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How To Keep Up To Date With New Bankruptcy Laws



In the fall of 2005, federal bankruptcy laws were majorly overhauled by the United States Congress in the newly-enacted Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, or what was dubbed BAPCPA for short. Many long-time bankruptcy practitioners, as well as newcomers to the field, were left scrambling to review, digest, understand and somehow apply its cumbersome and tedious provisions in their daily legal practices.

Fortunately, there were (and still are) several sources of information available to those bankruptcy attorneys, as well as to any other interested parties, seeking to unravel the mysteries of BAPCPA and make sense of the new legislation.

Sources for finding up-to-date information

Available sources of information for keeping up to date with new bankruptcy laws include the following:

  • Continuing legal education courses (CLEs) - CLEs are typically offered by law professors, agencies, lawyers, nonprofits, law schools, bar organizations and private corporations. These legal education courses usually charge a small fee in exchange for the instruction (live, audio, video or online), written materials and educational credits they provide to the attorneys who attend them. In the wake of the reforms to the United States Bankruptcy Code in BAPCPA, many of the CLE providers were scrambling to provide lectures, panels and other types of informational sessions to present overviews of the newly-passed legislation and its implications on private bankruptcy practice for debtors and creditors.
  • Websites and online information - The Internet has a plethora of materials on BAPCPA and bankruptcy legislative reforms. Some information was prepared by law firms and private practitioners to market for new business. Other information was compiled and presented by law professors and their students as a research service and for educational pursuits. Agencies, private corporations and other entities have also published educational materials about the legislative reforms to help consumers, the public and practitioners digest the material.
  • Private lawyers - Debtors and creditors involved in the bankruptcy process and impacted by the legislative reforms have the resource of their counsel to address questions and concerns about BAPCPA. For example, for some debtors, the "means test" impacted their eligibility to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Still, other debtors became interested in rushing to the courthouse to file bankruptcy under what they perceived as more favorable laws through the prior legislative scheme (under grandfathered provisions) before the reforms went into effect.
  • Congress and governmental agencies - For those studious individuals interested in wading through dense legislative materials, Congressional websites and libraries contain BAPCPA's text, commentaries, annotations, drafts, revisions and amendments. Going straight to the source of the legislation is another option for learning more about the bankruptcy reforms.
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