Do I Have To Read All The Code First?

Following the announcement of a class I was to teach on bankruptcy fundamentals, a reader called and told me he had embarked on reading the entire Code and Rules.  “Should I wait to take the course til I’ve completed that? ”  he asked.

I was so inclined to shout “Hallelujah, a rookie reading the Code!” that I almost lost the point I wanted to make:  take the course to find the Code sections you should read first. As admirable and beneficial as reading the entire Code might be, not all parts of the Code are equally important in a consumer case.

For pete’s sake, read and master  §541 and §707 before you read §303 and §726.  Take the course and read the rules associated with venue before worrying about §324 and the removal of trustees.

Still, I have to commend to others this attorney’s approach.  He recognized that all things start with the code.

So often when a newbie asks a question, I have to bite my tongue not to blurt out: “Have you read the statutue?”  At some level we are blessed in this practice with a set of explicit guideposts in the practice in the Code and the Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. But it only helps if you’ve read it.

There are certainly things I’ve learned in the practice that aren’t found between book covers:  that’s why I write here and why I put together the fundamentals course.  It’s inefficient and unfair to the public for each bankruptcy practitioner to learn on the job, potentially at the expense of clients.


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