Jay L. Westbrook

Jay L. Westbrook

  • Benno C. Schmidt Chair of Business Law
  • Professor

Faculty Profile: Jay L. Westbrook

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One of the nation's most distinguished scholars in the field of bankruptcy, he has been a pioneer in this area in two respects: empirical research and international/comparative studies. Professor Westbrook also teaches and writes in commercial law and international business litigation. He practiced in all these areas for more than a decade with Surrey & Morse (now part of Jones, Day) in Washington, D.C., where he was a partner, before joining the faculty in 1980. He is co-author of The Law of Debtors and Creditors (Aspen, 7th ed., 2014); As We Forgive Our Debtors: Bankruptcy and Consumer Credit in America (Oxford, 1989); The Fragile Middle Class (Yale, 2000); and A Global View of Business Insolvency Systems (Martinus Nijhoff 2010). He has been Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School and the University of London, and is a member of the American Law Institute, the National Bankruptcy Conference, and the American College of Bankruptcy. He serves as a consultant to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. He was the United States Reporter for the ALI's Transnational Insolvency Project and co-head of the United States delegation to the UN (UNCITRAL) conference that created the Model Law on Cross-Border Insolvency. He is an emeritus director of the International Insolvency Institute and a director and former President of the International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law. He has been the recipient of outstanding contribution awards from the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, the International Insolvency Institute, and the American College of Bankruptcy. He has twice been named the Outstanding Teacher at the University of Texas School of Law. Recipient of "Larry King Award" from the Commercial Law League.

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Professional Activities



Advisor, Texas International Law Journal



Jay L. Westbrook Conference, The University of Texas. Annual

UT School of Law -- Organizer (Annual)


March 5 - March 7, 2016

The Duberstein National Moot Court Team

New Orleans & NYC -- Advisor (Annual)


December 5, 2015

American Bankruptcy Institute

Phoenix, AZ -- Secured Credit in the International Arena - Moderator and Presenter

November 20, 2015

Young Scholars Conference

Brooklyn Law School -- Co-organizer

October 29, 2015

National Bankruptcy Conference

Washington D.C. -- Regulations Governing SIFIs (too big to fail banks)

September 1, 2015

Keynote Lecture

Hamilton, Bermuda -- Current Problems in Cross-Border Insolvency, International Association of Insolvency Regulators


July 2014

Commercial Law & the Public Interest, International Academy of Commercial & Consumer Law

Istanbul, Turkey


January 2013

Oxford University Roundtable on Insolvency

Oxford, UK

June 2012

Symposium on International Bank Regulation

American Law Institute & Bingham Foundation, London, UK -- Commentator

April 2012

"Exemption of Derivatives from Bankruptcy"

American College of Bankruptcy, San Antonio, TX

March 2012

"Reshaping Capital Markets & Institutions: Twenty Years On"

Texas Law Review, Austin, TX -- Commentator



“Derivatives & Sovereign Debt” Conference on Sovereign Debt

Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany

December 2011

“The Keys to Multinational Coordination of Bank Distress” Conference on Financial Regulation in Uncertain Times

Tilberg University, Lugano, Italy

March 2011

International Insolvency Seminar for Students

Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan


July 2010

“International Arbitration & Multinational Insolvency”

International Academy of Commercial & Consumer Law, Toronto, Canada

June 2010

“The Model Law in the United States: COMI and Groups”

International Insolvency Institute, Rome, Italy


November 1, 2009

The University of Texas Annual Bankrupty Conference

The University of Texas Law School -- Recent Developments and Theory of Section 363 Sales

October 20, 2009

St. Gallen University International

St. Gallen, Switzerland -- International Judicial Negotiation 2009

October 5, 2009

Judicial Conference

University of Zagreb, Croatia -- Contracts in Bankruptcy

May 15, 2009

Judicial Conference

Abu Dhabi -- Modern Bankruptcy

March 1, 2009

Texas Harvard Conference on Commercial Law Realities

University of Texas Law School, Austin, Texas -- Organizer (with Elizabeth Warren)

February 1, 2009

Conference on Business Restructuring and Turnaround

Wharton Business School Philadelphia -- Organizer: Panel on Legal Restructuring

January 10, 2009

Seminar on Insolvency

World Bank, Washington, D.C. -- Exemption of Derivatives in Bankruptcy


September 19, 2008

INSOL Europe Edwin Coe Lecture

Barcelona -- Multinational Insolvency: Today and Tomorrow

September 10, 2008


Congressional Committee on the Judiciary, Commercial subcommittee -- Exemption of Financial Assets from Bankruptcy

August 12, 2008

International Academy of Commercial and Consumer Law Biennial Meeting

Bamberg, Germany

Priority Conflicts as a Barrier to Cooperation in Multinational Insolvencies

June 7, 2008

International Insolvency Institute Annual Meeting


Presentation: COMI and the Bear, Stearns Decision

February 12, 2008

Harvard Texas Conference on Commercial Realities

Harvard Law School, Cambridge, Mass.

Organizer (with Elizabeth Warren)


September 9, 2007

International Procedural Assn Quadrennial Meeting

Bahia, Brazil -- General Report on Insolvency-Common Law Jurisdictions

June 2007

Speaking Engagement

Advisory Committee of the American Law Institute -- Spoke as Co-Chair of the Advisory Committee of the American Law Institute to the ALI Project on Transnational Insolvency: European Principles at a meeting at Columbia.

June 2007

Paper Presentation

Annual Meeting of the International Insolvency Institute -- Presented his paper "International Arbitration and Bankruptcy" at the Annual Meeting of the International Insolvency Institute in June (with Professor Christoph Paulus).

June 2007

Meeting Participant

UNCITRAL Working Group on Insolvency, Corporate Groups -- Attended the meetings in New York of the UNCITRAL Working Group on Insolvency, Corporate Groups, as the representative of the International Insovlency Institute.

May 15, 2007


Oxford University, Oxford, England -- Legal Integration of NAFTA Through Supranational Adjudication

March 31, 2007


Texas-Harvard Joint Conference -- Organized the Third Annual Texas-Harvard Joint Conference on Commercial Law Realities, held in April at the Law School (empirical and comparative scholarship by young scholars).

February 2007

Paper Presentation

American University Conference -- Presented his paper "Legal Integration of NAFTA Through Supranational Adjudication" to a conference on "The North American Legal System," at American University.


December 31, 2006

Paper Presentation

Commercial Law Conference -- Presented his paper "Has the Stigma of Bankruptcy Declined among United States Consumers?" to a commercial law conference in Lanciano, Italy.