top of page

About Us

 What We Do and Where 

M. J. Shanahan & Associates, Inc. dba Totaro & Shanahan is a law firm servicing counties from Sacramento to Orange County. We represent persons and businesses in Chapter 7, 11, 12 and 13 procedures. We are licensed to practice bankruptcy in California, Texas, Colorado, Illinois.

Who We Are 

Michael R. Totaro and Maureen J. Shanahan are both graduates of Hastings College of the Law, a top tier law school in San Francisco. The partners each completed a Master of Laws program at George Washington University, The National Law Center in Law, Psychiatry and Criminology. The firm has been in existence since February 1983.

Our Bankruptcy Practice 

We proudly represent Debtors, both business and personal, aggressively against creditors. 

Our Services Make Us Unique

First, an attorney will come to your home to prepare the initial paperwork at a time that is convenient to you, including evenings and weekends.There is no additional fee for this service. When you call you will talk directly to an attorney, not a staff member. This means you get correct information immediately.

Second, except for administrative matters, such as collecting documents, each client will only interface with an attorney,  not a secretary or paralegal. This means that you can rely on any advice given and every step of the procedure will be fully explained as it pertains to you.

Third, we generally work on a flat fee basis for all filings. This means you will know up front exactly what you will be  spending for any filing for one of the above chapters, including some individual Chapter 11 cases which we handle at a fraction of the cost of other firms.

Fourth, our cases obtain a discharge or are confirmed. Approximately 90% of the Chapter 13 cases are dismissed. About 80% of ours are approved. Only a fraction of the Chapter 11 cases are confirmed. You can see by our stat page that over 90% of our cases are successful. 

Fifth, while our fees are comparative to any law firm our service is far superior in that we are available by phone from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. every day including weekends. When you call you will speak directly to an attorney and you will have the personal cell number of the attorney who is handling your matter.

What Types of Bankruptcy Proceeding Do You Need? 

The product link will give you a summary of each of the primary Chapter filings. You should review all but in particular the ones that fit your particular situation. Here is a guide:

If you only want to discharge credit cards, consumer loans, non secured lines of credit or deficiencies from repossessions you should review the Chapter 7 link and follow up with questions.

If you own property and are behind in payments, or have an equity line of credit and your property is worth less than what you owe on the first mortgage, and you want to keep the home you should review the Chapter 13 link and call us to discuss how the facts apply to you.

If you own rental properties you want to keep or own a business you want to reorganize you should review the Chapter 11 link and then call to discuss your specific problems.

 Other Areas of Our Law Practice 

In addition to our bankruptcy practice we have extensive experience in appellate matters having been counsel of record in over 1200 appeals since 1983. The firm has represented clients on appeal in every appellate court in California, the Ninth Circuit in California, the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC, the Fourth Circuit in Virginia, the Fifth Circuit in Texas, the Court of Trade in New York and the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel. We are also licensed to practice before the United States Supreme Court.

Now It Is Up To You! 

Stop procrastinating! Call us to discuss your particular problem. Remember you will only talk to an attorney so you can rely on the advice. We never charge for phone consultations. All bankruptcy costs are included

in our fee quote.

Finally, review the links to problems potential clients have had who did not follow our advice or who did not retain our services once we consulted with them. It is astounding how, after asking for advice, people let their own personalities prevent them from following what they asked for.


Our attorneys have over 70 years of combined experience. It would be our pleasure to put our extensive experience to work for you.

Michael R. Totaro


Mr. Totaro graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1981 and proceeded to go to Washington D.C. where he completed a Master of Laws Program in Law, Psychiatry and Criminology in 1982. He returned to Los Angeles the same year and opened his own practice with Maureen J. Shanahan in February 1983.

Mr. Totaro has practiced in every bankruptcy and appellate court in California. 

He has also represented persons on appeal in Washington D.C. Texas, Virginia, New York, Hawaii, the Court of Trade, and the Federal Circuit. He has also represented death row inmates before the California Supreme Court.  Mr. Totaro is also licensed to practice in the Federal Court of Illinois, Colorado and Texas.

Mr. Totaro has taught appellate law at Pepperdine University School of Law and has taught bankruptcy as an adjunct professor for the UCLA paralegal extension program. 

He has also sat as a pro-bono mediator for the California Court of Appeal.

Maureen J. Shanahan


Ms. Shanahan also graduated from Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco where she was Order of the Coif. Thereafter she obtained a Master in Laws from George Washingon Uinversity, The National Law Center, in Washington D.C. in Law, Psychiatry and Ciminology graduating summa cum laude.

Ms. Shanahan has practiced Appellate Law for over 37years. 

She has represented clients in Washington D.C. Texas, Virginia, Hawaii, New York, The Court of Trade and the Federal Circuit. She has participated in over 1200 appeals nationwide and has practiced in every appellate court in the State of California. 

Ms. Shanahan is also licensed to practice in all courts in the State of Louisiana


She has appeared as a guest lecturer at the UCLA Extension School and 

Pepperdine University School of Law. 

She has been in private practice since 1983.

bottom of page