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John D. Penn



John Penn is a partner in the Business practice focusing on bankruptcy and workouts. During his more than three decades of counsel, John has represented secured and unsecured creditors, debtors, trustees and unsecured creditor committees in major and high-profile reorganizations and insolvency proceedings. John is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and past president of the American Bankruptcy Institute. He is certified by both the American Board of Certification and Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Business Bankruptcy Law. 

Throughout his career, John has counseled clients involved in complex Chapter 11 reorganizations and restructurings in a range of industries, including airlines, financial services, construction, energy, hospitality, home furnishings, nonprofits, timber and commercial real estate.  His background includes representing clients in bankruptcy litigation, including defending against attempts to recover alleged fraudulent transfers and preferential transfers, as well as equitable subordination.  Many of the clients he defended compromised the claims for substantial discounts, including "cost of defense" settlements.

John frequently provides commentary to the media on current issues and writes articles on topical issues, such as on new disclosure requirements for bankruptcy attorneys, fraudulent transfers in the Chrysler bankruptcy and credit bidding. Recognized for the past decade by The Best Lawyers in America and "Super Lawyers," John serves as a Director of the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation and is a member of the Executive Board of the Longhorn Council Boy Scouts of America where he also serves as the Chairman of the Council’s National Eagle Scout Association Committee.

Professional Recognition

  • Recognized as one of The Best Lawyers in America - Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation - Bankruptcy, 2003 - 2015
  • Recognized by Chambers USA as one of the leading practitioners in the United States for Bankruptcy/Restructuring, 2009 - 2010
  • Recognized as a "Super Lawyer" - Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights, 2003 - 2013
  • Chosen by peers as one of Fort Worth's Top Attorneys in Bankruptcy in Fort Worth Texas Magazine, 2008, 2010 - 2011, 2013
  • Board Certified in Business Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification, 1992, and the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, 1991
  • Martindale Hubbell® Law Directory with a Peer Review Rating of AV® Preeminent™
    (AV®, BV® and CV® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies.)

Professional Leadership

  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Member; Past President; Past Chairman
  • International Insolvency Institute, Member 
  • American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow; Member
  • American Board of Certification, Emeritus Director, Past President; Past Chairman
  • Tarrant County Bankruptcy Bar Association, Past President

Community Involvement

  • Longhorn Council Boy Scouts of America, Executive Board, 2004 - present
  • Tarrant County Chapter of March of Dimes, Board of Directors, 1995 - 2004


  • Baylor Law School, J.D., 1982
  • Baylor University, B.B.A., 1981

Bar Admissions

  • New York
  • Texas

Court Admissions

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas