Bill Smelko is the owner and principal of WILLIAM A. SMELKO, APC in San Diego and is Of Counsel to the Orange County Law Firm, Ross, Wersching & Wolcott, LLP. His practice includes general and business civil litigation, Bankruptcy litigation and appellate work in both the California Supreme Court and Court of Appeals and in the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Professor Smelko has practiced law for 33 years in San Diego and throughout the West Coast. Graduating from the University of Michigan Law School in 1980, he studied Bankruptcy Law under the guidance of Professor Frank Kennedy, one of the principal authors of the Bankruptcy Code and also studied Contract Law and Commercial Transactions under Professor James J. White, co-author of the White & Summers Hornbook on Commercial Transactions. Professor Smelko taught Bankruptcy, Criminal Law and Trial Tactics Classes at National University School of Law in San Diego and previously taught Bankruptcy Law and Trial Techniques Classes at TJSL. Specializing in complex Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Reorganizations in the Southern and Central Districts of California, Professor Smelko has also worked in the business and restructuring field providing legal services for private clients around the country. For example, his efforts include work for clients in the Northern District of Texas (Southland Bankruptcy Case), in Las Vegas, (Tropicana Hotel and Main Street Station Casino Chapter 11’s), in Arizona (the Circle K Bankruptcy) and in Delaware (Tribune Publications Chapter 11). His representative clients include banks, credit unions, collection firms and various successfully reorganized business entities in the restaurant, casino, hotel, real estate and construction industry.
For the past two summers, Professor Smelko has served as a member of the special summer faculty for the Harvard Debate Council in Cambridge Massachusetts lecturing in Policy Debate and Argumentation at Harvard University. He has also lectured at the University of California at Berkeley where he currently serves as an advisor and policy debate judge for CAL’s nationally ranked Policy Debate Team. Since 2002, Professor Smelko has been active in promoting high school and college debate in the San Diego area by working directly with teams representing St. Augustine, La Costa Canyon and Torrey Pines High Schools and the San Dieguito Academy. He is a Member of the Hall of Distinguished Service for the University of Kentucky’s Tournament of Champions and has twice been named one of San Diego’s Most Outstanding Attorneys. Co-Author, with his son Will Smelko, of the Instructional Handbook, Debate 101, Professor Smelko’s Debate Text is used by High School and Middle School Teachers throughout the United States to train students in the art of public speaking and to prepare students for policy debate competitions. In particular, his text is used to promote and expand the instructional efforts of both the National Urban Debate League and the National Forensics League.
Residing in San Diego’s East County, Professor Smelko is happily married to his wife, Robin who teaches first grade at Avocado Elementary in El Cajon, California. He is the father of two grown children, Helen Rebecca Garrett, a floral designer of West Seattle and Will Smelko, currently residing in Sydney, Australia and owner and CEO of the website enterprise, www.vivavegan.com.
Courses taught: JD Program: Bankruptcy Law & Fundamentals LLM Program: Bankruptcy Procedure; and Workouts Collections & Foreclosures