Web posted and Copyright © 1/12/98, American Bankruptcy Institute.

The following abstract summarizes the text of submissions made to the National Bankruptcy Review Commission. The abstract is organized by NBRC working group and topic.

The Final Report of the NBRC can be viewed on-line. To obtain a copy of any document shown below, contact the Center for Legislative Archives, Room 205, National Archives Building, Washington, D.C. 20408. The telephone number is 202/501-5350. Mr. R. Michael McReynolds, Deputy Director, will be able to assist with specific inquiries. (The NBRC documents will be housed at this location until June, 1999. Thereafter, the records will be transferred to the Center's archives in College Park, MD.)

Service to the Estate and Ethics: Local Counsel
Problem ReferencedProposed Solutions
Richard CarreraAttorney

Restrictions against nationwide admission, such as requirements to obtain local counsel, introduce unnecesary expense and complication to what are often routine proceedings governed by federal bankruptcy laws. Clients should be the ultimate decision makers on who their counsel should be.Author supports proposal to allow practitioners admitted in any district to practice before a bankruptcy cocurt of any other district in the nation.
Richard T. WebbPresident & CEO, Atlantic Financial Federal Credit Union

Author, as creditor in a bankruptcy case, "was advised by the Court that in Pennsylvania cases such as this must be represented by counsel. If this was a federal bankruptcy court why would requirements for representation vary from state to state...To obtain counsel for what appeared to be a clear case of fraud would only have increased . . . . unnecessarily . . . . our expenses."None specified.
Heidi Heitkamp, et al.Attorney General of North Dakota and Chair, Bankruptcy and Taxation Working Group, National Association of Attorneys General; and, Attorneys General of member states.Specific Proposal Recommendations

Bankruptcy cases allow the debtor to centralize litigation in a forum far distant from the locale in which contact with the creditor took place, which places a burden on creditors. At the same time, because there is a uniform Code, there is less reason to need counsel versed in the law of the forum state.State and local government counsel should be allowed to appear nationwide in bankruptcy cases.
John R. EllisSenior Assistant Attorney General; Chief, Bankkruptcy & Collections UnitCopy of Sample Order Setting Initial Conference, from Manual for Complex Litigation, Third.

Allowing bankruptcy counsel to appear in other districts without local counsel is entirely consistent with the practice recommended for and commonly used in multi-district cases in which counsel are required to conduct litigation in out-of-state forums not of their choosing. Author has enclosed copy of Sample Order Setting Initial Conference in multi-state cases, which contains a provision that: "Attorneys admitted to practice and in good standing in any United States District court are admitted pro hac vice in this litigation. Association of local cocounsel is not required."Allow bankruptcy attorneys to appear in other districts without having to associate local counsel.
Samuel L. BuffordBankruptcy Judge, Central District of California

Author comments on national admission policy for attorneys in bankruptcy by Professor Lawrence P. King. Author believes it is important that such a proposal include a requirement that an attorney from outside the district read the local rules before taking advantage of the rule excusing the attorney from local admission. Thus "we can minimize the likelihood that the lawyer's client will suffer ambush resulting from unfamiliarity with local procedures."Require that an attorney from outside the district certify that s/he has read the local rules before being allowed to practice there.
Robert A. ColtonChair, Business Law Section of the Florida Bar

"It is the Section's strenuous belief that any such "National Admission to Practice" standard is not currently realistic or likely to be workable until such time as there is a uniform standard for local rules of court, local forms, court guidelines and clerk's instruction for each bankruptcy court and/or judge in each federal district in the country." Also, state law often applies."The Section does not currently support the Commission's recommendation to allow attorneys to practice in any bankruptcy court in any federal district int he country if they have been admitted to practice in at least one bankrutpcy court in any federal district in the country."