Adam Ballinger represents debtors, creditors, trustees and court-appointed receivers in all matters in bankruptcy proceedings and outside of bankruptcy proceedings, including in state and federal courts, mediation, and arbitration. He also counsels purchasers, sellers, boards of directors, borrowers and secured creditors in both ordinary-course and distressed-asset transactions. These include structuring, documenting and enforcing secured financing arrangements, as well as resolving defaults and intercreditor issues. In addition, Adam represents agribusiness clients in agricultural and food product litigation in courts and arbitration.

Adam is a tenacious advocate for his clients, committed to achieving their goals through innovative legal solutions. He effectively integrates legal risk into the client’s overall business risk assessments to craft strategic outcomes. Adam’s strategic insights and meticulous approach enable him to provide clients with decisive and effective guidance.

Bankruptcy Administration & Litigation

Adam counsels secured creditors, unsecured trade creditors, and statutory lienholders in distressed debt or asset situations. He also advises and negotiates for business clients with their creditors in distressed situations to avoid bankruptcy or optimally prepare for it, including with litigation and motion practice, cash collateral, debtor-in-possession financing, relief from stay, plan formulation and negotiation, plan confirmation, and substantive consolidation.

Adam advises on administrative enforcement under federal banking statutes and regulations and under the Administrative Procedure Act. He serves as legal counsel for administrative and collateral agents in connection with national secured and unsecured financing transactions and bankruptcy cases. Adam guides court-appointed receivers in areas including the terms of their appointment, bringing litigation on their behalf, administering a receivership estate including asset disposition, managing costs and expenses, reporting to the supervising court, and the wind-up and termination of the receivership case. He also represents parties-in-interest in receivership cases in asserting receivership claims and defending against receiver-commenced litigation.

His practice includes fraud with an emphasis on Ponzi scheme-type frauds. Adam prosecutes and defends fraudulent transfer, preference, and lien avoidance claims in bankruptcy cases and under state law. He is experienced in bank regulatory matters and financial fraud litigation domestically and internationally, and he has taken to trial multimillion-dollar claims for professional malpractice against auditors.

Adam is experienced in mandatory arbitration before the American Arbitration Association and the National Grain and Feed Association, including compelling arbitration of disputes, confirming or vacating arbitration awards, and handling arbitration-related appeals. He has negotiated more than 50 mediations.

Representative Administration & Litigation Experience

  • Advised clients in large bankruptcy proceedings in Minnesota, Delaware, Houston and New York, including the Sports Authority, Westinghouse Electric Co. and Polaroid Corporation bankruptcy cases.
  • As general counsel to the federal equity receiver and Chapter 11 trustee in the $3.5 billion Tom Petters and Petters Co. Inc. Ponzi scheme cases, commenced more than 200 cases to recover $1 billion for fraud victims, and coordinated fraud recovery efforts in Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands and numerous Western European countries, requiring deep understanding of novel legal issues, meticulous strategic planning and exceptional negotiation skills.
  • Advised and represented a former executive of a $2 trillion banking institution against claims of breach of fiduciary duty by the Comptroller of the Currency, Unfair or Deceptive Acts or Practices (UDAP), and Unfair, Deceptive, or Abusive Acts or Practices (UDAAP) in an administrative hearing before the Office of Financial Institution Adjudication.
  • Advised and represented a North American professional soccer league in connection with corruption by individuals connected with the Fédération Internationale de Football association (FIFA), involving collusion between officials of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) and the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF).

Restructuring Transactions

Adam’s practice includes advising clients on lien creation, priority, and foreclosures under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code and trade creditor issues additionally arising under Article 2 of the UCC. He negotiates, structures, and closes distressed mergers and acquisitions and other asset transactions; secured debt creation; and collateral disposition including public and private sales under Article 9 of the UCC. Adam negotiates, drafts and reviews security agreements, UCC financing statements, purchase and supply agreements, commodity purchase contracts, futures and hedge-to-arrive contracts, and central notice filing documents, and he incorporates arbitration provisions into existing agreements.

He also negotiates and drafts cash collateral and debtor-in-possession financing documents, and prepares Chapter 11 plans of reorganization or liquidation and related disclosure statements.

Representative Transactional Experience

  • Represented the bankruptcy trustee of Polaroid Corp. in connection with the sale of its assets, domestic intellectual property and international intellectual property.
  • Guided the board of directors of an injected molded plastics manufacturer in the sale of its assets in a successful Article 9 foreclosure sale, concluding financing by multiple lienholders.


Adam represents clients in the agribusiness sector in lien priority disputes, statutory liens, distressed agriculture financing workouts, and more general breach of contract disputes between agricultural product producers and buyers in litigation as well as arbitration before the National Grain and Feed Association. Adam also negotiates, drafts and reviews agribusiness financing agreements and agricultural liens.

Representative Agribusiness Experience

  • Represented a leading agribusiness company exiting a $165 million loan portfolio. The resolution involved a web of issues including secured and junior secured debt, unsecured creditors, competing lien claims, a variety of collateral types, collateral conversion by the debtor, and accusations of lender liability, along with related litigation from other lenders against the client, a secured creditor. The culmination was the identification of a buyer for the troubled loan and the execution of a transaction that allowed the client to exit the financing arrangement.
  • Represented agricultural input suppliers in the creation and enforcement of statutory lien claims. The matters involved lien priority disputes with operating lenders and the negotiation of competing statutory lien claims through mediation.
  • Defended an agribusiness cooperative relating to the rights of a bankruptcy trustee to receive distributions of patronage equity. The resolution involved the intersection of bankruptcy law, state cooperative law and organizational documents.

Faculty Position & Thought Leadership

Adam serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, where he teaches a general bankruptcy course, “Bankruptcy: Power, Process and Procedure,” and an advanced corporate bankruptcy seminar, “Business Reorganization in Bankruptcy,” which emphasizes negotiation skills and the identification of potential leverage points.

He also writes and lectures nationally on bankruptcy-related topics, including financial fraud, secured transactions, Chapter 11 reorganization and litigation.

Personal Interests

In his free time, Adam enjoys scuba diving and spearfishing, joining his wife in supporting their three theater kids, and is always on the lookout for the next perfect guitar.


Bar Admissions


Court Admissions

U.S. Supreme Court
U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Minnesota
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 Eighth Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Central District of Illinois
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan
U.S. District Court for the District of North Dakota


University of Minnesota Law School
J.D. (2008)

North Dakota State University
B.S. in Economics (2004)

Insights & Events

Other Perspectives
  • (Not) For Sale: Chapter 5 Avoidance Actions
    Author, American Bankruptcy Institute Law Journal (Sept. 2022)
  • UCC Financing Statement: The Search for Certainty in Collateral Descriptions
    Author, Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law and Practice, Vol. 30, Issue 3 (June 2021)
  • Agricultural and Bankruptcy Lien Priority Issues
    Faculty, Agricultural Law & Bankruptcy Law Virtual Seminar, State Bar Association of North Dakota (June 3, 2020)
  • Searching for Hidden Treasure: Does Identifying the Security Agreement ‘Indicate’ the Collateral Under Article 9?
    Author, American Bankruptcy Institute Law Journal (Jan. 2020)
  • The Wonderful World of Third-Party Releases
    Speaker, Minnesota State Bar Association (2020)
  • Agricultural and Bankruptcy Lien Priority Issues
    Speaker, State Bar Association of North Dakota (2020)
  • Consignments and Secured Lenders: What You Know Can Hurt You
    Author, American Bankruptcy Institute Law Journal (Sept. 2019)
  • How to Consign Under Article 9: Lessons Learned in the Sports Authority Bankruptcy
    Speaker, MSBA Bankruptcy Section Presentation (2019)
  • Supreme Court Limits Securities Safe Harbor in Bankruptcy Clawbacks
    Author, Bench and Bar of Minnesota (July 2018)
  • Should We File It Here or There? Venue Options in Cross-Border Cases
    Speaker, American Bankruptcy Institute–Winter Leadership Conference (2018)
  • Chapter 11 Greatest Hits and One-Hit Wonders
    Speaker, Minnesota Bankruptcy Institute (2018)
  • Case Law Update
    Speaker, Minnesota State Bar Association (2018)
  • Federal and State Receivers and Examiners
    Speaker, American Bankruptcy Institute–Central States Workshop (2018)
  • Oops…What Happens When Auditors Miss Fraud?
    Speaker, TAG Alliances International Conference, Quebec City, Quebec (2017)
  • Hot Topics for Secured Lenders in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Cases
    Speaker, Advanced Lending Seminar (2017)
  • Boxing Up the Big Box Retailer
    Speaker, Turnaround Management Association – Minnesota Chapter (2017)
  • Receiverships: Representing Receivers, Creditors, and Parties-in-Interest
    Speaker, Hennepin County Bar Association (2017)
  • Representing Creditors in Wilmington and Manhattan: A Minnesotan’s Guide to America’s Busiest Bankruptcy Courts
    Speaker, Bankruptcy Institute, Minnesota State Bar Association (2016)
  • Secured Lending Issues in Distressed Agricultural Operations
    Speaker, Advanced Lending Seminar (2016)
  • Avoidance Actions 101: Common Chapter 5 Claims and the Uniform Voidable Transactions Act
    Speaker, Minnesota Bankruptcy Institute (2015)
  • Avoidable Transfers and Secured Lenders
    Speaker, Advanced Lending Seminar (2014)

Leadership & Community

Pro Bono

  • Privacy Rights — Represented Jerry and Patty Wetterling in a case of first impression seeking to prevent the disclosure of private information contained in the Jacob Wetterling criminal investigative file under the Minnesota Government Data Practices Act.
  • Immigration Law Center — Assisted a client with the successful immigration of the client’s wife, daughter and stepson from Ethiopia to the United States; also successfully located biological father residing in a refugee camp and secured father’s consent to minor’s immigration to the United States.
  • Volunteer Lawyers Network — Defended bankruptcy debtors in proceedings seeking to revoke their discharge or determine whether a debt is dischargeable.

Professional Associations

  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Twin Cities Diversity-in-Practice — Board of Directors, Former Member

Civic Activities

  • YouthLink Minnesota — Advised inner-city youth on numerous law enforcement, drug, civil, landlord-tenant, family law and consumer-credit legal issues.
  • Plymouth Christian Youth Center — Counseled students at an alternative high school in numerous law enforcement, drug, civil, landlord-tenant, family law and consumer-credit legal issues


  • Best Lawyers in America — Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, 2020
  • American Bankruptcy Institute — “40 Under 40,” 2017
  • Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal — “40 Under 40,”2017
  • Minnesota Lawyer — “Attorney of the Year,” Petters Bankruptcy Team, 2016
  • Minnesota Super Lawyers — “Rising Star,” 2014-18
  • Minnesota State Bar Association — “North Star Lawyer,” 2013, 2016
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