J. Zachary Balasko


J. Zachary (Zak) Balasko is a seasoned bankruptcy and corporate restructuring litigator with experience representing clients in cases under all chapters of the bankruptcy code. His work ranges from representing a federal agency with multi-billion-dollar claims in offshore oil and gas bankruptcy proceedings, to helping small family businesses through Chapter 11 restructurings to obtain fresh starts.

Zak has represented debtors, secured lenders, trustees, trade vendors, creditors’ committees, governmental units, and other parties-in-interest in bankruptcy and bankruptcy litigation cases nationwide, with experience in Delaware, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia. He always seeks to achieve the best outcome for his clients as he guides them through the complexities of corporate restructurings and bankruptcy cases.

Prior to re-joining Steptoe & Johnson, Zak was a Senior Trial Counsel in the Civil Division, Corporate/Financial Litigation Section of the Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. He represented the United States in some of the most complex and challenging bankruptcy and insolvency litigation affecting the federal government.

Representative Experience

Debtor Representations
  • Thomas Health Systems, Inc. (Bankr. S.D. W. Va. 2020)
    • Part of the team that represented a West Virginia hospital system through a successful Chapter 11 reorganization, saving over 1,000 jobs and enabling the hospital to continue to provide essential care to West Virginians
  • Cardinal Homes, Inc. (Bankr. E.D. Va. 2019)
    • Represented a Virginia manufactured home manufacturer through Chapter 11 sale process
  • Goodwill Industries of South-Central Virginia, Inc. (Bankr. W.D. Va. 2019)
    • Represented a Virginia second-hand retail store through a Chapter 11 sale process and structured dismissal
Secured Lender Representations
  • Eagle Valley Clean Energy LLC (Bankr. D. Colo. 2024)
    • Represented a pre-petition secured lender in the Chapter 7 sale of a woody biomass powered electricity plant outside of Gypsum, Colorado
  • United States of America v. Sandwich Isles Communications, Inc., et al. (D. Haw. 2018)
    • Represented a secured lender with claim exceeding $100 million in breach of loan contract and foreclosure action against an insolvent telecommunications company, as well as in related claims for breach of fiduciary duty, fraudulent transfers, and violations of the Federal Priority Statute against officers, directors, and insiders
  • Blackjewel L.L.C. (Bankr. S.D. W. Va. 2019)
    • Represented pre-petition secured lender and DIP lender through coal company chapter 11 sale process
Lease Counterparty Representations
  • Paradox Resources, LLC (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2023)
    • Represented a federal onshore land management agency in the successful Chapter 11 sale of numerous onshore federal oil and gas leases in the Paradox Basin in Colorado and Utah
  • MLCJR LLC (Cox Oil) (Bankr. S.D. Tex 2023)
    • Represented a federal offshore land management agency through multiple Chapter 11 sales of federal leases, and counseled the agency through decommissioning issues associated with the winddown of operations following conversion to Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code
  • Castex Energy 2005 Holdco, LLC (Bankr. S.D. Tex. 2021)
    • Represented a federal offshore land management agency through the Chapter 11 liquidation of offshore oil and gas exploration and production company Castex Energy
  • Fieldwood Energy LLC (Bankr. S.D. Tex 2020)
    • Represented a federal offshore land management agency in the largest-ever bankruptcy case filed by an offshore oil and gas exploration and production company in the United States, including negotiating the successful sale and assignment of valuable federal leases and resolution of decommissioning obligations estimated to exceed $7 billion
Committee Representations
  • Part of the team that represented official committees of unsecured creditors in multiple complex coal company Chapter 11 cases, including In re Hard Rock Exploration, Inc. (Bankr. S.D. W. Va. 2017); In re Foresight Energy LP (Bankr. E.D. Mo. 2020); and In re Hartshorne Holdings LLC (Bankr. W.D. Ky. 2020)
Governmental Unit Representations
  • SC Healthcare Holding, LLC (Bankr. D. Del. 2024)
    • Represented a federal health care regulator and federal housing agency in through the Chapter 11 sales of 88 skilled nursing facilities in Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa
  • LTL Management LLC (Bankr. D. N.J. 2021 & 2023)
    • Represented the United States in both mass tort “Texas Two-Step” bankruptcy cases of a large consumer products manufacturer, including advising on bankruptcy appellate issues on multiple direct appeals to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Reverse Mortgage Investment Trust Inc. (Bankr. D. Del. 2022)
    • Represented a federal housing agency in a Delaware reverse-mortgage-backed securities issuer bankruptcy

Licensed In

  • Virginia
  • West Virginia


  • J.D. Washington and Lee University School of Law
  • B.A West Virginia University


  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Northern Virginia Bankruptcy Bar Association
  • Member, Chancel Choir, Dulin United Methodist Church


  • Lead Articles Editor, Washington & Lee Law Review (Vols. 72–73)
  • Managing Editor, German Law Journal (Vols. 15–17)
  • Omicron Delta Kappa


J. Zachary Balasko, A Return to Reasonability: Modifying the Collateral Source Rule in Light of Artificially Inflated Damage Awards, 72 WASH. & LEE L. REV. ONLINE 16 (2015).

Related Services

Related News & Resources

Press Release
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Steptoe & Johnson PLLC is pleased to announce the return of J. Zacha...

Stay informed. Sign up for our mailing lists.

Stay Informed

All of our news and resources are shared electronically. Select your preferred list(s) below.(Required)