Keith Cunningham is Business Practice Group Chair, as well as Chair of Pierce Atwood's Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights team. Keith has provided business and legal counsel to clients in bankruptcy and creditors' rights matters, debt financings and commercial transactions since 1988. "Praised by clients for his ‘very practical and strategic advice,'" (Chambers USA 2012), Keith's representation encompasses a wide range of interests, including secured creditors, trade creditors, public utilities, government agencies, forward contract merchants, lessors, licensors, licensees, and purchasers. Keith is particularly noted for his expertise in energy industry matters.  Keith has substantial experience in matters involving adequate protection, forward contracts and master netting agreements, setoff and recoupment, cash collateral, claims allowance and litigation, preference and fraudulent transfer risk management and defense, and Chapter 11 plan issues.

In addition to his bankruptcy and creditors' rights practice, Keith is also regularly called upon by clients to help structure, negotiate and document complex secured and unsecured credit facilities and commercial agreements.

Before joining the firm in 1996, Keith clerked for the Honorable Mark W. Vaughn of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Hampshire, and chaired the Bankruptcy/Creditors' Rights/Loan Workout Practice Group of a large New Hampshire firm.

Honors & Distinctions

  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® for bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law since 2006
  • Rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named a top-rated bankruptcy attorney by New England Super Lawyers since 2012 

Professional Activities

Member, Maine Bar Association and American Bankruptcy Institute

Civic Activities

Treasurer, Board of Advisors, Salvation Army of Greater Portland, 2007-present

Practice Areas

Representative Experience

  • Represented the purchaser out of bankruptcy of a pulp mill (200,000 tons annual capacity) and related assets, including its 16 MW power plant, 25 MGD waste water treatment facility and 400,000 square-foot warehouse facility
  • Represented the California ISO on bankruptcy matters with respect to its consolidated petition with certain other regional transmission organizations and independent system operators to exempt specified transactions from the provisions of the Commodity Exchange Act and Commodity Futures Trading Commission regulations
  • Successfully represented two defendants alleged to have received in excess of $18 million in preferential payments by the Litigation Trustee in In re Quebecor World (USA), Inc. (S.D.N.Y.)
  • Lead counsel for a publicly traded mezzanine debt and private equity firm in the sale, at foreclosure, of an integrated 25.85 megawatt wood-fired power plant and associated woodchip operation

Representative Experience

  • Represented a New England health care institution in the negotiation and documentation of $112 million of direct pay letters of credit to provide replacement credit enhancement and liquidity support for tax exempt bond issuances
  • Represented a NYSE traded apparel and footwear manufacturer in a $300 million credit facility

Representative Experience

  • Represented New York State Electric & Gas Corporation in AES Eastern Energy’s Chapter 11 case in Delaware, including in its settlement of a myriad of complex issues created by AES Energy’s closure and subsequent sale of four coal fired generating facilities at which NYSEG owns and operates critical transmission and distribution assets
  • Represented the California ISO in Solar Trust of America's 2012 Chapter 11 case in Delaware.  The Consent Agreement negotiated between the debtors, California ISO and Southern California Edison paved the way for the debtors' assumption and assignment of two interconnection agreements that were essential to the successful sale by the debtors of their interests in two of the largest solar power projects under development in the U.S.
  • Representing the California Department of Water Resources in its efforts to recover overcharges resulting from the 2000-2001 western energy crisis, with past successes including bankruptcy settlements with Chapter 11 debtors Mirant Corporation (N.D. Tex.), Enron Corporation (S.D.N.Y.) and NEGT (D. Md.) resulting in allowed secured and unsecured claims totaling in excess of $2.4 billion, and the Department's $750 million multi-party settlement with Powerex Corp. in 2013