Bankruptcy lawyers are employed by law firms or run their own firms that represent debtors. Others work for creditors, trustees or lending institutions, and corporations or other organizations that need help renegotiating loan agreements to avert bankruptcy or filing for bankruptcy.
New lawyers usually work as assistants or law clerks to experienced bankruptcy attorneys. (Some aspiring lawyers first work as paralegals at law firms before entering law school.) At first they do mainly research and routine work. After a few years of successful experience, they may be promoted to junior partner, or they may go out on their own and specialize in bankruptcy law. Other choices open to the beginning lawyer include joining an established law firm or entering into a partnership with another lawyer.
Law firms and other employers often recruit new lawyers directly from law school. Job leads can also be found by joining local and state bar associations or the American Bar Association (ABA). Legal Web sites offer job listings. The ABA Web site, for example, posts employment opportunities and job fairs in its Career Center (https://www.americanbar.org/careercenter/). The employment and staffing firm, Robert Half, also provides job listings for lawyers including bankruptcy lawyers (https://www.roberthalf.com/positions-we-place/lawyer). Additionally, large bankruptcy law firms often post job listings at their Web sites.
Bankruptcy lawyers advance by working for more prestigious firms, by raising the fees they charge clients, and by opening their own practices. Others become bankruptcy judges, who oversee the administration of bankruptcy cases. Bankruptcy judges are judicial officers of the U.S. district court and, as such, are appointed by a majority of judges from the U.S. court of appeals.
Tips for Entry
Read publications such as ABI Journal and ABI Law Review (see https://www.abi.org) to learn more about the field.
Participate in an internship or clerkship with a bankruptcy court or a law firm that specializes in bankruptcy law.
Use the NALP Directory of Legal Employers (https://www.nalpdirectory.com) to search for employers by location, employer type, practice area, and other criteria.
Join professional associations such as the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys to access training and networking resources, industry publications, and employment opportunities.
Visit https://www.americanbar.org/careercenter/ for job listings.