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Bob Lawless
University of Illinois
I'm a college professor with 3 kids.
Recent Activity
A few years ago and not knowing that Adam was working on these materials, I had independently come to the conclusion that the law school curriculum needed a consumer finance course. My reasons were practical. This is a set of laws that many attorneys will encounter and increasingly so. It is a course that helps students prepare for the practice of law and in a wide variety of practice settings. I was thrilled to discover that Adam had a set of materials. Commercial law types comfortable with the problem method (like me) will find the book's approach familiar. I have not taught it as a more traditional lecture course, but I can see where it would work well for that format as well. There is a comprehensive teacher's manual available as well. The course seems to have been well received here at Illinois. A happy side effect was that my students last year seemed to feel like that they also had learned a lot of information that would help them in their personal lives.
It is with great sadness that the news reached my desk of the passing of Professor Ian Fletcher of University College London. Ian was a leading international insolvency expert, well known to all of us at Credit Slips, and we... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2018 at Credit Slips
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Today is the twelfth anniversary of the Credit Slips launch date. I always like to mark the date because it is hard to believe that it has been that long. When we started, Barack Obama was a senator, and Elizabeth... Continue reading
Posted Jul 18, 2018 at Credit Slips
People innately measure their well-being by reference to others. Right now, eTrade has a series of ads exploiting exactly this sentiment -- invest with us to be richer than your friends and neighbors. I would hypothesize this heuristic or a related heuristic spills over into debt relief. We have an innate need to make sure someone is not getting something they don't deserve, not getting ahead of us. In country after country, the story of the undeserving debtor always resonates when it comes to debates about bankruptcy reform. And, to pick up Anon's point, the intensity of the heuristic almost certainly varies across cultures. If my hypothesis is correct, the Type I/Type II error debate and similar debates do not engage the heuristic. These points tell people how they should intellectualize the issue, but they don't address how people actually internalize issues like debt relief. Not surprisingly, my advice is to do the empirical project. What are attitudes about debt relief? How do these attitudes relate to well-known heuristics on wealth and social status? How do these attitudes vary across cultures?
The American Bankruptcy Institute's Commission on Consumer Bankruptcy has been hard at work (Full disclosure: I am the Commission's reporter.) Yesterday, the Commission submitted written comments to the Department of Education's request for information (RFI) on the "undue hardship" standard... Continue reading
Posted May 24, 2018 at Credit Slips
Credit Slips is pleased to welcome back Professor Patricia McCoy as a guest blogger. Professor McCoy is the Liberty Mutual Insurance Professor of Law at Boston College Law School. She is a nationally known scholar, writing in the area of... Continue reading
Posted May 21, 2018 at Credit Slips
As many Credit Slips readers will know, chapter 11 venue reform has been an issue for decades. As corporate filers have flocked to the Southern District of New York and the District of Delaware, the real reason some observers say... Continue reading
Posted Feb 21, 2018 at Credit Slips
I usually delete the spam bots. But, you are right, David. The spam bot comment stays here as evidence that the reported death of irony may be premature.
Adam, great post. One observation. Mulvaney is clearly wrong about one thing. Thomas More did not write that quote about flattening all the laws to get at the devil himself. Robert Bolt did. I love that movie, but it always amazes me that lawyers want to put those words in the historical Thomas More's mouth. Indeed, the historical More might have flattened the laws to get at Mulvaney himself -- well depending on what More thought of Mulvaney's religious sensibilities.
Toggle Commented Feb 8, 2018 on Mick-Mulvaney-Think at Credit Slips
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
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: http://www.creditslips.org/creditslips/2012/09/paul-ryans-bullshit-about-bankruptcy-data.html.
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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
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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
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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