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John W. Kozyak

John W. Kozyak

Practice Area: Bankruptcy Matters
Email Address:



John W. Kozyak is a founding partner of Kozyak Tropin & Throckmorton and co-chairs the firm’s bankruptcy practice.

John’s expertise has been recognized by Best Lawyers In America, in every edition since it was first published in 1983. For the past six years, he was identified as one of its “Bet-the-Company” litigators in Florida.  In addition, John is ranked as one of the top bankruptcy lawyers in Florida by Chambers USA in its America’s Leading Lawyers For Business, which bases its objective rankings on extensive interviews with clients, lawyers and judges. In 2011, John was selected as one of the top 10 lawyers in Florida by Super Lawyers and
named to Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame.

He is a Fellow in both the American College of Bankruptcy and the American College of Trial Lawyers. John has played a major role in bankruptcy courts across the nation, representing business owners, lenders, creditors’ committees, and major creditors, and he has been appointed a trustee and receiver.

In addition, he has frequently written and lectured on bankruptcy and workout issues and has participated in seminars in many states. He was a contributing editor to Norton’s Bankruptcy Law & Practice and other bankruptcy-related publications. John has been lead bankruptcy lawyer representing the Asbestos Property Damage Claimants Committee in Celotex for the past 20 years. He and the firm have considerable experience in other product liability bankruptcy cases.

John has a particular expertise in real estate.  He has regularly represented special servicers of mortgage-backed securitizations in bankruptcies across the country.  He has represented Marriott International and Ritz-Carlton, as well as other franchisers, owners, and lenders in hospitality-related bankruptcies.  He recently represented the largest equity holder in a major hospitality and development bankruptcy in Daytona Beach, Florida, in a successful reorganization.

John served as Trustee and Criminal Restitution Receiver in a viatical-based Ponzi scheme case, which was one of South Florida’s biggest frauds, Financial Federated.

In 2004, the firm received the Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Law Firm Commendation in recognition of its commitment to providing free legal services to those who cannot afford legal fees.  In 2006, Mr. Kozyak received both the Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award and the Florida Bar’s highest award for humanitarianism, The G. Kirk Haas Humanitarian Award.  In 2007, John received the ABA’s “Spirit of Excellence” award for his work in diversity.  In 2011, he received the ABA Litigation Section’s Diversity Award and the Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer Diversity Award.

Mr. Kozyak has passionately promoted diversity and inclusion in the community, with particular emphasis on mentoring programs for black law school students throughout Florida and in St. Louis. The minority mentoring programs at the University of Miami and St. Thomas Schools of Law are now named after John. During the past ten years, he has personally matched more than 900 black students throughout Florida with judges and lawyers, who serve as mentors.   He and his wife established the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation,
which hosts an annual minority mentoring picnic.  In 2011, it attracted more than 3,500 law students, judges, lawyers and guests.

John is very active in the community and proudly serves on the Executive Committee of the National Parkinson Foundation.

Key Practice Areas

  • Bankruptcy and Commercial Litigation
  • Trustee and Receiverships
  • Creditors’ Rights
  • Debtor Remedies

Admissions & Memberships

  • Florida Bar, 1975, Executive Committee of Equal Opportunities Law Section, 2004-Present
  • United States Courts of Appeals, Fifth & Eleventh Circuits
  • United States Tax Court
  • United States Bankruptcy Court, Southern and Middle Districts of Florida
  • Bankruptcy Bar Association, Southern District of Florida, President (1987-1988)
  • American Bar Association, Business Bankruptcy Committee (Chair and Vice Chair of Programs, Publications and Public Relations Subcommittee, 1994-2001)
  • American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Florida UCC/Bankruptcy Committee
  • Florida Association of Women Lawyers
  • Cuban American Bar Association


  • J.D., Washington University in St. Louis, 1975
  • B.S. in Marketing, cum laude, University of Illinois, 1970
  • Editor, Washington University Law Quarterly


  • Distinguished Alumni Award from Washington University School of Law, 2002
  • Honorary J.D. from University of Miami School Of Law, 2003
  • Iron Arrow Award from University of Miami, 2004
  • Best Lawyers in America (Bankruptcy), 1987-Present and “Bet-the-Company” litigator since 2006; Litigation – Banking & Finance Lawyer of the Year for 2012
  • Chambers USA Top Tier Bankruptcy Lawyer, 2004-Present
  • Martindale-Hubbell “AV” rating since 1979
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Lawyer, 2004 – present
  • Florida Trend’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame, 2011 – present
  • Top 100 Florida Super Lawyers, 2006 – present
  • Top 10 Florida Super Lawyers, 2011
  • Dade County Bar Association “Pro Bono Excellence Award,” 2002-2003
  • Florida Bar President’s Pro Bono Service Award for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit (Dade County), 2006
  • ABA’s “Spirit of Excellence” Award, 2007
  • Attorney of the Month Feature StoryAttorney At Law, Greater Miami Edition, Premier 2011
  • ABA Litigation Section’s Diversity Award 2011
  • Florida Bar’s Henry Latimer Diversity Award 2011
  • Cystic Fibrosis Senior Statesman Award 2012
  • Recognized in Who’s Who Legal 2014: Insolvency & Restructuring
  • Recognized in Who’s Who Legal 2015 – Compendium Edition


  • Nov. 4, 2010 – John is awarded the Anti-Defamation League’s Jurisprudence Award. More info.
  • Sep. 18, 2014 – John is awarded the Justice Thurgood Marshall Award for Civil Rights.  See video
  • Jan. 29, 2015 – John is award the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award at the Florida Supreme Court. See video