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In his nearly 30 years of practice, Peter Benvenutti has built up impressive cachet within the Bay Area bankruptcy community. The Boalt Hall School of Law graduate gets high marks from colleagues who note his prodigious work ethic along with his pragmatic approach to bankruptcy cases. “He’s constructive when you’re negotiating something” and “doesn’t create artificial crises,” says Morrison & Foerster partner Adam Lewis. “He gets to the point and stays on point.” This tack yields tangible results, such as in Benvenutti’s recent role representing the trustee in the Software Logistics Corp. bankruptcy. Unsecured creditors, who were initially expected to get nothing, wound up with a pool totaling between $60 million and $80 million, thanks to a successful auction. Benvenutti, 54, began his career at Dinkelspiel & Dinkelspiel. In 1988, he moved to Heller Ehrman White & McAuliffe, where he now heads up the firm’s 15-attorney bankruptcy group. As a partner at Heller Ehrman, a firm whose clients include Wells Fargo, Bank of America and GMAC Commercial Mortgage, Benvenutti frequently represents institutional lenders in bankruptcy cases. But his practice is not strictly creditor-based. “He has both the intellect and the ability to handle both sides,” says Robert Izmirian, chairman of the San Francisco insolvency group at Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger. In the 1998 Chapter 11 of Winterland Concessions Co., Benvenutti negotiated a reorganization plan for the debtor and got it confirmed less than five months after the bankruptcy filing. Benvenutti is currently representing the trustee in San Jose’s Garden City Casino Chapter 11, a case that involves a substantial amount of litigation relating to the city’s gaming ordinance. “I have the benefit of being as much of a generalist as you can be in the bankruptcy field,” says Benvenutti, “and I kind of like it that way.”

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