Danielle D' Onfro

Lecturer in Law


J.D. 2011, Harvard Law School, cum laude
B.A. 2006, Columbia College, Columbia University, magna cum laude 

Curriculum Vitae



Bev Owens - (314) 935-6482

Phone / Email

Phone: (314) 935-6404
E-mail: donfro@wustl.edu  


Anheuser-Busch Hall, Room 458

Courses Taught

Introduction to U.S. Law and Methods [more
Corporate Compliance


Danielle D’Onfro is a Lecturer in Law. She is an expert in the regulation of debt markets and consumer financial services. Her research focuses on the intersection of corporate law, financial markets, and property theory. 

Prior to joining Washington University School of Law, Danielle was a senior associate at WilmerHale, where her practice focused on debt markets, insolvency, and regulatory compliance. Danielle has shepherded both large and emerging companies through debt financing and litigated the fraudulent transfer cases that inevitably arise when leveraged companies fail. She has extensive experience advising corporations in compliance matters at all stages of their operations—from multinational financing deals under competing risk regulatory regimes to the policies and procedures required for interacting with consumers in our increasingly complicated regulatory environment. She has also fought regulatory overreach both in negotiations with regulators and in court. On behalf of the Loan Syndicated Trading Association, she helped spearhead the response of the leveraged loan industry to the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11.

Danielle has a B.A., magna cum laude, in classics from Columbia College at Columbia University. She earned her J.D., cum laude, from Harvard Law School where she was a research and teaching assistant for then-Professor Elizabeth Warren and an early volunteer for the Congressional Oversight Panel overseeing the Troubled Asset Relief Program. During law school, she also worked for Public Citizen Litigation Group and for the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Before entering private practice, she served as a law clerk for the Hon. Allyson Duncan of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

Academic Publications and Works in Progress

 Limited Liability Property. 38 Cardozo L. Rev. __ (forthcoming). By examining the property-like interests in corporate capital structures from equity up through senior-secured debt, this article shows that secured debt holders have accumulated limited liability protections that are at odds with their claim to a direct property interest in their collateral. This article proposes realigning secured lenders’ liability with their property claims and explores how such a fix would impact lending markets.

The Preference Project (in progress, with Dan Keating, Charles Tabb, and David Lander). This project is building a database of information on preference actions in Chapter 7 bankruptcies with the goal of studying whether preference actions are efficient for bankruptcy estates, and if so, under what conditions.

Rethinking Windfalls (in progress). With the rise of sophisticated risk modeling, hedging transactions, and insurance, defining windfalls has become more complicated. This piece seeks to redefine windfalls for the modern era and reexamine our traditional efforts to tax these seemingly unearned gains.

Corporate Mandatory Reporting (in progress). Culpability has long been a sticking point in corporate liability since everything from routine compliance failures to corporate crimes are at once the fault of individuals and a reflection on the legal fiction that is the corporation. This article embraces the disconnect between individual actors and corporate responsibility to propose a solution to the culpability problem.

The Limitations of the Bankruptcy Power (in progress). This piece explores the extent to which each state’s right to define property constrains the ability of federal bankruptcy laws to act on that property without triggering concerns under the Just Compensation and Takings Clauses.

Commentary, Short Pieces, and Student Writing

DeVos Gives Accountability the Boot, TAKE CARE, April 14, 2017, https://takecareblog.com/blog/devos-gives-accountability-the-boot 

That Time When Republicans Re-Regulated Retirement Savings. TAKE CARE, April 11, 2017, https://takecareblog.com/blog/that-time-when-republicans-re-regulated-retirement-savings 

The Fiduciary Rule: Triaging Quality for “Access” and Small Business at All Costs, TAKE CARE, March 28, 2017, https://takecareblog.com/blog/the-fiduciary-rule-triaging-quality-for-access-and-small-business-at-all-costs 

Guest appearance on First Mondays to discuss arguments before the Supreme Court in Czyzewski v. Jevic Holding Corporation, aired December 5, 2016

Viewpoint: Two Years after Bankruptcy Reform, Much Ado About Little, WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE, Dec. 8, 2016, https://www.wsj.com/articles/viewpoint-two-years-after-bankruptcy-reform-much-ado-about-little-1481211587(with Elliot Ganz)

Limiting the Background Noise: Investor Motivation and Identity in Bankruptcy, 33 American Bankruptcy Institute Journal 38 (December 2014) (with Allison Hester-Haddad)


TILA and a Uniform Law of Consumer Credit, 5 Harvard Law & Policy Review 449 (2011) [SSRN]