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John Clayton Colwell

Chapter 13 bankruptcy Attorney at San Diego, CA

5.0   13 reviews
Free consultation Virtual consultation available
Free consultation Virtual consultation available
  • Licensed for 39 years
    State CA
    Acquired 1985
    Active No misconduct found

We have not found any instances of professional misconduct for this lawyer.

About John

Learn John’s areas of practice.

Practice areas
  1. Chapter 13 bankruptcy

    40 years, 3,000 cases

  2. Bankruptcy and debt

    40 years, 10,000 cases

  3. Chapter 7 bankruptcy

    40 years, 7,000 cases

Attorney John C. Colwell is a Certified Legal Specialist in Bankruptcy Law. This prestigious honor was bestowed upon him by the CA Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of CA. John C. Colwell is one of only 12 certified legal specialists in San Diego County for Bankruptcy Law. Attorney Colwell is also the President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and has dedicated his practice to consumer bankruptcy since 1989.


AV Preeminent Peer Review Rating
Top Contributor 2021,2020
Top Contributor
2021 2020

Photos and videos


Debt Relief Legal Clinic
121 Broadway
Ste. 533
San Diego, CA, 92101-5022
Debt Relief Legal Clinic
Debt Relief Legal Clinic
122 Civic Center Drive
Ste. 204
Vista, CA, 92084
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5.0 / 5.0
  13 customer reviews
5 Star
4 Star
3 Star
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1 Star
Posted by Horacio | June 17, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Chapter 7
John and his team at Debt Clinic were extremely helpful and made my bankruptcy process very smooth. I was honestly surprised at how easy he made it look. All I had to do was get every piece of information from my part and he took care of the rest. My experience with John was great and I would recommend him to ANYONE. I actually lagged with my information, it took me a while to get my stuff together but he was still very patient and understanding. Thank you for all your help, John!
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Posted by Vanessa | June 10, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Wonderful law firm
Excellent lawyer, highly recommended . Will recommend to everyone who needs help.
Response from John Colwell June 13, 2024
Thanks, Vanessa! We appreciate your positive experience and positive review. Glad to have helped you get through this and getting you your fresh start! John C. Colwell, Attorney, Debt Relief Legal Clinic.
Posted by Michael | March 25, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Chapter 13
I had 5 maxed out credit cards, I owed the IRS, had a 590.00 dollar a month car payment, I owed on personal loans, and now I only pay 360.00 dollars a month total.
Response from John Colwell March 26, 2024
Thanks for your review and comments! It is amazing what a well calculated Ch. 13 case can do. Wonders, if presented properly. We're glad to have helped you reduce your outstanding monthly payments and get control of the credit cards, the IRS and the car payment. Congratulations on getting your case approved! JCC
Posted by Justin | March 12, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Bankruptcy Completed Successfully
Debt Relief Legal Clinic is a great firm to have faith they will get you to the goal you desire. After my previous attorney closed his business, my case was transferred to DRLC and was a bit of a shock. This clinic provided all support to calm my nerves, had an answer for every question we came up with, have us faith we had nothing to worry about as long as we followed through with our terms of the bankruptcy. Even with some complications, this clinic walked us through every step to ensure we would successfully complete the case. I understand how difficult it can be dealing with legal issues, but I'm confident DRLC will subside your fears in any process and give you the peace of mind that moments are temporary while your focus on the positives, is the only way to go. They give you faith and confidence, then delivers on the promise.
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Posted by T.D. Sanders | March 1, 2024
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
The greatest in the biz
I thought ignoring my issues like my Dad in the seventies worked. Well. If you want to attain anything today! Credit is a major part of a successful future. This man has changed my outlook cleaning my credit and taking away my stress instantaneous. No more calls or letters. Wanna feel like me stress free. Call my guy John Colwell via text or email and all’s well my real true testimony Terrance D. Sanders
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Posted by John | October 23, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Special People
They took the time to get to know me personally and to positively affect my life in ways I never imagined! Thank you!
Posted by Alex | August 18, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
On My Side
Mr. Colwell was very understanding of my situation and handled my bankruptcy flawlessly, even when some of my bank funds had been frozen, even when my case was assigned to a “difficult” trustee, and even when, after three years, I needed to convert from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7. He explained everything in plain language, communicated timely, and truly made me feel he was on my side.
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Posted by Mark | June 21, 2023
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Simply the best!
Professional and polite. Always treated me with respect. Great communications. Go with John C. Colwell, and Debt Relief Legal Clinic for your Bankruptcy needs.
Response from John Colwell June 22, 2023
Thank you very much, Mark, for your kind words and recommendation. It is much appreciated. All of us here at the Debt Relief Legal Clinic try hard to handle each person and each case with care and compassion. We understand the stress of the past financial difficulties, the concern over the filing of a Bankruptcy and the happiness when that discharge order is entered and you have your 'fresh start'. Congratulations, and thanks again! JCC
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Posted by Terry | July 16, 2022
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
He was the best we could have hoped for
I do not normally write reviews but John Colwell was such an outstanding experience and with his skill as a lawyer in this area. I hope I can convey what a help and comfort he was in a very difficult complicated transaction. We were in jeopardy of losing our home of many years because of a predatory second lender. We had a very amazingly good outcome. John knows this area of law very well. He applies himself and cares. He was a very good Shepard. He went above and beyond what we could have hoped for. His communication is the best and he follows through on things. What he says he is going to do, he does. He researches what is needed and he is very calm person. My wife and I were very grateful for his expertise. I easily see why he is president of the whole national association for his area of law. He does not gouge financially, he is very fair and you cannot pay money to have someone care like he did. Anyone would be happy having had him as your lawyer. Terry
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Response from John Colwell July 25, 2022
Thank you very much, Terry. I remember your case and the troubles and uncertainties we worked through to the successful conclusion. The outcome was extraordinary, under the circumstances, I know you would agree. We're very happy that your experience with our office was 'above and beyond'. We strive to achieve that level of representation for all of our clients. Congratulations to both you and your wife for hanging in there and helping get your situation resolved. It was a pleasure helping you out. JCC
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Posted by Fernando Perez | March 16, 2017
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Even though we still haven't finalized my case, I feel compelled to share my initial consultation with Mr. Colwell's team (Dan Weidecker was my lawyer) in their Bonita office. To start off, I had gone to a couple of offices and my experience was that do to the specifics of my case, they seemed to want to prolong the process in order to maximize their returns. I did needed to execute on my case, but still had felt comfortable with my prior experiences. Fortunately for me, I found this office and after 15 minutes, I knew I had found the place to execute on my case. After an hour, i felt comfortable to hire this office. The sincerity in and knowledge of Mr. Dan W gave me great confidence about the process, specially since I had other experiences to compare. Don't want to generalize, but if you want a good attorney, don't waste your time and go with Mr. Colwell's team.
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Response from John Colwell June 30, 2018
Any kind of Bankruptcy isn't easy. It can be a troublesome time and a high anxiety decision. As you have discovered, with compassionate legal help, the process can be beneficial and rewarding. We're here to help. Period. Dan and Maria in the now Chula Vista office are the best of teams. Part of our core group of attorneys and employees that focus on what is best for you. There is a way out of financial pain, and we can help. Thank you so much for your kind words and review! John C. Colwell, Debt Relief Legal Clinic. .
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Posted by Ana | January 13, 2016
This review is from a person who hired this attorney.
| Hired Attorney
Chapter 13
The Bonita office staff has been great and have always gave me the peace of mind I needed through the tough journey. Thank you Daniel for always explaining everything in detail and following up with me when I have been so forgetful. Thank you Maria for always being a sweetheart. A very positive experience. Would recommend your office in a heartbeat.
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Response from John Colwell January 23, 2016
Thank you very much for your kind comments. It is very true that the Bonita staff are great! We know it was a hard decision to take that important step to file the BK and we're happy you chose our office to help you get out of financial pain. The Debt Relief Legal Clinic and I congratulate you and wish you well going forward! John C. Colwell, Attorney, Debt Relief Legal Clinic, San Diego, CA
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Posted by anonymous | June 5, 2015
Highly recommend thorough professional
Mr. Colwell came to us highly recommended, the reason which became immediately evident upon our first meeting, demonstrated by his thorough knowledge and professionalism. He and his excellent, capable team guided through the process to a successful result, we were so impressed and comforted by their skillful expertise.
Posted by anonymous | August 20, 2014
Bonita office Staff
The Bonita office (Daniel & staff) assisted us with our filing. Daniel made it easy where when we went to court, it was easy as pie. Maria was on top of my concern when my paycheck had been garnished and she called in and followed up for me when asked. Thank you for making this easy when i thought it would be the longest thing I would ever have to do.
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Response from John Colwell October 1, 2014
Thanks for your kind comments and positive review. I can say, of course, that I'm not surprised. Atty. Dan and Maria make a great team, along with the rest of our Bonita office. Congratulations on your fresh start. John C. Colwell, Debt Relief Legal Clinic, San Diego, CA
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  • Free Consultation 60 minutes
Payment methods
Cash, Check, Credit Card


AVVO RATING 10.0 (Superb)

Work Experience

  • Managing Attorney
  • Law Offices of John C. Colwell, a PLC dba Debt Relief Legal Clinic
  • 2000 - Present
  • Associate Attorney
  • Debt Relief Legal Clinic - Reed V. Langlois
  • 1994 - 2000
  • Associate Attorney
  • Debt Relief Legal Clinic - George Ritner
  • 1989 - 1993
  • Associate Attorney
  • Law Offices of Michael H Dodge
  • 1985 - 1988
View all work experience


  • California Western School of Law
  • JD - Juris Doctor
  • N/A
  • Ripon College
  • BA - Bachelor of Arts
  • N/A


  • National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys
  • Member, Board of Directors, President 2017 -
  • 1994 - Present

Languages Spoken

  • Spanish

Honors and Awards

  • AV Preeminent Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2018
  • Peer Review Rated
  • Martindale-Hubbell
  • 2018
  • Certified Specialist
  • State Bar of California
  • 2011

Speaking Engagements

  • Unknown
  • San Diego County Bar Association Free Law Day
  • 2000
  • The debtor’s perspective
  • CA Credit Union Collectors Council Convention
  • 2000
  • Nat. Assoc. Of Cons.
  • Bankruptcy Attorneys Convention
  • 1999
  • Panel on Bankruptcy
  • Continuing Legal Education
  • 1997
View all speaking engagements

Attorney endorsements

Received (4)
Given (3)
Endorse John
Bankruptcy and debt Attorney | Jun 02
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I highly recommend John Colwell. Not only is he a well-respected bankruptcy attorney in his community, he is known nationwide as a leader in the bankruptcy area of law. He's been the President of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) for two terms. He worked with Senator Wieckowski's office to help change California's homestead exemption laws to protect homeowners. He's worked on and is working on legislative efforts at the federal level, as well. His experience and the compassion he shows his clients is extraordinary. I am honored to be his colleague."
Chapter 13 bankruptcy Attorney | Dec 13
Relationship: Fellow lawyer in community
"I endorse this lawyer. Why? If all attorneys providing answers on AVVO took the time to completely try and answer a question in detail showing like Mr. Colwell does, their knowledge, accurate and complete and thorough advice, then AVVO would have the cream of the crop. Look at all his answers to questions and you can see why John is entitled to such a great endorsement. Great job and appreciated by a peer in Washington State. I highly recommend this attorney for any bankruptcy-related work."
Bankruptcy and debt Attorney | Oct 31
Relationship: Worked together on matter
"John Colwell is an excellent bankruptcy attorney. He provides his clients with wonderful representation. He is knowledgeable and hardworking. John is a real leader in the national bankruptcy community. It is a pleasure to work with him. I endorse this lawyer!"
Chapter 7 bankruptcy Attorney | Dec 06
Relationship: Friend
"I endorse this lawyer. I've known John for many years. He is an outstanding consumer bankruptcy lawyer with a national reputation. He is a director of the National Assn. of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, a 5000-member attorney group, and he speaks regularly on bankruptcy issues."
Bankruptcy and debt
Bankruptcy and debt
Bankruptcy and debt

Avvo Contributions

Top Contributor 2021
Top Contributor

John earned significant contribution points in 2021.

155 Legal Answers 0 Legal Guides
San Diego Chapter 13 bankruptcy Lawyer John Clayton Colwell
John Clayton Colwell
Chapter 13 bankruptcy Attorney
San Diego, CA
Licensed for 39 years
Free Consultation
Virtual consultation available