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Final Report of the ABIs Ethics Task Force Released to Provide Guidance to Both Consumer and Business Bankruptcy Professionals

Alexandria, Va.— The ABI National Ethics Task Force released its final report at ABI’s 31st Annual Spring Meeting to provide recommendations for both consumer and business practitioners for uniform ethical standards in bankruptcy practice. Funded by ABI’s Anthony H.N. Schnelling Endowment Fund, the Task Force formulated a set of uniform ethical standards on a variety of bankruptcy-related matters, including use of conflicts counsel, employment of counsel and necessary disclosures, competency standards, and fiduciary duties of counsel for the debtor in possession (DIP). The Ethics Task Force was established in 2011 by then-ABI President Geoffrey L. Berman of Development Specialists Inc. (Los Angeles) to address ethics problems encountered by bankruptcy professionals and judges as state ethics rules do not always fit with the realities of bankruptcy practice. Chaired by Judith Greenstone Miller of Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss, P.C. (Southfield, Mich.), with Profs. Nancy B. Rapoport of the UNLV William S. Boyd School of Law (Las Vegas) and Lois R. Lupica of the University of Maine School of Law (Portland, Maine) serving as reporters, the Task Force formed committees, surveyed bankruptcy professionals, academics and judges, and examined recent case law to focus on seven recommendations: 1. proposed amendments to Bankruptcy Rule 2014 governing the hiring of bankruptcy professionals, including greater disclosure provisions for conflicts and connections; 2. duties of counsel for a debtor-in-possession as fiduciary and responsibilities to the estate; 3. framework for pre-approval of terms for retention and compensation under 11 U.S.C. § 328 to provide efficiency and clarity to courts in bankruptcy professional employment applications 4. use of conflicts counsel in business reorganization cases, especially in large or complicated cases that may present significant conflicts; 5. best practices for limited services representation in consumer bankruptcy cases; 6. competency for debtors’ counsel in business and consumer cases; and 7. report on best practices on creditors’ committee solicitation. Profs. Lupica and Rapoport said that while the report provides an ethical guide to all in the bankruptcy profession, new bankruptcy lawyers in particular should make sure they review the final report. “The findings and recommendations within the report are essential for new bankruptcy attorneys to absorb,” Lupica said. To receive a copy of the ABI Ethics Task Force Final Report, please contact John Hartgen at 703-894-5935 or jhartgen@abiworld.org. ### ABI is the largest multi-disciplinary, nonpartisan organization dedicated to research and education on matters related to insolvency. ABI was founded in 1982 to provide Congress and the public with unbiased analysis of bankruptcy issues. The ABI membership includes more than 13,000 attorneys, accountants, bankers, judges, professors, lenders, turnaround specialists and other bankruptcy professionals providing a forum for the exchange of ideas and information. For additional information on ABI, visit www.abiworld.org. For additional conference information, visit http://www.abiworld.org/conferences.html.