This course will first examine typical consumer debts incurred by individuals including car loans, home loans, credit cards, rent, tuition, domestic support obligations and various other types of secured and unsecured consumer debts. The course will next consider the various legal strategies available to financially distressed individuals and their creditors when these debts are not paid. Potential non-bankruptcy strategies for consumer debtors and creditors will be considered, but the course will focus primarily on bankruptcy law strategies and remedies for consumer debtors and creditors.
The course will explore in detail the planning, filing and the nuts and bolts implementation of chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, both from the perspective of the consumer debtor and the creditors, and will include an examination of the forms that are used in consumer bankruptcy cases, the federal bankruptcy rules that govern the procedures in such cases, the legal issues that frequently arise in such cases and the judicial process for resolving those issues.
Through guest speakers, the course will introduce students to chapter 7 trustees, chapter 13 trustees, the United States Trustee, bankruptcy judges, practicing attorneys and other actors in the consumer bankruptcy world to gain familiarity with the real world law practice involving consumer bankruptcy cases. Class participation in problem solving exercises will be encouraged. There are no specific prerequisite classes that students must take before enrolling in this class, but a prior class in secured transactions is highly recommended as so many of an individual's consumer debts are secured by a mortgage or security interest.
Finally, the course will cover various recommendations to reform the treatment of consumer debtors and creditors under the Bankruptcy Code.