Pardo installed as Walter D. Coles Professor of Law

Rafael Pardo speaks during his Feb. 7 installation in Anheuser-Busch Hall as the Walter D. Coles Professor of Law. (Photo: Michael Thomas/Washington University)

Rafael Pardo, a bankruptcy and commercial law expert, was installed recently as the Walter D. Coles Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis.

Pardo’s recent research has focused on the intersection of the 1841 Bankruptcy Act, slavery and race in the antebellum United States. His published work in this area has analyzed how the federal government became the owner and seller of enslaved Black Americans, provided direct economic support to financially distressed slave traders and restructured financially distressed assets involved in the domestic slave trade. He has also analyzed how free Black Americans facing financial distress used the act to reintegrate into their commercial communities and protect their claims to citizenship.

His installation address during the Feb. 7 ceremony was titled “Reinventing the Bankruptcy Power.”

The professorship, which was established in 1938, honors Walter D. Coles, a law school alumnus, who spent 36 years as a bankruptcy judge for the Eastern District of Missouri U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Russell Osgood, dean of the School of Law, presided over the installation ceremony, which took place in the Bryan Cave Moot Courtroom in Anheuser-Busch Hall.

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