diceI know gambling debts are non dischargeable, so we can’t convert the Chapter 13.

So said debtor’s counsel whom I was trying to help with a troubled case.

I wanted to retort: point me to the code section that says that.

I tried gently to suggest it wasn’t so. Not sure the “suggestion” penetrated.

So we are back to where Bankruptcy Mastery started four years ago: READ THE CODE.

It is the manual.

I swear that too many debtor’s counsel are still thrashing around, mucking with people’s lives, without having broken the cellophane on their copy of the Bankruptcy Code.

If you can’t tell the ballplayers without a program, you certainly can’t practice bankruptcy law without reading the code.

People of the Book

The beauty of this practice is that it is based in statutes. Nice, explicit, words on paper that lay out the rules.

You may encounter issues where state property law controls. Occasionally, federal common law is cited.
But most questions are answered by the Code, at least in the first instance.

Yet I see questions asked on list serves that shout that the poster has not done a lick of reading or thinking about the question.  Why help someone too lazy to at least puzzle out the possibilities or find the ambiguities before asking for help?

Ferret out assumptions

Watch yourself analyze client situations.

Find those assumptions you make. Test them out.

Are gambling debts really dischargeable in Chapter 13 and not in Chapter 7?, as this attorney believed.

If a life unexamined isn’t worth living, a legal assumption untested is gambling with your client’s life.

Image courtesy of Flickr and IceSabre.

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  1. Jay Lowenthal says:

    Cathy, your point is clearly important, but whatever possessed you to include that link to Wiki / Socrates? Wow, did you ever hit a nerve! My major in college (at age 41) was Political Science, but with an emphasis on the theories of government. It all started with Classical Political Theory, taught by a professor who earned her PhD by writing her paper on Book VI of Plato’s Republic IN GREEK.

    I was incredibly lucky and uncommonly blessed to have studied under, and been mentored by, her and a few of her colleagues. Clicking that link and reading through those words . . . . who could have guessed what a treat awaited me? And, to have done so on this Fourth of July weekend? Happy birthday indeed!