Thomas Kelch

Of Counsel


Thomas Kelch brings expertise in property tax disputes and bankruptcy law along with a background in academia to the firm.

Mr. Kelch represents counties in property tax disputes in the Superior Courts and Courts of Appeal. This representation has resulted in four recent published opinions in the 2nd District Court of Appeal. He has recently worked on assessment disputes relating to the Microsoft Theatre, the hotels at the LA Live complex and the personal property at Paramount Studios.

Mr. Kelch represents an ad hoc committee of 17 California counties in the PG&E bankruptcy case. He has also represented debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees, and purchasers of property in bankruptcy and has represented creditors in cases like Enron and Mirant Energy. Mr. Kelch is a co- author of “Real Property Issues in Bankruptcy” and has written numerous articles on bankruptcy law.

For more than 25 years Mr. Kelch was a professor of law teaching Animal Law, Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization classes, as well as Corporations, Contracts, Commercial Law, International and Comparative Law, Real Estate Finance and Professional Responsibility. He has published extensively on bankruptcy, real estate issues in bankruptcy and animal law, and has lectured in the United States and Europe on bankruptcy and animal law issues.


  • Professor of Law, Whittier Law School (1990-2019) Classes Taught: Animal Law, Bankruptcy (focusing on Chapter 7 and the generally applicable provisions of the Bankruptcy Code), Business Associations, Contracts, Corporate Reorganizations in Bankruptcy (focusing on Chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code), Commercial Law (UCC I, dealing with UCC Articles 2 and 3, and UCC II, dealing with UCC Articles 3, 5, 7 and 9), International and Comparative Animal Law, Real Estate Finance and Professional Responsibility
  • Voted Teacher of the Year by Graduating Whittier Law School students in 2014
  • Visiting Professor of Law, UCLA Law School (Fall 2018) Classes Taught: Contracts for Foreign Lawyers and Legal Research, Writing and Analysis for LLMs


  • Globalization and Animal Law (2d ed.) (Kluwer Law International 2017)
  • Toward Universal Principles for Global Animal Advocacy, 5 TRANSNATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 81 (2016)
  • Thomas G. Kelch, CITES, Globalization, and the Future of Animal Law, WHAT ANIMAL LAW CAN LEARN FROM ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 269-92 (Randall Abate, ed. 2015)
  • Cultural Solipsism, Cultural Lenses, Universal Principles and Animal Advocacy, 31 PACE ENVTL. L. REV. 403 (2014)
  • A Short History of (Mostly) Western Animal Law Part I, 19 ANIMAL LAW 23 (2013)
  • A Short History of (Mostly) Western Animal Law Part II, 19 ANIMAL LAW 347 (2013)
  • The WTO Tuna Labeling Decision and Animal Law, 8 J. ANIMAL & NAT. RESOURCES L.121 (2012)
  • Forward Contracts, Bankruptcy Safe Harbors and the Electricity Industry, 51 WAYNE L, REV. 49 (2005) (Co-authored with Howard J. Weg)
  • Animal Experimentation and the First Amendment, 22 WESTERN NEW ENGLAND L. REV. 467 (2001)
  • The Role of the Rational and the Emotive in a Theory of Animal Rights, 27 BOSTON COLLEGE ENV. L. REV. 1 (1999)
  • The Mythology of Waivers of Bankruptcy Privileges, 31 IND. L. REV. 897 (1998) (Co-authored with Michael K. Slattery)
  • Toward a Non-Property Status for Animals, 6 N.Y.U. ENV. L.J. 531 (1998)
  • Real Property Issues in Bankruptcy (New York: Clark Boardman Callaghan 1995) (Co-authored with Michael K. Slattery)
  • An Apology for Plain Meaning Analysis of the Bankruptcy Code, 10 BANK. DEV. J. 289 (1994)
  • Disassembling a Withering Mirage: Shareholder Control Rights in Chapter 11, 52 MARYLAND L. REV. 264 (1993)
  • The Phantom Fiduciary: The Debtor in Possession in Chapter 11, 38 WAYNE LAW REVIEW 1323 (1992)
  • Representing a Committee of Unsecured Creditors in a Chapter 11 Case, Chapter 19 in BANKRUPTCY PRACTICE AND STRATEGY (A. Resnick ed. 1987) (Co-authored with Robert J. Moore)
  • The Integrity of Commodity Futures Contracts under the Bankruptcy Reform Act, ANNUAL SURVEY OF BANKRUPTCY LAW (1982) pp. 297-340


  • Law Office Management: Perspectives of In-House Counsel Professional Responsibility, California Lawyers Association, Business Law Section, Financial Institutions Committee (January 14, 2020, Meeting at Dykema Gossett PLLC, Los Angeles, CA)
  • Transfer of Proportional Ownership Interests in Real Property: A Case Study, County Counsels’ Association of California, 2019 Fall Taxation Section Meeting (November 14-15, 2019, Santa Rosa, CA)
  • PG&E Bankruptcy: Conflicting Policy Goals, Updates, Northern California County Counsels’ Association (June 20-21, 2019, Lodi, CA)
  • Ending Animal Cruelty, Student Animal Legal Defense Fund, at University of Irvine Law School, Irvine, California, September 2016
  • Not Just in the U.S.: The International Puppy Mill Problem and Efforts to Address It, Animal Law Guild of Los Angeles, at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, California, September 2015
  • Toward Universal Principles for Global Animal Advocacy and the Idea of Personhood for Animals, for the NGOs, Animalia and the Center for Animal Welfare in Finland, at the University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, July 2014
  • Toward Universal Principles for Global Animal Advocacy, for The Global Animal Law Conference II, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona Spain, July 2014
  • Globalization and Animal Law and Advocacy, for The Animal Turn and the Law, University of Basel, Switzerland and the Max Plank Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, in Basel, Switzerland, April 2014
  • A Global Perspective on Animal Law: The Role of Constitutions, for the Animal Law Section of the AALS Conference at the 2013 AALS Conference in New York City
  • Recent Developments in Comparative and International Law on the Treatment and Impact of Farmed Animals, for the Animal Law Section of the AALS Conference at the 2011 AALS Conference in San Francisco
  • International Trade and Animal Law, for the Animal Law Section of the AALS at the 2009 AALS Conference in San Diego
  • Guest Speaker, September 2007 on “Voiceless Law Talk” at (Speaking generally on Animal Law issues)
  • Transnational Insolvency Issues, at the ILS West Conference at Whittier Law School 2005
  • Insolvency Regulation in USA, presented at an International Law Conference sponsored by the University of Cantabria in Laredo, Spain 2005, entitled El Derecho Como vía de Solución de Conflictos: Experiencias Diversas en EE.UU. y Europa [“The Legal Solutions for Conflicts and Diversity between the U.S. and Europe”]


  • Bankruptcy
  • Property Tax Disputes


  • California


  • University of Michigan, B.G.S. with High Distinction
  • University of Michigan, J.D. magna cum laude
  • University of Southern California, M.B.A
  • University of California, Irvine, M.A. Philosophy

Our Team

Amy Ackerman
Head of Government Section
Steve Cikes
Arthur Hartinger
Arthur Hartinger
Jonathan Holtzman
Jonathan Holtzman
Managing Partner
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Ryan McGinley-Stempel
Louise Renne
Louise Renne
Linda Ross
Linda Ross
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