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Debra A. Riley

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Debra A. Riley is a partner in the firm's San Diego office, representing municipalities, special districts, developers, and bondholders in connection with public finance issues, including out-of-court restructuring of community facilities districts and assessment district bonds, refunding/refinancing of public bonds, the purchase and sale of defaulted public securities, and the use of chapter 9 proceedings to restructure public securities. She regularly handles issues involving adequate disclosure, indentures, fiscal agent agreements, and rate method and apportionment of special taxes, development agreements, acquisition agreements, reimbursement agreements, subdivision improvement agreements, surety bonds, and lien contracts.

Debra has also served as counsel for municipalities, special districts, developers, institutional investors, debtors, creditors' committees, and secured and unsecured creditors in complex out-of-court restructurings and chapter 11 proceedings throughout the country, including California, Delaware and New York. Her experience covers a wide array of industries, including real estate, manufacturing, dietary supplements, subprime lending, technology, and healthcare.

Debra has significant experience in pre-negotiated, pre-planned bankruptcy cases resulting in efficient, effective, and timely restructurings. Debra has drafted plans of reorganization, disclosure statements and related plan implementation documents, and has handled contested matters involving debtor-in-possession financing, asset sales, plan confirmation, claim objections, and the assumption and assignment of executory contracts and unexpired leases and license agreements.

Debra also has commercial and real estate litigation experience, including prosecuting judicial and non-judicial foreclosures and guaranty actions, and handling pre and post-judgment enforcement and collections matters.

Prior to joining Allen Matkins, Debra was a partner at McDermott Will & Emery in Chicago where she was involved in many nationally prominent bankruptcy cases and out-of-court restructurings of public and private debt.

Before embarking on the practice of law, Debra was a certified public accountant in Connecticut and maintained an audit and consulting practice with a predecessor to Ernst & Young.


  • National Association of Bond Lawyers
  • Women in Public Finance, San Diego Chapter 
  • American Bankruptcy Institute (advisory board member for various conferences (2007 current) and co-chair of Battleground West Conference (2007-2010) 
  • International Women's Insolvency Restructuring Confederation (board member San Diego Chapter 2008-2010) 
  • Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors 
  • Turnaround Management Association 
  • California Women Lawyers 
  • Ernst & Young Alumni Group


  • AV® Preeminent™ Martindale Hubbell Rating 
  • Selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Lawyers (2007)
  • Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2017 - 2019)
  • Top San Diego Attorney (2012 - 2015)


Debra graduated, summa cum laude,  from Quinnipiac University, Hamden, Connecticut, with a B.S. in accounting and computer science. She received her M.B.A., magna cum laude, from the University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut. Debra obtained her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law.

Bar Admissions

  • California
  • Illinois
  • Connecticut