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PARTNER Emeritus
direct: 415.364.6798
  • Harvard College (B.A., cum laude, 1971)
  • University of California, Berkeley School of Law (J.D., 1974)Order of the Coif.
  • California, including all federal courts
  • U.S. Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit

Peter Benvenutti has practiced bankruptcy and creditors’ rights law since 1974, focusing on complex business reorganizations. In reorganization cases in the bankruptcy courts, he has represented debtors in possession, reorganization trustees, creditors’ committees, real and personal property lessors, asset acquirers, secured lenders (both regulated and non-regulated), and venture capital and private equity investors, and numerous parties in bankruptcy-related litigation. In insolvency proceedings outside bankruptcy, he has represented receivers, assignees for the benefit of creditors, asset acquirers and major creditors. Mr. Benvenutti has represented lenders, borrowers, investors and buyers in out of court restructurings involving both real estate and commercial loans and a wide variety of businesses. He also provides transaction and litigation counsel concerning bankruptcy and creditors’ rights.


Mr. Benvenutti has lectured and written on many bankruptcy-related issues. He has been listed in the bankruptcy category of Best Lawyers in America in every edition since 1987 (twice named Northern California bankruptcy lawyer of the year), in Chambers’ Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading practitioner (since 2003), and in Practical Law Company’s Guide to Leading Lawyers as highly recommended (early 2000’s until publication ended in 2013). He has also been named as a Northern California bankruptcy “Superlawyer” annually since 2004, including in the Northern California “Top 100” list (2006 – 2009).

Heller Ehrman, LLP,
Shareholder (1988 – 2008);
San Francisco Office Managing Shareholder (1995 – 1997);
Chair, Dissolution Committee (2008 – 2010)
Keller Benvenutti Kim LLP
(2013 – present)
Dinkelspiel & Dinkelspiel, PC
Shareholder (1981 – 1988);
Associate (1974 – 1980)
Jones Day,
(2008 – 2013)
sPEAKING & WRITING engagements
  • American College of Bankruptcy Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Negotiation Competition, January 2013, February 2015, January 2017­– Chair, organizing committee; February 2019 – competition judge

  • ABA Business Law Section, Spring Meeting May 2014 – Insurance Basics for Business Lawyers (panelist)

  • ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, November 2013 – Insurance Basics for Bankruptcy Lawyers (panelist)

  • Healthcare Roundtable, September 2013 – Distressed Healthcare Acquisitions

  • ALI CLE, Commercial Lending Program, May 2013 – Workout Strategies for Secured Creditors and Investors in Chapter 11 and Other Insolvency Proceedings (panelist)

  • Doing Distressed Deals:  Outlook for 2010, February 2010 (panelist) – Jones Day-sponsored program and reception

  • CA State Bar Annual Conference, September 2008 – Chapter 11 Explained (panelist)

  • Recovering Troubled Investments:  An Alternative To Bankruptcy, June 2007 (panelist) – Heller Ehrman sponsored program on assignments for benefit of creditors

  • National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, November 2006 – Ethical Issues in Bankruptcy (panelist)

  • American Business Trial Lawyers Reporter (Northern California) – annual column “On Creditors’ Rights” – 1997-2012

  • “State Law Authorization for a Chapter 9 Filing,” chapter in Chapter 9 Bankruptcy Strategies; Leading Lawyers on Navigating the Chapter 9 Filing Process, Counseling Municipalities, and Analyzing Recent Trends and Cases, Aspatore “Inside the Minds” series on municipal insolvencies (2011) (co-author)

  • “Equitable Mootness and Arbitration:  First Impressions in the Ninth Circuit,” Jones Day Business Restructuring Review, March-April 2012 (co-author)

  • “An Overview of Chapter 9 of the Bankruptcy Code:  Municipal Debt Adjustments,”  Jones Day White Paper, August 2010 (co-author)

  • ABI/St. John’s University Law School Bankruptcy Mediation Training Program (40 hours), 2013
  • Resolution Advocate, Northern District of California Bankruptcy Court (2015-present)
organizations & groups
  • State Bar of California;
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy, elected 2004;
  • American Bar Association (Business Law Section; Business Bankruptcy Committee);
  • Bar Association of San Francisco (Arbitrator, Attorney Fee Dispute Committee);
  • California Bankruptcy Forum (Director, 1991-95; President, 1993-94);
  • Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum (Chair, Organizing Committee, 1991;
  • Director, 1991-94; President, 1991-92);
  • American Bankruptcy Institute;
  • Lawyer Representative, Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference, 1994-2000 (Chair of No. Dist. of Calif. Delegation, 1995-97; Member, Conference Executive Committee, 1997—2000; Advisory Board, 2001- 2004);
  • Member, Ad Hoc Committee to Review and Revise Local Bankruptcy Rules, No. Dist. of Calif. (2006-07).
  • PG&E Corporation and Pacific Gas and Electric Company, USBC, N.D. Cal. (2019-Present) – co-counsel for Pacific Gas & Electric Company in its chapter 11 case, the largest chapter 11 filing in the Northern District of California in over a decade. PG&E, which has over $70 billion in assets and employs over 24,000 employees, filed for bankruptcy in January 2019 as a result of challenges relating to a series of catastrophic wildfires that occurred in Northern California in 2017 and 2018.

  • In re Verity Health System of California, Inc., USBC, C.D. Calif. – in Chapter 11 cases of non-profit hospital system, advise and represent County of San Mateo, governmental entity in which are located two of the debtors’ hospital facilities.

  • In re Woodbridge Group of Companies, USBC, D. Del. – represented New Board of Managers appointed to manage chapter 11 cases of approximately 250 debtor entities; advised Board in connection with (a) Board members’ appointment and (b) retention or replacement of existing debtors’ counsel.

  • In re New Cal-Neva Lodge, LLC, USBC, D. Nev. – lead counsel for chapter 11 debtor, owner of storied Cal-Neva Lodge Resort and Casino on Lake Tahoe.  Client’s renovation of the Resort was halted mid-stream when funding ran out; Resort property was sold under a chapter 11 plan of liquidation based on global settlement among all creditor constituencies.

  • In re Harvest Oil & Gas, LLC, USBC, W.D. La. – represented and advised independent members of board of oil and gas producing chapter 11 debtors regarding disputes with management, board stalemate, director indemnification and D&O insurance rights, and chapter 11 plan.

  • DSI Assignments LLC as common law Assignee for the Benefit of Creditors of Loyal3 Securities, Inc. (a securities broker-dealer) and two affiliated entities.

  • In re Fisker Automotive, USBC, D. Del. – represent Hybrid Technologies LLC as senior secured lender and prospective acquirer.

  • Development Specialists, Inc., as common law Assignee for the Benefit of Creditors of Stion Inc., manufacturer of solar panels, including sale of all assets on a going concern basis.

  • In re Mi Pueblo San Jose, Inc., USBC and USDC, N.D. Calif. – represented substantial major creditor in opposing confirmation of chapter 11 plan of regional grocery chain, and, after confirmation, in client’s appeal of confirmation order; client ultimately settled on favorable terms.

  • In re Jomed, Inc. et al., USBC, E.D. Calif. – lead debtor’s counsel for medical device manufacturer (U.S. subsidiary of insolvent Dutch multinational conglomerate) in liquidating chapter 11 case; structured, negotiated and confirmed compromise plan that provided 85% cash payment to unaffiliated unsecured creditors while avoiding lengthy and expensive litigation over treatment of affiliates.

  • In re Atlas Worldwide Holdings, et al., USBC S.D Fla. – represented Official Creditors’ Committee of chapter 11 debtor Polar Air Cargo; through ligation and negotiation obtained very favorable separate plan treatment of Polar Air unsecured creditors.

  • In re Condor Systems, Inc., USBC N.D. Calif. – defended majority shareholders that also held substantial creditor claims for loans made to debtor pre-bankruptcy, against equitable subordination challenges and affirmative damages claims brought by official creditors’ committee; negotiated settlement for pari passu allowance of clients’ claims in full amount and release of affirmative damages claims against them.

  • In re Software Logistics, Inc., USBC, N.D. Calif. – lead counsel for chapter 11 trustee of supply chain management business with international subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and South America; advised trustee on broad range of operational and bankruptcy issues; coordinated foreign proceedings for subsidiaries; negotiated and obtained court approval of two successive going concern sales of business, and managed litigation against first buyer following its refusal to close.

  • Thomas v. William James Del Biaggio III, et al. (In re William James Del Biaggio III), USBC and USDC, N.D. Calif.- bankruptcy law co-counsel to private equity fund in interpleader action against chapter 11 trustee over proceeds of stock warrant; client prevailed in bankruptcy court bench trial and on trial de novo in district court.

  • In re Plant Insulation Company, USBC, N. D. Calif. – lead counsel for debtor in possession in heavily litigated chapter 11 case involving substantial asbestos liabilities; confirmed plan under Bankruptcy Code §524(g).

  • In re Baltimore & Charles Associates, USBC, D. Md. – lead counsel for international hotel chain as acquirer of Baltimore’s historic Hotel Monaco through negotiated plan of reorganization in developer’s chapter 11 case.

  • In re Heller Ehrman, LLP, USBC, N.D. Calif. – as chair of Heller Ehrman’s Dissolution Committee, served as de facto CEO of chapter 11 debtor in possession law firm from petition filing through effective date of confirmed chapter 11 plan, and oversaw liquidation of non-debtor affiliates.

  • In re Thorpe Insulation Company, USBC, C. D. Calif. – represented Official Creditors Committee in heavily litigated chapter 11 case involving substantial asbestos liabilities; confirmed plan under Bankruptcy Code §524(g).

  • In re Garden City, Inc., USBC, N.D. Calif. – lead counsel for chapter 11 trustee of gaming establishment; successfully resisted (through state court litigation) efforts by licensing authority to impose severe, likely fatal operating restrictions; and ultimately negotiated and consummated a going concern sale of business through a chapter plan providing for full payment to unsecured creditors.

* Other representations available upon request.

Professional Experience
Speaking & Writing
Organizations & Groups
Representative Engagements
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