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Edan Lisovicz '14 and family

New award for excellence in bankruptcy law honors Judge Raymond Lyons '73

Edan Lisovicz '14 selected as inaugural recipient

Edan Lisovicz ’14 followed a path from a pre-law school internship with a friend’s parent – a bankruptcy attorney – to a post-graduation clerkship with a prestigious federal bankruptcy judge. “I had no idea that I’d find this area of the law so fascinating,” he said. “I’d have to describe how I got here as very serendipitous.” Lisovicz’s passion for bankruptcy law has earned him the newly inaugurated Honorable Raymond T. Lyons Award in Bankruptcy Law, created by Judge Lyons’ former clerks and presented at the Commencement Award Ceremony on May 23. Pictured from left: Dean Hobbs; Joan Lisovicz, Edan's mother; Edan Lisovicz, Judge Lyons; and Paul Lisovicz '82, Edan's father.

“Judge Lyons was a great teacher and mentor to all of us,” explained Mariah Murphy, who clerked for Judge Lyons from 2003 to 2004. “We wanted to honor Judge Lyons and thought it would be appropriate to recognize where his career originated – at Seton Hall Law.” Murphy practiced bankruptcy for several years after she completed her clerkship and is now Associate General Counsel at Citibank, where her work includes bankruptcy issues as well as other consumer lending concerns.

Judge Lyons’ prestigious career has spanned 40 years and counting. He graduated from Seton Hall in 1973 and after nearly a decade in general private practice, transferred to a law firm specializing in bankruptcy law and he found the field fascinating. “Bankruptcy law touches on every area of the law when you represent debtor corporations: landlord/tenant issues, corporate governance, contracts, environmental law, and all other aspects of commercial law,” he explained. “Anything that can happen to a company in business happens to a company in bankruptcy.”

Judge Lyons was appointed to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey bench in 1999 and served on the Panel of Mediators for the Bankruptcy Courts in Delaware and the Southern District of New York. Most notably, Judge Lyons served as mediator for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware and mediated the Chapter 11 case filed by Washington Mutual, Inc. following the largest bank failure in history. He retired from the bench in June 2013 and is currently Counsel in the Princeton office of Fox Rothschild LLP, where he devotes his efforts to assisting clients in mediation and alternative dispute resolution.

Edan Lisovicz was first introduced to bankruptcy law the summer prior to entering law school, when a friend’s parent helped him land an internship with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. The experience engendered an interest that flourished when he took Professor Michael Simkovic’s bankruptcy course and simultaneously returned to the federal bankruptcy court to serve as a judicial intern for the Honorable Donald H. Steckroth. “It was fascinating to see how lessons learned in the classroom, which focused on closely reading the Bankruptcy Code and applying its provisions to issues frequently encountered by practitioners, were addressed and resolved in the courtroom. The pragmatic classroom approach made it easy to envision myself in the role of the attorneys I saw each day in court,” Lisovicz reflected. “What most appeals to me about practicing bankruptcy law is that successful practitioners must be able to combine rigorous statutory and case law analysis with the creativity and negotiation skills needed to resolve time-sensitive issues involving many parties.” Lisovicz served as a research assistant for Professor Michael Simkovic during law school and will soon begin a clerkship with Judge Steckroth.

“More than merely acknowledging my efforts during law school, the Raymond T. Lyons Award in Bankruptcy Law recognizes the extremely accomplished career of Judge Lyons and reflects the spirit of respect, gratitude and generosity that characterizes the bankruptcy community in New Jersey,” Lisovicz continued. “Receiving this award, and getting to meet such an inspirational graduate, was an ideal cap to my experience at Seton Hall Law. It has made me feel even more excited about pursuing a career in bankruptcy law.”