A Reappraisal of Attorneys' Fees in Bankruptcy

37 Pages Posted: 29 Oct 2009

Date Written: October 29, 2009


The current mortgage foreclosure crisis, coupled with the country’s economic downturn and escalating consumer costs, have combined to place a crippling burden on the nation’s bankruptcy system. During difficult economic times such as this, it is imperative that the bankruptcy system operate efficiently, as it provides a social safety net for both consumers and businesses. Unfortunately, there are many issues of statutory interpretation left unanswered in the Bankruptcy Code, and these issues have placed an increased burden on the country’s bankruptcy courts. This Article seeks to resolve one thorny issue of statutory interpretation: the treatment of attorneys’ fees in bankruptcy.

The Supreme Court’s landmark decision, Lamie v. United States Trustee held that debtors’ attorneys’ fees are not entitled to priority treatment in bankruptcy. In the aftermath of Lamie, courts have struggled to apply its holding to a host of scenarios left unresolved by the Court’s decision. This Article attempts to create a new method for approaching the priority of attorneys’ fees in bankruptcy. It criticizes Lamie for not going far enough toward resolving the attorneys’ fees issue, and proposes a statutory amendment to the Bankruptcy Code that will harmonize the interests of both creditors and debtors who are seeking bankruptcy protection during these difficult economic times.

Keywords: Lamie, attorneys' fees, bankruptcy

Suggested Citation

Cecil, Michelle Arnopol, A Reappraisal of Attorneys' Fees in Bankruptcy (October 29, 2009). Kentucky Law Journal, Forthcoming, University of Missouri School of Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-31, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1496304

Michelle Arnopol Cecil (Contact Author)

University of Missouri School of Law ( email )

203 Hulston Hall
Columbia, MO 65211
United States
573-882-7765 (Phone)
573-882-4984 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.missouri.edu/faculty/cecil.html

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