Photo of Michelle Harner

Michelle Harner

Francis King Carey Professor of Law and
Director, Business Law Program

Phone: (410) 706-4238
Fax: (410) 706-4045
mharner @ law.umaryland.edu

Office: 380

B.A., Boston College
J.D., Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University

Curriculum Vitae

Biography | Selected Publications | In the News

Michelle Harner joined the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law faculty in the fall of 2009. She teaches courses in Bankruptcy and Creditors’ Rights, Business Associations, Business Planning, Corporate Finance, and Professional Responsibility.  Prior to joining the faculty at UM Carey Law School, where she also has served as Associate Dean for Academic Programs, Professor Harner served on the faculty of the University of Nebraska College of Law and was voted “Professor of the Year” by the upperclass students during the 2006–07 and 2008–09 academic years. Professor Harner is an elected Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy, and an elected Member in the American Law Institute. She also was selected to serve as the Robert M. Zinman ABI Resident Scholar for the fall of 2015.

Professor Harner is widely published and lectures frequently on various topics involving corporate governance, financially distressed entities and related legal issues. Her publications appear or are forthcoming in the Vanderbilt Law Review, Notre Dame Law Review, Washington University Law Review, Minnesota Law Review, Fordham Law Review (reprinted in Corporate Practice Commentator), Arizona Law Review (reprinted in Corporate Practice Commentator), Florida Law Review, Washington & Lee Law Review, Illinois Law Review, among others. She also has published or will be publishing articles in specialty law reviews at the Moritz College of Law (The Ohio State University), Rutgers School of Law, St. John’s University School of Law, University of Miami School of Law, University of Tennessee College of Law and UM Carey Law School.

Professor Harner’s scholarship has been cited by numerous courts, including the United States Courts of Appeal for the First, Third, Fifth and Ninth Circuits and the United States District Courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Nevada.  Professor Harner’s current research interests include shareholder and creditor activism and its impact on enterprise value; legislative responses to serial business failures and related implications for discrete industries; and the ethical implications of insolvency for directors, officers and other fiduciaries.

Professor Harner serves as the Associate Reporter to the Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. She also served as the Reporter to the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11, which issued its Final Report and Recommendations in December 2014.  In March 2009 and April 2012, Professor Harner received research grants from the American Bankruptcy Institute Endowment Fund to study the role of creditors’ committees in chapter 11 business bankruptcies and potential reforms to chapter 11, respectively. In addition, she has served as a member of the Dodd-Frank Study Working Group for the Administrative Office of the United States Courts.

Professor Harner previously was in private practice in the business restructuring, insolvency, bankruptcy and related transactional fields, most recently as a partner at the Chicago office of the international law firm Jones Day.  Before joining that firm in 1996, she served as law clerk to Judge William T. Bodoh of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio.  Professor Harner is admitted to practice law in Illinois and Ohio.

Professor Harner is an honors graduate of Boston College and was the valedictorian of her class at the Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, where she served as the Executive Editor of the school’s law journal.


Reporter, Final Report of the ABI Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 (American Bankruptcy Institute 2014). [Full Text]

Developing Professional Skills: Business Associations (2012). [Abstract]

Book Chapters

Mitigating the Impact of a Counterparty LLC's Financial Distress, in Research Handbook on Partnerships, LLCs and Alternative Forms of Business Organizations (Robert W. Hillman & Mark J. Loewenstein eds., 2015) (with Jennifer Ivey-Crickenberger).

Navigating Finanical Turbulence: Directors' Duties in the Face of Insolvency, in Research Handbook of Directors' Duties (Adolfo Paolini ed., 2014).

Distressed Debt Investing, in Alternative Investments: Instruments, Performance, Benchmarks and Strategies (H. Kent Baker & Greg Filbeck eds., 2013) (with others).

The Implications of North American Catholicand Trenwick: Final Death Knell for Deepening Insolvency? Shift in Directors' Duties in the Zone of Insolvency?, in 2008 Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law (Richard M. Lieb ed., 2008) (with Jo Ann Brighton).

Chapter 89, Clearing Bank Liquidation (Code §§ 781-784), in Norton Bankruptcy Law and Practice (William L. Norton, Jr. ed., 3d ed. 2008).

Chapter 25, Enforceability of Contractual Restrictions on Disposition of Property, in Bankruptcy Business Acquisitions (Richard N. Tilton ed., 2d ed. 2006) (with Carl Black & Eric Goodman).


Disciplining Corporate Boards and Debtholders Through Targeted Proxy Access, 92 Indiana Law Journal 227 (2016). [Full Text]

La Reforma Del Capitulo 11 Del U.S. Bankruptcy Code [The Reform of Chapter 11 of the U. S. Bankruptcy Code], 24 Revista de Derecho Concursal y Paraconcursal 537 (Juan Ignacio Signes de Mesa trans., 2016).

The Value of Soft Variables in Corporate Reorganizations, 2015 University of Illinois Law Review 509. [Full Text]

Are Small- and Medium-Sized Companies Worth Saving?, American Bankruptcy Institute Journal, July 2015, at 8.

Facilitating Successful Failures, 66 Florida Law Review 205 (2014) (with Jamie Marincic Griffin). [Full Text]

A More Realistic Approach to Directors' Duties, 15 Transactions: The Tennessee Journal of Business Law 15 (2014). [Full Text]

Activist Investors, Distressed Companies, and Value Uncertainty, 22 American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review 167 (2014) (with Jamie Marincic Griffin and Jennifer Ivey-Crickenberger). [Full Text]

Teaching LLCs Through a Problem-Based Approach, 71 Washington & Lee Law Review 489 (2014) (with Robert Rhee). [Full Text]

Deal Deconstructions, Case Studies, and Case Simulations: Toward Practice Readiness with New Pedagogies in Teaching Business and Transactional Law, 3 American University Business Law Review 81 (2014) (with Robert Rhee). [Full Text]

Teaching Business Law Through an Entrepreneurial Lens, 8 Journal of Business & Technology Law 171 (2013). [Full Text]

The Naked Fiduciary, 54 Arizona Law Review 879 (2012) (with Jamie Marincic), reprinted in 55 Corporate Practice Commentator 585 (2013). [Full Text]

Gender and Securities Law in the Supreme Court, 33 Women's Rights Law Reporter 1 (2012) (with Lyman Johnson and Jason A. Cantone). [Full Text]

The Search for an Unbiased Fiduciary in Corporate Reorganizations, 86 Notre Dame Law Review 469 (2011). [Full Text]

Committee Capture? An Empirical Analysis of the Role of Creditors' Committees in Business Reorganization, 64 Vanderbilt Law Review 749 (2011) (with Jamie Marincic). [Full Text]

The Value of "Thinking Like a Lawyer", 70 Maryland Law Review 390 (2011). [Full Text]

Behind Closed Doors: the Influence of Creditors in Business Reorganizations, 34 Seattle University Law Review 1155 (2011) (with Jamie Marincic). [Full Text]

Activist Distressed Debtholders: The New Barbarians at the Gate?, 89 Washington University Law Review 155 (2011). [Full Text]

Is Legal Scholarship Out of Touch? An Empirical Analysis of the Use of Scholarship in Business Law Cases, 19 University of Miami Business Law Review 1 (2011) (with Jason Cantone). [Full Text]

Mitigating Financial Risk for Small Business Entrepreneurs, 6 Ohio State Entrepreneurial Business Law Journal 469 (2011). [Full Text]

Corporate Control and the Need for Meaningful Board Accountability, 94 Minnesota Law Review 541 (2010). [Full Text]

Ignoring the Writing on the Wall: The Role of Enterprise Risk Management in the Economic Crisis, 5 Journal of Business & Technology Law 45 (2010). [Full Text]

Barriers to Effective Risk Management, 40 Seton Hall Law Review 1323 (2010). [Full Text]

The Corporate Governance and Public Policy Implications of Activist Distressed Debt Investing, 77 Fordham Law Review 703 (2008), reprinted in 51 Corporate Practice Commentator 177 (2009). [Full Text]

Trends in Distressed Debt Investing: An Empirical Study of Investors’ Objectives, 16 Amercian Bankruptcy Institute Law Review 69 (2008). [Full Text]

Reinstatement v. Cramdown: Do Secured Creditors Win or Lose?, 16 Journal of Bankruptcy Law & Practice 459 (2007) (with Heather Lennox & Eric Goodman). [Full Text]

Debtors Beware: The Expanding Universe of Non-Assumable/Non-Assignable Contracts in Bankruptcy, 13 American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review 187 (2005) (with Carl Black & Eric Goodman). [Full Text]

Licensing Intellectual Property and Technology from the Financially Troubled or Startup Company: Prebankruptcy Strategies to Minimize the Risk in a Licensee's Intellectual Property and Technology Investment, 55 Business Lawyer 1649 (2000) (with Richard Cieri). [Full Text]

Recent News featuring Michelle Harner

February 16, 2017

Professor Michelle Harner will become a federal bankruptcy judge UM Carey professor to become a federal bankruptcy judge which appeared in The Daily Record Online and UMB News.

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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