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January 31, 2008

Faculty Focus: Bankruptcy Expert Mechele Dickerson

Mechele Dickerson
Mechele Dickerson

Mechele Dickerson is the Fulbright & Jaworski Professor in Law, associate dean for academic affairs, and a nationally-recognized expert in bankruptcy law. Her current, and coincidentally timely, research is in the areas of consumer over-indebtedness and the U.S. housing crisis. Her teaching specialties are Bankruptcy and Federal Civil Procedure. Dickerson joined the tenured faculty at Texas in the spring of 2006, coming from William & Mary School of Law. She was appointed the academic dean in the spring of 2007. Dickerson is a much-respected member of the UT Law faculty, and a very popular and effective classroom teacher. In 2007, after only one year at UT, she received the Texas Exes Faculty Teaching Award for excellence in teaching.

Last fall, Dickerson spoke to the annual meeting of the Consumer and Antitrust Division of the Federal Office of the Attorney General in Brasilia, Brazil on the subject of consumer debt—in the U.S., Brazil, and globally. Brazil has a relatively short history of consumer credit, and Dickerson discussed the importance of enacting an insolvency code to address the myriad issues arising from consumer debt. Her research and findings on this topic will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Texas International Law Journal.

Dickerson is also completing a manuscript on the U.S. housing crisis, tentatively entitled The Myth of Home Ownership, and Why Home Ownership is Not Always A Good Thing. Dickerson’s research and conclusions take a swipe at the traditional view that home ownership is still crucial to achieving the American Dream, especially for lower- and middle-income families, due to modern consumer realities including, but not limited to, escalating housing costs and stagnant income.

Dickerson received her B.A. and J.D. from Harvard University. After graduating from law school, she clerked for Judge Nathaniel R. Jones of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. She then practiced law in Washington, D.C. and Norfolk, Virginia. In 1995, she joined the faculty at William and Mary School of Law and was the Cabell Research Professor of Law from 2003–2004. During her tenure there, she received the Alumni Fellowship Award in 2000 and the Walter L. Williams, Jr. Teaching Award in 1998 and in 2005. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute and a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and American Bar Association.

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Professor Dickerson