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Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath Receives Prestigious Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award

Alexandria, Va. — The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) presented Bankruptcy Judge Mary F. Walrath (D. Del.; Wilmington) with the Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award at the ABI luncheon during the 91st National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges annual meeting in Las Vegas on Oct. 10. The Norton Judicial Excellence Award honors a current or retired judge based on that judge’s lifetime achievements as an educator, writer or scholar. It was established by West, a Thomson Reuters business and ABI in 2006. Judge Walrath is the twelfth recipient of the award.

Judge Walrath was sworn in as a bankruptcy judge for the District of Delaware on Sept. 9, 1998. She practiced commercial law as an associate and a partner at Philadelphia’s Clark Ladner Fortenbaugh & Young before being named by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to the bench in Delaware. She served as Chief Bankruptcy Judge from 2003 to 2008. An ABI member since 2005, Judge Walrath just completed a term as president of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges after service as chair of the NCBJ Education Committee. She’s also a founding member and co-president of the Delaware Bankruptcy American Inn of Court, a member of the Delaware Chapter of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation (IWIRC) and a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy. She received an A.B. in history from Princeton University in 1976, where she earned four varsity letters and was captain of the women’s basketball team. She earned her J.D. cum laude from Villanova University in 1979, where she was a member of the Villanova Law Review and was awarded the Order of the Coif.

The previous bankruptcy judges to receive the Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award are:

  • Hon. Eugene Wedoff (2016)
  • Hon. A. Jay Cristol (2015)
  • Hon. Barbara Houser (2014)
  • Hon. Barry Russell (2013)
  • Hon. William Houston Brown (2012)
  • Hon. Robert D. Martin (2011)
  • Hon. Joseph Thomas Small (2010)
  • Hon. Joseph "Jerry" Patchan (2009)
  • Hon. Conrad K. Cyr (2008)
  • Hon. Alexander L. Paskay (2007)
  • Hon. Joe Lee (2006)


ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 13,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals, providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit For additional conference information, visit