Welcome to the State Bar of Texas Bankruptcy Section where you will find information and tips.


Federal Courts

What kind of cases do they hear? What is the difference between state and federal courts?Read more


Bankruptcy Basics

Information about bankruptcy laws, including answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Read more.


2017-Bench-Bar-Brochure-1Join Us at the 12th Anniversary Bench Bar Bankruptcy Conference

Click Here for Program Brochure

Click Here for Registration Website

Welcome to the Bankruptcy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas.  This website is designed to give our members information and resources that may be useful in everyday practice.  The website also contains information about upcoming events and CLE programs.


The Bankruptcy Section’s purpose is to:  (1) promote the study of Bankruptcy law, (2) study and report on laws and decisions as they may affect the rights of parties in the bankruptcy process, and (3) provide a forum for members of the legal and financial communities interested in Bankruptcy law, and (4) facilitate the provision of pro bono legal services directly by Section members or through qualified legal aid organizations.  To that end, the Section has developed several programs to achieve these goals.  Just to name a few:

  • the Moneywise program educates high schoolers about budgeting, credit cards, and debt;
  • the Elliot Cup prepares bankruptcy law students for the national Duberstein moot court competition;
  • the Bill Wallander Legal Aid Fund supports local pro bono service organizations throughout Texas;
  • the Starting Out Right program educates bankruptcy law fundamentals to new lawyers;
  • the bi-annual Bench Bar conference draws judges, speakers, and attendees from multiple states; and
  • the law school pro bono clinic  matches law students with indigent debtors and facilities the pro bono service.


Our council members are dedicated to ensuring the success of these programs and developing new programs that are consistent with the Section’s mission.  We welcome ideas, contributions, and criticisms.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to any of our council members.


Omar J. Alaniz

Bankruptcy Law Section

State Bar of Texas


On April 9, 2015, the Fifth Circuit, after a rehearing en banc, issued an opinion in Woerner v. Barron & Newburger, P.C. (Case No. 13-50075) overruling its prior precedent that adopted the “hindsight” approach to awarding compensation to estate attorneys enunciated in In re Pro-Snax Distributors, Inc., 157 F.3d 693 (5th Cir. 1998).


The Fifth Circuit returned to a “prospective” approach stating: “We now recognize that the retrospective, ‘material benefit’ standard enunciated in Pro-Snax conflicts with the language and legislative history of § 330, diverges from the decisions of other circuits, and has sown confusion in our circuit. Correspondingly, we overturn Pro–Snax’s attorney’s-fee rule and adopt the prospective, ‘reasonably likely to benefit the estate’ standard endorsed by our sister circuits.”


The Fifth Circuit’s opinion is available here http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/13/13-50075-CV1.pdf .




Dear Members,

Our newest issue of the newsletter is posted here on the website under the “Newsletters” tab.  It contains the below announcement regarding the Section’s transition from the Listserve to Texas Bar Connect.

Last year, we announced that the section began beta-testing Texas Bar Connect as an upgraded service in place of the listserve. The beta-testing is complete, and going forward, Texas Bar Connect will be the exclusive online service for posting and responding to messages from members of the section.  Below are instructions for participating in discussions and customizing your profile for receiving messages.

Participate in a discussion or start a new discussion:

  1. Go to connect.texasbar.com and click on the login button at the top. You will be redirected to your My Bar Page. Log in using your My Bar Page credentials and then you will be redirected back to Texas Bar Connect.
  2. Click “Participate” from the navigation bar, click on “Post a Message,” select Bankruptcy Law Section in the “To” field, and then write your message and hit “Send.”
  3. Log in to Texas Bar Connect, click “Communities” from the navigation bar, click on “My Communities,” then go to the Collaborative Law Section, click on Discussions, and then click on any thread. Use the buttons in the drop down menu on the right to join the discussion.
  4. You can respond to Texas Bar Connect posts via email.
  5. You can use the Texas Bar Connect app, which is available at the iPhone or Android app store by searching for “Texas Bar Connect.”

Click the profile icon at the top right of the home page, then click on “Profile” to customize your personal preferences:

  • Receive emails in real time or receive an email digest of discussions for the day*
  • Choose to visit the website and view or participate in discussions at your own leisure
  • Choose to opt-out

*Your profile is currently set to receive real-time discussions.

Members can email Texas Bar Connect with any issues or questions.


Judge Richard Schmidt
Bankruptcy Law Section
State Bar of Texas


Thomson/West and the American Bankruptcy Institute
Establish Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award

Thomson/West and the American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) have joined together to establish the Judge William L. Norton, Jr. Judicial Excellence Award. This award will be given annually to a bankruptcy judge, based upon a career of lifetime achievement, who has distinguished himself or herself as an educator, writer, or scholar.

The presentation of the Norton Award will occur at the Annual Meeting of the National Conference of Bankruptcy Judges (NCBJ). The award’s recipient will be announced at the ABI luncheon on Friday of each NCBJ. For information regarding the luncheon, or the complete educational program and other activities scheduled for this year’s conference, contact the NCBJ.

In addition to a commemorative plaque to be awarded to the distinguished bankruptcy judge recipient, Thomson/West will donate $10,000 to the ABI Endowment for Education. The funds will be earmarked for use by the ABI and NCBJ toward joint projects to foster bankruptcy education and research.

The selection committee for the Norton Award is comprised of bankruptcy practitioners and scholars who have made notable contributions to insolvency education and the bankruptcy system.

The Norton Award continues the long tradition of cooperation between the NCBJ and the ABI in their goal of furthering bankruptcy education. Thomson/West remains a foremost provider of legal education materials and integrated information services in the United States. For information about these organizations, visit their respective websites: www.ncbj.org; www.abiworld.org; or www.west.thomson.com.

The Bankruptcy Law Section

The Bankruptcy Law Section is now ten years old in formation. The section is proud that it has almost 1,600 members! The level and breadth of activities currently being sponsored by the section is the driving force behind the strength in membership. From pro bono matters to organizing seminar trips overseas to the very successful bi-annual bankruptcy bench/bar conferences and the Elliott Cup Moot Court Competition, the section is proud of the efforts of its members in advancing and improving the level of events and programs related to bankruptcy type matters in Texas. We encourage anyone with questions to contact any of the presiding officers or council members of the section to learn more about the current agenda of the section.

As reflected in the composition of officers and council members identified on this website, we encourage bankruptcy lawyers concentrating in either consumer or business bankruptcy law to get involved in this exciting section. Some of the benefits provided to members include a newsletter, access to a very active Listserve, complimentary networking receptions and discounts on seminars.

Mission Statement

The goal of the Bankruptcy Law Section is provide an opportunity for all practitioners of bankruptcy law licensed in Texas to meet and exchange information and ideas on a regular basis, including practitioners in both the consumer and business bankruptcy arenas, for those who represent creditors and debtors, and those who live in any geographic region. The Bankruptcy Section shall endeavor to have the membership of the Council reflect this broad diversity of its members. The Section shall also provide an opportunity for lawyers newly practicing Bankruptcy law to attain those skills, experience and relationships which will assist them to enhance the practice of Bankruptcy law in the State of Texas.


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