Find the Best Bankruptcy Law Jobs in 2023
Want to assist clients in dealing with bankruptcy? Check out our list of available bankruptcy law jobs and apply today!
Found 583 jobs
Bankruptcy - Restructuring (Chap. 11) Attorney in Washington, DC
Washington, DC, US
2 months ago
Legal Administrative Assistant - Bankruptcy Litigation
San Antonio, TX, US
2 months ago
Dallas, TX, US
2 months ago
Bankruptcy Attorney in Boston, MA
Boston, MA, US
2 months ago
Houston, TX, US
2 months ago
Assistant Managing Editor, Bankruptcy Authority
Washington, DC, US
2 months ago
Fort Lauderdale, FL, US
2 months ago
If we had to name one field of law that a global crisis - such as the outbreak of a highly contagious virus - can’t disrupt, we’d have to go with bankruptcy law. Bankruptcy law jobs can be emotionally taxing and incredibly rewarding, but, above all else, they are stable. Lawyers practicing bankruptcy law will remain in business as long as there are people with financial liabilities in the world and, as things stand, there will be no lack of them for a long time yet.
At the end of 2020, the citizens of the United States had a combined debt of $14.6 trillion and, unfortunately, all predictions indicate that this number is likely to keep rising. Due to this, bankruptcy law experts are in high demand and will most probably stay that way.
About Bankruptcy Law Jobs
A bankruptcy lawyer can serve debtors (those who owe money) or creditors (those to whom money is owed). Their role is to assist their client in navigating the complexities of the bankruptcy process. By complexities, we are, for the most part, referring to the fact that there are six different types of bankruptcies in the US Bankruptcy Code – Chapter 7, Chapter 9, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, and Chapter 15 – and each applies to a specific set of circumstances. Therefore, many lawyers interested in this area of law decide to specialize either in one type or several at once.
What Do Bankruptcy Lawyers Do?
Attorneys who choose a bankruptcy law career have one main goal: Help their clients get the best possible outcome out of a bad situation. When working on behalf of borrowers, their job is to minimize the stress and damage a bankruptcy of any kind is bound to have. Lawyers sitting on the other side of the table need to find a way for lenders to get as much of their invested money back as possible.
Fulfilling either of the roles described above is no mean feat, which is why bankruptcy attorney jobs come with quite a few responsibilities. Below, we’ve listed the most common ones:
- Assessing whether or not a client qualifies for bankruptcy.
- Drafting legal documents.
- Gathering the necessary files.
- Calculating the total amount owed.
- Filing paperwork with the federal court.
- Negotiating with creditors.
- Advising clients on how to reduce their debt.
- Extracting money from debtors.
- Representing clients in court.
- Devising debt-reorganization plans.
Note that although a person may think that bankruptcy is their only option, you may be able to find a better solution as their legal counsel. Of course, that requires quite a bit of skill and intimate knowledge of the ins and outs of the applicable laws.
Bankruptcy law careers can take many different shapes; lawyers in this field can choose from a number of paths depending on their interests and preferences. They can work in law firms or go it alone; pick out one segment of bankruptcy and make it their own or practice various kinds of bankruptcy-related law.
You should also consider the types of clients you want to collaborate with, since that greatly influences the kinds of tasks that you’ll be performing. Aside from representing individuals, business owners, banks, and other financial institutions, bankruptcy lawyers work with municipalities as well.
Bankruptcy cases typically move through the court system quickly, which means that bankruptcy attorneys rarely have a slow day. While this may sound exhausting to some, others find it exhilarating. What’s more, no two cases are the same, so you’re highly unlikely to get bored.
Another big part of being in this legal branch is spending a lot of time in courtrooms. When you aren’t needed in court, you’ll either be in your office preparing documents or meeting up with clients wherever is most convenient.
Know that bankruptcy legal jobs that involve corporate debtors may require plenty of travel, too. For the most part, these trips aren’t long: Their purpose is attending meetings or court hearings, which are usually over within a few days. Seeing as how bankruptcy is country-specific, you’ll rarely travel outside of the US and won’t be able to practice in foreign courts.
Injuries and Illnesses
Although there isn’t much risk of physical injury in this line of work, the long hours and fast-paced environment can wear a person down. On top of that, bankruptcy law jobs can also be emotionally straining. Helping people during what is perhaps the most difficult period of their lives is often heartwarming, to say the least, but, at the same time, watching them lose their hard-earned assets is never easy. To be in this line of work, you need to be the type of person who can leave their work at the office, so to speak.
The work schedule of a bankruptcy attorney is predominantly determined by their place of employment. In modestly sized law firms, your typical weekly work quota shouldn’t exceed 40 hours, while in big corporate bankruptcy law firms, you’re more likely to spend 50 or even 60 hours at the office - even on weekends. Wherever you work, you’ll definitely be busiest during the days leading up to bankruptcy filings.
How to Become a Bankruptcy Lawyer?
Before we go into more detail regarding the type and level of education needed for the bankruptcy law career track, we’d like to debunk one common misconception. Bankruptcy law is not a “niche” practice - in addition to knowing the Bankruptcy Code by heart, to be good at your bankruptcy attorney job, you’ll also need to familiarize yourself with the law as it pertains to various fields, such as taxes, employment, real estate, securities, and debt financing.
Here are some of the key traits a bankruptcy lawyer should have:
- Compassion: When addressing your clients, you have to keep in mind that declaring bankruptcy can be very stressful and painful for them, and, for some, even meeting up with you could be a hard step to take. Although it can be tempting to emotionally detach yourself from these situations, you should try not to.
- Patience: Although you won’t find “patience required” in any bankruptcy lawyer job description, it’s certainly a trait you should have. In most cases, people going through this process are frustrated and confused, so you’ll need to be patient and understanding to achieve successful cooperation.
- Communication skills: Finances are a delicate subject for many people, but it’s a bankruptcy attorney’s job to find out as much as they can about their client’s assets. However, extracting such information has to be done tactfully; your questions shouldn’t be too vague either - the goal is to achieve maximum clarity without offending the client.
- Negotiation skills: Almost all bankruptcy attorney jobs involve negotiating, especially when you’re working for a debtor. No creditor will happily agree to forgive any part of your client’s debt. Therefore, you have to be exceptionally convincing to get them to do so.
- Attention to detail: In some instances, the tiniest details can make a huge difference, which is why the ability to take seemingly minute things into account can be a great advantage.
- Persistence: Persistence is admirable regardless of your job, but it can be more valuable than negotiation or communication skills when dealing with creditors.
- Critical thinking: Bankruptcy specialist jobs entail analyzing mountains of files and countless pieces of information from your clients. If you’re unable to separate the relevant from the irrelevant and thoroughly examine the data pertinent to your case, you’re going to get overwhelmed and likely miss something important.
Whether you want to become a patent attorney or feel that your extroverted nature makes you ideally suited for a job in entertainment law, you have to have the proper education. The same goes for getting a job at a bankruptcy law firm or running your own one day - you’ll need to earn a bachelor's degree first and then get accepted into law school.
As far as majors go, you can choose whichever one you like. However, the American Bar Association does list a few subjects that most pre-law students choose to major in; political science, English, economics, business, and history are among the top choices. Accounting and finance are also great fits if you’re certain that you want to pursue bankruptcy legal jobs. Remember, to get into the best law schools, you’ll need a grade-point average (GPA) of at least 3.7.
Of course, law schools will also look at your Law School Admission Test (LSAT) score. Passing this test is mandatory for anyone who wants to study law. While in law school, a future bankruptcy lawyer should select courses such as creditors' rights, federal bankruptcy codes, and debtor protections.
After receiving your Juris Doctor degree (J.D.), you can further your education with a bankruptcy law master’s program. This isn’t an obligatory step, but it can certainly help you become an expert on the subject and will likely create more bankruptcy law employment opportunities for you.
If you’re a high schooler, know that it’s never too early to begin preparing for a job in bankruptcy law. Those drawn to this field should pay special attention to courses such as math, English, history, and science.
Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations
To practice any type of law, you’ll need to pass the bar examination. The examination is typically two days long and consists of multiple-choice and essay questions, as well as performance tests mimicking real-life situations that applicants should be able to handle using their knowledge of the law.
Any decent bankruptcy attorney resume contains an internship or two, as well as a few professional organization memberships. One such organization is the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI), which can assist you in developing your knowledge of insolvency matters.
After you’ve been a full-time lawyer for at least five years, you can improve your credentials by obtaining a certification in bankruptcy law offered by the American Board of Certification (ABC) and several state bar associations. But before you do anything else, make sure to check that the state you’re practicing in recognizes the ABC certificate.
Bankruptcy Attorney Salary
The average salary for a bankruptcy lawyer ranges between $50,000 and $90,000 per year. Some earn up to $200,000 or even $300,000 - the numbers vary significantly depending on location, place of employment, client demographic, and, of course, skills and experience.
Note that the current state of the economy is a significant factor in the salaries of bankruptcy experts. Namely, the worse things are going, the higher the demand for bankruptcy attorneys. Many people are willing to pay quite a bit to get the very best representative. As usual, although it’s often more demanding, the private sector tends to entail bigger paychecks than the public sector.
Bankruptcy Lawyer Job Outlook
The economy is on a downward trajectory at the moment, so many law firms are expanding their bankruptcy departments, so new positions are becoming regularly available. Even so, you shouldn’t expect to get a job the second you apply for a position - countless law school graduates are also aware of the benefits this field brings.
You’ll most likely begin your career as a legal associate or apprentice and, hopefully, become a partner after a couple of years. On the other hand, some lawyers decide to leave their careers in bankruptcy law firms and use their expertise to serve as in-house counsel for lenders or non-profit organizations.
As we’ve already mentioned, a bankruptcy law specialist can work in a number of places. What we haven’t said is that bankruptcy attorneys can also be government representatives, judges, financial experts, and if, at some point, they realize they’re passionate about teaching, they can look for law professor jobs. Although most university-level teaching positions require a master’s or doctoral degree, law school professors typically don’t have to have any of those.
Of course, at any point during your education, you can decide to quit pursuing a bankruptcy lawyer career. Once they’ve earned their bachelor’s, those who would like to remain in the legal field can get a certificate or an associate's degree in paralegal studies and become a paralegal or a legal assistant.
Frequently Asked Questions
How many years does it take to become a bankruptcy lawyer?
You’ll need to spend four years completing your undergraduate studies and then three years obtaining a law degree. If you’d like to get a master’s in bankruptcy law as well, you’ll have to set aside one more year. That being said, we must mention that these are only the educational requirements, and that a good bankruptcy attorney never stops extending their knowledge, formally and otherwise.
What does a bankruptcy law practice do?
Bankruptcy lawyers can represent both creditors and debtors in cases related to the Bankruptcy Code. They are responsible for assessing the type of bankruptcy corresponding to specific circumstances, attending court proceedings, compiling and filing necessary documents, finding the least financially harmful solution for their clients, and many other tasks. A bankruptcy lawyer can also tell you if you qualify for bankruptcy or about alternatives you might not have considered or been aware of.
What does a bankruptcy associate do?
Most fresh law school graduates begin their careers working in bankruptcy associate attorney jobs. The type of work they do in these positions changes over time. The more they hone their skills, the more complicated their tasks become. Some of their most common duties involve drafting transactional documents or legal briefs, appearing in court before a judge, assisting with valuation analyses, and conducting case-related research. In the beginning, a more experienced lawyer will usually help the associate with the majority of these responsibilities.
How do you become a bankruptcy specialist?
Aside from getting a bachelor’s and a law degree, those that genuinely want to excel at their bankruptcy law jobs should look into various other ways to increase their knowledge. For instance, they can enroll in a master’s program focused on bankruptcy law or attend the American Board of Certification prep course covering all the topics necessary for passing the ABC exam. It goes without saying that, to become a specialist in this field, one needs to know every single detail of the US Bankruptcy Code.