Charles Tabb

Of Counsel


Charles Tabb is of counsel with Foley & Lardner LLP where he concentrates his practice in commercial and international bankruptcy and insolvency matters, creditors’ rights, and out-of-court workouts and restructurings. He is a member of the Bankruptcy & Business Reorganizations Practice.

Mr. Tabb has spent 30 years as a law professor, publishing and lecturing widely on all aspects of bankruptcy law and practice, including serving on the faculty at the University of Illinois College of Law. Prior to joining Foley, Mr. Tabb practiced bankruptcy law in Dallas, Texas where his engagements included representing constituencies in the Braniff Airways and Continental Airlines bankruptcies.

Thought Leadership

Mr. Tabb’s treatise, The Law of Bankruptcy, now in its Third Edition, is the official West hornbook on bankruptcy law, and is being translated into Chinese. His treatise has been both cited and quoted by the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Tabb has also been awarded the 2014 University of Illinois College of Law Annual Book Award for the treatise.

Additionally, Mr. Tabb has advised the Chinese government in connection with China’s Enterprise and Bankruptcy Law and has advised regarding Romanian Law on the Reorganization of Enterprises and Bankruptcy Management.

Mr. Tabb has also testified before the National Bankruptcy Review Commission and the United States Senate Subcommittee on Courts and Administrative Practice of the Committee on the Judiciary.

Mr. Tabb has served on numerous editorial boards, including the boards for the American Bankruptcy Law Journal; the American Bankruptcy Institute Law Review; the Journal of Bankruptcy Law & Practice; LexisNexis; and Bloomberg. He also is a referee for several journals, including the American Bankruptcy Law Journal and the Journal of Institutional Economics.

Mr. Tabb is active in connection with bankruptcy reform, including organizing the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Secured Financing in Chapter 11 program (2014); serving on the Advisory Committee on Executory Contracts (2012-14); and acting as the reporter for the Preference Survey Report (1997), which included recommendations enacted into law by Congress in the 2005 Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act.


  • Appointed by Chief Justice Rehnquist to serve on the Advisory Committee for the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (1993 to 1999) 
  • Appointed by former Governor Jim Edgar to serve as a commissioner from Illinois to the National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws from the State of Illinois
  • Served on the faculty and board of directors of the American Bankruptcy Board of Certification 
  • Served as chair of the section on Creditors’ and Debtors’ Rights for the Association of American Law Schools


  • Selected by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading U.S. and Global Bankruptcy and Restructuring Lawyers (2020, 2022)


  • Robert Zinman Resident Scholar for the American Bankruptcy Institute (spring 2014) 
  • Mildred Van Voorhis Jones Chair in Law at the University of Illinois College of Law 
  • Global law faculty member of Católica Global School of Law, Universidade Católica Portuguesa, in Lisbon, Portugal 
  • Visiting scholar at Cambridge University and at Nottingham Law School in England 
  • Visiting professor at Shanghai Jiao Tong University Law School in Shanghai, China 
  • Visiting professor Tillburg Law School in Tillburg, Netherlands 
  • Visiting professor at Escola de Direito de São Paulo, FGV (Fundação Getulio Vargas), in Sao Paulo, Brazil 
  • Visiting professor at Georgia State University as the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute distinguished visiting professor 
  • Visiting professor at the University of Colorado 
  • Visiting professor at the University of Texas


Mr. Tabb received his juris doctor degree from the University of Virginia Law School, where he was elected to the Order of the Coif. He served as a member of the board of editors of the University of Virginia Law Review. He received the Trial Advocacy Award presented by the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association to the graduating student who showed the most promise in the field of trial advocacy. Mr. Tabb received his undergraduate degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, where he graduated summa cum laude and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Eta Sigma honorary societies. He was a National Merit Scholar.

Selected Recent Publications

  • The Law of Bankruptcy, published by West, 2013 (Third edition); Foundation, 2009 (Second edition); Foundation, 1997 (First edition) 
  • Editor, Bloomberg on Bankruptcy ( Forthcoming late 2014 or early 2015) 
  • “Credit Bidding, Security, and the Obsolescence of Chapter 11,” 2013 University of Illinois Law Review 103 (2013) 
  • Co-editor, A Debtor World: Interdisciplinary Perspectives On Debt, published by Oxford (2012) 
  • “Ignoring Polonius: A Review of Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink,” 52 Canadian Business Law Journal 321 (2012 ) 
  • Co-author, Bankruptcy Law: Principles, Policies & Practice, published by LexisNexis, 2010 (Third edition); LexisNexis, 2006 (Second edition); Anderson, 2003 (First edition) 
  • Co-author, “Bankruptcy Reorganizations and the Troubling Legacy of Chrysler and GM,” 2010 University of Illinois Law Review 1375 (2010)

Selected Recent Presentations 

  • “Eye on Bankruptcy: Leading Bankruptcy Opinions for April 2015,” Bloomberg BNA (May 2015)
  • “The Collision of Confidentiality and Due Process,” American Bankruptcy Institute, Annual Spring Meeting, Washington, D.C. (April 2014) 
  • “Chapter 14 and the Bankruptcy of SIFIs,” American Bankruptcy Institute, national podcast with Profs. David Skeel and Stephen Lubben (2014) 
  • “Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts,” American Bankruptcy Institute, national podcast with Mr. Todd Brown (2014) 
  • “Overview of Bankruptcy: Business Bankruptcy,” American Bankruptcy Institute, presented to staff of ABI ( April 2014) 
  • “The Bankruptcy Clause, the Fifth Amendment, and the Limited Rights of Secured Creditors in Bankruptcy,” Symposium on the Reform of Chapter 11, American Bankruptcy Institute and the University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois (2014) 
  • Analysis: Supreme Courts Hears Arguments on Whether Inherited IRA is Exempt,” American Bankruptcy Institute Newsroom (2014) 
  • “Politicizing Insolvency,” 2014 Republican National Lawyers Association National Policy Conference, Washington, D.C. (2014) 
  • “Environmental Obligations in Bankruptcy,” American Bankruptcy Institute, national podcast with James Redwine (2014) 
  • “Business Session: Case Law Update,” 38th annual Alexander L. Paskay Memorial Bankruptcy Seminar, Tampa, Florida (2014) 
  • “Examining Law v. Siegel,” American Bankruptcy Institute, media teleconference, broadcast live (2014) 
  • “Overview of Bankruptcy: Consumer Bankruptcy,” American Bankruptcy Institute, presented to staff of ABI (2014) 
  • “Overview of the U.S. Legal System and Bankruptcy Code; Eligibility for Bankruptcy; General Principles of U.S. Bankruptcy Law,” Joint training program, Thailand Office of the Judiciary and the University of Illinois, (series of four lectures) (2014) 
  • “Student Loans in Bankruptcy,” American Bankruptcy Institute, national podcast with Sen. Richard Durbin (2014) 
  • “Overview of Bankruptcy and the Sad Travails of Debtors and Creditors,” American Bankruptcy Institute, presented to staff of ABI (2014) 
  • “Bankruptcy in Depth: Charles Tabb and John Pottow on Bellingham Argument,” American Bankruptcy Institute, video interview (2014) 
  • “Bankruptcy in Depth: Charles Tabb and Danielle Spinelli on Supreme Court Arguments,” American Bankruptcy Institute, video interview (2014)