Melissa B. Jacoby

Graham Kenan Professor of Law

(919) 962-8114
5081 Van Hecke-Wettach Hall

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 bankruptcy law, contract law, and commercial law, including and especially secured transactions. 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. In 2021, Chief Justice of the United States John Roberts appointed Jacoby to assist the Federal Judicial Center on designing educational programs for bankruptcy judges.

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, majoring in history.

Selected Publications

The But-For Business Bankruptcy, 131 YALE L.J. FORUM (forthcoming 2021).

Consumer Protection After a Global Financial Crisis (with E. Balleisen), 107 GEO. L.J. 813 (2019).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

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).
Westlaw | Lexis/Nexis | SSRN | Hein | BEPress

Presiding Over Municipal Bankruptcies: Then, Now, and Puerto Rico, 91 AM. BANKR. L.J. 375 (2017).
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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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Managing Medical Bills on the Brink of Bankruptcy (with M. Holman), 10 YALE J. HEALTH POL'Y L. & ETHICS 239 (2010).
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Beyond Hospital Misbehavior: An Alternative Account of Medical-Related Financial Distress (with E. Warren), 100 NW. U.L. REV. 535 (2006).
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Foreclosing on Fame: Exploring the Uncharted Boundaries of the Right of Publicity, 77 N.Y.U. L. REV. 1322 (2002) (with D. Zimmerman) (reprinted in 11 J. BANKR. L. & PRAC. (2002)).
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