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

General Biography
Practice Areas
Accounting Finance
Estate Probate Trusts
Family Law
Federal Law
Professional Liability
Real Estate & Real Property
Honors, Memberships, and Professional Activities
Background and Education

Hon. Joan N. Feeney (Ret.) joins JAMS 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. Judge Feeney presided over a full range of cases, including complex commercial cases with multiple parties and conflicting interests. While on the bench, she wrote over 500 opinions in many different areas of the law.

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. 

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 in all aspects of bankruptcy law and procedure
  • Experience as liquidation and reorganization trustee
  • Available to resolve disputes remotely through a number of videoconferencing options

Representative Matters

  • Accounting Finance
      • mortgage and borrower relationships
      • defective mortgages
      • mortgage reformation
  • Bankruptcy
      • 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
      • 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
  • Family Law
      • property division
      • alimony and support
  • Professional Liability
      • attorneys’ fees disputes
      • legal ethics
      • attorney malpractice
  • Real Estate & Real Property
      • 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

  • Vice President; Member, Board of Directors; American College of Bankruptcy; 2016–present
  • 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–present
  • Member, Bankruptcy Section, Boston Bar Association, 1978–present
  • 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 American Inns of Court Bankruptcy Distinguished Service Award, 2019
  • 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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