NCBA Bankruptcy Section 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Richard Sparkman

By the NCBA Bankruptcy Section

On November 11, 2022, during the 45th Annual Bankruptcy Institute in Greensboro, North Carolina, the NCBA Bankruptcy Section presented Richard Sparkman with the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Andrew W.J. Tarr, the Bankruptcy Section Awards Committee Chair, delivered the below remarks during the awards presentation:

It is an honor to be with you today to share the good news with you of the selection of the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Committee’s Award recipient. I want to thank our committee members for their thoughtful consideration of all the nominees. Read more

Attend the 45th Annual Bankruptcy Institute!

George, a white man with dark grey hair, wears a white shirt, purple tie, and black jacket.By George F. Sanderson III

As chair of this year’s planning committee, I invite you to attend the 45th Annual Bankruptcy Institute. The ABI is returning in person for the first time in three years! We will be at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro on November 11 and 12.

Our return to our traditional live format allows us to expand our CLE offerings. We will have breakout sessions specific to business and consumer bankruptcy and panels exploring recent developments in small-business bankruptcies, state-court receiverships, and bankruptcy-related litigation. We will also have programs on the hemp and cannabis industry in North Carolina, ethical issues related to privileges in bankruptcy, and technology tips and tricks for the busy practitioner.

We will provide lunch on November 11, during which a panel of bankruptcy judges from across the state will provide remarks.

A complete agenda is available. We would love to see everyone in Greensboro, but the program will be available via live webcast if you can’t join us in person.

Early Bird Registration ends on October 21. Don’t wait. Register today!

45th Annual Bankruptcy Institute: Registration Is Now Live!

NCBA Members,

Registration for the 45th Annual Bankruptcy Institute is now live! Click here to view the agenda, speakers, and registration information.

This year’s Bankruptcy Institute will be held on November 11 and 12, 2022, at the Grandover Resort in Greensboro. A live webcast will be available for participants who may not be able to attend in person. The agenda for this year’s Institute includes sessions on Subchapter V issues, North Carolina’s hemp and cannabis laws, a discussion of home equity issues in consumer cases, and much more.

Participants may earn up to 9.25 hours in approved North Carolina MCLE credit, including one hour each of ethics and technology training. Early registration ends on October 21, 2022. The NCBA Bankruptcy Section hopes to see you this November!

Breaking Up Is Hard to Do, but It Doesn’t Have to Be: Ethics Opinion Outlines Procedures for Departing Attorney’s Email Account

Natalie GrayBy Natalie Gray

On January 21, 2022, the North Carolina State Bar Council issued 2021 Formal Ethics Opinion 6, which contains guidance for firms regarding their ethical responsibilities for a departing lawyer’s email account. The entire text of the Opinion can be found here.

In the adopted ethics opinion, the lawyer was departing a firm and opening his own law practice. However, the guidance will be helpful for any firm designing a policy around email accounts for departing lawyers, regardless of whether they retire, move to a new firm, or leave the practice of law altogether. Below is a table laying out key takeaways from the ethics opinion. If you have a similar situation, you should look to the text of the opinion for elaboration and clarification on each point below.

Read more

Developments in Case Law Concerning Debtor Qualifications Under the SBRA

By Jonathan Dickerson

The Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (“SBRA”) provides a new remedy for small businesses looking to use bankruptcy for a fresh start. The SBRA’s streamlined process makes it possible for small business debtors to reorganize and rehabilitate their financial affairs more efficiently.

But, to qualify for reorganization under the SBRA, there are requirements that must be met. Pursuant to Section 1182(1)(A), a debtor interested in restructuring under the act must be “a person engaged in commercial or business activities.” Three elements arise out of that requirement: (i) be a “person,” (ii) “engaged in,” (iii) “commercial or business activities.” Understanding what “person” means is simple enough, since it is defined at Section 101(41) of the Code. The Bankruptcy Code provides no definition for the other elements. As a result, debtors and their attorneys must turn to case law to interpret what those last two elements mean. One such case, In re Rickerson, was decided at the close of 2021 by the Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

Read more

Technology Tips for CM/ECF

By Shelley K. Abel

Greetings from the WDNC Bankruptcy Administrator’s Office. We are back to share some more helpful technology tips for using Case Management/Electronic Case Files (“CM/ECF”).

I. Generate a list of all open cases in which you have made an appearance.

Did you know that you can do a search on CM/ECF for cases in which you are involved in any district? Once you are logged into CM/ECF for the applicable court, click on “Query.” In the Search Clues, you will enter your last name and first name in the respective boxes. In the box for Type, click the drop-down arrow and select “Attorney.” Next, click the box for Open cases so that you are not getting a return of every case you ever filed. Lastly, click “Run Query.”

Read more

Understanding the Purpose of the Subchapter V Trustee

By Jim White

The Small Business Reorganization Act (“SBRA”), which added Subchapter V to Chapter 11 of the bankruptcy code, has been in effect for about 20 months. Small business debtors – principally defined as debtors with less than $2,725,625 in noncontingent liquidated debts under the Act (although Congress has raised that limit to $7.5 million through March 2022 as part of COVID-19 relief legislation) – may elect to have their cases administered under this new subchapter. A principal goal of the Act was to make Chapter 11 more accessible and affordable for small businesses. The Act does this in several ways, among them: allowing only the debtor to file a plan, generally requiring no disclosure statement, providing for the use of a form plan, eliminating creditors’ committees, eliminating the absolute priority rule, and permitting the court to cram down a plan of reorganization even if all classes of creditors oppose it. The most prominent change, though, is the creation of the Subchapter V trustee.

Read more

NCBA Bankruptcy Section Presents Pro Bono and Lifetime Achievement Awards

On May 12, 2021, the Bankruptcy Section convened virtually to recognize two exceptional attorneys for their contributions to the practice. The 2020 Outstanding Achievement Pro Bono Award was presented by the Pro Bono Committee to Heather Culp. The 2020 Lifetime Achievement Award was presented by the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee to W.B. “Ben” Hawfield Jr. The below comments are adapted from the comments of Tyler J. Russell, who presented the Pro Bono Award on behalf of the Pro Bono Committee, and Ashley Rusher, who presented the Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the Lifetime Achievement Award Committee. Read more

44th Annual Bankruptcy Institute: Calling for Topics and Speakers

NCBA members,

The 44th Annual Bankruptcy Institute is scheduled for November 12 and 13, 2021. Conditions permitting, the Institute will be an in-person event at the Renaissance Asheville.

The CLE Committee will be preparing the agenda for the Institute over the coming weeks and invites the NCBA membership to submit suggestions for topics and speakers. In the past, topics have included legal issues arising from amendments to the Bankruptcy Code, new or recently resolved conflicts of law of which the membership should be aware, and even issues in non-bankruptcy law that have arisen in bankruptcy cases.

If you have any suggestions, or if you have any questions about the upcoming Institute, please contact CLE Committee Co-Chair James Lanik ([email protected]) at your earliest convenience.

The NCBA Bankruptcy Section Committee hopes to see you all in November!

Campbell Law School Moot Court Team Finds Competitive Success Arguing BAPCPA’s Amendments to the Automatic Stay

By Benjamin Aydlett

Over the past year, many law students have faced unique challenges while competing on behalf of advocacy programs that have been modified in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Namely, virtual competition platforms have become commonplace and fundamentally changed the nature of many advocacy competitions. Throughout the past few months, Campbell Law School’s Moot Court Team has worked diligently to respond to this adversity and succeeded.

Read more