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Hon. Joan N. Feeney
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Hon. Joan N. Feeney (Ret.)

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Upcoming Events
General Biography
Practice Areas
Accounting Finance
Employment Law
Family Law/Estate/Probate
Professional Liability
Real Estate & Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Joan N. Feeney (Ret.) joined JAMS in 2019 following almost 27 years on the bench of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of Massachusetts and 23 years as a member of the United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit. As a judge, Judge Feeney presided over a full range of cases, including complex commercial cases with multiple parties and interests. While on the bench, she wrote over 500 opinions in many different areas of the law. Judge Feeney now serves as a mediator, arbitrator, and neutral evaluator in all types of two-party and multi-party disputes, concentrating in bankruptcy, business, and employment law. She has developed a robust national practice  as a neutral at JAMS.

Judge Feeney earned a reputation from the start of her career for being a supremely capable lawyer who always treated everyone with the utmost respect and civility. She has an incomparable ability to distill even the most complex case down to its essence, while still minding the details. 

Impartial, compassionate, candid, fair-minded, tireless and a brilliant jurist are words that counsel have used to describe Judge Feeney. Her people skills are unparalleled, and she is able to offer compelling solutions to individuals with differing personalities. As a mediator, Judge Feeney has developed a reputation as meticulously well-prepared, open-minded, and empathetic. Given her experience as an author, appellate judge, and trial judge, Judge Feeney enjoys delving into complex matters, both factual and legal, and writes detailed arbitration awards with thorough reasoning. Her professional background also lends itself well to handling neutral analysis matters, such as moot courts and mock trial exercises, including both state and federal appellate matters. 

ADR Experience and Qualifications

  • Mediated and settled cases in a wide variety of matters, including bankruptcy, business/commercial, professional fee disputes, fraudulent transfer actions, closely held business disputes and business divorces, professional liability and real property matters
  • Handled hundreds of bench trials requiring oral and written decisions, and handled over 100 bankruptcy appeals as a bankruptcy appellate panel judge in all aspects of bankruptcy law and procedure
  • Experience as liquidation and reorganization bankruptcy trustee
  • Available to resolve disputes remotely through a number of videoconferencing options

Representative Matters

  • Accounting Finance
      • As a Judge, has presided over matters involving:
        • Mortgage and borrower relationships
        • Defective mortgages
        • Mortgage reformation
  • Bankruptcy
      • Has mediated numerous bankruptcy related disputes including those involving:
        • Fraud and compliance issues brought by a chapter 7 trustee
        • Allegations of statutory theft, conversion, fraudulent conveyance, and unjust enrichment in violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act
        • Alleged violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) in connection with post discharge mortgage statements
        • Issues involving violation of the automatic stay
        • Pre-litigation matter involving Chapter 5 claims to recover payment of legal fees
        • Payment claw back
      • As a Judge, has presided over matters involving:
        • Bankruptcy jurisdiction, standing, and eligibility
        • Compensation of professionals
        • Contested confirmation of plans of reorganization, including feasibility and liquidation analysis
        • Valuation of security, businesses, and commercial and residential real estate
        • Automatic stay scope, exceptions, and relief from stay
        • Single-asset real estate cases
        • Denial of discharge; exceptions to discharge for fraud, willful and malicious injury and other grounds
        • Estate’s avoiding powers
        • Fraudulent transfers and defenses
        • Preferential transfers and defenses
        • Equitable subordination
        • Recharacterization of debt to equity
        • Substantive consolidation
        • Involuntary petitions
        • Nonprofit and church bankruptcies
        • Assumption and assignment of leases and executory contracts, including intellectual property licenses
  • Business/Commercial
      • Served as a neutral evaluator assisting a large entity develop a mediation program to handle mass tort claims
      • Served as a neutral evaluator for a government entity analyzing the claims they had related to fines
      • Has mediated and arbitrated breach of contract disputes between businesses
      • Has arbitrated consumer disputes between individuals and banks, credit card companies, solar panel companies, and title companies
      • Has mediated a fraud dispute in which plaintiffs sought to recover millions  
      • Has mediated and arbitrated matters involving allegedly unfair and deceptive trade practices  
      • Served as a neutral evaluator in a partnership dissolution, assisting the parties to select an appraiser to value the business 
      • As a Judge, has presided over matters involving:
        • Alter ego and veil piercing of corporate and trust entities
        • Contract interpretation
        • Fraudulent transfers
        • Fraud and injury to property
        • Breach of fiduciary duties and defalcation
        • Directors’ and officers’ liability and related insurance coverage disputes
        • Uniform commercial code article 9 perfection of security interests
        • Receiverships and negligence of receivers
        • Unfair acts and deceptive practices
        • Subordination agreements
        • Successor liability
        • Debt collection; fair debt collection practices act
        • Construction contract disputes
  • Employment Law
      • Has arbitrated several age discrimination matters
      • Has arbitrated several wage and hour claims
      • Has arbitrated breach of employment contract claims
      • Has arbitrated a matter involving a whistleblower and claims of retaliation and wrongful termination
      • Has mediated a broker/dealer employment dispute 
  • Family Law/Estate/Probate
      • Mediated a probate matter involving bankruptcy issues and alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the holder of the decedent’s Power of Attorney 
      • Mediated at dissolution dispute over property
      • As a Judge, has presided over matters involving:
        • Property division
        • Alimony and support
  • Professional Liability
      • Mediated a matter involving legal malpractice in an underlying bankruptcy matter
      • Mediated a medical malpractice matter involving complex issues regarding loans and liens  
      • As a Judge, has presided over matters involving:
        • Attorneys’ fees disputes
        • Legal ethics
        • Attorney malpractice
  • Real Estate & Real Property
      • Mediated a foreclosure matter  
      • As a Judge, has presided over matters involving:
        • Title disputes
        • Lease and purchase and sale agreement interpretation
        • Priority of lien disputes
        • Evictions
        • Improper foreclosures
        • Predatory lending
        • Real estate and personal property tax liens
        • Rights of first refusal
        • Homestead exemptions

Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities

Completed Virtual ADR training conducted by the JAMS Institute, the training arm of JAMS.

Memberships and Affiliations

  • American College of Bankruptcy
    • Member, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, 2022-2024
    • Chair, Internal Subcommittee, 2022-2024
    • Vice President and Member, Board of Directors, 2016–2020
  • President, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, 2011–2012 (member since 1992 and various committee positions)
  • Founding Co-Chair, M. Ellen Carpenter Financial Literacy Program, Boston Bar Association, 2004–2024
  • Member, Bankruptcy Section, Boston Bar Association, 1978–2024
    • Member and former Chair of Strategic Thought Leadership Committee, 2020-2024
  • Member, International Judicial Relations Committee, Judicial Conference of the United States, 2006–2012
  • Member, Administrative Office Budget and Finance Advisory Council, 2005–2006
  • Member, Administrative Office Bankruptcy Judges Advisory Group, 2003–2007
  • Judicial Chair, Northeast Conference, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2002–2005
  • Member, Board of Directors, American Bankruptcy Institute, 2005–2010


  • Recipient of the Gideon’s Trumpet Award, Volunteer Lawyers Project of the Boston Bar Association, 2020
  • Recipient of the Suffolk University Law School, The Marian Archer Trailblazer Award, 2019
  • Recipient of the American Inns of Court Bankruptcy Alliance Distinguished Service Award, 2019
  • Recipient of the Excellence in Education Award, National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, 2018
  • Charles P. Normandin Lifetime Achievement Award, Boston Bar Association, 2018
  • Haskell Cohn Award for Distinguished Judicial Service, Boston Bar Association, 2005
  • Alumni Achievement Award, Suffolk University Law School, 1993
  • Fellow, American College of Bankruptcy, 2005


  • Co-Author, Bankruptcy Law Manual, Thomson Reuters West, Fifth Edition, 2020
  • Co-Author, The Road Out of Debt, John J. Wiley & Sons, 2010
  • Author, Chapter 11: Theory and Practice; Co-Author, Chapter 9: Property of the Estate;  A Guide to Reorganization 1994
  • Associate Editor, 2014–2016; Business Manager, 2016–2018; The American Bankruptcy Law Journal

Background and Education

  • United States Bankruptcy Judge, District of Massachusetts, 1992–2019
    • Chief Judge, 2002–2006
  • United States Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the First Circuit, 1996–2019
    • Chief Judge, 2015–2019
  • Associate and Partner; Hanify & King, P.C., Boston, 1986–1992 
  • Law Clerk, Hon. James N. Gabriel, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, D. Mass., 1982–1986 
  • Associate, Feeney & Freeley, Boston, 1979–1982
  • J.D., Suffolk University Law School, 1978 
  • B.A., with Distinction in the major fields of French and government, Connecticut College, 1975 


This page is for general information purposes.  JAMS makes no representations or warranties regarding its accuracy or completeness.  Interested persons should conduct their own research regarding information on this website before deciding to use JAMS, including investigation and research of JAMS neutrals. See More

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