companies involved in the restructuring process.

Since joining DLA Piper, Ms. Denniston has been actively representing parties involved in lending to, and restructuring debt and equity obligations of, emerging companies. Working with DLA Piper's IP lawyers, Ms. Denniston assists clients in maximizing the value of IP, including patents, trademarks and other general intangibles.

Recognizing the need to implement timely and cost-effective structures to resolve troubled transactions, Ms. Denniston has a strong interest in alternative dispute resolution. She is an experienced mediator and arbitrator, and on behalf of clients has utilized all forms of alternative dispute resolution to resolve matters arising in distressed multinational transactions. In addition to serving as a private mediator, Ms. Denniston has been a court-appointed mediator for the US Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California and the Los Angeles Superior Court. Ms. Denniston obtained mediator certification from the London-based Centre for Dispute Resolution (CEDR) in 1999, and has been a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators since 1998.

Ms. Denniston lectures frequently on distressed debt trading and on the use of ADR to resolve distressed commercial transactions and disputes arising in Chapter 11 proceedings, as well as international insolvency and reorganization proceedings. She is now serving as the co-chair of the  American Bar Association's Dispute Resolution Committee for the Business Law section.

Prior to moving to London in 1998, Ms. Denniston worked in Texas and California representing secured lenders, receivers, trustees and debtors in bankruptcy and insolvency proceedings, litigation and negotiated workouts. As an experienced workout lawyer, she routinely represents clients in cross-border restructurings and in bankruptcy courts throughout the US, and she is very familiar with technology, retail, manufacturing, telecommunications and utilities, both public and private.

Ms. Denniston began her career in Texas prosecuting bank fraud cases for the FDIC and working out distressed real estate loans during the savings and loan crisis, and has been dealing with distressed banking transactions ever since.


  • Lead deal counsel on acquisition of multi-million dollar portfolios of commercial and residential loans in multiple Latin and South American countries for large investment bank.
  • Lead Chapter 11 bankruptcy counsel in In Re NorthWestern; restructured regulated utility and confirmed contested plan of reorganization in 13 months, focusing on all aspects of the debtor's reorganization process.
  • Lead Chapter 11 bankruptcy counsel in In re Netexit; structured and implemented mediation process to implement negotiated liquidating plan with creditors committee and shareholders class action claimants.
  • Lead creditor and DIP lending counsel in In re AGY; In re Mayfair Mills and In re Sheffield Steel.
  • Coordinated and closed out-of-court work out of European operations of large privately held US company. Bankruptcy proceedings were avoided and company has successfully resolved debt and claims in excess of $10 million.
  • Negotiated and closed distressed sale of private publishing house to large German conglomerate.
  • Negotiated, documented and closed sale of troubled US subsidiary for British company, resolving a number of the subsidiary's contract disputes prior to closing and negotiating limited representations and warranties. 
  • Defeated plaintiff's attempt to depose Fortune 100 Company client's local and international counsel for purpose of establishing corporation's alleged pattern of repeated and ongoing violations of law.  Created settlement strategy resulting in $300,000 settlement of punitive damage claims in excess of $10 million.
  • Obtained injunction protecting corporate indenture trustee client and defeated $14 million claim asserted against trustee by beneficiary; negotiated resolution resulting in release of claims against trustee and favorable settlement terms.
  • Coordinated and managed numerous teams of attorneys in complex commercial litigation involving corporate trust indentures and multinational letters of credit and seeking damages in excess of $450 million against client as a result of loan servicing failure.

England and Wales

West Virginia University (1985) J.D.
Order of the Coif
Law Review Articles Editor
West Virginia University (1982) M.A. with honors
Concord College (1980) B.A. cum laude


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