John P. Melko



John Melko's practice focuses on complex sales, acquisitions, bankruptcies and financings in the energy sector throughout the United States, as well as shipping-related issues in both foreign and domestic cases and financings. John has years of cross-border and multinational experience with oil and gas exploration and production, refining and marketing, airlines, telecommunications, electric utilities, manufacturing, retail, rig and ship finance, mass torts and asset-backed securities. He has represented:

  • Borrowers and debtors in possession
  • Creditors and creditors' committees
  • Securitized noteholders
  • Trustees
  • Investors
  • Buyers of assets and businesses in and out of restructuring or bankruptcy settings

Throughout his career, John has helped guide clients through dislocations in the energy, shipping, telecommunication, real estate and health care markets, utilizing chapter 7, chapter 11, and chapter 15 procedures.

For over two years, John was general counsel of a media company with extensive activity buying, upgrading and selling media properties in all parts of the United States, an experience that added to his appreciation for lean staffing and efficient matter management.

John also serves as co-chair of the firm's Bankruptcy & Business Reorganizations Practice.

Professional Affiliations

  • Member, State Bar of Texas
    • Council Member, Vice President, Business, Bankruptcy Law Section
    • Environmental and Natural Resources Section
  • Member, American Bankruptcy Institute
  • Member, Houston Bar Association
    • Bankruptcy Section
    • Oil, Gas & Mineral Law Section
  • Board Member, Energy Committee Chair, U.S.-Mexico Bar Association
    • Member, Planning Committee
  • Member, International Bar Association
    • Conference Officer, Insolvency, Restructuring and Creditors' Rights Section
    • Maritime and Transport Law Section
  • Director, Turnaround Management Association, Houston Chapter
    • Member, Special Events Committee
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy
  • Fellow, Texas Bar Foundation
  • Member, Maritime Law Association of the United States
  • Member, American Petroleum Institute, Houston Chapter
  • Member, Association for Corporate Growth, Houston

Honors & Awards

  • Recognized, The Best Lawyers® in America (Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith eds., Woodward/White Inc.)
    • Litigation – Bankruptcy (2012-2018)
    • Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law (2009-2018)
  • Recognized, IFLR1000
    • Aviation, Energy & Restructuring and Insolvency (2018)
  • Recognized, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business (Tom Wicker ed., Chambers & Partners)
    • Bankruptcy/Restructuring [Texas] (2009-2017)
  • Recognized, Texas Super Lawyers®, a Thomson Reuters business, as published in Texas Super Lawyers Magazine 
    • Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor Rights (2007-2017)
  • Recognized, Houston Bankruptcy Litigation Lawyer of the Year, The Best Lawyers in America (Steven Naifeh & Gregory White Smith eds., Woodward/White Inc.) (2014)
  • Recognized, AV® Preeminent 5.0 out of 5 Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell® PEER REVIEW RATINGS


  • J.D., South Texas College of Law, (1984)
  • B.S., Widener University, (1976)
    • Business Administration (Accounting)
  • B.A., Widener University, (1976)
    • English Literature


  • Texas (1984)
  • Texas State Courts (1984)
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
  • U.S. Supreme Court

Representative Matters

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Representation of Linens ‘N Things, a national retail chain, in its Chapter 11 proceedings
Gardere represented two related entities belonging to one of the world's biggest E&P companies in the sale of Gulf of Mexico assets to a Houston petroleum company.
Represented U.S. and foreign companies in the establishment and operation of joint ventures and foreign and domestic corporations