Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal

2020 Banquet honoring
Mr. Jay Alix

Each year, the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal honors a member of the bankruptcy field with the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement. This year’s recipient is Jay Alix, founder of AlixPartners.

Mr. Jay Alix is the Founder of AlixPartners. AlixPartners has played a leading role in many of the major corporate restructurings of the last two decades, including General Motors, WorldCom, Enron, Dana Corporation, Calpine, and Kmart Corporation. The firm also serves as a confidential advisor to many leading U.S., European, and Asian companies that seek to solve urgent and high-impact issues that inhibit financial performance. Mr. Alix has served as CEO, COO, and CFO, and has introduced, developed, and served in the roles of chief turnaround officer and chief restructuring officer for a variety of companies undergoing significant change. He has served as an advisor to major lenders, bondholders, trade creditors, and shareholders as well as to city and federal government agencies, and has assisted these various entities in maximizing the value and recoveries from distressed companies. Mr. Alix has played a pioneering role in creating and building the turnaround industry, including his role in creating and promoting the industry's lexicon, most notably combining the words "turn" and "around" to create the noun "turnaround."

President Clinton appointed Mr. Alix to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission, which was established by Congress and charged with making proposals to revise the nation's bankruptcy laws. Additionally, he has been recognized as an expert in courts throughout the U.S., as well as by Japan's legal scholars and government leaders. Mr. Alix also served on a pro bono basis as a strategic advisor to Dennis Archer during his first term as mayor of Detroit, helping to plan and lead Mayor Archer's 400-member transition team, as well as the restructuring and turnaround of the city's finances and operations.

Mr. Alix has lectured widely, written many articles on turnaround management, co-authored two books on the financial issues facing companies in reorganization, and given many speeches on companies in transition, debt negotiations, and the corporate revitalization process.

Since 2006, Mr. Alix has focused on pro bono and creative activities. A devoted advocate for Mayo Clinic, Mr. Alix works alongside Mayo leaders, driving transformational change rooted in Mayo Clinic's vision and core values. Using his skills and philanthropy to advise the Mayo Clinic's leadership team, Mayo Clinic is now ranked #1 in U.S. News & World Report hospital rankings.

As a member of the Mayo Clinic Board of Trustees and grateful patient, Mr Alix remains inspired by Mayo's commitment to solving the world's most serious and complex medical challenges -- one patient at a time.

Mr. Alix's unprecedented philanthropic support at Mayo is designed to help "recruit the best of future generations of talented medical students and create an innovative curriculum that enables them to achieve dramatic advances in medical science, technology and patient care." To recognize his vision and generosity, Mayo designated the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine in his honor.

He enjoys many other projects including producing award-winning documentary films, six-time Tony-winning Broadway musicals and plays, and Grammy-nominated music. He actively helped the Detroit Public School System restructure and the Norman Rockwell Museum advance its mission. He has two accomplished daughters and travels globally for business and pleasure.

Mr. Alix holds a bachelor's degree in Finance from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA in Accounting from Rutgers University, and completed the YPO/Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.

The Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal is honored to present Mr. Jay Alix with our Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement.

About Mr. Sprayregen

Jamie Sprayregen

This year we were honored to present Jamie Sprayregen with the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement. Mr. Sprayregen is a restructuring partner in the Chicago and New York offices of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. Mr. Sprayregen has had, and continues to advance, an exceptional career and has served as counsel in many significant cases, including his representation of Toys “R” Us, Inc. and UAL Corp. (United Airlines). He was selected by The National Law Journal as one of “The Decade’s Most Influential Lawyers,” was inducted into the Turnaround Management Association (TMA) Turnaround, Restructuring, and Distressed Investing Industry Hall of Fame, and was appointed to serve a two year term as the President of INSOL International.

Mr. Sprayregen is a 1982 cum laude graduate of the University of Michigan. In 1985, he graduated cum laude from the University of Illinois College of Law. Mr. Sprayregen joined Kirkand & Ellis in 1990 and subsequently built the firm's International Restructuring Group. From 2006 to 2008, he worked at Goldman Sachs as the co-head of their Restructuring Group. He has served as an adjunct professor at University of Chicago Booth School of Business, New York University School of Law, and The University of Pennsylvania School of Law.

Throughout his storied career, Jamie Sprayregen has shaped the corporate landscape through his dynamic and effective representation. The quality and effectiveness of Mr. Sprayregen is world renowned, with Chambers & Partners noting that, according to those who are familiar with his work, Jamie Sprayregen is "probably the preeminent bankruptcy lawyer in the country." The Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal considered it a privilege to present Mr. Sprayregen with its Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement at the 2019 Annual Banquet.

Judge Mary F. Walrath

Judge Mary F. Walrath is a United States Bankruptcy Judge for the District of Delaware. She was appointed in 1998, and served as Chief Bankruptcy Judge from 2003 to 2008. Judge Walrath graduated from Princeton University in 1976 and earned her J.D., cum laude, from Villanova University in 1979. After clerking for the Honorable Emil F. Goldhaber, Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the E.D.Pa., Judge Walrath spent the majority of her seventeen-year legal career as an attorney at the Philadelphia law firm of Clark Ladner Fortenbaugh & Young, concentrating in the areas of debtor/creditor rights and commercial litigation.

Judge Walrath is a founding member and co-president of the Delaware Bankruptcy American Inn of Court, a member of the Delaware Chapter of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC), a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. She also edits the Rutter Group Bankruptcy Practice Guide.

Judge Walrath is active in the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges serving in the past on the NCBJ Board of Governors, as Chair of the Education Committee, and as Secretary, President-Elect, and as President and Immediate Past-President. She has also served as an associate editor and Business Manager of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal. Judge Walrath testified before the House Judiciary Committee on H.R. 1667, the Financial Institution Bankruptcy Act of 2017.

Keith J. Shapiro (83L) is the Founding Chairman of the 170-lawyer Chicago office and former Vice President of 2000-lawyer Greenberg Traurig, LLP. For 18 years he has served as Co-Chair of the firm’s Restructuring & Bankruptcy Practice. He has been the Alumni Advisor to the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal and a mentor to a long line of Editors-in-Chief in coordinating the Journal’s Annual Banquet for over 25 years. Over the course of his 33-year legal career, Mr. Shapiro has made significant contributions to the insolvency industry and to those in need.

Throughout his career, Keith Shapiro has played central roles in the bankruptcies and restructurings of many notable businesses, including United Airlines; Conseco Finance Corp.; Tropicana Entertainment, LLC; Kmart Corporation; ICO Global Communications; and Montgomery Ward, among others.

Mr. Shapiro has also helped shape the Bankruptcy Code. He was the lead draftsman of Senate Bill 1914, which became the Bankruptcy Code’s first-ever healthcare bankruptcy provisions as part of the 2005 BAPCPA amendments to the Bankruptcy Code. He testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts in support of that bill. In his role as founding Chairman of the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Committee on Professional Compensation, Mr. Shapiro also testified before the United States Senate Subcommittee on Administrative Oversight and the Courts in connection with the 1994 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code’s professional fee provisions. Additionally, he testified before the National Bankruptcy Review Commission at its inaugural hearing in November 1995.

Keith Shapiro has contributed to shaping academic discourse both at Emory Law School and in the greater legal community. In addition to his decades of service as the Journal’s Alumni Advisor, he has served on the Emory Law School Advisory Board since 2008. In 1999, Mr. Shapiro established and began funding the Journal’s Keith J. Shapiro Awards for Excellence in Consumer and Corporate Bankruptcy Writing. Last year, he generously endowed the awards to ensure their perpetuity. In the greater academic community, Mr. Shapiro has held numerous leadership positions with the American Bankruptcy Institute, serving as ABI president from 2000–2001 and as Chairman of the Board from 2002–2003. He has been a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy since 2000, has served as General Counsel to the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors for over 20 years, and is a past International Board member of Insol International and the Turnaround Management Association.

For years a role model in his community through his philanthropy and service on many charitable boards, Keith Shapiro is a past recipient of the American Jewish Committee's Judge Learned Hand Award and the Hugh O’Brien Youth Leadership organization's Albert Schweitzer Leadership Award. In 2015 he was appointed by Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner as Co-Chairman of the Illinois Holocaust and Genocide Commission.

Keith Shapiro received a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his law degree from Emory Law School in 1983. While in law school, he was a member of the inaugural bankruptcy journal. He has been supported from his first days at Emory Law by Marci, his wife of 36 years, and is especially proud of his three sons, Jordan, Michael, Jacob, and his daughter-in-law Jenna. His commitments to advancing the practice, the Journal, and bankruptcy scholarship exemplify what the Distinguished Service Award was created to recognize. The Journal is honored to present this award to him during Emory Law School’s Centennial celebration.


2016 Banquet Honored
Professor Grant W. Newton

The 2016 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement was Professor Grant W. Newton, CIRA, CPA, Ph.D. Professor Newton is Professor Emeritus of Accounting at Pepperdine University. He taught accounting and finance courses in the MBA, Executive and undergraduate programs at Pepperdine.

Professor Newton is the former Executive Director of the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors. He developed the common body of knowledge needed by accountants and financial consultants working in the insolvency and reorganization field, as well as the three courses that led to the Certified Insolvency and Reorganization Accountant (CIRA) designation. He assisted in the development of the Certification in Distressed Business Valuation (CDBV) designation.

Professor Newton was a member of the AICPA's Task Force on Financial Reporting by Entities in Reorganization Under the Bankruptcy Code that resulted in the issuance of the Statement of Position 90-7. He has advised both national and local CPA firms on issues dealing with financial reporting (during and emerging from chapter 11), valuation, terms of plan, tax impact of plan, tax issues related to the bankruptcy estate and recovery of assets.

Professor Newton received his Ph.D. degree from New York University, his Masters degree from the University of Alabama, and his B.S. degree from the University of North Alabama from which he received the Alumnus of the Year award in 1992.


2015 Banquet Honored
Professor Marjorie Girth

The 2015 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award for Lifetime Achievement was Professor Marjorie Girth. Professor Girth served as Dean of Georgia State University’s College of Law before returning to full-time law teaching there. She has also served as a visiting professor at Emory University School of Law. Professor Girth is an accomplished scholar in bankruptcy law, having written several books and articles on the subject. She has taught courses in bankruptcy, contracts, commercial law, professional responsibility, and women’s rights. Marjorie was the first woman to receive tenure at the University of Buffalo Law School. Marjorie served as a visiting professor at the law schools of Emory University and the University of Virginia. She joined Georgia State’s College of Law in 1992 and later became that law school’s dean until 1996 before she returned to full-time teaching at Georgia State. Marjorie has written numerous articles and books on bankruptcy and consumer bankruptcy reform. Marjorie served on the Georgia Supreme Court’s Commission on Access and Fairness in the Courts for several years. She has also provided expert testimony before the House and Senate Judiciary Committees on consumer bankruptcy and the Bankruptcy Reform Act.

Marjorie Girth