Professor Margaret Howard
Resident Scholar Final Report
Spring of 2002
My tenure as Scholar in Residence ran from Jan. 1–May 24, 2002.
My duties included preparing materials for conferences, presenting at
conferences, responding to media requests, doing interviews for
newspaper stories and for radio programs both taped and live, responding
to ABI members’ various questions, as well as bankruptcy questions
raised by non-member attorneys and members of the public, assisting the
Endowment Committee on the review of research grant proposals, and
rewriting ABI publications.
During my tenure at ABI, I completed the following tasks:
- Participated as a faculty member at the Eastern District of
Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Conference in Philadelphia. This program
required leading a discussion of a hypothetical with several different
groups of conference attendees.
- Presented a program on recent developments regarding
dischargeability, with an emphasis on credit card obligations and
willful and malicious injuries. This program, sponsored by the Federal
Judicial Center, was for bankruptcy judges and was given twice—in
San Diego and Cleveland.
- Prepared substantial materials for, and participated on a panel at,
ABI’s Rocky Mountain Bankruptcy Conference in Denver. The
panel’s overall topic was dischargeability, and my assignment was
a discussion on education loans.
- Attended the Spring Meeting of the ABA Business Law Section in
Boston, and moderated a panel on preference issues for the Avoiding
Powers Subcommittee of the Business Bankruptcy Committee. I am the
vice-chair of that subcommittee.
- Participated on a panel at ABI’s Annual Spring Meeting dealing
with dischargeability. I assisted in the preparation of substantial
materials for the panel, and discussed the issue of willful and
- Presented a keynote address to the Northwest Bankruptcy Institute in
Portland, Ore., sponsored by the Oregon and Washington Bar Associations.
My topic was the contract and property theories underlying the Supreme
Court’s analysis of the rights of secured creditors in
- Prepared materials and presented a program on the intersection
between revised Article 9 and bankruptcy for the Sixth Circuit Judicial
Conference in Cleveland.
- Participated in ABI’s Northeast Bankruptcy Conference this
summer on Cape Cod, speaking on the ethical implications of
- Appeared twice on a live radio talk show in New Orleans—the
“Ed Clancy Show.” Both times, we discussed consumer
bankruptcy and the pending amendments.
- Taped an interview for a syndicated radio program, “The
Wizards of Money,” out of Atlanta.
- Accompanied Judge Erwin I. Katz to the Federal Judicial Center and
met with staff members there in an effort to collect materials for the
ABI web site on mediation and alternative dispute resolution techniques
useful in bankruptcy cases.
- Attended a hearing of the House-Senate Conference Com-mittee that is
attempting to resolve the last of the issues regarding the pending
- Reviewed and edited ABI’s publication on preference law.
- Reorganized and completely rewrote ABI’s Bankruptcy
- Began, with the assistance of Prof. G. Ray Warner, the in-coming
scholar in residence, to organize a scholarly program to mark the 25th
anniversary of the Bankruptcy Code. This program, which will be held in
October 2003, will be targeted at law professors specializing in
bankruptcy. We now have commitments for major papers from four of the
top people in the field—Barry Adler, Elizabeth Warren, Douglas
Baird and James J. White. I will continue to work on this project
despite leaving the position as scholar in residence.
Continued flexibility is the key to the success of this program. Sam
Gerdano, ABI’s Executive Director, was understanding of the fact
that I came in with several commitments that required me to take time
for preparation of materials and presentations. I also continued to
teach one course at the law school, which occasionally required my
attention while I was physically at ABI. Nonetheless, the opportunity to
deal with the media and with developments in Congress, and to work on an
ABI publication, is very attractive and should continue to draw
professors to this position.
This semester has gone by incredibly quickly, probably because it has
been such a wonderful opportunity. I echo the sentiments of my
predecessor, Prof. Jack F. Williams, regarding the terrific staff at ABI
and its executive director, Sam Gerdano. The organization is top-notch,
largely because of its leadership. I have learned an enormous
amount—so much that I fear I may have gotten more than I’ve
I never seem to accomplish as much as I would like, and this semester
has been no exception. However, my major contributions, the Bankruptcy
Overview and the forthcoming symposium, were done and are being done
right. I also have a great deal of confidence in Prof. Warner, who will
succeed me as scholar in residence. He will certainly raise the bar for
Prof. Margaret Howard
Washington & Lee University; Lexington, Va.