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Jay Watkins, one of the founding partners of O’Hara Watkins, has been practicing in Alabama courts for over 20 years. During this time, Mr. Watkins has represented a variety of businesses from banks, manufacturers and small mom and pop businesses, in litigation, trials and arbitration. Whatever the case may be, in every case, Jay starts by identifying the legal issues involved and implementing a strategy for resolution. Ultimately, the facts direct any legal strategy, but with Jay’s trial and litigation experience, he can provide clients with a quick legal roadmap of the dispute which allows them to react immediately and appropriately.

Although representing creditors and insurers has been Mr. Watkins’ primary focus, in his legal career he has represented a variety of clients including airplane and trucking companies, product manufacturers, builders, and restaurant owners. Mr. Watkins has tried several cases to verdict before various courts in Alabama. Recently, he represented various financial institutions in offensive litigation where the banks recovered funds that were fraudulently transferred to avoid the reach of creditors. Mr. Watkins’ last two jury trials included defending a national bank in a lender liability lawsuit and a regional trucking company in a negligent/wantonness lawsuit. In one case, he obtained summary judgment on behalf of a national insurance company in an intentional interference lawsuit.

Mr. Watkins handles all aspects of bankruptcy and creditors’ rights, including workouts, fraudulent conveyance actions, alter-ego claims, corporate veil piercing, and post-judgment collection. He has recovered several six-figure judgments or settlements for various creditors. On any given week, Jay is usually involved in some aspect of bankruptcy litigation, from the large chapter 11, with related adversary proceedings to the routine consumer case. He routinely counsels large and small banks concerning workouts and loan restructuring and advises creditors in bankruptcy cases regarding preference actions, administrative expenses, executory contracts, and the automatic stay. He has handled a multi-million dollar “stalking horse” asset purchase of a debtor trucking company which helped the new entity obtain the assets free and clear from creditors. He has worked on various unsecured creditor committees and was involved in a Chapter 9 municipality bankruptcy, one of few in the state of Alabama. Mr. Watkins frequently counsels businesses who may need to restructure debt to stay in business.

Mr. Watkins is a graduate of The University of Alabama School of Law where he won various writing awards and began his career as a federal law clerk for Chief Judge Randolph Baxter, United States Bankruptcy Court of the Northern District of Ohio.

He maintains a diverse portfolio of cases, including:

  • bankruptcy (creditor’s rights involving plan objections, lifting the automatic stay, valuation issues, prosecuting adversary proceedings, contested matters)
  • personal injury/insurance defense
  • commercial collections/foreclosure
  • loan workouts/restructure
  • compliance with federal and state banking laws and regulations, including RESPA, the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), Fair Debt Collections Practices Act (FDCPA), and new mortgage servicing rules
  • employment law, ERISA, ADA, and EEOC Compliance
  • lender liability suits

Mr. Watkins regularly writes and speaks on current legal events. He recently authored a chapter in DRI’s A Compendium of Federal Consumer Credit Protection Statutes for the Financial Services Litigator and In-House Counsel Defense Research Institute, Commercial Litigation Section, fall 2015, an accumulation and analysis of the federal statutes that may be raised in consumer credit litigation. It is intended to be a comprehensive source of information for in-house and outside counsel who practice in the financial services area. Mr. Watkins is also an active member of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA), an organization of over 1000 attorneys dedicated to the defense of civil actions and the promotion of fairness and integrity in the civil justice system. He has served as a faculty member for the ADLA Trial Academy for the last 3 years.

Noteworthy

  • Named a “Rising Star” in the areas of Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights, Business Litigation, and Personal Injury Defense: General in the 2012 edition of Alabama Super Lawyers (listed annually since 2011)
  • Recognized as a “2013 Top Rated Lawyer” in the area of Commercial Litigation by Corporate Counsel and The American Lawyer magazines
  • AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rating in Martindale-Hubbell

Presentations

  • How to Get Your Social Media, Email and Text Evidence Admitted (and Keep Theirs Out), November 17, 2016, National Business Institute.
  • Debtor-Creditor Issues: Mississippi Style, August 24, 2016
  • “Medical Records Law & HIPAA Compliance in Alabama”, January 1, 2008

Publications

  • A Compendium of Federal Consumer Credit Protection Statutes for the Financial Services Litigator and In-House Counsel
    “Chapter Six: Statutes Regulating the Collection of Credit—The Service Members’ Civil Relief Act” Defense Research Institute, Commercial Litigation Section, Fall 2015
  • “The End of Merger”
    Alabama Defense Lawyers Association Journal, Vol. 19, No. 2, January 1, 2003
  • “Sticking to Your Guns – Firearms as Household Goods under Section 522(f)”
    Norton Bankruptcy Advisor, No. 6, January 1, 2000

Professional

  • Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA) (Member, Product Liability and Construction Law Committees)
  • Alabama State Bar (Member, Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation Section)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute (Member, Bankruptcy Litigation Group; Small Business Restructuring Group)
  • Baldwin County Bar Association
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI) (Member, Commercial Litigation Committee; Complex Commercial Litigation SLG Executive Board; and Construction Law Committee)
  • Mobile County Bar Association

Community

  • Alabama-Mississippi Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (Board of Trustees, 2014–2015)
  • Daphne/Spanish-Fort Rotary Club (President, 2008–2009); Paul Harris Fellow
  • Greater Mobile Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Leadership Class of 2006 (Advisory Council, 2007–2017)
  • Veterans Recovery Resources (Advisory Board, 2015–present; Outside Counsel)
  • National Alabama Alumni Association
  • National Eagle Scout Association (Lifetime Member)
  • Order of the Arrow (Vigil Member)
  • Red Elephant Club of Mobile
  • The University of Alabama Alumni Association – Mobile Chapter
  • Volunteer Youth Coach (Football/Basketball)
  • Adult Leader – Boy Scout Troop 87 (Life to Eagle Mentor)

Bar Admissions

  • Alabama
  • Mississippi

Court Admissions

  • 5th Cir.
  • 11th Cir.
  • M.D. Ala.
  • N.D. Ala.
  • S.D. Ala.
  • N.D. Miss.
  • S.D. Miss.
  • N.D. Fla.
  • U.S. Tax Court

Education

  • The University of Alabama School of Law, J.D., 1999

Senior Editor, Law & Psychology Review; National Bankruptcy Moot Court Team, Judge Conrad Duberstein Award for Best Brief; John A. Campbell Moot Court Board, Judge Walter P. Gewin Award for Best Brief; Bench and Bar Legal Honor Society

  • The University of Alabama, B.A., 1996

Vice President, Order of Omega

Areas of Law
  • Banking & Financial Services Litigation
  • Bankruptcy, Restructuring & Creditors'-Debtors' Rights
  • Business & Commercial Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage and Litigation Practice
Admission Details
  • Alabama
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Mississippi
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Mississippi
  • Mississippi
Law School Attended
  • University of Alabama, Class of 1999, J.D.
University Attended
  • University of Alabama, Class of 1996, B.A.