Mary Joanne Dowd

Mary Jo represents debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, committees, trustees, and asset purchasers in bankruptcy court cases, out-of-court debt restructures, and related litigation.
Mary Joanne Dowd, Partner, Washington, DC at Arent Fox

Mary Jo has particular experience in the intersection of bankruptcy and automotive, broadcast, construction, cryptocurrency, intellectual property, real estate, and not-for-profit law.

Client Work

Mary Jo’s practice includes representation of chapter 11 debtors as well as entities with loans, contracts, real estate leases, intellectual property licenses, supply agreements, franchise agreements, and other business relationships with debtors or potential debtors. She litigates a wide variety of bankruptcy and commercial matters, including lift stays, plan confirmations, claim objections, contract and lease assumptions and rejections, preferences, fraudulent transfers, withdrawals of reference, and guarantee claims.

Mary Jo served as a court-appointed Chapter 11 trustee in the Eastern District of Virginia and on the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee panel for the District of Maryland.

She represented a nationwide coalition of automotive dealers in their successful effort to have federal legislation enacted in the wake of the Chrysler and General Motors bankruptcy cases.

Mary Jo represented several Canadian debtors in the transportation industry in ancillary bankruptcy proceedings in the United States. She has represented the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation in bankruptcy cases.

Previous Work

Early in her career, Mary Jo was a law clerk to the US bankruptcy judges for the Western District of New York. She also worked at a major New York law firm.

Professional Activities

Mary Jo has served on the Advisory Committee on Local Bankruptcy Rules for the District of Columbia. She is a member of the Advisory Board for the American Bankruptcy Institute ’s “Views from the Bench” program. Mary Jo is a member of the Walter Chandler Inn of Court. She was an adjunct professor of bankruptcy at the Georgetown University Law Center. 

Mary Jo has served on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the State University of New York at Buffalo Law School for over 15 years. Since its inception in 2015, Mary Jo has been a mentor to an incoming attorney at the D.C. Affordable Law Firm.

Publications, Presentations & Recognitions

Chambers USA has recognized Mary Jo as a leading bankruptcy and restructuring lawyer in Washington, DC annually since 2006. She has been selected by her peers to be included in The Best Lawyers in America annually since 2006. In 2023, she was named as “Lawyer of the Year” for Litigation – Bankruptcy, Washington, DC by The Best Lawyers in America. Washingtonian has named Mary Jo a “Top Lawyer” in bankruptcy law.

Mary Jo lectures on asset sales in the insolvency context, treatment of intellectual property licenses in bankruptcy, individual Chapter 11 bankruptcy issues, ethics, and evidentiary issues in bankruptcy litigation.



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