Professor Lawton is a nationally recognized expert on individual and small business debtors in chapter 11. She was a member of the Individual Chapter 11 Task Force of the American Bankruptcy Institute, and a consultant to the Governance and Supervision of Chapter 11 Cases and Companies Committee for the American Bankruptcy Institute Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 (the “Commission”). Professor Lawton testified before the Commission and provided the Commission with several written reports about chapter 11 debtors, particularly small business debtors. In its final report, the Commission used data that Professor Lawton had provided to recommend increasing the limit for small business status to $10 million for small- to medium-sized enterprises. In the spring of 2015, Professor Lawton was the Robert M. Zinman Resident Scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute.
Professor Lawton’s current research involves empirical analysis of chapter 11 bankruptcy cases. She is the associate investigator for the National Study of Individual Chapter 11 Bankruptcies, funded by the Anthony H.N. Smelling Endowment Fund of the ABI. Her bankruptcy work appears in The American Bankruptcy Law Journal, a double-blind peer-reviewed publication, the Washington & Lee Law Review, the Arizona Law Review, and the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review. A number of podcasts that she hosted on various bankruptcy issues may be found on the ABI website.
Professor Lawton’s earlier published work includes pieces on employment discrimination, sexual harassment law, genetic discrimination, and law and business pedagogy. Her work appears in the Minnesota Law Review, George Mason Law Review, the Kentucky Law Journal, the Journal of Legal Studies Education, and specialty journals at Yale, Columbia, the University of Pennsylvania, and Emory. Professor Lawton’s case study Pyramid earned the Runner-Up Award in a national case competition on ethics in real estate and was published by Columbia University’s Business School.
Professor Lawton also is an accomplished teacher, having twice won the Professor of the Year award at Roger Williams University School of Law in Bristol, Rhode Island, where she earned tenure in 2007. She has taught at both law and business schools, including stints at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, the Richard T. Farmer School of Business at Miami University of Ohio (where she was a two-time Teaching Award nominee and a Lilly Teaching Fellow), the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and the Pettit College of Law at Ohio Northern University. Professor Lawton teaches Contracts, Sales, and Consumer and Corporate Bankruptcy at MSU College of Law. She also has taught Payment Systems, Secured Transactions, and Consumer Law.
Professor Lawton clerked for the Honorable David W. McKeague when he sat as a district court judge in the Western District of Michigan; the Honorable James D. Gregg, a now-retired bankruptcy court judge for the Western District of Michigan; and the Honorable James Brickley (deceased), an associate justice on the Michigan Supreme Court. As Justice Brickley’s clerk, Professor Lawton worked on Smith v. Dep’t of Public Health, 428 Mich. 450 (1987), which the United States Supreme Court affirmed sub nom. Will v. Michigan Dep’t of State Police, 491 U.S. 58 (1989).
J.D. cum laude 1986, University of Michigan Law School; M.B.A. 1986, University of Michigan; A.B. with honors 1982, University of Michigan
- Basic Bankruptcy
(Formerly DCL 572) This course provides students with understanding of bankruptcy law, bankruptcy code and debtor/creditor relations. *This course is being replaced by Consumer Bankruptcy (506E) and Chapter 11 Reorganization (506F) beginning Fall 2009.
- Chapter 11 Reorganization
This course provides an in-depth examination of the issues that arise inside Chapter 11. The course focus is transactional. The students will have to draft various documents, including a chapter 11 plan for a hypothetical debtor.
- Consumer Bankruptcy
This course examines a portion of state debt collection law and a basic overview of bankruptcy fundamentals with a focus on consumer bankruptcy practice under Chapters 7 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. While there are no prerequisites, it is strongly recommended that students take Secured Transactions either prior to or at the same this course is taken.
- Contracts I
(Formerly DCL 101) (This course is being replaced by Contracts LAW 530B beginning fall 2011) A study of the basic law relating to the formation of a contract. With respect to the creation of a contract, capacity, mutual assent, consideration and compliance with formalities are discussed. Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code is integrated with common law contract principles throughout the course.
- Contracts II
(Formerly DCL 102) (This course is being replaced by Contracts LAW 530B beginning fall 2011)Continues the survey of many basic contract issues, including the avoidability of contracts; the Statute of Frauds requirement; the process of determining the total contract obligation of the parties; the determination of proper performance of contracts, contract breaches and related doctrines; and the available legal redress for contract breaches.
- Sales and Leases
This course examines the information and terms, as well as remedies for breach, of contracts for sales of goods, under Article 2 of the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC). The course also examines Article 2A's provisions on leases and provides an overview of the similarities and differences between Article 2 of the UCC and the United Nations Convention on the International Sale of Goods. Other topics that the course may cover include documents of title under Article 7 of the UCC, Magnuson Moss Warranty Act, or the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA). Students who have taken Commercial Transactions (LAW 501C) may be ineligible to take this course, so approval from the professor must be obtained to enroll.
Law Review Articles
Lawton, An Argument for Simplifying the Code’s “Small Business Debtor” Definition, 21 American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review 55 (2013).
Lawton, Chapter 11 Triage: Diagnosing a Debtor’s Prospects for Success, 54 Arizona Law Review 985 (2012).
Lawton & Oswald, Scary Stories and the Limited Liability Polluter in Chapter 11, 65 Washington & Lee Law Review 451 (2008).
Lawton, Between Scylla and Charybdis: The Perils of Reporting Sexual Harassment, 9 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law 603 (Spring 2007).
Lawton, The Bad Apple Theory in Sexual Harassment Law, 13 George Mason Law Review 817 (Summer 2005).
Lawton, Operating in an Empirical Vacuum: The Ellerth and Faragher Affirmative Defense, 13 Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 197 (Spring 2004).
Lawton, Tipping the Scales of Justice in Sexual Harassment Law, 27 Ohio Northern University Law Review 517 (2001) (symposium).
Lawton, The Meritocracy Myth and the Illusion of Equal Employment Opportunity, 85 Minnesota Law Review 587 (December 2000).
Lawton, The Emperor’s New Clothes: How the Academy Deals with Sexual Harassment, 11 Yale Journal of Law and Feminism 75 (1999).
Lawton, The Frankenstein Controversy: The Constitutionality of a Federal Ban on Cloning, 87 Kentucky Law Journal 277 (1998-99).
Outstanding Paper Award, Tri-State Regional Business Law Association, Inc., November 1997
Lawton, Regulating Genetic Destiny: A Comparative Study of Legal Constraints in Europe and the United States, 11 Emory International Law Review 365 (1997).
Lawton, Using a Management Driven Model to Teach Business Law, 15 Journal of Legal Studies Education 211-235 (Summer 1997).
Lawton and Oswald, Teaching the Doctrine of Precedent Through Simulations, 13 Journal of Legal Studies Education 121-146 (Winter/Spring 1995).
Lawton and Oswald, The Use of Simulated Hearings in Business Law Courses, 11 Journal of Legal Studies Education 103-126 (Winter/Spring 1993).
Lawton, Pyramid, Columbia Business School, 1993 (published case study).
Runner-Up Award, Albert Sussman Ethics in Real Estate Competition, Columbia Business School, 1993.
The Honorable Scott Dales, Anne Lawton, Greg Luyt, and Michelle Wilson, So you want to get paid? How to get your fees paid without running afoul of the Court, the law or the rules of ethics, Twenty-Third Annual FBA Bankruptcy Conference, Western District of Michigan (short seminar materials of 10 pages or less).
The Honorable Scott Dales, Anne Lawton & Lori Purky, Exemption Issues Materials, Twenty-First Annual FBA Bankruptcy Conference, Western District of Michigan (short seminar materials of 10 pages or less).
Lawton, The Cultural Myth of Meritocracy, 2 Employee Rights Quarterly 57 (Winter 2002).
The Honorable James D. Gregg and Anne Lawton, Bankruptcy Ethics: The Attorney-Client Privilege and The Duty of Confidentiality re: Client Communications, Fourth Annual Midwestern Bankruptcy Conference 213 (Prentice Hall Law & Business 1994) (seminar materials).
Report on proposed small-business reforms, Governance and Supervision of Chapter 11 Cases and Companies Committee, American Bankruptcy Institute Commission to Reform Chapter 11 (Summer 2013).