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Of Counsel

Bankruptcy, Restructuring, & Workouts | Real Estate | General Business | Litigation & Dispute Resolution | Creditor Rights | Distressed Mergers & Acquisitions | General Counsel

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Representative Experience

Education Vermont Law School (L.L.M University of Southern California, Real Estate Development, M.A., 2006 University of California Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., 1999 University of California Berkeley, B.A., 1993

Bar Admissions California

Court Admissions California Supreme Court U.S. Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) U.S. District Court (Central, Southern, Eastern, and Northern Districts of California)

Speaking Engagements Turnaround Management Association Competing Plans in Chapter 11: Fleeting Fad or Permanent Fixture, National Conference [Speaker]. Financial Lawyers Conference, Los Angeles, CA Valuing a Financially Distressed Company and its Assets: Looking Beyond Financial Statements, Finding Hidden Assets & Maximizing Value Through the Bankruptcy Code [Moderator & Speaker] USC School of Law, Law & Business Policy Forum Real Estate Lessons from the Bankruptcy Courts: What Developers & Attorneys Should Know Before Closing the Next Big Deal [Moderator & Speaker]

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John Schafer is a highly skilled Senior Counsel to the Till Law Group translating complex legal and business issues into problem solving strategies. Before becoming a part of the Till Law Group team, Mr. Schafer had extensively worked with Mr. Till across the aisle where they quickly grew to trust and respect each other as attorneys.


Mr. Schafer’s professional specialty is bringing a whole-problem approach—based on experience as a business restructuring attorney, litigator, transactional attorney, and in-house chief legal officer—to deliver successful outcomes for companies navigating business restructuring and other types of special situation commercial disputes.

At his previous firm, Manderson, Schafer & McKinlay, Mr. Schafer was lead bankruptcy counsel for the successful plan proponent in the landmark Chapter 11 reorganization of failed sub-prime lender Fremont General Corp. That case involved five competing chapter 11 plans and many of the most prominent business bankruptcy practice groups in the United States. The case’s confirmation dynamics became a topic of numerous panel discussions at legal conferences in subsequent years, many of which Mr. Schafer spoke at.


Mr. Schafer most recently applied those skills while serving as first chair counsel in a Texas jury trial involving the defense of a business and its chairman in a joint venture dispute.


His client-focused method of achieving legal results—consistent with the business’s strategic missions—is modeled on emulating how companies approach problem-solving, implemented through legal services incorporating Mr. Schafer’s diverse legal experience.


(1st) Performing a comprehensive assessment of the client’s situation. Maximizing the likelihood of success is highly dependent on first systematically identifying the factual and legal variables, risks, and options in play. This first step is too often overlooked or under-emphasized.  


(2nd) Then designing a game plan to meet the client’s strategic objectives. In other words, that game plan includes a picture of the ideal result, with different risked-assessed paths to achieve that result. Mr. Schafer has identified one consistent element that impacts the likelihood of a game -plan’s success: developing a game plan that reflects a careful evaluation, weighing, and balancing of the legal and business risks versus the potential rewards to the business’s strategic if the desired result is achieved.


(3rd) Finally, executing the game plan (and adjusting the legal strategy as the game plan plays out).


Those three pillars draw on Mr. Schafer’s unique composite of finance, negotiation, deal-making, and courtroom advocacy skills developed from the outset at large law firms, to then serving as in-house chief legal officer for the largest real estate developer in the Seattle region, to cross-discipline boutique law firm founder.


That method has consistently delivered results—and cost and time effectively—whether utilized in a litigation scenario or a business transaction because it is highly situation-customized and client-focused.


Specializations span expertise-specific business litigation and dispute resolution (such as internet defamation, business brand reputation management, usury, and partnership dissolution), out-of-court business restructuring, corporate exit strategies, and business bankruptcy, as well as finance-driven corporate transactions and advising (e.g., joint ventures, divestitures, organizational restructuring, and business plan development and implementation).

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