Mary Jo Heston

Shareholder | Seattle/Portland | 206.223.7015 |

Areas of Practice

Mary Jo Heston focuses her practice on contract, commercial litigation and transactional work; business bankruptcies, reorganizations, receiverships and workouts; Uniform Commercial Code creditors’ remedies; and international insolvency matters. Mary Jo is licensed in both Washington and Oregon, and splits her time between the Firm’s Seattle and Portland offices. Mary Jo has worked on several large high profile bankruptcy cases throughout the United States and Canada including Pacific Gas & Electric (Northern California); General Motors (New York); Yellowstone Club World (Montana); Brundage-Bone Concrete Pumping, Inc (Colorado); and Pope & Talbot (Delaware/Toronto) and Dendreon Inc. (Delaware). She also has represented several receivers in cases in Washington and Oregon. She has also been involved in several cross-border insolvency matters and Chapter 15 cases in the Northwest working primarily on behalf of Canadian receivers and Canadian creditors. Mary Jo also currently is assisting Leavitt Machinery, a large Canadian heavy equipment dealer, to expand its operations into the United States.

Chambers USA’s Guide to America’s Leading Lawyers for Business and its sources stated that Mary Jo “is singled out as an ‘extremely bright’ lawyer,” and described her as “a very solid and professional attorney who is sound in her judgment.” The publication also stated that Mary Jo is praised as being “incredibly knowledgeable on cross-border matters, and is always responsive and service oriented.”

Professional Experience

  • Seattle University, Adjunct Professor, Debtor Creditor Law (1984-2004)
  • University of Washington School of Law, Adjunct Professor, Corporate Reorganization Course (1997-1999)
  • United States Trustee, Region 18 (1988-1993)

Admitted to Practice

  • Washington
  • Oregon
  • U.S. District Court, Western and Eastern Districts of Washington
  • Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals


  • University of Puget Sound (J.D., cum laude, 1980)
  • University of Washington (B.S., cum laude 1975)

Practice Group and Specialty Team Memberships

  • Member, Lane Powell Board of Directors (2012)
  • Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights
  • Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights — Oil and Gas Industry
  • Business Crisis Management and Emergency Remedies
  • Financial Institutions
  • Canada Practice
  • Litigation
  • Real Estate Litigation


  • “The Absolute Priority Rule: Zachary v. California Bank & Trust,” Lane Powell Legal Update, Co-author (February 24, 2016)
  • “Throwing a Lifeline — How to Acquire Troubled Assets Using a Lawyer’s Toolbox,” Seattle Business magazine (December 2009)
  • “Alternatives to Bankruptcy: Receiverships, Assignments for Benefit of Creditors and Informal Work Out Arrangements,” Inside the Minds: Adapting to Evolutions in Bankruptcy Law, Aspatore Books (2009)
  • Author of Bankruptcy Chapter, Washington Practice Series

Speaking Engagements

  • “Federal Receiverships Including General Rule 66 Receiverships, SEC and FTC Receiverships,” Lane Powell’s Northwest Receivership and Insolvency Professionals Forum, Moderator (May 11, 2016)
  • “Ninth Circuit Bankruptcy Law Update,” Eastern District of Washington Bankruptcy Retreat (June 2003-2015)
  • “Bankruptcy Litigation as a Strategic TMA Tool” (May 7, 2013)
  • “Bankruptcy Litigation,” Washington State Bar Association, Persuasive Pleadings (February 5, 2013)
  • “Who’s on First? Battles Over Judicial Authority Under Stern v. Marshall,” Washington State Bar Association and Oregon State Bar Association’s 25th Annual Northwest Bankruptcy Institute (April 27, 2012)
  • “Reorganization vs. Liquidation in Chapter 11 Cases,” Washington State Bar Association and Oregon State Bar Association’s 24th Annual Northwest Bankruptcy Institute (April 8, 2011)

Awards and Honors

  • Named as one of The Best Lawyers in America®, Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization (2013-2017)
  • Recommended by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Bankruptcy/Restructuring (2006, 2009-2016)
  • Named as a “Washington Super Lawyer,” Super Lawyers® magazine, Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights (2006-2016) (“Top 50 Women Washington Super Lawyers” (2008-2015) and “Top 100 Washington Super Lawyers” (2008))
  • Recognized for her work in bankruptcy law by The Legal 500 (United States) (2009)
  • Sidney C. Volinn Award of Merit, Washington State Bar Association (2003)
  • AV Preeminent® in Martindale-Hubbell® Peer Review Ratings™

Professional Experience and Community Activities

  • Member, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, Education Committee (2015-2016)
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy Lawyers (2001-Present)
    • Board Member, Foundation Board
    • Member, Pro Bono Committee
    • Member, Academic Outreach Committee
  • American Bankruptcy Institute, Former Board Member, Contributing Author to ABI Journal
  • INSOL Committee Chair and Board Member (1996-1999)
  • Washington State Bar Association
    • Creditor Debtor Executive Committee (1988-1996)
  • Turnaround Management Association
    • Board of Trustees (2013-Present)
    • President of NW Chapter and Board Member (2004)
    • Member (2001-Present)
  • CENTS (Pro Bono Bankruptcy Group)
    • President (2012-2014)
    • Board Member (1996-Present)
    • Vice President (2010-2012)
    • Debt Clinic Attorney (1999-2011)
    • Secretary (2005-2010)
  • Board Member, St. John’s/ABI Law Review (1993-2003)
  • Board Member, American Bankruptcy Law Journal (2005-2006)

Mary Jo Heston

Shareholder | Seattle/Portland | 206.223.7015 |