American Bankruptcy Institute Research Prof. Howard explains the mission of the American Bankruptcy Institute and details some of the research projects funded by the committee she chairs.
Margaret Howard, Law Alumni Association Professor of Law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, has been elected Vice-President of the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI). As Vice-President, Howard will serve on the ABI’s executive committee and chair the Research Grants Committee for a three-year term.
The ABI is the country’s largest multi-disciplinary, non-partisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. Howard previously served as the ABI Scholar-in-Residence in 2002 and has been a member of the ABI’s board of directors since 2006.
Part of the ABI’s mission is to explore how the bankruptcy system works. The Research Grants Committee serves that mission by funding grants that will explain the operation of the system and how it affects people. For example, one study is looking at the success of the debtor education program mandated by the 2005 bankruptcy code amendments, which were the most extensive changes to the code in decades and largely benefited creditors.
“There are lots of reasons to believe that the education system doesn’t work very well,” says Howard. “In fact, if we want to teach people to be good money managers, we’ve got to catch them in high school.”
Other current research projects include an international research team examining claims trading in large Chapter 11 cases and a study of 1,000 bankruptcy filers in Memphis to determine the profile, causes and consequences of consumer bankruptcies in America's busiest bankruptcy district.
Founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues, the ABI has over 11,000 members, including attorneys, bankers, judges, professors, turnaround specialists, accountants and other bankruptcy professionals. Since ABI Endowment Fund was created in 1989 to provide resources for research and education, over $650,000 has been transferred to the Research Grants Committee to fund research relating to bankruptcy and insolvency issues, the scholar-in-residence program, and student prizes for bankruptcy moot court competitions.
Margaret Howard received her undergraduate degree from Duke University and her J.D. from Washington University. She also received an LL.M degree from Yale University. From 1981 to 2001, Howard was a member of the faculty at Vanderbilt University School of Law.