Southwestern Law School Los Angeles, CA

Jonathan Rosenthal '80

Chairman, Saybrook Partners Limited

He's Stuck on Chapter Eleven

As the head of Saybrook Capital's bankruptcy practice, Jonathan Rosenthal '80 is an expert in dealing with complex financial crises. In fact, while the Santa Monica-based boutique investment bank that he co-founded in 1990 is thousands of miles from Wall Street and much smaller than many of its competitors, Rosenthal has handled some of the country's largest bankruptcies. He has advised creditors of Pacific Gas & Electric and shareholders of Kmart and Adelphia Communications, among others. "We tend to get the deals that are big, ugly and complicated," he told Business Week for a profile on him.

After receiving a scholarship to study law at Uppsala University in Sweden, Rosenthal returned to his native California and enrolled in Southwestern's SCALEĀ® program. "I really thought the structure of the education was great," he said of the law school's alternative curriculum. "And the professors were excellent." Following graduation, Rosenthal landed a clerkship with Judge Skelley Wright in the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. He then went on to practice law at several firms in Denver before founding his own business, NetAir International Corp., an aircraft leasing company. "I started it in '83, took it public in '85, and sold my stock in '89," he said.

Over the past few years, much of Rosenthal's business has dealt with the airline industry, where several of the largest carriers have found themselves in Chapter 11. He recently completed work on a deal for United Airlines, whose exit financing - $3 billion - was the largest ever in history, according to Rosenthal. "The entities I represented were $28.8 billion of creditor claims," he added. While his success is no doubt due to his business savvy and economic insight, Rosenthal said his degree from Southwestern is the backbone of his career. "I couldn't do what I do today without having been trained as a lawyer," he said.