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Teaching Selected Ethical Issues in Bankruptcy

Submitted by Joe Hoffman on Tue, 11-10-2009
Korybut, Michael
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St. Louis University Law Journal
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United States
Both consumer and business bankruptcies present numerous ethical questions. Like any lawyer, the bankruptcy attorney must be familiar with a variety of ethics codes and rules, such as the 1969 ABA Model Code of Professional Responsibility or the 1983 ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. Further, the Bankruptcy Code has a number of provisions that raise ethical questions. Accordingly, when I teach my Bankruptcy survey course, I devote time in a number of classes to ethical issues. In particular, I spend a good part of one class on Bankruptcy Code section 327(a) which prohibits an attorney representing the bankruptcy trustee from having any "adverse interest" to the bankruptcy estate and requires that the attorney be a "disinterested person." This essay describes how I teach that class in the context of a Chapter 11 corporate reorganization, principally through the analysis of section 327(a), Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure rule 2014(a) regarding disclosures, and In re Filene's Basement, Inc., penned by the estimable Judge William Hillman.
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