Career Pathways: Bankruptcy Law

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Bankruptcy and Debtor/Creditor Law is about debt.  Debtors retain attorneys for protection using bankruptcy and other strategies.  Creditors retain attorneys to represent their interests in bankruptcy court and to help them collect money that debtors owe them.

Bankruptcy gives debtors a fresh start.  It can protect their assets and erase their debt.  Bankruptcy gives creditors an orderly, judicially supervised process for dealing with debtors.  It allows creditors to receive as much of the money that they are owed as possible.  Usually, bankruptcy lawyers specialize in either consumer bankruptcy, representing individual debtors, or commercial bankruptcy, representing organizations.  Bankruptcy is a federal court proceeding.  For more information and web links about bankruptcy law, go to the Legal Information Institute:http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/bankruptcy.

In debtor/creditor law, lawyers work to protect their clients’ assets or to help their clients collect debts.  Debtor/creditor law can start well before disputes over money owed.  Secured transactions is the area of law regarding securing the seller’s rights when the purchaser buys goods.

Debtors can structure their ownership of assets to make it harder for creditors to seize them.  Debtors can also rely on property protections available when a creditor tries to collect a debt.  Creditors have ways of seizing debtors’ wages and property.  Creditors can also make sure that debtors do not commit fraud in protecting their assets.  Debtor/creditor law is usually practiced under state law.  For more information and web links about debtor/creditor law, go to the Legal Information Institute: http://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/debtor_and_creditor.

Job Types Typical Duties

Federal Agencies

Law clerk or staff attorney for federal bankruptcy judge (https://oscar.uscourts.gov/qualifications_salary_benefits)

Government attorney:

Financial or consumer protection:
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (http://www.consumerfinance.gov/)

Revenue collection: Internal Revenue Service (http://jobs.irs.gov/)

Prosecution: Assistant U.S. Attorney
(https://www.justice.gov/legal-careers/vacancies)

Engage in legal research, writing, and other administrative tasks for federal bankruptcy judge

 

Investigate and prosecute debtors or creditors for fraudulent activities

 

Assist in drafting, organizing, and promulgating relevant regulations.

State Agencies

Government attorney—financial or consumer protection:

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services
(http://www.freshfromflorida.com/About/)

Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
(http://www.myfloridalicense.com/dbpr/os/os-info.html)

 

Prosecution/civil enforcement:

Florida Office of the Attorney General
(enforcement for violations of the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act)

Engage in legal research, writing, and other administrative tasks

Investigate and prosecute debtors or creditors for fraudulent activities

Assist in drafting, organizing, and promulgating relevant regulations.

Local Government

Broward County County Attorney, Transportation, Consumer Advocacy and Code Enforcement practice group
 

City Attorney—prosecution of municipal-ordinance violations
(e.g., http://www.fortlauderdale.gov/departments/city-attorney-s-office/about-the-city-attorney-s-office)

Prosecution: Assistant State Attorney
(http://www.sao17.state.fl.us/)

Engage in legal research and writing

Investigate and prosecute debtors or creditors for fraudulent activities

Private Law Firms

Bankruptcy lawyer—private (plaintiff or defendant)

Debtor/creditor lawyer (plaintiff or defendant)

Lawyer for bankruptcy trustee

(Note: Bankruptcy trustees, who supervise bankruptcies, are private employees. They are not government employees.)
 

 

Student Organizations

Other Activities

Curriculum Considerations

Take a look at the Law Curriculum Mapping Guide to see courses related to a career in Bankruptcy Law.  In addition, it will help you identify faculty that you can speak to regarding this area of practice.