Trevor W. Swett, III

Trevor W. Swett, III: Attorney with Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered AV stamp icon
  • Member at Caplin & Drysdale, Chartered (67 Attorneys)
  • One Thomas Circle NW, Suite 1100, Washington, DC 20005
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Attorney Awards


Trevor (Ted) Swett is a Member in Caplin & Drysdale's Washington, D.C., office. He was elected to membership in 1989, having joined the firm as an associate in 1985. Mr. Swett has been recognized as a Leading Lawyer by Chambers USA, The Legal 500, and Benchmark Litigation for his work in Bankruptcy/Restructuring.


Mr. Swett's practice emphasizes creditors’ rights and bankruptcy litigation related to corporate reorganizations and civil cases involving allegations of fraud or other financial misconduct. He has focused on asset recovery litigation presenting issues of fraudulent conveyance, successor liability, and piercing the corporate veil. He also has substantial experience representing financial institutions in commercial litigation and taxpayers in litigation against the Internal Revenue Service.


In the bankruptcy and civil litigation arenas,

•Mr. Swett has served as lead litigation counsel for statutory committees of asbestos claimants in several major bankruptcy proceedings, including Garlock Sealing Technologies, LLC; Motors Liquidation Corporation (f/k/a General Motors Corporation); G-I Holdings Corporation (f/k/a GAF Corporation); and Raytech Corporation.
•He has represented leading financial institutions in the bankruptcy of a large mortgage loan originator, a controversy between banks arising out of the sale of a “bespoke” collateralized debt obligation, and a suit for fraud and misrepresentation against auditors and insiders of a defaulting corporate borrower.
•He has represented a local governmental entity in a bankruptcy dispute concerning tax claims and related statutory liens.
•He has represented financial professionals in federal enforcement proceedings.

As a tax litigator,

•Mr. Swett has tried Tax Court cases concerning the allocation of purchase price for a professional sports team and a spouse's claim for relief from her husband's tax liabilities.
•He has litigated a whipsaw dispute in which two major corporations vied against one another and the IRS for a large tax benefit.
•He has also conducted tax refund litigation in federal District Court.

Recent Publications

• Limiting Liabilities: Structuring Holding Companies to Withstand Insolvency, IR Global, September 27, 2018
• How Will Section 546(e) Apply to Public Securities Transactions in Wake of Merit Management?, International Law Office, May 25, 2018
• Supreme Court to Consider Statutory Safe Harbor for Debtors' Pre-Petition Securities Transactions, International Law Office, September 29, 2017
• Free and Clear Bankruptcy Sale Orders and State Law Successor Liability Claims: The Overlooked Question of Preemption, American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review, August 31, 2017
• Free And Clear Bankruptcy Sales and Successor Liability in the United States, Caplin & Drysdale, March 16, 2017
• Supreme Court to Review Priority-Skipping Settlement and Structured Dismissal of Chapter 11 Case, International Law Office, August 5, 2016
• Do Bankruptcy Code Clawback Provisions Reach Transactions Occurring in Other Countries?, International Law Office, June 17, 2016
• Court Holds that Bankruptcy Code Pre-Empts State Laws Invoked by Creditors to Avoid LBO Payments, International Law Office, May 6, 2016
• Seventh Circuit Rules on Authority to Temporarily Stay Non-Debtor Litigation, International Law Office, March 25, 2016
• Supreme Court to Rule on Adjudicatory Authority of Bankruptcy Judges, International Law Office, January 17, 2014
• Pre-Bankruptcy LBOs as Fraudulent Transfers, with Jeffrey A. Liesemer, The Review of Banking & Financial Services, August 1, 2013

Recent Speaking Engagements

Mr. Swett has made speeches and presentations on a variety of litigation issues, including challenges to LBOs as fraudulent conveyances, hedge fund redemptions, piercing the corporate veil, limited shareholder liability, corporate governance and conflict of interest, liability in tort for aiding and abetting, and legal and ethical constraints on cross-examination.

•Speaker, Distressed M&A: Opportunities in the Region, IBA Corporate and M&A Law Committee and the IBA Latin American Regional Forum, March 16, 2017
•Speaker, Beyond the Usual Suspects: New Issues in Fund Litigation, 2013 Mutual Funds and Investment Management Conference of the Investment Company Institute, March 18, 2013
•Speaker, Locking the Gates - The Powers and Liabilities of Hedge Fund Managers Facing Redemption Demands in a Distressed Market, Caplin & Drysdale and Marcum & Kliegman LLP, Riding Out the Storm: Hedge Funds and the Financial Crisis, February 12, 2009

Awards & Rankings

Chambers USA, 2013-Present
The Legal 500, Leading Lawyer, 2010-2013; Recommended, 2010-2015
Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star, 2010-Present, Recommended, Washington, D.C., 2010-Present
Super Lawyers, Washington D.C., 2014-Present
Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent

Recent News

Chambers USA Recognizes 10 Caplin & Drysdale Lawyers as Leaders in Their Fields, Chambers USA, May 3, 2018
•18 Caplin & Drysdale Attorneys Recognized by Super Lawyers in D.C., April 23, 2018
•Caplin & Drysdale Litigators Recommended in 2018 Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, November 28, 2017
•Caplin & Drysdale Lawyers Improve Their 2017 Chambers' Rankings, Chambers USA, June 2, 2017
•Caplin & Drysdale Lawyers Listed Among D.C.'s Most Prominent Practitioners, Super Lawyers, April 27, 2017
•Clients and Peers Recommend 4 Caplin & Drysdale Litigators in 2016 Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, October 3, 2016
•Caplin & Drysdale Listed Among Top Lawyers for Tax, Bankruptcy, Estate Planning and Political Law, Chambers USA, June 1, 2016
•Super Lawyers Recognizes Caplin & Drysdale Lawyers from Several Practice Areas, Super Lawyers, April 26, 2016
•Benchmark Litigation Lists Caplin & Drysdale's Complex Litigation Group for Sixth Consecutive, Benchmark Litigation, October 2, 2015
•Caplin & Drysdale Named Top Tier Firm for Tax Controversy, June 8, 2015
•Clients and Peers Distinguish Caplin & Drysdale in Chambers' Rankings, Chambers USA, May 19, 2015
•Super Lawyers Lists Caplin & Drysdale Lawyers, Caplin & Drysdale, April 23, 2015
•Caplin & Drysdale's Complex Litigation Group Earns Listing in 2015 Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, November 10, 2014
•Clients and Peers Recommend Caplin & Drysdale in 2014 Legal 500 Ranking, The Legal 500, July 1, 2014
•Caplin & Drysdale Earns Top Honors in 2014 Chambers USA, Chambers USA, May 28, 2014
•The Washington Post Lists Caplin & Drysdale Attorneys Among the Top Attorneys in D.C., The Washington Post, April 30, 2014
•Caplin & Drysdale's Complex Litigation Group Listed as Highly Recommended by Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, October 28, 2013
•The Legal 500 Recommends Caplin & Drysdale As a Leading Firm For 2013, The Legal 500, June 3, 2013
•14 Caplin & Drysdale Attorneys Recognized in Chambers USA 2013, Chambers USA, May 29, 2013
•Caplin & Drysdale's Complex Litigation Group Recognized in Benchmark Litigation, Benchmark Litigation, December 3, 2012
•Chambers and Legal 500 Recognize Caplin & Drysdale in 2012 Top Rankings, Chambers USA / The Legal 500, June 12, 2012
•Benchmark Litigation Recommends Caplin & Drysdale, Names Three Attorneys as Litigation Stars, Benchmark Litigation, November 15, 2011
•Chambers and Legal 500 Recognize Caplin & Drysdale in 2011 Top Rankings, Chambers USA / The Legal 500, June 16, 2011
•Benchmark Litigation Recommends Caplin & Drysdale and Names Two Attorneys as Local Litigation Stars, Benchmark Litigation, October 26, 2010
•Chambers USA and Legal 500 Recognize Caplin & Drysdale in 2010 Top Rankings, Chambers USA / The Legal 500, June 15, 2010

Government Experience

Law Clerk, Honorable Harrison L. Winter, Chief Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, 1981-1982

Areas of Practice (3)

  • Complex Litigation
  • Bankruptcy
  • Tax Litigation

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
(202) 862-5081  Phone
University Attended:
Yale College, B.A., cum laude, 1974
Law School Attended:
University of Virginia School of Law, J.D., Order of the Coif, 1981
Year of First Admission:
U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals, for the Third, Fourth, & Fifth Circuit; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit; U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York; U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Columbia; U.S. Tax Court; U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia; U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York; District of Columbia; Maryland; New York; U.S. Supreme Court

Other Professional Affiliations

Member, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation

Member, American Bankruptcy Institute

Overseas Member, Commercial Bar Association, London


Peer Reviews

  • 5.0/5.0
  • A Martindale-Hubbell Peer Rating reflects a combination of achieving a Very High General Ethical Standards rating and a Legal Ability numerical rating.

*Peer Reviews provided before April 15, 2008 are not displayed.

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