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Pottow, John A. E.

Professor of Law

970A Legal Research

John A. E. Pottow 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. 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 argued bankruptcy cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including his successful pro bono representation of the respondent in Executive Benefits Insurance Agency v. Arkison (2014).

Prof. Pottow joined the faculty in 2003. Prior to coming to Michigan, 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 was also 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. Prof. 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. He is a member of the International Insolvency Institute and has been an NGO observer for UNCITRAL Working Groups on Arbitration and Insolvency. 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.

Recent Publications

More Publications...

"Mitigating the Problem of Vulture Holdout: International Certification Boards for Sovereign Debt Restructurings." Tex. Int'l L. J. 49, no. 2 (2014): 221-43.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN

"Detroit's Real Challenge." Law Quad. Notes 57, no. 1 (2014): 24-5.
Full Text: WWW

​Co-author. The Law of Debtors and Creditors. 6th ed. E. Warren et al, co-authors. 2013 Casebook Supplement. New York: Wolters Kluwer Law & Business, 2013.

"A Presumptively Better Approach to Arbitrability." J. Brege and T. J. Hawley, co-authors. Canadian Bus. L. J. 53, no. 3 (2013): 323-59.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN

"The Rise in Elder Bankruptcy Filings and the Failure of U.S. Bankruptcy Law." Elder L. J. 19, no. 1 (2011): 119-57.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw

Co-author. "Malpractice Suits and Physician Apologies in Cancer Care." E. Chung, J. R Horwitz, and R. Jagsi, co-authors. J. Oncology Prac. 7, no. 6 (2011): 389-93.
Full Text: ASCO (UMich users) | ASCO

"Financial Literacy or Financial Castigation?" Canadian Bus. L. J. 51, no. 3 (2011): 394-406.

"Ability to Pay." Berkeley Bus. L. J. 8, no. 2 (2011): 175-208.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw

"A New Role for Secondary Proceedings in International Bankruptcies." Tex. Int'l L. J. 46, no. 3 (2011): 579-99.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw

"Government Involvement in Chrysler Bankruptcy: The Least-Worst Alternative?" Law Quad. Notes 53, no. 1 (2010): 66-7.
Full Text: MLaw Repository

Co-author. "Interpreting Data: A Reply to Professor Pardo." R.M. Lawless et al., co-authors. Am. Bankr. L.J. 83, no. 1 (2009): 47-61.
Full Text: HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN | Westlaw


Inaugural faculty for "NextGen" training school for upcoming bankruptcy professionals from around the world (Prof. Bob Wessels, Mr. Bruce Leonard, Esq., Convenors), Paris, June 2012.

Invited keynote speaker, ABI Central States (Regional) Annual Conference (Hon. Marcy McIvor, Convenor), Traverse City, Michigan, June 2012.

Invited presenter on cross-border insolvencies, ABI Annual Leadership Conference (Mr. John Good, Convenor), Palm Springs, California, December 2011.

Invited presenter at the University of Toronto Legal Theory Workshop and Annual Commercial Law Conference (Dean Mayo Moran, Prof. Jacob Ziegel, Convenors), Toronto, October 2011.

Invited presenter, "Financial Regulatory Reform: Dodd-Frank and Beyond," University of California, Berkeley, March 2011.

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