My Favorite Things About Being A Bankruptcy Lawyer

Lawyers consistently ask me why I became a bankruptcy lawyer.  If you’re thinking of diving into the field and don’t know if it’s your cup of tea then perhaps these insights will help you.

I treasure making an immediate and tangible difference in people’s lives, right here and right now.

So many worries in life are beyond my scope or simply have no quick fix. I can’t fix ill health, old age, or failed relationships.

Debt troubles are an exception.  Bankruptcy is an honorable and long established remedy for bad luck or bad judgment.  It allows people to reorient their lives, to lift the shadow of the financial past from their future.  I can do that.

I get to meet lots of people with different situations, different problems, different family situations and different goals.  The heady thing is that I often have a solution to their financial problems. Also, I am constantly challenged to explain to real people a relatively complex area of law so they can make the base line decisions on what to do.

I also have a chance to deliver financial messages that I think are critical:  save for your children’s education, for emergencies, for retirement.  Move your financial horizon from the end of the month to the end of your your working life.  Don’t assume that life always gets better and that good things will happen to you.  Be cautious and prepare to be self reliant.

The intersection of state law and federal law, seen through the prism of people’s lives and businesses, is endlessly complex.

Bankruptcy law presents endless intellectual challenges. Preference payments that are expressly permitted by state law (in California) have far different consequences in bankruptcy law.  State law decisions about what the client owns are reflected in federal law.

The complexity of this law, laid over the lives of real people, is fascinating and continues to  engage me after more than 30 years.  It’s exhilarating to understand an area of law that other, extremely capable lawyers don’t understand.

I continue to grasp complexities and facets of bankruptcy law in my 32nd year of bankruptcy practice that I was oblivious of even 5 years ago.  How many of your law school contemporaries are still growing and relishing growing in their field of specialty.

I am also confident that there will always be a market for bankruptcy law.  Even in good times, there are failed businesses, failed marriages and instances of failed judgment.  In bad times, the need for what I do is multiplied.

Are you a bankruptcy lawyer?  If so, why?  Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Image credit:  elycefeliz


  1. Jackson Morris, Lawyer says

    Financial worry is bad for health and if a Bankruptcy can remove the agony of debt from the psyche of a Family, that is a good thing!  I am in an office with Marriage & family Counselors and I have given them a white paper of how the Law can help remove financial worry from their client’s lives.  I like what Cathy said about our practice being of an immediate effect.  An Automatic Stay of Execution can be a lifesaving event to a Husband and Wife on the verge of Wage garnishment.

  2. Throughout law school I was told over and over again that being a lawyer is unrewarding work.  Clients always complain about fees;  rarely is anyone completely happy at the end of a case;  no one likes lawyers; etc.  After a few unfulfilling years at a firm, I made the bold decision to go out into the world and start a bankruptcy practice.  It was the best decision of my life.  I can see how my work changes lives and helps families.  My clients are always appreciative, and I am so grateful that I get to play such an important role in their lives.  I became a lawyer to help people, and now I finally do.  What could be more rewarding than that?

  3. Janetstroupe says

    Hello, my name is Justin and I’m a 16year old with high aspirations to become a bankruptcy lawyer. I know I may seem young to already know what I want to do with the rest of my life, but I have an intense fiery passion for this practice which saves lives. I’m currently a sophomore in high school, having already taken law and justice and Business law while currently taking advanced placement in government & politics and advanced placement in US history. My class rank is 32 while my GPA is a 4.0. The reason I’m writing this is to ask for any professional advice from current bankruptcy lawyers that might be helpful to further my career interest. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

  4. This is a very late post for this article, but I wanted to say that as someone who has had family members in financial crises, I agree that being an expert in navigating bankruptcy laws in our society is such a comforting thought for those in need. I remember reading each chapter and feeling overwhelmed at the complexities of the law, and being unsure whether my family could qualify for anything. I just want to say thank you, and that it has inspired me to look into law school for this practice. Cathy, if you could provide any insight as what law schools have the best bankruptcy programs (if there are such thing?) Thank you again.