• 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
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Fourth Circuit
Photo of John T. Farnum

John T. Farnum

ph: 301-961-5275
Washington, D.C.
1717 K Street, N.W.
Suite 900
Washington, D.C. 20006
News & Publications
Speaking Engagements

John T. Farnum is a partner in the firm’s Bethesda office with a focus on bankruptcy, commercial litigation and real estate.  He chairs the firm’s Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation Practice Group.  His clients include developers, investors, builders, financial institutions, asset managers and landlords.  He brings a practical, results-oriented approach to developing strategies for clients to solve complex issues.

John advises stakeholders in all aspects of financially troubled situations, including bankruptcy proceedings, debt restructurings, receiverships and out-of-court workouts.  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. 

John also advises clients on loan documents, loan originations, assignments and assumptions of mortgage loans, structured finance and mezzanine finance transactions, receiverships and foreclosure actions.  He has utilized his background in structured finance and mortgage-backed securities to prepare bankruptcy non-consolidation opinions.

John is also 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 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.  He is a regular speaker on bankruptcy, litigation and real estate topics at local bar and trade association meetings.

Significant Projects

Bankruptcy, Creditors’ Rights and Restructuring

  • Nationwide bankruptcy counsel to various developers, owners, landlords and real estate investment trusts (REITs)
  • Represent 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
  • Served as counsel to Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of major hospital group
  • Served as counsel to Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of one of the largest real estate mortgage fraud and Ponzi scheme cases in the DC metropolitan region
  • Represented chair of the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the chapter 11 case of Trans Continental Airlines and disgraced music promoter Louis J. Pearlman
  • Represented purchaser of marina on Chesapeake Bay and successfully prosecuted breach of contract claim against debtor-in-possession to obtain significant purchase price credit
  • Served as substitute trustee in foreclosure of hundreds of acres of farmland proposed for development
  • Represented landlord in chapter 11 case of sporting goods retail company
  • Represented landlord and largest unsecured creditor of major restaurant group in DC metropolitan region
  • Represented indenture trustee in chapter 11 case of continuing care retirement community
  • Represented purchaser of apartment building in Washington, DC
  • Served as counsel to secured lenders and suppliers in bankruptcies of several large construction companies in the mid-Atlantic region  
  • Served as counsel to bankruptcy trustee in myriad real estate-related cases
  • Served as counsel to court-appointed receiver in various commercial, industrial and multifamily projects
  • Prosecuted numerous motions for relief from the automatic stay
  • Defended numerous preference and fraudulent transfer actions and claims

Commercial and Real Estate Litigation

  • Regularly represent developers, owners, commercial landlords and tenants, REITs, private equity and venture capital groups, builders and management companies in commercial disputes, including landlord-tenant litigation, throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing title claim against real estate developer
  • Obtained dismissal of fraud claim against real estate developer
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing lien priority action filed against real estate developer and lender
  • Defended publicly traded corporation against multimillion-dollar consumer tort claim
  • Represented regional bank in multimillion-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
  • Obtained summary judgment dismissing breach of contract, fraud and consumer fraud claims against real estate developer

Real Estate and Finance Transactions

  • Represented private developer in connection with purchase of note and subsequent acquisition of office building in Montgomery County, Maryland
  • Served as counsel to multifamily private equity fund in acquisition of $10 million property in August, Georgia
  • Represented private real estate owner with the $55 million refinancing of a multifamily and retail project in Bethesda, Maryland
  • Represented owner in $30 million refinance of multifamily housing in Silver Spring, Maryland
  • Represented real estate developer in connection with purchase of a $45 million note and subsequent in acquisition of distressed mall project
  • Represented multifamily private equity fund in acquisition of a $38 million property in Bradenton, Florida

Honors & Distinctions

  • Selected as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers, 2010-2019


Speaking Engagements

Affiliations & Community Involvement

Eastern District of Virginia Local Bankruptcy Rules Committee

  • Member (2015 - 2017)

American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) 

  • Secured Credit Committee: Co-Chair
  • 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

  • President (2018 - Present)

NAIOP DC|MD 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