Symposium 2024


The Symposium brought together prominent judges, practitioners, and academics to discuss varied topics including the causes of and trends in insolvency, the historical development of bankruptcy law, and current and developing substantive procedural bankruptcy issues. We were honored to host and learn from our distinguished guests!

Featured Speakers

(L-R) Bruce A. Markell, Robert Miller, Ralph Brubaker, Steve R. Johnson, and Chief Judge Karen K. Specie

10:15-10:30 a.m. | Welcome Remarks & Introduction

Chief Judge Karen K. Specie of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida.

10:30-11:30 a.m. | Keynote Address
Presented by Ralph Brubaker, James H.M. Sprayregen professor of law at the University of Illinois College of Law
Professor Brubaker will address major recent bankruptcy developments.

11:30-12:30 p.m. | “Everyone Is Talking About Bankruptcy Directors”
Presented by Robert Miller, assistant professor of law at the University of South Dakota Knudson School of Law
An evaluation of the current proposals for considering whether bankruptcy directors can cleanse conflicted settlements and transactions using the evolution of case control as well as the historical treatment (both codified and equitable). Professor Miller will present his article which uses a recent case study together with analogous non-bankruptcy theory to argue in favor of applying the entire fairness doctrine to determine bankruptcy directors’ cleansing effect.

12:30-1:30 p.m. | Lunch
Guest speakers present "Reflections on the Current State of Bankruptcy Law and Practice"

Michael C. Markham  (Bokor Ruppel  & Burns, LLP);  Patricia Ann Redmond  (Stearns Weaver Miller);  Byron "Trey" Wright III (Bruner Wright).

1:30-2:30 p.m. | “Betrayed Bonds and Perfidious Partners: Fraudulent Transfer Law and ‘Liability Management Transactions’”
Presented by Bruce A. Markell, professor of bankruptcy law and practice and Edward Avery Harriman lecturer in law at the Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law
In recent years, there has been a rise of “creditor-on-creditor” violence, in which a subset of parties to a credit agreement with a financially troubled company engineer a prejudicial restructuring of the lending relationship. These restructurings—blandly described as “liability management transactions”—exploit loopholes and loose language in the credit agreements in a manner that significantly favors one lender faction over another. To date, courts have not intervened, finding that traditional notions of good faith and fair dealing are inapplicable to transactions technically possible under agreements the losing lenders signed. But courts and counsel have not adequately considered how another body of law—the law of intentional fraudulent transfers—might affect these transactions. Professor Markell will present his article which uses the creditor perspective of fraudulent transfer law and evaluates these liability management transactions, using over 450 years of history—including the 1571 Statute of Elizabeth, Twyne’s Case from 1602, and the 1917 Supreme Court case of Dean v. Davis. It reaches a decidedly different result than the current body of case law.

2:30-3:30 p.m. | “Exceptionalism vs. Contextualism: Statutory Interpretation in Bankruptcy Law”
Presented by Steve R. Johnson, Dunbar family professor of law at Florida State University College of Law
Statutory interpretation is fundamental to bankruptcy law and, to be effective, must take account of the unique features of bankruptcy law. This presentation will explore the ways in which case law has and has not properly recognized these features and makes recommendations for judges in their future decisions.

3:30-4 p.m. | Student Presentation: What's So Fair About AI Art Generators? A Fair Use Analysis of Generative AI

Presented by Benjamin Schafer, Florida State University College of Law Class of 2024.