Joe Sakay

Joe Sakay



Joe is the Chair of Ryan Swanson’s Corporate Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Finance Group. He has a lender and banking industry focused insolvency and bankruptcy litigation practice, representing creditors in both Oregon and Washington. For more than two decades Joe has provided common-sense advice and no-nonsense representation to financial institution clients. He currently represents lenders and secured creditors on matters ranging from workouts and state court receiverships to active participation in complex litigation and bankruptcy cases.

Joe has successfully represented clients in a full range of litigation settings including arbitrations, bench and jury trials. Over his 25-year career Joe has appeared as creditor counsel in over 500 bankruptcies up and down the West Coast and across the U.S. His cross-border insolvency work has spanned the globe associating with co-counsel in countries including Japan, China, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Cayman Islands.

Representative Experience

  • Represented various creditors in bankruptcy cases nationwide, including: Evergreen Vintage Aircraft, Michael Mastro, Eddie Bauer, Enron North America, Mirant, and NextWave Wireless.
  • Handled adversary proceedings in bankruptcies as well as expedited evidentiary hearings in state court. For instance, the bankruptcy court appointed Joe Special Litigation Counsel to the Debtor-in-Possession – In re Partners Mortgage Corporation, where he recovered several million dollars for creditors.
  • Assisted banks with internal investigations, including chairing special board committees, crisis management, leading internal investigations and advising clients on corporate governance and regulatory/compliance issues.
  • Represented the plaintiff in a multi-week jury trial involving allegations of harassment and invasion of privacy. We prevailed at trial and successfully collected the client’s judgment.
  • Led the trial defense of a secured creditor in a title insurance and lien priority action, involving a prominent mixed-use development, where claims exceeded $4,000,000.

Publications and Speaking Engagements

Professional Activities

  • American Bar Association, Litigation Section
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Oregon State Bar Association
  • Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington
  • King County Bar Foundation, Future of the Law Institute – Volunteer Mentor
  • Cooperating Attorney A.C.L.U. of Washington
  • University of Washington School of Law, Professional Mentorship Program
  • MAVIN, Past-President and Former Member – Board of Directors
  • Seattle Youth Lacrosse Club, Founding Member and Youth Lacrosse Coach


When he is not following his beloved Seahawks, Joe enjoys traveling with his wife to far-flung places exploring new cultures through food and art.