A Texas Bankruptcy Lawyer’s Blog: NCBJ 2022: What’s Hot
When the nation’s bankruptcy judges, academics and practitioners get together for the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges, there are certain topics that tend to dominate. This year mass torts were a through line in many of the presentations. A presentation on pushing the boundaries of chapter 11 suggested that mass tort cases did not have the same urgency as melting ice cube operating businesses. A panel on third party releases noted the difference between the use of third party releases to protect guarantors as opposed to those developed in mass tort cases. ABI Editor at Large Bill Rochelle has nightmares about Congress seeing abuses in mass tort cases and passing legislation without the input of bankruptcy experts. His panel also delved deeply into the Texas Two-Step. There was even a presentation by a Pulitzer Award winning journalist and the law professor who helped him crack the source of the opioid epidemic. As I write up my articles from this year’s conference, there will be many references to issues raised by mass tort cases.
Another message of the conference was that bankruptcy is back. This year’s conference drew nearly 1,100 attendees. There was a palpable feeling that we are on the brink of a major recession, a conclusion reinforced by one of ABI’s sessions. If the extravagance of the Pachulski After Party is any indication, the business of failure is good. I have included a photo of me holding a snake at the Pachulski Party to provide I was really there. They wouldn’t let me hold the alligator.
Some of the other presentations included an excellent panel on Subchapter V, an ethics presentation from Nancy Rapoport, discussions of Crypto Companies in bankruptcy, a documentary about the City of Detroit bankruptcy and a panel on the role of judges.
One thing that I enjoyed was two presentations which touched on Chapter 11-adjacent topics with non-bankruptcy speakers. This was the case with the opioid and City of Detroit presentations.
I enjoyed the opportunity to meet with a lot of my colleagues and judges. While I may never appear in front of these judges (especially the retired ones), it is useful to hear from a number of judicial perspectives. I especially recommend the Dine-Around program where practitioners are paired with a judge for an intimate dinner.
Next year’s conference will be in Austin. I hope to welcome many of you to my town.