Over the course of his 37 years in practice, partner Bill Larkins has handled all kinds of business disputes for national, regional and local clients. He is a problem solver. He dissects a case from the outset and maps out the most likely outcomes, so that his clients can make informed strategic and tactical decisions in litigation. Bill believes that action guided by deliberation is the formula for the best and most cost-effective result in a case.
Business litigation, banking law and creditors’ rights.
Admitted to practice:
Oregon; Washington; U.S. District Court, Oregon and Western District of Washington; U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit
University of California at Berkeley (Boalt Hall), J.D., 1981; Stanford University, B.A., with distinction, 1977; Phi Beta Kappa
Oregon Super Lawyer (2009-present); U.S. News & World Report’s “Best Lawyers” for Commercial Litigation and Banking and Finance Litigation; 2018 Best Lawyer of the Year, Litigation, Banking and Finance in Portland, OR; “AV Preeminent” Martindale-Hubbell ranking
Bill is currently defending a national bank in a putative class action where the plaintiffs seek substantial damages based on allegations of unlawful foreclosure procedures. Additionally, Bill and the firm are representing a defendant bank in a state court case in which a dozen counties are claiming tens of millions in damages for alleged widespread avoidance of payment of county mortgage recording fees through the use of a system known as MERS©.
Bill has defended banks in dozens of cases arising out of embezzlement, ATM fraud, electronic funds misappropriation, and other forms of fraud by insiders of companies doing business with a bank. Often the embezzler is a trusted long-term employee of the bank’s customer; typically the bad actor has squandered the stolen funds, and the business customer is suing the bank because the owners think they have no one else to sue. In many of these cases the outcome is determined by the provisions of the Uniform Commercial Code. Larkins Vacura Kayser defends these cases vigorously, with a stellar record of success.
It is remarkable how often the owners of closely held businesses have neglected to have a written agreement that will guide them through the process of selling off company assets, leadership succession or simply going their separate ways. The stakes can be high, and former close friends and partners often find themselves in highly adversarial positions. Bill has litigated many of these breakups, for example cases involving a commercial income property in Portland’s Pearl District, a family-owned retail/restaurant building in Portland’s Old Town, and timber lands in Washington, in all of which the properties at issue were worth millions of dollars.
Bill’s first commercial foreclosure case was in 1982 and involved a sawmill in Union County, Oregon. Since then he has initiated foreclosures and workouts for lenders based all around the United States, involving industrial properties, developed and undeveloped residential tracts, golf courses, office buildings, strip malls and other types of commercial real estate in Washington as well as Oregon. Several of these cases included receiverships, and many involved properties with values in the millions of dollars. More often than not, Bill simultaneously sues the borrower on the debt and goes after the assets of the guarantors of the loans.
Bill represents both landlords and tenants in commercial real estate lease default and eviction cases, as well as matters involving lease interpretation and compliance with written lease covenants.
Bill’s extensive “back catalog” of successful representation also includes trusts and estates cases, Fair Credit Reporting Act defense, foreclosure fairness, adverse possession of real estate, and a very expansive array of cases involving contracts of all kinds.
Multnomah Bar Association Judicial Screening Committee; Multnomah Bar Association Court Liaison Committee; past member of the Oregon State Bar Business Law Section Financial Institutions Executive Committee, and Oregon State Bar Corporate Counsel Section Executive Committee.
Associate General Counsel, U.S. Bancorp (1997-1999); Corporate Counsel, U.S. Bancorp (1988-1996)
Jesuit Volunteer Corps: Northwest, Board of Directors (2014-present); Artists Repertory Theatre Board of Directors (1996-2003; Chair, 1999-2001)