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Melissa Root of Jenner & Block LLP Selected as Emerging Leader in ABI's "40 Under 40" Initiative

Alexandria, Va. ABI announces that Melissa Root of Jenner & Block LLP (Chicago) has been selected as an emerging leader in ABI’s inaugural “40 Under 40” initiative. The initiative was launched this year to identify 40 of the top insolvency industry professionals under the age of 40, who will be formally recognized at ABI’s 2017 Winter Leadership Conference, taking place Nov. 30-Dec. 2 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in Palm Springs, Calif.

Root frequently represents parties in large complex bankruptcy litigation matters and also frequently represents debtors and trustees in chapter 11 cases. She is a member of the firm’s Restructuring and Bankruptcy, Bankruptcy Litigation and ERISA Litigation practices. In addition, Root is the co-chair of the firm's Hiring Executive Committee and a member of the Women’s Forum Steering Committee, and she served as co-chair of the firm’s Summer Program from 2012-15. Root’s practice also includes representing parties in bankruptcy-related appellate matters. In addition to her corporate restructuring and bankruptcy litigation practice, Root devotes significant time to pro bono work, including recently representing a federal habeas petitioner before the Seventh Circuit and a domestic violence community organization in its bankruptcy. She is also active in many professional organizations, including serving as co-chair of the Bankruptcy & Insolvency Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association. She is also active in ABI and the Chicago Network of the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, for which she served as a member of the board of directors for many years, including as chair.

“Each of these 40 young men and women are distinguished by their extraordinary professional accomplishments and leadership in their communities,” said ABI Executive Director Samuel J. Gerdano.

The “40 Under 40” winners are distinguished by professional achievements and service and were selected by a group of experienced professionals from ABI’s current leadership.

Nominations were submitted via the initiative’s website, through which professionals nominated themselves or a colleague. Membership in ABI was not required. Nearly 300 individuals started the rigorous applications process, and 195 entries were ultimately submitted for judging. Those selected were chosen from both large and small firms from every region of the country, and represent diverse practice areas such as law, finance, accounting, consulting, academia, government and more. Members of the selection committee were Patricia Redmond (chair) of Stearns, Weaver, Miller, Weissler, Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A. (Miami), Nina Parker of Parker and Associates (Winchester, Mass.), Soneet Kapila of KapilaMukamal, LLP (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.), Katie Coleman of Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP (New York), Derek Abbott of Morris Nichols Arsht & Tunnell (Wilmington, Del.), Eve Karasik of Levene, Neale, Bender, Yoo & Brill (Los Angeles), Doug Lutz Frost Brown Todd LLC (Cincinnati), Judge Deborah L. Thorne (N.D. Ill.; Chicago) of Illinois, Risa Wolf-Smith of Holland & Hart LLP (Denver) and ABI President Hon. Gene Wedoff (ret.).

Click here to view the full list of “40 Under 40” honorees.


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 12,000 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