Full-Time Faculty

Thomas G. Kelch

Professor of Law

  • B.G.S., University of Michigan
  • J.D., University of Michigan
  • M.B.A., University of Southern California
  • M.A., University of California, Irvine

Contact Information

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Tel. 714.444.4141 ext. 234
Fax. 714.444.1854
Building Two, Room 234

Professor Kelch began his career as a law professor teaching bankruptcy, corporate reorganization and commercial law classes. Since then he has developed a teaching and research specialty in animal law. During his teaching career he has taught animal law, business associations, bankruptcy and corporate reorganization classes, contracts, commercial law, international and comparative animal law, real estate finance and professional responsibility. He has published extensively on bankruptcy, real estate and animal law, and has spoken at numerous conferences on bankruptcy and animal law issues. Among his publications are articles on business restructuring and bankruptcy, including articles on corporate governance and fiduciary duties in chapter 11 cases, waiver of bankruptcy privileges and derivatives contracts in bankruptcy. In the animal law area, Professor Kelch has published articles on feminism and animal law, the concept of animals as property, First Amendment issues in animal experimentation, the history of animal law and the impact of globalization on animal law and advocacy. He has also authored a book on international law, comparative law, and international trade issues relating to animals entitled GLOBALIZATION AND ANIMAL LAW, published by Kluwer Law International. As a practicing attorney Professor Kelch has represented debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees and asset purchasers in chapter 11 cases, including representing major creditors in cases like Enron, PG&E and Mirant Energy.

Books and Book Chapters

  • Globalization and Animal Law: Comparative Law, International Law and International Trade (Kluwer Law International 2011)
  • Real Property Issues in Bankruptcy (New York: Clark Boardman Callaghan 1995) (Co-authored with Michael K. Slattery)


  • Cultural Solipsism, Cultural Lenses, Universal Principles and Animal Advocacy, 31 PACE ENVTL. L. REV. 403 (2014)
  • A Short History of Animal Law: Part II, 19 ANIMAL LAW 347 (2013)
  • A Short History of Animal Law: Part I, 19 ANIMAL LAW 23 (2012)
  • The WTO Tuna Labeling Decision and Animal Law, 8 JOURNAL OF ANIMAL & NATURAL RESOURCE LAW 121 (2012)
  • Forward Contracts, Bankruptcy Safe Harbors and the Electricity Industry, 51 Wayne L. Rev. 49 (2005) (Co-authored with Howard J. Weg)
  • Animal Experimentation and the First Amendment, 22 Western New England L. Rev. 467 (2001).
  • The Role of the Rational and the Emotive in a Theory of Animal Rights, 27 Boston College Env. L. Rev. 1 (1999).
  • The Mythology of Waivers of Bankruptcy Privileges, 31 Ind. L. Rev. 897 (1998) (Co-authored with Michael K. Slattery)
  • Toward a Non-Property Status for Animals, 6 N.Y.U. Env. L.J. 531 (1998).
  • An Apology for Plain Meaning Analysis of the Bankruptcy Code, 10 Bank. Dev. J. 289 (1994).
  • Disassembling a Withering Mirage: Shareholder Control Rights in Chapter 11, 52 Maryland L. Rev. 264 (1993).
  • The Phantom Fiduciary: The Debtor in Possession in Chapter 2, 38 Wayne Law Review 1323 (1992).
  • Representing a Committee of Unsecured Creditors in a Chapter 11 Case, Chapter 19 in Bankruptcy Practice and Strategy (A. Resnick ed. 1987) (Co-authored with Robert J. Moore)
  • The Integrity of Commodity Futures Contracts Under the Bankruptcy Reform Act, Annual Survey of Bankruptcy Law, 297-340 (1982).

Recent Lectures and Presentations

  • Toward Universal Principles for Global Animal Advocacy and the Idea of Personhood for Animals, for the NGOs, Animalia and the Center for Animal Welfare in Finland, at the University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland, July 2014
  • Toward Universal Principles for Global Animal Advocacy, for The Global Animal Law Conference II, at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Barcelona Spain, July 2014
  • Globalization and Animal Law and Advocacy, for The Animal Turn and the Law, University of Basel, Switzerland and the Max Plank Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, in Basel, Switzerland, April 2014
  • A Global Perspective on Animal Law: The Role of Constitutions, for the Animal Law Section of the AALS at the 2013 AALS Conference in New Orleans
  • The Treatment and Impact of Farmed Animals: Recent Developments in Comparative and International Law, for the Animal Law Section of the AALS at the 2011 AALS Conference in San Francisco
  • International Trade and Animal Law, for the Animal Law Section of the AALS at the 2009 AALS Conference in San Diego
  • Guest Speaker, “Voiceless Law Talk” at (Speaking generally on Animal Law issues), Sept. 2007
  • Transnational Insolvency Issues, at the ILS West Conference at Whittier Law School, 2005
  • Insolvency Regulation in USA, presented at an International Law Conference sponsored by the University of Cantabria in Laredo, Spain 2005, entitled “El Derecho Como vía de Solución de Conflictos: Experiencias Diversas en EE.UU. y Europa” [“The Legal Solutions for Conflicts and Diversity between the U.S. and Europe”]
  • Member of the Steering Committee of Global Animal Law, a project with the aim of creating a global platform for the discussion of issues in animal law.
  • Member of the Steering Committee of Counsel for Animals International, an organization composed of lawyers around the world promoting the protection of animals and the advance of animal law.
  • Professor Kelch is active in a number of rescue and other organizations in Long Beach, California that are pushing for reform of the Long Beach Animal Shelter and are involved in animal rescue and protection of feral cats.
  • Professor Kelch worked in a leadership role in 2008 and 2009 with a citizen’s coalition to obtain community involvement in the replacement of the Director of the Long Beach Animal Shelter after well-publicized cruelty at the shelter was revealed.
  • Professor Kelch has worked for years rescuing animals, helping rescue organizations and caring for feral cats.