Robert K. Rasmussen

Of Counsel


Bar Admissions

State of California


J.D., University of Chicago Law School, cum laude; Order of the Coif; Comment Editor, University of Chicago Law Review

B.A., Loyola University of Chicago, magna cum laude

A distinguished scholar and law professor, Bob is one of the country’s leading experts on bankruptcy law and corporate reorganization.  His expertise focuses on the interaction of market forces and corporate reorganization law, and he advises clients on complex bankruptcy, commercial, secured transactions and corporate reorganization law matters.

Bob joined the USC Gould School of Law in 2007, serving as dean from 2007 to 2015.  In 2015, he was named the J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law and Political Science, and currently serves as the school’s Director of Interdisciplinary Curriculum.

Bob was previously a professor at Vanderbilt Law School, where he received multiple Hartman-Hall awards for outstanding teaching of first-year law students, and served as the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs from 2002 to 2004.  Bob has also been a visiting professor at the University of Chicago and University of Michigan law schools.

Prior to teaching, Bob clerked for the Honorable John C. Godbold, chief judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit.  He worked in the Civil Division Appellate Staff at the U.S. Department of Justice, handling litigation in the U.S. Courts of Appeals and the Supreme Court.

A widely-cited scholar, Bob has authored or co-authored dozens of articles published in some of the country’s leading law journals, including the Supreme Court Review, the University of Pennsylvania Law Review, the Stanford Law Review, and the Yale Law Journal.  Bob has influenced the jurisprudence in his field as the principal author of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of nine law professors in the 1999 U.S. Supreme Court case Bank of America v. 203 North LaSalle Street Partnership; the principal author of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of three law professors in Integrated Telecom Express, Inc., a 2004 case decided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals; and the principal author of an amicus curiae brief on behalf of seven law professors in Owens Corning, a 2005 case also decided by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.



Director, Interdisciplinary Curriculum, USC Gould School of Law, 2016 – present

J. Thomas McCarthy Trustee Chair in Law and Political Science, USC Gould School of Law, 2015 – present

Carl Mason Franklin Dean’s Chair in Law, USC Gould School of Law, 2007-2015


Faculty Advisor, USC Gould Business Law Society, 2012 – present

Fellow, American Bar Foundation, 2009 – present

Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy, 2012 – present

Member, The American Law Institute, 2008 – present

Member, Pacific Council on International Policy, November 2008 – present

Recent Publications

  • Bankruptcy Law Stories, editor (Foundation Press, 2007).
  • “End of Bankruptcy Revisited,” in Research Handbook in Corporate Reorganizations (Barry Adler, ed.) (Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2020).
  • Taking Control Rights Seriously, 166 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1749 (2018)
  • Lessons for Academic Leaders from Modern Restructuring Practice, 92 American Bankruptcy Law Journal 233 (2018)
  • Puerto Rico and Netherworld of Sovereign Debt Restructuring, 91 Southern California Law Review 133 (2017) (with Mitu Gulati)
  • “Governmental Intervention in an Economic Crisis” (with David Skeel). 19 University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law 7 (2016).
  • “Law Schools and the University,” 66 Syracuse Law Journal 451 (2016)
  • “Puerto Rico: Of Capital Structures, Control Rights and Liquidity,” 11 Capital Markets Law Journal 228 (2016).
  • “Antibankruptcy,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 119 Yale Law Journal 648 (2010).
  • “International Commercial Law,” in Research Handbook in International Economic Law at p. 271 (Andrew T. Guzman and Alan O. Sykes, eds.) (Edward Elgar Publishing Limited, 2007).
  • “The Story of Case v. Los Angeles Lumber Products: Old Equity Holders and the Reorganized Corporation,” in Bankruptcy Law Stories (Robert K. Rasmussen, ed.) (Foundation Press, 2007).
  • “Sovereign Debt Restructuring, Odious Debt, and the Politics of Debt Relief,” 70 Law & Contemporary Problems 249 (Autumn 2007) (solicited for Symposium on Odious Debt).
  • “Where are All the Transnational Bankruptcies?: The Puzzling Case for Universalism,” 32 Brook Journal International Law 983 (2007) (solicited for Symposium on Bankruptcy in the Global Village).
  • “On the Scope of Managerial Discretion in Chapter 11,” 156 University of Pennsylvania Law Review. PENNumbra 77 (2007), reprinted in Executive Compensation: Corporate Legal Framework (L. Padmavathi, ed.) (Amicus Books, The Icfai University Press 2008-09).
  • “Empirically Bankrupt,” 2007 Columbia Business Law Review 180.
  • “The Prime Directive,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 75 University of Cincinnati Law Review 921 (2007) (solicited for Cincinnati Law & Business Symposium).
  • “Creating a Calamity,” 68 Ohio State Law Journal 319 (2007) (solicited for Symposium on Commercial Calamities).
  • “Beyond Recidivism,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 54 Buffalo Law Review 343 (2006) (solicited for Symposium on Lynn LoPucki’s Courting Failure).
  • “Private Debt and the Missing Lever of Corporate Governance,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 154 University of Pennsylvania Law Review 1209 (2006), reprinted in Corporate Insolvency: Creditor’s Protection (P. L. Jayanthi Reddy, ed.) (The Icfai University Press, 2010).
  • “The Search for Hercules: Residual Owners, Directors, and Corporate Governance in Chapter 11,” 82 Washington University Law Quarterly 1445 (2004) (solicited for the F. Hodge O’Neal Corporate and Securities Law Symposium).
  • “Secured Credit, Control Rights and Real Options,” 25 Cardozo Law Review 1935 (2004) (solicited for the Symposium on Threats to Secured Lending).
  • “Integrating a Theory of the State into Sovereign Debt Restructuring,” 53 Emory Law Journal 1159 (2004) (solicited for the Symposium on Sovereign Financial Distress).
  • “Chapter 11 at Twilight,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 56 Stanford Law Review 673 (2003).
  • “The End of Bankruptcy,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 55 Stanford Law Review 751 (2002).
  • “The Four (or Five) Easy Lessons of Enron,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 55 Vanderbilt Law Review 1787 (2002) (solicited for the Symposium on Convergence on Delaware: Corporate Bankruptcy and Corporate Governance).
  • “The Uneasy Case Against the Uniform Commercial Code,” 62 Louisiana State University Law Review 1097 (2002) (solicited for the Hawkland Symposium).
  • “The Problem of Corporate Groups, A Comment on Professor Ziegel,” 7 Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law 395 (2002) (solicited for the Symposium on Corporate Bankruptcy).
  • “Control Rights, Priority Rights, and the Conceptual Foundations of Corporate Reorganization Law,” (with Douglas G. Baird) 87 Virginia Law Review 921 (2001).