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WilmU Law Professor Talks Bankruptcy, College Admissions and RBG 

Professor Ponoroff

If you’ve ever been to Tuscany, chances are you brought home treasured memories of the Italian countryside, and for Lawrence Ponoroff, a professor at Wilmington University School of Law, those memories include the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg

“Tuscany is kind of a magical place,” says Professor Ponoroff, who was dean of Tulane University Law School when Justice Ginsburg taught in its summer abroad program.  

“The director of the program booked a private car and a driver to take the Ginsburgs and us (my wife and I) on a day trip all around Tuscany,” he says. “You combine just the raw beauty of Tuscany with how special it is to spend an entire day like that so close to and intimate with a Supreme Court justice — it was just an unbelievable experience.” 

Professor Ponoroff’s law experience spans more than four decades. A graduate of Stanford Law School, he has served as the dean of three law schools and written seven books, including “A Short & Happy Guide to Bankruptcy” and the soon-to-be released sixth edition of his bankruptcy law casebook: “Bankruptcy: Dealing With Financial Failure for Individuals and Businesses.” 

As an expert in the field, Professor Ponoroff and a colleague filed a 2022 amici curiae brief (Latin for “friends of the court”) in a Supreme Court bankruptcy case about debt resulting from a partner’s fraud. 

The court ruled 9-0 that “the debt is not dischargeable,” he says. “We work in the field day in and day out, the Supreme Court may see one or two bankruptcy cases every term. The litigants in the case, they have a dog in the hunt. We don’t have a dog in the hunt. What is the correct interpretation of the law? That’s our focus.” 

Teaching at Wilmington University School of Law 

When teaching at WilmU Law, he’s focused on his students. 

“I have known Professor Ponoroff for years, and he has always been a master teacher. He has won teacher of the year awards at many law schools around the country. We are honored to have him teaching two classes for us this past year online from his home in New Orleans,” says Phillip Closius, dean of Wilmington University School of Law. “One of our students noted that being in class with Professor Ponoroff ‘is like being taught by an Oxford Don.’”  

Professor Ponoroff’s expertise makes him a sought-after speaker on a myriad of legal topics. In April, he joined a panel discussion for the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers about “the impact of Students for Fair Admissions in law school.”  

The Supreme Court’s ruling in that case “precludes race-conscious decision-making for admissions, but that’s it. It’s a very narrow decision,” Professor Ponoroff says. “A student can receive credit in admissions by demonstrating that they have overcome racial discrimination or by demonstrating how they’ve benefited from their racial heritage or culture. The court said that’s fine as long as consideration is focused on the student’s unique ability to contribute to the school and not solely on the basis of race.” 

As a result, “despite all the histrionics over the decision, I didn’t think it was likely to change the status quo all that much, if at all,” he says. “And I hope that turns out to be an accurate prediction.” 

WilmU Law students enjoy the pleasure of learning from Professor Ponoroff in Contracts I and Contracts II. 

“We hope Larry will remain associated with the Wilmington School of Law for many years,” says Dean Closius. 


 

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Wilmington University School of Law offers a new approach to legal education, centered on the student and committed to breaking down barriers to the legal profession. 

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