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Bankruptcy Lawyers

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Bankruptcy Lawyers

Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in the United States

Lawyer Legion Top Picks for 2023

The following list was determined using a number of factors including both objective and subjective criteria. Lawyers were selected based on their career accomplishments, high-profile cases, professional involvement, community leadership, and board certifications. This list includes many of the most highly accomplished bankruptcy lawyers currently practicing in the United States.

When reviewing this list, please be aware of each of the following:

  • Lawyers cannot pay to be included in this list.
  • Only lawyers who are active on Lawyer Legion were selected.
  • It is difficult to compare lawyers who practice in different states across the country.
  • It is impossible to accurately determine a national list of attorneys who are actually “the best” at practicing bankruptcy law (but our list comes close).
Jenny Lynn Doling
J. Doling Law, PC
Palm Desert, CA
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Gerald Lewis White
Law Office of Gerald L. White
Folsom, CA
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Robert Stanley Williams
Williams & Williams Inc
Bakersfield, CA
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Harlene Miller
Harlene Miller Law, APLC
Irvine, CA
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Cathleen Cooper Moran
Moran Law Group,Inc
Mountain View, CA
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Leon D Bayer
Bayer Wishman & Leotta
Los Angeles, CA
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Thomas H Allen
Allen Barnes & Jones PLC
Phoenix, AZ
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Sammy C Gregory
Sam C. Gregory, PLLC
Lubbock, TX
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Damon Terry Duncan
Duncan Law, LLP
Greensboro, NC
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Selwyn Deenice Whitehead
Law Offices of Selwyn D. Whitehead
Oakland, CA
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Diane L Drain
Law Office of D.L. Drain, P.A.
Phoenix, AZ
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More Noteworthy Bankruptcy Lawyers

Bankruptcy Legal Resources

Helpful Videos

NACBA: Your Best Resource

NACBA: Get Educated

Bankruptcy Bar Associations and Legal Organizations

National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) - The NACBA is a national professional organization comprised of attorneys who practice bankruptcy law representing consumer debtors. The organization provides resources and education to lawyers while also advocating for legislative changes to the Bankruptcy Code. The National Association for Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys offers many benefits to its members seeking to improve their practice by filing amicus briefs to assist them.

Specialty Certifications in Bankruptcy

State Bar of Arizona Board of Legal Specialization
Bankruptcy Law - The State Bar of Arizona offers a board certification program for attorneys to specialize in Bankruptcy Law. To earn this distinction, lawyers must meet rigorous standards, including passing a comprehensive examination and demonstrating substantial involvement in bankruptcy cases. Additionally, they are required to receive favorable evaluations from their peers and judges familiar with their work. By obtaining this certification, attorneys differentiate themselves as specialists in the field of Bankruptcy Law.
State Bar of California
Bankruptcy Law - Bankruptcy Law is under the jurisdiction of the federal government, and bankruptcy matters are heard in federal court. There are both national and state-specific certifications. In California, the board certification for bankruptcy law is awarded by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization (CBLS). The bankruptcy attorney must demonstrate substantial involvement in the practice of bankruptcy law to earn the board-certified specialist distinction.
North Carolina Board of Legal Specialization
Consumer Bankruptcy Law - The North Carolina State Bar Board of Legal Specialization offers certification in Consumer Bankruptcy Law. To qualify, lawyers must average 500 hours annually in bankruptcy law, with certain roles in courts, government, or academia also counting towards this requirement. Lawyers are also expected to undertake 36 hours of accredited bankruptcy law CLE courses in three years. For peer review, ten references from qualified lawyers or judges are essential. The final step is a six-hour exam conducted at the NC State Bar building.
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Consumer Bankruptcy Law - Finding attorneys who are Board Certified Specialist in Consumer Bankruptcy Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS). The specialty certification area was launched in 1984. Today, more than 100 attorneys are board certified in consumer bankruptcy law. Attorneys must seek recertification every five years.
Texas Board of Legal Specialization
Business Bankruptcy Law - Many of the top business bankruptcy law attorneys in Texas have become board certified in this specialty practice area by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization (TBLS). The specialty certification area was launched in 1988. Today, more than 100 attorneys are board certified in business bankruptcy law. Attorneys must seek recertification every five years.

United States Government and Court Resources

Supreme Court of the United States

Supreme Court of the United States - The Judiciary Act of 1789, Article III of the Constitution allowed for the establishment of the Supreme Court. Additionally, the United States Supreme Court is the highest in the Nation. It has jurisdiction over all state and federal cases that involve a violation of Constitutional or Federal laws. The court has the power of judicial review and is the interpreter of the Constitution. Furthermore, the court consist of the Chief Justice of the United States and associate justices.

United States Courts

United States Courts - Article III of the Constitution helped create the United States Courts. Congress also created several legislative courts, such as the U.S. Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims, U.S. Tax Court, and U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces. Federal courts hear cases in which the United States is an interested party, bankruptcy cases, disputes between states, maritime law, and cases involving the violation of federal or constitutional laws. Additionally, the courts help decide what happened, what should be done about the situation, if a person committed the crime, and what punishment to give to the persons.

Overview of U.S. Bankruptcy Law

Description of Bankruptcy Law

When a person is no longer able to meet financial obligations but is being vigorously pursued by creditors, he or she may seek protection in bankruptcy. Similarly, a business that has fallen under deep fiscal duress may file for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy law exists to assist those who, often under no fault of their own, find themselves overburdened with debt. Under bankruptcy, assets may be liquidated, but debts may also be discharged.

Bankruptcy is under federal jurisdiction, and bankruptcy matters are heard in federal court. A trustee is usually appointed to manage affairs. The debtor may hire a bankruptcy lawyer to represent his or her interests during the proceedings.

Consumer Bankruptcy

Consumer bankruptcy, also called debtor bankruptcy or personal bankruptcy, is when an individual debtor can no longer meet his or her financial obligations and seeks legal protection from creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, debts might be discharged and property may be liquidated to pay off debts. The debtor may hire a consumer bankruptcy attorney to represent his or her interests in the proceedings.

Most consumer bankruptcies fall under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

  • Chapter 7: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the simplest and most common form of bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court appoints a trustee. The debtor may keep certain exempt property, which is determined by both state and federal law. The trustee then sells or "liquidates" the remaining property and pays off debts in order of legal priority. Most debts that remain after nonexempt property is liquidated are discharged, meaning the debtor no longer owes them and the creditors must cease collection efforts. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must pass a "means test" to prove he or she makes under a certain median income, which varies by state.

  • Chapter 13: Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for debtors who do not wish to liquidate their assets and have the means to pay off debts over time, but are currently unable to meet financial obligations and are seeking protection from foreclosure, levy, garnishment or other tactics to collect. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy serves as a reorganization of the debtor's finances. The court will set a payment plan for the debtor in which the debtor pays the trustee, who then pays creditors.

Business Bankruptcy

When a business files for bankruptcy, it usually does so under Chapter 7 or Chapter 11. Farms and fisherman may file under Chapter 12. Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the business's assets and portions of the business itself are liquidated to pay off debts. The court appoints a trustee, who effectively takes over the company and determines what to be sold. Unlike a Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy, a business entity's debts are not discharged at the end of the proceeding. Instead, the business entity is dissolved if debts remain.

Most businesses, therefore, prefer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The appointed trustee takes over operations of the company. However, unlike Chapter 7, the trustee does not liquidate assets. Instead, the trustee creates a reorganization plan, which the judge may approve. A business bankruptcy attorney may represent the business's interests during the proceedings.

Bankruptcy Law Certification

Bankruptcies are filed and heard in a special federal court. While any attorney licensed to practice in front of the court may do so, some attorneys seek certification from an independent organization. Certified attorneys have shown that they meet certain experience, educational and knowledge requirements.

There are both national and state-specific certifications:

Hiring a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy is a complicated process, requiring intense focus to detail and an in-depth knowledge of the law in order to achieve the best result. Board certification is an indicator that the attorney has met independent standards for quality. Fees for bankruptcy attorneys vary. Many bankruptcy attorneys offer free intial consultations, or low-cost consultations where the potential client can gain an understanding of how much the bankruptcy is likely to cost.

Bankruptcy Law Resources

American Bankruptcy Institute: The ABI is a Alexandria-based think tank that studies bankruptcy and makes recommendations to U.S. Congress on bankruptcy law.

Center for Bankruptcy Studies: This think tank researches bankruptcy. It is affiliated with St. John's University School of Law.

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