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On April 30, 2014, The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) granted accreditation to the NALA Certified Paralegal program for demonstrating compliance with the NCCA Standards for the Accreditation of Certification Programs. NCCA is the accrediting body of the Institute for Credentialing Excellence. The NCCA Standards were created to ensure certification programs adhere to modern standards of practice for the certification industry.  The NALA Certified Paralegal program joins an elite group of more than 120 organizations representing over 270 certification programs that have received and maintained NCCA accreditation. More information on the NCCA is available online at www.credentialingexcellence.org/NCCA

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Commercial Bankruptcy

This page summarizes the Commercial Bankruptcy Advanced Paralegal Certification course. Use the links below to review the items, register or login to the course. If you have not already registered as a user on the NALA APC web site, click "Register for the Course." If you have already registered for this or another APC course, you have already created a user account, click "Login."

Paralegals who are not seeking the Advanced Paralegal Certification credential are welcome to register and take any APC courses as advanced continuing education programs. CLE credit is available upon completion of the courses from NALA for Certified Paralegals, and from various state CLE programs.

Prerequisite Knowledge Learning Contract Register for the course
Fee:   $250 Members; $300 Non Members

Course Description

This course provides an in-depth analysis of commercial bankruptcy cases under Chapters 7 and 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. The course focuses on bankruptcies of business debtors as opposed to consumer debtors. In commercial bankruptcy cases, Chapter 7 provides for debt relief and liquidation of the enterprise’s assets, while Chapter 11 gives a business protection from creditors and an opportunity to develop a plan of reorganization to pay its debts and continue in business. Paralegals can assist attorneys in many ways throughout the process of guiding a client from filing a bankruptcy petition through discharge and closing of the case. After completing this bankruptcy course, a paralegal might help as follows:

  • Assist the attorney with the initial interview. The client interview may include a discussion of mechanics and procedures, statutory exemptions, debt vs. asset analysis, debt classifications, and available types of bankruptcy relief.
  • Draft UCC information and copy requests to appropriate offices; analyze information including preparation of lien priority exhibits to be used in trial.
  • Draft judgment searches to appropriate offices.
  • Draft request and analyze information as to real estate owned by debtor.
  • Assist in the preparation of exhibits for various uses.
  • Prepare fee applications according to US trustee guidelines and using law office accounting procedures and software.
  • Assist debtor and maintain tickler file on preparation of Chapter 11 cases and monthly financial reports.
  • Review advance sheets and research on reported bankruptcy cases.
  • Review clerk's docket and claims register.
  • Drafting appropriate petitions, schedules of debts, schedules of assets, statements of affairs, and additional pleadings as necessary for initial filing.
  • Draft reaffirmation agreements and transmittal letters to creditor and client.
  • Drafting motions and notices, i.e., discharge of nonbankruptcy judgments and lien avoidances.
  • Correspondence and conferences with debtors, creditors, attorneys, clerks, trustees and clients.
  • Notify clients on hearing and trial dates, depositions, etc.
  • Draft applications, stipulations, proposed orders, notices, and other routine pleadings.
  • Prepare for litigation.
  • Prepare ECF filings and summarize for attorney's review.
  • Draft discovery requests and review and organize the responses.
  • Collect creditor ballots and prepare ballot tabulation.
  • Perform initial claims review for timeliness of filing, supporting documentation, etc., for claims objections.
  • Attend Sec. 341 meetings and ask questions of debtors on behalf of a creditor.
  • Attend evidentiary hearings and trials to assist the attorney.
  • Assist the debtor with gathering documents for the US trustee's initial debtor interview (IDI).

Prerequisite Knowledge

The APC course on Trial Practice will be helpful to those taking the course in Commercial Bankruptcy. In addition, those taking this course should be familiar with the following:

  • State constitution and legislation
  • Statutes of limitations
  • Damages and remedies
  • Practice and procedure forms
  • Internet research
  • Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

Course Modules

The Advanced Paralegal Certification course on Commercial Bankruptcy consists of successful completion of 9 modules of text, assessments, and assignments.  The modules and their objectives are as follows:

1. The Bankruptcy Estate
The Overview provides a firm footing of bankruptcy topics: debtor/creditor and bankruptcy law; creditors' state law remedies; federal law; state law and bankruptcy proceedings; bankruptcy terminology; the bankruptcy code and bankruptcy rules; bankruptcy courts, judges, and jurisdiction; core and non core proceedings; venue; the bankruptcy estate; property of the estate; interests of the debtor in property; personal assets; officers of the estate – trustees and US trustees; selection of trustees; duties and powers of trustees; examiner's and creditors' committees; commercial bankruptcy administration; commencement of the case; cases under Chapters 7 and 11; automatic stay; debtor in possession; claims; electronic filing – CM/ECF filing system and PACER; and security and privacy issues in electronic filing.

In the module, we cover: the initiation of the bankruptcy case and establishment of the bankruptcy estate; commencement date of the bankruptcy case; property of the bankruptcy estate; the order for relief and automatic stay; claims against the bankruptcy estate; allowance and payment of claims; set offs; secured and unsecured claims; secured interests and liens; exemptions and exclusions; exemption limits; state v. bankruptcy exemptions; and additions to the estate after filing.Application of Fourth Amendment protections against illegal searches and seizures by the government; governmental action; reasonable expectation of privacy; probable cause and reasonable suspicion; search warrant requirements; warrant requirement exceptions; execution of a search warrant; the exclusionary rule; preservation of evidence; and chain of custody.
2. Avoiding Powers
Here we discuss: recovery of property by the trustee; trustee avoiding powers; disallowance of claims; fraudulent transfers and obligations; limitations on the trustee's powers; preferences; differences between fraudulent transfers and preferences; presumption of insolvency; insiders; third-party transactions; indirect preferences; preference exceptions; setoff and recoupment; strong arm powers; statutory liens; bona fide purchasers for value; and post petition transactions.
3. Initial Relief
Major topics in this module include: the automatic stay; protection of third parties; protection of collateral; relief from the stay; debtor's duties; claims, proofs of claim, and objections; payment of claims; administrative expenses; priorities and subordination; use, sale, and lease of property; new credit; executory contracts and unexpired leases; assumption, rejection, and assignment of contracts; case conversion; dismissal and discharge; and objections to discharge.
4. Chapter 7 Cases
Here we look at: preparing bankruptcy documents for filing; client input; local requirements; appointment of the trustee; trustee panel's; interim trustee's; section 341(a) meeting of creditors; trustee's collection of assets; trustee's review of schedules and inventory; trustee's avoiding powers; operation of the debtor's business; assumption, rejection, or assignment of contracts; administration of the bankruptcy estate; liquidation and distribution of the bankruptcy estate; discharge and reaffirmation; objections and exceptions to discharge; procedure for objections; revocation of discharge; and closing the case.
5. Chapter 11 Reorganization
This is the first of three modules on Chapter 11 bankruptcy topics. It includes an overview of a commercial Chapter 11 reorganization case; components of the Chapter 11 case; the US trustee; first day orders; small business cases; the debtor-in-possession; initial debtor interview (IDI); monthly financial reporting; section 341(a) meeting of creditors; quarterly fees; appointment of trustee or examiner; selection process, powers, and duties of the trustee and examiner; use and sale of assets; necessity doctrine; post petition financing; cash collateral v. new credit; obtaining new credit; overreaching; use and payment of professionals by the creditors’ committee, trustees, and examiners in administration of the bankruptcy case; employee salaries and wages; collective bargaining agreements; retirement benefits; and employees as insiders.
6. Chapter 11 Plan Development
The second module on Chapter 11 bankruptcy topics covers the development of a plan of reorganization by the debtor in possession and/or other interested parties; phases in completing a plan of reorganization; who may file a plan; exclusivity, extension, and termination; bad faith – lift of stay; treatment of claims; classification of claims; section 1124 impairment; secured claims; administrative expenses; contingent claims; plan contents; disclosure statements; modification of the plan; distribution of the plan; competing plans: voting and creditor acceptance; procedural and substantive consolidation of cases; partial consolidation in cases; and special cases – single asset real estate, small business, and prepackaged.
7. Chapter 11 Plan Confirmation
The third and final module on Chapter 11 bankruptcy topics include: the requirements and process for confirming a plan of reorganization in a Chapter 11 case; objections and hearing on plan confirmation; confirmation standards – best interest of creditors, priority claims, and feasibility; cramdown requirements and disclosure; fair and equitable treatment and unfair discrimination; the effect of confirmation and plan implementation; debtor's duties after confirmation; discharge; post confirmation modifications; substantial consummation; dismissal, conversion, and revocation.
8. Involuntary Bankruptcy
Involuntary bankruptcy topics include: the purpose, process, and effect of involuntary bankruptcy cases; differences between voluntary and involuntary cases; authorization and requirements; creditors risks and considerations; parties to an involuntary case; standing of creditors; joining after filing; bona fide disputes; requirements for partnerships; grounds for filing an involuntary case; involuntary petition and answer; multiple petitions; disputing the required number of creditors; process and hearing; motions and discovery; negotiations; gap period between involuntary petition and order for relief – operations, finance, and collecting debts; trustees in the gap period; order for relief; dismissal by agreement or otherwise; damages; and the best interests of the debtor and creditors.
9. Adversary Proceedings
The final module in Commercial Bankruptcy discusses adversary proceedings in bankruptcy cases, including litigation and administration; disputes in bankruptcy cases; the difference between adversary proceedings and contested matters; adversary rules and procedures and the federal rules of bankruptcy procedure – part VII; the complaint, summons, and answer; counterclaims and cross-claims; default judgments; actions by creditors and debtors; objections and grounds for objections to discharge; time for filing objections; debtors claims and other debtor actions; trustee actions – turnover complaints and avoidance actions; removal procedures and procedure after removal; time limits for filing notice of removal; remand; appeals from bankruptcy court rulings; final and interlocutory orders; time limits for appeals; motion for leave to appeal; stay pending appeal; and local rules.