Starting practice as a bankruptcy associate handling Chapter 11 cases can be both fascinating and overwhelming. To assist attorneys new to the world of bankruptcy, Bloomberg Law has launched the Bankruptcy Fundamentals Toolkit. With these new resources in hand, here are a few tips for starting your career as a commercial bankruptcy attorney.
1. Become a pro at the procedures.
While you already may be focusing on learning the substantive law of the Bankruptcy Code, don’t forget about the procedural rules and processes that govern bankruptcy cases. Learn which Bankruptcy Rules apply to commonly filed motions; familiarize yourself with the various Bankruptcy Forms; learn the various notice requirements for different motions or filings; and master the local rules of the jurisdictions where you’ll be practicing most.
2. Learn the roles and strategies of key players.
Understand the roles played by the various parties in a bankruptcy case, including debtors, secured creditors, unsecured creditors (including official committees of unsecured creditors), trade creditors, landlords, franchisees, and the various types of trustees. Acquaint yourself with the typical strategies of debtors’ counsel and creditors’ counsel.
3. Explore dockets to build your knowledge.
While your bankruptcy research strategy will undoubtedly include published cases, keep in mind that many issues never make it to a published case because bankruptcy disputes are settled more often than fully litigated. You can find helpful information by exploring actual bankruptcy dockets of current cases. Examining dockets of cases with a focus on your jurisdiction will help familiarize you with local practice, the usual attorneys, and commonly used language in briefs and orders. The more cases you explore from end to end, the more you will be able to spot issues and ultimately serve your client’s interests.
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