• J.D., State University of New York at Buffalo, magna cum laude (1981)
  • A.B., Grinnell College, with honors (1974)


  • New York (1982)
  • Supreme Court of the United States (1989)
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Southern and Western Districts of New York (1982)
  • United States District Court for the District of Columbia (2009)
  • United States Court of Federal Claims (2011)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit (1988)


  • American Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Bar of the City of New York
  • Commercial & Federal Litigation Section, New York State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Council
  • National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges
  • New York Institute of Credit
  • Turnaround Management Association


  • “Is there an Extra-Territorial Reach to SIPA?”, Financier Worldwide (January 2013);
  • “The Evolving Application of the Public Policy Exception in Cross-Border Insolvencies”, Insol (January 2013);
  • “A Compilation of Decisions in the Aftermath of Stern v. Marshall”, ABI Views from the Bench (October 2012);
  • “Another Set of Eyes, The Expert as Evaluator”, Expert Guide, Bankruptcy & Restructuring (March 2012);
  • “The Public Policy Exception in Cross-Border Recognition by American Bankruptcy Courts”, Financier Worldwide (January 2012)

Melanie L. Cyganowski, Mediators + More

Melanie L. Cyganowski

Member, Mediators + More

MELANIE L. CYGANOWSKI is a recognized expert in insolvency and bankruptcy litigation and has extensive experience in resolving these conflicts through mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

From 1993 to 2007, Cyganowski served as Judge of the United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of New York. From November 2005 through the end of her 14 year term, she was Chief Judge of the Court.

Cyganowski is currently Chair of the Insolvency Litigation Services, ADR and Fiduciary Appointments practice area at Otterbourg, Steindler, Houston & Rosen P.C. She has mediated or presided over thousands of commercial and individual bankruptcy cases which earned her notice as one of The New York Times’ Top 50 Women Lawyers in New York City, and recognition by Super Lawyers: Top 50 Women Attorneys in the New York Metro Area (2012); The Best Lawyers in America (2012), and Super Lawyers, Bankruptcy (2007-present), among others.

Recently Cyganowski was Special Master in a prominent class action suit accusing Vivendi of making false and misleading statements about its financial position; Referee for the largest commercial foreclosure (Stuyvesant Town/Peter Cooper Village); Auditor in a national matter involving Capital One Bank; and Receiver in a foreclosure case involving JPMorgan Chase as well as a federal court action where she secured over $13.5 million for the plaintiffs; Cyganowski is currently mediator and/or arbitrator in numerous disputes involving Madoff, Quebecor and Metaldyne and appears regularly in the media discussing insolvency issues, including Madoff-related matters. She is also an active speaker at industry meetings and conferences.

Cyganowski is adjunct professor of the LL.M Program in Bankruptcy at the St. John’s University School of Law, where she teaches legal ethics, corporate reorganization and the interrelationship between domestic relations and bankruptcy laws. Earlier in her career, Cyganowski was shareholder and chair of the New York bankruptcy litigation practice at Greenberg Traurig LLP, and a commercial litigator at Sullivan & Cromwell and Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.