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December 4, 2009

National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges honors Jay Westbrook with Excellence in Education Award

Photo of Professor Jay L. Westbrook
Professor Jay L. Westbrook

The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) has recognized prominent bankruptcy scholar Jay L. Westbrook, the Benno C. Schmidt Chair of Business Law at the University of Texas School of Law, with an Excellence in Education Award.

Judge John E. Hoffman, a federal bankruptcy judge for the Southern District of Ohio, presented the award—a large silver bowl—to Professor Westbrook at the NCBJ's annual meeting in Las Vegas in October. Hoffman currently serves as chair of the NCBJ's Endowment for Education, which funds bankruptcy research and education. To recognize outstanding contributions to bankruptcy education, the Endowment periodically presents an Excellence in Education Award.

"The NCBJ salutes Professor Westbrook for his dedication to advancing the public discourse regarding bankruptcy policy issues, for advancing the education of young scholars and students and for advancing the understanding of the intricacies of bankruptcy law," said Judge Leif Clark, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Western District of Texas in San Antonio who also teaches bankruptcy as an adjunct professor at UT Law School.

"Except for an award from my students, there is no honor that could mean more to me than this one," said Westbrook, an educator who also has served as a mentor to hundreds of UT Law graduates over the years. Westbrook also encouraged the UT Law School to sponsor continuing legal education programs for practitioners in the early 1980s, which developed into an annual conference that is widely considered the best bankruptcy CLE program in the state and now bears his name.

About Professor Jay L. Westbrook:

One of the nation's most distinguished scholars in the field of bankruptcy, Professor Westbrook has been a pioneer in this area in two respects: empirical research and international/comparative studies. Westbrook—who has twice been named the Outstanding Teacher at the Law School—also teaches and writes in commercial law and international business litigation.

Westbrook practiced in all these areas for more than a decade with Surrey & Morse (now part of Jones, Day) in Washington, D.C., where he was a partner, before joining the University of Texas law faculty in 1980.

He is co-author of The Law of Debtors and Creditors (Aspen, 4th ed., 2001), As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America (Oxford, 1989), and The Fragile Middle Class (Yale, 2000). He has been visiting professor at Harvard Law School and the University of London, and is a member of the American Law Institute, the National Bankruptcy Conference, and the American College of Bankruptcy.

He has served as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He was the United States Reporter for the ALI's Transnational Insolvency Project and co-head of the United States delegation to the UN (UNCITRAL) conference on cross-border insolvency. He is a director of the International Insolvency Institute and President of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law.

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