John A. E. Pottow, the John Philip Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law, is an internationally recognized expert in the field of bankruptcy and commercial law. His award-winning scholarship concentrates on the issues involved in the regulation of cross-border insolvencies as well as consumer financial distress. On behalf of the United States, Professor Pottow serves as a delegate to the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL). He has published in prominent legal journals in the United States and Canada and testified before Congress. An oft-invited lecturer, he has presented his works at academic conferences around the world and frequently provides commentary for national and international media outlets, such as NPR, CNBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Al Jazeera America, and the BBC. He also has litigated bankruptcy cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including his successful pro bono argument on behalf of the respondent in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison (2014).
Professor Pottow joined the faculty in 2003. Prior to coming to Michigan Law, he worked at several bankruptcy firms, including Weil, Gotshal and Manges of New York and the former Hill & Barlow of Boston. His practice focused on debtor representation in complex Chapter 11 restructurings. He also was an active litigator whose cases included representing a gender-based asylum seeker from Afghanistan in U.S. Immigration Court and a small bankruptcy party before the U.S. Supreme Court.
He holds an AB in psychology, summa cum laude, from Harvard College and a JD, magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he served as treasurer of the Harvard Law Review. Professor Pottow clerked for the Rt. Hon. Beverley McLachlin, Chief Justice of Canada, and the Hon. Guido Calabresi, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He is licensed as a barrister and solicitor in Ontario and as an attorney in Massachusetts and Michigan. In 2005, he was presented the L. Hart Wright Award for Excellence in Teaching and, in 2012, received a pro bono award from the U.S. District Court of the Eastern District of Michigan. He is a member of the American College of Bankruptcy and the International Insolvency Institute.
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