Areas of Focus
“In my business career, I disliked the lawyers who so easily said ‘no’ in order to avoid any risk without a rational assessment of the potential reward and alternatives. I internalize my clients’ goals and find a way to achieve them as if they were my own.”
Timing Matters. Stay Ahead with
With 20 years of experience tracking market cycles and a deep knowledge of the laws governing financial risk, Joseph Cioffi brings a multifaceted approach to counseling his clients — U.S. and international financial institutions, fintech and marketplace lenders, creditors across industries, and marketing communications companies. From corporate transactions to bankruptcy to commercial litigation, he helps them address immediate needs while positioning themselves for long-term success.
Joseph’s practice focuses on credit and finance transactions, insolvency matters, and financial products litigation. He handles large-scale commercial and bankruptcy cases; helps marketing communications companies and other intermediaries resolve liability when a counterparty becomes insolvent; and counsels clients in lending and credit markets, including mortgage and auto, fintech, student loans, and other markets.
Joseph fluently applies his experience across disciplines and industries to give his clients the advantage. For example, his deep understanding of how bankruptcy courts interpret loan enforcement provisions allows him to take a pragmatic approach in negotiating credit terms.
A former financial analyst at Kraft General Foods and brand manager at Nabisco, Joseph has a keen understanding of the information businesspeople need to make successful decisions. Recognized as a thought leader in subprime auto lending and securitizations, he created the firm’s award-winning Credit Chronometer blog to share his knowledge and encourage dialogue on key legal and industry topics.
Developed a proprietary strategy to limit a marketing communications intermediary's legal exposure to media and other third parties when its clients became insolvent and the threat of preference liability loomed. This strategy has since been implemented on numerous occasions to save intermediaries hundreds of millions in situations where their clients have not paid them or have sought to claw back funds in bankruptcy.
Achieved numerous victories, including multiple dismissals and favorable resolutions for one of the largest residential mortgage-backed securities (RMBS) sponsors in cases brought by investors and securitization trusts for fraud and repurchase, leading to the dismissal of over $1 billion in claims. These litigation victories created precedent that cut off future claims against our client and other defendants in the RMBS space and benefit ABS sponsors in all credit markets with similar deal structures.
Defending a European investment bank against over $600 million in exposure from an ongoing fraudulent transfer lawsuit brought by Madoff bankruptcy trustee based on derivative transactions, including total return swaps and leveraged notes. In Madoff-related litigation, achieved, with other similarly situated banks, dismissal of over $200 million state law- and foreign insolvency-based actions asserted by liquidators of largest offshore Madoff feeder fund. The litigation resolved legal exposure for the client incurred in providing its customers with desired synthetic deal structures.
Pursuing over $300 million in recoveries from Wells Fargo as the master servicer of securitization trust for breach of contract and failing to comply with servicing standards, through a detailed analysis and proprietary calculation of losses caused by servicing failures, including delays in foreclosure, failures to modify loans and unreasonably low-priced collateral sales, all of which contributed to the client-sponsor's legal exposure for repurchases of loans.
Advised investors on regulatory risk exposure of subprime auto lending targets and potential litigation recoveries in RMBS and subprime auto ABS. Our guidance enabled the investors to anticipate regulatory changes and litigation outcomes, helping to determine long and short positions.
Counseled a bank working under partnership with a marketplace lender in compliance with consumer protection and privacy laws, clearing the path to client offering new online products and creating consortium for industry sharing of information.
Advised one of the largest subprime auto lenders on solutions to minimize losses from consumer fraud, including fraudulent fees and liens placed on collateral by mechanics and impound lots.
Developed a holding structure of distressed loans to insulate a global investment bank from reputational and financial risk related to mortgaged properties and minimize legal exposure in liquidating of portfolio.
Insights + Events
- Blog Post What’s Next for Cannabis After MasterCard’s Debit Card Ban?
August 30, 2023
- Emerging Issues SCI | Skid Marks – Sub-Prime Auto Abs Shows Sign of Pain
August 24, 2023
- Blog Post Subprime Auto: Cracks in the Road Starting to Show
July 31, 2023
- New Risks, Regulations and Enforcement in Lending Markets SCI | Litigation Looms
July 27, 2023
- New Risks, Regulations and Enforcement in Lending Markets Commercial Observer | How Valuation and Materiality Become Catalysts for CRE Litigation
July 12, 2023
- New Risks, Regulations and Enforcement in Lending Markets Talking Compliance and Risk with Davis+Gilbert Partner Joseph Cioffi
June 28, 2023
- Blog Post The Wall of Maturities Looms in the Shadow of Bank Failures. What’s Next for Commercial Real Estate?
June 14, 2023
- New Risks, Regulations and Enforcement in Lending Markets Will Another Bank Fail? Identifying Legal and Business Risks from Banking Turmoil
May 23, 2023
- Publication Reuters Legal News | Perfecting Digital Assets: There’s No Control Without Power
May 19, 2023
- Event Who’s Next? Identifying Vulnerabilities in the Banking System, Managing Risks and Maximizing Opportunities for Banks and Investors
May 3, 2023
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- Rutgers Law School (J.D., 1995)
- New York University (M.B.A., 1990)
- Pace University (B.B.A., 1986)
- New York
- New Jersey
Member, Davis+Gilbert Executive Committee
Member, Davis+Gilbert Legal Opinion Committee
Member, New York State Bar Association
Member, Non-prime Auto Financing Association
Member, American Bankruptcy Institute