Seth Van Aalten, Partner

Seth Van Aalten concentrates his practice in both transactional and litigation aspects of Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization and liquidation. He frequently represents creditors' committees and debtors in Chapter 11 cases, as well as purchasers of assets, parties to executory contracts and real property leases and unsecured creditors. Mr. Van Aalten frequently handles contested matters and dedicated adversary proceedings concerning cash collateral and postpetition financing use, section 363 asset sales, plan confirmation proceedings, and Bankruptcy Rule 2004 investigations, among others.

Mr. Van Aalten also specializes in the prosecution of LBO, fraudulent conveyance and other bankruptcy estate causes of action, including his recent representation of the Mervyn's Creditors' Committee in its prosecution of a $1.2 billion litigation against certain significant companies, private equity firms and financial institutions who participated in the 2004 sale of Mervyn's and the simultaneous stripping away of Mervyn's valuable real estate assets.

Mr. Van Aalten has served as counsel to the Creditors' Committee in several of most prominent retail Chapter 11 cases in the country as follows:

  • Current representations include: Blockbuster, Mervyn's, Vertis Holdings and Eddie Bauer.
  • Prior representations include: Sharper Image, KB Toys, G.I. Joe's, Inc., Norstan Apparel Shops, Bachrach Clothing, Today's Man, Endicott Johnson Corporation, Bob's Stores, Dawahare's of Lexington, Scotty's Inc., New Weathervane, Donnkenny, Inc., Pelican Pool & Ski Center, Christopher's Men's Stores, Ski Chalet, Popular Stores and Rag Shops.

Mr. Van Aalten's other noteworthy representations include:

  • Counsel to the Official Employment-Related Issues Committee of Enron Corp., which prosecuted over 40 actions against former executives of Enron and recovered for the benefit of creditors in excess of $30 million of deferred compensation payments made on the eve of Enron's bankruptcy filing.
  • Counsel to the Bayonne Medical Center, which overcame several financial and legal hurdles in its Chapter 11 case to successfully consummate a going concern sale to a consortium of operators for approximately $41 million.
  • Counsel to the Official Committee of Tort Claimants in the initial Chapter 11 cases of Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers of New York and counsel to the MedMal Trust Monitor in Saint Vincent's successor Chapter 11 cases in the Southern District of New York.  The Committee and the MedMal  Trust Monitor have been instrumental to the preservation of the rights of involuntary medical malpractice creditors of Saint Vincent's hospitals.
  • Counsel to Abovenet, Inc. f/k/a Metromedia Fiber Networks and its 14 affiliated debtors in their successful Chapter 11 case, through which the company restructured approximately $5 million in debt.
  • Counsel to the Ad Hoc Creditors' Committee in the out-of-court liquidation of CompUSA.
  • Counsel to Pacific Ethanol Holding Co. LLC and its four ethanol plant subsidiaries in their successful Chapter 11 case in the District of Delaware.

In 2012, Mr. Van Aalten was named as one of the Top 40 Bankruptcy Lawyers Under the Age of 40 in New York by the American Society of Legal Advocates (ASLA).; In 2013, he was named one of the Super Lawyers of New York and in 2011 and 2012, New York Super Lawyers magazine listed him as a Rising Star.

Mr. Van Aalten is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the American Bar Association.


  • Boston University School of Law
    JD, 2003
  • Binghamton University
    BA, 2000, cum laude

Court Admissions

  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York

Bar Admissions

  • New York


  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • American Bar Association
New York
The Grace Building
1114 Avenue of the Americas
New York, New York 10036-7798

Phone: +1 212 479 6104
Fax: +1 212 479 6275
eFax: +1 212 504 2803
Download vcard (Download vcard)
Download PDF (Download PDF)

Related Media

Related Practices

©2003-2016 Cooley LLP and Cooley (UK) LLP. All rights reserved.
COOLEY® and the COOLEY LLP® logo are registered U.S. service marks of Cooley LLP.
Cooley was founded in 1920 – for our story, visit our timeline.