O. Max Gardner, III is perhaps the best known consumer bankruptcy attorney in the United States. His position on the front lines of the war against predatory lenders and mortgage servicers has captured the attention of ABC Nightline News, CNN, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and many other news outlets across the country. More importantly, it’s captured the attention of unethical lenders, servicers and collectors.
Max’s highly effective use of the bankruptcy courts and the full array of available consumer protection statutes has enabled him to recover hundreds of thousands of dollars for clients who have been victimized by bad-faith lenders, inappropriate fees, discharge violations, and more. Max has been the lead attorney of record in many landmark cases, creating consumer-friendly precedent. For the past three years, through his Bankruptcy Bootcamp, Max has been training motivated consumer attorneys from across the country to join in his battle against the lenders, creditors, mortgage servicers and collectors who profit from unethical practices and illegal fees.
Max received his undergraduate degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1969 and graduated with high honors from the UNC School of Law in 1974, where he was a member of the North Carolina Law Review, President of the Student Bar Foundation, named the Outstanding Law School Graduate of 1974, and elected to the Order of the Coif. Following graduation he served as the Senior Law Clerk to the Hon. William H. Bobbitt, the late Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, and as Senior Law Clerk to the Hon. William Copeland, an Associate Justice of that Court. During his work with Justice Copeland, he also worked closely with Chief Justice Susie Sharp, the first female Chief Justice of any state Supreme Court.
Following his clerkships, Max worked for three years with the Smith Moore law firm in Greensboro, North Carolina. His primary working partner at Smith Moore was the legendary J. McNeill Smith, Jr. He later served as Treasurer in Smith’s 1978 campaign for the United States Senate.
Max served as General Counsel of North Carolina’s Democratic Party from 1986 to 1992. He was a standing member of the Democratic Leadership Conference during this period of time. During these years, he also managed his law practice in Shelby, which opened in 1977. He also acted as “Of Counsel” to the Washington, D.C. law firm of Sims Walker & Steinfeld from 1992 to 1996.
During his Washington years, Max worked on thousands of cases involving the Federal Trade Commission, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Bankruptcy Code. Max was Special Counsel to Chapter 7 Trustees in this litigation and in one emergency case personally filed more than 1,000 adversary proceedings in one week so as to protect the Trustee from statute of limitation issues.
During his years of practice, Max has tried 102 jury cases to a final verdict. He was successful in all but 2 of those cases, one of which he retried and won.