Practice Areas


  • Honorable Ross W. Krumm, Chief Judge, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Virginia


University of Richmond School of Law, J.D., cum laude

Richard S. Reynolds Graduate School of Business University of Richmond, M.B.A.

Virginia Tech, B.A. in Political Science, Additional Major in History

Bar & Court Admissions

  • District of Columbia
  • Maryland 
  • Virginia 
  • U.S. District Court, District of Columbia 
  • U.S. District Court, District of Maryland 
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia 
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Virginia
Photo of John T. Farnum

John T. Farnum

ph: 301-961-5275
7200 Wisconsin Avenue
Suite 800
Bethesda, MD 20814
News & Publications
Speaking Engagements

John T. Farnum is a partner in the firm’s Commercial Litigation/Bankruptcy Practice and leads its bankruptcy and restructuring group. Licensed in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., he represents clients throughout the region in state and federal courts.

John advises stakeholders in all aspects of financially troubled situations, including bankruptcy proceedings, debt restructurings, receiverships, and out-of-court workouts. He represents owners, developers, lenders, bondholders, landlords, tenants, trustees, and others on issues ranging from restructuring financial obligations to recovering assets.

John also regularly represents purchasers of assets in bankruptcy sales, commercial real estate foreclosures, Article 9 foreclosures of personal property and the disposition of REO property. He has represented clients in all aspects of due diligence, contract negotiations, stalking horse procedures, auctions, and closings, as well as litigation relating to such transactions.

In addition to his bankruptcy and restructuring work, John is a seasoned commercial litigator, and has tried cases in state and federal courts throughout the country. He has a diverse litigation practice with an emphasis on business, construction, real estate, commercial landlord-tenant and financial services disputes.

John has also acquired an extensive background in structured finance and mortgage-backed securities.  He has used that background to negotiate, review and issue bankruptcy non-consolidation opinions.

John is an active member of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan area’s legal and real estate communities and previously served as treasurer and executive board member for the Virginia Tech Alumni Association’s National Capital Region Chapter. John’s peers have also recognized him with leadership positions in the Northern Virginia Bankruptcy Bar Association and the Walter Chandler American Inn of Court, a bankruptcy-focused inn. He has written extensively about bankruptcy-related issues and is a regular speaker on bankruptcy and litigation topics at local bar and trade association meetings.

Significant Projects

  • Served as counsel to official committee of unsecured creditors of major hospital group
  • Served as counsel to official committee of unsecured creditors in one of the largest real estate mortgage fraud and Ponzi scheme cases in the D.C. metropolitan region
  • Served as counsel to secured lenders and suppliers in bankruptcies of several large construction companies in the mid-Atlantic region  
  • Represented national, regional and local lenders regarding remedies under the Uniform Commercial Code and in loan modifications and workouts, foreclosures, and various asset recovery actions under state law
  • Defended numerous preference and fraudulent transfer actions and claims
  • Served as counsel to sellers, buyers, and other parties-in-interest concerning tangible and intangible asset sales under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code
  • Advised clients regarding complex commercial agreements and commercial borrowing in distressed environments
  • Served as litigation counsel in several large bankruptcy trusteeships with emphasis on fraud, real estate, and defaulted obligations

Selected Litigation Experience

  • Possesses extensive litigation experience in state and federal courts, and represents clients in avoidance actions, dischargeability proceedings, and other complex adversary proceedings and contested matters in bankruptcy court
  • Represents developers, financial institutions, government contractors, and other businesses in various lending, commercial, complex financial, construction, landlord/tenant, and mortgage disputes
  • Defended publicly traded corporation against multi-million-customer tort claim
  • Represented regional bank in multi-million-dollar fidelity bond claim litigation
  • Represented public utility in complex breach of contract and accounting matter
  • Defended national bank in state court against claims related to mortgage fraud
  • Represented construction firm in breach of duty case involving former business partner
  • Counseled government contractor concerning fraud claim involving terminated employee
  • Represented pro bono clients in matters ranging from criminal appeals before the Washington, D.C., Court of Appeals to wrongful eviction proceedings 

Honors & Distinctions

  • Selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, 2010-2018


Speaking Engagements

Affiliations & Community Involvement

Eastern District of Virginia Local Bankruptcy Rules Committee

  • Member (2015 - 2017)

American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) 

  • Secured Credit Committee: Education Director
  • Technology and Intellectual Property Committee: Former Co-Chair, Education Director and Newsletter Editor 

Congressman Walter Chandler American Inn of Court (Bankruptcy Specific Inn)

  • Executive Committee (2011 - Present)

Northern Virginia Bankruptcy Bar Association, Board Member

  • President Elect (2017 - Present), Former Vice President and Secretary 

Virginia State Bar, Bankruptcy Law Section

  • Bankruptcy Law News Committee 

NAIOP Northern Virginia Chapter, Member

Virginia Tech Alumni Association, National Capital Region Chapter

  • Former Treasurer and Executive Board Member 

Urban Land Institute

  • NEXT Washington Initiative Council 
  • Former Member, Young Leaders Group – Community Service Committee