The skewed perspective of a conservative Catholic employee-side employment lawyer living in the most exciting city in the Milky Way, Las Vegas, Nevada USA, who listens to a lot of really strange music and who, for some reason, lives and dies St. Louis Cardinal baseball


The new bankruptcy bill

With strong bipartisan support, the U.S. Senate passed bankruptcy "reform" legislation today. Why, yes, those are "scare" quotes around the word "reform." Thanks for noticing.

This is the worst bill approved by a single house of Congress since perhaps the Republicans won control of Congress in 1994. The bill is anti-consumer, anti-lawyer, and probably won't do a damn thing to lower credit card interest rates despite the fact that it is a giveaway to the credit industry. The bill will make it significantly more difficult for consumers to get a "fresh start" by declaring bankruptcy.

More insidious is the provision making the attorney liable for his client's bankruptcy fraud. THe lawyer is potentially liable for a bankrupt client's failure to completely disclose assets. Speaking as an attorney, I find this part outrageous and unprecedented in American jurisprudence. Basically, the lawyer is asked to "guarantee" the honesty and integrity of one's client. If this rule were applied in the criminal law context, it would like passing a law that said if a client is found guilty, the lawyer has to go to jail with him.

Now some folks may think this has some basic appeal, and it's probably not a winning argument in the court of public opinion, but ... you as a member of the public would never be able to hire a lawyer under those ground rules.

If this bill passes, and it looks like nothing is going to stop it, then it would be professional malpractice for an attorney to accept a bankruptcy case. My law partner does some bankruptcy law. We have already decided that, as a firm, we will take no more bankruptcy cases if this bill passes. The consequences are too great. Where's Democratic party obstructionism when it could do some good?
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