SAN FRANCISCO — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has appointed Whitman L. Holt as judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington.

Holt started a 14-year term Friday and will be based in Yakima. He will serve alongside Chief Judge Frederick P. Corbit for the court, handling all bankruptcy-related matters under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Holt now holds the position previously held by Judge Frank L. Kurtz, who retired. Kurtz’s cases, including one involving Yakima-based Astria Health, will be reassigned to Holt.

Previously, Holt was a partner for Klee, Tuchin, Bogdanoff & Stern in Los Angeles, where he worked for about nine years. He also served as the lead attorney for Jefferson County, Ala.’s Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy case, the second largest in U.S. history.

Holt, a Montana native, has a bachelor’s degree from Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he served as editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.

Along with practicing bankruptcy law, Holt has served as a speaker, lecturer or panelist at more than 50 legal education programs nationwide and has written an academic book and several commentaries on bankruptcy and the U.S. Supreme Court. Holt was elected as a conferee to the National Bankruptcy Conference, an invitation-only organization that advises Congress on the operation of bankruptcy and related laws. He was also named to the American Bankruptcy Institute’s 40 under 40 list.

The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington received 3,644 bankruptcy filings in calendar year 2018, and has two bankruptcy judges, according to a news release from the Ninth Circuit.

Reach Mai Hoang at or Twitter @maiphoang