Bankruptcy Code Manual, 1999 Ed.
This second edition of the Bankruptcy Code Manual may well be the centerpiece of the West Group bankruptcy library. The Manual reflects an up-to-date, one-volume, easy-to-read analysis of the Bankruptcy Code. Although the book runs nearly 1,400 pages, it is portable—i.e, it can be brought to court. At a cost of $78, it is comparable to or cheaper than similar books in the field. With its approximately 2,500 case citations, it is comprehensive and authoritative. This book aims to fill a gap between multi-volume treatises and modest summaries of the law—and it succeeds.
The strength of the Manual lies in its straightforward, concise description of Bankruptcy Code sections and voluminous citations to cases relating to each section. The format follows West's Federal Civil Rules Handbook by providing the text of the law for each section of the Code, followed by a brief "Purpose and Scope" of that section. Most sections of the Code have subsections. The commentary on each subsection begins with a "Core Concept," identifying the basic subject matter of a subsection. This is followed by relatively short discussions of the component parts of the subsection—together with citations. Outlines at the beginning of each Code section reflect the authors' breakdown of a section into discrete topics. Large, bold subsection headings make identifying or finding a topic quite easy.
The format of the book and its easy-reading style make it comprehensible for any practitioner. A bankruptcy specialist, general practitioner or the corporate in-house counsel with the occasional need to address a bankruptcy issue will be able to find the law, understand its basic intent and either conclude his or her research on the spot or be given a clear path to further research. The Manual is in its second edition and the authors have made numerous modifications in response to readers' critiques of the first edition. The authors plan to update the Manual annually to assure a timely reference work that is also responsive to suggestions.
Indeed, the Manual might be enhanced. The book does not include a bankruptcy procedure section (another West publication, the Bankruptcy Procedure Manual, addresses this in detail), nor does it include forms (again, West has a Bankruptcy Desk Guide/Forms). Although it contains some useful practice tips in the reorganization sections, more tips throughout the book would be helpful and provide useful direction. While logical, the method of indexing sections does not follow the format of the Code and might be confusing.* For example, if you are looking for §365(d)10, it is found at §365.4.10. If new sections are added, the publisher might consider other formatting features that will condense the text slightly in order to be sure to retain one of the outstanding features of the book—its portability.
The Bankruptcy Code Manual has earned its way into your library. Although modest additions might make it even more comprehensive and useful, it has taken a place as the most comprehensive single volume attempting to explicate the Code. It is the kind of book one could suggest to both the seasoned practitioner as well the practitioner who only makes occasional appearances in court and might need a quick reference or citation to reinforce a point. The authors have brought both crisp analysis and experience to the task of producing a manual on the Bankruptcy Code—and it shows.
* Editor's Note: West Group authors do plan to update this publication in 2000. While the authors made a conscious decision to format the publication to follow the Code, they have made exceptions when the case law developments pertinent to the Code were not literally within the section. While the current format was established for the ease of the subscriber, the authors would like to hear your comments about the publication. Please e-mail [email protected] or call 800-328-7990, ext. 77450.