Bill Callahan joined Gentry Locke’s Business Litigation group in 2019 to further his distinguished, 25-year career in bankruptcy, creditor’s rights and litigation. Bill assists businesses, financial institutions, and investment firms with insolvency matters. He is highly skilled in bankruptcy litigation and in formulating effective strategies for solving existing problems and avoiding future problems. Bill represents financial institutions outside of bankruptcy proceedings in a wide variety of matters, including foreclosures, collection proceedings, and the development of non-judicial liquidation strategies. He has been recognized as one of the Best Lawyers in America since 2010 and has been recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer since 2012. Bill has served as an Adjunct Professor at Washington and Lee University School of Law and is a regular lecturer at continuing legal education seminars.
Workout time, 6 days a week
Age started playing guitar
Books read in a year
Professions before going to law school
How did you come to choose Bankruptcy law as your practice?
While I was in law school, I was a summer law clerk at a firm that focused on bankruptcy law. I fell in love with the interplay between a code-based practice, the judge-made interpretations of the law and the mixture of both litigation and negotiation. I still love what I do. Bankruptcy and creditor’s rights is a problem-solving practice and it requires me to think creatively. Because bankruptcy judges have equitable powers, I always have to anticipate a variety of outcomes in a matter.
What is your philosophy in your representation of creditors?
The first step is to find out what are the goals of the client. I need to be sure I am doing what they need. It’s also helpful to know what kind of resources they are prepared to devote to achieving their goals. Most clients want to enforce their rights under the documents that gives them a claim with a goal of a full recovery. Especially in a bankruptcy case, it’s not always possible or it is only achievable with a substantial investment of expense. If a complete recovery is not possible or too costly to obtain, then I do my utmost to ensure there is a next-best solution.
You don't represent individuals in bankruptcy, but you do help them as a trustee. How does that differ?
I have served as Chapter 7 Trustee for the Western District of Virginia since 1999 and as a Subchapter V Trustee for both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia since 2000. These roles have afforded me the opportunity to not only deal with complex liquidation transactions but with thousands of individuals in cases where I have been appointed trustee. As Trustee in any role, it is my responsibility to make the bankruptcy system, the best of its kind in the world, work in the manner for which it is intended. In this process I have met thousands of individuals in need of the relief provided by the Bankruptcy Code. Serving in this capacity has resulted in experiences and knowledge that help me guide and assist clients who find themselves unfortunately entwined in a bankruptcy case of some person or company that owes them money.
- Washington and Lee University School of Law, J.D. magna cum laude, Order of the Coif
- University of Virginia, B.A. Economics, with honors
- Mediator training
- Has represented constituents in bankruptcy matters, Chapter 11 debtors, creditors both secured and unsecured, official committees of creditors and Chapter 7 trustees.
- Has served as the Chapter 11 Trustee in several Chapter 11 case, including the case of In re Thermasteel, Inc., in which I obtained confirmation of a plan of reorganization providing a 100% payout to creditors.
- Has served as counsel to Official Committees of Unsecured Creditors in Chapter 11 cases.
- Has represented creditors in obtaining judgments declaring a debt non-dischargeable in a bankruptcy case.
- Has served as counsel for Chapter 7 Trustees in the Western District of Virginia. In the course of serving in this capacity
- In the course of serving as a Chapter 7 Trustee has liquidated assets in numerous diverse business cases, including a grocery store chain, heavy equipment contractors, a plywood manufacturing plant, numerous coal mining operators, a textile manufacturer, a metal machining facility and a furniture manufacturer for the hospitality industry. Have also liquidated vast amounts of real estate, both residential and commercial, in an amount totaling well in excess of 15 million dollars.
- Regularly represents financial institutions and businesses related to non-performing debt and insolvency proceedings.
- Regularly appears before the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia and the Eastern District of Virginia. Has also appeared in the Western District of North Carolina and the District of Delaware. Is also admitted to and has appeared before the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of New York
- Have participated in over a numerous mediations.
- In re Gentry, 275 B.R. 747 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 2001)
- Callahan v. IRS (In re Ball), 2004 Bankr. Lexis 461 (W.D. Va.)
- Callahan v. Moore (In re General Creations, Inc.), 343 B.R. 548 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 2006)
- Lambert v. Callahan (In re Lambert Oil Co.), 347 B.R. 508 (W.D. Va. 2006)
- Empire Oil Co. v. Callahan (In re Lambert Oil Co.), 372 B.R. 265 (W.D. Va. 2007)
- Callahan v. Mtn. Empire Oil Co. (In re Lambert Oil Co.), 298 Fed. Appx. 264 (4th 2008)
- Summit Cmty. Bank v. Blue Ridge Shadows Hotel & Conf. Ctr., 428 B.R. 231 (W.D. Va. 2010)
- Orbis v. Gallo (In re Gallo), 2010 Bankr. LEXIS 1219 (W.D.N.C.)
- Matson v. Alpert (In re LandAmerica Fin. Group, Inc.), 470 B.R. 759 (Bankr. E.D. Va. 2012)
- In re Nittany Enters., 502 B.R. 447 (Bankr. 2012)
- Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors v. Va. Broadband, LLC, 498 B.R. 90 (Bankr. D. Va. 2013)
- Scott v. Decker (In re Decker), 623 B.R. 417 (Bankr. W.D. Va. 2020)
- Kaltschmidt v. Shannon (In re Shannon), 2021 Bankr. LEXIS 267 (W.D. Va.)
- Decker v. Scott, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 174421 (W.D. Va.)
- Member, Panel of Chapter 7 Trustees for the Western District of Virginia
- Member, Panel of Subchapter V Trustees for the Western District of Virginia
- Member, American Bar Association
- Member, Roanoke Bar Association
- Member, Board of Directors, Western Virginia Chapter of the Federal Bar Association (2016-Present)
- Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
- Listed among The Best Lawyers in America® in the fields of Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, and Litigation – Bankruptcy (2010–2024)
- Named a “Legal Elite” for Bankruptcy/Creditors Rights in Virginia Business magazine (2020-2022) and for Administrative Government (2022)
- Recognized as a Virginia Super Lawyer for Bankruptcy: Business (2012–2018)
- Order of the Coif, Washington and Lee University School of Law (1994)
- Co-author, “Ethics Violations, Fraud, and Crime” chapter, Bankruptcy Practice in Virginia, Virginia CLE (2017).
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