219 posts categorized "Blog Stuff"

Katie, Remember Us When

posted by Bob Lawless

It is with incredibly mixed feelings that I pass along to our readers that Professor Katie Porter is leaving our blog. Katie was one of the original bloggers on Credit Slips back in 2006. There were a number of us who were working together in an intensive data-collection phase of a research project, and a blog was a great way to have some intellectual interaction that was more than how to word a survey question. It worked and somehow the blog stayed around. Katie's posts are insightful, thought-provoking, and witty. We will miss her contributions.

If we have to lose one of our founding bloggers, it is at least for a very exciting reason. Katie is leaving Credit Slips is to focus her efforts on her recently announced candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in California's 45th Congressional District. Speaking for myself, I think Katie would be fantastic in Congress. She is whip-smart and a determined advocate for consumers. Former Credit Slips blogger Elizabeth Warren put it succinctly: "Katie is a fighter!" I wish Katie nothing but success in her campaign.

We also have made a change to the way we list our blog contributors. At one time, it made sense to distinguish between more frequent and less frequent contributors. Now, everyone is simply listed as a contributor. This change is long overdue, and I had been meaning to make it for a while. My day job seems to keep interfering with the many ideas I often have to improve the blog.

Thanks to Gary Neustadter

posted by Katie Porter

Credit Slips was fortunate to hear from Professor Gary Neustadter of Santa Clara Law this month on consumer credit issues.

He identified several emerging issues, including a serious weakness in  California's homestead exemption. What I enjoyed so much about his post was his analysis of not just the law, but also the credit market and how various GSE policies shape it.

His post on the delivery of consumer bankruptcy services wove together the best of the thinking on the deployment of technology in legal services, and the context-specific research on how people in financial distress. He imagines how the work of Credit Slips occasional Dalie Jimenez on paper-based self-help resources could be delivered digitally. The result would push the edges of how we think about legal practice.

We hope to have Gary back soon and appreciate his contributions!

ABA Journal Blawg 100!

posted by Bob Lawless

HonoreeBadgeCredit Slips is honored to have been selected as part of the ABA Journal's Blawg 100, their annual list of the top 100 blogs about law and lawyering. It is our second year in a row for inclusion on the list.

We appreciate all of our readers and are humbled by the time you spend with us. The comments to the posts continually demonstrate that one of the things that makes this blog work is our readership. Thanks for visiting.

Welcome to Guestblogger Gary Neustadter

posted by Katie Porter

Credit Slips is delighted to welcome first-time guest blogger, Professor Gary Neustadter. A renowned innovative teacher, Professor Neustadter  specializes in debtor-creditor law, contracts, consumer protection, and legal practice. His classic work, When Lawyer and Client Meet: Observations of Interviewing and Counseling Behavior in the Consumer Bankruptcy Law Office, is a must-read, particularly worth revisiting as the nature of legal practice changes in the last decade driven by BAPCPA and the technology.

His new article, Randomly Distributed Trial Court Justice: A Case Study and Siren from the Consumer Bankruptcy World, is one of the most exciting pieces of scholarship that I've had the pleasure of reading. Gary offers all those interested in civil justice and economic rights a rare window directly into the justice system. While the picture that he portrays is far from pretty, his article approaches the effect of great art: it challenges us to question our assumptions and our perspectives.

Welcome, Gary, to Credit Slips. We look forward to your insights.

The Big 1-0

posted by Bob Lawless

10th BirthdayToday is the tenth anniversary of the launch of Credit Slips. We started the blog in the middle of a big research project as an exercise in team building We also thought the blog might be a place where we could try to reach a wider audience about the scholarship coming out of the project. It is hard to believe we are still chugging along after 10 years.

A lot has happened in 10 years. When we started, blogging was relatively new and especially new for academics trying to reach outside the ivy-covered walls. There weren't no Twitter or Facebook, and Pokemon was passé. Looking back at that first post, four of the original seven bloggers are still with the blog. Things have moved on considerably for most all of the original bloggers. One of us got hired and tenured at one of this nation's leading law schools. A few of us have moved universities. One of us even became the senior United States senator from Massachusetts. Some of our newest bloggers are people we were mentoring as junior scholars or even students ten years ago. For myself over the past 10 years, I managed to move to a new faculty office down the hallway.

We have been talking about a few changes to the blog to keep current with the times, but the changes will not affect our topical focus. Our goal remains what it has been from the start, which is to reach outside the legal academy to have conversations with who care deeply about the policy issues surrounding credit, finance & bankruptcy. Thanks for being part of the conversation.

Making the ABA Journal's Blawg 100

posted by Bob Lawless

The ABA Journal has named Credit Slips to its annual Blawg 100. Thanks for the recognition! We really appreciate it. It is a list of great blogs, and we are honored to be included on it. And, thanks to our readers and commenters who help to make this little part of the Internet a great community.

Welcoming Back David Lander

posted by Bob Lawless

Frequent readers of the blog will know that David Lander has guest blogged for us several times. When he was last with us, David left with four topics he wanted to discuss further. When David wrote and said he had the time to turn back to these topics, we were delighted to welcome him back. David combines extensive big law firm experience with a background in consumer and individual representations. These days, David is spending his time as an adjunct professor at St. Louis University. David always has thoughtful things to say about the state of our bankruptcy and consumer finance systems. Welcome back.

In Which We Enter the Fourth Grade

posted by Bob Lawless

Ninth Anniversay LogoToday is the ninth anniversary of Credit Slips, which means we are now old enough for the fourth grade. Thanks for reading and for your support.

The year we started, 2006, seems so long ago. The W was in the White House, and we were "Mission Accomplished" in Iraq for three whole years at that point. We had just experienced the second sitting vice president to shoot another person while in office. And, it was a year the St. Louis Cardinals would win the World Series (so some things change not so much). CFPB was just a nascent idea that one of our co-bloggers was promoting.

I won't make any predictions about the next nine years lest I anger the Giant Robot Overlords who will be in charge by then.

Gelpern on Puerto Rico and Greece on Rehm

posted by Bob Lawless

Credit Slips blogger, Anna Gelpern, was on the Diane Rehm Show this morning discussing the financial problems in Puerto Rico and Greece. Gelpern of Georgetown University was joined by Greg Ip of the Wall Street Journal and Matthias Matthjis of Johns Hopkins. A link to the full audio program can be found here

Professor Jay Westbrook Joins Us

posted by Bob Lawless

My  best email of the day will be Professor Jay Westbrook's email saying he will join our mostly merry band of bloggers on a permanent basis. Westbrook has been guest blogging with us for a few weeks. Thanks to our great community of followers and your engagement with the issue we discuss, we have been able to persuade him to hang around. Westbrook is a legend in the field, and we are very proud to him as part of the Credit Slips team.

1,000 Twitter Followers

posted by Bob Lawless

That is an amazing milestone. Thank you everyone for your interest in what we have to say here.

If you want to follow us on Twitter or subscribe to our Facebook page, there are buttons on the right-side of the screen. These outlets are simply other channels we use to get our content to those who want to receive it.

Credit Slips Bloggers' Amicus Briefs in Caulkett

posted by Bob Lawless

With my attention drawn to other matters, my personal blogging has been light for the past month. One of the things that had my attention was the Caulkett case currently pending before the Supreme Court. The issue in Caulkett is whether a wholly underwater second mortgage can be avoided in a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Without any value to reach, a wholly underwater second would not seem to be an allowed secured claim within the meaning of section 506.

Along with fellow Credit Slips blogger, John Pottow, and Professor Bruce Markell, I filed an amicus brief in Caulkett supporting the debtor.  One of our points is that Long v. Bullard, which supposedly stands for the proposition that "liens ride through bankruptcy," involved other issues entirely. I'll try to expand on that point in another blog post. But, we were not alone in representing Credit Slips in the case. Blogger Adam Levitin filed his own superb amicus brief supporting the debtor that provides an in-depth look at the facts, evidence, and policy around second mortgages. All of the briefs in the case can be found at SCOTUSBlog.

Welcoming Jay Westbrook to Credit Slips

posted by Bob Lawless

It is with great pleasure that I welcome Professor Jay L. Westbrook of the University of Texas as a guest blogger for Credit Slips. To people in the bankruptcy community, Professor Westbrook needs no introduction. He is a leader in both international bankruptcy and empirical studies of bankruptcy. The phrase "see Sullivan, Warren & Westbrook" is often the cite for any fact we need to know about the bankruptcy system. There is nobody I know who does not think the world of him, both professionally and personally. We have hoped for many years that he would take a turn at Credit Slips, and we are glad the time has finally come.

Welcome to Credit Slips, Jay!

Legal Options for Ukraine's Russian Debt Problem

posted by Mark Weidemaier

Shutterstock_233925478Ukraine's financial position is worsening, restructuring seems likely, and the big question is what to do about the $3 billion loan Victor Yanukovych saddled the country with before fleeing. Coverage of the loan here and here on Credit Slips, and bonus coverage on FT Alphaville (free registration required). Though a government-to-government loan in substance, the loan is disguised as an ordinary eurobond issue, with contract terms that give Russia extraordinary leverage. These include the right to accelerate early, trigger cross-default, and block or impede restructuring. That may be why recent reports suggest the plan is to pay Russia in full when the bonds mature in December 2015, though I can't imagine either Ukraine or its official lenders are thrilled at the prospect.

Perhaps there are other options. The academic literature on sovereign debt often discounts the relevance of law and legal institutions, although Mitu Gulati and I argue here that this may be a mistake. Ukraine's case may illustrate the point. The country's leverage - what little it has - depends in part on whether it can place meaningful legal barriers in the way of any effort to enforce the bonds. That would likely involve English law and courts (see par. 16, page 35 of the prospectus). Below the jump, I discuss two possibilities. The first is a proposal by Anna Gelpern described in detail in this paper (which also has good background on the loan) and this blog post. The second is a brief but tantalizing proposal by Joseph Blocher and Mitu Gulati in the final section of this paper. In short, Anna proposes legislation making the debt unenforceable in English courts. Joseph and Mitu suggest that Ukraine is entitled to compensation for Russia's annexation of Crimea and can use this claim as a set-off against the debt. Both proposals raise unique challenges and questions.

Continue reading "Legal Options for Ukraine's Russian Debt Problem" »

Thank You to Michelle Harner

posted by Bob Lawless

Credit Slips thanks Michelle Harner for guest blogging. She shared her own personal views about reforms for chapter 11. Although Harner was here in her personal capacity and speaking only for herself, her role as the reporter for the American Bankruptcy Institute's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11 gives her a valuable and informed perspective on the issues. Thank you, Michelle.

Thanks to Matthew Bruckner

posted by Bob Lawless

We want to thank Professor Matthew Bruckner of Howard University for hanging out at Credit Slips for a while. We appreciate him sharing his thoughts on some of the finance issues facing legal education and issues surrounding student debt.

Welcome Back to Michelle Harner

posted by Bob Lawless

We are happy to welcome back Professor Michelle Harner of the University of Maryland and the reporter for the American Bankruptcy Institute's Commission to Study the Reform of Chapter 11. Harner has kindly offered to blog on her perspectives on the Commission's report. So she does not have to say -- anything she writes represents only her own views and not her views in her capacity as the reporter.

Welcome Matthew Bruckner

posted by Nathalie Martin

Today we welcome Matthew Bruckner as a guest blogger. Professor Bruckner teaches at Howard University School of law. I first became acquainted with him through his wonderful scholarship applying virtue theory to bankruptcy law. He teaches a variety of business and commercial law courses, including contracts and bankruptcy. Professor Bruckner has previously taught at St. John’s University School of Law and Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. His academic interests center on commercial bankruptcy issue and his most recent scholarship focuses on how to reduce the cost of professional representation in corporate bankruptcy cases.

Prior to law teaching, Professor Bruckner was an attorney practicing in the areas of bankruptcy, bank regulatory, M&A, and other general transactional matters with Allen & Overy, LLP. Professor Bruckner also undertook a number of pro bono engagements for the Public International Law and Policy Group, where he led a team working on comparative constitutional law issues. After leaving Allen & Overy, Professor Bruckner clerked for the Honorable Allen L. Gropper of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York. In a prior life, he was a stagehand at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

Welcome Matthew!

Tributes to Jean

posted by Bob Lawless

BraucherOur friend and co-blogger, Jean Braucher, passed away a week ago today. Our first post here on Credit Slips had only a few paragraphs about her contributions to our professional community. There was a lot more to say about Jean.

Since that time, a number of comments have made their way into my inbox or were posted on to that original post. The comments have come from practicing attorneys, academics, judges, and journalists and from all over the United States as well as Europe, Australia, and South America. If you sent me a longer comment, I hope I have done justice to it below in excerpting it, and my apologies if I mistakenly omitted some. Here is what people wrote about Jean.

Continue reading "Tributes to Jean" »

Elizabeth Warren in Jeopardy! -- Em . . . That Is, the Game Show Jeopardy!

posted by Bob Lawless

Former Credit Slips blogger Elizabeth Warren who also happens to be the senior senator from Massachusetts was a category on Jeopardy! last night. H/T to the WSJ's Bankruptcy Beat, which has a more complete story on the topic including the questions that were asked. None of the questions related to Credit Slips probably because they would have been too easy. Please let me hold on to that illusion.

None of the contestants could correctly give the full name of the agency of which Senator Warren was interim director, "the CFPB for short." Although she was commonly referred to as the "interim director," the title I remember her holding is "assistant to the president and special advisor to the Secretary of the Treasury" (e.g., here and here). It's a trivial point -- which I suppose is the point of Jeopard! -- but was she ever formally the "interim director" of the CFPB?

Whose Fault Is the Argentina Debacle?

posted by Adam Levitin

I name names and point fingers in the Wall Street Journal.  NML gets some blame for overplaying its hand, but the fault primarily lies with the federal courts for letting the case go forward. I understand the courts being angered by an unrepentant debtor thumbing its nose at them, but the federal courts should know better than to get into a pissing match with a foreign sovereign. Federal judges are possessed of awesome powers, but not that awesome. It's not at all clear to me how Judge Griesa's going to get this case out of the hole he dug, and the recent reporting on the case indicates that he doesn't have any idea either. "We're in the soup."  Indeed. 

Eight Years and Counting

posted by Bob Lawless

Number 8Today marks the eighth anniversary of the launch of Credit Slips. That means we have been around long enough to get tenure at most universities. Now, if we only can get through the review letters.

One thing that I have learned from administering the blog is that its path is never linear. We have had a lot of comings and goings over the eight years, and I certainly can't predict what the next year will bring. Our goal will remain the same of trying to provide occasionally insightful commentary on topics in the credit, finance, and bankruptcy space that is of interest to opinion leaders in law, policy, and the media.

The comments on the blog continue to offer some of the best conversations on the Internet. The expertise and civility of the discussions prove that there are still places in this world where reasonable people can discuss different points of view without screaming at each other. 

Thank you to our bloggers, commenters, and readers for continuing to give Credit Slips whatever little bit of success it has.

DDoS and Captchas

posted by Bob Lawless

Captcha FakeIf you are a long-time reader of Credit Slips, first thank you. Second, you probably noticed we were off the air earlier in the week. Our blog hosting service, Typepad, was the victim of a criminal denial-of-service attack. According to TechCrunch, Typepad even received a ransom note offering to stop the attacks if payment was received. Although it was frustrating to be down for such an extended period, Typepad did a great job of keeping its customers informed about the situation, and I wish them the best as they recover from this attack.

When the attacks first began, there were some complaints that the captchas were not working. The captcha problem seem to have continued, although it seems to work for some and others. Still, I have turned off the captchas, and you should be able to comment without authenticating. If we get a flood of spam comments, I will probably turn the captchas back on.

Thank you fakecaptcha.com. You write that requiring acknowledgement would be lame, meaning the thanks you get is sincere.

Thank You to Javier Arias and Andrew Dawson

posted by Bob Lawless

On behalf of everyone at Credit Slips, I wanted to thank Professor Javier Arias of the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos and Professor Andrew Dawson of the University of Miami. It takes time out of a busy schedule to contribute to the Credit Slips community, and their contributions are well appreciated. Javier brought us up to date on the recent changes in the Spanish insolvency regime, and Drew offered his thoughts on some developments in chapter 15/transnational insolvency as well as on labor rights in chapter 11. Thank you again, both of you.

Welcome Back to Susan Block-Lieb

posted by Bob Lawless

Credit Slips is pleased to welcome back Professor Susan Block-Lieb of Fordham University. A long-time "friend of the blog" -- as Stephen Colbert might put it -- Susan has blogged with us in the past with Professor Ted Janger. This time, we have Susan for a solo appearance. She will offer her insights on topics such as the CFPB and homeowner protection. Welcome back!

New Harvard Law School Bankruptcy Roundtable Blog

posted by Adam Levitin

Harvard Law School's Bankruptcy Roundtable, a dialogue between academics and practitioners, is now in the blogosphere!  The Roundtable has launched with a number of very substantive posts by Douglas Baird and Anthony Casey; Judge Sontchi; Thomas Jackson and David Skeel; Nelly Alemeida; and Marshal Huebner and Hilary Dengel.  I know that we academics benefit a lot from discussions with practitioners. (I hope, but am not entirely sure, that the benefits are mutual...)  

Highly recommended.  

Welcome to Drew Dawson

posted by Bob Lawless

Credit Slips is please to welcome Professor Drew Dawson as a guest blogger. Drew is on the faculty at the University of Miami School of Law where he teaches the bankruptcy, commercial law, and the other sorts of course you would expect from someone at Credit Slips. He has published on collective bargaining agreements in bankruptcy and offshore bankruptcies. He is relatively newer voice in the academy, and we are happy to have him join us for a while.

Welcome Back to Javier Arias

posted by Bob Lawless

Francisco Javier Arias Varona, Profesor Titular de Derecho Mercantil at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos in Madrid, Spain, will be joining as a guest blogger for a few weeks. Long-time readers may remember Javier's last guest stint with us. Spain has recently taken steps to try to deal with some of its consumer insolvency problems. It might be more straight-forward to say Spain passed a bankruptcy law, but others might not label it a "bankruptcy law" for reasons Javier will elaborate. We look forward to his perspectives on these new developments as well as the current state of consumer indebtedness in Spain.

Some Changes at the Slips

posted by Bob Lawless

We are making a few changes in the author line-up here at Credit Slips. The blog has been running for seven and a half years. During that time, new voices have entered the academy, and we need to keep up!

Continue reading "Some Changes at the Slips" »

Credit Slips Now on Twitter

posted by Bob Lawless
Credit Slips now has a Twitter feed. You can find us @CreditSlips on Twitter (as well as from the button to the right). We'll be trying to put our posts up there as well as retweeting from the Credit Slips authors. We also have added a button that will allow you to tweet individual Credit Slips posts on your own Twitter feed.

Lubben on Corporate Finance

posted by Bob Lawless

Lubben Corporate FinanceCongratulations to Credits Slips's Stephen Lubben who has just published Corporate Finance with Wolters Kluwer in the Aspen Casebook Series. The book promises coverage of bankruptcy along with other, lesser areas of the law like M&A and corporate law generally.

The book doesn't appear to shy away from math, and good for Stephen. Lawyers in training need to hear that math is very much a part of legal practice, especially in business law. This book covers exactly the sort of stuff that students who want to practice in the 21st century should be thinking about.

Lucky Seven

posted by Bob Lawless

Seventh BirthdayToday is the seventh anniversary of the launch of Credit Slips. It just seemed important to note the date for the historical record. That is not bad for a blog that was started, more or less, on a lark to see if it was any fun to do. I had to use the 7-ball image this because next year an 8-ball would be cliched.

I am on a family vacation this week so I think I'll celebrate the day by playing golf. If you're in the vicinity, hard hats are recommended.

Seven-ball image courtesy of Shutterstock

Thank You, Lois Lupica & Nancy Rapoport

posted by Bob Lawless

Thank YouLois Lupica and Nancy Rapoport wrote me to say they had completed their series of posts on the American Bankruptcy Institute's National Bankruptcy Ethics Task Force. Alas.

And, now that I go to edit the web page to remove them from our list of Current Guests, I see that they never got added in the first place. I am sorry for that, Lois and Nancy. I'll talk to the guy in charge of those sorts of things. He and I have lots of interesting conversations.

On behalf of Credit Slips, thank you Lois and Nancy. Come back soon.

Thank you note image from Shutterstock.

Welcome to Lois Lupica and Nancy Rapoport

posted by Bob Lawless

Credit Slips is very pleased that Professor Lois Lupica and Dean Nancy Rapoport will be joining us for a few days. Both of these names are probably already well known to many of our readers. Lois is the Maine Law Foundation Professor of Law at the University of Maine and a past guest blogger on Credit Slips. In addition to being interim dean at UNLV -- and, as I am sure she would want me to emphasize, the soon-to-be ex-interim dean at UNLV -- Nancy is a limited professor of law, holding the Gordon & Silver, Ltd., professorship at UNLV. (Only I can make this joke because I used to have the same professorship.) Nancy also has her own blog where she writes about lots of different interesting things, raising a fair question about why it has taken us so long to have her as a guest blogger.

Lois and Nancy were co-reporters for the American Bankruptcy Institute's National Bankruptcy Ethics Task Force, which just issued its final report. We're very excited to have them join us for a few days and talk about this important project as well as other issues on which they have been working.

If You (Don't) See Something, Say Something

posted by Bob Lawless
So, I just discovered that the Credit Slips feed to Facebook has been inactive for two months. I think I have fixed it. As the one with all the virtual keys to the machines, my experience when looking at the web site is not always the same as everyone else's. And, this blog is something we all do in our spare time. If something stops working or you have other suggestions, feel welcome to shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment. It will be a help.

Comments, Spam, Loyal Readers, and False Positives

posted by Bob Lawless

The many interesting comments left by our informed readership help make Credit Slips one of the best places on the Internet for informed discussion about debt and bankruptcy issues. The many spam comments make Credit Slips a less useful resource.

Continue reading "Comments, Spam, Loyal Readers, and False Positives" »

You're Welcome, Lauren Willis, But You're Not Going Anywhere

posted by Bob Lawless
Lauren Willis has joined us for the last month as a guest blogger, and in her most recent post thanked us for allowing her to "use our soap box." You're very welcome, Lauren, but we really don't want you to leave.  We're happy to report that Lauren has agreed to add her voice to Credit Slips as one of our "Occasional" bloggers. Thanks, Lauren, for becoming part of the Credit Slips team.

Thank You Paige Skiba

posted by Bob Lawless

TitleLoanOn behalf of eveyone at Credit Slips, I wanted to thank Professor Paige Skiba for spending a week with us. Paige was able to share data from her new paper with Jim Hawkins on title loans.

As the blog administrator, what I appreciated perhaps most of all was Paige's use of our Shutterstock account to liven up the main blog page with some images and color. (I am looking at you fellow Credit Slips bloggers.) In tribute to Paige's time with us, here is the photo that comes up when you search for "title loan" at Shutterstock. I shudder to imagine what automobile goes with that key!

Thanks again, Paige.

Key and title image from Shutterstock.

Thank You Mark Weidemaier

posted by Bob Lawless
Professor Mark Weidemaier of the University of North Carolina has been guest blogging with us since early November. Today's post on the Second Circuit's pari passu hearing in the NML litigation marked an end to his time with us. Mark hung around so he couuld keep our readers updated on  this important litigation on sovereign debt. Mark's and Anna Gelpern's posts on the topic have been among the most followed on Credit Slips. I just wanted to thank Mark for taking the time to share his expertise with our readers. 

Welcome Back to Paige Skiba

posted by Bob Lawless
It is always great to have our guests return, which makes me please to announced that Professor Paige Skiba of Vanderbilt University will be joining us for a few days. Paige has done a lot of interesting work on high-interest credit like payday lending and pawnshops. She promised to blog a little bit about her new paper with Jim Hawkins of the University of Houston on title loans. Welcome back, Paige.

Technical Problems Yesterday

posted by Bob Lawless
If you visited Credit Slips yesterday (February 19) and had problems loading the site, it was because our hosting service (Typepad) had some system-wide issues. Everything should be working now. Typepad status is always available here.

Occasional Jason Kilborn

posted by Bob Lawless
Long-time readers will remember Professor Jason Kilborn's guest-blogging stints. Jason focuses on comparative and international issues in the world of bankruptcy. This is always a perspective we sorely need here on the Slips, and we were wanting to get his voice back on the blog. When we spoke with him, we were very pleased to learn that he was willing to join us an "Occasional," which means we will have the benefit of his insights on a continuing basis. Welcome, Jason, to Credit Slips.

Welcome to Lauren Willis

posted by Bob Lawless
We're very excited to have Lauren Willis of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, join us as a guest blogger. We have been trying to find a mutually convenient time for months, and schedules finally aligned. Professor Willis is perhaps best known for being a skeptic of the Pollyannish view that consumer education always helps, a topic on which she has published a series of articles. At least four different Credit Slips bloggers have discussed her work (here, here, here, and here). I understand that Professor Willis intends to discuss moving beyond disclosure-based forms of regulation, building off her previous work.

Blogging Like It's 2009 -- Now with Facebook!

posted by Bob Lawless

It seemed time to catch up with the rest of the world. My kids tell me there is this thing called "Facebook" that might just catch on. We now have a Facebook page. Perhaps even better, you can "Like" or "Share" individual posts, or you can "Like" the whole blog from the button on the right. For Facebook neophytes like me, the difference between a "Like" and a "Share" is who sees your activity in Facebook. A "Like" will show an excerpt of our post to all of your Facebook friends, and we certainly hope that our readers will want to do a lot of that. If you "Share," you can share the post with only some of your Facebook friends or even e-mail it to whoever you want.

Continue reading "Blogging Like It's 2009 -- Now with Facebook!" »

Putting the E(lliot) in Sovereign Debt Enforcement...

posted by Mark Weidemaier

Until a month or so ago, you could have asked almost any economist or political scientist whether sovereign borrowers worry about legal enforcement, and, by way of answer, you would gotten a technical version of "Huh?" Academics disagree about why sovereigns repay loans, but almost no one thinks they do so to avoid being sued. So although bond investors are technically entitled to sue sovereign borrowers, there is no evidence that these formal legal entitlements actually impact the likelihood of repayment. That's why NML v. Argentina has captured so much attention. Hedge funds like Elliott Associates (and NML Capital, a related fund) are finally at the cusp of creating potent remedies for jilted bond investors.

If this effort succeeds, it will mark a revolution in the sovereign debt markets, one that will give sovereign borrowers reason to fear legal enforcement. And at first glance, one would think investors would welcome such a development. In a private loan, lenders typically want strong legal enforcement rights - the better to ensure they get their money back. Surprisingly, however, this hasn't always been true in the sovereign debt context. In this recent paper, I track how sovereign bonds evolved in response to the momentous changes in the US law of sovereign immunity that happened in the 20th century. Between 1952 and 1976, foreign sovereigns gradually became subject to the jurisdiction of US courts and eventually to coercive methods of judgment enforcement (i.e., asset seizure). Investors had these rights, however, only if the bond contract granted them, and almost no bond contract did. To the contrary, throughout most of the 1970s and 1980s, bonds issued under New York law provided only symbolic enforcement rights - basically, allowing investors to sue the borrower but not to enforce the judgment. What's more, investors didn't seem to be willing to pay more for the new enforcement rights they did receive. Basically, a major doctrinal revolution occurred, but investors didn't seem to notice.

As for NML v. Argentina - well, investors seem to have noticed. Later this week, I'm heading to a conference in Geneva, where a group of lawyers, economists, and political scientists will talk about past debt crises and the lessons they offer for the present one. I expect that NML v. Argentina will capture a fair amount of academic interest. After many years of discounting the relevance of legal enforcement, academics may have to start taking it seriously too.

Comment Spam Fail

posted by Bob Lawless

Every morning, I go through the list of comments and unpublish all the comment spam. Typically, the comment spam tries to engage with the blog content in what I can only suppose is an attempt to not look like spam. In this morning's comment queue was this gem that I had to share, purporting to be from "Best Financial Blog":

Definitely Elizabeth Warren is a good senator. Warren is also a good blog poster. He always posts a good and informative post. He also belongs to Financial Protection Bureau, which is a good thing. He always posts a good blog.

A piece of friendly advice to the business firm -- yes, I know who it is -- who paid someone to spam our blog. Whatever you're paying them, it's too much.

Many Thanks to Amy Schmitz

posted by Bob Lawless
On behalf of everyone at Credit Slips, I want to thank Professor Amy Schmitz for joining us as a guest blogger. Her posts included the song Fine Print Foils lamenting the legal traps laid for everyday households in many a consumer contract. Amy has promised to return at some point in the future when her schedule allows, and we hope she does. Thanks, Amy, for your contributions to Credit Slips

The Slips Go to College

posted by Bob Lawless
Credit Slips bloggers Jean Braucher and Melissa Jacoby have been elected to the American College of Bankruptcy. The College is an invitation-only organization for insolvency professionals "who have distinguished themselves in their practice and in their contribution to the insolvency field." On behalf of the Credit Slips community, I want to extend congratulations to Jean and Melissa on this honor. It is great to have their experience and talent contributing to this blog's success.

Best Wishes to Senator-Elect Warren

posted by Bob Lawless
Many congratulations to Elizabeth Warren on her election to the U.S. Senate. Warren was a co-founder of the Credit Slips blog and contributed until she took up her responsibilities with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. To many of the blog's contributors, she is a teacher, a collaborator, a co-author, and a friend. Best wishes to her as she begins this new adventure in her life.

Another Returnee to the Warm Embrace That Is Credit Slips

posted by Bob Lawless

Professor John Pottow is coming back to Credit Slips as one of our "Occasional" bloggers. Pottow was one of the blog's founding members, and it is fantastic that he is able to rejoin us. He always seems to find interesting stories or perspectives that others have missed about the world of debt and bankruptcy. His law school bio page at the University of Michigan says he is a licensed barrister and solicitor in Ontario, which is an amazing coincidence because I once drove through Ontario on my way to Michigan. Small world.

Welcome back, John.

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  • As a public service, the University of Illinois College of Law operates Bankr-L, an e-mail list on which bankruptcy professionals can exchange information. Bankr-L is administered by one of the Credit Slips bloggers, Professor Robert M. Lawless of the University of Illinois. Although Bankr-L is a free service, membership is limited only to persons with a professional connection to the bankruptcy field (e.g., lawyer, accountant, academic, judge). To request a subscription on Bankr-L, click here to visit the page for the list and then click on the link for "Subscribe." After completing the information there, please also send an e-mail to Professor Lawless (rlawless@illinois.edu) with a short description of your professional connection to bankruptcy. A link to a URL with a professional bio or other identifying information would be great.

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