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2022 Heidt Award Winner: Clay Roberts

Freddi Mack

2022 Heidt Award Winner: Clay Roberts
Irina/Adobe Stock

This sentiment, spoken by the Honorable Grace E. Robson of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida, is shared by countless many of Clay Roberts’ friends, colleagues, and family members—including this article’s author, Clay’s fiancée. Over the years, Clay has exemplified compassion, dedication, professionalism, and a ceaseless drive toward the betterment of his community.

For these reasons and more, the Business Bankruptcy Committee honored Clay with the annual Kathryn R. Heidt Memorial Award (the “Heidt Award”) at the Committee’s 2022 Fall Meeting in Orlando, Florida. The Honorable Christopher M. Alston of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Washington presented Clay with the award. The award presentation followed a heartfelt introduction from Judge Robson, who has worked with Clay on various Business Bankruptcy Committee projects.

The Heidt Award honors the memory of Kathryn R. Heidt, who at the time of her passing was the Chair of the Business Bankruptcy Committee. The Heidt Award recognizes those individuals who embody the qualities that Kate herself sought to instill in young lawyers.

Clay is currently Counsel at Berger Singerman LLP in Miami, Florida. He represents public and private companies in strategic corporate, finance, and restructuring matters, including mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, and other strategic relationships. Before joining Berger Singerman LLP, Clay previously worked as a Corporate, Finance, and Restructuring Counsel with Bilzin Sumberg Baena Price & Axelrod LLP, a Financial Restructuring and Insolvency associate with White & Case LLP and as an associate with Genovese Joblove & Battista, P.A., where he worked on both bankruptcy and commercial litigation matters.

As a new lawyer, Clay served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Laurel M. Isicoff, now Chief Judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. Clay first met Judge Isicoff when he was a competitor in the Duberstein Bankruptcy Moot Court Competition in 2014. Judge Isicoff was a final-round judge for the Cristol Kahn Paskay Cup, the regional preliminary competition for schools within the Eleventh Circuit participating in the nationwide Duberstein competition. Not only did Clay and his teammates from Georgia State University College of Law win the Cristol Kahn Paskay Cup, but they also went on to win the Duberstein competition in New York, New York. It is in part because of Clay’s impressive moot court performance that Judge Isicoff selected Clay for a judicial clerkship post-graduation in Miami.

Clay Roberts-2022 Heidt Award Winner

Clay Roberts-2022 Heidt Award Winner

Clay has been an active member of the ABA’s Business Bankruptcy Committee for his entire legal career. He has served as a Co-Chair of the Secured Creditors Subcommittee and as a Co-Chair of the Chapter 11 Subcommittee, a position he currently holds. Clay has furthered the Business Bankruptcy Committee’s written thought leadership by authoring the article Will the Supreme Court Disapprove of Class Skipping Structured Dismissals in Jevic, published in the Committee’s eNewsletter, and by contributing to the ABA’s Bankruptcy and Intellectual Property Deskbook.

Additionally, through the Business Bankruptcy Committee, Clay has participated in various panel discussions and webinars. For example, Clay moderated the panels titled Retail Bankruptcies: From the Outside Looking In and Who’s My Client?: The Practice and Ethics of Third Party Financing in Bankruptcy.

Clay’s contributions to the field of bankruptcy law extend beyond the Business Bankruptcy Committee. He has authored and co-authored articles in publications such as the Norton Journal of Bankruptcy Law & Practice (Stripping Down and Stripping Off in Chapter 11 and Chapter 13: Does Caulkett Change the Calculus?) and the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal (Creditors Beware: Bankruptcy Code Permits Broad Recovery of Attorney’s Fees After Dismissal of Involuntary Petition and The Moving Target of Executoriness: Examining Lewis Brothers Bakeries v. Interstate Brands Corp.). Clay has also been a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute since 2014.

Beyond these professional and academic achievements, Clay is perhaps best known for his kind heart and generous spirit. He is a warm and encouraging mentor to younger lawyers and law students. And he is committed to an active pro bono practice, having served as a Volunteer Attorney for both the International Refugee Assistance Project and the National Veterans Legal Services Program.

Clay Roberts-2022 Heidt Award Winner

Clay Roberts-2022 Heidt Award Winner

Congratulations to Clay Roberts for this well-deserved recognition in Kate Heidt’s memory. The ABA Business Bankruptcy Committee looks forward to seeing Clay’s future contributions to the Business Bankruptcy Committee and the community at large.