Hugh M. Ray, III is a partner in Pillsbury’s Insolvency & Restructuring practice, where he focuses on complex reorganization, bankruptcy and commercial litigation.

Hugh has represented publicly traded companies who successfully reorganized in bankruptcy and major creditors in their collection from complex bankruptcies. With decades of experience trying cases, he is well-known as trial counsel in several high-profile and bet-the-company cases. For over 15 years, he has been board-certified in business bankruptcy law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and “AV” rated by Martindale-Hubbell. Recognized for his work in Texas bankruptcy and restructuring cases by Chambers USA, Hugh has also been the recipient of three Turnaround Atlas awards for his work on complex energy restructurings.

View More

Hugh frequently appears in large, complex, chapter 11 bankruptcy cases representing oil companies, oil service companies, their vendors and creditors on bankruptcy issues unique to the energy business. He also represents clients in complex bankruptcy proceedings unrelated to the energy sector, but which require tenacity and strategic foresight. Hugh has facilitated debt workouts out of court. He has been elected to the American Law Institute and assists with the drafting of the ALI’s Restatements of the Law.

Representative Experience

  • Represented 50% owner of Neiman Marcus in Neiman Marcus’ bankruptcy case (In re Neiman Marcus Group Ltd LLC).
  • Represented purchaser of Lummis Technology assets for over $700 million in the $13 billion case of McDermott International (In re McDermott International, Inc.
  • Represented ad hoc bondholder group of Dean Foods holding over $400 million in bond debt of the nation’s largest milk processor (In re Southern Foods Group, LLC)

View More

  • Asset Acquisition
    • Represented Northstar Offshore Ventures LLC, in a contested sale hearing on the disputed purchase of substantially all of the assets (comprised mostly of offshore oil and gas rigs) from a bankrupt oil & gas producer free of alleged preferential rights. Pillsbury received an Atlas Award for the victory.
    • Served as trial counsel for publicly traded oilfield technology company in sale of patents free and clear of $300 million in filed royalty claims. Won "cram-down" reorganization plan to convey patents without royalty claims.
  • Creditor Representation
    • Represented investor and backstop party in the chapter 11 of the oil and gas producer EP Energy (In re EP Energy Corporation).
    • Represented Larsen & Toubro Hydrocarbon Engineering on the creation of a new form of framework agreement to preserve client rights and a consortium's rights to billions of dollars of contracts with Saudi Aramco. This deal was honored by the Financial Times in connection with the publication’s annual North America Most Innovative Lawyers awards program in 2017.
    • Represented a subsidiary of Sembcorp in the $14 billion bankruptcy of Seadrill and subsidiaries by successfully preserving disputed ownership rights over a new semi-submersible drilling rig, the West Rigel.
    • Represented a creditor in bankruptcy aspects of defense of a mass-action lawsuit, including significant sanctions against the plaintiffs (Schermerhorn et al. v. CenturyLink et al.).
    • Represented multiple creditors in Chapter 11 oilfield owner and operator and lead trial counsel in multimillion-dollar litigation successfully tried to judgment (In re Chuza Oil Company).
  • Unsecured Creditor Committee Representation
    • Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Chapter 11 oil and gas producer as trial counsel in contested confirmation trial in billion-dollar valuation fight. This deal was honored at the Global M&A Network’s 12th Annual Turnaround Atlas Awards as the Chapter 11 Restructuring Deal of the Year (Small-Mid Markets) (In re Legacy Reserves Inc.).
    • Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in Chapter 11 case of vessel construction and drydock facility debtor (In re Sneed Shipbuilding, Inc.).
    • Represented Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of Chapter 11 debtor with over 400 miles of gas-gathering pipeline, numerous gas compression facilities and treatment operations (In re Tristream East Texas, LLC).
    • Represented Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and acted as lead trial counsel for Committee in publicly traded company, confirming Chapter 11 plan of an oil production company (In re Dune Energy, Inc., et al.).
    • Represented Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors pre-Plan and the Liquidating Trust post-Plan as lead trial counsel involving $95 million in vessels sold. Resulted in successful recovery for unsecured creditors of over 70 percent.
  • Debtor Representation
    • Debtor's counsel for a rocket manufacturing and satellite technology company (In re VL Wind Down f/k/a Vector Launch, Inc.).
    • Represented publicly traded oilfield service company in Chapter 11 proceedings (In re HII Technologies, Inc., et al.).
    • Represented Lon Morris College as Chapter 11 debtor after significant financial distress and confirmed Chapter 11 Plan. The college spread over 100 acres, including multiple dormitories, classrooms, a library, athletic and artistic facilities.
    • Represented Golden Oil Company in successful reorganization, taking company private. Acted as lead trial counsel in litigation of over $40 million in claims. Obtained dismissal of tribal royalty claims and reimbursement of legal fees.
  • Adversary Proceeding Defense
    • Successfully defended Family Express in Bilstat v. Family Express (In re Bilstat).
    • Successfully defended Wyo-Ben at trial level and on appeal in preference suit against oilfield service companies.
    • Successfully represented Creditor's Committee by obtaining pre-briefing dismissal of appeals brought by debtor and secured lender.

Professional Highlights

  • Global M&A Network’s 12th Annual Turnaround Atlas Award for the “Chapter 11 Restructuring Deal of the Year (Small-Mid Markets)” as counsel for the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 Restructuring of Legacy Reserves.
  • Global M&A Network’s 2018 Turnaround Atlas Award for “Cross Border Turnaround of the Year” for EMAS CHIYODA Subsea Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization and acquisition by Subsea 7.
  • Global M&A Network's 2017 Turnaround Atlas Award for Energy & Services “Restructuring of the Year” for outstanding contributions in Linc USA reorganization and sale of assets including Alaska Resources to Arctic Acquisition, Gulf Coast assets to Torrent Oil, and Wyoming assets to Big Muddy Operating.

View More

  • Honors & Awards
    • Global M&A Network's 2016 Turnaround Atlas Award for Energy & Services “Restructuring of the Year” for outstanding contributions in Dune Energy's Chapter 11 reorganization and sale of assets to White Marlin Oil & Gas Co.
    • Recognized by Chambers USA for Bankruptcy/Restructuring in Texas (2019 - 2021)
    • Recognized by Best Lawyers (published by BL Rankings LLC), Energy Law (2021-2022). 
    • Recognized by Lawdragon as one of 500 Leading Global Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers (2020) and one of 500 Leading U.S. Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers (2020)
    • Life Fellow of the Texas Bar Foundation (2020)
    • Board Certified, Business Bankruptcy Law, Texas Board of Legal Specialization
    • Recognized by Texas Super Lawyers (published by Thomson Reuters), Bankruptcy: Business (2004, 2010–2013, 2016–2021)
    • Recognized as a “Top Lawyer” by Houstonia magazine (2015)
    • “AV” Peer-Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
    • Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
    • Named one of “Houston’s Best Lawyers” by H-Texas magazine (2004)
  • Associations
    • Member, American Law Institute, serving on the Member’s Consultative Group for the Restatement Third, The Law of American Indians
    • “Master,” Garland Walker Inn of Court and “Master,” American Inns of Court
    • State Bar of Texas, Voting Member Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct Committee, 2000–2008
  • Speaking Engagements
    • “Distressed M&A Investing: Exercising Acquisition Opportunities In and Out of Chapter 11 Bankruptcy,” Strafford webinar, May 19, 2021
    • “Real Assets Roundup – Projects/Energy,” Pillsbury webinar, April 15, 2020
    • “Rejection of Trademark Licenses in Bankruptcy After Tempnology,” PLI’s Intellectual Property Law Institute 2019, San Francisco, October 21, 2019
    • “Hot Topics in Defenses to Preference Claim Litigation,” Trends & Traps 2019: A Credit & Collections Symposium for the Oil & Gas Services & Equipment Industries, Houston, Texas, April 17, 2019
    • “Hot Business Topics in Bankruptcy” Pillsbury New York CLE Marathon, March 21, 2018 and Pillsbury CLE Webinar, May 30, 2018.
    • “U.S. Bankruptcy for Singaporean Lawyers - Key Concepts to Assist with Asian Clients” Singapore, February 2018.
    • “Ethical Issues that Arise in Bankruptcy Practice” Federal Bar Association (S.D. Tex. Chapter) February 2018.
    • “Drone Law” Moller-Foltz Inn of Court of the American Inns of Court, March 2018.
    • “Ethical Use of Drones in the Oil and Gas Industry” State Bar of Texas 35th Advanced Oil and Gas Energy Resources Law Course, September 2017.
    • “Ethics: Droning On – Essential Drone Law for Oil & Gas Production” Pillsbury CLE Marathon, October 2017.
    • “Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Droning On… Current Law and Future Issues Related to UAS Operations” Garland Walker Inn of Court, American Inns of Court, February 2017.
    • “An Offer You Can’t Refuse: Stalking Horses and Section 363 Asset Sales,” National Oilfield Service and Supply Industry Credit Group Meeting (Houston), January 2017.
    • “The Future of Gas Gathering, Purchase and Pipeline Transportation Agreements in Texas - A Bankruptcy Debate” Pillsbury CLE Marathon, October 2016.
    • "Bankruptcy for Non-Bankruptcy Lawyers," Speaker, Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Houston, Texas.
    • Collecting Debts and Judgments Seminar (Moderator);“Ethics Traps for Collection Lawyers”– Presenter/Author; “Practical Techniques for Collecting from Hard-to-get Debtors and Corporate Debtors,"– Presenter/Author, Lorman Education Services, Sugar Land, Texas.
    • “Deep Marine - a Case Study,” Turnaround Management Association (Houston Chapter), February 2012.
    • “Judicial Ethics” Texas State Bar Bankruptcy Section Bench-Bar Conference, May 2011.
    • “What You Need to Know about Bankruptcy Law,” Texas Southern University School of Law, Houston, Texas, October 2008 and February 2010.
    • “Committee Solicitation Issues – The Problems, the Rules and the Enforcers,” National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, October 2009.
  • External Publications

Education

  • J.D., Vanderbilt University School of Law, 1996

    M.Div., Vanderbilt University, 1996

    B.A., Vanderbilt University, 1992

Admissions

  • Texas

    New Mexico

Courts

  • U.S. Supreme Court

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

    U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

    U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas

    U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas

    U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas

    U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado

    U.S. District Court for the District of New Mexico

    U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri

    U.S. Tax Court