Jared Ellias, a specialist in the study of corporate bankruptcies, joins the Harvard Law faculty

Jared Ellias

Jared Ellias, a bankruptcy law expert and corporate governance scholar, is joining Harvard Law School as a professor of law, effective July 1.

Ellias, who writes and teaches about corporate bankruptcy law and the governance of large firms, is currently the Bion M. Gregory Chair in Business Law and the faculty director of the Center for Business Law at the University of California, Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He was the William Nelson Cromwell Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School in the fall of 2021.

“Jared is an outstanding bankruptcy scholar whose research reflects a combination of empirical rigor and deep knowledge of real-world practice, qualities that have helped him shape the discussion on some of the most pressing issues impacting our economy today,” said John F. Manning ’85, the Morgan and Helen Chu Dean and Professor of Law at Harvard Law School. “He is also a terrific teacher and colleague who will add tremendously to the Harvard Law School community.”

Ellias’ current research focuses on the governance of large bankrupt firms, and the role played by activist investors, and the effect of bankruptcy filings on firms. His research interests include corporate bankruptcy, corporate governance, contract law, empirical methods in social science and law and economics. In 2021, he received a grant from the American Bankruptcy Institute to learn more about how companies operate while in Chapter 11 by studying novel datasets. He will be continuing that research at Harvard Law School.

Ellias is also working on a series of projects, with Ken Ayotte, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley Law School, that aims to use the text of court filings to learn more about how the bankruptcy system is administered and how large firms reorganize. Additionally, he has a line of research, with George Triantis, a professor at Stanford Law School, that examines how governmental entities use the rights provided to them by Congress when large regulated firms file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

He joined the UC Hastings faculty in 2014 and became the founding faculty director of the Center for Business Law in 2018. He has received the UC Hastings Foundation Faculty Award for Faculty Scholarship, the highest research award given by UC Hastings to faculty. He has also served as a teaching fellow and lecturer at Stanford Law School and a visiting associate professor at Boston University School of Law.

His research has been published or is forthcoming in leading peer reviewed law and social science journals, including the Journal of Legal Studies, the Journal of Legal Analysis, and the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, as well as in leading student-edited law reviews, including the California Law Review, the Southern California Law Review, the Yale Journal on Regulation and the Columbia Law Review Sidebar.

“In a very short time, Jared has put forward multiple research pieces on how the business bankruptcy system works ‘off the books’ — what’s happening below the surface of the judicial opinion and why law firms adopt particular strategies,” said corporate bankruptcy and law expert Mark Roe, the David Berg Professor of Law at Harvard Law School.

Ellias’ article, “Bankruptcy Hardball,” co-written with Robert J. Stark, was designated by Corporate Practice Commentator as one of the Top 10 Corporate and Securities Laws Articles of 2020. His work has been selected twice for the Harvard/Yale/Stanford Junior Faculty Forum and for presentation at the Weil, Gotshal & Manges Roundtable at Yale Law School.

“I’m so excited to join the Harvard Law community and to have the chance to contribute to the research and teaching in insolvency law that has always been a key feature of life on this campus,” said Ellias. “During my visit to Harvard, I enjoyed meeting many thoughtful colleagues and talented students, whose thinking on the issues I study have already changed my research. I’m thrilled to join this community permanently and to continue to learn from its superlative faculty, staff and students.”

Ellias was named chair of the Large Corporate Bankruptcy Scholars COVID-19 Committee, which included nearly two dozen top scholars from multiple institutions and is one of four committees that make up a larger working group of experts studying financial distress related to COVID-19.  In that capacity, Ellias and the Large Corporate Bankruptcy Scholars COVID-19 Committee advised members of Congress and their staff on bankruptcy-related responses to the early part of the pandemic.

Ellias frequently advises state and federal lawmakers on bankruptcy-related issues and he has testified on corporate bankruptcy issues before the California State Senate and presented research at a wide variety of bankruptcy law conferences and events. He advised the California State Senate on the 2019 bankruptcy of the Pacific Gas & Electric Company, one of the top ten largest industrial bankruptcies of all time that touched on many core issues of interest to the State of California.

In 2020, he was named to the American Bankruptcy Institute’s “40 Under 40” list for his scholarship and professional leadership.

He is widely quoted in the press, including by the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Financial Times, Bloomberg News, and the San Francisco Chronicle, among many others.

Prior to entering academia, Ellias was an associate in private practice at Brown Rudnick LLP, in New York, where he represented financial institutions and ad hoc and statutory creditor committees in corporate restructuring transactions, both in and out of bankruptcy court. He has trial experience in the Bankruptcy Courts of the District of Delaware, the Western District of Louisiana, and the Southern District of New York.

Ellias received his J.D. from Columbia Law School in 2008 and his A.B. in 2005 from the University of Michigan, where he majored in political science.