Gary Kaplan is Chair of Farella’s Restructuring, Insolvency and Creditors Rights practice group. He has decades of experience representing debtors, creditors, creditors' committees, trustees, and receivers in a wide range of bankruptcy and nonbankruptcy matters. Gary's practice includes both out of court and Chapter 11 restructurings, and advising clients regarding pre- and post-bankruptcy strategy, debt collection, judgment enforcement, and provisional remedies. He represents lenders and borrowers in a wide range of financing transactions, including debtor-in-possession financing, as well as lease and guaranty matters. He also has extensive litigation experience in bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy courts, at trial and appellate levels, including in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Gary counsels companies and individuals experiencing financial and operational challenges in myriad industries. Much of his work involves managing events that lead to financial distress. Gary bases his strategic approach on each client’s particular circumstances, considering their business goals, market trends, and potential outcomes. He helps clients restructure their finances, build and negotiate sustainable workout plans with creditors, and develops other creative solutions to avoid bankruptcy, including refinancings, divestitures, joint ventures, and licensing deals. Gary also has expertise in buying and selling distressed businesses and assets in a range of industries, including wineries, hospitality, and alternative energy.

Gary represents both secured and unsecured creditors, creditors’ committees, landlords, and equity holders in creative recovery solutions in and outside of bankruptcy. He has proved adept at protecting landlord’s rights in retailer bankruptcy cases nationwide through negotiation and litigation when necessary. He has extensive experience in insolvency-related litigation, including preference and fraudulent transfer claims, as well as defending guarantors, owners, directors and officers.

Gary is Board Certified in Business Bankruptcy Law by the American Board of Certification and a Certified Legal Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the State Bar of California.


  • Northern California Super Lawyers (2004-2006, 2009-2020)
  • "Recommended" in the San Francisco Bay Area by PLC’s The Restructuring and Insolvency Handbook
  • Corporate LiveWire Lawyer of the Year for 2014 in the category Bankruptcy & Restructuring - San Francisco
  • Corporate LiveWire Global Awards in Insolvency Law Firm of the Year in 2017
  • "Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service" award from the Bar Association of San Francisco (ten times)
  • Certificate of Recognition as an "Outstanding Volunteer in Public Service" from the California State Senate based on his consumer bankruptcy work

Memberships and Affiliations

  • Advisors, Insolvency Law Committee, Business Law Section, California Lawyers Association
  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Past President, Board of Directors, Bay Area Bankruptcy Forum
  • Past Chair, Bankruptcy Law Advisory Commission, California State Bar (2013-2014)
  • Past member, Insolvency Committee, California State Bar
  • Past chair, Legislative Subcommittee, California State Bar
  • Past chair, Bankruptcy Section, San Francisco Bar's Barristers Club
  • Past member, Bench-Bar Liaison Committee, U.S. Bankruptcy Court (Northern District of California)

Firm Highlights


PG&E Bankruptcy: Lessons Learned and a Path Forward

Farella's Unplugged Renewable Energy Series features Nick Moore (moderator) and Gary Kaplan (panelist) discussing "PG&E Bankruptcy: Lessons Learned and a Path Forward." The California power giant, PG&E, has emerged from the country’s largest utility bankruptcy proceeding as...

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Non-Residential Lease Default Workouts, Security Deposits and Bankruptcy

What are the bankruptcy implications of the treatment of a tenant’s security deposit following a payment default?  Many non-residential tenants are now or are likely in the future to be unable to pay rent...

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Wine Businesses, Lenders, and Difficult Conversations

The COVID-19 pandemic and public health efforts to combat it will impact different wine businesses in different ways. Those that depend on on-premise and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales, such as restaurant, hospitality, and tasting room...

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Hospitality Companies and Their Lenders: Preparing for Difficult Conversations

In a sudden reversal of generally expansionary trends, the hospitality business has been among the most immediate and badly hit economic sectors as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the resulting stay-at-home and...

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Questions Wineries Need to Answer Before Talking With Lenders About Coronavirus-Caused Financial Woes

The coronavirus pandemic and public health efforts to combat it will impact different wine businesses in different ways. Those that depend upon on-premise and direct-to-consumer (DTC) sales — such as restaurant, hospitality, and tasting room...

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Protecting Suppliers and Customers of Insolvent or Bankrupt Companies

Some 3,600 companies having already  filed for Chapter 11 protection  in the first half of 2020—more than in any year since 2012—and many are bracing for an even greater surge of bankruptcy filings before...

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Treatment of Commercial Leases in Tenant Bankruptcy - The Basics

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc with the nation’s economy, we have started to see bankruptcy filings by well-known companies such as GNC, J. Crew, Neiman Marcus, Modell’s, 24 Hour Fitness, Gold’s...

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How Grape Growers Can Protect Their Interests When a Winery Approaches Insolvency

A lot goes into the making of great wine, and when a winery becomes financially unstable, there are multiple competing interests that need to be satisfied, including the banks that provide the winery with...

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Farella Braun + Martel Attorneys Named to 2020 Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars

Forty-one Farella Braun + Martel attorneys across practice areas were named to the Super Lawyers and Rising Stars lists of top attorneys in Northern California for 2020. Farella attorneys named among 2020 Northern California...

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