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Jeffery J. Hartley

Member of the Firm

Martindale-Hubbell Rating:
AV Preeminent

Jeffery J. Hartley - Helmsing Law

Professional Experience

Mr. Hartley has a multi-disciplined practice. He has been actively involved in virtually every type and aspect of bankruptcy, reorganization, workout, corporate divorce, creditor’s rights and insolvency litigation for almost thirty years. His practice regularly includes advising clients in matters of financial restructuring, loan compliance, commercial transactions, workouts and complex business problems. In addition, Mr. Hartley regularly represents public officials, agencies, non-profits and candidates in matters of governance, crisis management, compliance and ethics. For the last twenty-plus years Mr. Hartley has served as a court-appointed mediator in all manner of contested, complex and high-stakes disputes.


  • Spring Hill College (B.S., 1987)
  • University of Alabama School of Law (J.D., 1990)

Bar & Court Admissions

  • United States District Courts for the Southern, Middle and Northern Districts of Alabama
  • United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida
  • United States Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

Although Mr. Hartley’s practice focuses primarily on the southeastern United States, he has handled matters in numerous other state and federal courts, including international matters in Mexico, the United Kingdom, Canada and South Korea.  Mr. Hartley has been recognized as a leading practitioner by several directories and publications, attaining the highest rating by Chambers USA, Martindale-Hubbard, Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers.  For the last ten consecutive years he has been chosen by his peers as one of the top 50 attorneys in Alabama by Super Lawyers and as one of the top bankruptcy attorneys in Alabama by Best Lawyers. 

In 2015 and again in 2018, Mr. Hartley was appointed by the Chief Justice of the United States, John G. Roberts, to serve on the influential Judicial Conference’s Advisory Committee on Bankruptcy Rules.  This body is charged with the continuous study of the operation and effect of bankruptcy rules and procedure and to make recommendations to maintain consistency and justice.

Mr. Hartley is currently a member of the Alabama State Bar (Past Chairman and Board Member of the Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section), the Mobile County Bar Association (Past Chairman of the Bankruptcy Section), the Paul W. Brock Inn of Court, the Federal Panel of Neutrals (for the Southern District of Alabama), the Bankruptcy Court Local Rules and Practice Advisory Committee, the American Bar Association, and the American Bankruptcy Institute. He is admitted to practice in all federal and state courts in Alabama, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida.

In 1994, Mr. Hartley was appointed by the Majority Leader of the United States Senate to be a Commissioner on the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. This commission was established to study and evaluate the modern bankruptcy system and to make formal recommendations for legislative reform to the President, the Congress and the United States Supreme Court. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Hartley was a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Margaret A. Mahoney, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge, Southern District of Alabama (retired). Mr. Hartley formerly served as a Majority Counsel to the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. His areas of legislative responsibility included bankruptcy, antitrust, intellectual property and judicial nominations. From 1991-1993, Mr. Hartley was Majority Senate Liaison to the National Commission on Judicial Discipline and Removal.  Mr. Hartley was also a longtime campaign and legislative aid to United States Senator Howell T. Heflin.


As a frequent speaker and lecturer on bankruptcy, insolvency matters, and the legislative process, Mr. Hartley has addressed such organizations as the American Bar Association, American Bankruptcy Institute, National Bankruptcy Conference, American Council of Life Insurance, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, American Bankers Association, Mortgage Bankers Association of America, Commercial Law League of America, American Land Title Association, and numerous regional, state and local bar associations.

  • Alabama State Bar (Chairman and Board Member, Bankruptcy and Commercial Law Section)
  • American Bar Association
  • Mobile County Bar Association (Former Chairman, Bankruptcy Law Section)
  • Northern District of Florida Bankruptcy Bar Association
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Federal Panel of Neutrals, Southern District of Alabama
  • Paul W. Brock Inn of Court
  • Alabama Law Foundation
  • American Bar Foundation
  • University of Alabama School of Law Annual Bankruptcy Law CLE (Long-time Planning Committee Member)
  • Chambers USA (highest rating)
  • Best Lawyers in America
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Rights
    • Insolvency and Reorganization Law
    • Litigation – Bankruptcy
  • Super Lawyers (highest rating; regularly selected a top 50 lawyer in Alabama)

  • Boy Scouts of America, former Assistant Scout Master (Troops 87 and 47, Mobile Council)
  • Mobile County District Attorney Foundation, Chairman
  • Broad Street Restoration Society, Board Member
  • Campaign Coordinator, United States Senator Howell T. Heflin, 1990
  • Majority Counsel, United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, 1990-1994
  • Law Clerk, Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge Margaret A. Mahoney (retired), 1994-1996
  • Adams and Reese, LLP, Associate and Partner, 1996-2001
  • Helmsing Leach, Partner, 2001 – present
  • Represented a closely-held energy company with multiple locations in a $100 million out of court restructuring with a three bank syndicate.
  • Chapter 13 Trustee’s counsel for almost twenty-five years handling literally thousands of contested matters, confirmation issues, and matters of governance and compliance.
  • Regular outside counsel for one of the region’s largest banks in both state and federal court proceedings, including banking and loan enforcement.
  • Represented a nine bank syndicate in the forbearance, restructure and ultimate sale of the credit to the City of Mobile regarding the GulfQuest Maritime Museum.
  • Represented the Mobile County District Attorney in funding dispute litigation with the Mobile County Commission which resulted in several favorable court rulings and ultimate funding increase for the District Attorney’s Office.
  • Represented Chapter 7 Trustee in the litigation and business wind-down of 16 convenience stores and a related closely held propane retailer and supplier.
  • Chapter 11 Debtor’s counsel in one of the country’s largest and most environmental/sophisticated coal ash landfill enterprises.
  • Court-appointed Chapter 11 Trustee in a hotly contested and emotional individual case in the Northern District of Alabama, liquidating millions of dollars in real property, claims, and adversary proceedings.
  • Represented the Mobile County Communications District (the “911 Board”) in a multi-million dollar contract dispute and re-negotiation with Harris Corporation regarding a new radio system for all of Mobile County. Hartley continues to represent the 911 Board in all matters today.
  • Defended several mortgage lenders and mortgage services in a series of nationwide class action matters filed as adversary proceedings in various bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Represented primary investor in a promissory fraud and breach of fiduciary matter against a bottled-water wholesaler and distributor.
  • Counsel to several non-profit corporations on matters of formation, governance and compliance, as well as real property development and restoration matters.
  • Regular counsel for the Alabama State Pilotage Commission regarding all matters of governance, compliance, statutory rewrites, litigation and international commerce.
  • Regular outside counsel to several large regional credit unions in matters related to bankruptcy, loan enforcement, breach of contract litigation, foreclosure and related corporate matters.
  • Represented secured lender in loan default, franchise dispute and resulting bankruptcy proceeding involving multiple locations of a national breakfast-food restaurant chain.
  • Lead debtor’s counsel in a Chapter 11 proceeding of a retail clothing chain with locations throughout the southeastern region.
  • Represented the Alabama State Bar in a matter regarding the previous disbarment of an attorney, a client security fund dispute, restitution, and chapter 7 dischargeability issues.
  • Represented a large landlord of farmland in a multi-million dollar chapter 11 proceeding involving a primary tenant, farming practices, crop insurance and a lease dispute.
  • Represented several physicians in matters related to cash-flow problems, loan defaults and troubled business transactions.
  • Represented the primary shareholder of a closely held commercial glass company during a loan workout, guaranty dispute and subsequent bankruptcy proceedings.
  • Represented one of the region’s largest privately owned coal companies in the purchase of substantial coal mining assets of two large bankrupt companies through the 363 sales process.
  • Regularly advise one of the country’s largest stevedore operators on bankruptcy related matters inside and outside the United States.
  • Represent a publicly traded provider of healthcare information technology solutions for rural and community hospitals, and post-acute care facilities in matters related to bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy workouts.
  • Represented two local law firms in a chapter 11 matter involving a failed development in Orange Beach, a series of unpaid mortgages and a subsequent 363 sale of assets to a commercial developer.