Tell me what to read if my client has Issue A, and what to read if they have Issue B, the rookie bankruptcy lawyer asked.
Other readers voice the same plaint: tell me where the answers are for practicing bankruptcy law.
Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that there is no single source, or collection of universal answers, or instant how- to manual for bankruptcy practice. The good news is exactly the same: this practice remains interesting and challenging decades on end because there are endless combinations of bankruptcy law, state law, client facts, local judicial culture, judicial points of view, and client goals.
I imagine this interaction as looking something like the weaving project shown above. Suppose the green background is bankruptcy law and the various ribbons running crosswise through the fabric are your client’s variables: assets, debt mix, financial history, and aspirations. Each client brings different colored ribbons to a bankruptcy case; the resulting weaving is a bit different for each client.
So the challenge for all bankruptcy lawyers is to understand the statutes of the bankruptcy code comprise the warp of a bankruptcy case. Then you must identify the client-centric facts that are the weft of the case. The end product in each case will be slightly different. There is no manual that tells you, if A, then B in this practice.
So, you have to understand the Code, ferret out the facts from your client, and weave them together. Probe, question, research, and ponder. Add the resulting swatch to your collection, and repeat. It’s the stuff of bankruptcy practice.