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Thomas A. Willoughby Direct: (916) 231-6651




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Tom's practice focuses on difficult insolvency-related cases. Tom has been lead counsel to businesses in financial distress, trustees, Official Committees, financial institutions, and other creditors in a wide array of cases both in and out of bankruptcy court.


In one of Tom's recent cases, Tom represented the Stockton Golf & Country Club, a California Nonprofit Public Benefit Corporation dating back to 1915, in the reorganization of its golf course . The Reorganization Plan has been confirmed after the golf course was revalued in a complicated trial, which resulted in a published decision (In re Stockton Golf & Country Club, 651 B.R. 39 (Bankr. E.D. CA 2023).  In another recent Chapter 11 reorganization case, a major Northern California Walnut farmer and processor in a successful reorganization, that termed out more than $30,000,000 of secured and unsecured debt.

He has also recently represented two FQHC (low-income health care) non-profit public benefit corporations in California. One successfully resolved its liquidity issues through a merger with another FQHC and the other, Tom advised it during its wind down and then filed a Chapter 7 after all patients were successfully transferred with no break in care. In the past, he has been involved in multiple healthcare bankruptcies from doctor's practices to skilled nursing facilities to represent a major Northern California hospital with contracts in other bankruptcy cases.

A committee representation in San Francisco involved the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the publicly traded Blue Earth, Inc. Chapter 11 case, which involved a heated plan confirmation dispute with the primary secured creditor and ultimately a beneficial resolution for the Unsecured Creditors (in excess of a 60% distribution). The plan preserved the debtor's net operating losses for the benefit of the secured creditor who in return funded the payments to the unsecured creditors.

In a recent out-of-court workout, Tom represented a major multi-state propane distribution company in preparation for a potential Chapter 11 case and in workout discussions with its secured creditor. Tom assisted the client and its financial advisor in resolving the case, which led to a sale of the company, an 18M write-off (i.e. a 50% reduction) by the secured creditor, all unsecured creditors being paid, the preservation of essentially all jobs, a payment to equity, and a significant non-compete agreement for the CEO/shareholder.

Tom continues to represent the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors and the Plan Administrator in the most successful AM Law 100 (600 attorney firm) bankruptcy case in which distributions to unsecured creditors currently total 64%, more than double the distributions made to unsecured creditors in the second most successful AM Law 100 case.

In addition to his role as bankruptcy counsel, Tom has filed over 250 adversary proceedings in multiple bankruptcy courts recovering in excess of $18,000,000 through settlements and litigation. As general bankruptcy counsel, Tom has also helped Chapter 11 debtors, trustees, and committees to identify potential claims, which ultimately were pursued by contingency fee counsel with recoveries exceeding $100,000,000.

From helping clients reorganize and save a failing business to finding assets in hard cases for creditors, to finding contingency counsel when assets do not exist to bring legitimate claims on an hourly basis, Tom repeatedly finds value for his clients in complex and challenging cases. 



UC Davis Law School, J.D., 1988, Associate Editor UC Davis Law Review,

Am Jur Awards, Federal Tax I and Law & Economics

UCLA, B.A., Economics (1985)


Other Legal Experience


Diepenbrock Wulff Plant & Hannegan, LLP (Associate 1988-1995, Partner 1996-1998)

Legal Memberships, Activities and Honors

Named Lawyer of the Year in California (2024) by Best Lawyers

Named to the 2020 Best in the Bar edition by the Sacramento Business Journal

Named 2016 Bankruptcy and Insolvency Sacramento Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers

Bankruptcy Dispute Resolution Panel for the Eastern District of California, Resolution Advocate

Best Lawyers in America, 2006 to present

Leading Bankruptcy & Restructuring Lawyers Law Dragon, 2020

Martindale-Hubbell, AV Premier

National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees, Member

Sacramento County Bar, Bankruptcy Section, Member

Sacramento Valley Bankruptcy Forum, Member

State Bar of California, Member

State Bar of Colorado, Member

Super Lawyer® of Northern California, 2005 to present

Top Attorneys in Northern California (San Francisco Magazine) 2022 to present

Top Lawyers (Sacramento Magazine) 2019 to present

Licensed to Practice

State Bar of California, Member

State Bar of Colorado, Member

Prior Memberships


Chapter 11 Liaison Committee to the Office of the U.S. Trustee, Member
Sacramento Valley Bankruptcy Forum, Board of Directors 

Attorney Advisory Committee to the 'Eastern District Bankruptcy Court Clerk’s Office, Member,

State Bar of California Business Law Section, Debtor/Creditor Committee, Member

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