WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY LAW?
The purpose of the bankruptcy system is to provide overburdened individuals and organizations with an opportunity to resolve and reorder their financial affairs while providing protection for their creditors. Bankruptcy law is set forth in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, and all bankruptcies are processed through the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Whether through liquidation and sale of assets or by restructuring and reorganization to allow an orderly payment of debts, the bankruptcy system governs the obligations and rights of creditors (lenders or others to whom a debt is owed) and debtors (borrowers or recipients of credit, goods, or services).
The following are examples of the type of work done by bankruptcy attorneys:
- Negotiations Between Debtors & Creditors: Rather than proceed through bankruptcy, lawyers representing the debtor and creditor may try to renegotiate payment terms so that they can be met by the borrower.
- Reorganization of Debts Under Chapters 11 & 13: The Bankruptcy Code provides several different kinds of protection for debtors. Businesses that are unable to secure a workout agreement may file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy relief in order to reorganize their company. Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code allows individual debtors to reorganize their debts.
- Liquidation Under Chapter 7: When restructuring the debt is not an option, Chapter 7 allows individuals and businesses to obtain a "discharge" or release from their debts. Individuals filing under Chapter 7 can keep a limited number of their possessions and assets but must liquidate most of their assets and give the proceeds to creditors.
Bankruptcy attorneys practice in a variety of settings. Many practice in law firms where they represent individuals and corporate debtors and/or creditors. Other attorneys work for banks, title companies, utilities, or corporations. The government also employs bankruptcy lawyers who work for agencies such as the Internal Revenue Service, the Securities & Exchange Commission, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation, and state and municipal tax authorities.
IF YOU'RE INTERESTED IN PURSUING A CAREER IN BANKRUPTCY LAW...
1. Take a bankruptcy law course. A basic bankruptcy course will help you determine whether you're truly interested in the field.
2. Take business law courses (including courses dealing with the Uniform Commercial Code) as well as courses in tax, accounting, employee benefits, real estate, business organizations, and securities regulations.
3. Work as a law clerk, legal intern, or summer associate at a law firm, government agencies, or public interest organization that works in the area of bankruptcy law.
4. Sharpen your courtroom skills by taking any class that helps to get you comfortable in the courtroom or by participating in Moot Court.
5. Sharpen your writing skills and gain valuable experience by externing for a bankruptcy judge during law school.
7. Get to know Loyola professors who teach in the area of bankruptcy law - Lea Krivinskas-Shepard, Neil Williams, Janet Tracy, Steve Ramirez, Richard Rosenberg, and Charles Murdock.
BANKRUPTCY LAW RESOURCES