This course covers Title 11 of the U.S. Code, the Bankruptcy Code. It includes both consumer and business bankruptcy and a modest introduction to state law collection issues. Students learn the basic concepts of "straight" bankruptcy liquidation (Chapter 7), in which a trustee is appointed to sell the debtor's assets and pay the proceeds to the creditors. For consumers, that topic includes the fresh start--the discharge of all pre-existing debt--and the identification of exempt assets. Students also study the rehabilitation provisions, under which the debtor attempts to pay all or some part of the pre-bankruptcy debt: Chapter 13 payout plans for consumers and Chapter 11 reorganization proceedings for businesses.
Principal attention is given to the substance of the bankruptcy laws, including the "avoiding powers" (for example, preferences, fraudulent conveyances, and cancellation of executory contracts), treatment of secured creditors (including the automatic stay against repossession or foreclosure), and priorities in asset distribution. More than half of the course is devoted to business reorganizations in Chapter 11 [cases like United Airlines, Pacific Gas & Electric, and World Com (MCI)], including the legal requirements for confirmation of a plan of reorganization and "cramdown" of recalcitrant creditors. Questions of jurisdiction and procedure are introduced, but are not the major focus of the course.
The course attempts to give balanced attention to the practice realities of negotiation and leverage within a complex of doctrinal rules and to the social and economic consequences of the bankruptcy system in both its consumer and commercial manifestations.
Prerequisite: Secured Credit. The prerequisite may be concurrent, that is, taken during the same semester.