By Hon. Peter McKittrick
The Hon. Randall L. Dunn will be retiring in January 2017 after 18 years of service as a U.S. Bankruptcy Judge. Judge Dunn is known for his service to his colleagues nationally, his tenure on the 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel (BAP), and his quick wit on the bench.
Judge Dunn earned his undergraduate degree from Northwestern University, and received his Juris Doctor from Stanford in 1975. Prior to joining the bench, Judge Dunn was a partner in the Portland-based firm Landye Bennett Blumstein. His practice focused on commercial bankruptcy, business transactions, and securities. Judge Dunn brought a wealth of practical experience in both bankruptcy and business law to the bench.
Judge Dunn is well known for his service to the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) and his time as a member of the 9th Circuit BAP. He has been involved as a member and officer of NCBJ throughout his career, having served as treasurer, secretary, and president, as well as a member of the board of governors. As president, he was responsible for organizing the largest national insolvency professional conference in the country, with attendance approaching 2,000 attendees. Judge Dunn served an extended 10-year term on the 9th Circuit BAP, hearing appeals from bankruptcy courts throughout the 9th circuit. He served as chief judge of the BAP and he also served on the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference planning committee. In 2016, Judge Dunn was honored with William N. Stiles Award of Merit by the Debtor/Creditor Section of the Oregon State Bar for his outstanding contributions to the section and years of public service to the bar and bench.
The local bankruptcy bench will miss Judge Dunn’s quips from the bench, known as “Judge Dunnism’s.” For example, when a corporate debtor would plead for more time to put together a sale or a viable reorganization plan, Judge Dunn would retort “This is like the play Waiting for Godot—and we all know what happens—Godot never appears.” He was also known to use the term “tough crunchies,” (that’s too bad counsel), as well as the phrase “when Humpty Dumpty falls off the wall, you can’t put him back together.” Chief Bankruptcy Judge Trish M. Brown lamented that she has treasured their 17 years together on the bench: “We will miss Randy. He has been an enthusiastic and supportive colleague.”
Judge Dunn looks forward in retirement to spending more time with his family, and returning to his favorite hobby of playing music. Judge Dunn performed for 25 years with the Portland Opera Orchestra, where he played clarinet. He plans to celebrate his retirement with friends, family, and colleagues at a reception at the Multnomah Athletic Club on Friday, January 13, 2017.