091209 DCW PhotoDavid C. Winton practices real estate, business and bankruptcy law throughout California from his office in Marin County and Walnut Creek.  I represent businesses and individuals in matters relating to business organization and entity formation, real estate transactions and dispute resolution, and insolvency.

My approach to practicing law is to start with the desired solution and reverse engineer back into the problem.  One metaphor for this is the observation that someone shopping for a drill doesn’t need a drill; they need a hole.  The drill is just one way of getting there.  So it is with legal problems.  Clients sometimes retain lawyers to do or create something without really knowing what it is they need starting from the place of the desired goal.  For example, rather than telling me that you need a corporation, tell me what business you’re in, what you make or sell, who your partners and affiliates are and what you–and they–hope to accomplish with the business. Maybe you need to form a corporation, maybe not, but my objective is to let the client’s goal drive the process.

I work extensively in an “of counsel” capacity with the Walnut Creek firm of Chiarelli & Mollica. Chiarelli & Mollica’s practice emphasis is on real estate, business and real estate litigation, title insurance, and commercial leasing.  Chiarelli & Mollica’s principals include Gene Chiarelli and Terry Mollica.

Practice Areas and Clients

Business Lawyer–Marin County and Beyond

I enjoy helping small and medium sized businesses discover and implement creative solutions to whatever legal and business challenges that may present. My goal is quite simply to efficiently solve problems that do exist…and to prevent problems that don’t exist but which might arise later. I am good at anticipating issues that may be on the horizon, and I believe that it is much smarter to spend $10 to avoid a problem than $100 to solve it. I prefer to act as a business partner or advisor with my client, rather than as a basic service provider. I ALWAYS try to help my clients find a business solution before going the legal route. Business problems aren’t legal problems until some lawyer turns them into one.

Bankruptcy Law–San Francisco Bay Area

Currently, due to my experience dealing with real estate law, mortgage lending problems and bankruptcy, and due to the cataclysms that are hitting the courts–and newsstands–every day, I am representing a lot of clients in bankruptcy matters, both as debtors and creditors. Most of my cases are in the Northern District of California–courts in Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose–and some in Sacramento when the need is compelling. Most of my bankruptcy clients have come to me because of multi-property real estate portfolios that went under water with the collapse of the real estate bubble, though others are facing business and personal downturns not directly caused by the collapse of the real estate market.

I blog about the mortgage meltdown because, without doubt, it is the single most important force affecting the California–and national–real estate industry right now.  I am also constantly astounded by how much misinformation there is out there about it and about people’s rights and options.  So this blog is my modest contribution to keeping up with the news, and trying to make available better information so that people can make better decisions about their own situation.

I am admitted to the Connecticut and California bars, though I haven’t practiced actively in Connecticut since 1991.  During the savings and loan crisis from 1990 through sometime in 1994 or so, I did a lot of work for the FDIC representing banks that it took over in trying to recover assets in the liquidation of seized institutions. I have also worked for title insurance companies, banks, real estate lenders and brokers, mortgage brokers and pretty much any other type of entity professionally involved in the real estate industry. I have been a real estate broker myself, and for a brief stint was an interim CEO of a multi-state commercial brokerage start-up.

I have represented many different types of businesses, including real estate and mortgage brokerages, internet companies, a recording company, a record distributor, industrial manufacturers, ISP’s, contractors, construction suppliers, engineering contractors, commercial and residential landlords, environmental non-profits, film producers, sports media production and architecture firms.

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Practice Areas

Professional Associations


Contributing Editor

2008 CEB California Mortgages and Deed of Trust Practice

Bar Admissions


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