Phil Warden focuses on commercial law and related litigation, the rights of creditors, and controversies involving allegations of unfair business practices.

Phil has been involved in significant financial restructuring and insolvencies and related litigation around the United States and in Asia, possesses significant experience in CPR and AAA arbitration matters, and has represented indenture trustees for municipal bond issues totaling nearly $2 billion in litigation.

Representative Experience

  • Represented the indenture trustees for seven municipal bond issues totaling $1.85 billion in litigation with the Insurance Commissioner of the State of California in the Executive Life Insurance Company case.
  • Successfully argued that Insurance Commissioner’s Plan should be ruled unlawful, marking first time a confirmed plan has been rejected by a court of appeal (Commercial Nat'l Bank in Shreveport v. Superior Court).
  • Served as lead petitioners’ counsel in a CPR arbitration arising out of the acquisition of the manufacturing division of a New York Stock Exchange company.

Professional Highlights

  • Best Lawyers (published by BL Rankings LLC), Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Litigation – Bankruptcy (1987-2020)
  • BTI Client Service All-Star (2004)

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  • Selected by the Presiding Judge to be on the Peer Assistance Panel for the Northern District of California to provide litigation advice to inexperienced lawyers.
  • Honors & Awards
    • Awarded the Secretary of the Navy Commendation Medal with Combat V, the Combat Action Ribbon, the Republic of Viet Nam Cross of Gallantry and the Combat Action Ribbon
    • PLC Which Lawyer?, Bankruptcy & Corporate Reorganization—San Francisco & Silicon Valley (2011 – 2012)
    • Super Lawyers (2004 – 2015)
  • Associations
    • American Bar Association (previous chairman, Bankruptcy Litigation Subcommittee)
    • Bar Association of San Francisco
    • Swords to Plowshares, Advisory Board Member
    • U.S. Navy Reserve (attaining the rank of Commander)
  • External Publications
    • “Bankruptcy Issues in Trademarks,” November/December 2013.
    • “IP Problems Don’t Just Need IP Solutions,” February 2012.
    • 2010 Bankruptcy Issues in Copyrights, 2010.
  • Speaking Engagements
    • “Bankruptcy Issues in Trademarks,” Practising Law Institute, 2010 and 2013.
    • “Trademarks and U.S. Bankruptcy: It’s a Whole New World,” PLI’s Intellectual Property Law Institute, San Francisco, 2013.
    • “Bankruptcy Issues in Copyrights,” PLI’s Intellectual Property Law Institute, San Francisco, 2010.
  • Successfully Argued
    • Ario v. Ingram Micro, Inc., 965 A.2nd 1194, 2009 WL 428450 (Pa. Feb 23, 2009)
    • Desiree Rogers, et al. v. Nations Credit Financial Services Corp., 233 B.R.98. (2000)
    • In re Executive Life, 32 Cal. App. 4th 344 (1995)
    • Texas Commerce Bank v. Garamendi, 28 CA4 1234 (1994)
    • In re Commercial National Bank in Shreveport v. Superior Court, 14 CA4 393 (1993)
    • In re The Woodson Company, 813 F.2d 266 (9th Cir. 1987)


  • J.D., University of California, Hastings College of the Law, 1972
    Order of the Coif, Thurston Honor Society

    A.B., Dickinson College, 1965


  • California