The ABI Bankruptcy Reform Study Project includes a series of nine symposia that were offered in 1995 and 1996 to gather information and viewpoints on key issues. This series, designed to provide the National Bankruptcy Review Commission with input on a wide variety of bankruptcy issues, brought together distinguished scholars and practitioners representing different constituents from all over the country. A book, consisting of papers prepared by each of the symposium panelists, was published for each of the symposia, and they are available in limited quantities.
Whether purchased individually, or as a complete set, the Symposia Series books each provide an in-depth exploration of the topic.

The Symposium series is out of print, but is available to exclusively to ABI Members online.

Defining Success in Business Bankruptcy

Whether business bankruptcy is an effective remedy depends on defining what types of outcomes constitute success. This book, provides an overview of the issues and features the following papers:

  • A Debtor's Perspective;
  • Defining Success from the Standpoint of a Secured Creditor in Business Bankruptcies;
  • An Unsecured Creditor's View;"
  • Bankruptcy in the United States: A Noble Pursuit;
  • Defining Success in Business Bankruptcies.

Should the Automatic Stay Be Abolished?

The dual purpose of providing the debtor with a "fresh start" and equitable distribution of the debtor's property to creditors commonly have been referred to as the twin goals or policies of the Bankruptcy Code. At the center of these purposes is the automatic stay. The protection of the stay has been eroded since the Bankruptcy Reform Act of 1978 went into effect, and amendments to §362 suggest the stay was too broad. A thorough discussion is provided in the following papers included in this book:

  • The Stay Is Here to Stay;
  • A Secured Creditor's Brief for Reform of the Automatic Stay: The Single Asset Real Estate Case;
  • The Efficacy of the Automatic Stay: Does It Work in the First Place?;
  • Alternate Readings of the Legislative History of the Automatic Stay;
  • A Foreign Perspective on the Automatic Stay Debate: The Canadian Insolvency System.

Professional Compensation: Does Bankruptcy Cost Too Much?

Many costs are associated with bankruptcy reorganization and liquidation cases in the United States; among the most extraordinary tangible expenses are professionals' fees. This books discusses the issues in general, as well varying viewpoints:

  • Professional Fees: Is the Cost Too High?;
  • Do Non-business Bankruptcies Cost Too Much?;
  • An Accountant's Perspective;
  • Paying the Piper;
  • The Magnetism of Perpetual Criticism: A Practitioner's Perspective;
  • U.S. General Accounting Office Fact Sheet on Bankruptcy Professional Fees: Guidelines for Reviewing Fee Applications.

Administrative Oversight in the Bankruptcy System: Who Should Guard the Hen House?

Virtually every community, business and individual in the United States is affected in some manner by the operation of the federal bankruptcy system. Someone, somewhere must be responsible for the efficiency and integrity of the system. Currently, the U.S. Trustee Program fulfills this function in 48 states and the Bankruptcy Administrator Program is used in the remaining two states. This book explores the question of oversight with papers including:

  • The U.S. Trustee System Remains the Right Choice in the Right Place;
  • Who Should Guard the Hen House?
  • Bankruptcy Administrators Make Better (and Cheaper) Hen House Guards
  • News and Comments on the U.S. Trustee Program

Exclusivity and DIP Management: Too Much Debtor Control?

The current business reorganization scheme generally authorizes the directors, officers and management team that operated a financially troubled business prior to bankruptcy to continue to manage the debtor's affairs during chapter 11. Does this vesting of control in the pre-existing management team promote reorganization or explain the high failure rate in chapter 11? This books provides a complete analysis of the issues with papers on:

  • The Professional Turnaround Manager's Case for Exclusivity;
  • The Secured Creditor's Case for Abolition of the Exclusivity Period;
  • Abolishing Exclusivity: Much Ado About Nothing from an Unsecured Creditor's Vantage Point;
  • An Investment Banker's Proposal for Fundamental Changes in the Management of Chapter 11 Cases.

Labor Unions and Bankruptcy: Too Much Leverage?

The Bankruptcy Code originally included few, if any, special interest provisions favoring organized labor. Section 1113 and Section 1114 have been added to the Code to restrict the rejection of labor contracts and to protect retiree benefits, respectively. This books explores the issues with papers on:

  • Collective Bargaining Agreements and Bankruptcy: Are They Worth The Paper They're Written On?;
  • A Perspective from Management;
  • Municipal Bankruptcy: A Case for Legislative Change.

How Consensual Workouts Are Shaped by Business Bankruptcy

The chapter 11 process is often cumbersome, expensive, and lacking in uniformity and predictability. Often, the meter specter of a bankruptcy filing can provided businesses with leverage during negotiations with creditors, employees and shareholders. This leverage can shape the parameters of the any resolution and the continuing relationship of the parties. The extent to which the Bankruptcy Code influences out-of-court workouts should be an important consideration in bankruptcy reform. This book includes papers on:

  • "I Was Thinking Along Those Lines Anyhow" Or, How the Specter of Bankruptcy Proceedings Caused Me to Embrace the Consensual Workout Process;
  • The Bankruptcy Code: Thor's Hammer for the Workout;
  • The Impact of Bankruptcy on Workouts and New Investments;
  • The Impact of the Bankruptcy Code on Dealing with Management of a Troubled Company and on Initial Financial Analysis;
  • The Banker's Perspective.

The Impact of Bankruptcy on Free Market Competition

Who, if anybody, is really better off when a company files a bankruptcy petition? The debtor? Its competitors? Its customers? The public at large? This book examines the impact of a chapter 11 filing on the marketplace and one debtor-in-possessions' ability to compete, focusing specifically on the airline industry, which has had a high number of filings. Papers include:

  • The Impact of Bankruptcy on Free Market Competition;
  • The Effect of Chapter 11 on Competition in the Airline Industry;
  • The Economic Effect of Bankruptcy: The "Zombie Airline" Debate;
  • The Empirical Evidence on Zombie Airlines.