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Bob Lawless
University of Illinois
I'm a college professor with 3 kids.
Recent Activity
Regular readers of Credit Slips will know that Mark Weidemaier will often co-post with Professor Mitu Gulati of Duke University. These posts, often on sovereign debt issues, are among our most widely read and commented upon. We are very pleased... Continue reading
Posted Sep 29, 2017 at Credit Slips
It's been a busy day, but before I sign off for the evening, I would be remiss not to flag Paul Kiel's outstanding piece that came out this morning, How the Bankruptcy System is Failing Black Americans. ProPublica and The... Continue reading
Posted Sep 27, 2017 at Credit Slips
United States v. Lawless, 709 F.2d 485 (7th Cir.1983). OK, there are probably lots of "U.S. v. Lawless" cases, but this one was my father. Because of the style of the case, I probably should make clear that the question was whether his clients could assert attorney-client privilege in the documents they had provided to him to prepare a tax return.
Toggle Commented Sep 27, 2017 on Greatest Bankruptcy Case Name Ever? at Credit Slips
This afternoon, I am off to New Orleans and the annual meeting for the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees (NABT). Tomorrow (September 15) from 12:30 - 2:30 PM, we are holding a public meeting for the Committee on Chapter 7... Continue reading
Posted Sep 14, 2017 at Credit Slips
Thank you, Adam, for leaving a comment on the course blog. Great question. I wonder whether my students think the lender could have done anything differently. Class?
Toggle Commented Sep 13, 2017 on Boschma at Consumer Finance
This is a great diagnosis of the situation, Adam. I share some of Matthew's concerns about whether a public-utility model is a good one. The regulatory problem with the CRAs may be sui generis and not be well informed by existing models. The Equifax breach has affected more than half of the U.S. adult population, meaning it is more probable than not that any given adult has been affected. The externalities everyone seem to be focused on is the externalities from harm to the consumer -- identity theft, fraud, and so forth. Those are real harms, and I don't want to be heard to trivialize them in any way. An even bigger externality, however, is when lenders cannot rely on the information they are being given. Right now, any lender looking at a U.S. adult who is applying for a loan should be thinking, "There is a greater than 50% chance this information comes from a person whose financial data have been compromised." That is not to say the lender cannot necessarily rely on the information. But, how the lenders change their behavior in light of this increased possibility, that is a big externality. I told my class the other day that the episode reminded me of the old adage that if you owe your bank $10,000 it is your problem. If you owe your bank $100 million, it is the bank's problem. In the same way, the data breach is not Equifax's problem; it is our problem.
As careful Credit Slips readers will remember, I was inflicted on the American Bankruptcy Institute's Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy as the Commission's reporter. Things are off to a roaring start. Taking the suggestions of many different stakeholders in the consumer... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at Credit Slips
A few weeks ago, Adam did a great post about the CFPB's new arbitration rule, analyzing whether we would get a veto from the Financial Stability Oversight Council (FSOC). My own, much more modest effort, explaining the arbitration rule for... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at Credit Slips
The Gilbert Index blog was kind enough to feature Credit Slips in a Q&A. For those of you who are interested in how Credit Slips came about, check it out. Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at Credit Slips
Mr. Rebein, I don't believe most medical debt would be in the Federal Reserve's data. But, if medical debt is on a credit card, it would be. Also, to the extent people need to borrow to pay for living expenses because they are servicing medical debt, that would show up. The causal chain here is tricky. But, I think it is patently false that Obamacare alone has slashed bankruptcy filings by half. There is some research to suggest that Obamacare has driven down bankruptcy rates, but there is no evidence to suggest the entire drop in bankruptcy filings is due to Obamacare. Correlation is not causation. Paul Ryan's campaign complained about Obama because bankruptcies had gone up in his first term:
Yesterday, I noted the U.S. bankruptcy filing rate of 2.38 per 1,000 persons is at historic lows. The next question is always why. In this post, I am going to try to walk through an explanation in four graphs. The... Continue reading
Posted Jul 19, 2017 at Credit Slips
Using data from Epiq Systems, we appear to be on track for 774,000 bankruptcy filings for the 2017 calendar year. That would basically be the same rate of filings as in 2016 when total filings were just under 772,000. This... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2017 at Credit Slips
The number eleven has a lot of significance in the bankruptcy world. The Bankruptcy Code is, of course, title 11 of the United States Code. There is chapter 11. And, within chapter 11, one can make the eleven-eleven election under... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2017 at Credit Slips
As Jason Kilborn noted last month, the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) has formed a Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy. More information about the Commission is available on its web site including the unfortunate news that it got saddled with me as... Continue reading
Posted Apr 26, 2017 at Credit Slips
An important opinion by one of our most knowledgeable bankruptcy judges, Judge Bernstein in Manhattan, may have reached the right result by the wrong path in deciding if a foreign debtor’s Chapter 7 trustee can avoid a foreign transfer to... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Credit Slips
From the always wonderful Pearls Before Swine, some humor for the secured lending crowd. Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2017 at Credit Slips
It is with incredibly mixed feelings that I pass along to our readers that Professor Katie Porter is leaving our blog. Katie was one of the original bloggers on Credit Slips back in 2006. There were a number of us... Continue reading
Posted Apr 6, 2017 at Credit Slips
Thanks a tweet to the sharp-eyed Drew Dawson at the University of Miami, I saw this article in Politico that among the surprises in Trump's budget is an increase in bankruptcy filing fees (see item 5). Well, this seemed important... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2017 at Credit Slips
Matthew, you are correct that our racial identifier is black/African-American. Our findings are generalized to anyone who would validate that selection. To the extent the hypothesis is that these are are two distinct group, lumping them together would have made it less likely we would have had the results we did. In the "Race, Attorney Influence, and Chapter Choice," the hypothesis would not explain the findings from the attorney vignette where attorneys reacted differently to "Reggie & Latisha" as opposed to "Todd & Allison." Btw, we use the same racial identifiers on the CBP as the U.S. Census.
The Second Circuit currently has a pending case (Anderson v. Credit One Bank, No. 16-2496) that raises the question of whether an alleged violation of the bankruptcy discharge injunction is subject to a predispute arbitration agreement. Professors Ralph Brubaker and... Continue reading
Posted Mar 2, 2017 at Credit Slips
My priors on any reversal of a bankruptcy court by an Article III court is that it is more likely the Article III court got it "wrong." We see this with most any specialized tribunal and is the price we have to pay for appellate review. My guess is that what you are seeing are district courts getting reversed as there are not that many direct appeals. Also, was there any information about how often BAPs are reversing bankruptcy courts? It would be telling if that had stayed the same.
Yep, absolutely, Gabriela. Good idea.
Then, you won't like this: It's actually pretty cool. I had just been looking at the unemployment figures for this post so I nailed that one. The rest, not so much.
According to Epiq Systems, there were 771, 894 total U.S. bankruptcy filings in 2016, a decline of 5.8% from 2015. The overall annual decline in 2015 was 10.0% and was 11.8% in 2014. As I noted yesterday, the rate of... Continue reading
Posted Jan 11, 2017 at Credit Slips
Something happened in the U.S. bankruptcy courts that had not happened since October 2010. The daily filing rate increased on a year-over-year basis. There were 56,394 filings in December 2016 as compared to 53,844 in the previous December. Also, because... Continue reading
Posted Jan 10, 2017 at Credit Slips