R. Spencer Clift  III - Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, PC

R. Spencer Clift III

Listed in Best Lawyers since 2013

R. Spencer Clift III, shareholder in the Memphis office, assists clients in a diverse array of bankruptcy and general commercial litigation matters, including troubled debt recovery and workouts, the recovery or restructuring of commercial loans, foreclosures, and other aspects of commercial litigation for institutional lenders and businesses.

Mr. Clift represents numerous financial institutions in targeted efforts to recover and restructure commercial loans, including CMBS Servicers, as well as numerous other clients in state and federal courts involved in complex commercial litigation matters. Mr. Clift represents secured and unsecured creditors in bankruptcy courts across the country handling numerous contested matters and adversary proceedings arising in any commercial or consumer bankruptcy case.

Mr. Clift frequently speaks and lectures on bankruptcy and commercial litigation issues, and he is the author of numerous articles and publications in the areas of his practice. He has served as the moot court coach for law students at the University of Memphis participating in the Annual Chief Judge Conrad B. Duberstein National Bankruptcy Memorial Moot Court Competition. He served as Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Tennessee Bar Association Bankruptcy Section Executive Council in 2009. Currently, Mr. Clift is on the Board of Directors for the Bankruptcy Section of the Memphis Bar Association and the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute.

Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. Clift served as a federal law clerk for the Honorable David S. Kennedy, the Chief Bankruptcy Judge of the Western District of Tennessee from 1999 until 2003.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • "Mortgage Litigation Issues in Commercial Real Estate Cases & Bankruptcy," 20th Annual Mid-South Conference on Bankruptcy Law (February 2014)
  • "Strategies in Effectively Dealing with Defaulted Tenant in Common Borrowers," webinar with Erno Lindner (December 2013)
  • "Basics of Loan Documentation: Understanding Loan Documents and Practical Tips," presentation to portfolio managers and credit analysts from First Tennessee (November 2013)
  • "Lender Liability Trends in 2013: How to Be Aggressive and Not Get Sued," client presentation, Dallas, Texas (June 2013)
  • "Recent Trends in Lender Liability Claims," webinar (March 2013)
  • Speaker – "Use of Cash Collateral in Commercial Real Estate Cases" and "Mortgage Litigation Panel," 17th Annual Mid-South Conference on Bankruptcy Law (February 2011)
  • Speaker – "The Impact of Commercial Loan Defaults & Bankruptcy on Real Estate: What Brokers Need to Know," Memphis Young Brokers Alliance event sponsored by Highwoods Properties (July 2009)
  • Co-author – "The Changing Face of Health Care Bankruptcies: Analyzing BAPCPA's Health Care Amendments," Norton Bankr. L. Advisor (April 2006)
  • Co-author – "The Controversies Centering Around a Debtor's Statutory and Procedural Right to Convert an Originally Filed Chapter 7 Case to a Case Under Chapter 11 or 13 and Related Matters," 12 J. Bankr. L. & Prac. 4 (2003)
  • Co-author – "The Mere Filing of the Chapter 7 Trustee's 'No Asset' Report Does Not Constitute an 'Abandonment' of Estate Property under Section 554(a) of the Bankruptcy Code," Fed. R. Bankr. P. 6007, 11 J. Bankr. L. & Prac, 34 7 (2002) and Bankruptcy Service, Current Awareness Alert, Issue No. 10 (October 2002)
  • "Nondischargable Liability of Corporate Officers, Directors, and Guarantors Under 11 U.S.C. 523(a) (4): In re Ellison," 296 F.3d 266 (4th Cir. 2002), 9 Norton Bankruptcy L. Advisor 2 (September 2002)  
  • "The Historical Development of American Indian Tribes: Their Recent Dramatic Commercial Advancement; and A Discussion of the Eligibility of Indian Tribes Under the Bankruptcy Code and Related Matters," 27 Am. Indian L. Rev. 177 (Fall 2002)
  • Co-author – "Professionalism in the Legal Profession: The Bankruptcy Attorney as a True Professional," 33 Univ. of Memphis Law Review 1 (Fall 2002)
  • Co-author – "Reasonable and Necessary Expenses under Section 1325(b) of the Bankruptcy Code, Post Confirmation Considerations, and the Effect of Conversion and Dismissal of Chapter 13 Cases," 32 Univ. of Memphis Law Review 789 (Summer 2002)
  • "Should the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure Be Amended to Expressly Authorize United States District and Bankruptcy Courts to Appoint a Special Master in an Appropriate and Rare Bankruptcy Case or Proceeding?" 31 Univ. of Memphis Law Review, 353 (Winter 2001)
  • Co-author – "The Involuntary Bankruptcy Process: A Study of the Relevant Statutory and Procedural Provisions and Related Matters," 31 Univ. of Memphis Law Review 1 (Fall 2000)
  • Co-author – "An Historical Analysis of Insolvency Laws and Their Impact on the Role, Power, and Jurisdiction of Today's United States Bankruptcy Court and Its Judicial Officers," 9 J. Bankr. L. & Prac. 165 (Jan./Feb. 2000)

The University of TennesseeBS 1996Cumberland School of LawJ.D. 1999
Board of Directors of the Mid-South Commercial Law Institute Tennessee Bar Association Board of Directors, Memphis Bar Association (Bankruptcy Section) Tennessee Bar Association Bankruptcy Section Executive Council American Inns of Court (2006 – 2009) University Club of Memphis (2010) University Club of Memphis (2011 – present) American Bankruptcy Institute

Office Location

First Tennessee Building, Suite 2000
165 Madison Avenue
Memphis, TN 38103
United States

Practice Areas

Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
Litigation - Bankruptcy