All posts in Books & Articles

Consumer Bankruptcy Fee Study

If you like numbers and charts and percentages, you will love this 176 page article, The Consumer Bankruptcy Fee Study: Final Report, by Prof. Lois Lopica.  The abstract says in part:

The Consumer Fee Study’s primary objective is to identify and monetize these costs of bankruptcy access through the analysis of quantitative and qualitative data gathered from court dockets and from professionals working within the bankruptcy system. We began the quantitative section with the hypothesis that following BAPCPA’s enactment, the cost of accessing the consumer bankruptcy system increased. We set out to determine the degree of increased costs, as well as to identify the specific policies and practices affecting these costs. Additionally, we endeavored to evaluate, with specificity, how diverse local procedures and guidelines impact the system’s processes and outcomes. Our focus throughout the Study was on the consumer bankruptcy system and its principal stakeholders. Until now, empirical study of BAPCPA’s impact has focused primarily on the system’s demand side, gathering and analyzing financial and sociological data with respect to debtor households. The effect of BAPCPA on debtors, however, cannot be fully assessed without an examination of the architecture that surrounds a consumer’s decision to file, coupled with an account of the complexity of factors that inform and influence the consumer’s experience in the bankruptcy system. This Study addresses issues related to the institutional framework of consumer bankruptcy by not only measuring and monetizing the cost of access, but by also examining the incentives and constraints imposed by the system. Read more…

Where Has Civility Gone?

Article by Lou Esbin, certified bankruptcy specialist.

Defending Junk Debt Lawsuits

Here is a great paper from Prof. Peter Holland at the Univ of Maryland laying out how to defend the lawsuits filed by predatory purchasers of old credit card debt.   We just took on a pro bono defense recently where the collector was beating up this lady who was trying to defend herself.  Once we assured the jerks on the other side that there was going to be a trial and they would never collect anyweay, they filed a request to dismiss.  Defending Junk Debt Suits

I found this article via the Credit Slips website so we give thanks to Prof. Nathalie Martin for posting it there.

Summary of Bankruptcy Law Second Edition

I have finished my book, A Summary of Bankruptcy Law Second Edition.  It updates the first edition published three years ago.  It is expanded a little and includes the important cases from the Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit over the past three years and clarifies many issues that were unresolved three years ago.  The book is available on Amazon.  You can purchase it by clicking here.   The book includes a basic summary of chapter 7, chapter 13 and chapter 11.  Let me know what you think.

The Section 1111(b) Election

I promised the folks who attended the Nuts & Bolts Program at UWLA yesterday that I would post my article on the Section 1111(b) election.  The Section 1111 fin

My Article on Friedman and the Absolute Priority Rule

My article on Friedman and the Absolute Priority Rule, “Ninth Circuit BAP Confirms: No Absolute Priority Rule in Individual Chapter 11 Cases,” has been published in the Norton Bankruptcy Law Advisor and can be found at 2012 No. 4 Norton Bankr. L. Adviser 2. 

Tax Rebates/Refunds Lead to Increased Filings

There were more bankruptcy filings in March than any other month in 2009, 2010, and 2011 and 2012 presumably will be the same.  Why you ask?  There is a great analysis here.    Tax refunds.  The article is actually about tax rebates but I assume it would apply to tax refunds as well.  The costs of filing we know have soared since BAPCPA in 2005.  The authors say “legal and administrative costs inhibit a significant number of households from filing for bankruptcy.”  The tax refunds gives the filer the funds to pay the attorney or other paid preparer.

The article concludes, “Mian and Sufi (2011) report that the household debt to income ratio more than doubled from 0.9 in 1980 to 2.0 in 2009.  Against the backdrop of this dramatic rise in household debt, raising the costs of filing is an ineffective strategy for curtailing consumer bankruptcy.  The recession has caught many households in a rising tide of unemployment and foreclosure, and high bankruptcy fees prevent them from obtaining much-needed relief.

There are many reasons to be troubled by today’s high bankruptcy rates—more than 1.3 percent of all U.S. households filed in 2011.  But we can only fix America’s bankruptcy problem by eliminating excessive consumer credit, not by adding insult to injury for households that are already broke.”

New Book from Prof. Katie Porter

A few listserv members might be interested in a new book called Broke: How Debt Bankrupts the Middle Class (available on Amazon at  among other places). The Amazon page has a table of contents and more information.

The book editor is Katie Porter, a law professor at UC-Irvine and Bankr-L list member. The chapters are from academics in economics, sociology, psychology, political science, and law (including two from me). For academics on the list, Katie Porter and Debb Thorne have syllabi that use the book for classes in law and sociology, respectively.


– Robert M. Lawless Professor of Law & Co-Director of the Illinois Program on Law, Behavior & Social Science University of Illinois College of Law