Faculty Profiles

Rafael I. Pardo

Rafael I. Pardo

Robert T. Thompson Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

Bankruptcy, Commercial Law, Courts and Judges

Curriculum Vitae

Assistant: Linda Jackson

Rafael Pardo specializes in bankruptcy and commercial law, and his scholarship has been published in numerous law journals, including the Alabama Law Review, the Iowa Law Review, the Florida Law Review, the UCLA Law Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Washington Law Review, the Washington and Lee Law Review, and the William and Mary Law Review.

Pardo received his JD from New York University School of Law, where he served as an executive editor of the New York University Law Review and was a recipient of the Judge John J. Galgay Fellowship in Bankruptcy and Reorganization Law.  He is an elected member of the American Law Institute and has testified as a bankruptcy expert before both houses of Congress.  In 2015, he received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, the highest university honor for teaching given by Emory University to a full-time faculty member in recognition of a record of excellence in teaching.

Education: JD, New York University School of Law; BA, Yale College

Book Chapter

“Self-Representation and the Dismissal of Chapter 7 Cases," in Beyond Elite Law: Access to Civil Justice in America 87 (Samuel Estreicher & Joy Radice eds. 2016).

Journal Articles

"Financial Freedom Suits: Bankruptcy, Race, and Citizenship in Antebellum America," 62 Arizona Law Review (forthcoming 2020).

“Federally Funded Slaving,” 93 Tulane Law Review 787 (2019).

"Bankrupted Slaves," 71 Vanderbilt Law Review 1071 (2018).

“Documenting Bankrupted Slaves,” 71 Vanderbilt Law Review En Banc 73 (2018).

“Taking Bankruptcy Rights Seriously,” 91 Washington Law Review 1115 (2016).

"The Undue Hardship Thicket: On Access to Justice, Procedural Noncompliance, and Pollutive Litigation in Bankruptcy," 66 Florida Law Review 2101 (2014).

"Rethinking the Principal-Agent Theory of Judging," 99 Iowa Law Review 331 (2013) (with Jonathan R. Nash).

"The Structural Exceptionalism of Bankruptcy Administration," 60 UCLA Law Review 384 (2012) (with Kathryn A. Watts).

"Does Ideology Matter in Bankruptcy? Voting Behavior on the Courts of Appeals," 53 William & Mary Law Review 919 (2012) (with Jonathan R. Nash).

"Reconceptualizing Present-Value Analysis in Consumer Bankruptcy," 68 Washington & Lee Law Review 113 (2011).

“The Real Student-Loan Scandal: Undue Hardship Discharge Litigation,” 83 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 179 (2009) (with Michelle R. Lacey).

“An Empirical Investigation into Appellate Structure and the Perceived Quality of Appellate Review,” 61 Vanderbilt Law Review 1745 (2008) (with Jonathan R. Nash).

Congressional Testimony

Hearing of the Senate Impeachment Trial Committee on the Articles Against Judge G. Thomas Porteous, Jr., 111th Congress (September 16, 2010).

An Undue Hardship? Discharging Educational Debt in Bankruptcy: Hearing Before the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law of the House Committee on the Judiciary, 111th Congress (September 23, 2009).

Amicus Briefs

Brief for Professor Rafael I. Pardo as Amicus Curiae in Support of Appellant and Urging Reversal, Murphy v. United States, No. 14-1691 (1st Cir. July 29, 2015), 2015 WL 4985562.

Brief for Amicus Curiae Professor Rafael I. Pardo in Support of Neither Party, United Student Aid Funds, Inc. v. Espinosa, 130 S. Ct. 1367 (2010) (No. 08- 1134), 2009 WL 2875368.


“Federally Funded Slaving,” Annual Meeting of the Business History Conference, Cartagena, Colombia (March 16, 2019).

“Federally Funded Slaving,” Marshall M. Criser Distinguished Lecture and Workshop Series, University of Florida Levin College of Law (August 27, 2018).

"Bankrupt Slaves," Colloquium on Legal and Constitutional History, New York University School of Law (November 29, 2017).

“Unmet Legal Needs: Bankruptcy,” Conference on “Beyond Elite Law: Access to Civil Justice in America,” New York University School of Law (April 28, 2016).

“Taking Bankruptcy Rights Seriously,” Faculty Colloquium, University of Houston Law Center (March 30, 2015).

“The Undue Hardship Thicket: On Access to Justice, Procedural Noncompliance, and Pollutive Litigation in Bankruptcy,” Research Symposium on Student Loans, Suffolk University Law School (April 11, 2014).

"Mistake and Misbehavior in Undue Hardship Discharge Litigation," Annual Meeting of the Law and Society Association, Boston, Massachusetts (June 2, 2013).

"Mistake and Misbehavior in Undue Hardship Discharge Litigation," Frank W. Koger Bankruptcy Symposium, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Missouri, Kansas City, Missouri (May 31, 2013).

"Rethinking the Principal-Agent Theory of Judging," Annual Meeting of the American Law and Economics Association, Vanderbilt University Law School (May 17, 2013) (co-presented with Jonathan R. Nash).

Media Appearances

Tara Siegel Bernard, Chained to Unpayable Debt, N.Y. Times, July 18, 2015, at B1.

Natalie Kitroeff, Student Loan Monitor’s Tactics on Bankruptcy Draw Criticism, N.Y. TIMES, Jan. 2, 2014, at A1.

Charlie Wells, If Your Child Drops Out of College, You May Get Your Money Back. Or Not..., WALL ST. J., Sept. 19, 2013, at R5.

Vinnie Politan, Making It in America, HLN, Jan. 28, 2013.

Katy Stech, Grads Skirt Student Loans, Wall St. J., Dec. 8, 2012, at B8.

Ron Lieber, Last Plea on School Loans: Proving a Hopeless Future, N.Y. Times, Sept. 1, 2012, at A1.