Distinguished Service Award

For significant accomplishments in improving the administration of justice in the insolvency and bankruptcy field, primarily arising from volunteer activities (rather than services to a client or as a judge or other professional).

Distinguished Service Award Criteria

2020 Distinguished Service Award 

The American College of Bankruptcy (the “College”) has awarded its 2020 Distinguished Service Award to William J. Perlstein (Bill) of Washington, DC.

After graduating from Yale Law School in 1974 and clerking for Judge Marvin Frankel in New York, Bill joined Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering in Washington where he was first exposed to the insolvency world working on the Penn Central valuation case. After starting Wilmer’s national bankruptcy practice in 1981, he had major roles in high profile cases. Bill’s professional service included two terms as a director of ABI, several leadership positions on the ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee, and a major role in drafting several sections of the 1984 Bankruptcy Code revisions.

Bill moved into law firm management in 1995 and became WCP’s Managing Partner in 1998, helping to grow the firm from 260 lawyers to more than 500 in six years. The American Lawyer recognized Bill’s management contributions with its Distinguished Law Firm Leader Award in 2014. Bill retired from WilmerHale in 2015 and joined BNY Mellon as Senior Deputy General Counsel. Most recently Bill joined FTI Consulting, where he is a Senior Managing Director and Vice Chair, Client Services. Bill served the College as an At-Large Regent and then as General Counsel for 15 years as the College and then the Foundation greatly expanded the scope of their work. He is currently a Trustee and Counsel to the Board at Union College; a Life Member of the American Law Institute; and a Member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Due to the COVID-19 global health crisis, the presentation of this award was delayed to the virtual All Fellows Meeting on October 14, 2020.  We were pleased to welcome Jamie Gorellick, WilmerHale, who joined Bill for an interesting and thoughtful discussion about the current ramifications of the health crisis and the upcoming election on the economy.  You may view their discussion at the link below.

Click here to read Mike Cook's Presentation to Bill Perlstein on October 14, 2020

Click here to read Bill's Perlstein's Remarks on October 14, 2020

Click here to view the discussion between Bill Perlstein and Jamie Gorelick on October 14, 2020


Past Distinguished Service Awards