Hon. Barbara J. Houser
Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge
Barbara J. Houser is the Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge in the Northern District of Texas. She serves on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System and is a member of the Federal Judicial Center faculty that teaches new bankruptcy judges. In March 2017, she was appointed by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., to the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center.
Judge Houser, who lectures and publishes frequently on corporate restructuring and insolvency law, is a past chairman of the Dallas Bar Association’s Committee on Bankruptcy and Corporate Reorganization, is a member of the Dallas and American Bar Associations, and is a fellow of the Texas and American Bar Foundations. She has been a contributing author to Collier on Bankruptcy and has taught Creditors’ Rights as a Visiting Professor at the SMU Dedman School of Law.
Judge Houser has received a variety of awards and honors since taking the bench, including the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service from the SMU Dedman School of Law in February 2011; the Judge William Norton Jr. Judicial Excellence Award from the American Bankruptcy Institute in October 2014; and the Distinguished Service Award from the Alliance of Bankruptcy Inns of the American Inns of Court in October 2016.
Before becoming a United States Bankruptcy Judge on January 20, 2000, Judge Houser was in private practice, where she represented clients in a variety of significant Chapter 11 cases across the country, including serving as lead debtor’s counsel for Dow Corning Corporation.
Judge Houser was elected a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 1994, served as an officer and member of its Board of Directors, and remains active in the College. In 1996, she was elected a conferee of the National Bankruptcy Conference, an organization of nationally recognized scholars and experts in the bankruptcy field, and remains active in the Conference. After becoming a bankruptcy judge, she joined the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, served as its President in 2009-2010, and continues to serve the organization in various capacities. Judge Houser currently serves as the Vice President of Research/Grants for the American Bankruptcy Institute and is a member of the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of ABI.
Judge Houser received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in 1975 with high distinction and her doctor of laws in 1978 from SMU Dedman School of Law, where she was an editor of the law review. Upon graduation from law school, she joined Locke, Purnell, Boren, Laney & Neely in Dallas and became a shareholder there in 1985. In 1988 she joined Sheinfeld, Maley & Kay, P.C. as the shareholder-in-charge of the Dallas office and remained there until she became a judge.