Patricia A. Redmond, B.A. ’75, J.D. ’79, has stayed closely connected to Miami Law throughout her professional career. She enjoys teaching bankruptcy courses as an adjunct professor, coaching the bankruptcy moot court team, and helping students deliver life-changing legal services through the school’s bankruptcy clinic.
As a business restructuring practitioner, Redmond has helped a wide variety of clients navigate the complex issues involved with insolvency and bankruptcy. She has extensive experience representing creditors’ committees, secured creditors and debtors in Chapter 11 cases.
For example, when Philadelphia retailer Alfred Angelo filed for bankruptcy in July 2017, Redmond went above and beyond the call of duty to help hundreds of brides whose gowns, accessories, and bridesmaid dresses were locked behind closed doors.
“I’ve never seen another bankruptcy attorney go through such lengths for people affected by a chapter 11,” said Maryland-based lawyer Maria Ruark in a recent Wall Street Journal article about the case. A friend of Redmond, Ruark helped hand out gowns and dresses at the chain’s Baltimore location. “She’s making miracles happen.”
With a niece planning a wedding in October, Redmond understood what the filing meant to the Alfred Angelo customers. She was flooded with desperate emails from brides, bridesmaids and mothers-of-the-bride. “I felt I had to do something to get the dresses to these women,” she said.
After taking a close look at the company’s inventory on a store-by-store basis, Redmond moved quickly to help the brides and their families. Working with former store managers and employees at two dozen Alfred Angelo locations, as well as with several attorney friends and former Miami Law students, Redmond gained limited access to the closed stores, even though some landlords had already changed the locks. She then arranged for local customers to come in quickly and pick up the gowns and accessories they had already purchased.
BECOMING A PROBLEM SOLVER
A native of Philadelphia, Redmond was considering a career in nursing when she enrolled at the University of Miami as an undergraduate. “Several family friends had attended UM, and felt it was an awesome school,” she said. “I thought it would be a good fit for me, and that turned out to be the case—just not in nursing.”
Redmond majored in psychology with a minor in sociology, and found her interest shifting to business and the law. “Law school was a wonderful experience for me, from studying cases to reading the statutes to taking part in classroom discussions,” she said. “I found my passion in the field of bankruptcy. I like solving problems and having to think on my feet. As bankruptcy attorneys, we get businesses when they are in crisis and have to make quick decisions about how to resolve the problems.”
Since law school, Redmond has practiced bankruptcy non-stop in South Florida. She was the first woman president of the bankruptcy bar for the Southern District of Florida. In 1992, Redmond decided to join Stearns Weaver and has been with the firm ever since then.
“Florida is the ’scamology’ capital of the world with so many fraud cases,” she said. “On the other hand, the traditional restructuring and reorganization practice changes with economic conditions. It has been declining in recent years, in part because many businesses are filing to resolve their problems in state courts rather than go into bankruptcy.”
Redmond has long been an active leader in the American Bankruptcy Institute, serving as president in 2013-14. She is currently leading the ABI’s “40 under 40” initiative to identify the “rock stars” of the younger generation. “We want to be sure they stay engaged in this practice area,” she added.
Redmond is also a past chair of the American Bar Association’s Business Bankruptcy Committee and was honored with the ABA Business Law Section’s Jean Allard Glass Cutter Award in April 2017. She has been active in other professional circles, including serving as chair of the Federal Bar Association’s Bankruptcy Section, and as a member of The Florida Bar, Business Law Section.
In keeping with her “giving back” philosophy, Redmond was a board member and secretary for the American College of Bankruptcy Foundation. She has also received a long string of pro bono service awards from the Dade County Bar Association, the U.S. Bankruptcy Bar for the Southern District of Florida, and the Florida Bar President’s Award for the Eleventh Judicial Circuit.
TEACHING AND COACHING
Along with managing her busy bankruptcy practice, Redmond has been a teacher and coach with the School of Law since the 1990s. “Bankruptcy Judge A. Jay Cristol asked me to co-teach a bankruptcy summer course with him in 1999, and I’ve been an adjunct instructor ever since,” said Redmond. “I have been able to invite leading practitioners from around the country to give guest lectures at UM that enhance the learning experience.”
For many years, Redmond has also coached Miami Law’s bankruptcy moot court team. “Our students have won the national title twice and are always a contender,” she said. In 2003, she was tapped into the Iron Arrow Honor Society, the university’s highest honor.
A year later, Redmond founded the school’s Bankruptcy Assistance Clinic, now known as the Eleanor R. Cristol and Judge A. Jay Cristol Bankruptcy Pro Bono Assistance Clinic, thanks to the generosity of Judge Cristol. The clinic provides hands-on experience for law students while meeting a need in the community. The clinic is also supported by the Bankruptcy Bar Foundation, the pro bono arm of the Bankruptcy Bar of the Southern District of Florida and by the Bar “Put Something Back” initiative of Dade Legal Aid.
Since the clinic’s beginning, Miami Law students have helped hundreds of deserving clients, like a school janitor who defaulted on his mortgage when he was hospitalized for diabetes and missed a payment. “The mortgage sued to take his home, while he was suffering from complications that included having his legs amputated,” Redmond said. “Even when rolling into court in his wheelchair, he was very positive about his life and served as an inspiration to us. Our students made sure that he could stay in his home and protected him from predators seeking to refinance his loan. He would just tell them, ’Send your papers to my lawyer,’ and that would be the end of it.”
As a valued contributor to the Miami Law faculty, Redmond has twice received the Richard Hausler Golden Apple Award as the outstanding teacher (2003 and 2011), as well as the Minnette Massey Moot Court Award in 2010 and the Thomas Davidson Outstanding Alumni Award in 2009.
“I love teaching, and the students remind me of why I became a lawyer in the first place,” she said. “I’m at my best when I’m doing things for other people.”