Bankruptcy Inn Alliance Distinguished Service Award 

The Bankruptcy Inn Alliance was formed in 2011 to foster the exchange of programs and information between the Bankruptcy American Inns of Court. It was designed to provide a forum for discussion of issues of general concern to bankruptcy practitioners and help encourage the formation of new Inns that focus on bankruptcy and insolvency law. The Bankruptcy Alliance was very much modeled after the incredible success of the Linn Inn Alliance which concentrates on intellectual property law.
The Bankruptcy Inn Alliance Distinguished Service Award was developed as a way to recognize ongoing dedication to the highest standards of the legal profession, the rule of law, and the demonstration of personal ethics and integrity as expressed in the professional creed of the American Inns of Court, and specifically dedicated to a judge or attorney who has practiced in the field of bankruptcy law.

The qualifications match the established Professionalism Awards given by the American Inns of Court. The selection committee used the same criteria as the circuit, with only the additional focus on bankruptcy law. A leading reason the specific Inn for bankruptcy law was in recognition of the fact many leading insolvency practitioners appear in courts outside their “home” circuits. The practice has evolved, in large part, because of venue provisions and state corporation laws. Most notably, many practitioners from outside the third circuit routinely appear in Delaware for large corporate insolvency cases. The same is also true for bankruptcy cases venued in the Southern District of New York.  

In 2012, the Bankruptcy Inn Alliance approached the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ) for permission to present the Distinguished Service Award. The invitation was readily and graciously accepted by the Honorable Joan Feeney (D.Ma), then-President of the NCBJ. The opportunity to present the award was also presented to the American Inns of Court Foundation’s Board of Trustees, who unanimously approved the award. The association of the groups has continued since that time and this year will mark the Eleventh Distinguished Service Award presentation as we have been welcomed back by Judge Frank J. Bailey (MA) the current president of the NCBJ.
The National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges is an association of the bankruptcy judges of the United States. The organization was designed with several purposes: 

  1. to provide continuing legal education to judges, lawyers, and other involved professionals
  2. to promote cooperation among the bankruptcy judges
  3. to secure a greater degree of quality and uniformity in the administration of the bankruptcy systems
  4. to improve the practice of law in the bankruptcy courts of the United States 

[Source, NCBJ website,]
The NCBJ’s own description reveals its association goals are very closely aligned with the ideals of the American Inns of Court. The NCBJ, therefore made a fine point of association with the Bankruptcy Inn of Court Alliance. In addition to shared goals, the NCBJ provides a ready-made forum to discuss new Bankruptcy Inns where judges can interact on a peer-to-peer basis, and attorneys involved with existing bankruptcy Inns can help provide practical and logistical support.

Distinguished Service Award Nomination Procedures

Selection: A national committee of the American Inns of Court selects the recipient.

Nominations: Nominations should be made by letter, accompanied by the nominee's C.V. or resume, and any appropriate supporting documents. Additional letters of recommendation are encouraged to allow the committee to make a reasoned judgment. Letters should be addressed to Hon. Carl E. Stewart, chair of the American Inns of Court Awards Committee. Please note: The nominee does not need to be an American Inn of Court member and must be alive at the time of nomination.

Nomination packages should be sent by email to Cindy Dennis or mailed:

American Inns of Court
Attn: Cindy Dennis
225 Reinekers Lane, Suite 770
Alexandria, VA 22314

Deadline: Postmarked by June 1

Presentation: The award is presented annually at the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges.

For more information, please send an email to Cindy Dennis, Awards & Scholarships Coordinator or call (571) 319-4703.

Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award

2020The Honorable Judith K. Fitzgerald (Ret.)
The Honorable Joan N. Feeney
2018George B. Cauthen, Esquire

2017The Honorable W. Homer Drake, Jr.       
2016—The Honorable Barbara J. Houser
2015—Patricia Ann Redmond, Esquire
2014—The Honorable Paul M. “Bill” Glenn
2013—Kenneth N. Klee, Esquire            
2013—Richard Levin, Esquire
2012—The Honorable Elizabeth Perris