American Bankruptcy Institute

January 17-18, 1997, Alexandria, Va.

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The ABI Consumer Bankruptcy Reform Forum brought together 51 bankruptcy professionals from a variety of perspectives for a 1 1/2 day discussion. Represented were debtor attorneys, creditor attorneys, trustees ( Chapter 7 and 13), judges, secured and unsecured lenders, and government (federal and state) representatives. See list of participants.

The proceedings were held off-the-record, to ensure FORUM an open and candid discussion. The participants were divided into concurrent workshop groups, led by three distinguished law professors (Richard Flint, Veryl Miles and Jeffrey Morris) who served as moderators. See agenda. Each of the moderators submitted a written summary of their group sessions. These papers were then circulated to a number of participants for comment and editing, resulting in this report.

Crafting any summary, weeks after an event and without the benefit of a transcript, is a challenge. However, we believe this report accurately reflects a narrative of the group impressions on a variety of issues. We preserved the basic framework of the summaries submitted by the moderators. Special care has been taken to limit the representation that a "consensus" was reached on many important issues. One of the few areas where such a consensus was reached was the opposition to a so-called unified, single-chapter, basic bankruptcy concept, as circulated by the Consumer Bankruptcy Working Group. However, this concept was not the focus of any workshop session.

Throughout this document, care is taken to label clearly when views were expressed by only some participants. We also sought to refrain from the characterization of a "majority" view when there was a numerical disparity in the number of debtor vs. creditor representatives in any given workshop.

It is hoped that this report will best be used as a guide to areas where the Commission may find future support (or narrowing of differences) among debtor and creditor interests, upon a continuation of this dialogue.

Samuel J. Gerdano, Executive Director
American Bankruptcy Institute