Joe Sakay

Joe Sakay



Joe is the Chair of Ryan Swanson’s Corporate Bankruptcy, Receivership & Finance Group. He has an industry focused corporate bankruptcy and receivership practice, representing trustees, receivers, debtors and creditors in both Oregon and Washington.  For over 25 years, Joe has provided common sense advice and no-nonsense representation to his insolvency clients – both debtors and creditors.  He currently represents lenders, secured creditors, and debtors on matters ranging from asset sales, workouts and state court receiverships to active participation in complex adversary proceedings in both Oregon and Washington.

Joe has successfully represented clients in a full range of litigation settings including both bench & jury trials.  Over his career, Joe has appeared as 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 Canada, Japan, China, United Arab Emirates, Portugal, Italy, the Netherlands, and the Cayman Islands.

Representative Experience

  • Successfully represented creditor in one of the largest bitcoin cryptocurrency bankruptcies to date.
  • Represented various creditors in bankruptcy cases nationwide, including: Giga Watt, Inc., 24 Hour Fitness, 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 Oregon and Washington receiverships. For instance, the bankruptcy court appointed Joe as 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. Joe 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
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Washington State Bar Association
  • Oregon State Bar Association
  • Volunteered on Pro Bono Panel, United States District Court for the Western District of Washington
  • Federal Bar Association for the Western District of Washington
  • Cooperating Attorney A.C.L.U. of Washington
  • University of Washington School of Law, Professional Mentorship Program
  • Seattle Youth Lacrosse Club, a Founding Member

Hobbies & Interests

Joe is a proud native of South Seattle, loves calling the Emerald City his hometown and is a diehard Seahawks fan. When not practicing law, Joe enjoys seemingly disparate pursuits such as working under the hood of his truck or studying classical chess history. When he is able Joe enjoys returning to the Big Island, where his grandparents once worked sugar cane for $18.00 per month, to paddleboard and snorkel.