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Bankruptcy Ethics and the High Cost of Noncompliance: Avoiding Discipline, Disgorgement, Sanctions, or Prison

Navigating the Complex, Overlapping, and Conflicting Ethical Rules Applicable in Bankruptcy

Recording of a 90-minute CLE video webinar with Q&A

This program is included with the Strafford CLE Pass. Click for more information.
This program is included with the Strafford All-Access Pass. Click for more information.

Conducted on Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926

This CLE webinar will discuss the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code and other sources of authority, such as the Model Rules of Professional Conduct, that present numerous "traps for the unwary" in bankruptcy. The program will analyze how experienced--and otherwise exemplary--attorneys, financial advisers, and official creditors' committee members in specific Chapter 11 cases were disciplined, forced to disgorge fees, and in some cases imprisoned because they failed to correctly navigate the numerous and overlapping ethical and professional rules governing their conduct. The panel will discuss how to avoid these missteps.


Bankruptcy attorneys are subject to complex, nuanced, and overlapping sources of ethical requirements. Some are codified and some are unwritten guidelines and policies set by the Office of the United States Trustee or even individual judges. The money at stake and bankruptcy's intense and fast deal-making atmosphere create incentives for corner cutting. But the penalties practitioners may face for violations of ethical obligations can be severe, even when the misstep was unintentional.

Bankruptcy attorneys must constantly deal with the tension between bankruptcy policy favoring disclosure of all known facts and information and state legal ethics rules and regulations that put a premium on maintaining a client's "confidences," not just privileged communications.

Bankruptcy lawyers must also bear the burden of heightened and more complex rules regarding conflicts of interest outlined in the Bankruptcy Code and reassess conflicts throughout that case. Even the best conflicts software has failed sophisticated firms in ferreting out disqualifying conflicts. Law firm mergers and attorney moves complicate matters.

Listen as this experienced panel guides counsel through the maze of state and bankruptcy ethical rules, explores how some of the best firms ran afoul of them, and how to avoid similar missteps.



  1. Introduction
  2. Disclosure is king
  3. Bankruptcy Code Sections 327-330 retention and payment requirements
  4. Debtor issues
  5. Creditor committee issues
  6. Ad hoc committees and multiple creditor representations
  7. Use of conflicts counsel
  8. Compensation
  9. Ethical issues in Section 363 sales


The panel will discuss these and other key issues:

  • What are the most frequent causes of ethical violations in bankruptcy?
  • Can firms or counsel rely too much on software, automation, and non-lawyers to perform critical tasks?
  • What should counsel do if they discover a problem?
  • What strategies are available when stakeholders oppose approval of counsel or seek disqualification for their self-serving advantage?


Hirschfield, Marc
Marc E. Hirschfield

Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld

Mr. Hirschfield is an experienced practitioner in all aspects of insolvency and reorganization law. He regularly...  |  Read More

Skapof, Marc
Marc Skapof

Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld

Mr. Skapof is experienced in all aspects of insolvency and reorganization matters. He regularly represents receivers,...  |  Read More

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