01 Nov Bankruptcy Law in the Electronic Age
The internet has made the practice of bankruptcy law compelling and comprehensive in ways that simply didn’t exist when I was admitted to the bar in 1978. (Electricity had been invented then, but personal computers didn’t yet exist.)
This week I used the internet to listen to the oral argument in a 9th Circuit appeal case dealing with the very issue I was going to argue before another appeals court. I could hear the other lawyers’ presentations and the questions that the judges asked about the issue. Priceless, and free!
The internet makes research quicker, easier, and more complete. Early in my career, research meant getting in my car, driving to a law library, and pulling book after book off the shelf, photocopying what seemed relevant, and using yet more paper pamphlets to see how courts had treated that case after it was decided.
Today, I log into a subscription service, sometimes at home in my jamies, get the cases and the subsequent treatment on my screen. I can cut and paste snippets of what I need without having to retype a word. I get decisions from across the country almost as soon as they are written.
Another lawyer called up yesterday to get my help for his client who had been defrauded by a couple who had then filed bankruptcy. From my desk, I could access the court’s files, electronically, and instantly read what the debtors had filed in the case and what actions others had taken in the case. Pretty neat, considering that earlier, I would have had to ask the other side to send me the papers, or paid a service to go physically to the court and copy what I needed.
When Congress held a hearing on legislation to amend the Bankruptcy Code to allow bankruptcy judges to restructure home mortgages, I could sit in my office and listen to the testimony, including that of my friend Billy Brewer, on my computer.
And, of course, I can blog about bankruptcy law.
Sometimes, this seems like a very good time to be a bankruptcy lawyer.
Cathy Moran, Esq.
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