Barbara J. Houser is the Chief United States Bankruptcy Judge in the Northern District of Texas. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Nebraska in 1975 with high distinction and her doctor of laws from Southern Methodist University School of Law in 1978, 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 was sworn in as a United States Bankruptcy Judge on January 20, 2000. While at Sheinfeld she led the firm’s representation of clients in a variety of significant chapter 11 cases across the country.
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, Texas, and American Bar Associations, and is a fellow of the Texas and American Bar Foundations. She is a contributing author to Collier on Bankruptcy and has taught Creditors’ Rights as a Visiting Professor at the SMU Dedman School of Law.
She was elected a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy in 1994 and has recently completed her second terms as one of its Vice Presidents. 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 currently serves on its Executive Committee. The National Law Journal named her as one of the fifty most influential women lawyers in America in 1998.
After becoming a bankruptcy judge in 2000, she joined the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges and has served as its Immediate Past President, having concluded her term as President in October 2010. In February, 2011 she received the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judicial Service from the SMU Dedman School of Law.
Judge Houser currently serves on the Judicial Conference Committee on the Administration of the Bankruptcy System.