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Adams and Reese Counsel Richard Carmody is featured in the American College of Bankruptcy College Columns publication – a magazine for ACB Fellows. The publication asked Senior Fellows Committee members, “How Did You Get Started in Bankruptcy?”

“I saw bankruptcy law as a way that I could be my own boss sooner while also remaining a transactions and banking lawyer,” said Carmody. “I already enjoyed secured transactions and real estate law, so that was a logical fit. So when I started practicing, I became the first lawyer at a traditional Birmingham firm to begin appearing in bankruptcy court.”

Carmody, who has practiced law for more than 45 years and has a nationwide reputation for counsel in the field of bankruptcy/restructuring and secured lending, recalls the summer of 1974 when he was motivated to become a bankruptcy attorney.

“My wife and I thought that we wanted to be close to the water so during second year I landed a summer clerkship with Akerman in Orlando. This was the summer of 1974 - the height of the Arab oil embargo and two years after Disney World had opened,” said Carmody. “Akerman represented the Disney land company, which held the ground lease on the hotels adjacent to the park. As I arrived, a hotel per month was filing bankruptcy. So the land company was a constant fixture in these reorganization cases.”

Carmody continued: “Akerman did not have an experienced bankruptcy lawyer, so I was tasked with helping get the strategies organized. … From that summer, I observed that most traditional law firms at that time didn’t have experienced bankruptcy lawyers. It was a boutique practice much like criminal law and matrimonial law.”

Since bankruptcy law was not a subject covered in law school at that time, Carmody said he spent parts of at least two summers at Larry King’s NYU bankruptcy program where he got to meet Vern Countryman, Frank Kennedy, George Treister, Marty Lipton, Leonard Rosen, James White, and a young David Epstein. He was also encouraged by our local bankruptcy judges, Stephen B. Coleman and Chandler Watson, as well as the local bar, including College members Charles Denaburg, Bob Rubin, and Wilbur Silberman.

“Bankruptcy law became one of my primary areas of practice. In addition, I handled secured lending transactions, general banking, and trust law as well as commercial law like collections and material men’s lien law,” he said. “I mainly represented the creditors’ side of the street with only mixed results when I ventured over to the debtors’ side.”

Carmody is ranked Senior Statesman in both Banking and Finance Law, and Bankruptcy/Restructuring in Alabama by Chambers USA. He was inducted as a Fellow in the American College of Bankruptcy in 1999. He has served as a director of the College Foundation and as a member of the Foundation’s pro bono committee. He currently co-chairs the Senior Committee. He is a frequent writer and lecturer on bankruptcy and commercial law topics.