Choosing the Right Courses for Bankruptcy Law
- Bankruptcy, of course, and including both basic and more advanced classes;
- Commercial credit and secured financing, focusing on the means through which lenders grant credit to debtors, often critical issues in bankruptcy cases;
- Litigation training, such as brief writing, legal argument, moot court, and similar "practical" and clinical courses, as well as classes and workshops in negotiation skills;
- Civil procedure, evidence and other substantive litigation-oriented classes;
- Corporations and corporate finance, focusing on basic corporate structure and other fundamentals. San Francisco bankruptcy litigator Celine Guillou notes that "corporate background, including knowing what a board resolution or securities filing looks like, is helpful even in bankruptcy litigation";
- Accounting: Understanding debtors' balance sheet and other accounting issues are vital in bankruptcy;
- Real estate, especially knowledge of leases; and
- Federal taxation, suggested by numerous practitioners who note that many corporate bankruptcy cases involve sophisticated tax issues.
In any of these and other classes, get to know your professors. This will enrich your law school experience, enhancing your understanding of the course material and better plugging you into the law school universe. Professors are among the most respected members of the legal community. They know a lot of people. A solid relationship with your professor can lead to valuable references, precious support, and introductions to a variety of practitioners (keep in mind that your professor's law school roommate might now be a federal judge or law firm partner! ).
So don't be shy, and make the effort to build relationships with your professors.
Given the generalist character of the bankruptcy field, the best preparation is a varied curriculum, with both litigation and corporate specific classes. Among the classes that provide particularly good foundation for bankruptcy law, and which will look good to bankruptcy-specific employers, include: