Bankruptcy Attorneys specialize in helping their clients use the court system to reduce or eliminate debts, file for bankruptcy, or seek unpaid debts. They can work with individuals or with businesses, representing debtors, creditors, creditors’ committees, or bankruptcy trustees. Bankruptcy Attorneys work in and out of the courtroom, either creating debt restructuring plans for debtors to help them relieve debts or trying to extract as much owed money as possible from debtors on behalf of creditors.
It’s essential for a Bankruptcy Attorney to not only have an in-depth knowledge of federal and state bankruptcy laws but also skills in litigation, math, and negotiation. A background in finance is also attractive to prospective employers.
Typical Duties and Responsibilities
- Prepare and review court filings
- Draft responses to motions and other filings
- Participate in telephone conferences with clients and adversaries to discuss pending motions and try to resolve disputes
- Engage in discovery for cases
- Strategize with co-counsel or colleagues
- Guide clients through the bankruptcy process
- Present debt restructuring plans in court
Education and Background
This position requires a Juris Doctorate as well as a license to practice law in the state where you will work.
A background in finance, bankruptcy proceedings, tax law, or related fields is preferred.
Skills and Competencies
- Written and verbal communication skills
- Knowledge of federal and state bankruptcy laws and regulations
- Ability to handle sensitive financial issues with empathy and discretion
- Research skills
- Analytical thinking
- Negotiation skills
According to Payscale the median annual salary of a Bankruptcy Attorney with
1 Year of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $44,000
- Tampa, Florida: $49,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $45,000
- Miami, Florida: $48,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $45,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $50,000
- Houston, Texas: $54,000
- Los Angeles, California: $64,000
- New York City, New York: $64,000
- Seattle, Washington: $69,000
- Overall: $55,000
5 Years of Experience:
- Orlando, Florida: $49,000
- Tampa, Florida: $55,000
- Jacksonville, Florida: $50,000
- Miami, Florida: $60,000
- Atlanta, Georgia: $65,000
- Chicago, Illinois: $60,000
- Houston, Texas: $65,000
- Los Angeles, California: $70,000
- New York City, New York: $75,000
- Seattle, Washington: $75,000
- Overall: $67,000
Similar Job Titles
- Bankruptcy Associate Attorney
- Bankruptcy and Restructuring Attorney
- Financial Restructuring Attorney
- Corporate/Restructuring Attorney
Bankruptcy Attorneys are required to have a Juris Doctorate from an accredited law school and a license to practice law in the state where they work. A bachelor’s degree is necessary to pursue a J.D. degree. College course work in subjects like creditors’ rights, income taxation, negotiations, and other bankruptcy-specific courses are also recommended for students who know they want to specialize in bankruptcy law. There are also master’s of law programs in bankruptcy available for people who already have their Juris Doctorate and want to get even more specialized knowledge.
Most attorneys start in law firms as associates, then progress with either a partner or non-partner track, leading to positions as partners, senior attorneys, or of counsel.
Bankruptcy law is ever-changing, and Bankruptcy Attorneys need to stay up-to-date on any changes to federal and state laws. The number of bankruptcy filings and proceedings tends to track with, but slightly behind, the economy. When the economy is good, fewer people get behind on debt payments, and there are fewer filings. When the economy reverses course, bankruptcy filings eventually go up, though probably not immediately.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for lawyers is expected to grow by six percent between 2018 and 2028, which is as fast as average.
The typical work hours in an office setting for a Bankruptcy Attorney are usually from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, many attorneys work more than 40 hours a week, especially when preparing for trials or nearing deadlines.
Where You Can Find Jobs
- 4 Corner Resources
- Career Builder
- Zip Recruiter
- Law Jobs
Are You Interested in Becoming a Bankruptcy Attorney?
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