18 Jan Chicago Bankruptcy Professor Hired Obama
Professor Douglas Baird, a bankruptcy law professor at the University of Chicago, asked Barack Obama to come to the Chicago law school and teach after he graduated from the Harvard University Law School. Baird solicited Obama for a teaching position when Omaba was still a student and president of the Harvard Law Review.
Obama told Baird he was not interested in the position but Baird did not give up. He asked Obama what he planned to do when he graduated from law school. Obama revealed his intent to write a book and Baird offered him a free office at the University of Chicago Law School to help with that project. By giving Obama an office at the university where he could write his first book, Dreams From My Father, he enticed Obama to move to Chicago where he ultimately decided to teach at the law school.
Baird credits Obama’s years as a law professor for his ability to listen to divergent opinions and analyze a problem from all angles. Baird feels that the give and take between student and professor was an important addition to Obama’s intellectual development. In a recent CNBC interview professor Baird tells the story of his attempts to hire this brilliant law student and Obama’s eventual agreement to teach at the University of Chicago Law School. Obama worked at the law school for seven years.
Perhaps it is this academic connection that has allowed Obama to see the benefit of using the bankruptcy courts to help homeowners keep their homes. While present bankruptcy law offers some help to a homeowner facing foreclosure, it is clear that changes in the current bankruptcy law are required to make a real difference. The law must be amended to permit the modification of loans secured by the debtor’s personal residence; action not permitted under the present statutory scheme. While this perspective is now becoming more popular as foreclosure numbers continue to climb and the ineffectual efforts of the US Treasury to shore up our financial system are showing no sign of help for the besieged American homeowner, many lawmakers have sided with big banks and lenders to defeat prior attempts at amendment of the bankruptcy code.
As a freshman US Senator, Obama opposed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. Obama announced his support for bankruptcy modification of home loans as part of the Obama election platform. His understanding of this important area of the law appears to be both comprehensive and much more debtor friendly than his predecessor in the oval office.
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