A Client’s Goal Is Best Served When The Attorneys They Look To Approach the Practice of Law as First and Foremost the Client’s Trusted Advisor.”

— John Schafer, founder and the managing attorney of the Schafer Law Firm team

The Schafer Law Firm team approaches all client matters with the belief that clients are best served through leveraging his in-depth understanding of not only the law but of business deal dynamics. Mr. Schafer strongly believes that every situation is different and thus requires creative business solutions and legal advice. As a result, Mr. Schafer emphasizes the importance of translating complex legal and business situations into effective problem solving strategies with clients and then directing the execution of such strategy in conjunction with clients to help clients avoid pitfalls, maximize opportunities and achieve their desired goals.

Mr. Schafer specializes in providing both legal counsel as well as strategic advice in out of the ordinary business situations, including to business owners and managers facing a financial or operational restructuring or special situation transaction.  Mr. Schafer places his faith in how he practices of law on the idea that most problem situations are best solved and done so in the most cost-effective way by involving professionals earlier in the process than is typically the case.  He bases this on the many years of working at top national large law firms and then serving as the interim general counsel and chief strategic advisor to the CEO of a very large real estate developer with over $750 million in debt where he directed with the CEO an out-of-court workout from an in-house perspective and position (Mr. Schafer possesses a unique blend of experience in and knowledge of real estate transactions and restructuring as a result of holding both a law degree and masters degree in real estate development).

Since serving in the interim general counsel role, Mr. Schafer has proceeded to regularly assist companies, investors and business acquirers solve problems or consummate transactions inside and outside of bankruptcy court arising from distressed business situations or other business problems a company may find itself.  Mr. Schafer has special experience and expertise in consummating acquisitions through Bankruptcy Court “363” sales, recapitalizations, creative business solutions, and distressed deals of all types, including friendly foreclosures, Assignment for the Benefit of Creditors, Receiverships and other bankruptcy alternative paths.  This has included engagements in chapter 11 proceedings, purchasers in distressed acquisitions, investors and other parties in all aspects of business reorganizations, bankruptcy proceedings, and asset dispositions involving financially or operationally challenged companies.

John is best known for his work as lead bankruptcy counsel for the successful plan proponent Signature Capital in the Chapter 11 case of In re Fremont General Corp. (Case No. 08-bk-13421) in the Central District of California.  Signature’s Chapter 11 plan of reorganization was confirmed over five competing plans in a competitive plan process, which included an equity committee plan and a creditors’ committee plan.  That transaction was nominated by the Assoc. of Corporate Growth (Los Angeles) as “Deal of the Year” for 2010.  John also served as the Chapter 7 Trustee’s expert witness, In re GSM Wireless (Case No. 8:08-01042), where he rendered an opinion as to business conduct in the zone of insolvency.

In addition to his law degree from UCLA where he served as the Chief Articles Editor and Managing Editor of the Journal of International Law and Foreign Affairs, Mr. Schafer holds a Master’s Degree in Real Estate Development from USC.

John is very active with the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) and currently serves as the Co-Chair for the 2013 Western Regional Conference.  John is also a board member of the Southern California TMA Chapter and currently serves as the Vice-President of Programs.

John has also regularly spoke on turnaround and business bankruptcy issues, including:

  • Panelist, “Ins and Outs of a Sales Process in Bankruptcy – How To Maximize Value and Who is really in Control of the Process” (July 2012 TMA Western Regional Conference)
  • Organizer and moderator of interactive expert forum on “Receivership Issues Involving Real Estate: Why Does It Matter & How Are Outcomes Improved?” (March 2012, TMA Chapter Event)
  • Organizer, Moderator and Speaker, “Does Chapter 11 Still Provide a Viable Option forPreserving Real Estate Companies as a Going Concern? If Not, What Next?” (2012 USC Real Estate Law and Policy Forum)
  • Panelist, “Competing Plans in Chapter 11: Fleeting Fad or Permanent Fixture?” (TMA National Convention, October 2011)
  • Organizer and Moderator, “Ethical Issues in Getting The Deal and Running the Turnaround: Lessons Learned From In Re Universal Products and Other Trips and Pitfalls” (July 2011 TMA Western Regional Conference).

John is a member of the Board of Trustees for St. John’s Episcopal School, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, where his son attends.


  • University of Southern California, Real Estate Development, M.D., 2006
  • University of California Los Angeles School of Law, J.D., 1999
  • University of California Berkeley, B.A., 1993


Read about John’s work with Fremont General Corp.