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Law Review symposium tackles “new frontiers” of bankruptcy

October 23, 2017

By Natalia Sanchez-Nigolian C’19

On October 20, Thomas H. Jackson, who served as president of the University of Rochester, spoke at The University of Pennsylvania Law Review’s symposium “Bankruptcy’s New Frontiers.”

The symposium was co-sponsored by the Institute for Law and Economics and the Institute for Restructuring Studies. The aim of the event was to address the field of bankruptcy law and its transition during the modern era in policy and politics.

Jackson, who was the symposium’s keynote speaker, is an expert on bankruptcy and has held faculty positions at the University of Rochester, the University of Virginia, Harvard University, and Stanford University prior to serving as president of the University of Rochester. He is a graduate of Williams College and holds a law degree from Yale University.

In his address, Jackson described the pressing challenges in bankruptcy research and theory, given the field’s current evolution.

“Conditions in the world change, so models that work really well and look foundational need tweaking,” he said. “It is not that they are wrong. It’s just that the world never sits still. I don’t view that as rejection of creditors bargain, but as an incorporation of it into a framework that is new because it needs to respond to different things.”

Jackson emphasized the ever-growing importance of taking small steps towards progress. “Bankruptcy was a backwater when I went into it. It is now a centerpiece of how we think about finance today.”

“For the people who are working in the field now, I think it is much harder because there isn’t a single breakthrough idea that lets you run through everything we are dealing with today,” he continued. “You have to create a much more complex analysis to make strides these days.”

“I enjoyed Professor Jackson’s discussion of how he got into bankruptcy law and his review of leading scholarship in this field,” said Elana Stern L’18, the Law Review’s Symposium Editor. “It was an honor to have him speak at this event.”