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October 30, 2006

Press Contact: Kirston Fortune, Assistant Dean for Communications, (512) 471.7330 or

Expert to Discuss Bankruptcy in the U.S. and the UK, Nov. 15

Harry Rajak
Harry Rajak

AUSTIN, Texas—Harry Rajak, former dean of the University of Sussex Law School in England and a visiting professor at the University of Connecticut School of Law, will deliver the Akard Lecture at The Four Seasons Hotel in Austin on Wednesday, Nov. 15, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., with a reception to follow.

The lecture, “Bankruptcy in the United States and the United Kingdom—Contrast and Convergence,” is free and open to the public. The lecture kicks off the 25th Annual Bankruptcy Conference, which takes place at the Four Seasons on Nov. 16 -17 and is offered by The Office of Continuing Legal Education (CLE) at The University of Texas School of Law.

For over a century, the United Kingdom has had a system of secured lending and bankruptcy very different from the United States, but recent amendments to its laws appeared to move British procedures closer to those in America, especially with regard to reorganizing financially troubled corporations. Rajak, who is one of England’s most highly regarded experts in the field, will describe the changes and compare the results to the experience in the United States.

Professor Jay Westbrook, who teaches bankruptcy at The University of Texas School of Law, commented that “Harry Rajak is not only a leading expert, but a charming speaker, able to make a technical area of the law clear and interesting. We are very lucky to have been able to bring him to Austin.”

Rajak earned a B.A. degree in classics and an L.L.B. degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa and then a master’s degree in law at the University of London. He is a barrister who practiced law both in South Africa and England, before joining the faculty of law at King's College, University of London. , He subsequently moved to the University of Sussex, where he was the Dean of the Law Faculty between 1997 and 2003.

He was for a number of years the joint editor of the leading UK journal, Insolvency Law and Practice, and was a consultant at the London-based law firm, Lovells. Rajak was a member of the United Kingdom's Department of Trade and Industry and Treasury Department's Review of Company Rescue and Business Reconstruction Mechanisms, which reported in 2000 and he has been a consultant and author on studies of the bankruptcy laws for the World Bank and for a number of foreign jurisdictions. He has written widely on Company Law, Corporate Insolvency and Commercial Law issues. His books include Company Liquidations (2nd ed., 2006) and he is one of the editors of a leading UK volume on Company Director Disqualification.

This will be the third John C. Akard Distinguished Lectureship. In 2001, Harvard Law Professor Elizabeth Warren discussed “Bankruptcy and The Changing Economics of Divorce." In 2003, UT Law Professor Ronald Mann lectured on “Policy Implications of the Global Growth of Card-Based Payment Systems.”

The John C. Akard Distinguished Lectureship Program was endowed by the generous gifts of many members of the Texas bankruptcy bar in honor of Judge John C. Akard, a 1957 UT Law graduate who served with great distinction for 14 years as the U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in the Northern District of Texas, sitting in Lubbock and throughout much of West Texas.

Related Links:
25th Annual Bankruptcy Conference:
Professor Elizabeth Warren to deliver first Akard Lecture:
UT Law Expert Offers Broad-Ranging Critique of Credit Card Policy, Nov. 19: