B.A., Mary Baldwin; M.A., Columbia; J.D., Harvard
Danielle Spinelli is an Adjunct Professor of Law teaching bankruptcy.
Professor Spinelli is Vice-Chair of the Supreme Court and Appellate Litigation Group and a member of the Bankruptcy and Financial Restructuring Group at WilmerHale in Washington, D.C., where a significant part of her practice focuses on bankruptcy appeals. She has argued five cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, including three bankruptcy cases: Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corp. (2017) (successfully represented petitioners in case holding that structured dismissal of Chapter 11 bankruptcy may not distribute estate assets to creditors in violation of Bankruptcy Code’s priority scheme); Bank of America, N.A. v. Caulkett (2015) (successfully represented petitioner in case holding that wholly underwater junior lien may not be stripped off in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy); Clark v. Rameker (2014) (successfully represented respondent in case holding inherited IRAs are not exempt in bankruptcy); United States v. Tohono O’odham Nation (2011) (represented respondent in case involving jurisdiction of Court of Federal Claims); and Rothgery v. Gillespie County, Texas (2008) (successfully represented petitioner in case involving Sixth Amendment right to counsel). She has also represented parties or amici in many other Supreme Court cases, including successfully representing the respondent in Stern v. Marshall (2011), a path-breaking case on Article III and bankruptcy court power, and the death-row inmates in Roper v. Simmons (2005), which held that juveniles could not constitutionally be sentenced to death, Hall v. Florida (2014), which invalidated Florida’s standards for determining intellectual disability for death-penalty purposes, and McCoy v. Louisiana (2018), a Sixth Amendment case. Professor Spinelli has also argued before the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Ninth, Tenth, and Federal Circuits, including in multiple bankruptcy appeals, and has briefed many more. In the last two years, for example, she successfully represented senior secured creditors in overturning confirmation of the Chapter 11 plans in the EFIH, Momentive, and Houston Regional Sports Network bankruptcies. She has been recognized as a leading appellate lawyer by Chambers, Legal 500, Washingtonian, Benchmark: Litigation, and Law360, and speaks regularly on bankruptcy and Supreme Court and appellate practice issues.
Professor Spinelli is a Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a member of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure, to which she was appointed by the Chief Justice. She graduated from Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Stephen Breyer of the U.S. Supreme Court.