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Prof. Michelle Harner Selected as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Maryland

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit announced that it has selected Michelle Harner, Francis King Carey Professor of Law and director of Maryland Carey Law’s Business Law Program, as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Maryland.

Located in Greenbelt and Baltimore, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Maryland currently comprises seven judges.  Professor Harner will fill a vacancy created by the upcoming retirement of Judge James F. Schneider.

“Professor Harner has been an extraordinary colleague,” said Maryland Carey Law Dean Donald B. Tobin.  “In addition to her scholarship, she has brought incredible energy, insight and leadership to our Business Law Program, where she introduced an impressive range of new learning opportunities that have helped our students forge ties with the business community.  Her contributions to the entire law school during her tenure as associate dean for academic programs were also outstanding.”

Professor Harner’s work on legal issues associated with corporate governance and financially distressed entities has been widely recognized by both scholars and practitioners. She is an elected fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a member of the American Law Institute, and served as the Robert M. Zinman American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) Resident Scholar in 2015.  She also served as reporter to the ABI’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 and is currently associate reporter to the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure.  She received the M&A Advisor Turnaround Leadership Award in 2016 and the ABI Annual Service Award in 2015.

“Professor Harner has an exceptionally keen mind and a wonderful approach to people,” said Nancy V. Alquist, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.  “My colleagues and I are immensely pleased to be welcoming Professor Harner to the bankruptcy bench here in the District of Maryland.”

Her scholarship, published in more than two dozen law reviews, has been cited by numerous courts, including the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the First, Third, Fifth and Ninth Circuits and the U.S. District Courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Nevada. 

“I am so honored by the Fourth Circuit’s selection,” said Professor Harner.  “I enjoy every aspect of my work at the law school, especially my colleagues and my students. And I will miss working with them on a daily basis.  I feel, however, a strong call to serve the Baltimore community and the legal profession, and I can think of no better way to do that than through service on the Maryland bankruptcy bench.”

Prior to joining the Maryland Carey Law faculty in 2009, Professor Harner served at the University of Nebraska College of Law, where she was twice voted Professor of the Year; as a partner at Jones Day, where her practice focused primarily on corporate restructuring and bankruptcy law; and as a law clerk to The Honorable William T. Bodoh, of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.

She graduated with honors from Boston College; and summa cum laude, first in her class and Order of the Coif, from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, where she also was executive editor of The Ohio State University Law Journal.

Professor Harner will complete the current semester at Maryland Carey Law and assume her judicial duties in the spring.


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500 W. Baltimore Street, Baltimore, MD 21201-1786 PHONE: (410) 706-7214 FAX: (410) 706-4045 / TDD: (410) 706-7714

Admissions: PHONE: (410) 706-3492 FAX: (410) 706-1793

Copyright © 2017, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved