BASIC BANKRUPTCY Prof. Marjorie Girth
3 CREDIT HOURS (404)-413-9196 (Office)
Fall, 2007 email@example.com
August 13, 2007
MEMO TO: Students in the Basic Bankruptcy course
FROM: Marjorie Girth
SUBJECT: Substantive coverage, basic procedures and overall goals for this course
To understand the financial liquidation and reorganization options that are available to
bankruptcy petitioners since the extensive 2005 revisions to the federal Bankruptcy Code
became fully effective on October 17, 2005, and the reasons why petitioners might choose
between those remedies.
To develop familiarity with and an ability to use the Bankruptcy Code and statutory
interpretation techniques. While we will be focusing on the details of the Bankruptcy Code, you
should be able to utilize the skills that you develop in this course more generally when you are
considering legislative or statutory issues.
II. REQUIRED MATERIALS:
1. Warren & Westbrook, The Law of Debtors and Creditors (5th ed., Aspen, 2005). All
earlier editions are completely outdated, because they do not include the 2005 revisions.
2. Epstein and Nickles, 2007–2008 Bankruptcy Code and Related Materials for Law
Students. If you decide to use another version of the Code, be sure that it incorporates the 2005
3. Class handouts.
You are responsible for preparing all Bankruptcy Code sections that are mentioned in the
assigned materials. On each assignment sheet I will list the sections that will receive the most
attention in our class discussions.
III. SUBSTANTIVE COVERAGE AND ASSIGNMENTS:
We will emphasize the substantive provisions of the Bankruptcy Code’s Chapters 7 and
13, which exemplify the financial liquidation and reorganization options that are available under
the revised Bankruptcy Code. Major topics that we will cover include: 1) the potential for
creditors’ leverage in collection efforts against debtors; 2) consumer bankruptcy options and
policy issues reflected by the revised Code; 3) commencing a bankruptcy proceeding and
creating a bankruptcy estate; 4) the effect of the automatic stay upon collection activities; 5)
bankruptcy exemptions; 6) proof and allowance of creditors’ claims; 7) objections and
exceptions to an individual’s bankruptcy discharge; 8) developing a payment plan for the
Chapter 13 repayment alternative; 9) treatment of secured, unsecured and priority creditors in
Chapter 13 proceedings; and 10) limits on the bankruptcy discharge in a Chapter 13 case.
If time permits, we will consider comparable issues that come into play when a Chapter
11 reorganization proceeding is filed. However, the 2005 revisions to Chapters 7 and 13 are so
extensive that our coverage may be limited to those two chapters.
Because I like to keep our discussion open for questions, I cannot predict accurately how
far our discussion will take us on any given day. At the end of each class I will try to estimate
the next week’s progress. Each assignment sheet will be posted at the “Assignments” segment
of this Course on Line.
As in all “real world” situations, deviations from my plan may become necessary.
The College of Law is required to certify to the American Bar Association that you have
in fact attended law school classes. Therefore, I require regular, prompt attendance. More than
four unexcused absences may result in a forced withdrawal from the course. If you are not in
class when a session begins, please mark the attendance sheet “LATE”.
After class begins, I expect you to remain in the room until the class ends unless a
physical emergency develops. Before class begins, please turn off all cell phones and other
beepers or pagers and any other devices that interrupt you in less noisy ways.
A commitment to professionalism requires that you give undivided attention to our class
agenda. Therefore, please do not “surf the net,” review and/or answer e-mail, play computer
games, check sports results or otherwise abuse internet access.
This syllabus continues on the next page.
I try to organize discussion segments as if I am a senior partner in your private or public
office and each of you is an associate assigned to work with me on problems faced by our
clients. My examination questions also follow this format, with your answers being in the form
of memoranda to me responding to questions that our clients have asked.
Your grades will be based upon a three-hour, written, in class examination. It will be
“open book,” including the casebook, Bankruptcy Code and written outlines or notes that you
have prepared. No commercial outlines, outlines purchased from (or donated by!) other
students, or bar review materials will be permitted. There will be a maximum bonus of ten (10)
points for clarity of organization and presentation and a maximum bonus of ten (10) points for
precise statutory citation.
VI. MAKE-UP EXAMINATIONS:
You must arrange for make-up exams through the Office of the Associate Dean in
accordance with the College of Law’s policies which are set forth in its Bulletin.
VII. ELECTRONIC DISTRIBUTION LIST:
An e-mail list has been constructed for this class to facilitate voluntary discussion that
you initiate and for the dissemination of announcements from me. You will be automatically
subscribed to this list, and you will be responsible for the substance of all messages that I
As indicated above, my personal e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org . I will be glad to
respond individually to questions sent to that address.
VIII. TAPE RECORDING:
Tape recording of classes is not generally permitted. Exceptions can be granted in the
event of illness or similar family emergency.
IX. APPOINTMENTS WITH ME:
Please just e-mail your fall semester schedule to me when you need to make an
appointment to see me. I believe that such a system is the easiest way to accommodate the
complexities of both your and my schedules. That system has worked very well for my students
in earlier years.
END OF MEMO