About Sonya Van de Graaff

With over 20 years of experience in UK-based and cross-border cases, Sonya Van de Graaff counsels clients on complex insolvency and restructuring issues arising from contentious and non-contentious circumstances. She guides funds and other investors, both individually and in ad hoc groups, through a wide array of matters in European restructuring, distressed investing and financing. Equipped with experience spanning several sectors and industries, Sonya offers a broad perspective that helps address the objectives of a wide spectrum of stakeholders.

Sophisticated counsel coupled with a collaborative style

Sonya offers robust representation that combines a client-focused approach with skills in navigating the intricacies of varying insolvency and restructuring regimes. On the restructuring side, Sonya steers creditors and successor trustees through company voluntary arrangements, restructuring plans, schemes of arrangement and general contingency planning. Her extensive experience has also included counseling debtors and shareholders.

Having been involved in several market-leading transactions, Sonya appreciates the value of developing innovative restructuring solutions and balancing different interests among various stakeholder groups. Those transactions have included bond restructurings, credit institution restructurings, pre-packaged administrations, restructurings of structured credit transactions and European aspects of Chapter 11 filings.

On the insolvency side, Sonya advises creditors and trustees on enforcement as well as administrations and liquidations. She also helps guide boards of directors through the "twilight zone" of insolvency.

Sonya brings experience in the aviation industry, which has included representing the foreign administrators of an island nation's airline in securing the English courts' recognition of the airline's insolvency proceeding. She also advised the business rescue practitioners of a foreign airline company on the effectiveness of the foreign law compromise of English law claims as well as the options available for recognition and enforcement.

Sonya closely tracks the work of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), particularly its work in connection with insolvency and cross-border insolvency law. She has participated in the UNCITRAL Working Group V negotiations to develop uniform legislation on cross-border insolvency.

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Practice Focus

  • Insolvency litigation
  • Restructurings and transactional matters
  • Formal insolvency procedures, including administrations, liquidations and bankruptcy
  • Schemes of arrangement
  • Voluntary arrangements
  • Contingency planning