M. Colette Gibbons
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EMAIL cgibbons@mcdonaldhopkins.com

PHONE 216.430.2057

Practice Focus

Colette Gibbons has over 40 years of legal experience with a practice focus on insolvency related issues, including debtor representation, debtors-in-possession, creditors, lending institutions, hedge funds, trustees, receivers, creditors’ committees, non-profit entities and health care providers in all aspects of state and federal insolvency proceedings and out-of-court resolutions. 

Throughout her highly accomplished career, Colette has received numerous recognitions for her bankruptcy expertise. She was admitted as a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 2010. Other honors include: Top 100 Super Lawyers in Ohio and Top 50 Women Super Lawyers in Ohio, Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business-Bankruptcy, the Best Lawyers in America, Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law/Insolvency and Reorganization Law and Northern Ohio Live Rainmaker of the Year for Law. 

Colette earned her J.D. from Cleveland-Marshall School of Law in 1976 and received a B.A., cum laude, from John Carroll University in 1973.

Representative Cases/Matters

  • In 2019, completed work as a Chapter 11 trustee of a chain of 28 restaurants
  • Served as the court-appointed Receiver in litigation related to a large indoor mall facility filed in Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas
  • Served as the court-appointed Receiver in a dispute regarding a landmark multi-story building in downtown Cleveland with significant real property and safety challenges 
  • Represented school district in defense of mandamus action in 11th District Court of Appeals in Ohio brought by shareholders to obtain refund of real estate taxes
  • Represented four separate affiliates in the plastics industry that were subject to lender initiated receivership process during the negotiation of four separate sale transactions with separate purchasers and a singular close date. 
  • Represented the Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors in the Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing of an independent energy company engaged in the exploration, production and commercial sale of coalbed methane in the Illinois basin
  • Obtained wide-ranging ruling and established limit on ability of creditors’ committees to maintain derivative actions against former shareholders, resulting in dismissal of Committee action
  • Argued for affirmance of trial and appellate holdings that guarantor is entitled to notice of sale of collateral and holds the right to a commercially reasonable sale of collateral, which those rights are not valuable waivable prior to default 
  • Represented an Official Committee of Unsecured Creditors of a leading design-build firm in substantially greater potential for recovery for general unsecured creditors of the firm and related debtors 

Admissions - Court

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
  • U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio

Admissions - State

  • Ohio


  • Cleveland-Marshall College of Law
  • John Carroll University

Honors and Awards

  • Selected for Crain's Cleveland Notable Women in Law (2018)
  • American College of Bankruptcy, Fellow (2010-2019)
  • Chambers USA America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Bankruptcy (2006-2019)
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Bankruptcy and Creditor-Debtor Rights Law/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2007-2020)
  • Selected for inclusion for Ohio Super Lawyers (2004-2020)
    • Top 100 Ohio (2011-2012, 2014-2016)
    • Top 50 Women in Ohio (2009-2019)
    • Top 25 Women Cleveland (2009-2019)
  • Super Lawyers, Corporate Counsel Edition (2009-2010)
  • Northern Ohio Live Rainmaker of the Year for Law (2004)
  • Cleveland Bar Association Merit Service Award (1983, 1984, 1993)
  • Martindale-Hubbell AV Peer Review Rated

Professional Membership

  • American College of Bankruptcy Foundation, Board of Directors
  • U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio
    • Screening Committee for Selection of magistrates
    • Advisory Committee
  • Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association
    • Nominating Committee, Chair (2010)
    • Nominating Committee (2008-2009)
    • Professional Ethics Committee and Governance Committee, Former Chair
  • Cleveland Bar Foundation, Board Member (2002-2006)
  • Eighth Judicial Conference of Ohio, Co-Chair (2003)

Public Service and Volunteerism

  • Cleveland Marshall College of Law, Law Visiting Member; The Fund for Excellence, Co-Chair (2011-2012)
  • West Side Catholic Center, Board Member (2009-2014), Secretary (2001-2008), President (2013) 
  • John Carroll University, National Steering Committee and Alumni Board of Trustees
  • Seeds of Literacy, Vice Chair; Board Member (2014-present)
  • Legal Aid Case Volunteer
  • Greater Cleveland Sports Commission (in connection with NCAA Women’s Final Four), Title IX Committee, Co-Chair (March 2007)

External Publications

  • “Lien on Me: Recent decisions affecting the appointment and authority of receivers,” co-author, Ohio Lawyer, May 2011
  • “Park National Bank Affirms the Ability of Receivers to Sell Property Free and Clear of Liens,” co-author, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Journal, December 2010
  • “A Model Statute for Free-and-Clear Sales by Equity Receivers,” American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, March 2009


External Speaking Engagements

  • "Small Business Bankruptcy Legislation," 2019 Great Lakes William J. O'Neill Bankruptcy Institute, May 9, 2019 
  • “Current Issues in Foreclosure and Receivership,” webinar, July 20, 2016
  • “Directors and Officers Part I: Obligations in Good Times and Bad,” webinar, April 20, 2016
  • Presentation to the Turnaround Management Association regarding receivership developments, November 21, 2013
  • “No More Accidental Careers,” Women in Law Section of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association, July 10, 2013
  • “When Alternatives Go Mainstream: Updates on the Continues Use of Alternatives to Bankruptcy,” 2012 Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association’s William J. O’Neill Great Lakes Regional Bankruptcy Institute, May 17, 2012
  • “Advice to the Bankruptcy Client in the Zone of Perjury,” 2011 Bench Bar Retreat, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio, October 27, 2011