Back Bio

Donald L. Gaffney

Donald L. Gaffney

Partner| Phoenix


Don Gaffney is the firm’s senior partner in bankruptcy, reorganization and workout law. He also has significant experience in privacy law, electronic payments and commercial litigation.

Recent Significant Matters
  • Lead lawyer in trial of multi-million dollar receivership proceeding of golf/resort community
  • Co-lead counsel of secured lender in major casino Chapter 11 in Las Vegas
  • Lead counsel to principal creditor in Chapter 11 of large land holding company filed in Nevada
  • Lead attorney for bankruptcy trustee of interstate law firms that recovered $5.4 million for penniless estate
  • Lead litigation attorney for bankruptcy estate in recovery of $1,750,000 for cashless estate
  • Lead attorney for acquisition of NBA minor league team site from Chapter 11 Debtor
  • Lead attorney for lender in acquisition of 15,000-acre real estate project in Arizona
  • Co-Counsel for utility in ruling that green-compliant electric power contracts could be bankruptcy exempt
  • Lead attorney for investor group in acquisition of Westin La Paloma and Westin Hilton Head Island resorts out of Chapter 11
  • Lead attorney for bank group in Fulton Homes Corporation Chapter 11
  • Lead attorney for bank group/litigation committee in Woodside Homes, Inc. Chapter 11; obtained $110 million injunction at trial relating to turnover of tax refunds
  • Lead attorney for bank with $50 million facility in Meruelo Maddux public company Chapter 11
  • Co-counsel for principal secured lender in Phoenix Coyotes Chapter 11
  • Lead attorney for involuntary bankruptcy petitioners in Mortgages Ltd. fraud
  • Appointed first federal Consumer Privacy Ombudsman in case involving internet companies operating official Amber Alert Systems
  • Representation of syndicated lenders group in Capital Pacific Homes multi-state receivership
  • University of Texas (J.D., with honors, 1978)
    • Editor, Texas Law Review
  • Austin College (B.A., 1974)
    • Austin Scholar
  • Federal Bar Association, Phoenix Chapter, President (2015-2016)
  • Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, Board of Directors (2011-present)
  • Ninth Circuit Lawyer Representative (2005-2008)
  • State Bar of Arizona
    • Twice Chair of the Bankruptcy Section
  • University of Texas Law School
    • Executive Council of Alumni Association (2009-2015)
  • American Bar Association
    • Committee on Uniform Commercial Code (1980-present)
  • Commercial Law League
    • Member: Speaker Panel throughout United States
  • Arizona State University College of Law, Former Adjunct Professor
  • Practicing Law Institute, Speaker
  • Arizona Bankers Association, Speaker
  • American Loan Institute/American Bar Association
    • Professional Educational Systems, Inc., Speaker
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Speaker
  • Keeton Fellow, University of Texas Law School
  • "2019 Outlook: Plenty of Restructuring Work Ahead," Quoted, Bloomberg Law (January 2, 2019)
  • "Advanced Bankruptcy Litigation," Speaker, National Business Institute (2016)
  • "Stern v. Marshall, The Impact on Bankruptcy Jurisdiction," Author, Federal Bar Association (2011)
  • "Impact of Confidentiality Rules in Bankruptcy Proceedings," Teleconference Chair, Lorman Education Services (October 13, 2009)
  • "Third Party Releases," Speaker, American Bankruptcy Institute Spring Meeting, Washington, DC (April 2009)
  • "On the Passing of Law Firm Libraries," Author, Arizona Bar Journal (August 2007)
  • "Privacy Law Compliance in a Global Business Environment, Meeting the Legal Requirements for Cross-Border Exchange of Data," Teleconference Chair, Strafford CLE Teleconferences (March 2007)
  • The Best Lawyers in America®, Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (1995-2019); Bankruptcy Litigation (2012-2019); Commercial Litigation (2013-2019)
    • Lawyer of the Year, Bankruptcy Litigation (2015)
    • Lawyer of the Year, Phoenix Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2014)
  • State Bar of Arizona 2018 Bankruptcy Section Pro Bono Superhero Award
  • Southwest Super Lawyers®, Bankruptcy: Business (2017-2019), Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights (2013-2015), Bankruptcy (2007-2012)
    • Top 25 in Arizona (2012)
    • Top 50 in Arizona (2009-2011)
  • Super Lawyers®, Bankruptcy - Business Edition (2011)
  • Super Lawyers®, Bankruptcy - Corporate Counsel Edition (2009-2010)
  • Lawdragon Top 3000 Leading Lawyers in America (2010-2011)
  • Ranking Arizona: The Best of Arizona Attorneys, Bankruptcy (2010-2011)
  • Arizona's Top Lawyers, Arizona Business Magazine (2010)
  • Arizona's Finest Lawyers
  • Who's Who in American Law (1992-present)
  • Who's Who in America® (2006)
  • Arizona
  • Supreme Court of Arizona
  • United States Supreme Court
  • United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
  • United States Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit