Reflections on the Responses to 'Race, Attorney Influence, and Bankruptcy Chapter Choice'
19 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2013 Last revised: 21 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2012
In the symposium “Bankruptcy and Race: Is There a Relation?,” participants responded to our earlier article on race and bankruptcy chapter choice that appeared in the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies. Our article found that African Americans were overrepresented in chapter 13 and found evidence consistent with the hypothesis that bankruptcy attorneys were playing a role in creating this disparity. The symposium participants used our data to expand and interpret our results as well as consider the policy implications of our findings.
In this paper, we reflect on the symposium responses as well as add new data to our earlier findings. We first report data showing that African Americans pay lower attorneys’ fees than debtors of other races for chapter 7 but about the same for chapter 13. The data we have, however, do not allow us to address whether this difference plays a role in creating the racial disparity. We also report data showing that the racial disparity is the greatest for African Americans represented by an attorney rather than acting pro se.
Keywords: bankruptcy, chapter 13, local legal culture, race
JEL Classification: K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation