Third-year law student Emily Kimmelman has been designated by the American College of Bankruptcy (ACB) as the 2017 Distinguished Bankruptcy Law Student for the Third Circuit. Kimmelman was nominated for the honor by Professor Jonathan Lipson, a noted bankruptcy expert who holds the Harold E. Kohn Chair in Law.

“This award means so much to me,” said Kimmelman. “I have immense respect for Professor Lipson both as a professor and as an advisor. The fact that he wanted to nominate me for this honor, in his field of expertise, was such a compliment.”

The ACB awards the recognition to students in half of the appellate circuits each year, alternating to fill seats in the remaining circuits the following year. Students are selected based on academic excellence, professional accomplishments such as law review articles, and “extraordinary law school experience.” As the Third Circuit Distinguished Law Student, Kimmelman will attend ACB’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. this March.

Kimmelman, who currently serves as the Symposium and Note/Comment Editor for the Temple Law Review, was nominated on the strength of her recently published Comment in the Temple Law Review, Student Loans: Path to Success or Road to the Abyss?, in which she makes recommendations for reform of a bankruptcy provision known as the “student loan discharge exception.” “The student loan discharge exception,” she explains, “is a provision that makes it extra difficult for debtors to discharge student loan debt in bankruptcy proceedings. Though it is not impossible to discharge the debt, student loan debtors face a tough battle and must go through a separate adversary proceeding when attempting to discharge their loans, despite the fact that many other types of loans are automatically dischargeable.” Kimmelman noted that the topic held both personal and academic interest for her, “first, because I am a student and this had to do with student loans and, second, because of the way the provision seemed to conflict with one of bankruptcy’s fundamental principles – a fresh start for the debtor. In the course of writing this Comment, I became interested in bankruptcy and, specifically, interested in the policy struggles at play in the Bankruptcy Code.”

Kimmelman also remarked on the personal significance of being recognized for her scholarship. “I worked hard on my Comment last year, but I never expected esteemed bankruptcy professionals from the American College of Bankruptcy to read my finished product, let alone think highly of it,” she said.  “The fact that the Committee liked my work was validating and exciting. I’m also really looking forward to attending the annual conference in D.C. next month. I think it will be a wonderful networking and learning opportunity and, overall, a rewarding experience.”