A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Blog: NCBJ 2022: Awards Edition

A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Blog: NCBJ 2022: Awards Edition

Every year numerous awards are presented at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges. These awards are an opportunity to recognize people who have contributed to the insolvency profession.

Ingrid Hillinger received the Excellence in Education Award. Her accomplishments include establishing the Boston College School of Law Public Interest Law Fund. Five oof her students have gone  on to be judges. However, she was a reluctant bankruptcy educator. In 1985, she was invited to be a guest teacher at the University of Texas School of Law. She was asked to teach secured credit and bankruptcy. She demurred that she had never taught bankruptcy before but was assured that she would do fine. I was one of her students in that inaugural class. I remember that on the first day of class she said that bankruptcy was like someone proposing a law that said “debtors shall pay their debts” and someone popping up and offering an amendment to insert the word “not” into the statute.  Said said that her hair was brown when she came down to Texas and it had turned gray when she returned. She said “bankruptcy did that.” Her bio can be found here.

Judge Harlan “Cooter” Hale presented the Inns of Court
Award to 
Judge John E. Waites
(Bankr. D. S.C.). In his acceptance speech, he stressed the time and value of Inns of Court to younger members. More information on Judge Waites can be found here. 

Judge John
Hopkins (Bankr. S.D. Ohio) received the DEI Leadership Award from the National Association of Bankruptcy Judges. Judge Hopkins’s story is very inspiring. He m
oved from
Georgia to Ohio to escape the Jim Crow South. His teachers in Ohio recognized his talent and recommended that he attend the prestigious 
Middlesex School in Concord, Massachusetts. He graduated from the Moritz College of Law at the University of Ohio in 1985. He worked at Squire Sanders & Dempsey and the U.S. Attorney’s Office before being named as a Bankruptcy Judge in 1996. He served as President of NCBJ in 2007. He has a long list of involvement in worthy causes, which can be found here. President Joe Biden has nominated him to serve as a U.S. District Judge for the Southern District of Ohio. 

In his acceptance speech, he said that his personal hero was Abe
Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, who practiced bankruptcy law. He quoted from the Gettysburg Address:

that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

Ron Peterson presented the Lawrence P. King Award for Excellence in Bankruptcy on behalf of the Commercial Law League of America to Prof. Bruce Markell of Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law.  Prof. Markell clerked for Judge Anthony Kennedy when he served on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Prof. Markell served as United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Nevada and served on the 9th Circuit Bankruptcy Appellate Panel from 2004-2013 as well.   In 2016, he completed a project redrafting Kosovo’s bankruptcy law. 

Judge Michael G. Williamson was awarded the Judger William L. Norton Judicial Excellence Award from the American Bankruptcy Institute. He was nominated by his colleagues from the Middle District of Florida where this year’s NCBJ was being held. He was unable to attend due to health issues. However, his colleagues assured him that they had actually nominated him last year before his cancer struck. Judge Williamson spent two decades in private practice and has served as a bankruptcy judge for 22 years. He said that when he didn’t understand something, he wrote on it. He has spoken at nearly 400 seminars and written numerous opinions. He has taught principles of insolvency in countries from Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe. He spent considerable time in Afghanistan. From his time abroad he learned that we often take the rule of law for granted. One of his contributions was authoring a Practical Evidence Manual, which can be found here.  




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Amer Mustafa

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