Jay Kornfeld’s practice focuses primarily on the representation of companies in creditor and debtor matters, emphasizing out-of-court workouts, restructurings, and Chapter 11 reorganizations.
He has represented clients in diverse industries, including tech, retail, agricultural (farming and processing), dairy, grocery, manufacturing, aerospace, telecom, wood products, biotech, commercial and residential real estate, and commercial fishing. Jay also serves as a mediator and has mediated dozens of creditor/debtor and general commercial matters.
Chambers USA, an independent directory that researches and assesses law firms and lawyers in America, calls Jay “a leader of the Bar...one of the premier attorneys and one of the most talented practitioners in the Northwest. He attracts garlands for his bankruptcy, loan restructuring and workout engagements across a range of businesses and industries.”
Jay is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy; Martindale Hubbell A V-rated; Chambers USA’s America's Leading Lawyers for Business, Bankruptcy Section 2005–2023; Best Lawyers® The Best Lawyers in America 2001–2024 (Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization and Bankruptcy-Litigation Law); Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year 2013, 2017, 2019, 2024 (Litigation– Bankruptcy; Seattle, Washington) Best Lawyers® Lawyer of the Year 2014, 2024 (Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Seattle, Washington) Thomson Reuters Super Lawyers® 2000–2023 (Top 100 Washington Lawyers 2007–2009 and 2017-2023); The Best of the U.S., Bankruptcy Lawyer Section; Seattle Magazine’s Top Lawyers, Bankruptcy Law Section; and Seattle Business Magazine’s Best Business Lawyers, Bankruptcy Section.
Additional Attorney Information
Represented 7 related companies in consolidated Chapter 11 cases. The companies owned and operated several large oil/gas construction support vessels operating primarily in the Mexican Gulf of Mexico and needed to restructure their secured debt of approximately $50 million and their operating liabilities. The companies confirmed a Joint Plan of Reorganization that completed the restructure and allowed continued, profitable, uninterrupted operations.
Represented a health care company that provided proton radiation out-patient treatment to cancer patients. The company successfully negotiated a prepackaged Plan of Reorganization to restructure its more than $125 million of secured debt, as well as the Center’s critical vendors. The Plan provided for a refinance of the obligations through issuance of bonds, and the Plan was confirmed 21 days after commencement of the Chapter 11 case.
Represented an individual in a personal Chapter 11 case that was consolidated with two separate LLC’s owned by the individual. The individual owned interests in 26 separate LLC’s, as well as substantial personal, commercial real estate holdings. Successfully confirmed a Plan of Reorganization that restructured the individual’s direct and indirect liabilities to his 11 lenders.
Represented a pod storage company in its Chapter 11, with a focus on selling the business/assets as a going concern. Successfully completed a Section 363 sale of the going concern assets.
Represented a wholesale nursery in its Chapter 11, with a focus on selling the business/assets as a going concern. Successfully completed a Section 363 sale of the going concern assets, which paid the two secured lenders in full and provided a meaningful distribution to unsecured creditors.
Brown & Cole initially operated 30 grocery stores in Northwest and Central Washington, with approximately 1,200 mostly union employees, and generating annual sales of almost $300 million. At the time of filing its Chapter 11 case, Brown & Cole’s secured debt exceeded $100 million. Brown & Cole confirmed an operating Plan, successfully restructuring its capital structure and pension obligations to facilitate its continued operation.
Represented The Seattle Times in successfully restructuring its long-term debt, as well as other operational and related issues. As a result of the restructure, The Seattle Times remains viable and the sole-surviving daily newspaper in Seattle.
Represented three different, large Idaho dairy farms in successfully restructuring their long- term debt. The dairy farms ranged in size from 15,000-60,000 milk cows and $110,000,000- $440,000,000 in secured debt. In each case, the respective farm successfully restructured its long-term debt with its operating and real estate lenders to continue operations uninterrupted.
Represented a Northwest company that owned and operated more than 30 grocery stores with annual sales of nearly $500 million. Completed an overall out-of-court restructuring, with focus on its lease obligations, that left the company profitable with uninterrupted operations.
Represented related companies that owned and operated a vegetable farm and related vegetable processing plant. Completed a successful out-of-court restructuring with the companies’ secured lender owed more than $60 million.
Represented numerous court-appointed receivers for companies in receivership in a variety of industries, including tech, aerospace manufacturing, commercial real estate (included a large EPA Superfund site), consumer products, food storage services and support, and gas stations. Recent examples include:
Represented the court-appointed receiver to administer environmentally-contaminated commercial property located on the Duwamish Waterway in Seattle, the largest Superfund site in Washington. Disputes existed among the previous owner/seller, Crowley Marine, the existing tenant, Waste Management, and the lender, Pacific Life. The case was resolved through a complex settlement reached among those parties that addressed title and future clean up responsibilities.
Represented the court-appointed receiver to administer several related financial companies involved in the mortgage origination and distressed lending business. The principal had been ousted from the companies, and the companies had used funds to purchase a local bank that had created significant issues with the OCC. The receiver and counsel were successful in liquidating a large mortgage loan portfolio to generate more than $20 million to pay secured and unsecured creditors, pursued a legal malpractice action that resulted in a significant settlement, and obtained a large, non-dischargeable judgment against the former principal.
Represented the court-appointed receiver to administer the assets of a company that provided storage equipment and services to the food industry, primarily seafood, fruit, and poultry. The case required the resolution of significant disputes between the seller of the company and the investment company that owned TriStrata. After extensive contested motion practice during the receivership case, the receiver and counsel were successful in reaching an agreed division of the company’s assets between the parties and consummating the related transactions that left operations and customer support uninterrupted.
Over the last several years, Jay has mediated dozens of matters involving creditor/debtor issues, commercial litigation, business and deadlock disputes, legal malpractice, and myriad other commercial disputes.
Education & Bar Memberships
- Juris Doctor, high honors and Order of the Coif, University of Washington, 1987
- Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, University of Notre Dame, 1982
- Washington State Bar Association
- Admitted to practice in Western and Eastern Districts of Washington; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
Presentations & Publications
- Workouts, King County Bar Association
- Extraordinary Collections, National Business Institute
- Fundamentals of Bankruptcy Law, King County Bar Association
- Construction Bankruptcy, Washington State Bar Association
- Bankruptcy/Admiralty, King County Bar Association
- Local Telecommunications Infrastructure, Law Seminars International
- Real Estate Workouts, Washington State Bar Association
- Chapter 11 Plans, American Bar Association
- Merger & Acquisition of Distressed Companies in Turbulent Times, The Seminar Group
- First Day Motions, NW Bankruptcy Institute
- Trustee, King County Bar Association (July, 2014 – June, 2016)
- Judge, American College of Bankruptcy Ninth Circuit Law School Negotiation Competition
- American College of Bankruptcy Ninth Circuit Selection Committee
- Former Chair & Current Member, King County Bar Association Creditor-Debtor Section
- Federal Bar Association, Creditor-Debtor Section
- American Bankruptcy Institute
- Turnaround Management Association