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Robin B. Cheatham
Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/ Insolvency and Reorganization Law Partner, Transactions, Adams and Reese LLP
36 years in practice
B.A. – University of New Orleans, Business Administration, 1976
J.D. – Loyola University, 1979
Native of Arkansas
One of his toughest cases: Handling Chinese Regulatory Issues
Before he even got his driver’s license, Robin Cheatham was running three businesses in Burres, Louisiana.
“They all had to do with industrial laundry, so I did a lot of energy related business and work with motels and tugboats. I had to be knowledgeable in that regard.” Cheatham explains.
It was during this time, he says, that the idea of getting a law degree materialized. “I figured it would be useful for the work I was doing.”
By the time Cheatham received his J.D. at Loyola University, he had left behind his own business ventures but kept his feet in the commercial world, first clerking for Henry Mestayer then becoming his associate.
“I did a lot of collections work in those 10 years,” he says.
But it was bankruptcy law that would eventually arouse his curiosity.
“The bankruptcy code came out in 1979 and nobody at my firm was really interested in learning it, so I took it on,” he says. “It was a kind of a trial by fire.”
In 1988 he joined the firm of Adams and Reese, where he spent the early ’90s representing clients in the oil and gas industry.
“At that point, my interest was piqued,” he says. Cheatham continues his oil and gas work as part of Adams and Reese’s Energy and Environmental Team, where his work includes various transactions such as owner disputes, regulatory issues, preparation of royalty agreements and contract issues regarding joint operating agreements.
Cheatham says one of his toughest cases involved a bankruptcy in Louisiana that involved a Chinese creditor. The heavily litigious case spread over four-and-a-half years.
“It involved familiarizing myself with all the various levels of the Chinese government and a lot of regulatory issues had to be accomplished,” he says. “The case ultimately involved us suing an entity of the Chinese in the U.S. It was an uncharacteristic move that resulted in successful negotiations for our client.”
As a member of Adams and Reese’s Commercial Restructuring and Bankruptcy Team, Cheatham says that another highlight of his decades spent in bankruptcy work was a case in Puerto Rico where he represented a rice supplier that was owed money from a distributor who wanted to continue buying rice.
“We ended up negotiating a deal so that our client would receive the outstanding money they were owed,” he says.
Complex cases where emotions can run high and negotiations can stretch across international borders are all part of the job for Cheatham, and he says he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“From health care, to manufacturing, to oil and gas, engineering and construction – I work with it all,” he says. “And with bankruptcy you have to totally immerse yourself in each client’s company – learn everything there is to know about it. I really enjoy that.”