New Bankruptcy Law Recognizes Value of Board Certification

New Bankruptcy Law Recognizes Value of Board Certification

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The Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 adds an important new tool that will help bankruptcy courts ensure that attorneys paid by bankruptcy estates have the skill and expertise required for modern bankruptcy practice. The law now expressly authorizes bankruptcy judges to base their fee awards on whether the lawyer has met the high objective standards needed to become board-certified by the American Board of Certification (ABC).

Specifically, the new legislation amends the Code's compensation guidelines to add a new compensation factor. New §330(a)(3)(E) directs the judges to consider "whether the person is board certified or otherwise has demonstrated skill and expertise in the bankruptcy field."

ABC administers the only national business and consumer bankruptcy programs. ABC is dedicated to enhancing the insolvency and creditors' rights bar by setting high, objective standards that attorneys attain through continuing legal education, substantial involvement in the practice area, successful completion of an examination, positive peer reviews and more. Board certification helps clients and consumers of legal services identify attorneys who are specialists in the bankruptcy and creditors' rights fields, and it provides a mechanism for attorneys to inform consumers of their specialty.

According to ABC President William L. Norton III of the Nashville, Tenn., firm Boult, Cummings, Conners & Berry, "this new provision recognizes that Board certification provides a simple, meaningful and objective measure of skill and expertise in the bankruptcy field." ABC certification makes it possible to easily identify those professionals who have the special skills and experience necessary to handle bankruptcy cases in the most efficient manner. In response to the amendment, ABC Board Member Prof. G. Ray Warner of St. John's University School of Law and of counsel at Greenberg Traurig said, "legislators and the courts recognize that the successful operation of the bankruptcy system depends upon the involvement of professionals with special expertise."

The ABC exam covers the current law and will not reflect the 2005 amendments until they become effective. The opportunity to take the exam covering the current law will end soon, so don't delay. Sample exams and a study guide are available on the ABC web site,

Exam Dates

June 16, 2005
Traverse City, Mich.
(in conjunction with ABI's Central States Bankruptcy Workshop)

July 12, 2005
Orlando, Fla.
(in conjunction with the National Association of Chapter Thirteen Trustees Conference)

July 14, 2005
Brewster, Mass.
(in conjunction with ABI's Northeast Bankruptcy Workshop)

September 8, 2005
Las Vegas
(in conjunction with ABI's Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop)

November 2, 2005
San Antonio
(in conjunction with the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges).

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Wednesday, June 1, 2005