American Bankruptcy Institute Update

August 25, 2005

In This Issue


Bankruptcies in U.S. Surge to Record High Ahead Of Oct. 17

The number of bankruptcies in the United States surged to an all-time high in the second quarter of this year as financially troubled consumers scrambled to file before a rewrite of bankruptcy laws takes full effect. Bankruptcy filings in the April-to-June quarter totaled 467,333, according to data released Wednesday from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. That marked a record number of filings made in any quarter.

Of that total, most -- 458,597 -- were personal bankruptcy filings; the remaining 8,736 were businesses filing for bankruptcy, the data showed.
Bankruptcy filings had been fairly stable. For the 12 months ending June 30, bankruptcy filings totaled 1,637,254. That was just a slight increase from 1,635,725 filings made during the corresponding 12-month period a year earlier.

The record 467,333 bankruptcy filings in the second quarter surpassed the previous quarterly high of 440,257 filings in the second quarter of 2003, said Nathalie Martin, a resident scholar at the American Bankruptcy Institute.

The ABI news release, issued yesterday, was picked up across the United States. View the current statistics online at ABI World.

Trial Lawyers’ Ads Fight Asbestos Bill

Four Bay-area plaintiff firms specializing in asbestos cases have helped create — and funded with at least $435,000 — an advocacy group attacking a federal bill to end such lawsuits, political finance reports show, the Oakland Tribune reported today. The Senate Accountability Project, a Section 527 political advocacy group, filed a report Monday with the Internal Revenue Service showing that it had raised $990,526 from its creation in mid-April through the end of June.

The group's web site, displays four ads that the group has produced and aired criticizing four particular senators — Sen. Jeffrey Sessions (R-Ala.), Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa), Sen. Samuel Brownback (R-Kan.) and Sen. Thomas Coburn (R-Okla.) — for supporting a bill to require insurers and businesses that exposed workers to asbestos to pay into a $140 billion trust fund over 30 years in return for an end to asbestos-related lawsuits. A fifth ad criticizes the asbestos bill without naming any senators, and a sixth rebuts a conservative group's attack on Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). The senators named were among 13 Senate Judiciary Committee members from both parties who voted May 26 to send the asbestos trust fund bill to the Senate floor. Read the full story.

Some oregon lawyers leave bankruptcy practice

Even as debtors rush to file for bankruptcy before sweeping changes take effect in October, some attorneys are preparing to exit that area of practice, the Medford Mail Tribune reported yesterday. There are 11 entries under bankruptcy attorneys in the current Dex Yellow Pages -- down from 13 four years ago -- and the number will likely decline in the next edition.

"I'm going to keep doing it, but I've heard of three (attorneys) that aren't going to be doing it any more," says Medford attorney Tom Dzieman. "I suspect one or two of those large (Yellow Page) ads will be gone." Ashland attorney Joe Charter, who has handled chapter 7 bankruptcies, says he's leaving the field behind, primarily because of the expense and liability."The due diligence required of debtors by attorneys is going to make it more expensive," Charter says. Attorneys will have to certify information offered by debtors is true when they present it to the court and will be subject to sanctions if it's found false. Charter says that some of the work previously done by the bankruptcy court will now fall to attorneys. Read the full story.


How do you put an insolvent chapter 11 debtor to rest? What are your alternatives if you cannot confirm a “normal” plan? Find out at ABI’s “Best of New York” Bankruptcy Conference at 1:00 p.m. (Eastern) on August 31, 2005. This live Webinar will explore both traditional and non-traditional ideas including case dismissal, entry of a “bifurcation order,” a “virtual” chapter 7 proceeding in the chapter 11 proceeding, taking a “shot” at operating an administratively insolvent chapter 11 proceeding without a bifurcation order, and confirmation of a plan for an administratively insolvent estate. The program features Judge Allan L. Gropper and attorneys Scott L. Hazan, Andrew A. Kress, Deirdre A. Martini and Joseph Samet. Go to the site for more information and to register for this timely event. The “Best of ABI” series brings the highest rated sessions from each ABI conference right to your office.


The First Annual Detroit Bankruptcy Conference, "Practice Under the New Bankruptcy Law" brings together the Mid-West’s preeminent insolvency professionals for one day of intense learning. The event will be held November 11, 2005, at the Novi Sheraton. Topics include:

  • U.S. Trustee Implementation: Entering, Getting Through and Exiting the Process
  • The Means Test: An In-depth Analysis
  • Chapter 13 Changes
  • What Debtors Get to Keep (And Not): Homestead Exemption; Household Goods; Privacy Issues
  • The New Super-Creditor: Domestic Support Changes
  • The New World of Chapter 11: Small Business Rules, Strategies in Real Estate Cases, Lease Rules, Preference and Reclamation Issues and Ethics
  • Tax Changes

Register today and earn up to 7 hours of CLE credit.

Mark Your Calendar to Participate in the New Bankruptcy Law Series’ Final Webinar!

The Judges’ Perspective—September 22, 2 p.m. EDT

This Webinar will be a special roundtable featuring a panel of leading bankruptcy judges:

  • Second Circuit: Hon. Elizabeth Stong, Eastern District of New York
  • Fourth Circuit: Hon. Douglas Tice, Eastern District of Virginia
  • Fifth Circuit: Hon. Barbara Houser, Northern District of Texas
  • Sixth Circuit: Hon. Steven Rhodes, Eastern District of Michigan
  • Ninth Circuit: Hon. Samuel Bufford, Central District of California
  • Tenth Circuit: Hon. James Starzynski, District of New Mexico
  • Eleventh Circuit: Hon. Mary Grace Diehl, Northern District of Georgia

Register today.

Prepare for the Certification Exam

The new bankruptcy law provides that courts will take into account board certification when awarding attorney fees under §330. The American Board of Certification is offering its exams several times this fall (covering current law). You can prepare for the exams with a handy and affordable CD-ROM prepared by board-certified ABI members. The CD includes materials on consumer bankruptcy, business bankruptcy, ethics and creditors’ rights. Sample exam questions and answers are also included. Member price is $195. Buy the CD-ROM in ABI’s online store!


An “all-star” cast of industry leaders will play the roles of the major constituents as they work through a case study in this day-long program. In the new format and location, the 2005 ABI Investment Banking Program will offer a unique approach to understanding the role of investment bankers in insolvency and restructuring contexts. See how creditor and debtor dynamics affect a case as the players seek the highest value for an insolvent company. Join us for this year's ABI Investment Banking Program, set to be held in Las Vegas at the Four Seasons Hotel, September 8-9, 2005.

Moderators and Program Co-chairs:

• James D. Decker, Houlihan Lokey Howard & Zukin
• Peter S. Kaufman, Gordian Group LLC  

"Representing" Parties-in-Interest:

• Board of Directors: Laura Davis Jones,
Pachulski, Stang et. al

• Debtor/Management: William K. Snyder,
Corporate Revitalization Partners LLC

• Trade Creditors: Peter M. Gilhuly, Latham & Watkins

• Senior Lender: Mitchell E. Drucker, CIT Group Inc.

• Private Equity Investor: Joel B. Piassick, Harbert Management

• Bondholders: Jeffrey S. Sabin, Schulte Roth & Zabel LLP

• CRO: Rebecca A. Roof, AlixPartners LLC

• U.S. Trustee: Ilene J. Lashinsky, Region 14, Arizona

• Judge: Hon. Wesley W. Steen, S.D. Texas

Click here to register today!

ABI World Tutorial Highlights Search Engine

A new online tutorial focuses on the capability of ABI’s search engine. The tutorial features a visual demonstration of how to use the online search engine and locate documents quickly and easily on a particular bankruptcy topic within the thousands of articles, reports, publications, court documents and many other sources available at the ABI World web site. This is the third in a series of tutorials that will highlight the many resources and services available at ABI World.

Latest Job Postings at ABI Career Center

Check out the ABI Career Center. The Center is a one-stop site for job seekers and employers in the insolvency community. Career Center resources are available free to both employers and job seekers. New positions are featured daily. The latest listings include: