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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

Wendy W. Smith Super Lawyer 2022
AV Preeminent badge 2022

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

Ms. Smith has over 30 years of experience in bankruptcy consulting and commercial litigation. She has represented all stakeholders including investors, debtors, creditors, and fiduciaries. Ms. Smith's expertise also includes secured transactions, intellectual property licensing, mediation, and appeals.

Ms. Smith's clients include entities of all sizes, including privately-held businesses, publicly-traded companies, and individual entrepreneurs.

Before joining Binder & Malter LLP, Ms. Smith was a senior counsel with the IP licensing division at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Before that, 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 insolvency consulting.


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

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

Member, Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum

Member, American Bankruptcy Institute

Representative Matters
  • 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.
  • Negotiated the acquisition of intellectual property from the foreclosure of a failed biotech company.
  • Defeated a class action brought by highly-paid engineers against an insolvent employer.
  • Successfully appealed to the 9th Circuit to discharge a $40 million personal-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).
  • Defended multi-party exchange of ten properties from attack as a fraudulent conveyance with early discovery and partial summary adjudication.
  • Negotiated wind-up of solar-power contractor to allow for completion of a major solar facility.
  • Collaborated with Delaware 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. In re Kaiser Aluminum Corp. 386 Fed. Appx. 201 (3rd Cir. 2010).
Publications/Speaking Engagements


  • Indifference to Indignation - A Sea Change In the Treatment of Third-party Releases in Chapter 11 Cases (Reprinted from State Bar of California Business Law Insolvency Law e-Bulletin on May 11, 2022) prepared by Wendy W. Smith, a partner in Binder & Malter, LLP and a member of the ad hoc group. Editorial contributions were provided by Meredith Jury (U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, C.D. CA., ret.), also a member of the ad hoc group.
  • New York District Court Vacates Order Confirming Purdue Pharma's Chapter 11 Reorganization Plan. [In re Purdue Pharma, L.P., 2021 WL 5979108 (S.D. N.Y. 2021)]. Commercial Finance News Letter, January 3, 2022 (2022-1 Comm. Fin. News. NL 2)
  • California Northern District clarifies scope of the "trust fund tax" priority and exception to bankruptcy discharge in Cote v. Employment Development Department California Lawyers Association - Business Law Section case update, March 27, 2018.
  • Profanity's Role in the Language of Lawyers The Daily Journal, May 4, 2012.
  • Agreements in a Changing Economy – Bankruptcy and Cross-Licensing Intellectual Property, Co-Author. PLI Intellectual Property Seminar, November 2001.
  • Concerns in a Changing Economy – Protecting Your Confidential Information when the Other Party Files Bankruptcy, Pillsbury Winthrop website “Bulletin”, December 2001.

Speaking Engagements

  • "Discovery Drama - Limits of Rule 26 in Bankruptcy Litigation." Presentation, Congressmen Don Edwards Inn of Court, November 3, 2016.
  • "Carnival Rides" - a point-counterpoint discussion of judgment collection and defense.  Presentation, Rossdale CLE, June 1, 2016.
  • “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.