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Pottow, John A.E.

John Philip Dawson Collegiate Professor of Law

970A Legal Research

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 International Insolvency Institute, Professor Pottow serves as an NGO observer for the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Working Groups on Insolvency and Arbitration. 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).

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.


Recent Publications

More Publications...

Two Cheers for Universalism: Nortel’s Nifty Novelty. U of Michigan Public Law & Legal Theory Research Paper No. 487; U of Michigan Law & Economics Research Paper No. 15-020. Working Paper.
Full Text: SSRN

Co-author. Review of Sovereign Defaults Before Internatioanl Courts and Tribunals, by M. Waibel. E. H. Iversen, co-author. Banking & Fin. L. Rev. 30, no. 2 (2015): 387-91.
Full Text: SSRN | ProQuest (UMich users) | ProQuest

"Beyond Carve-Outs and Toward Reliance: A Normative Framework for Cross-Border Insolvency Choice of Law." Brook. J. Corp. Fin. & Com. L. 9, no. 1 (2014): 197-220.
Full Text: MLaw Repository | SSRN | HEIN (UMich users) | HEIN

Co-author. The Law of Debtors and Creditors: Text, Cases, and Problems. 7th ed. E. Warren, J.L. Westbrook, and K. Porter, co-authors. Aspen Casebook Series. New York: Wolters Kluwer, 2014.​

"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

Co-author. "Long-Term Financial Burden of Breast Cancer: Experiences of a Diverse Cohort of Survivors Identified Through Population-Based Registries." R. Jagsi et al., co-authors. J. Clin. Oncology 32, no. 12 (2014): 1269-76.​
Full Text: JCO (UMich users) | JCO​​

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

"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


Invited presenter at the 40th Annual Lawrence P. King and Charles Seligson Workshop on Bankruptcy and Business Reorganization, (Prof. B. Adler, convenor), New York University School of Law, New York, September 2014.​

Invited keynote speaker at Federal Bar Association Annual Meeting, (Hon. Scott Dales, convenor), Harbor Springs, Michigan, August 2014. ​

Invited presenter at the 2014 Midwest Regional Bankruptcy Seminar, (Stephen Lerner, Esq., convenor), Cincinnati, August 2014.​

Invited keynote panelist for First Annual James T. King Bankruptcy Symposium Conference, (Jon Hayes, Esq., convenor), Los Angeles, July 2014. ​

Invited presenter at "Choice of Law in Cross-Border Bankruptcy Cases" at Brooklyn Law School, (Prof. Edward Janger, convenor), Brooklyn, March 2014. ​

Invited presenter on U.S. municipal bankruptcy at Annual Review of Insolvency Law, (Prof. Janis Sarra, convenor), Vancouver, February 2014.​

Invited keynote speaker at "Emerging Trends in Turnarounds and Insolvencies" sponsored by CMBA and TMA, (Eric Goodman, Esq., convenor), Cleveland, November 2013.

Invited presenter at Fordham Law School, Urban Law Journal Cooper-Walsh Colloquium on Legal Liabilities and Municipal Financial Distress, (Prof. Susan Block-Lieb, convenor), New York, October 2013. ​

Invited presenter at Congressional Black Caucus on Detroit Bankruptcy, (Hon. John Conyers, convenor), Washington, D.C., October 2013. ​

Invited moderator at "Shifting Gears in Restructuring: From Automotive to Healthcare and Government," Turnaround Management Association, (Paul Hage, Esq. convenor), Detroit, September 2013. ​

Invited keynote speaker at Eurozone in Crisis, (Patrick Mears, Esq., convenor, for co-sponsors World Affairs Conference and Turnaround Management Association), Grand Rapids, Michigan, April 2013. ​

Invited presenter at The Nation State and Its Banks symposium, (Prof. Henry Hu, convenor), Austin, Texas, February 2013. ​

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.

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