Joseph M. Sholder

Joe was born in Los Angeles, California. According to Joe, he is “a contentious type” and so he was always drawn to the law. He has extensive experience in all areas of bankruptcy law, including two chapter 9 governmental bankruptcy cases, representing numerous winery, oil and gas, and other clients in reorganization bankruptcy cases, and in bankruptcy litigation matters. He also represents Santa Barbara City College and local school districts as part of the firm’s education-law practice. In addition to traveling, reading international detective novels, and raising cacti and all manner of odd plants, Joe is fluent in Spanish, conversant in Mandarin Chinese, and is learning Russian.


  • Partner, Griffith & Thornburgh, LLP: May 2009 – Present
  • Partner & Associate, Michaelson, Susi & Michaelson: 1988 – 2009
  • Associate, Capello & Foley, Santa Barbara, CA: 1986 – 1988

Practice Areas

  • Bankruptcy and insolvency issues
  • Real property and business issues
  • Complex business litigation
  • Education Law


  • California State Bar number 126347
  • Licensed to practice in all California trial and appellate courts; United States District Court (Central, Eastern and Northern Districts, California; District of Arizona; Northern District of Illinois;); United States Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit)
  • Santa Barbara County Bar Association


  • University of California at Los Angeles, A.B. 1977
  • University of Arizona, J.D. 1980
    • Order of the Coif
    • Managing Editor, Arizona Law Review

Community Activities (Partial)

  • Lecturer to California Bar Association Continuing Legal Education and Adult Education groups on bankruptcy and insolvency issues