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Wendy W. Smith

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Phone: (408) 295-1700
Fax: (408) 295-1531

2775 Park Ave,
Santa Clara, California 95050

Ms. Smith is a partner at Binder & Malter LLP.

Ms. Smith has over 25 years of experience in commercial litigation in federal, state, and appeals courts.  In the area of commercial insolvency, she has represented all stakeholders including creditors, debtors, trustees and creditors committees. Ms. Smith’s expertise also includes secured transactions, real property, intellectual property licensing, mediation, early neutral evaluation, and appeals.

Ms. Smith’s clients include entities of all sizes, including privately-held businesses, publicly-traded companies, lenders, entrepreneurs, and school districts. Ms. Smith has also represented the interests of one of the world’s largest search-engine providers in bankruptcy cases throughout the country, including defending preference actions and claims objections, collecting administrative fees, and negotiating terms for post-petition services.

Before joining Binder & Malter LLP, Ms. Smith was part of the IP licensing division at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman, where she negotiated and drafted intellectual property licenses and related joint-venture agreements. Ms. Smith was also a partner at the law firm of Rosenblum Parish & Isaacs, P.C., where she divided her work between software licensing and representing trustees and creditors in insolvency proceedings.


J.D., University of Iowa, 1987

B.A., Northwestern University , 1981

Bar Memberships State Bar of California
USDC: Northern District of California
USDC: Eastern District of California
USDC: Central District of California
Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals

AV® Preeminent™ 5.0 out of 5 rating by Martindale-Hubbell

Arbitrator and Mediator for the Santa Clara County Superior Court

Member, Santa Clara County Bar Association

Resolution Advocate, Bankruptcy Dispute Resolution Panel Northern District of California

Member, Congressman Don Edwards American Inns of Court, Executive Committee

Member, Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum

Member, American Bankruptcy Institute

Pro-Bono service for Legal Advocates for Children and Youth, a non-profit group representing at-risk young

Representative Matters
  • Successfully appealed to the 9th Circuit to reverse the lower courts' rulings for the IRS on a $40 million tax liability, thereby creating a split from five other circuits on the same issue. Hawkins v. Franchise Tax Board 769 F.3d 662 (9th Cir. 2014) (pet. en. banc pending.)
  • Defended the multi-party exchange of ten properties valued at $17 million from attack as a fraudulent conveyance by eliminating factual disputes with early discovery and winning on partial summary adjudication.
  • In two separate cases, managed the defense of wage-and-hour class actions -- in one case defeating the class entirely.
  • In a consolidated bankruptcy case involving 21 real-property developers, successfully objected to multiple plans of reorganization to protect the client’s lien and assure priority distribution.
  • Directed the in-depth investigation and formal discovery into the financial dealings of a consumer-lending business that obtained capital from individual investors, and successfully negotiated a plan with the trustee and company insiders to obtain an immediate distribution for unsecured creditors.
  • Represented a large, Internet search company in bankruptcy cases throughout the country, including defending preference actions and claims objections, collecting administrative claims, and negotiating terms for post-petition services.
  • Collaborated with Deleware counsel to successfully appeal to the Third Circuit Court of Appeal to preserve a client’s right to pursue relief under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) for environmental contamination on property previously owned by the reorganized debtor. In re Kaiser Aluminum Corp. 386 Fed. Appx. 201 (3rd Cir. 2010).
Publications/Speaking Engagements


  • Co-Author, Agreements in a Changing Economy – Bankruptcy and Cross-Licensing Intellectual Property, PLI Intellectual Property Seminar, November 2001.
  • Language We Live, A blog at www/languagewelive.wordpress.com – reflections on the use of language in the law and the effort to resolve disputes.
  • Profanity's Role in the Language of Lawyers The Daily Journal, May 4, 2012.
  • Concerns in a Changing Economy – Protecting Your Confidential Information when the Other Party Files Bankruptcy, Pillsbury Winthrop website “Bulletin”, December 2001.

Speaking Engagements

  • “The Chapter 11 from Hell,” presentation regarding the ethics of Chapter 11 bankruptcy, Don Edwards Inn of Court, June 15, 2005
  • “Creditors Rights and Protection of Security Interests in Bankruptcy,” presentation, Sterling Education Services, April 12, 2002
  • “Impact of Revised Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code,” presentation at Pillsbury Winthrop, July 26, 2001