Melissa B. Jacoby

Graham Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law

Areas of Expertise

  • Bankruptcy Law
  • Commercial Law
  • Contracts
  • Law and Social Sciences
  • Secured Transactions


Melissa B. Jacoby is the Graham Kenan Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she teaches commercial and bankruptcy law. From 2021-2024, Jacoby was appointed by Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts to assist the Federal Judicial Center on educational programming for bankruptcy judges. Jacoby’s book Unjust Debts will be published by The New Press on June 11, 2024 and has received a starred review from Publishers Weekly.

Jacoby has been elected to the American Law Institute, the National Bankruptcy Conference, the American College of Bankruptcy, and the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers, and has served as the Robert M. Zinman Scholar for the American Bankruptcy Institute. She is a recipient of the Grant Gilmore Award for scholarship from the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers and the Byrd Award for teaching, among other honors.

Jacoby held judicial clerkships with the Honorable Robert E. Ginsberg of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Illinois and the Honorable Marjorie O. Rendell of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and was a staff attorney for the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. Before joining the faculty at UNC, she taught for four years at Temple University in Philadelphia. Jacoby graduated from the University of Pennsylvania Law School, as well as from Penn’s College of Arts and Sciences, where she was a history major.

Selected Publications

Fake and Real People in Bankruptcy, 39 EMORY BANKR. DEV. J. 497 (2023).
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Sorting Bugs and Features of Mass Tort Bankruptcy, 101 TEX. L. REV. 1745 (2023).
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Unbundling Business Bankruptcy Law, 101 N.C. L. REV. 1703 (2023).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

Other Judges' Cases, 78 NYU ANN. SURV. AM. L. 39 (2022).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

Shocking Business Bankruptcy Law, 131 YALE L.J. FORUM 409 (2021).
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Consumer Protection After a Global Financial Crisis (with E. Balleisen), 107 GEO. L.J. 813 (2019).
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Corporate Bankruptcy Hybridity, 166 U. PA. L. REV. 1715 (2018).
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Tracing Equity: Realizing and Allocating Value in Chapter 11 (with E.J. Janger), 96 TEX. L. REV. 673 (2018).
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Federalism Form and Function in the Detroit Bankruptcy, 33 YALE J. ON REG. 55 (2016).
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Ice Cube Bonds: Allocating the Price of Process in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy (with E. J. Janger), 123 YALE L. J. 862 (2014).
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